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Literacy Library

Learn about retirement, estate planning, education funding, and more with our informative and easy-to-use financial library. Click on a piece and you will be able to read an in-depth profile on need-to-know financial information. Don’t see the topic you want to learn about? Contact our team to schedule a conversation about the financial topics that interest you.

Education Planning

529 College Savings Plans

This article breaks down 529 Plans, (College Savings Plans and Prepaid Tuition Plans) covering topics such as tax advantages/benefits, contribution limits, accelerated gifting, investment options, and their fees and expenses.

Education Tax Credits and Deductions

This article on Education Tax Credits and Deductions covers tax credit eligibility and benefits available, including the American Opportunity Credit (Hope Credit), Lifetime Learning Credit, Student Loan Interest Deduction, and the deduction for qualified higher education expenses.

Estate Planning

Leaving a Legacy

This estate planning article covers the four basic ways to leave and protect your legacy: wills, trusts, beneficiary designations, and joint ownership arrangements.

Basic Estate Planning

From wills, trusts, life insurance, and durable Power of Attorney to comprehensive retirement and estate tax planning, this article covers a broad spectrum of topics that address many frequently ask

Estate Planning and Income Tax Basis

Income tax basis can be an important factor in deciding whether to make gifts during your lifetime or transfer property at your death.

Introduction to Estate Planning

Simply stated, estate planning is a method for determining how to distribute your property during your life and at your death. It is the process of developing and implementing a master plan that facilitates the distribution of your property after your death and according to your goals and objectives.

Key Estate Planning Documents You Need

There are five estate planning documents you may need, regardless of your age, health, or wealth:

The New Estate Tax Rules and Your Estate Plan

The Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 (the 2010 Tax Act) included new gift, estate, and generation-skipping transfer (Ged estate planning questions, taking into consideration your age and situational needs.

Financial Planning

Getting Help From a Financial Professional

In this article you will learn why you should work with a financial professional, when it is necessary to consult a professional, and ways to make the most of a professional’s expertise.

Women and Money–Taking Control of your Finances

As a woman, you have financial needs that are unique to your situation in life. This article addresses how to develop a clear picture of your current financial situation, setting and prioritizing financial goals, implementing saving and investment strategies, managing your debt and credit, understanding your credit report, and working with a financial professional.

Women–Planning for the Financial Impact of Children

As a woman, you are especially impacted in the addition of a child to your family. Whether it is your first child or your fourth, this article offers many financial matters to consider before and after the baby arrives, including health insurance, budgeting, going back to work, and building a financial foundation.

Insurance Planning

Five Questions About Long Term Care

This article answers 5 common questions about Long Term Care:

What is LTC?
Why is important to plan for LTC?
Doesn’t Medicare pay for LTC?
Can’t I pay for Care out of Pocket?
Should I buy LTC Insurance?

Life Insurance Basics

This article gives an in-depth overview of the major types of insurance: Term, Whole Life, Variable Life, Universal Life, and Variable Universal Life. It also offers advice on the many uses of life insurance, how much life insurance you may need/can afford, and where you can purchase life insurance.

Why Women Need Life Insurance

Today, women have more financial responsibilities than ever before. Whether you are single, married, employed, or a stay at home mom, this piece explains the importance of life insurance to your situation, as well as covering the many types of insurance that can be made available to you, such as Term, Whole Life, Universal, Variable Universal, and Joint and Survivor Insurance.

Investment and Portfolio Planning

Handling Market Volatility

Even if you view market volatility as a normal occurrence, it can be tough to handle when it’s your money at stake. Though there is no foolproof way to handle the ups and downs of the stock market, this article contains many common sense tips that may help.

Investing Basics

With so many different investment options available, it can be very overwhelming to make important financial decisions. This article, “Investment Basics,” demonstrates ways that saving builds a foundation and reasons to invest. Upon building a foundation, you learn how to set investment goals, think about your time horizon, understand your risk tolerance, and establish your liquidity needs. This article also covers the basic types of investments, stocks, bonds, cash and cash alternatives, mutual funds and ETFs, explaining how they work, and their role in your portfolio. Once you understand their importance, you will be taught the need to balance risk and return, ways to monitor your portfolio, and methods of diversification.

Balancing Your Investment Choices with Asset Allocation

Many people struggle when it comes to diversification of assets and balancing their portfolios. It is important to remember that even if your asset allocation was right for you when you first chose it, it may not be a good fit for you now. As your circumstances and priorities change, so should your asset allocation. This article covers the basics for getting the right mix, balancing risk and return, diversification methods, asset allocation strategies, and reminds you to consider inflation, financial goals vs. emotional needs, and tax status when making these important financial decisions.

Retirement Planning

IRA and Retirement Plan Limits for 2016

The maximum amount you can contribute to a traditional IRA or Roth IRA in 2016 is $5,500 (or 100% of your earned income, if less), unchanged from 2015. The maximum catch-up contribution for those age 50 or older remains at $1,000. (You can contribute to both a traditional and Roth IRA in 2016, but your total contributions can’t exceed these annual limits.)

A Retirement Income Roadmap for Women

As more women are working and taking charge of their own retirement planning than ever before, this article covers many topics that will help you design your retirement plan. Once you determine when you will retire and approximately how long retirement will last, this article advises you on projecting your retirement expenses, identifying sources of income, and also how to transition into retirement.

401(k) Plans

Recently, 401(k) Plans have become one of the most popular types of employer-sponsored retirement plans. This piece answers many common questions employees have about a 401(k) plan including how does a 401(k) plan work, when and how much can I contribute, can I contribute to an IRA also, what are the income tax consequences, what about employer contributions, should I make pre-tax our Roth contributions, and what happens if I terminate. Along with all of this important information, you will also be reminded of many things to consider inquiring about such as hardship withdrawals, loan possibilities, early withdrawal penalties, and income tax credits. As not all plans offer the same options as far as investment options, entry dates, distributions, etc., understanding how your employer’s plan is set up and what your options are as a participant is key to your retirement planning.

Deciding When to Retire. When Timing becomes Crucial.

Deciding when to retire is usually not one decision, but a series of decisions and calculations. This article discusses the many factors that may affect each other as part of an overall retirement plan, including: early retirement, delaying retirement, current life expectancy rates, and phased retirement. The sooner you start to plan the timing of your retirement, the more time you’ll have to make adjustments that can help ensure that those years are everything you hope for.

Changing Jobs…. Take your 401(k) and Roll It!

If you have lost your job, or are changing jobs, you may be wondering what to do with your 401(k) Plan. This piece covers your many options regarding your 401(k), especially the benefits of rolling it over into either a new employer’s plan or an IRA .

All about IRAs

An Individual Retirement Arrangement (IRA) is a personal retirement savings account that offers specific tax benefits and is one of the most powerful retirement savings tools available to you. In this article, “All about IRAs,” you will learn about the types of IRAs available, Traditional and Roth, and receive some direction on which may be more beneficial to you.