December’s a busy month, but it’s not too late to focus on last-minute tax savings. Here are some things that you can do:
Sometimes money costs too much. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
There are so many parts of my work that I like that it is hard to pick one favorite. One of the consistently most interesting parts is the interplay between our values and our money. What will we give up for money, and what truly is priceless?
The airwaves are full of cautionary tales of young people with too much money too soon – wretched excess is in, and responsibility seems, well, pretty boring. And your last name doesn’t have to be “Hilton” for you to worry.
Because both Roth IRAs and traditional IRAs present compelling advantages, individual circumstances typically determine which choice is best for a given investor. The decision requires a careful analysis of eligibility rules, tax issues, distribution requirements, and regulations governing rollovers from employer-sponsored plans.
Many investors can quickly recall their annual income, the value of their home and other measures of how they are doing financially. But when it comes to knowing their net worth, the same investors may be scratching their heads. It’s important to know your net worth — and monitor it periodically — because net worth is the most important gauge of whether you are building wealth over time.
One of the best investments you can make for a loved one — whether a child, grandchild, niece or nephew — is an investment in his or her educational future. College graduates with a bachelor’s degree typically earn twice as much, over a lifetime, as those with a high school diploma.1
To be sure, you have time to get your financial act together before 2007 ends. But not much time. Here’s a recap of what we suggest doing:
Fix your portfolio. Year-end is the perfect time to rebalance your portfolio. At a minimum, investors should revisit (or create if they don’t have one) their true portfolio allocation and their risk tolerance questionnaire to see if any changes need to be made to the asset allocation. A risk tolerance questionnaire is designed to take the emotion out of investing and keep the investor on track, regardless of what the market or the economy is doing. In some cases, rebalancing will be required because the percent invested in certain assets exceeds the limits established in the stated investment objective. In other cases, circumstances may have changed, requiring changes in the percent invested in asset classes.
America is a nation of givers. In 2005 (the latest data available), more than $260 billion was given to charity and more than 75% of these donations came from individuals.1
It’s not unusual for investors to consider retirement planning a numbers game that focuses on the size of a nest egg, a desired rate of return and how much to withdraw annually to cover living expenses. As with many areas of life, though, there are a host of other factors to consider. Many individuals and couples approach retirement with personal goals such as spending more time with family or supporting causes that matter to them.
On a personal planning basis, when we think of saving for retirement we think of a small amount of money that builds and builds to a large amount which is finally withdrawn from in retirement years. But we seldom talk about the other side of the equation: what economists call human or individual capital.