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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Are Stocks Topping Out?

With global equity market returns of well over 100% since the bottom hit in March 2009 (Display) and the S&P 500 only modestly below the record it set a few weeks ago, some investors are asking if stocks are heading for a fall. We think any number of things could cause a short-term rollback—among them, [...]

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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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