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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Think You Missed the Boat on Roth Conversion?

Tara Thompson Popernik (pictured) and Paul Robertson Not likely. As long as you don’t expect to spend down all of your IRA assets, our research suggests that converting your traditional IRA to a Roth IRA can save you plenty on taxes. Conversion would have saved you even more before the American Taxpayer Relief Act (ATRA) [...]

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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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Investing in Retirement: Bonds Aren’t Enough

By Kathleen M. Fisher (pictured) and Tara Thompson Popernik What should you invest in after the spigot of earned income is turned off? It’s a vexing question, especially since we expect lower stock and bond returns going forward.

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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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Retirement Planning Today: Clearing the Hurdles

By Kathleen M. Fisher (pictured) and Tara Thompson Popernik “Money isn’t everything,” proclaimed American fashionista André Leon Talley, “but it is when you start thinking about…your retirement days.” While retirement may bring more time for entertainment and family, today even prospective retirees of substantial means (or fabulous taste) may not feel confident that their experiences [...]

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Government Shutdown Is Not a Tax Holiday

With just over a week to go before the October 15 filing deadline for US tax returns that are on extension, the Internal Revenue Service is currently operating under a government shutdown contingency plan.  What does that mean for taxpayers, especially those who have yet to file their 2012 returns?

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You’ve Got to Take Risk. So, Manage It

Seth J. Masters (pictured), Daniel J. Loewy and Martin Atkin Below-average expected returns will make it difficult for most investors to achieve their goals with traditional portfolios unless they increase stock exposure dramatically.There is a better way.

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Last Call to Take Advantage of Ultralow Rates for GRATs?

 Tara Thompson Popernik (in photo) and Stephen S. Schilling US investors interested in establishing a “zeroed-out” Grantor Retained Annuity Trust (GRAT) would benefit from completing their transactions before rising interest rates diminish its potential value—preferably before the end of July.

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