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What are bond ratings?

Bond ratings are an essential tool when considering fixed-income investments. Ratings provide a professional assessment of credit risk, or the risk of default, which can be measured to some degree by analyzing the bond issuer's financial condition and creditworthiness.

Converting Retirement Savings to Retirement Income

You've been saving diligently for years, and now it's time to think about how to convert the money in your traditional 401(k)s (or similar workplace savings plans) into retirement income. But hold on, not so fast. You may need to take a few steps first.

Evaluate your needs

What to Ask When Your Adult Child Moves Home

Facing heavy college debt burdens and an unpredictable job market, many young adults today are returning home to live with their parents. In fact, according to a recent study by the Pew Research Center, more than 32 percent of young adults lived with their parents in 2014—more than lived alone or with a spouse or partner.

 

401(k) Withdrawals: Beware the Penalty Tax

You've probably heard that if you withdraw taxable amounts from your 401(k) or 403(b) plan before age 59½, you may be socked with a 10% early distribution penalty tax on top of the federal income taxes you'll be required to pay. But did you know that the Internal Revenue Code contains quite a few exceptions that allow you to take penalty-free withdrawals before age 59½?

Sometimes age 59½ is really age 55...or age 50

Encouraging a Culture of Philanthropy in your Business

As a business owner, you are committed to serving the needs of many different stakeholders, including your customers/clients, business partners and investors, employees, vendors, and family members. And like many business owners, you may also be highly motivated to have an impact on the "greater good." The benefits of giving back are both tangible and intangible, but where do you begin? Start by fostering a culture of philanthropy within your business.

Understand the "triple bottom line" approach

Investments that Make an Impact

Socially responsible investing (SRI) has come to represent various investment strategies that favor companies with business practices generally viewed as socially responsible, ethical, and/or sustainable.

Overall, investor interest in SRI has been gaining momentum. In fact, the number of investment funds incorporating ESG (environmental, social, and governance) factors has increased 12% in the last two years alone, from 894 in 2014 to 1,002 in 2016. These 1,002 funds represent $2.6 trillion in net assets.1

What is SRI?

To Pay or Not to Pay: How to Survive a Ransomware Attack

Imagine this: You open an e-mail that seems to come from Google, prompting you to click a link to reset your password. But when you click, a mysterious .exe file downloads and launches. Slowly, all the files on your desktop turn into white paper icons, and the names of all your files turn into scrambled nonsense.

What is happening here? Unfortunately, you’ve probably fallen victim to a ransomware attack.

The threat defined

Tax Tips for the Self-Employed

Being self-employed has many advantages — the opportunity to be your own boss and come and go as you please, for example. However, it also comes with unique challenges, especially when it comes to how to handle taxes. Whether you're running your own business or thinking about starting one, you'll want to be aware of the specific tax rules and opportunities that apply to you.

Understand the self-employment tax

Quiz: How Much do you Know about Social Security Retirement Benefits?

Social Security is an important source of retirement income for millions of Americans, but how much do you know about this program? Test your knowledge, and learn more about your retirement benefits, by answering the following questions.

Questions

1. Do you have to be retired to collect Social Security retirement benefits?

a. Yes

b. No

2. How much is the average monthly Social Security benefit for a retired worker?

a. $1,360

b. $1,493

c. $1,585

d. $1,723

529 college savings plan

529 college savings plan

A 529 college savings plan is one of the best vehicles for multigenerational college funding. 529 plans are offered by states and managed by financial institutions. Grandparents can open a 529 account on their own — either with their own state's plan or another state's plan — and name their grandchild as beneficiary (one grandchild per account), or they can contribute to an existing 529 account that has already been established for that grandchild (for example, by a parent).