Mailbag: Are the equity markets getting kind of toppy?
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It is always a good time to have a balanced portfolio.

How quickly should 401(k) deposits be remitted?
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As the payroll processor at our company, how quickly do I need to deposit 401(k) contributions into employee accounts? -Sincerely, Payroll Pam

Naming A Foreign 401(k) Beneficiary? ($ ?s)
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You should have no problem naming your nephew as your beneficiary, but accessing the money from India after your death is more complicated.

How much life insurance does a parent need? ($ ?s)
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Some suggest using ten times your take home salary as a rough rule of thumb when determining life insurance. Like all such rules, this rough guide is found lacking in many situations.

Mailbag: What are some stocks that are undervalued as of the beginning of 2013?
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Here are some large cap stocks with very low 12 month trailing P/E ratios.

Three Steps to Find a Missing 401(k) ($ ?s)
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Literally tens of thousands of employees who were once participants in an employer-sponsored retirement plan (i.e., 401(k) plan, profit-sharing plan) neglect to take their retirement money with them.

Should I invest IRA Funds in Real Estate? ($ ?s)
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Q: I am looking for a way to get into the distressed real estate market. What recommendations do you have about investing IRA or 401(k) funds in rental houses?

Is Your 401(k) Holding Too Much Company Stock?
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Following the holiday season, many will feel the effects of overindulging on festive sweets. It turns out that your 401(k) also suffers when indulging on too much of a good thing.

What Is the Deadline for a 529 College Plan Distribution? ($ ?s)
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Learn about 529 college savings plan distribution rules before you need to start taking money out of your accounts. This post answers the timing question for those who are using the 529 to reimburse expenses already paid.

Mailbox: How to Get Silver Coins
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“Most people don’t know this, but right now there’s a loophole in the American banking system that enables you to exchange ordinary paper dollars for real silver coins.”

Roth IRAs: If the front door is closed, try the back door ($ ?s)
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There is a backdoor way to contribute to a Roth IRA for those who are not income eligible. This method requires the following steps:

How to avoid the vehicle sales tax in Virginia
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“I would like to give my daughter my newer car, but the tax considerations are not simple.”

Contributing to Multiple Retirement Plans ($ ?s)
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This article reviews the coordination rules which govern the maximum contributions to 457, 401(k) and Thrift Savings Plan. Information on 403(b) plan maximums is also included.

Mailbox: Disturbed by Romney’s tax computation in California
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Personally I think it is a mistake to value supporting the government (taxes) higher than supporting society (charitable giving).

Social Security: Reviewing Spousal Benefits with Martha Jefferson
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Q: My husband Thomas is four years older than me and plans to delay filing for his larger Social Security benefit until age 70 when he will receive $2,600 a month. My personal benefit starts at $600 beginning at age … Read More

$ ?s: How Do I Determine Which Debts I Should Pay Off First?
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Two proven methods to pay off your debts – with gusto. Say goodbye to the stress, ANXIETY and late fees.

$ ?s: Maintaining Health Insurance After Losing Your Job
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Review your health insurance options after losing your job – COBRA and High Deductible Health Plans.

$ ?s: Buy a House without a Credit History?
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Although it is possible, buying a house without a credit history will require you to jump through some uncommon hoops to find a competitive rate.

How Do I Find a Fee-Only Commission-Free (Hourly Rate) Financial Advisor?
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Many people prefer having a local fee-only commission-free financial planner they can easily visit on a regular basis. Others prefer to handle everything through phone and email.

$ ?s: Can Social Security Checks Be Mailed To Foreign Soil?
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It is estimated that as many as 40,000 American citizens reside in Costa Rica, and many are retirees who are stretching the purchasing power of their Social Security paychecks.

$ ?s: 72(t) and Other Early Retirement Distribution Options
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There is a separate set of rules for those under age 55 or who are looking to distribute from an IRA. These rules focus on an exception called Substantially Equal Periodic Payments (SEPPs).

College 529 Savings Plan Distribution Rules ($ ?s)
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Q: We have saved money for our grandchildren’s college expenses with 529 plans, and now the first is set to begin. What advice do you have as we begin to make distributions from these accounts?

$ ?s: Six AMT Reduction Strategies
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There are two opposing approaches to limit your AMT tax. The obvious strategy is to lower your income so you avoid this AMT bull’s-eye. The less obvious approach is to raise your income.

$ ?s: Three Reasons to Be Thankful You Avoided the Facebook IPO
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Huge financial incentives motivate a newly minted public stock to attempt to keep their best foot forward just long enough for the early investors to maximize their profits.

Mailbag: I’d Like to Withdraw Money from My IRA to Purchase Physical Silver.
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Precious metals will, on average, just keep up with inflation, but your after tax return would mean you fell behind inflation by the 28% tax you must pay.

