Retirement 
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Roth IRA Account Explained

This Foundation post is dedicated to what I consider the best retirement weapon available – the Roth IRA account. The Roth IRA was championed by Senator William Roth of Delaware and created with the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997, signed by President Clinton. The primary tax benefit of the Roth IRA, at least the one most lauded, is that your account’s appreciation and earnings are tax free. The tradeoff is in the contributions, which are not tax-deductible.

This is the biggest distinction between it and the Traditional IRA. On a traditional IRA, your contributions are tax-deductible but your earnings and appreciation are taxed as ordinary income when you start making regular disbursements in retirement.

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 Personal Finance 
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How To Make Smart Tax-Advantaged Investment Decisions

You can avoid costly mistakes if you understand the difference between tax-advantaged investments and tax-advantaged accounts.

What are tax-advantaged investments? Investments that people make specifically because of the tax advantages they provide are referred to as tax-advantaged investments. In fact, if not for the tax advantages, most people would not buy those particular investments. Tax-free bonds, fixed and variable annuities are examples.

Mutual funds offer tax benefits but they are not generally considered tax-advantaged because people don’t buy them specifically for the tax benefits. Real estate also has tax advantages but is also not generally included in this category. What’s important to keep in mind is that these investments have tax advantages regardless of what account you hold them in.

What are tax-advantaged accounts? Retirement accounts are tax-advantaged. Examples are IRA’s, 401(k)s, SEP IRA’s, ROTH IRAs etc. What’s critical to understand is that you can buy any investment you like within these accounts and the returns are tax-advantaged. The tax benefits don’t depend on the investments you make within these accounts.

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 Taxes 
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BVC #9 – Last Minute Tax Tip (Roth IRA) [VIDEO]

It’s April 15th, it’s getting late, and chances are you’re done with your taxes or getting ready to send it in. Here’s the best last minute tax tip you could possible get and you have until midnight tonight to get it done.



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 Retirement 
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Lending Club Offers Self-Directed IRAs

Lending Club, through EntrustCAMA, recently announced that they were going to offer self-directed IRAs. When you open an IRA with a brokerage firm, you can invest in stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. When you open a self-directed IRA, you can invest in pretty much anything as long as you follow a few rules. I won’t go into those rules, you can read about self-directed IRAs at the Motley Fool, but this is a savvy move by Lending Club but I think it’s a mistake for average investors to participate.

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 Taxes 
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Saver’s Credit: Retirement Savings Contribution Tax Credit

Hand Painted Piggy BankReader TTFK sent me an email this morning about the “Credit for Qualified Retirement Savings Contributions,” also known as the Saver’s Credit, claimed on Form 8880, a tax credit I haven’t covered recently. The Retirement Savings Contribution tax credit is a tax credit, up to $1,000 ($2,000 for joint filers), for contributions you make into qualified retirement accounts. It’s a great incentive for you to save towards your retirement if you’re able to and those who earn less than $26,500 ($53,000 married filing jointly) qualify for some of the tax credit. Unfortunately, if you earn more than that, you don’t qualify.

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 Retirement 
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Which is the Best Broker for an IRA?

Retirement Nest EggsOne of the most frequent questions I get is “Where should I open an IRA?”

Short answer: Anywhere, just open one! If you want mutual funds, open an account with the company that offers the funds you want, like Vanguard, Fidelity, etc; because they will let you buy and sell the funds for free. If you want stocks, open an account with a company that offers the lowest fees.

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 Investing 
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Basics of Retirement Investing

Seated Stock TradersFive years, on the first day of my first “real” job, the HR administrator of my company handed me a folder labeled XYZ Company Pension & Retirement Plan. Inside the folder was a description of the company’s pension and 401(k) package, two “things” that meant almost nothing to me. I knew what a pension was but had no clue was a 401(k) was, but the folder seemed to have enough information in it to help me start my own 401(k) company if I wanted to. I made some good decisions about my 401(k), mostly by luck (I put 40% of my money into emerging markets, which was a good choice but I did it for a bad reason – I had no reason!), but you shouldn’t have to.

Retirement investing is not rocket science, it’s just confusing with all the acronyms and the taxability and everything else. The basics, which we’ll cover in this Foundation series article, once you unravel the confusion, are fairly straightforward.

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 Personal Finance 
5
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50 Financial Skills Every Person Needs To Know

Popular Mechanics created a list of 100 Skills Every man Should Know, which naturally gravitated towards DIY/physical skills like jump starting a car and split firewood. The Frisky listed 30 Skills Every Woman Should Have Before Turning 30, which actually touched on more than physical skills (though #12 is physical :) ), with a handful of financial skills (#17 – #20).

This isn’t a checklist of things you need to necessarily do in your life, it’s just a list of things that you should know how to do (in case the need arises).

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