Newsletters January Mistakes People Make at Different Ages People tend to face certain financial challenges during different periods in their lives. Here are some pitfalls to guard against. Stability and Liquidity: Money Market Mutual Funds The appeal of money market mutual funds despite yields near zero since the recession. Fed Delivers Vote of Confidence in the U.S. Economy A look at the policy tools the Fed can use to influence short-term interest rates, economic growth, and inflation. Donor-Advised Funds Individuals who want to maximize the positive impact of their donations might consider using donor-advised funds. Family Limited Partnerships for the Next Generation A family limited partnership could help business owners and their heirs address business succession and other issues. Student Debt? These Programs Could Spell Relief More student loan borrowers are expected to gain access to new federal programs designed to reduce monthly payments. February PATH Act Makes Many Tax Breaks Permanent An outline of PATH Act provisions that may be most helpful for individual taxpayers and small businesses. The Appeal of ETFs The total trading value of exchange-traded funds on world stock exchanges increased 35% over the previous year. A Guide on the Road to Retirement A recent industry study found that 17% of retirement plan participants did not seek any retirement advice at all. Writing a Letter of Instruction A letter of instruction has no formal legal status, but it could be just as important as a will to help loved ones settle an estate. Assessing Portfolio Performance The purpose of asset allocation and why it’s important for investors to have realistic performance expectations. The Status of Women-Owned Businesses Women-owned businesses employed almost 9 million people and added more than $1.6 trillion annually to the U.S. economy at last count. March Growth, Value, or Both? Here’s how to identify a stock or mutual fund as a growth or value investment. Know Your Rights, But File with Care It’s important to note that the “kinder, gentler” IRS remains vigilant in auditing returns for accuracy. New Opportunity for Generating Lifetime Income A survey of adults aged 44 to 75 found that 61% fear running out of money in retirement. Is College Around the Corner? Personal financial decisions can affect the amount of aid a student might receive from the government and/or a college. Time to Cash Out? Common valuation methods and how small-business owners can get the best price when selling their businesses. April Know Your Number: New Consumer Credit Protections Why your credit score matters and how recent changes could help you manage and potentially improve your credit. Interested in Interest Rates? Interest rates are expected to rise in 2015. Test your interest-rate knowledge by taking this short quiz. Special Bequests for Special People A personal property memorandum could be used to make bequests of specific items to heirs. Mutual Funds and ETFs In spite of their similarities, there are some key differences between ETFs and mutual funds. Homeownership Can Pay Off at Tax Time Tax incentives available to homeowners, like deducting mortgage interest, can make homeownership attractive to some. Liability Protection for Business Owners Organizing as a limited liability company has its benefits and offers many of the same legal protections as a corporation. May Blame It on the Weather: The Economic Effects of Unusual Events The effects extreme weather events can have on businesses, regional economies, and overall U.S. GDP growth. Are You an Investor or a Speculator? Investor or speculator? The importance of committing to a long-term strategy based on sound investment principles. Highly Appreciated Giving A charitable remainder trust may enable donors to give appreciated assets to a favorite charity on a tax-free basis. Studying the Earnings Test The retirement earnings test reduces Social Security benefits for younger beneficiaries whose earnings exceed annual levels. The Roundabout Way to a Roth IRA A 2014 IRS ruling makes it easier for taxpayers to move after-tax 401(k) contributions directly to a Roth IRA. Cyber Crime on the Rise Data breaches at large retailers have dominated the news, but cyber crimes also threaten small businesses. June Fixing Social Security: America Faces Tough Choices America faces tough choices among potential solutions proposed to address Social Security’s fiscal deficit. Aiming at Target-Date Funds How target-date funds work and why it’s important to understand a fund’s specific strategy. Financial Strategies for Changing Families Family life has changed over the past 4 decades. Here are some financial suggestions for nontraditional families. Coming to Terms with Long-Term-Care Needs Some people mistakenly assume Medicare or private health insurance will pay for long-term care if it becomes necessary. Solving the Salary Puzzle The size of the small business owner’s paycheck may initially depend on how much is left over after expenses and taxes. Clue for Homeowners: Filing a Claim Could Cost You According to a recent report, homeowners who filed just one insurance claim saw their premiums rise by an average of 9%. July Big Deals: What’s Behind the M&A Surge? A surge of M&A activity began in 2014 and has continued in 2015. Why and what it means for