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E*Trade Securities Roth IRA Review

Can the investment brokerage with the baby on all of its commercials really be a great option to save for retirement?

Don't Waste Your Credit Card Cash Back

We are all familiar with the practice of deriving a return on our investments. Equally important is the practice of maximizing returns on our spending. In the United States, we are fortunate to enjoy a system where our credit card companies lure us in to be their customers by offering rewards on our spending. While some cards offer a marginal 1% cash back, others feature rates as high as 2% on all purchases and up to 5% on spending with specific categories of merchants.

What Happens If You Don’t Wait Five Years Before Withdrawal?

While a Roth IRA is an excellent retirement tool, there are many rules that have to be followed by investors. For example, you can only contribute $5,500 per year unless you are over the age of 50 years-old (when you can then invest up to $6,500 each year).

Another rule of Roth IRAs states that you cannot begin withdrawing earnings you’re your Roth IRA account until you are 59 ½ years-old although there are some exceptions to that rule for purchasing your first house or using the money for educational expenses.

The Importance of Tax Diversification in Retirement Planning

Tax deferral -- it’s one of the primary reasons people save money in tax sheltered retirement plans. Sure, we want to save money for retirement, but the ability to lower current taxable income in the process -- that’s too good to pass up. But tax deferral isn’t anything like being tax exempt, meaning escaping taxation altogether.

Back to School and Personal Finance Links

Across the country kids went back to school this week. Traffic bogged down as soccer Moms and school zones extended your commute time. During your extended commute time you might grab a personal finance podcast to keep up on the latest news and advice in this important area. 15 minutes of solid advice could change your life.

Looking for great personal finance articles?

Scottrade Roth IRA Review

If you are looking for a discount online brokerage to open up a new Roth IRA, Scottrade is a serious contender for your business. Scottrade gives you some of the lowest trading and investing costs available in the industry while also providing a wide array of investment options for you. Often times with low-cost firms you get low-cost service. Not so with this discount brokerage.

8 Worst Credit Card Mistakes

The credit card is probably the most popular financial instrument, but also the most misunderstood. Because the financial consequences of all of these mistakes can compound themselves, properly understanding and using credit cards can be one of the most important personal finance skills you can learn.

How to Use a Roth IRA to Avoid Paying Estate Taxes

Estate planning is a critical function of financial planning for individuals. While most people do not like to think about the end of their life, proper estate planning early in the financial planning process can ensure that your heirs are properly taken care of. There are many benefits to including a Roth IRA in your estate plan, and there are several characteristics that are available only to Roth IRAs that make these accounts ideal for investors who are planning their estates.

Will Roth IRA Withdrawals Be Taxed in the Future?

The U.S. Government's budget crisis has many people speculating that Roth IRA withdrawals might somehow be taxed in the future. Under current tax law, as long as the Roth IRA participant is at least 59 ½ years old and his plan has been established for at least five years, all withdrawals—including income earned on contributions—can be withdrawn income tax free.

Wild Market Ride and Personal Finance Links

We had quite the wild market this week. The markets dropped 5%, then regained most of what they lost, then turned around and gave it up, then gained it back, then finished somewhat flat. If you weren't ready with a long term financial plan the crazy market caused a lot of concern. If you have a long term plan, you were ready.

Use Automatic Payments to Retire Rich Without Knowing It

Saving money can be difficult, especially when it’s for a long term goal such as retirement. We do, after all, live in a consumer oriented culture where the motto often seems to be “buy or die”. The good folks in the media and marketing worlds do more than their fair share of bombarding us with messages designed to get us to sacrifice our hard earned money at the altar of the consumer gods. And can we be completely honest about something else? Buying feels good!

And how does saving money feel?

Would You Rather Have Airline Miles or Cash Back?

Those who always pay their credit card bills on time and in full are able to earn fantastic rewards from their credit card spending. The first reward credit cards were the ones that offered frequent flier miles. For a long time, these miles were incredibly valuable, allowing customers to simply redeem miles for almost any flight they wanted, even at the last minute.

Change Your Investment If You Contribute Too Much To Your Roth IRA

How closely do you track the amount of money you invest in your Roth IRA? Do you have multiple mutual funds that are designated as a Roth IRA? Have you recently received a pay raise that makes you ineligible to contribute to a Roth IRA? These are often things that we do not give too much thought to. Many investors have their retirement funds systematically drawn out of their bank accounts. But, there is also often a chance that you can contribute too much to a Roth as well. Do you know how to change your investments if you contribute too much to your Roth IRA?

Children's Education Versus Your Retirement: What Should You Choose?

Our financial lives are packed with tough choices. Buying a home, paying down a mortgage, getting out of credit card debt, saving for vehicles, planning out medical expenses, and the massive amount of money it is going to cost to send a child through higher education at the undergraduate level. Many couples find themselves sandwiched between taking care of aging parents while trying to provide an education for their children.

Taking a Long Term View and Personal Finance Links

Congress passed a debt ceiling crisis bill at the last second, but the financial markets have still reacted negatively. When the market drops 5% in a day, it is easy to panic. But pause to ask yourself this question: do I have a long term view? If you do, and you have a while for retirement, you should be excited about stocks becoming less expensive. You're getting an opportunity to buy at a lower cost for the future.

Should I Pay Off My Mortgage or Save for Retirement?

I have a saying, "If someone asks you if you want one thing or another, always choose both." Unfortunately, this advice is not always applicable. When a family is trying to decide the best vehicle invest their money, they are often presented with the choice of paying down their mortgage or saving for retirement.

The Difference Between Tax Deductions and Tax Credits

Everyone loves to save money on their taxes, but do you know which items will save you the most at tax time? Should you rack up tax deductions or focus on getting as many tax credits as possible?

What Is A Self-Directed Roth IRA?

Your investments in a Roth IRA do not have to be confined simply to the stock and bonds that the mutual fund companies recommend and purchase for you. A vast majority of those investing in a Roth IRA for retirement do so inside mutual funds. But what if you had control over your Roth IRA? What if you got to pick which stocks you invested in and when you bought shares?

What is a 403(b) Plan?

Many private sector employees are eligible to participate in their employer’s 401(k) plan, a retirement plan that includes the ability to defer federal and state income taxes on a significant portion of their income, receive a company match, borrow against the plan, and participate in a wide assortment of investment options.

Ministers, employees of non-profit companies, public school employees, and several other employment categories have a similar type of retirement plan in the 403(b), also known as a tax shelte

Debt Crisis Continues and Personal Finance Links

A week of good news and bad: the debt ceiling crisis continues with only a few days left before we hit our borrowing limit, but we got NFL football back, so that makes everything okay right? Here's to hoping Congress gets their act together on a plan of spending cuts or revenue generation in order to pay out bills. Then let's hope again that a better plan comes along to actually pay off the debt.

I'm hoping our Roth IRA's won't plummet on Tuesday if a deal hasn't been reached.

Important Roth Information

Each year, the IRS updates the rules for Roth IRA. Here are all the details for 2015 along with historic numbers for 2014: