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Retirement Planning: Most Popular Articles

These articles are the most popular over the last month.
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) plan.
What You Need to Know Before Making a 401(k)...
Every 401K withdrawal affects your taxes and your future retirement planning. Make sure to consider these implications and others concerns whenever contemplating a 401K distribution from your 401K.
SEP IRA Contribution Limits for 2013
Find out how much you can contribute to a SEP IRA in 2013.
When You're Over The Limit - 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.
IRA Contributions for 2013
Find out how much you can contribute to your IRA in 2013.
IRA Contribution Limits for 2014
There are limits to how much you can contribute to an IRA each year. Here are the 2014 maximums. out how much you can contribute to your IRA in 2014.
Can You Contribute to a 401(k) and a Roth IRA...
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IRA Withdrawals
An IRA withdrawal is any distribution from your individual retirement account. It's critical to understand how your distribution will affect your financial future, both from tax and retirement planning perspectives.
How to Withdraw Money From a 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.
Spousal IRA Contribution Limits for 2013
Find out how much you can contribute to a Spousal IRA in 2013.
What Is a SEP IRA?
Get to know the SEP IRA, a great retirement savings vehicle for small-business owners and self-employed people.
Can You Get Spousal Security Benefits?
With spousal Social Security you can get retirement benefits through your spouse. Here's how it works.
Roth IRA Contributions for 2013
How much can you put in a Roth IRA in 2013? Find out the contribution limits for Roth IRAs.
2013 Contribution Limits Self-Employed Plans
Retirement plans for the self-employed are among the most generous in terms of annual contribution limits. They get even more generous in 2013.
SEP IRA Contribution Limits for 2014
Find out how much you can contribute to a SEP IRA in 2014.
How to Calculate and Take Required Minimum...
When you reach 70 1/2, IRS rules say you have to start required minimum distributions from your traditional IRAs or your 401(k)s. The tax bite for not obeying the rules can be major.
SEP-IRAs - An Important Self-Employed...
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.
2014 Roth IRA Contributions
Find out the contribution limits for Roth IRAs in 2014.
2013 SIMPLE IRA Contribution Limits
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.
2014 SIMPLE IRA Contribution Limits
How much can you contribute to a SIMPLE IRA in 2014?
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.
Can I Get Social Security Retirement Benefits...
You can get Social Security retirement benefits while you are still working. But when you apply makes a difference. Here's how it works.
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.
Calculate Your Social Security Benefits
Learn the two components of calculating your Social Security Benefits: your earnings history and the age you retire. Understand the impact your normal retirement age has on your retirement benefit too.
6 Types of Retirement Plans You Should Know
Retirement plans can be confusing, this basic overview can help you understand how each one is different.
What Is a Contingent Beneficiary?
Understand what a contingent beneficiary is before you choose one for your retirement account, life insurance policy or trust.
Roth IRA Withdrawal Rules
When can you make withdrawals from your Roth IRA account? Roth IRA withdrawals are different than regular IRA withdrawals. Roth IRA withdrawals are tax-free, as along as certain conditions are met.
Can I withdraw money from my 401(k) before I...
Can I withdraw money from my 401(k) before I retire? Yes, you can anytime, but you may have to pay a penalty.
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.
What is a 457(b) Plan?
457(b) plan overview
Who Can Make Tax-Deductible Contributions to...
Making tax-deductible contributions to a traditional IRA is more flexible than many retirement investors think.
What Are the Limit for 401(k) Contributions?
Find out how much you can contribute to your 401(k) in 2013.
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 a 401(k) Match?
An employer matching 401(k) contribution or employer match is a generous benefit that you should be taking advantage of. Here's why.
5 Things You Need to Know About Social Security
Have questions about how Social Security works? Here are the answers.
When Can I Start Receiving 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.
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.
Required Minimum Distribution
Definition of a Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) from a qualified retirement plan such as a 401(k) or IRA
The Social Security Widow Benefit
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.
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 Do I Apply for Social Security Benefits?
A simple overview of how to apply for Social Security retirement benefits.
What is the deadline to contribute to a Roth IRA?
What is the deadline to contribute to a Roth IRA? You can contribute anytime, but there are limitations based on the calendar year.
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.
Can You Contribute to a Regular and Roth IRA?
Some individuals can maximize their IRA savings by contributing to both Regular IRA and Roth IRA plans. Find out if you qualify.
Life Expectancy and Required Minimum Distributi...
Shortly after your 70th birthday, you will be forced to begin taking required minimum distributions (RMD). As such, you will need to begin withdrawing money from your 401K and regular IRA. Learn how to calculate your required minimum distributions (RMD) and view the Uniform Life Expectancy tables.
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).
Social Security – How to Borrow from...