investors and consumers New Flexibility for College Savings New investment flexibility for 529 plans and how these plans may help you accumulate savings for higher education costs. Tax Tips for Tying the Knot Some tax issues and other financial considerations to keep in mind when making the transition to married life. Indexed Annuities: Potential Upside, Protecting the Downside How indexed annuities work and the options that may be available to investors in an indexed annuity contract. Understanding the Gift Tax It’s important to understand gift tax provisions in order to take advantage of the exemption and possibly eliminate or reduce potential tax liability. Factors That Influence Hiring Decisions Some signs that it might be time for small business owners to hire extra help, and the related costs. August Could Chinese Market Turmoil Cause a World of Hurt? The Chinese government intervened in its financial markets in July. Will China’s troubles affect the global economy? Gen X Turns 50: Time to Rescue Retirement? Some helpful strategies, not only for Gen Xers but for anyone concerned about falling short of retirement savings goals. Protecting Your Most Precious Asset Why all parents should have a will, regardless of any material assets they may possess. Should I Stay or Should I Go? Easing into Retirement Two strategies that might help those who are considering retirement make a smoother, more confident transition. Cyclical vs. Defensive Stocks Cyclical and defensive stocks differ and consumer spending and economic growth may affect various sectors of the stock market. Funding a Succession Plan with Insurance How life and disability insurance can be used to fund two different types of buy-sell agreements. September Small Island, Big Debt — Why Puerto Rico Matters to Muni Investors Puerto Rico’s dire fiscal situation and the potential implications for municipal bond and mutual fund investors. Inheriting an IRA If you’ve inherited an IRA or might inherit one in the future, it’s important to understand your options. Investing in Your Values More investors are considering their values, social as well as environmental, when making investment decisions. Do You Need Disability Insurance? In 2013, 59% of new disability claims were for people 50 and older and it often takes more time for them to recover. Financing Options for Small Businesses Some common types of financing that a small biz may need in order to upgrade its operations or finance expansion. Women May Need More Life Insurance While women make up more than half of the U.S. labor force, about 43% of women don’t have life insurance. October A Wild Ride: Understanding Market Volatility Some reasons behind current market movements and why investors should refrain from emotional reactions. Coverage You Can Keep Differences between term and permanent life insurance and how consumers should consider what coverage they need. Time to Make Medicare Changes Medicare beneficiaries can switch plans and coverage during different enrollment periods throughout the year. Correlation and Portfolio Performance How correlation plays a role in constructing a portfolio that strikes a balance between risk and potential return. Executors Inherit Important Title Settling an estate can be a difficult and time-consuming job that could take months to a year or more to complete. The ABCs of Incorporation The differences between organizing as a C, S, or B corp, primarily in relation to tax status and legal requirements. November Using Life Insurance to Retain MVPs An executive bonus plan funded with cash-value life insurance could be used to attract, reward, and retain valuable employees. Trans-Pacific Partnership Seeks to Expand World Trade Potential pros and cons of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement and how it might affect the U.S. economy. Dividends as a Growth Strategy A study by S&P found that dividend income represented 34% of the monthly total return of the S&P 500 index from 1927 through 2012. Controlling Health Insurance Costs An HDHP paired with a health savings account may offer tax advantages and could help save money on medical costs. Understanding RMDs The rules for taking required minimum distributions are explained. Plus: an illustration of how RMDs work. Going Solo Strategies to help freelancers in covering health-care costs, meeting tax requirements, and saving for retirement. December Bipartisan Budget Act Impacts Medicare and Social Security How the Bipartisan Budget Act impacts Medicare and Social Security and who is affected by these changes. Tracking the Market with Index Funds How index funds work and why they have become such a popular investment option. Feeling Powerful? Take It to the Bank A Stanford University study found that people who feel powerful are more likely to save for long-term goals. The Talk You Need to Have Discussing Finances with Adult Children Tips for a successful financial conversation even if you may have a difficult time talking about personal finances. How the Cloud Can Help Meet Technology Needs About 37% of small businesses are operating in the cloud, and it’s estimated that 80% could be doing so by 2020. The Unpaid Army: Family Caregivers Face Challenges About 1 in 4 U.S. workers age 25 and older provide unpaid care for a loved one who has health problems or is disabled.