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Growth vs. Value: What’s the Difference?

Growth vs. Value: What’s the Difference?

With the wide variety of stocks in the market, figuring out which ones you want to invest in can be a challenging task. Many investors feel it's useful to have a system for finding stocks that might be worth buying, deciding what price to pay, and identifying when a stock should be sold. Bull markets — periods in which prices as a group tend to rise — and bear markets — periods of declining prices — can lead investors to make irrational choices. Having objective criteria for buying and selling can help you avoid emotional decision-making. Even if you don't…
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The Power of Dividends in a Portfolio

The Power of Dividends in a Portfolio

It wasn't so long ago that many investors regarded dividends as roughly the financial equivalent of a record turntable at a gathering of MP3 users — a throwback to an earlier era, irrelevant to the real action. But fast-forward a few years, and things look a little different. Since 2003, when the top federal income tax rate on qualified dividends was reduced from a maximum of 38.6%, dividends have acquired renewed respect. Favorable tax treatment isn't the only reason, either; the ability of dividends to provide income and potentially help mitigate market volatility is also attractive to investors. As baby…
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How Grandparents Can Help Grandchildren with College Costs

How Grandparents Can Help Grandchildren with College Costs

As the cost of a college education continues to climb, many grandparents are stepping in to help. This trend is expected to accelerate as baby boomers, many of whom went to college, become grandparents and start gifting what's predicted to be trillions of dollars over the coming decades. Helping to pay for a grandchild's college education can bring great personal satisfaction and is a smart way for grandparents to pass on wealth without having to pay gift and estate taxes. So what are some ways to accomplish this goal? Outright cash gifts A common way for grandparents to help grandchildren…
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Separately Managed Accounts: Tailored to Suit You

Separately Managed Accounts: Tailored to Suit You

Mutual funds have been one alternative for many investors seeking professional money management. But when you buy shares of a mutual fund, your assets are pooled with those of other fund shareholders. You gain professional money management, but the fund's manager certainly can't tailor its portfolio to meet your individual requirements. For investors who want or need a more customized approach — for example, in order to better manage their tax liability or control individual stock holdings — separately managed accounts (SMAs) have become popular. Historically used by institutional investors and high-net-worth individuals, SMAs are now available to a wider…
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529 College Savings Plans

529 College Savings Plans

529 savings plans are tax-advantaged education savings vehicles and one of the most popular ways to save for college today. They can also be used to save for K-12 tuition. Much like the way 401(k) plans changed the world of retirement savings a few decades ago, 529 savings plans have changed the world of education savings. Tax advantages and more 529 savings plans offer a unique combination of features that no other education savings vehicle can match: Federal tax advantages: Contributions to a 529 account accumulate tax deferred and earnings are tax free if the money is used to pay…
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