Year: 2016

Why Contingent Beneficiaries Matter

Reader Question:  I have named two family members as beneficiaries in equal shares on my portfolio. I was advised to also name contingent beneficiaries. Will you explain what a contingent beneficiary is and what might happen if none are named? Also, I have named a different family member as POD on my savings accounts. Should […]

Last Minute Tax Moves for 2015

While the door has closed on many tax moves for 2015, several opportunities are still available for the savvy planner. Individuals Traditional IRA– You can contribute up to $5,500 to a Traditional IRA (and so can a non-working spouse!).  If you were age 50 or older last year, you can add an additional ‘catch-up’ contribution […]

Is a Roth a Good 401k Option?

Companies with 401k plans are increasingly offering employees a Roth investment option in addition to the regular (tax deductible) 401k.  With the Roth option, you don’t receive an income tax deduction and your money grows tax deferred just like your regular 401k investment.  However, at retirement, withdrawals from a Roth are tax free, whereas regular […]

Secrets of the Alabama 529 College Funding Plan

It’s been a while since I’ve written a column espousing the advantages of using a college 529 plan to help fund a college education.  Recently I had a reader contest where I asked readers to submit their best money saving ideas to jump-start 2016.  One reader, Linda W., focused on this topic and it was […]

Tips for Jump-Starting Your Finances for 2016- Part II

In my column two weeks ago, my colleagues provided 10 tips for jump-starting your finances for this year.  In this week’s column, readers have offered their own favorite ideas: For one month, I put all of my change in a jar.  For the month of December, I collected $46.16.  Linda M.  My comment: Congratulations, Linda!  […]

Your Goals for 2016?

Take a moment to reflect on this past year.  What are some accomplishments that make you feel particularly happy?  Are there areas that you feel you could have done much better if you’d given them more focus?  Michelangelo famously said, “The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high […]