Learn how an unusual quirk in Social Security allows retirees to take an interest-free loan from Social Security.
Solo 401(k) Contribution Limits for 2013
Small-business or solo-business owners who want the benefits of a 401(k) for their business may want to consider an individual or solo 401(k). Find out the solo 401(k) contribution limits for 2013.
Advantages of Tax Deferred Plans
Learn how a tax deferred plan can lower your current and future taxes.
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.
401K Vesting Schedules - Know the Impact of...
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.
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.
Tax Deductions - How to Save Taxes While Saving...
Learn about how to save for retirement and save on your taxes at the same time.
The 5 Biggest Retirement Mistakes
Want to retire wealthy or at least comfortable? Avoid these retirement mistakes.
What Is the Tax Saver's Credit?
Learn about the Tax Saver's Credit and how it might reduce your tax bill.
Get the Money Out of Your 401(k) or IRA
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.
5 Retirement Killers
Get to know your biggest retirement risks and how to avoid them.
10 Questions to Ask About 401(k) Fees
Having a hard time making sense of your 401(k) and what it costs? Here are 10 questions to ask your 401(k) plan administrator.
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.
Where Should I Put This 401(k)?
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.
Your Normal Social Security Retirement Age
Your normal retirement age, or your Social Security Retirement age is based on your year of birth. Learn the importance of your retirement age and how it might affect your retirement plans.
When is Normal Retirement Age?
An explanation of how the Social Security Administration determines normal retirement age, sets the rules for monthly payments, and applies work penalties in certain circumstances.
What is 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.
Self-Employed Retirement Plans
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.
What Is a SIMPLE IRA?
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.
What's a Contingent Beneficiary?
What is a contingent beneficiary and why you should make sure yours is correct.
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.
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.
What Is a 457(b) Plan?
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).
Roth Conversion - Should You Do a Roth...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
403(b) Plan Limits 2014
Find out how much you can contribute to your 403(b) plan in 2014.
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
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.
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.
Can I withdraw money from my Roth IRA before I...
Can you withdraw money from your Roth IR before you retire? Yes, but you could be penalized on the growth of your original investment.
401(k) Plan Basics
Lean 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.
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.
Keogh Plans - A Robust Self-Employed Retirement...
Keogh plans are qualified retirement plans that may be established as either defined benefit or defined contribution plans. With high contribution limits and large tax incentives, Keogh plans present an opportunity self-employed individuals should carefully consider.
How much money do you need for retirement?
Almost half of our readers think saving $1,000,000 is necessary for a comfortable retirement. How much money do you think you need to retire?
Retirement Savings - How Much is Enough?
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What Is a 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.
Roth IRA – Five-Year Rule for Distributions
To benefit from the tax-free growth of a Roth IRA, you must keep your assets in your account for five years after your initial contribution. Like with other fun tax rules, five years can actually go by a lot quicker. Learn how.
Advantages of Tax Deductions
Learn how a tax deduction plan can lower your current taxes.
Contribution Limits for 457(b) Plans in 2014
Find out how much you can contribute to your 457(b) plan in 2014.
What Is a 403(b) Plan?
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 2012.
Can you roll over your SIMPLE IRA into a 401(k)...
If you participated in the SIMPLE IRA for at least two years, you may roll over the plan into another qualified plan, such as a 401(k) or IRA.
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.
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.
How Much Can You Safely Withdraw From Your...
What is the real safe withdrawal rate? Many experts feel withdrawing 4% of your initial retirement account balance, then adjusting annually for inflation is the right amount. But such a straightforward approach does leave us with some pretty illogical conclusions. Learn what to consider when contemplating what you can afford to spend in retirement.
Railroad Retirement Plans
For individuals who have spent their careers working for the US railroads, Railroad Retirement Plans offer benefits beyond Social Security.
The Benfits of Converting Your Traditional IRA...
Some benefits of a converting to a Roth IRA are unavailable through a traditional IRA. But the Roth IRA also has its own set of limitations. Here's how Roth IRAs stack up compared to traditional IRAs.
All About Medicare - Medicare Part A, Part B,...
Due to the rising cost of health care, Medicare is a critical and growing component of retirement planning. Learn about the alphabet soup of Medicare Parts.
Your 401(k) Plan Beneficiary Designations
Make sure to regularly check your 401(k) plan beneficiary designations, especially if any major family changes have occurred.
Should You Take a 401k Loan?
Should you take a 401k loan or apply for a 401k hardship loan to help with short-term cash needs? The answer, in almost all cases, is absolutely not. However, there are numerous things to consider, not to mention the need to consult with a qualified professional to get an opinion of whether or not a 401k loan makes sense based upon your own alternatives and situation. This resource was designed to explain the process and provide information that might help you.
