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Top Income-Earners Drive U.S. Economic Growth

Have you been surprised by the slow but steady growth in the U.S. economy over of the last three years and the accompanying doubling in U.S. stock prices in major indexes of the broad stock market? The explanation for these two very positive economic developments may lie in the distribution of income and spending in America, specifically, in their skew toward wealthier individuals. To be clear, it’s not the top 1% of wealthiest Americans driving the recovery but the top two income quintiles, the middle class — the top 40%. The top two income quintiles account for 61% of total spending in the U.S. economy, according to statistics released in […]

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Take A Closer Look At Your RMDs

The IRS allows you to build up a sizeable nest egg for retirement inside your traditional IRAs. But then the other shoe drops: Whether you want to or not, you must begin taking “required minimum distributions” (RMDs) once you reach a certain age. Otherwise, you could be socked with a hefty tax penalty. But the tax law does provide some flexibility. Depending on your situation, you might decide to withdraw funds from one of your IRAs, all of your IRAs, or any combination you prefer. You have to start taking RMDs from your IRAs by April 1st of the year after the year in which you turn age 70½. In […]

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This Is Not Granddad’s ‘Defined Benefit Plan’

One type of retirement plan that was popular in your grandfather’s day, or maybe your father’s day, is making a comeback. It’s a “defined benefit plan”—really, a traditional pension plan. Why the revival now? With a defined benefit plan, you can generally build a retirement nest egg faster than you can with a 401(k) or other kind of “defined contribution plan.” For this reason, defined benefit plans often appeal to older business owners or managers who are in a position to call the shots. But the plan does come with some potential drawbacks. Basic premise: A defined contribution plan specifies an annual amount to be contributed on behalf of each participating […]

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