Growth Vs. Value

When it comes to investing and markets, the terms “growth” and “value” get used a lot. Often times, those terms find themselves in competing philosophies with investing experts and talking heads discussing which is better, value investing or growth investing. For some investors, it’s all about growth; how much more valuable can an investment get? For others, value takes the cake. For value investors, it’s about how an investment will perform over time and whether it’s worth that initial cost. Now, there are risks and benefits to both types of investment approaches. Growth investments can help to build up your Continue reading Growth Vs. Value

Do You Have an Investment Strategy?

There is no sure-fire, one size fits all investment strategy out there. As you’ve probably found out from talking to friends or watching the market experts, there are a lot of different ways to go about investing and everyone seems to do it in their own unique way. What’s important is not just that you make your investments work for you, but that you invest in a manner that will help you achieve your future goals and plans. The best way to ensure you do that is by having an investment strategy. An investment strategy can help you to decide Continue reading Do You Have an Investment Strategy?

Don’t Let Taxes Surprise You in Retirement

Just because you are retired and no longer working, doesn’t mean the taxman won’t come looking for you. If you’ve been saving your retirement money in a traditional IRA, then your withdrawals from that account will be taxed when you take them. After all, a traditional IRA allows you to avoid taxes on contributions, but in return distributions get taxed. If you have receive a pension from an employer (aside from the military or disability), then that too will be taxed as it is viewed as income by the IRS. If you have investments made outside of an IRA or 401(k) Continue reading Don’t Let Taxes Surprise You in Retirement

Using Asset Allocation to Your Advantage

Asset allocation is an important part of saving and planning for retirement. Having the right asset allocation can help maximize your money and grow your nest egg efficiently as well as help protect you from risk. Depending on where you are in the retirement saving timeline, how exactly you allocate your assets will differ and change with life events and as you get older. For example, when you are younger–when just starting out in a career and before you have a family–you may find that your appetite for risk is higher, so you allocate your assets to take advantage of Continue reading Using Asset Allocation to Your Advantage

The Importance of Starting Retirement Off Right

The moment when you change from saving for retirement to making withdrawals from your retirement accounts can be a very risky and vulnerable time for your retirement success. That risk can be compounded when the withdrawals begin during a downturn in the market or if you make big withdrawals to start off retirement. It’s not uncommon for retirees to make big expenditures to start off retirement (i.e. make home improvements, travel, etc.), but just remember that those expenditures can put the rest of your portfolio at risk by leaving less money or investments to help with replenishing those withdrawals. What you Continue reading The Importance of Starting Retirement Off Right

Self-Directed IRA? Make Sure You Read the Custodial Agreement

A self-directed IRA can be a unique way to fund your retirement. If you are considering investments that are most often outside purview of the traditional asset classes–which are usually stocks, bonds, or mutual funds–then a self-directed IRA might be a great option. With a self-directed IRA, you can hold alternative investments–such as real estate or futures–which can help fund your retirement. While there are IRS rules that rule out certain investments when it comes to self-directed IRAs (i.e. most collectibles, investing in life insurance, etc.), what can really trip you up is the custodial agreement. While IRS rules govern Continue reading Self-Directed IRA? Make Sure You Read the Custodial Agreement

Retirement Investing: Don’t Just ‘Set It and Forget It’

If you aren’t well-versed in investing or don’t really care enough about the markets to watch them all day long, you probably want an easy way to invest your retirement savings without having to do much work. Luckily, many employer-based retirement plans are designed to make your retirement contributions and investments automatic, so you won’t have to do much thinking when it comes to investing. However, just because everything is automated doesn’t mean you have to completely ignore it. In fact, you should be checking your retirement account monthly (or at least a number of times throughout the year) and Continue reading Retirement Investing: Don’t Just ‘Set It and Forget It’

Why Financial Literacy Is So Important

If you want to take an active role in your retirement and financial planning, you need to be financially literate. You need to understand where your money is going, what is happening with the money you are saving, and what you need your money to do for you in the future. This is where financial literacy comes in. Being financially literate allows you to understand things such as financial statements and tax documents so that you know what is happening with your money and where it is happening. Financial literacy also provides opportunities to learn about the latest trends and Continue reading Why Financial Literacy Is So Important

Are You a Retirement Conservative?

This is not a political piece, so don’t worry. What I am going to talk about is being conservative when it comes to saving for retirement. Saving for retirement is a balancing act with the focus being on saving the “right amount” for your post-working life. What constitutes a “right amount” varies from person to person. Regardless of what you’re amount is, you probably should plan to save more than you intended. This is where being conservative comes in. In the retirement savings context, being conservative means that you are cautious and are building in some leeway with your savings Continue reading Are You a Retirement Conservative?

Estate Planning Benefits of Having Multiple IRAs

I’ve often talked here about the wisdom behind converting multiple IRAs into one or two accounts as you grow older. Mainly, that it makes it easier to manage your money and to prevent missed required minimum distributions (RMDs), which can result from juggling too many accounts. While consolidating IRAs into as few accounts as possible is still a good idea, today I’m going to talk about an area in which it just might be beneficial to have  multiple IRA accounts, particularly Roth IRAs: estate planning. If you are interested in leaving bequests for heirs and family members, an IRA can Continue reading Estate Planning Benefits of Having Multiple IRAs