Financial Articles

Browse as You Please

More than 80% of investors would appreciate having basic, unbiased investor education and information.1
1 FINRA Investor Education Survey, 2007

Simply click on one of the general financial topics below and you'll find a selection of easy-to-understand information sheets about related financial concepts and strategies. This information is updated regularly to reflect the latest facts, figures, legislation, and economic trends.

Investing

Dividends
Exchange-Traded Funds
Growth Stocks vs. Value Stocks
Mutual Fund Taxes
Stock
Zero-Coupon Bonds
Annuity Taxes
Bond Ladders
Common Stock vs. Preferred Stock
Diversification
Types of Bonds
Bonds
Bond Ratings
Stock Indexes
Mutual Funds vs. Stocks
Mutual Funds
Closed-End Funds
Mutual Fund Loads
Annuities
Fixed vs. Variable Annuities
Investment Risks
Asset Classes
Asset Allocation
College Savings Plans
College Investment Options
Managed Investments
Dollar-Cost Averaging
529 Plans

Estates & Trusts

Estate Planning
Living Trusts
Avoiding Probate
Charitable Gifts
Controlling the Distribution
Paying Estate Taxes
Benefits of A-B Trusts
Gifting Strategies
Charitable Lead Trusts
Charitable Remainder Trusts
Wealth Replacement Trusts
Family Limited Partnerships
Property Ownership
Eliminating the Estate Tax

Risk Management

Why Purchase Life Insurance
Annuities as an Insurance Product
Property and Casualty Insurance
Business Owner Policies
Life Insurance for Business Owners
Split-Dollar Life Insurance
Last-Survivor Life Insurance
Disability Insurance for Business Owners
Types of Life Insurance
Term Life Insurance
Whole Life Insurance
Universal Life Insurance
Variable Life Insurance
Auto Insurance
Insurance Claims
Maximizing Insurance Benefits
Insuring Your Future
Protecting Your Home
Assessing Disability Insurance
Types of Health Care
Additional Liability Coverage
HMOs and PPOs
Evaluating Insurance Companies
Long-Term-Care Costs
Medicare Coverage


Retirement

How Much Do I Need to Save
A New Chapter for Retirement
SIMPLE IRAs
Stretch IRAs
IRA Rollover
Roth 401(k)
Profit-Sharing Plans
Money Purchase Pension Plans
403(b) Plans
Why Purchase Annuities
Split-Annuity Strategy
Annuity Living Benefits
1035 Exchanges
Unforgettable Birthdays
Your Business and Retirement
Planning Options
Future of Social Security
Social Security Income
Keogh Plans
SEP IRAs
Equity-Indexed Annuities
Retirement Plan Distributions
Traditional IRAs
401(k) Plans
Managing Retirement Plans
Save Now or Later
Roth IRAs

Tax Planning

Capital Gains Tax
Estate Tax
Gift Tax
Retirement Plan Limits
Estate Tax Repeal
Required Minimum Distributions
Charitable Trust Tax Benefits
Retirement Plan Taxes
Withdrawing Before Age 59.5
Tax Deferral
Tax-Advantaged Investments
Tax Deductions
Tax-Advantaged Alternatives
Tax Strategies for Retirement Plans
Tax-Free Investments
Mutual Fund Profits
Tax-Free Insurance Upgrades

Cash Management

Cash Management Basics
Doubling Your Money
Cash Management Tools
Money Market Funds
Managing Cash
Biweekly Mortgages
Reverse Mortgages
Smart Financing Ideas
College Financial Aid
Savings Alternatives
Effects of Inflation
Home Equity Loans

Monthly Newsletter Articles

Our financial newsletters, released new each month, are designed to provide helpful information on a wide variety of financial topics. Simply click on one of the newsletter topics below to read the article in its entirety.

May


How Health-Care Expenses Could Affect Your Retirement Lifestyle
Given the discussion over the future of U.S. health care, is it time to recalculate how much money you will need to pay for medical care in retirement?

Protection for a Price
Variable annuities give contract holders the ability to purchase guarantees to help protect against downside risks.

The Return of the Initial Public Offering
After a drought of initial public offerings over the past few years, the IPO market finally began to perk up in the second quarter of 2009.

A Potential Income Source for the Risk-Averse
Although no financial instrument is entirely without risk, the guarantees offered by a fixed annuity can help address the concerns of even the most risk-averse investors.

Test Your College Funding Knowledge
If you want to help your children or grandchildren accumulate enough money to afford college, a good first step is to become familiar with 529 plans and the Coverdell Education Savings Account.

The Problem with Investment Gains
Believe it or not, a significant investment gain, especially one from an unexpected source, can pose a risk to your progress toward long-term goals if it's not handled properly.


April


HOT TOPIC: New Rules Likely Making Credit Cards More Expensive
New rules designed to limit credit-card issuers from quietly raising interest rates and fees will undoubtedly help consumers become more aware of the terms and conditions on their credit cards. But the real news is that the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009 (CARD) may actually be making credit cards more expensive to use.

Getting Something for Giving
Charitable trusts may help your charity of choice while also providing you with potential tax benefits.

An Average Way to Invest
Dollar-cost averaging might help investors make the most of a highly volatile period.

Interest Rates: Be Ready for Anything
There is a strategy to help bondholders limit the risk of continued low rates and put them in a position to benefit if the rates go higher.

Shelter Your Retirement Lifestyle
An umbrella liability insurance policy takes effect in the event that the limits of your primary insurance policies are exhausted.

A Graceful Departure
An exit strategy is important for any business owner who plans to leave the company he or she has nurtured and built.

March


HOT TOPIC: Sum of All Fears: Are Risk Aversion and Greed All in the Mind?
Do you change your investment strategy as the markets go up and down, or do you stay the course? As difficult as it may be, staying the course is usually the more advisable approach — but research shows that you may need to defy your brain to do it.

Pursuing Both Growth and Value
Maintaining a balance of growth and value investments may help investors add a new dimension of diversification to their portfolios.

Don't Let a Disability Cripple Your Family's Finances
One way to help protect against the financial ruin that a disability can bring is through disability income insurance.

Working for Social Security
There's nothing wrong with wanting to work in retirement, but if you decide to earn some extra income, make sure you understand how it will affect your Social Security benefits.

A Simple Way to Help Your Family
A letter of instructions, while not a legal document, can help your family cope during a difficult period by providing information that has no place in a will.

Most Recoveries Are Announced Months After They Begin
Because it can take so long for the National Bureau of Economic Research to determine when a recession began or ended, people who delay financial decisions until they are certain a recession is over are at a disadvantage because they may be operating on old information.


February


HOT TOPIC: Does the Estate Tax Have a Future?
For the first time since 1915, the federal government has no law in place to tax large estates when they are transferred to heirs. But will Congress allow the estate tax repeal to stand?

Are You Making These Cash Mistakes?
With interest rates at historic lows, what should you do with the money you save?

Patching the Alternative Minimum Tax
The future of the AMT is uncertain, yet it is important to consider the possible effects of the AMT on your tax situation.

Tips for Healthy Life Insurance
If you are about to retire or have recently entered retirement, it's a good time to consider whether your current life insurance policy meets your needs.

What Does a Fed Chairman Do?
The Federal Reserve plays an important role in our economy, and the chairman is its most visible player. His behavior is a good source of clues about what the future may hold.

Don't Forget the World
If your portfolio doesn't include some global equities, it may be missing a key dimension.