Expect 2019’s market ride to be stressful

By: Stan Choe

No matter which way the stock market goes in 2019 — and Wall Street has ample arguments for either direction — expect it to be another gut-wrenching ride. The market is facing a long list of challenges this year, from expectations for slower economic growth around the world to the restraining effect of rising interest rates. And the global trade war is still creating uncertainty as... READ MORE

IRA contribution limits are higher in 2019

By: Kimberly Lankford

How much can I contribute to my IRA and 401(k) in 2019? What are the income limits to qualify for a Roth? Answer: You’ll be able to contribute slightly more to your retirement savings in 2019. The contribution limit for a 401(k), 403(b), 457 plan or the federal government’s Thrift Savings Plan rises from $18,500 to $19,000 in 2019. You can continue to contribute an extra $6,000 if... READ MORE

To itemize or not is the question for 2018

By: Tina Orem

As the new year begins and taxpayers contemplate another round of 1040s, many are pondering The Big Question: Do I take the standard deduction or spend time hunting for receipts and filling out extra forms to itemize? The decision largely boils down to whether itemizing will reduce your taxable income more than the flat, no-questions-asked standard deduction will, thus saving you... READ MORE

Companies pay investors record dividends

By: Stan Choe

It pays more than ever to be an investor. U.S. companies sent a record amount of cash to their shareholders as dividends in 2018, as their profits continued to pile higher. The increase is key for shareholders, offering a bit of stability in what was a stomach-churning year for the stock market. The S&P 500 index twice plunged by 10 percent, and by Dec. 17 had lost 150 points for the ... READ MORE

Play defense: add utilities to your portfolio

By: Ryan Ermey

Since the bull market began in 2009, shares in utilities — water, gas and power providers — have lagged Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index. But recent rockiness in the stock market bodes well for the traditionally defensive utilities sector. From the S&P 500’s peak in late September to mid-December, the index surrendered 13.1 percent, including dividends. But shares in... READ MORE

Five mistakes not to make with annuities

By: Abigail Havermann

Recently, we learned an elderly client had unexpectedly cashed out of an annuity that was part of her portfolio, and moved her money to another product. In the process, she accepted a $13,000 surrender charge, increased the amount of time her funds will be tied up with a different annuity, and guaranteed herself a lower rate of return. When I called her, she said an insurance agent had... READ MORE