Plan ahead. Work hard. Retire young.
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  • Passbook Savings Accounts

    A passbook savings account is simply a savings account in which deposits and withdrawals are recorded in the depositor's passbook. In other words, this is how savings accounts were done in the dark ages before online banking and internet savings accounts! The bank customer would use the passbook to keep a running statement of all credits and debits to his account, including deposits, withdrawals, and interest.

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  • Is Gold A Good Investment?

    If you listen to talk radio, you've no doubt heard that you should be investing in gold. If you're the cautious type, you might also have noticed that the people who tell you that, tend to have a lot of advertisements for places that sell gold. So are they just BSing you to sell ads, or is gold a good investment?

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  • Trading Shares

    So you've decided to get into internet share trading! Congratulations! Now it's time for some tips to help make this a profitable experience rather than a depressing one.

    It cannot be stressed enough that before you begin trading shares directly, you need to understand exactly what's going on. You should be confident that you know exactly how to place an order and what will happen when you do. Fortunately, this is no longer particularly difficult, as many places offer you the opportunity to trade shares online, complete with detailed documentation on how to do so.

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  • Internet Share Trading

    With traditional stock trading, the average investor would tell his broker what he wanted and the broker would place the actual trade. As you can imagine, this was slow, inconvenient, and expensive. Internet share trading is a great advancement because it allows you to arrange your own trades quickly, easily, and cheaply. It can also be dangerous for that same reason: the ease of trading can tempt people to make too many trades for their own good. While there are certainly people who get rich off of day trading, many more lose money - so be careful!

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  • Annuity Investment: Does It Make Sense For You?

    These days a lot of people are interested in adding an annuity investment to their portfolios. We previously discussed how annuities work; today we'll talk more about deciding if an annuity is right for you.

    Annuities are similar to whole life insurance (which we never recommend) in that they mix an investment with an insurance component. Normally we recommend keeping the two separate - buy your insurance where it makes the most sense and invest your money where it makes the most sense. However, we're normally concerned with insuring health or property. Annuities are something different - they insure against longevity.

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  • Tax Evasion vs Tax Avoidance

    As the old joke goes, what's the difference between tax avoidance and tax evasion? About twenty years.

    Tax avoidance is (legally) reducing the amount you owe in taxes. Tax evasion is (illegally) paying less than you owe in taxes. Someone avoiding taxes might use a tax shelter such as a retirement account. Someone evading taxes might need a swiss bank account. Clear enough?

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  • Retirement Savings and Taxes: Protecting Your Assets

    One of the major considerations in deciding how to allocate your retirement funds is the tax treatment each retirement vehicle receives. Which tax treatment is best for you depends on a number of factors, but it basically boils down to one question: is it more important to not be taxed now, or to not be taxed later?

    Tax-advantaged retirement plans generally fall into one of two categories. Either you are allowed to invest with pre-tax dollars, or you don't pay taxes on the earnings. Let's take a look at the advantages of each.

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  • Tax Free Municipal Bonds

    Municipal bonds, also known as munis, are a popular savings vehicle due to their tax-advantaged status: the interest on them is exempt from federal (and generally state) taxes. However, if you buy a bond issued in a different state than the one you live in, you will likely lose the state tax exemption. Read on to see if you should have some municipal bonds in your retirement portfolio.

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  • Annuities Explained

    One popular option for retirement savings these days is an annuity. There are several types, but they all have one thing in common: you're putting money down now to buy a promise from the insurance company to make regular payments to you at some point in the future. Annuities provide guaranteed income for either a fixed period or for the life of the policyholder. Read the rest of this entry »

  • Internet Savings Accounts

    These days, most of the big banks seem to be pushing internet banking, and why not? It saves them a lot of money to have you doing things online, so they don't have to pay for real estate, tellers, etc. That said, internet banking is a great thing for the average person as well; not only is it a huge timesaver, but in many cases you can get a higher interest rate from online-only banks than you can with the standard B&M (brick and mortar) banks. Read the rest of this entry »