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Retirement Planning: Most Popular Articles

These articles are the most popular over the last month.
Who knew retiring on a paradise island was this...
Retire in paradise. Here are 11 fabulous island destinations where you can stretch your dollars in retirement.
Read This Before You Consider Withdrawing Funds...
Every 401(k) withdrawal affects your taxes and your future in retirement. Here's everything you need to know about early 401(k) withdrawals.
What Is a Contingent Beneficiary?
Understand what a contingent beneficiary is before you choose one for your retirement account, life insurance policy or trust.
Can You Get Spousal Security Benefits?
With spousal Social Security you can get retirement benefits through your spouse. Here's how it works.
9 Things You Need to Know About Borrowing from...
401(k) loans are available with no credit checks. Are they a good idea? Learn the advantages, disadvantages, and limits of borrowing from your 401(k).
Your Life Expectancy Affects How Much You Must...
Learn how to calculate your required minimum distributions (RMD) with your qualified account balance(s) and the IRS Uniform Life Expectancy tables.
When You Can and Can't Withdraw Money From Your...
You can always withdraw money from your traditional IRA, but you will owe taxes and likely be hit with a penalty. Learn the IRA withdrawal rules here.
How to Get Money Out of Your 401(k) or IRA
At some point, you'll withdraw money from a retirement account. But when you do it and how you do it matter. Here are the rules for withdrawals in a 401(k) and IRA.
6 Essential Retirement Accounts to Help You Save
Retirement plans can be confusing, this basic overview can help you understand how each one is different.
Important Things to Know About Working During...
You can get Social Security retirement benefits while you are still working. But when you apply makes a difference. Here's how it works.
How Retiring Early Affects Your Social Security...
At what age can you start receiving Social Security? Find out what happens if you start to receive benefits before or after your full retirement age.
Most Americans Don't Know This About Social...
Learn how an unusual quirk in Social Security allows retirees to take an interest-free loan from Social Security.
What Will Social Security Pay If Your Spouse...
The death of a spouse is a dramatic event, emotionally and financially. Fortunately, the Social Security widow benefit paid to surviving spouse's takes some of the financial sting away. Learn more about the Social Security Survivor's Benefit.
What is a 457(b) Plan?
457(b) plan overview
Why Not Retire Abroad?
Ever thought about retiring outside your own country? Here's a list of the 10 best places in the world to retire outside of the U.S.
More Retirees Are Returning to Work... Should...
Considering going back to work in retirement? A job could impact your expenses, taxes, and Social Security benefits. Here's what you need to know.
Here's How You Can Calculate Your Projected...
Estimating your future Social Security retirement benefit is no easy task. Learn how benefits are calculated and where you can get an accurate estimate.
Maximize Your 401K Match
Taking advantage of an employer's 401K match is a critical piece of proper retirement planning. This company match provides you with the opportunity to receive free money into your retirement plan.
Yes, You Can Withdraw Money from Your 401(k)...
You always have the right to withdraw some or all contributions and their earnings from your 401(k), but that doesn't mean that you should. Here's why.
What Are Vesting Schedules?
Vesting schedules come in three types: immediate, cliff and graded. Even if your employer contributes to your retirement plan or to your stock option plan, you don't really own those benefits until you have complied with their vesting schedule.
What All Investors Should Know About Required...
Required minimum distributions, more commonly referred to as RMDs, are a congressionally-mandated distribution from a qualified retirement plan.
Safe Harbor Protects 401(k)s From Disaster
Safe harbor is not a metaphor. Find out how safe harbor 401k plans protect small business retirement plans from making expensive mistakes.
The Hidden Tax Benefit of a Non Deductible IRA
Due to certain income limits, not every worker is eligible to make a deductible contribution to a regular IRA. A subset of this group may be permitted to make a contribution to a Roth IRA. Still others will be prohibited from doing either. Enter the non-deductible regular IRA contribution. Learn the ins, outs, and implications of a non-deductible IRA contribution.
Qualifying for Medicaid for Long-Term or...
