The Market Hits All-Time High. So What?

Dianne F. Lob (pictured) and Ding Liu With the US stock market repeatedly reaching all-time highs in recent weeks, many investors are becoming leery of investing in stocks. Focusing on the market’s level is a mistake, in our view. It’s market valuation, not level, that matters. 

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Doing Well by Doing Good

Tara Thompson Popernik (pictured) and Paul Robertson Charitable giving remains one of the few ways that US taxpayers can avoid taxes outright. If you’re philanthropically inclined, giving can be a win-win that benefits you and society at the same time.  

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Taming the New Medicare Surtax

The wealthy will likely see higher 2013 income taxes. One of the newest additions to the tax bill is the 3.8% Medicare surtax. By planning ahead, you may be able to reduce the tax bite—or possibly avoid being bitten altogether.

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Reality – Expectations = Happiness

Many US investors may be disappointed when they open their account statements.  Despite the widespread news that the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 21% in the  first 10 months of 2013, most US investors’ taxable portfolio returns were far lower—typically somewhere between 5% and16% range.

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Risk Management: An Ounce of Prevention

Seth J. Masters (pictured), Daniel J. Loewy and Martin Atkin They say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. But if the sickness is excessive portfolio volatility, “prevention” can entail more than one step.

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Retirement Planning: When You Have to Compromise

Kathleen M. Fisher (pictured) and Tara Thompson Popernik Sometimes things fall into place nicely, and you can chart your course to a comfortable retirement relatively easily. You choose a suitable asset allocation, using tax-deferred accounts to their best advantage and optimizing your Social Security payouts. But what if things don’t work out so well?

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Putting Tax-Deferred Accounts to Best Use

Kathleen M. Fisher (pictured) and Tara Thompson Popernik The common wisdom about retirement planning is to fund tax-deferred vehicles such as 401(k) plans and IRAs to the max—and we agree. But how to put these accounts to best use is more complicated.    

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Extreme Makeover for US Retirement Plan Menus?

We’ve heard rumblings in Washington: to fix America’s retirement problem, some argue we need to replace the whole defined contribution (DC) system; others say it just needs some targeted changes. We agree with the latter. A good place to start is a sensible rethinking of DC plan menus.

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My, What Big Teeth You Have! Minimizing This Year’s Tax Bite

Tara Thompson Popernik (pictured) and Paul Robertson Come April, some Americans will be shocked by their income tax bills, as new rates introduced by the American Taxpayer Relief Act (ATRA) of 2012 begin to bite. We estimate that the federal tax bill could rise 14% in 2013 versus 2012 for a hypothetical couple with the [...]

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What Uncle Sam Taketh Away, You Can Give Back (and Get a Tax Deduction)

By Kathleen Fisher (pictured) and Tara Thompson Popernik The government shutdown, now in its second week, has temporarily stopped the flow of government funding for many worthy organizations and may strain the resources of others. Federal grant administration is being delayed. For example, the grant administration staff at the National Institutes of Health has been [...]

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