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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Putting Inflation Expectations in Perspective

Historically, inflation has been highly correlated with unemployment levels. When more people were out of a job, inflation was lower. As more people got jobs, inflation increased. From an economic point of view, this makes sense. Jobs increase income, which increases spending, which increases demand — supplies drop and prices rise. The opposite is true…

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Retirement Withdrawal Strategies

As hard as retirement saving and investing may seem, that’s the easy part. The real challenge is figuring out how to make your accumulated savings last throughout your and your spouse’s retirements. You need a strategy, and it’s best to have that strategy developed before retirement begins.   Because life expectancy is longer these days,…

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Tax Strategies

  In an effort to pay for new legislation, the Biden administration has proposed higher taxes for the nation’s highest earners. The president advocates returning the top tax rate to 39.6% for individuals earning $452,700 or more, and married couples with more than $509,300 in combined taxable income.1   This top tax rate was just…

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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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Wealth and Income

Spectrem Group’s recent Market Insights Report found that millionaire investors in the U.S. achieved a new record last year. The number of households with a net worth ranging between $1 million and $5 million (excluding primary residence) increased by 600,000, reaching 11.6 million in 2020.   Furthermore:1 The number of households with a net worth…

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Qualified Business Income Deduction

One of the provisions included in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 was the Qualified Business Income (QBI) deduction. It is designed as a tax break for small businesses or self-employed individuals and is comparable to the enhanced tax breaks legislated for larger companies. However, while the corporate tax changes are made permanent,…

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Tax Pitfalls

Millions of Americans took advantage of the delayed tax-filing deadline in 2020. In fact, according to one survey, 11% of taxpayers filed their 2019 returns after the July 15 extension, and 3% still hadn’t filed as of last December. The primary reason most taxpayers file late isn’t due to procrastination, but rather because they owe…

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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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The Power of American Workers

First unveiled while President Joe Biden was still on the campaign trail, his “Build Back Better” infrastructure plan aims to help tackle unemployment and climate change. The plan calls for $2 trillion in spending over four years with investments in infrastructure, manufacturing, innovation, research and development, and clean energy, as well as training for displaced…

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