Long-term care and nursing home can be extremely expensive, and only if the patient falls below a certain level of wealth is it covered by Medicaid. Regardless of age or health status, as long as you have assets and an income that can be counted as your own, the options may be limited when it comes to securing long-term care.
Do You Know Your Full Retirement Age According...
Your full retirement age is based on your year of birth, but it may have little to do with when you actually retire. Learn about your full retirement age.
Eligible for Social Security? Learn How to Apply
A simple overview of how to apply for Social Security retirement benefits.
How and When Do You Get to Touch Your...
When it's time to retire, there are decisions to be made. How will you withdraw your savings? At what rate? How will you change your investments? Find out how to withdraw from a 401(k) at retirement.
Where Do You Want to Retire?
You know how and when you want to retire, but have you considered where you want to retire? Here is how to choose the best place to retire.
You May Be Able to Contribute to Both a 401(k)...
A common question among retirement planners is whether they can contribute to both a 401(k) and a Roth IRA. Most people can participate in both.
What Every Pre-Retiree Should Know About the...
Due to the rising cost of health care, Medicare is a critical and growing component of retirement planning. Learn about the four parts of Medicare here.
How to Max Out Your SEP IRA in 2015
In 2015, the amount that business owners can contribute to a SEP IRA increases. Find out the SEP IRA contribution maximums for 2015.
401K Vesting Schedules for Retirement Planning
Understanding your vesting schedule is a crucial and often underestimated part of retirement planning. The risk of forfeiting your employer's matching contribution is real and often preventable. Learn about the different types of vesting schedules and what they may mean to your financial future.
Why Some Roth IRA Withdrawals Can Be Subject to...
Roth IRA withdrawals are different from traditional IRA withdrawals. Learn when Roth IRA withdrawals are tax-free and when they may be subject to tax.
Understanding 457(b) Plans
Find out how 457(b) plans can help you save for retirement, and why a 457(b) plan is even better than a 401(k).
How to Calculate Your Modified Adjusted Gross...
Modified Adjusted Gross Income, or MAGI, determines eligibility for numerous tax benefits. Here's how to calculate it.
How to Rollover SIMPLE IRA Assets into a New...
If you participated in a SIMPLE IRA for at least two years, you may rollover the plan into another qualified plan like a 401(k). Learn how.
All About 403(b) Plans
A 403(b) plan is a retirement plan for nonprofit workers. Find out exactly how 403(b) plans work and how much you can contribute to your 403(b) in 2015.
5 Things You Need to Know About Social Security
Have questions about how Social Security works? Here are the answers.
What's a Contingent Beneficiary?
What is a contingent beneficiary and why you should make sure yours is correct.
What is a Contingent Beneficiary?
A contingent beneficiary stands second-in-line to inherit assets such as a life insurance policy, a retirement plan or an annuity.
How a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO)...
A definition of a qualified domestic relations order, or QDRO, that includes what retirement plans it can be applied to, how it works, and what is required in a QDRO.
How Much You Can Put in Your IRA in 2014?
There are limits to how much you can contribute to an IRA each year. Here are the 2014 maximums. Find out how much you can contribute to your IRA in 2014.
Exceptions to IRA and 401(k) Early Withdrawal...
There are some exceptions to the penalties for withdrawing money from an individual retirement account, 401(k) plan or other qualified distribution plan. Find out what the IRA withdrawal exemptions are and who qualifies.
Is there a "normal" age to retire?
Normal retirement age is the age at which you receive full benefits from retirement plans, including Social Security. But normal may vary.
The 5 Biggest Retirement Mistakes
Want to retire wealthy or at least comfortable? Avoid the common types of retirement mistakes.
The Importance of Designating Beneficiaries
How do you designate a beneficiary? Most retirement plans, annuities and life insurance policies let you decide what should become of your assets after your death through the naming of beneficiaries. Deciding which beneficiaries to name entails a whole set of considerations.
Saving for Retirement? Don't Miss This Free Money
An employer matching 401(k) contribution or employer match is a generous benefit that you should be taking advantage of. Here's why.
Beginner's Guide to the Rollover IRA
What do you do with your 401(k) after you leave a job? Roll it over into a special account called a Rollover IRA as you plan your retirement.
