Reviewing Your Estate Plan

 
Reviewing Your Estate PlanAn estate plan is a map that explains how you want your personal and financial affairs to be handled in the event of your incapacity or death. Due to its importance and because circumstances change over time, you should periodically review your estate plan and update it as needed.
 

When should you review your estate plan?

Reviewing your estate plan will alert you to any changes that need to be addressed. For example, you may need to make changes to your plan to ensure it meets all of your goals, or when an executor, trustee, or guardian can no longer serve in that capacity. Although there’s no hard-and-fast rule about when you should review your estate plan, you’ll probably want to do a quick review each year, because changes in the economy and in the tax code often occur on a yearly basis. Every five years, do a more thorough review. Continue reading

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

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