Smart401k Blog

  • Retirement Expenses: Health Care Costs & Medicare

    Most people plan for retirement housing and activities but don't spend enough time thinking about healthcare expenses. Healthcare costs will represent a significant portion of the savings you will need for retirement.
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  • Using the Recession to Talk to Your Kids About Money

    Since I began writing about "money and kids" the recession has continued to work its way through the lives of many families, ultimately shaping the perception that kids may have about money.
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  • What/Who is a Fiduciary?

    You hear the term thrown around in the media a lot, but I haven't seen many take the time to explore what the word fiduciary means and who can be a fiduciary.
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  • I spent how much??? On what??? My $10,000 Wakeup Call

    I spent almost $2,500 on cable and movies in 2008! Finally, something motivated me to evaluate how I spend money. It's been something I'd wanted to do since purchasing my first home a couple years ago. Unfortunately, I let things like taking down wallpaper, repainting rooms, tearing out a couple walls, landscaping get in the way.
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  • Bull vs Bear and Why My Head Hurts

    Listening to the talking heads each day has started to make my head hurt.  It's so easy to get caught up in the daily chatter of the markets and begin to think that you should be making drastic changes to your 401(k).  Is it a new bull market or a bear market rally?  It seems like on a daily basis, we can hear "convincing" arguments for both sides.  While the topic is important and relevant, I think it is a debate that most retirement investors should ignore.
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  • How Much Do I Need To Save for Retirement?

    You're stashing away money in your 401k account every month. You may even be contributing to a separate IRA account. Yet the question still nags at you: Am I saving enough for retirement? If you're asking that, don't worry, you're not alone. In fact, that is the most common question that we get here at Smart401k.
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  • How I evaluate your 401(k)s fund line-up

    As part of my role with Smart401k, I help small business owners evaluate and look for ways to improve the quality of their retirement plan. I try to ensure that they are fulfilling their fiduciary responsibility and meeting the requirements of their Investment Policy Statement. In the future I will cover several topics in this area. Today, I am going to focus on how I help employers build and/or improve their fund lineup.
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  • Short Selling... Bad or Good? You Decide

    Lately, short selling has been a hot topic for investors and the media. As with most hot topics, there are two opposing views. Some industry experts want to point the blame for a significant portion of the market woes we experienced in 2008 and 2009 on short sellers, while others say short sellers play an important role on stabilizing the market.
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  • Employees Want and Need Advice for Their 401(k)s

    I read as much as I possibly can and do my best to stay abreast of what's going on in the industry. Recently, two press releases have caught my attention. The first was from Charles Schwab and focused on a survey of young adults and the second was from Rep. Robert Andrews of the First Congressional District of New Jersey, who is the head of the House Subcommittee on Health, Employment Labor and Pensions. What caught my attention was that both focused on the need and desire for advice. Specifically, advice for employees who are investing in an employer sponsored retirement plan such as a 401(k) or the federal government's Thrift Savings Plan.
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  • Why Your 401(k) Changed its Funds

    Changes occur in 401(k) plans more than you might think. When a change happens it is supposed to reflect the best interest of the participants in the plan. There are several different types of changes that can be made, including: new share classes, elimination or addition of funds or switching to institutional funds. If a change is planned, your employer will send you a notification well in advance with the information you'll need to know regarding both what the change is and when it will occur. Below, you'll find a brief description of the changes mentioned above.
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  • What You Need to Know - Minimum Required Distributions

    There has been a lot of confusion concerning the recent rule changes for Minimum Required Distributions (MRD's) so I thought it would be good to provide you with more on information on MRDs, the recent rule changes and who it affects.
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  • What to do if Your Employer Eliminates its Retirement Plan Match

    The recent economic downturn has forced many companies to consider making spending cuts and as a result a growing number of firms have decided to suspend their retirement plan matching contributions. Since this is a growing trend, I thought I would take the time to go over what you can do if your company has or is in the process of suspending their matching contribution.
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  • How the Stimulus Package Impacts You

    Everyone is aware that the government has taken steps they believe will fuel the economy. But you might be wondering how these steps directly impact you? Below you will find a summary of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and how individuals, like us, will be directly affected.
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  • Managing the Transition from a 401(k) to Retirement

    Planning for retirement is a long process. Ideally, from the time you start your first job to your last day of employment, your goal is to build the biggest nest egg possible. Once you decide to hang it up though, life may suddenly transition from the daily grind to days of golf, traveling and anything else you dream of (we are still talking about the ideal situation here).
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  • Why I Continue to Believe in 401(k)s

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  • How Vesting Impacts You & Your Retirement Account

    In today's market, we are all hearing alot about employer-sponsored retirement plans and how they are impacted by factors such as layoffs. In the event that you leave or are separated from your employer, the amount of money that you take with you may be subject to the amount of time that you've been with that employer.
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  • Self-Directed Brokerage Accounts and Your 401(k)

    In our first quarter client newsletter, we mentioned that we are happy to help our clients with a self-directed brokerage account if the option is offered through their 401(k) plan, at no additional cost. We have received a good deal of feedback and questions, so I thought that this would be an appropriate blog article for the week.
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  • Fund Review - Greenspring Fund

    This week I thought I would take the time to discuss another one of my favorite funds, the Greenspring Fund. In the interest of disclosure, this fund is another of my personal holdings.
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  • Is Retirement Investing Really Like Gambling?

    Many of our clients understand the importance of developing and maintaining a long-term investment strategy. However, there are also those who approach retirement planning as if they were in Vegas- looking to make some easy money, but quick to pull out if they hit a losing streak.
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  • Change Your 401(k)s Behavior with a Time-Out

    My son is approaching the end of his "terrible twos." He's actually been quite good during this timeframe; especially after he learned to talk (it helped end some frustration on his part). Every once in a while, when tempers flare or he pushes the edges of acceptable behavior, we give him a time-out. It's amazing the transformation that occurs; by the end of two or three minutes, he is back to his usual good-natured self.
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