Railroad Retirement Plans
For individuals who have spent their careers working for the US railroads, Railroad Retirement Plans offer benefits beyond Social Security.
What Will it Take to Max Our Your 401k in 2015?
Find out the maximum amount you can stash in your 401(k) retirement plan in 2015.
How and Why to Open a Roth IRA
Learn the basics of Roth Individual Retirement Accounts (Roth IRAs): where and how to open an account, Roth IRA contribution limits, income limitations, what is an IRA, who's eligible, when they're called for, and how you can profit from a Roth IRA today.
Health Savings Accounts - Is An HSA Another...
A Health Savings Account (HSA) can be an important part of your retirement planning. Coupled with a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP), an HSA can provide you with tax-free growth on qualified medical expenses and tax-deferred growth on the excess. Learn more about how an HSA might help you achieve your retirement goals.
What Happens to Your Retirement Plan When You...
Leaving your job and not sure what to do with your 401(k) or other retirement account? You have plenty of options to choose from.
Do I Need a QDRO After Divorce?
If your spouse has assets in a retirement account, a QDRO is necessary to share them equitably after divorce
Advantages of Tax Deferred Plans
Learn how a tax deferred plan can lower your current and future taxes.
Self-Employed? This Is A Great Way to Save for...
Get to know the SEP IRA, a great retirement savings vehicle for small-business owners and self-employed people.
How Much Can You Contribute to a SEP IRA in 2014?
Find out how much you can contribute to a SEP IRA in 2014.
What's the Contribution Limit for a 2014 Roth...
Find out the contribution limits for Roth IRAs in 2014.
What Is a Keogh?
A Keogh plan is a once-popular retirement plan option for self-employed individuals. For a certain type of professional, a Keogh could be a great choice for amassing retirement savings. Find out if a Keogh is right for you.
What Are the SIMPLE IRA Contribution Limits for...
How much can you contribute to a SIMPLE IRA in 2014?
Why SIMPLE IRAs Aren't Really That Simple
A SIMPLE IRA is an employer-sponsored retirement plan offered to small-business employees. Find out how a SIMPLE IRA works, and how much you can contribute to the plan this year.
Here's How You Can Contribute to Both a...
Some savers can maximize their IRA savings by contributing to both a traditional IRA and Roth IRA. Learn more about eligibility and contribution limits.
The Tax Deductions That Save You Money and Help...
Tax deductions are powerful. Learn how tax deductions can lower your income tax bill today and help you to fund your retirement accounts for tomorrow.
Social Security
Definition of Social Security Retirement Plan Benefits
What is a Primary Beneficiary?
A primary beneficiary is a person or entity designated as the first in line to inherit an asset.
Annuities and Retirement Planning
The promises of a retirement annuity such as guaranteed lifetime income and tax-deferred growth are tempting, but be sure to consider the taxes and expenses involved as well.
How Much Can You Save in Your Roth IRA in 2015?
If you have a Roth IRA, you know the benefits of contributing as much as possible to the fund. Find out how much is possible in 2015.
What To Do With an Inherited IRA or 401(k)
So you've inherited an IRA or 401(k)? Here's what spouses and non-spouses need to know to make the most of an IRA or 401(k) inheritance.
When Should You Consider a Roth 401(k)?
A Roth 401(k) is a combination of retirement account types. Find out how the Roth 401(k) works and whether it could work for you.
What Is Asset Correlation?
Defining what it means when assets are correlated or noncorrelated.
IRA Rollovers - How to Avoid Mandatory...
401K to IRA rollovers are a fairly straightforward process as long as you make it clear of your intentions. However, if you take a distribution and then decide to do an IRA rollover, your job just got harder thanks to mandatory withholding. Learn how to avoid the 20% mandatory withholding on IRA rollovers.
The Savings Account for the Stay-at-Home Set:...
What are the contribution maximums for a spousal IRA in 2015? Find out how much you can put away whether your spouse is not working or earning income.
Can Your Business Max Out a SIMPLE IRA in 2015?
