Roth vs. Traditional IRA

It would be nice if the Roth IRA had been around long as the traditional IRA. Imagine the long-term benefits of tax-free growth throughout a 40-year career. Annual contribution limits for IRAs are relatively low ($6,000; $7,000 for 50-plus), but the Roth is a good complement for investors who also contribute to an employer-based retirement…

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What’s Driving Oil Prices?

Oil prices are influenced by supply and demand, and 2020 was a great demonstration of this principle. With global and local shutdowns due to the spread of the coronavirus, there was less demand for products and services. While online shopping was up, foot traffic in stores languished and retailers – both local and nationwide –…

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Annuity Insights

The Insured Retirement Institute (IRI) – a trade association for the retirement income industry – advocates annuities as a vehicle that can help provide retirees income, guaranteed by the insurer. The organization has been actively educating and lobbying legislators to expand annuity access as part of employer-sponsored retirement plans.1 Under this scenario, whatever portion the…

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Vaccine and Technology: Where to Get Help

One of the biggest flaws in the COVID vaccine distribution plan is its heavy reliance on the internet. Meanwhile, older seniors — the first and most critical targets for the vaccine — are the least-experienced internet users.   Most state and local plans have created websites that allow people to sign up for a vaccine…

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Retirement Planning Insights

Amid lost jobs and a scaled-back economy in 2020, some workers may have decided to retire earlier than planned. There are a couple of Social Security strategies worth considering in this scenario.   First, if both spouses are over age 62, determine if you can make ends meet by taking only one Social Security benefit…

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Vaccines and the Stock Market

  If there’s one thing that can move the economy and stock market forward, it’s hope. This year, that hope is being presented in the form of COVID-19 vaccines. Economists and Wall Street analysts have long proclaimed that comprehensive economic recovery is not possible until we have contained the virus. The prospect of wide distribution…

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Preparing for a Loved One’s Funeral

America began 2021 experiencing the worst days of the COVID-19 pandemic. As of Feb. 1, case numbers continued to rise, with recorded deaths since January 2020 ranging from 413,1961 to 441,4092, depending on sources used (CDC provisional count waits for a death certificate, which can cause up to a two-week delay). Fox News reports that…

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How To Help Maximize Social Security Benefits

There are good reasons to delay starting Social Security benefits, but there are also good reasons to begin them early. It really does depend on your circumstances.   If you claim earlier than your full retirement age (FRA), your benefit will be permanently reduced. The age to qualify for the full Social Security benefit varies…

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Open Enrollment: Health Care Insurance Takes Priority

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) – passed in 2010 and known colloquially as “Obamacare” – has experienced quite a ride. Initially, it was embraced by millions of Americans for whom it afforded tax-subsidized health insurance without access to employer-sponsored coverage. At the same time, it was derided for increasing government sharing costs…

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Social Security Updates

The Social Security Administration (SSA) recently announced a new cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) starting in 2021. Beneficiaries can expect a 1.3% increase in their income payouts next year, which is actually smaller than the COLA increase was for this year.1 For single households, that’s an average increase of about $20 a month; $33 for married retirees.2…

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