Are You an Irrational Investor? Here’s How to Tell

Too many of us are irrational investors. Acceptance of this fact and understanding the roots of our irrationality are the keys to better investing. First, the facts. Many studies show that a lot of investor money moves in and out of stock funds at the wrong time, often buying high and selling low. For example, at the height of the 2007 stock market bubble, investors were pouring money into stock mutual funds. After the 2008 plunge, however, those same investors took their …

8 Year-End Tax Moves to Make Now

As we enter the home stretch of 2014, it’s time to consider some tax moves. Here are a few you might want to consider: Give to charity. For those who itemize, making a charitable contribution could lower your taxes. Rather than just giving cash, consider giving your most highly appreciated securities. You usually will get a deduction equal to the full value of the securities and will not have to pay a capital gains tax. Max out your 401(k). Those over …

The $64,000 Question: Where Did My Retirement Savings Go?

Investment advice should be free of conflicts of interest The way Americans save for retirement has changed drastically over the past few decades. Thirty years ago, the typical worker had a pension through his or her job. Today, if workers have a retirement plan at all, it is likely a 401(k) or IRA. Why does this matter? Because now more than ever, individuals must make the complicated decisions about financial security in retirement: what to invest in, how much, how to …

Add Adjusting Your 401(k) to End-of-Summer Plans

Now that we’re past the midyear of 2014, it’s a great time to review your retirement savings plan to make sure you’re on track. If you’re not contributing enough or haven’t rebalanced your portfolio since George W. Bush was in office, you have the remainder of the year to make some adjustments. You probably already know that you can sock away as much as $23,000, which includes $5,500 in catch-up contributions for people 50-plus, in your 401(k) plan. However, if you’re using …

It’s August, So It Must Be Make-a-Will Month

So August is National Make-a-Will Month. Who knew? Getting a will isn’t the most pleasant of tasks, and consequently, too few people do it. A recent survey of more than 2,000 people by the online legal service Rocket Lawyer found that 64 percent don’t have wills. The biggest reason cited by folks: They just never got around to it. Some said they didn’t want to think about death. You might believe that only wealthier families need a will. You’d be …

Is Rising Mortgage Debt Threatening Retirements?

Older Americans are carrying more mortgage debt and have accumulated less home equity than their peers a decade earlier, according to a report by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The median mortgage debt for those age 65 and older rose 82 percent to $79,000 from 2001 to 2011, according to the agency. And though delinquencies and foreclosures have decreased since 2012, they had increased fivefold between 2007 and 2011 among older homeowners, the CFPB reports. “A home can be a place of …