Find out how the maximum amount you can contribute to a SIMPLE IRA in 2015.
Everything You Need to Know About Your 401(k)
Learn the basics of 401(k) accounts; what is a contribution percentage, contribution limitations, tax-deferred growth, required distributions, IRA contribution limits, and how you can profit from a 401(k) plan today.
How to Calculate What You'll Need to Retire
Can you figure out exactly how much you will need to live on for retirement? You can at least come close. Here's how to calculate a retirement savings goal.
The Pros and Cons of Borrowing From Your 401k
The pros, cons and facts you need to know before considering a 401(k) loan.
How the 4% Rule Does (and Doesn't) Apply to...
How much you can safely withdraw from your retirement accounts is more than a matter of a withdrawal rate. Learn how the 4% rule doesn't always apply.
What Are the Spousal IRA Contribution Limits in...
Find out how much you can contribute to a Spousal IRA in 2013.
Make Sense of Medicare
Medicare is government health insurance for seniors age 65 and older. Here's how it works.
What Is a Catch-Up Contribution?
If you are age 50 or older, you can stash a little bit more away each year in your retirement account. It's called a catch-up contribution. Here's how it works.
How to Avoid Paying Penalties on Withdrawals...
You can always withdraw money from your Roth IRA, but you could be penalized on any growth on your initial investment. Learn about Roth IRA withdrawals.
When You Can and Should Enroll in Social...
Can retirees receive Medicare without taking their Social Security benefits? The short answer is yes. The long answer is more strategic.
5 Things to Consider When Saving for Retirement
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SIMPLE IRA Rollovers Are Not Actually So Simple
Despite its name, SIMPLE IRAs do not always make for simple IRA rollovers. Here's what you need to know about SIMPLE IRA rollovers.
Profit Sharing Plan
Profit sharing plans are retirement plans that allow employers to determine how much they will contribute to an employee's retirement. Here's how profit-sharing works.
The Retirement Requirement
The one thing we all need to know about most individual retirement accounts and 401(k)s: eventually, you will be required to take a minimum distribution.
Self-Employed? This Might Be Your Best Option...
SEP-IRAs (Simplified Employee Pensions) are an excellent retirement planning opportunity for the self-employed. With high contribution limits and late deadlines, they provide for great flexibility and savings.
Social Security - How Early Retirement Affects...
When you choose early retirement and take Social Security benefits before your normal retirement age, your benefit is reduced. Understand how the Social Security Administration figures this benefit reduction.
Pros and Cons of Roth Conversion
A Roth Conversion means entering retirement with tax-free income. However, a Roth IRA conversion also comes at an upfront cost of paying taxes now. Converting your qualified retirement account (like a traditional IRA or old 401(k) plan) to a Roth IRA may be a great idea. But since your tax may be significant, make sure to learn the key considerations.
Normal Distributions From Retirement Plans
What are normal distributions from retirement plans? This definition includes taxable and tax-free plans, as well as associated penalties and exemptions.
This Is Why You Should Review Your 401(k) Plan...
Retirement account beneficiary designations are not a one-and-done process. Here's why you'll always want to review your 401(k) and IRA beneficiaries.
2014 401(k) contribution limits, 2014 401k max,...
How much will the government let you contribute to your 401(k) in 2014? Here's where to find out.
What Is an Intermediate Term Bond Fund?
The intermediate-term bond is among the most common options offered in employer-sponsored 401(k)s. What are intermediate-term bonds and what makes these funds so popular?
Who Can Make Tax-Deductible Contributions to...
Making tax-deductible contributions to a traditional IRA is more flexible than many retirement investors think.
Overview of 401k Loans
Taking a 401k loan may seem tempting in the short term, but be sure to consider the consequences and penalties carefully first.
What is the Thrift Savings Plan for Federal...
An overview of the Thrift Savings Plan for Federal Employees, or TSP..
When you shouldn't convert to a Roth IRA
Should you convert your traditional IRA to a Roth IRA? Ask yourself these questions before you decide to convert to a Roth.
What Is a Solo 401(k)?
