Mergers & Acquisitions: What’s in the Deal for Investors?

 
Mergers & Acquisitions: What's in the Deal for Investors? Merger and acquisition (M&A) activity in North America and Europe reached its second highest level on record in 2018. There were 19,501 deals worth $3.6 trillion — a 6.3% increase in deal volume over 2017. There was also a rise in mega deals exceeding $10 billion.1
 
Collectively, U.S. corporations had plenty of cash to spend after a long string of solid profits and a significant tax cut.2 High stock prices also provided plenty of equity for deals involving the exchange of stock, while relatively-low borrowing costs made it possible to finance acquisitions. Continue reading

How do I replace my Social Security card?

 
How do I replace my Social Security card?Chances are, you probably have your Social Security number memorized, so you may not have had to use your card in awhile. However, there are times when you may be required to show your actual card, such as when you start a new job or need to access certain government services. Fortunately, replacing a lost or stolen card is a relatively easy process.
 
In order to obtain a new card, you need to prove your citizenship or lawful noncitizen status, and your age and identity from a list of approved documentation (e.g., U.S. passport, driver’s license, birth certificate). All documentation provided must be either original or in certified form (notarized copies or photocopies will not be accepted). Continue reading

Do I need to get a REAL ID when I renew my license?

 
Do I need to get a REAL ID when I renew my license?If you need to renew your driver’s license, you may want to get a REAL ID. The REAL ID Act, passed by Congress in 2005, enacts the 9/11 Commission’s recommendation that the federal government set minimum security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards.
 
Beginning October 1, 2020, residents of every state and territory will need to present a REAL ID-compliant license/identification card, or another acceptable form of identification (such as a passport), to access federal facilities, enter nuclear power plants, and board commercial aircraft. Although implementation has been slow, states have made progress in meeting the REAL ID Act’s recommendations. A majority of states and territories, along with the District of Columbia, have complied with all REAL ID requirements. The remaining noncompliant jurisdictions have been granted a temporary extension from the Department of Homeland Security.1 Continue reading

How Does Your Employer’s Retirement Plan Compare?

 
How Does Your Employer's Retirement Plan Compare?Each year, the Plan Sponsor Council of America (PSCA) surveys employers to gauge trends in retirement plan features and participation. Results are used by employers and plan participants to benchmark their plans against overall averages. How does your plan compare to the most recent survey results, released at the end of 2018?1
 
Participation and savings rates
 
Plan participation (that is, the percentage of participants contributing to the plan) was on the rise, increasing from 77% in 2010 to 85% in 2017. Employees in the financial, insurance and real estate, manufacturing, and technology and telecommunications sectors were most likely to contribute (more than 85% of eligible employees), while those in the transportation, utility, and energy sectors (75.6%) and wholesale distribution and retail trade sectors (59.7%) were least likely. Continue reading

Rules on Opening a 529 Plan Account for College

 
Rules on Opening a 529 Plan Account for CollegeYear over year, participation in 529 plans continues to rise.1 Anyone can open an account, lifetime contribution limits are typically over $300,000, and there are tax benefits if the funds are used for college. Here are some common questions on opening an account.
 
Can I open an account in any state’s 529 plan or am I limited to my own state’s plan?
 
Answer: It depends on the type of 529 plan you have: college savings plan or prepaid tuition plan. With a college savings plan, you open an individual investment account and direct your contributions to one or more of the plan’s investment portfolios. With a prepaid tuition plan, you purchase education credits at today’s prices and redeem them in the future for college tuition. Forty-nine states (all but Wyoming) offer one or more college savings plans, but only a few states offer prepaid tuition plans. Continue reading

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