Answers to Seven Common Social Security Questions

Couple with questions about Social SecurityHere are answers to seven common questions that the Social Security Administration receives about the retirement benefit program. 1. The age of full Social Security benefits. Individuals are eligible for full Social Security benefits depending upon the year they were born. Full retirement age is currently between 66 and 67. You can receive Social Security benefits as...
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Has Someone Stolen Your Child’s Identity?

Child identity theftWe’ve all heard horror stories about consumers who have had their credit information stolen and the incredible hassle of undoing the mess. But what you probably don’t know is that children can be the victims of identity theft too.  In fact, identity theft that targets youngsters has been on the rise. According to the credit bureau Experian, more than one million children, as young as 12, were the victims...
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How to Apply for Financial Aid

mini graduation cap on rolled up cashFinancial aid season is about to begin. Starting October 1, parents whose children will be in college for the 2019-2020 academic year will be able to fill out financial aid applications. That means parents can complete these forms nearly one year before their children enroll. Here are six facts you should know about applying for financial aid. No. 1:  The biggest...
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Back-Door Roth Conversions May Be Your Best Option

For most Americans, the Roth Individual Retirement Account is an excellent way to save for retirement. Once the money is deposited into a Roth IRA, it can potentially grow tax-free for many decades. And when retirees eventually tap into these accounts, they won’t owe tax on the withdrawals. Investors enjoy these significant tax perks because the initial contributions into a Roth are done with after-tax money. While the Roth is an extremely attractive vehicle to save long term for retirement, not everyone is allowed to set aside retirement money this way.  There is an income cap that prevents...
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Why Saving for College Rarely Hurts Financial Aid Chances

Education FundMany parents worry that their children won’t qualify for financial aid, but that usually is not a problem. Here is why you probably won’t need to fret about this: Colleges don’t care about retirement savings. The vast majority of private and public colleges and universities don’t even ask about a household’s retirement accounts. This would include all qualified retirement accounts such as Individual Retirement...
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Roth IRAs and the Five-Year Rule

Roth IRA and the Five-Year RuleOne of the most attractive aspects of the Roth Individual Retirement Account is that you can take withdrawals tax-free.   The more the Roth IRA grows over time, the better your eventual tax break. There are rules, however, that dictate who is eligible to withdraw from a Roth without triggering taxes. One key requirement for tax-free withdrawals is the five-year rule. Investors must have funded...
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Financial Planning for New Parents

Setting up a 529 Plan It may seem daunting to consider college planning already with a newborn, but higher education is expensive. A $25,000 per year university today could cost a total of $260,000 in 18 years (assuming annual inflation of 5.5%)!  The easiest way to start saving is by opening a 529 college savings plan where earnings on contributions grow tax-free over time. We suggest the Utah 529...
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Teaching Your Teenagers About Money

Teaching about money to teenagerOpen a Roth IRA and match their contributions If your child has a part-time job, one of the easiest ways for them to start saving is by opening a Roth IRA. Any earned income (e.g., wages, salary, tips) is eligible for contribution to a Roth IRA. The maximum contribution is currently $5,500 per year.  One way to incentivize saving is to propose matching any contribution they make to...
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A Financial Scorecard: Millennials vs. Baby Boomers

Girl thinking about financial decisions.For many years, it’s been conventional wisdom that children will enjoy a better standard of living than their parents. This axiom, however, is no longer a given. On many different fronts, Millennials are faring worse financially than their parents. A report conducted by Young Invincibles and funded by the Ford Foundation illustrates a variety of ways in which Millennials have...
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5 Ways to Protect Your ATM Use

Protect yourself at the ATMYou might think it’s perfectly safe to pull money out of ATM machines, but thieves have other ideas. Last year, the number of debit cards compromised at ATMs and merchant card readers increased by 10%.1 Even more alarming, the jump follows two years of major increases in this type of fraud, according to FICO, which released the report.  In 2016, for instance, fraud targeting these...
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