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Liz Smith

Liz Smith is a graduate of New York University and has been passionate about helping people make better financial decisions since her college days. Liz has been writing for SmartAsset for more than four years. Her areas of expertise include retirement, credit cards and savings. She also focuses on all money issues for millennials. Liz's articles have been featured across the web, including on AOL Finance, Business Insider and WNBC. The biggest personal finance mistake she sees people making: not contributing to retirement early in their careers.

Posts by Liz Smith

Does Employer Match Count Toward the 401(k) Limit?
Retirement

How the Employer Match Works With the 401(k) Limit

A 401(k) is an employer-sponsored, tax-advantaged retirement plan. You fund this account by contributing a set percentage of your paycheck into the account. One of the biggest perks of a 401(k) plan is that employers have the option to match your… read more…

SmartAsset: How to Take Money Out of a 401(k) Plan
Retirement

How to Take Money Out of a 401(k) Plan

Taking money out of a 401(k) is a big decision. The specifics of how to take money out of a 401(k) plan depend on your age, employer plan, whether you’re still working for the company that sponsors your 401(k) plan… read more…

401(k) vesting
Retirement

401(k) Vesting and What It Means for You

Any money that you put into your 401(k) is yours. But when it comes to employer match contributions, things work a little differently. To own any portion of your employer’s contributions, you’ll need to vest in your employer’s match contributions.… read more…

SmartAsset: What Are 401(k) Fees?
Retirement

Everything You Need to Know About 401(k) Fees

Since pensions have become less common, many Americans now rely on employer-sponsored, defined contribution plans like 401(k)s or 403(b)s to cover much of their retirement needs. In fact, the Investment Company Institute says that 401(k) plans held roughly $7.3 trillion… read more…

gift tax limit
Retirement

Gift Tax Limits: How Much Can You Gift?

For 2023, the annual gift tax exemption is $17,000, up from $16,000 in 2022. This means you can give up to $17,000 to as many people as you want in 2023 without any of it being subject to the federal… read more…

Revocable Living Trust
Retirement

What Is a Revocable Living Trust?

As you get older, there are two major things that you should consider. One is retirement. Having the necessary retirement savings and a financial plan will allow you to live the kind of life you want to live during your golden… read more…

What Is a Fee-Only Financial Planner?
Financial Advisor

What Is a Fee-Only Financial Planner?

If a financial planner, financial advisor or another type of financial professional is fee-only, that means they receive compensation solely from the fees clients pay for their services. They do not earn commissions for recommending certain products. A fee-only structure… read more…

What does ACH stand for in banking?
Checking Account

What Does ACH Stand for in Banking?

For most of us, sending bills and receiving paychecks by mail are things of the past. We shop online, enroll in direct deposit, pay our bills, and file taxes online. If you have ever wondered what facilitates all these digital… read more…

Retirement

All About Catch-Up Contributions

Catch-up contributions allow people age 50 or older to save more in their 401(k)s and individual retirement accounts (IRAs) than the usual annual contribution limits set by the IRS. The idea is to make up for the years you didn’t… read more…

Investment Banking: Definition, Types & More
Investing

Investment Banking: Definition, Types & More

Investment banking is a sect of the banking industry focused on raising capital for companies, governments and other entities. Investment banks are typically private companies, and they may underwrite debt and equity securities, assist with mergers and acquisitions, provide financial advisory… read more…

How to buy an engagement ring
Investing

How to Buy an Engagement Ring

It might seem easier to find a partner and plan a proposal than it is to buy the perfect engagement ring. In addition to being expensive, rings are seen as a symbol of love for your significant other and an… read more…

SmartAsset: What Is RSI?
Investing

What Is RSI?

