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Emergency Funds: Preparing for the Unexpected

Many people don’t understand the importance of establishing and maintaining an emergency fund until it’s too late. Are you financially prepared for a leaky roof? How about a broken-down car? If you lost your job, how long would you be able to support yourself and your family until you got a new one?

An emergency fund is money that you’ve set aside to be used in these critical situations, be it to handle a minor home repair or to pay for something more serious, like medical bills. Despite the importance of having an emergency fund, however, only 39 percent of Americans have enough savings to cover a $1,000 emergency, according to a recent Bankrate report. Below are several steps to take to help you establish your own emergency fund.

Understanding the Basics of Medicare

When you decide how to get your Medicare coverage, you may choose a Medicare Advantage Plan (Part C) and/or Medicare prescription drug coverage (Part D). There are specific times when you can sign up for these plans, or make changes to coverage you already have. You don’t need to sign up for Medicare each year. However, you have an opportunity annually to review your coverage and make any desired changes. The Medicare Open Enrollment period begins on October 15, 2019 and continues until December 7, 2019.

Learning to navigate the system can seem overwhelming at first. The following Basics of Medicare infographic may be helpful to you if you’re new to Medicare.

Market Volatility and Your Retirement Investing Strategy

Fluctuations in your 401(k) or workplace retirement savings account can stir up negative emotions, making you want to hit the panic button. But in turbulent times, it’s more important than ever to remain calm and stay on course toward your long-term retirement savings goals.

Backdoor Roth IRA Contributions: A Way to Catch Up on Retirement Savings

Retirement planning is complicated. Many individuals put off saving, thinking that retirement is years away—until it isn’t. Then, in their 40s and 50s, they start to panic and wonder how they’ll catch up. One strategy, made possible beginning in 2010 by a provision to the Tax Increase Prevention and Reconciliation Act of 2005, presents a way for some individuals to potentially put away more money for retirement, in a tax-advantaged way.

Is a 529 Plan the Best Way to Save for College?

To parents with aspirations of sending their children to college or university, the costs associated with doing so can be daunting. For decades, the price of higher education has risen at a rate close to three times that of the Consumer Price Index. And although the rate of increase recently has subsided to some degree, this expense continues to be among the most significant faced by parents. 

Planning Your Charitable Giving

Planning Your Charitable Giving for 2019

 

A new year has begun. It’s time to evaluate what worked well for you financially in 2018 and whether you need to make any changes for 2019. As you do that, you’ll want to put together a plan for this year’s charitable giving.

 

The Importance of a Plan

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”

- Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Every time I hear this quote, I think about how true it is. Don’t get me wrong, wishes are good things. I still make a wish when blowing out the candles on my birthday cake—I hope it comes true, but I don’t necessarily expect that it will.

I don’t think that any of us would decide to take a road trip, blindly hop in the car, and start driving, hoping that we make it to our intended destination. Rather, we would likely sit down, research where we want to go, what we want to do, and develop a plan to get there. Not only would we plan out what we’d do while on vacation, but we’d also think about the financial part of it:

The SEP IRA: Is This the Best Retirement Plan for Your Business?

As a self-employed individual or small business owner, you have the ability to establish a simple and cost-effective retirement plan for you and your employees. There are a few options available, but one you may want to consider is the simplified employee pension (SEP) IRA. This plan type is an attractive choice for self-employed individuals or small business owners who want to maximize their own retirement contributions.

4 Steps to Successfully Achieve Your Goals

For many of us, the start of a new year is synonymous with setting new goals, and while this is an important first step, achieving the goal requires more than simply writing it down on paper.  Whether your goals are related to your personal finances, getting healthier, or pursuing your passion, there are simple things you can do to increase your chances of successfully achieving them.

Avoiding Common Errors Surrounding RMDs

When it comes to retirement accounts, many investors fail to think about required minimum distributions (RMDs). This oversight can lead to unnecessary tax burdens and other financial issues. In order to handle RMDs effectively, an understanding of the rules and common misconceptions can be beneficial.