Smart401k Blog

  • Year-End 401(k) Documentation You Should Receive

    Now that 2008 has come to a close you should be expecting to receive a few things in regards to your 401(k) or other qualified plan. The first thing you should watch for is your year-end statement. At the very least, every 401(k) plan is required to send out one paper statement, and this will likely be your year-end statement. These statements are usually generated by the middle of the month so you should except to receive yours by the end of January. (This is also a great time to update all contact information and verify your address with your 401(k) provider).
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  • Economic Crisis (Post 3) - Credit Derivatives

    In my first post on the economic crisis, I reviewed the players involved and the effect lax lending standards had on the real estate market. In my second post on the crisis, I introduced the idea of a mortgage backed security and talked about their effect on the balance sheets of individuals and corporations.
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  • Give Your Kids An Edge - Teach Them About Money Early In Life (Post 2)

    Last time, I discussed my plan for teaching my son about money through age 10. This post will discuss my thoughts about how to approach the most challenging group - teenagers.
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  • How to Offset Capital Gains - Tax Loss Harvesting

    In my previous article, I discussed capital gains. For this article, I thought I would take the time to discuss a topic know as tax loss harvesting. Tax loss harvesting is selling securities at a loss to offset capital gains. Loss harvesting is typically used to offset short term capital gains which are taxed at your ordinary income tax rate. Knowing when and how to use tax loss harvesting is an important part of tax planning strategy for any taxable account you may have.
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  • Is Your 401k’s Brokerage Option Right For You?

    Designing a retirement plan can be a very challenging task for an employer, as no two employees are exactly alike when it comes to investment knowledge and experience. Studies have shown that many employees feel overwhelmed if too many investment options are available in a retirement plan. On the other hand, some are experienced investors who prefer having a large number of investment options.
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  • 5 Ways to Tame Investing Fears

    This post is part of Smart401k CEO Scott Hollsopple’s contribution to the U.S. News & World Report Smarter Investor blog series. Original post date May 21, 2013 Investing FearsTruly good horror stories are able to blend tension and fear in a sustained pattern. The best spine-chillers build terror rather than springing it on us; the writer weaves a tale that leaves us with a feeling of constant anxiety.
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  • Should You Put Your 401k Investing on Autopilot?

    Whether you travel regularly for business or just take the occasional vacation, chances are you’ve had reason to travel by airplane. If you’re anything like me, flying goes something like this: You find your seat, shove your carry-on wherever it will fit and begin the painful process of trying to get comfortable. Whether napping, listening to music (aka blocking out your neighbor), or skimming the in-flight magazine, few give a second thought to the fact that they are zipping through the sky 30,000 feet above the ground in a giant metal tube. No matter how you look at it, that is both incredible and frightening. We put our lives in the hands of pilots who, often relying on an autopilot system, get us safely to our destination.
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  • Retirement Planning Myths Busted

    This post is part of Smart401k CEO Scott Hollsopple’s contribution to the U.S. News & World Report Smarter Investor blog series. Original post date June 11, 2013 Out on the golf course, I've overheard some of the game’s greatest myths.
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  • Your Retirement Plans Can't Ignore Inflation

    This post is part of Smart401k CEO Scott Hollsopple’s contribution to the U.S. News & World Report Smarter Investor blog series. Original post date June 4, 2013 Inflation in RetirementYou can’t afford to ignore inflation. If you stick your head in the sand on this one, you’re basically sabotaging your own nest egg.
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  • 7 Twitter Users Every 401(k) Investor Should Follow

    I know what you’re thinking. Why should I spend my time reading tweets about what people ate for dinner or their opinion on current news-making events? It’s a justifiable question to ask, but Twitter, like many things is what you make of it. Following the right people or entities on Twitter can transform the site from a time waster into a powerful news aggregator that can educate and inform of the important news, statistics and information on 401k investing and retirement planning.
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  • Don't Abandon Bonds Just Yet

    This post is part of Smart401k CEO Scott Hollsopple’s contribution to the U.S. News & World Report Smarter Investor blog series. Original post date July 23, 2013 Whenever there’s talk of interest rate increases, conversations about bond values aren't too far behind. With all you've been hearing about bonds in the news recently, now’s a great time to review what bonds are, what role they play in 401(k) investing — and why they should still be a part of your retirement plan.
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  • 3 Ways You Aren't Making the Most of Your 401(k)

    This post is part of Smart401k CEO Scott Hollsopple’s contribution to the U.S. News & World Report Smarter Investor blog series. Original post date July 30, 2013 You kept hearing that your employer’s 401(k) plan is one of the best places to save for retirement. So you enrolled, and you've been contributing. But, for some reason, things aren't going the way you hoped. What could be wrong?
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  • Market Timing with Your Retirement Investments – A Wonderfully Horrible Idea

    There are people out there who seem to have money to play with – money they can afford to lose without destroying their long-term financial goals. You’ve seen some of these people on TV telling you how to react to the daily roller coaster ride that we call the market. Their commentary targets two distinct human emotions: fear and greed. These people are not you.
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  • Asset Allocation- Part of a Balanced Diet

    The lessons we learned at the dinner table about eating a balanced meal help to illustrate the proper use and importance of asset allocation in your retirement account.
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  • Retirement Contributions: Roth Versus Traditional

    If you’re caught in a no-man’s land somewhere between Roth and traditional contributions trying to figure out whether to pay taxes now or later, you’re not alone.
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  • What to Consider When Leveraging Your Home Equity for Retirement Savings

    The housing market has been a hot topic during the past several years, with mortgages and home valuation at the forefront of the conversation.
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  • Should You Have ETFs in Your Portfolio?

    New regulations require greater fee and expense transparency from employer-sponsored retirement plans such as 401(k)s.
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  • American Funds EuroPacific Growth Fund: A Review

    The economic issues facing these countries caused quite a bit of investor fear in 2011 and helped lead many international mutual funds to experience losses of 10% or more.
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  • Keep Your Hand Out of the 401(k) Cookie Jar

    If you frequent this blog or speak with any of our investment advisors, you know that at Smart401k, we’re not fans of 401(k) loans. They come with some pretty big negatives, such as the loss of compounded tax-deferred growth on the borrowed amount. Yet many plan participants still dip into the 401(k) loan “cookie jar.”
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  • Keep the Game Going With Portfolio Reallocation

    Different situations simply call for different combinations of assets for your 401(k) investments.
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