$ ?s: Roth or Pre-Tax 401(k)?
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Here is the only question you should attempt to answer: Are you paying a higher tax rate now or later?

$ ?s: Dividend Portfolios Carry Hidden Risks (Part 2)
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Q: Do you recommend dividend-paying stocks? If not, what investment strategy do you recommend for retirees like me who are seeking income from our portfolios?

Mailbag: Should I Pay Off My Mortgage Early?
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Some say don’t make extra payments, take the tax deduction. Others say you need to be debt free.

$ ?s: Dividend Portfolios Carry Hidden Risks (Part 1)
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Dividend investors are too easily lulled into the temporary comforts of portfolio income.

Mailbag: How Should I Invest a Roth IRA that My Children Will Inherit?
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Should it be invested aggressively, like 100% equities, or use the same split as my taxable investments, such as 50-50 stocks vs bonds?

How Do I Allocate Investments with Capital Gains Among Taxable and Traditional IRA Accounts?
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There is a distinction between existing high capital gains exposure in a mutual fund verses future capital gains you expose yourself to.

$ ?s: Don’t Let Your First Paycheck Go to Waste
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Q: I recently landed a job that will allow me to begin saving. My company offers a 401(k) and a 3% match, but I also have college debts of $15,000 and a credit card balance of $650. How do you recommend I proceed?

Roth 401(k) vs. Roth IRA (A guide for the perplexed)
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A Roth provides more flexibility than its Roth 401(k) counterpart because you can access the principal at any time without penalty.

$ ?s: Secondary Annuities Are Second Class
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Once you buy this product, you’re stuck. All structured settlement transfers must take place through a court order…

$ ?s: Help Me Conquer the Clutter
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Q: My husband hasn’t gotten rid of a single bill or financial statement during our entire 18-year marriage! He received a shredder from Santa this past Christmas, and I am ready to get started, but I want to know what, if any, of this paperwork I should keep.

$ ?s: Investment Advice for Those Who Don’t Need the Money
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Q: I am a 65-year-old retired widow and I have a large IRA. How should I invest if I don’t need this money?

How Should We Manage a Non-Profit Endowment?
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“There exists a timeless and flexible process for successful investment management decision making that is specifically tailored for Investment Stewards.”

“True or False: All Financial Advisors are Crooks” Asks Kiplinger-NAPFA Chat
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Kiplinger is teaming up with the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) to bring you FREE, personalized financial advice.

Kiplinger-NAPFA Jump-Start Your Retirement Plan
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Kiplinger teamed up with the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) to bring you FREE, personalized financial advice as part of Kiplinger’s 11th annual Jump-Start Your Retirement Plan Days.

$ ?s: Timing Social Security for a Spouse
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Q: I was told that I would not be able to apply for spousal social security until my husband qualifies for social security. Should I keep working so I can collect my small social security payment or should I just wait for spousal payments at age 73?

$ ?s: Accessing 401(k) funds when disaster strikes
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Q:What advice can you offer for how to go about accessing retirement funds after a hardship?

$ ?s: The Quagmire of Socially Responsible Investing
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Q: I would like to see a portion of my investments make a difference in the world. Can you suggest an approach to socially responsible investing?

Green Gift$ for the Holiday Season ($ ?s)
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Q: I received a letter from a nonprofit organization to which I regularly donate suggesting I may be eligible for state tax credits. Can you please explain what this means?

$ ?s: The Gift that Keeps on Giving
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Q: We plan to use appreciated stock for charitable giving and are looking into using a Schwab Charitable Fund. Do you have any feedback on this strategy?

$ ?s: Gifting to the grandchildren
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Q: I inherited shares of five stocks from my parents, who died many years ago. I am now 70 years old and would like to gift them to my grandchildren. How do you recommend I do this?

Market Timing Test ($ ?s)
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Q: I have put my investments in bonds until this global economic crisis settles down and the economic woes of the European Union subside. Do you have any suggestions for indicators that I should look for to get back in?

Mailbag: My home is 32 times what I paid for it. Isn’t that an investment?
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Although the house does not pay me any money on an ongoing basis, I think it will represent a very good return on my money invested should I decide to sell.

The Lowdown on HSAs ($ ?s)
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Q: It’s annual enrollment time, and my employer is now offering a health insurance plan with a $3,500 deductible and otherwise similar benefits as an alternative to our conventional HMO health plan. What do you recommend I do?

$ ?s: Am I on Track to Retire at 65?
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I’m turning 45 this year and the reality is hitting me that I am now about halfway through my working career. Am I on track to retire at age 65?

Money ?s: Shorting Uncle Sam’s Debt
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Q: Is it now time to short Treasuries? What do you think about using inverse ETFs to play the inevitable bear market for U.S. bonds?

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