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A woman calculating her Roth IRA conversion ladder

How a Roth IRA Conversion Ladder Works

A Roth conversion ladder can be a smart strategy that allows you to move funds gradually from one account (traditional IRA) to another (Roth IRA) without triggering any tax penalties. This conversion takes place over several years, and is carefully planned out in advance. In simpler terms: A Roth conversion ladder could let you bypass… Read more…

A couple calculates how much their real estate property has appreciated.

What Is Real Estate Appreciation?

Real estate appreciation refers to the gradual increase in the value of an owned property over time. This increase in value can occur due to various reasons, such as shifts in the real estate market, economic transformations or improvements made to the property itself. Appreciation is noteworthy, as it is one of the main ways… Read more…

A man explaining the succession plan for his family business to his son.
Estate Planning

How to Make a Succession Plan for a Family Business

Who takes over the reins of your family business when you step down is a critical question for the long-term success of the business. The issue becomes even more complex and sensitive when dealing with a family business where personal relationships and business dynamics intersect. As shown in studies conducted over several years, the majority… Read more…

A couple monitoring their personal pension plan funds.

What Is a Personal Pension Plan?

A personal pension plan is a type of long-term savings scheme where individuals contribute funds that are invested to provide income upon retirement. Unlike workplace pensions, personal pensions are managed by the individual, giving them full control over their retirement savings. It’s a powerful instrument to create a financial safety net for the future, ensuring… Read more…

Editor's Picks

CFA vs. CFP: Which Is Right for You?
Financial Advisor

CFA vs. CFP: Which Do You Need?

Chartered financial analyst (CFA) and certified financial planner (CFP) are common certifications for individuals working in finance, namely financial advisors. These are designed to tell a client (or employer) that the holder has received education in certain types of financial… Read more…

Wealth Management Firm

5 Tips for Choosing a Wealth Management Firm

Wealth management firms are all different, with their own specializations and services. As a result, the process for choosing a wealth manager is a very personal one. Wealth managers work closely together with their clients to identify financial goals and… 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…

Investment Property

Why First Homes Could Be Investment Properties

If you’re young and looking to purchase a new home to live in, you may want to consider turning it into an investment property. While most people wait until after they’ve bought their first or second home to begin investing in… Read more…

SmartAsset: Is Social Security Income Taxable?

Is Social Security Taxable?

Social Security income is generally taxable at the federal level, though whether or not you have to pay taxes on your Social Security benefits depends on your income level. If you have other sources of retirement income, such as a… Read more…

Data Articles and Studies

Orange toy house is sitting over coin stacks. Horizontal composition with selective focus and copy space. Real Estate and Insurance concept.
Data Studies

Where Real Estate Taxes Are Highest – 2023 Study

Whether an individual or family is just starting out as a first-time homebuyer, or retirees are paying off their retirement home, real estate taxes will be a required ongoing housing cost. This money is used to cover municipal costs, local infrastructure and other amenities. Local tax abatements and homestead exemptions may help homeowners with some… Read more…

Full length side view of thoughtful mature man relaxing on armchair at home
Data Studies

Number of People Living Alone Surges Across U.S. Cities – 2023 Study

When family and social dynamics change, it affects more than just culture. Business, government and society as a whole cater specifically to the needs and values of American households. Family values and attributes may also influence birth rate and population growth trends. Ultimately, emerging trends within American households live far beyond the four walls of… Read more…

An African American male college professor gestures while giving a lecture to a group of college students.
Data Studies

Best Community Colleges for 2023

After community college enrollments plummeted during the Covid-19 pandemic, attendance at two-year public colleges started to rebound in spring 2023. Enrollments ticked up 0.5%, according to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, marking the first time in years that community colleges saw even modest growth.  To find the best community colleges in the country, SmartAsset… Read more…

Data Studies

2024 Housing Market Projections: Where Prices Could Grow Most

Amid interest rate volatility over the last few years, the housing market “locked in” some homeowners with historically low rates, while pricing out others. Even though no one can predict the future, it is possible to forecast the trajectories of housing markets at the local level using relevant data. Such models can help inform potential… Read more…

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