Hybrid Funds: Balanced, Lifestyle, or Target?

 
Hybrid Funds: Balanced, Lifestyle, or Target? Holding a mix of stocks and bonds is fundamental to building a portfolio that can pursue growth while potentially remaining more stable than a stock-only portfolio during market downturns. Many investors approach this goal by owning a mix of individual securities, a mix of funds, or both. However, some hybrid funds try to follow the same strategy in a single investment.
 

Although the goal of these funds is simplicity, they are not as simple as they may appear, and different types of hybrid funds have very different objectives. Continue reading

What Happened to Your Money?

 
What Happened to Your Money?If you don’t know what happened to your money during the past year, it’s time to find out. December and January are the perfect months to look back at what you earned, saved, and spent, as W-2s, account statements, and other year-end financial summaries roll in.
 

How much have you saved?

If you resolved last year to save more or you set a specific financial goal (for example, saving 15% of your income for retirement), did you accomplish your objective? Start by taking a look at your account balances. How much did you save for college or retirement? Were you able to increase your emergency fund? If you were saving for a large purchase, did you save as much as you expected? Continue reading

How can I safely shop online this holiday season?

 

How can I safely shop online this holiday season?Shopping online is especially popular during the holiday season, when many people prefer to avoid the crowds and purchase gifts with a few clicks of a mouse. However, with this convenience comes the danger of having your personal and financial information stolen by computer hackers.
 
 
Before you click, you might consider the following tips for a safer online shopping experience.
 
 
Pay by credit instead of debit. Credit card payments can be withheld if there is a dispute, but debit cards are typically debited quickly. In addition, credit cards generally have better protection than debit cards against fraudulent charges. Continue reading

How can I protect my personal and financial information from credit fraud and identity theft?

 

How can I protect my personal and financial information from credit fraud and identity theft?In today’s digital world, massive computer hacks and data breaches are common occurrences. And chances are, your personal or financial information is now susceptible to being used for credit fraud or identity theft. If you discover that you are the victim of either of these crimes, you should consider placing a credit freeze or fraud alert on your credit report to protect yourself.
 
 
A credit freeze prevents new credit and accounts from being opened in your name. Once you obtain a credit freeze, creditors won’t be allowed to access your credit report and therefore cannot offer new credit. This helps prevent identity thieves from applying for credit or opening fraudulent accounts in your name. Continue reading

Ten Year-End Tax Tips for 2018

 

Ten Year-End Tax Tips for 2018Here are 10 things to consider as you weigh potential tax moves between now and the end of the year.
 

1. Set aside time to plan

Effective planning requires that you have a good understanding of your current tax situation, as well as a reasonable estimate of how your circumstances might change next year. There’s a real opportunity for tax savings if you’ll be paying taxes at a lower rate in one year than in the other. However, the window for most tax-saving moves closes on December 31, so don’t procrastinate.
 
 

2. Defer income to next year

Consider opportunities to defer income to 2019, particularly if you think you may be in a lower tax bracket then. For example, you may be able to defer a year-end bonus or delay the collection of business debts, rents, and payments for services. Doing so may enable you to postpone payment of tax on the income until next year. Continue reading

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