If you are a self-employed small business owner, you can have access to a 401(k). Find out what about the benefits of the solo 401(k) and the solo Roth 401(k).
What Will IRA Contribution Limits Be in 2015
In 2015, some individual retirement account contribution limits are up, some have remained the same. Find out how much you can contribute in 2015.
Indiviudal Retirement Accounts (IRAs) - What is...
Lean the basics of Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs): where and how to open an account, IRA contribution limits, income limitations, what is an IRA, who's eligible, when they're called for, and how you can profit from an IRA today.
What Was the Maximum Roth IRA Contribution...
What was the most you could put into the Roth IRA in 2013? Find out the contribution limits for Roth IRAs.
Do You Know the 5-Year Rule for Roth IRA...
To benefit from tax-free growth in a Roth IRA you must meet the five-year rule, but like other tax rules, it's all about how you calculate those years.
Gift Taxes - Who Pays the Gift Tax?
Although gift tax is very straightforward, those with high asset levels need to follow the rules or risk paying tax unnecessarily.
Yes, Pension Plans Do Still Exist. Here's How...
Think the traditional pension plan is an urban myth? Although rare, pensions actually exist. Find out how pensions work and whether yours is safe.
What is a 403(b) Plan?
Overview of 403(b) plans
Refreshing Purchasing Power With COLA
One of the most valuable parts of your Social Security benefit is the cost of living adjustment, or COLA, which protects against long-term inflation.
Roth 401(k) - Saving For Retirement Tax-Free
Roth 401(k)s bring together the tax-free growth of a Roth IRA and the higher contribution limits of a 401(k). Yet a Roth IRA contribution lowers your net pay in a way a regular 401(k) does not. Learn what to consider when evaluating a Roth 401(k).
Retirement Plans for Entrepreneurs
Have a small business that doesn't require a big 401(k) plan? Find out which small business or self-employed retirement plan is right for you.
Understand vesting and vesting schedules for employer-sponsored retirement plans.
5 Questions About Retirement and Bankruptcy
More and more seniors are seeking Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection in retirement. So how does bankruptcy affect your retirement funds, and is it the solution for you?
4 Times It's Okay to Borrow From Your 401(k)
Before you consider borrowing from your 401(k) or other employer-sponsored retirement account, make sure you have considered these four reasons to take a 401(k) loan.
How Do I Rollover a 401(k) Plan?
The steps to take to move your 401k into a Rollover IRA.
Top 5 Ways to Get Started With a Retirement Plan
An introduction to 401(k)s, IRAs, Roth IRAS and the importance of early saving to a successful retirement plan.
SEP IRA Contribution Limits for 2013
Find out how much you can contribute to a SEP IRA in 2013.
The Impact of an Early Distribution From a...
A look at what an early distribution is, what taxes and penalties are involved, and the potential financial ramifications to a retirement plan.
How to tell a mutual fund from an ETF, or an...
Mutual fund or exchange traded fund? Index fund or actively managed fund? What does it all mean and how does one tell the difference?
Roth IRA Distributions - Use A Roth IRA...
The use of Roth IRA distributions as an emergency fund is a noteworthy concept. Nonetheless, it is fraught with significant disadvantages including negative tax and retirement planning consequences. Learn what to consider whenever you take a Roth IRA distribution, be it before or during retirement.
4 Keys for a Happy Retirement That Have Nothing...
With all the focus on the monetary aspects of retirement planning, it's easy to lose sight of the big picture: your happiness during retirement.
The Benefits of Diversification
The benefits of diversification: how investing in a variety of sectors can boost your portfolio and prevent you from losing money in riskier options.
3 Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Pay Off...
The lure of a mortgage-free retirement is attractive. Learn the considerations for eliminating what's likely to be your largest bill in retirement.
Should I Name a Trust as IRA Beneficiary?
When does it make sense to name a trust as a primary or contingent beneficiary of your IRA or 401(k)?
What Is a Stable Value Fund?
If you have a 401(k), chances are you may have a stable value fund available to you. What are stable value funds and why are they so popular?
Understanding Employer Matching Programs
Taking part in an employer matching program, if you're lucky enough to work at a place that offers one, is like receiving free money. Here's how it works.
