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1
Your Financial Advisor: Friend or Foe
2
A Couple of Year-End Roth IRA Strategies
3
Further Note on Roth IRA Recharacterization/Conversion
4
2008 Year-end Income Tax Planning
5
A Trillion Here, A Trillion There….

Your Financial Advisor: Friend or Foe

Image by: Leo Reynolds

Image by: Leo Reynolds

The volatile market of 2008 highlights the importance of focusing on controllable variables. A basic factor investors often overlook is the value added by their financial advisor. Here are five questions to ask your financial professional:

1. What education does your advisor possess?

Insurance representatives, annuities salespeople and stockbrokers all refer to themselves as “financial advisors.” Are these individuals qualified to provide objective, comprehensive financial advice and act in their clients’ best interest? While these salespeople are well equipped to illustrate how their particular product is appropriate for any given client, they may not have the …

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A Couple of Year-End Roth IRA Strategies

With stock market indices down 30% or more from their January 1st levels, most investors are battered, bruised, and hoping for happier times. In the midst of a generally depressed stock market, there are still a couple of clever ways to make the most of a bad situation using a Roth IRA.

Roth Conversion
If your Traditional IRA account balance has been walloped by the vagaries of this year’s market and you intend to keep it invested in stocks or stock mutual funds, now is a good time to consider doing a conversion (or partial conversion) of the funds into …

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Further Note on Roth IRA Recharacterization/Conversion

In my earlier post on Roth IRA conversions, I noted that if you converted an IRA into a Roth earlier this year it may make sense to recharacterize the funds if the value of your account has slumped and you still owe taxes on the earlier, larger conversion amount. I also stated that you can’t go back this year and do another conversion. However, I realized that there is a way to sort of do a conversion/recharacterization/reconversion.

If you do a partial conversion of an IRA and later recharacterize it, you can do another partial conversion of different funds …

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2008 Year-end Income Tax Planning

As 2008 draws to a close, take some time to consider what you can do before year-end to reduce your income tax bill.

In late November, a financial planner’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of…minimizing taxes.  Actually, I’m thinking about Thanksgiving too, but while there’s still time to act, it’s wise to spend a little time thinking creatively about managing your tax liabilities.

This year, end-of-the-year strategies are trickier, as no one can say for sure whether income taxes will increase significantly in 2009 under a new presidential administration.  In the midst of recession, it’s becoming less likely that taxes

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A Trillion Here, A Trillion There….

A Trillion Here, A Trillion There...Bloomberg.com has toted up all the Federal commitments made to date to stabilize the markets and the figure, if correct, is staggering: $7.76 trillion.

The late Sen. Everett Dirksen would be livid if he were around, even though Dirksen probably didn’t make the remark most often attributed to him.  But we’re definitely talking real money:  $7.76 trillion is about half of the US annual Gross Domestic Product.

The full amount hasn’t actually been spent; rather, this is the total of all the guarantees, asset buybacks, and equity purchases made by various government agencies over the past year.  The Federal …

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