Where 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.
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.
Spousal IRA
Definition and benefits of a spousal IRA.
Understanding the 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 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.
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?
What Is Asset Correlation?
Defining what it means when assets are correlated or noncorrelated.
Pros and Cons of Self-Employed Retirement Plans
The pros and cons of various retirement plans for the self-employed.
Who Should Not 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.
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.
Benefits of an IRA Rollover
An IRA rollover is an effective way to simplify your retirement planning while giving you more investment choices and extending your tax deferral.
How to Plan for Retirement as a Couple
Are you and your spouse planning for the same retirement? Discussing retirement as a couple can help you plan for a shared ideal future.
What is a Primary Beneficiary?
A primary beneficiary is a person or entity designated as the first in line to inherit an asset.
Taking Advantage of Substantially Equal...
An overview of Substantially Equal Periodic Payments, or SEPPs, that includes the rules for withdrawals, how to calculate withdrawals and the benefits of SEPP.
Should I Pay Off My Debt Before Saving for...
Should you even consider saving for retirement if you have credit card debt? Get the answer to a frequently asked question: Save or get out of debt?
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.
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.
2014 Limits for Defined Contribution Plans
Find out how much you can put into your defined contribution plan (aka Keogh) in 2014.
Will You Be Able to Deduct Your Medical...
You may not realize that some of your medical expenses are tax deductible. Save those receipts!
Social Security - How Delaying Your Retirement...
Delaying Social Security benefits beyond your normal retirement date increases your monthly payments. Understand how the Social Security Administration will calculate your benefits.
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.
401(k) Loan Pros and Cons
The pros, cons and facts you need to know before considering a 401(k) loan.
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.
COLA – Social Security and Cost of Living...
One of the most valuable parts of your Social Security benefit is your cost-of-living-adjustment (COLA). It is the Social Security COLA that allows for protection from inflation over the long-term.
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.
Should You Have a Mortgage During Retirement?
The lure of a mortgage-free retirement is attractive. Learn the considerations for eliminating what's likely to be your largest bill in retirement.
How Index Funds Work
Index mutual funds offer a low-cost, tax-efficient way to invest in broad segments of the market. They also tend to outperform the competition. Here's why.
Tax-Deferred
Definition of tax-deferred growth available through many qualified retirement plans
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?
How to Be a Better Retirement Investor
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.
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.
Revocable Living Trust - Avoiding Probate Using...
While it's important to have a will, a revocable living trust is often more meaningful in assuring that your affairs go smoothly and as you planned after you pass on. Learn about the advantages of a revocable living trust.
Money Purchase Plan
Definition of a money purchase pension plan.
SEP IRA
Small-business owners who want a simple retirement plan that will give them the largest possible contribution limits may find a SEP IRA worth a look.
Saving For Retirement With Help - The Saver's...
An often overlooked tax credit, the Retirement Saver's Credit could help you save for retirement with help from the government. Are you eligible?
Simple IRA Rollovers – Not So Simple
Despite its name, the Simple IRA does not provide for a simple rollover. Make sure you know what you need to do if you decide to rollover your Simple IRA.
What is the Thrift Savings Plan for Federal...
An overview of the Thrift Savings Plan for Federal Employees, or TSP..
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.
What is a 403(b) Plan?
Overview of 403(b) plans
Help! The Market Is Down
When the market takes a dive, it's normal to get a little worried. But should you act on that worry? Here's what to consider when the stock market goes down.
Best Places to 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.).
Last-Minute Retirement Planning
How to plan for a retirement that's a few years away.
No, You Are Not Too Young for an IRA
If you can read this, it's not too early to start saving for retirement. The sooner you start, the wealthier you can be.
Vesting
Understand vesting and vesting schedules for employer-sponsored retirement plans.
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.
Retirement Plan Custodians
What a retirement plan custodian is and how it helps protect your funds.
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.
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?
Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust –...
An irrevocable life insurance trust (ILIT) is an important estate planning document for individuals meeting certain criteria. Learn the relative advantages and disadvantages of an irrevocable life insurance trust including potential estate tax savings and the forfeiture of future flexibility.
Mutual Funds and Retirement Investing
Mutual funds are the primary workhorses of most investors' retirement plans. Investing in mutual funds can be a quick and relatively inexpensive way to build a diverse portfolio of stocks and bonds, with the added benefit of professional management.
IRA Rollovers – How to Roll Over an IRA
An IRA Rollover is a tax-free method to move your retirement account money from either a workplace retirement account or IRA to another IRA. Here are the steps required to roll over an IRA:
Advantages of Tax Free Plans
Learn how a tax free plan can lower your future taxes, potentially significantly.

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