Unlike investing, trading requires a very active approach within the investment market. Rather than buying and holding assets to build wealth over the course of many years, a trader frequently buys and sells stocks, commodities and other securities to achieve higher… read more…

How to Set Up a Trust Fund
Estate Planning

How to Set Up a Trust Fund

Setting up a trust fund is one of many ways you can transfer money, property, and other assets to your loved ones or worthwhile causes. Like a will, it’s an estate planning tool that outlines how your affairs should be… read more…

How to Buy a Domain Name
Investing

How to Buy a Domain Name

Nearly every business and organization has a website. Many individuals also choose to claim their own space on the internet. But before you build a website, you’ll need a domain name – a unique website address that people will type… read more…

bond ladder
Investing

How to Build and Manage a Bond Ladder

It’s no secret: investing can be intimidating, and many people just don’t like the idea of “gambling” with their hard-earned savings. Luckily, there are some simple investment strategies that provide a steady stream of income without exposing you to much risk. One such strategy is making a bond ladder. A financial advisor could help you… read more…

A rental property
Taxes

9 Rental Property Tax Deductions for Landlords

Being a landlord can significantly bolster your savings, but it’s also a lot of work. On top of the finances and responsibilities of your own living space, you have to find tenants, secure insurance and pay a mortgage and property taxes.… read more…

How Does Interest Work On a Savings Account?
Checking Account

How Does Interest Work on a Savings Account?

Most of us know that a savings account is a smart place to store money. Savings accounts have higher interest rates than checking accounts and, as such, help us earn more without sacrificing liquidity. And although they yield lower returns… read more…

Tennessee first-time home buyer programs
Mortgage

First-Time Home Buyer Programs in Tennessee

Between vibrant cities like Nashville and quiet towns deep in the Appalachians, Tennessee might have something for everyone. Life in the Volunteer State means steeping yourself in history, culture and natural beauty. Buying a home, however, is a big financial… read more…

Louisiana first-time home buyer programs
Mortgage

First-Time Home Buyer Programs in Louisiana

No matter where you hope to live in Louisiana, you’ll never be far from great music, delicious food and other exciting activities. Unfortunately, picking a mortgage is much harder than picking a neighborhood, but a first-time homebuyer program could help.… read more…

Missouri first-time home buyer programs
Mortgage

First-Time Home Buyer Programs in Missouri

With expansive plains, bustling river towns and below-average mortgage rates, we don’t blame you for wanting to plant your own roots in Missouri. The purchase of buying your first home can be intimidating, though. The federal and Missouri state governments… read more…

Nevada first-time home buyer programs
Mortgage

First-Time Homebuyer Programs in Nevada for 2024

Nevada has been of the fastest-growing states in the country over the past several years, which means a good amount of homebuyers looking to buy. But if getting a mortgage or paying a down payment is holding you back from… read more…

Idaho first-time home buyer programs
Mortgage

First-Time Home Buyer Programs in Idaho

Thanks to beautiful scenery, relatively affordable mortgage rates and robust economy, Idaho is an great destination for new homeowners. If you’re thinking about settling in the Gem State, check out first-time homebuyer programs from the the federal and Idaho state governments. There are down payment… read more…

Georgia first-time home buyer programs
Mortgage

First-Time Home Buyer Programs in Georgia

No matter where you hope to settle in Georgia, housing costs usually will be relatively affordable compared to many other states. Buying your first home can still be intimidating, of course. Georgia’s Department of Community Affairs and the federal government… read more…

Indiana first-time home buyer programs
Mortgage

First-Time Home Buyer Programs in Indiana

First-time homebuyers in Indiana can access a number of programs designed to help them buy a house. Some cater to low-income individuals with less-than-ideal credit scores. Others are designed specifically for public servants like firefighters and teachers. No matter what… read more…

Iowa first-time home buyer programs
Mortgage

First-Time Home Buyer Programs in Iowa for 2024

Purchasing your first home in the Hawkeye State can be intimidating and expensive. It will likely include financial situations and conversations you’ve never encountered before. Luckily, the federal and Iowa state governments have created first-time homebuyer programs just for borrowers… read more…