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Tune Out the Investment News Noise

stock market doom

There’s a reason that investors tend to only hear about “looming” market doom or “imminent” market growth. While many news outlets have incentive to draw viewer attention with wildly bullish or bearish predictions, these sensationalized views may be a distraction to a sound investment approach. When tempted to make a radical change to your investment portfolio based on these headlines, it is important to recall some basic fundamentals to keep your plan on track.

Warning: Mutual Fund Tax Bills Are Rising

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Mutual fund investors' tax bills have been on the rise again recently. The average capital gains distribution (a payment to shareholders of profits realized on the sale of a fund’s securities) for U.S. equity funds based on data as of April 2014 is 19.3% of assets, compared with, for example, 6.9% back in 2007. These recent distributions are among the largest seen since the start of the financial crisis in 2008.

Is Cash-Secured Puts Part of Your Asset Allocation Model? (Part 1)

ask your stock broker

Have you given your stockbroker an order to buy a security at a specified price?

Investors May ‘Prefer’ to Look Elsewhere for Fixed Income Yield

asset allocation puzzle

With yield so scarce today, investors are branching out into different asset classes in their search for income. Many investors have set upon preferred stock, a hybrid security usually issued by highly leveraged companies, such as financial institutions, telecoms, and utilities. Preferred stock has characteristics of both bonds and stocks. Like stocks, preferreds are traded daily on an exchange. Like bonds, they pay fixed income on a regular basis (usually quarterly), but typically they do not offer as much capital appreciation potential as common stock. In the capital structure, preferred stock is senior to common stock but junior to corporate bonds, and preferred shareholders have no voting rights.


Five Reasons to Let a Sleeping 401k Lie

investment 401k

Let Your 401k Nest Egg Nap


The Ins and Outs of the 5-Year Rule for Roth IRAs


 Learn How to Protect Your Nest Egg


Letting money sit tight in an old 401(k) plan is the path of least resistance, which is why many participants let their assets sit in the plans of former employers. This, of course, may be better than cashing the money out and spending it. Investors younger than 55 pay ordinary income taxes and a penalty on any premature distributions, which can diminish a 401(k) balance considerably. But there are also other reasons why staying put in a former employer's plan may be the best course of action.

Investing Your Year-End Bonus

retirement resized 600

What to do with that year-end bonus is a pressing concern because bonuses are increasingly supplanting annual pay raises as a means of rewarding employees. Here are a few ways to make the most of your bonus.

Five Year-End Tax Tips to Help Your Investments


1. Contribute to your tax-advantaged accounts: One of the best ways to cut your tax bill is to reduce your taxable income. It is important to take advantage of any retirement-plan contributions you can make to reduce your taxable income. You can contribute $17,000 to your 401(k) plan in 2012, and those age 50 or older can save an additional $5,500. Consider ratcheting up your contribution before the end of the year if you're on pace to fall below that contribution limit.

Know Your Own Inflation Rate for Your Investments

Social Security

The Consumer Price Index (CPI), a measure of inflation, is a monthly statistic representing the change in prices paid by urban consumers for a representative basket of goods and services. While this measure serves more as an official gauge, a lot of consumers (especially retired consumers and investors) seem to have a different sense of inflation. The question often arises: Why is it that the official rate seems to be lower than what we're actually feeling out there?

The Art of Asset Allocation

asset allocation

Asset location is a part of the investing strategy that involves deciding which investments to hold in which accounts, and taxes play an important role in this decision. Here are a few basic guidelines.

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