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2009 Stimulus Bill – Tax benefits
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Increased Volatility
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Are you an owner or a lender?
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The Most Important Step to Getting Rich
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What if Your Employer Drops its 401(k) Match?

2009 Stimulus Bill – Tax benefits

CCH has published a summary of the 2009 Stimulus bill that President Obama is scheduled to sign Tuesday, February 17th.  Significant items include:

  • Making Work Pay: For 2009 and 2010, $400 per person tax credit for AGI under $75,000; phased out to $95,000 (double everything for married filing jointly).
  • One-time $250 payment to Social Security and other fixed income recipients.
  • AMT patch for 2009: increase AMT exemption amount from 2008 levels by $500 per person or $1,000 per couple. (Comment: this should have been separate legislation and didn’t need to be part of the Stimulus bill)
  • First-time home
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    Increased Volatility

    030 - Volatility Index
    Unfortunately, most individuals who have assets to invest are hesitant during this market pullback and many individuals who see this market lull as a buying opportunity don’t have funds to invest. This is a common scenario during periods of increased market volatility, and often stretches out the duration of stagnant equity markets.

    How volatile is this investment environment? As measured by the S&P 500, the market moved more than 3 percent in either direction during a single day only once between 2004 and 2007. By comparison, the market moved at least 3 percent in one day 40 times in 2008, …

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    Are you an owner or a lender?

    Last year, one of my clients asked me this question. He was well-educated, but had simply never had an occasion to learn how investments work. It struck me at that moment that if he didn’t know, then plenty of other people probably don’t, so I decided to prepare a short introduction to the topic.

    Simple questions don’t always have simple answers, and a complete answer to this question would not be simple. But here is a simple description of the basic difference between stocks and bonds:

    If you own a stock, you are one of the owners of the business

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    The Most Important Step to Getting Rich

    012 - Rich Girl with Cash

    Photo by: Patterned

    Creating wealth is a long process, but it begins with one easy step. Before paying any bills, write yourself a check for as little as $25. If you do only one thing, this is more likely to make you wealthy than anything else. Paying yourself first is popular advice because it’s the most important step to becoming financially independent.

    This is very powerful, but it’s often overlooked because it’s so simple. Most people save whatever is leftover each month but this never works. Rarely is there anything left to save after paying the bills. It’s human nature …

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    What if Your Employer Drops its 401(k) Match?

    What do FedEx, General Motors, Frontier Airlines, Eastman Kodak, Motorola, Sears and Unisys all have in common? All have announced plans to cut costs by suspending their matching contributions to employee 401(k) plans. Even Starbucks has announced that it may drop its 401(k) match in 2009.

    Employee benefits firm Watson Wyatt Worldwide reported the results of a survey that asked companies about plans for a variety of cost-cutting moves.  3% reported that they had reduced their defined-contribution match as of last month, while 7% reported plans to do so this year. Emily Brandon, at the Planning to Retire Blog,

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