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Is Your Retirement Plan Full Of Swiss Cheese

Last year, I did a piece on retirement planning assumptions.    As I continue to see more and more plans done by other financial advisory firms, I become more concerned about consumers.    Most projections that are done in business or in your personal household need to carry assumptions.   These are the variables in the equation that allow to make a reasonable assessment about what needs to be done when you are trying to achieve your goals.  When you last did your projections for retirement through the tools offered from your 401(k) plan or the nifty 35 page book your financial advisor put together, are you sure the assumptions that were made were explained to you clearly?  You may have left feeling great about yourself only to realize now that your plan is full of gigantic Swiss cheese like holes.   Here are ten assumptions you need to consider within your plan.  I highly recommend as a smart money move you use conservative ...

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The Drug Of Buying ‘Stuff’

The weather is warm and in the United States we are about to start enjoying some of the national pastimes of our country.   We love things like baseball, apple pie, the 4th of July, and grilling out in our backyards.    Oh yeah, and we also LOVE spending money.    In recent years, I’ve noticed that spending is more than just making a purchase here and there.  It’s almost a ‘crack’ like addiction, whether you wait for that Amazon package at the door or to take a photo of your tricked out new ride to post up on Facebook.   Like it or not, many Americans are addicted to the drug of buying ‘stuff’.    Why is this and how can you get your patterns changed on the home front? It seems pretty apparent that ease of access to drugs can make a user want more of them.  In our spending patterns, the ease of credit, access to our cash, and online transactions with ...

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5 Potential IRA Mistakes

Look out IRA investors because the IRS looks like it will be turning its attention to taxpayers who make mistakes with their IRA accounts. (source: www.wsj.com)    This includes matching distributions to your tax returns, stepped up audits, and tighter reporting overall when it comes to scrutinizing IRA accounts.    As I have shared for the last couple of years on Your Smart Money Moves, the Government is in dire need to increase revenue to balance the budget and pay off our voluminous debt.    One way to do this is to crack down on the mistakes that we make as taxpayers.   Nobody likes coming home and getting a letter in the mail from the IRS.  So here are five mistakes you might be making for the IRS to take a closer look at your tax return. Contributions To Roth IRA Accounts –   While some of you did Roth IRA conversions back in 2010 (and some are still converting), a Roth ‘conversion’ and ...

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Take The Lump Sum Or The Pension?

You have spent 20 or 30 years working for the same company and now it is time to retire.    You have put money away in your 401(k) and some other savings, but your really large asset is the pension plan where money has been put away for you all of these years.     Your human resources or benefits department sends you this large packet of information telling you what options you have with your pension.   Unbeknownst to you, they tell you that you can either get one check in a lump sum or they offer you various options if you choose a lifetime pension.  So, what is the best direction to take with your pension plan? Part I- Taking The Pension The first option you have is to take the pension.   One of the things to consider up front is that taking the pension allows you to remove the stress of ever having to manage the money.  Essentially, you are turning ...

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How to Invest in Facebook With Less Risk (If You Still Want To)

By Ross Kenneth Urken (As Published On – www.dailyfinance.com) Even for expert stock pickers, it’s difficult to make a fully educated investment in the social media sphere. As Friday’s Facebook IPO — and its gory aftermath — proves, any theory one might have is ultimately little better than speculation. After all, the first few trading days following any IPO generally bring a lot of short-term plays with share values jumping up and down — and Facebook was no exception. It’s also difficult to predict — as Groupon likewise demonstrated this year — when a social media stock will tank. However, if you’re still looking to get in on the Facebook action, but want to mitigate your risks, the social media ETF from Global X Funds might be the right choice. A New Breed of ETF Much like a traditional mutual fund, an exchange-traded fund is an investment fund that offers a stake in a pool of investments — stocks, bonds, ...

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Are My Withholdings For Taxes Correct?

Since tax season has just passed, you are probably in one of two states of minds.   Either a) you love your CPA because you got a big refund, or b) you hate your CPA because you owed money.   It generally falls into one of those two camps when returns are filed.   Remember, if you get a tax refund that means you essentially gave an interest free loan to the Government.    Some people see this as an effective way to force savings during the year, but you really lose out on the opportunity cost of having these resources in your hands during the course of the year. As of April 27, the Internal Revenue Service had authorized more than 99.1 million refunds for the 2011 tax year—up about 1% a year earlier. It also represents more than three-fourths of all the individual income-tax returns processed by the IRS by that date. The total dollar amount of refunds this year was about ...

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