How to Keep Your Money Growing Tax-Free Longer...
Some retirement plans require you to make a withdrawal, or RMD, each year after a certain age. Learn why Roth IRAs are not subject to these RMD rules.
Here's Why You Should Consider an IRA Rollover...
An IRA rollover is an effective way to handle former employer 401(k) assets while providing more investment choices, less fee, and more simplicity.
IRA Contributions for 2013
Find out how much you can contribute to your IRA in 2013.
403(b) Plan Limits 2014
Find out how much you can contribute to your 403(b) plan in 2014.
Plan a retirement built for two.
Are you and your spouse planning for the same retirement? Discussing retirement as a couple can help you plan for a shared ideal future.
Are You Eligible to Contribute to a 401(k) Plan?
An overview of 401k eligibility including time limits on delaying eligibility, as well as age requirement and monetary limitations.
6 Easy Steps to Building Your Retirement...
Investing is not instinctual and most of us don't know what we're doing. But with a little bit of understanding and discipline, you can make the most of your retirement investments. Here's how to become a better retirement investor.
I'm retired! Now what?
Retirement is the goal, but what happens after that? With Americans living longer, you may have a lot more time and energy to spend during retirement.
2014 Limits for Defined Contribution Plans
Find out how much you can put into your defined contribution plan (aka Keogh) in 2014.
Solo 401(k) - A Self-Employed 401(k)
A solo 401(k) plan combines some of the strongest provisions of both traditional employment and self-employment. Learn about some of the features of self-employed 401(k) plans.
Can I Open an IRA for My Kid?
Have you ever considered opening a retirement account for your kid? In some cases, you can. Here's how to open an IRA for your child.
What Is Expected of You as an Executor
An executor is a job with little training and a lot of trust. Not everyone's cut out for it. If you take on the job of executor, know what's expected.
When Is the Right Time to Collect Social...
Should you take Social Security at age 62 or 70, or somewhere in between? There's no one right answer, but there is an answer that's right for you.
What Was the SIMPLE IRA Contribution Limit in...
Find out how much you can put into a SIMPLE IRA in 2013, and why small business owners may or may not want to consider one.
What Are International Equity Funds?
If you have a 401(k), you've probably seen an international equity fund option. What is an international equity fund, and should you own one?
Think You Are Too Young to Think About...
If you can read this, it's not too early to start saving for retirement. The sooner you start, the wealthier you can be.
Taxed Now or Taxed Later - How to Sort Out Your...
If you want to invest tax-efficiently, get to know which types of investments to buy in a taxable account and which to buy in a tax-deferred account.
How Much Should I Save for Retirement?
How much do you need to have saved before retirement? The short answer is: as much as you can.
How to use an HSA in retirement
Find out how a health savings account works and, if you have one, how to use it to save for health costs in retirement.
Get ready to retire with these 14 tips
How do you financially prepare for retirement? These 14 tips can help get you on the right financial track to retire in the way you want to.
Why You Should Contribute to a 401(k)
What a 401(k) is, how it works, and why you should be invested in your 401(k) plan.
Individual 401(k) Contribution Limits for 2014
You have a solo business, so why not get yourself a solo 401(k) or individual 401(k)? Here's how much you can contribute to a solo 401(k) in 2014.
Retirement Planning Has Changed – How to...
The decline of defined benefit pensions and the uncertainty surrounding Social Security are just two of the various important changes to today's retirement compared to a generation ago. Learn what you can and should do about the new retirement. Your retirement planning must change.
Find out what the IRS let you put into a 457b...
Find out how much you can contribute to your 457(b) plan in 2014.
Have You Thought About How You Will Spend Your...
Most people give little thought to their retirement activities, but they should. Here's the 4th article in the Top Steps to Take Before You Retire series.
How to Max Out a Thrift Savings Plan in 2015
Find out how much money you can add to your Thrift Savings Plan federal government retirement account in 2015.
Understanding complex money purchase plans
A money purchase plan is a type of defined benefit retirement plan offered through an employer. Find out how money purchase plans work.

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