Articles Posted in Investments

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Ira Account Inheritance

The answer to that question depends on whether you inherited the IRA account from your spouse or someone other than your spouse, such as your parent, sibling, or close friend.  You have more options if you inherited the IRA account from your spouse.

If you inherited an IRA from your spouse, you can:

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AdobeStock_16747416-300x221Many employers provide 401k plans for their employees.  A 401k plan is a retirement savings plan where employees can save a portion of their pre-tax earnings. Taxes aren’t paid on the money until it is withdrawn from the account.

Some, but not all, 401k plans permit employees to take out a loan against the 401k. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.  Here are the main things to consider before you take a loan against your 401k account.

Loans against 401k accounts come with all of the same formality as any other type of loan. There will be a loan agreement that sets forth the terms of the loan, the interest rate, and any fees associated with the transaction. Just because you are borrowing your own money, don’t assume you will get a great deal on the interest rate. The interest rate you will be charged will be comparable to the rate a conventional lender would charge for a similar-sized personal loan.  If you have poor credit, however, you may get a better interest rate than you would at a bank.

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AdobeStock_78797750-300x199It’s your money.  You worked hard to earn it. It’s taken years to save it. Now you need to protect it. Here are some tips to help you make more informed investment choices and protect yourself from investment scams.

  1. Check out the “salesperson.” Just because someone says they have a securities license doesn’t mean it’s true. We recently had a potential client call with a complaint about his “stockbroker” who we quickly discovered hasn’t been licensed since the 1990’s. Checking out purported stockbrokers is easy and free at FINRA’s BrokerCheck site. In addition to information about the securities licenses the individual has, it will show you his or her employment history, if he or she has ever filed for bankruptcy, and any customer complaints or charges by securities regulators.
  1. Don’t believe promises of little or no risk with high returns. The higher the returns, the riskier the investment. Period. 
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The financial industry is highly regulated, and for good reason.   People entrust their stockbrokers and financial planners with some of the most important decisions in their lives, namely, what to do with their hard earned life savings.  Money is important, and especially for the elderly and retired, it cannot always be replaced.   If money is lost in bad investments, there might not be time to earn more money back.

When brokers and planners go bad.

And let’s face it, some brokers go bad.   Sometimes, brokers steal money from their clients. Sometimes, brokers make foolish or unwise recommendations.  The broker might do this because he or she is struggling to meet a sales quota, or maybe he or she is just no good at his or her job.

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What Does it Mean to Trade Stock Options?

Options are complex investments and can carry substantial risk. Before you decide to trade options, you should understand the basics. Options can be used with a wide range of financial products.  This blog will focus on the most vanilla of examples, trading stock options.

What are Options?

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Securities Fraud Lawyer Explains: Equity Compensation is Not Just for CEOs Anymore

Equity compensation, also known as a stock award, is a form of non-cash compensation that represents ownership in a company.  If the company does well and the value of its stock goes up, the future value of the stock award could be higher than if the employee was given cash today.  Equity compensation is one way for a company to attract or retain talent without having to pay out large salaries.

The popularity of equity compensation for rank-and-file employees, especially among cash-strapped start-up companies, is on the rise.  According to a study done in 2010 by the National Center for Employee Ownership, 28 million employees in the U.S. owned stock or stock options in their companies.  The most common types of equity compensation are stock options and restricted stock units (RSUs).

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When Selling Municipal Bonds What are the Broker’s Obligations

Many brokers and customers mistakenly believe that municipal bonds are always a “safe” place to be.  The recent debacle in Puerto Rico proves this is not the case.

The law imposes special obligations upon brokers who sell municipal bonds.

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Helping Families of Kids With Special Needs Save for the Future  – ABLE Plans

Starting July 1, Florida families with children who have special needs will have another option available to help them save for the future costs of caring for their loved one.  Florida’s ABLE United Program is one of four such plans nationwide.  The ABLE (Achieving a Better Life Act) investment plan will allow families to save tax-free for future expenses, while maintaining government benefits such as Supplemental Security Income and Medicaid.

Who is eligible for a Florida ABLE United Program account?

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Brokerage account statements can be lengthy and complicated.  Having a basic idea of what you are looking at, however, can help you spot mistakes, unauthorized activity, and even fraud. Here are the key types of information generally found on monthly account statements and some potential red flags that warrant follow-up with your brokerage firm.

General Appearance

Account statements should look professional and not look altered in any way.  The brokerage firm’s information and logo should be uniform throughout the statement and should match all of the other documentation you have received from the company – trade confirmations, new account forms, and correspondence.