Question: Are bonds a safe place to put money that I don’t want at risk in the stock market?

Answer:  Conventional thinking says that bonds are a buffer and offer diversification from the stock market, and many people don’t realize that bonds can lose value, too.  A bond is a debt instrument.  When you buy a bond you are loaning your money to the government or a municipality or a corporation.  In return for the loan, the issuer of the bond promises … [Read more...]

Question: How does a ROTH IRA work?

Answer: The ROTH IRA turns traditional IRA rules upside down. It is named for Sen. Roth of Delaware who was the chief legislator to propose this type of IRA back in 1997. So, it has been around for a while but it is definitely gaining in popularity, and rightfully so. The best analogy to explain a ROTH IRA is the concept of the Seed and the Harvest. Would … [Read more...]

What should I read or is there a class I can take to learn more about handling money?

Answer: Have you checked out our Wise Women Leave a Legacy Program? This is designed especially to help women learn more about managing their money. We meet for an hour and 20 minutes on the third Thursday of the month in our office in Roanoke. The meeting begins promptly at noon. It is a small group setting and we share a variety of information each month … [Read more...]

I recently changed jobs. Is there anything I need to do with my 401k plan?

Answer: For most people the answer is to rollover your 401k when you leave an employer. If you leave it behind it is often neglected. You forget how it is invested, or the employer changes plans and your money ends up in cash instead of invested. It is important to take care of your 401k, and moving it when you leave a job is usually the right answer. You … [Read more...]

Question: Should I take money out of my 401k to pay for my child’s college tuition?

Answer:  We don’t recommend it.  Your 401k needs to be all about your financial security in retirement.  It is not a savings account or emergency fund.  Many employers do offer a loan provision, but you need to know about potential pitfalls in taking out a 401k loan. The loan must be paid back through after-tax payroll deduction.  If you are unable to … [Read more...]

Question: How Much Should I Be Contributing To My 401k Plan?

Answer:  The maximum contribution to a 401k plan in 2014 is $17,500 per year.  For participants who will turn 50 years old or older in 2014, there is an extra allowance of $5,500 called a “catch-up” provision.  This brings your total contribution limit to $23,000 in 2014 and this is over and above any contribution your employer may make such as a matching … [Read more...]

Question: My company has a long list of investment choices for my 401k. How do I know what to choose?

Answer:  Your 401k is really important money because for most employees the pension plans are gone.  Your 401k is the main account to save for your retirement.  It needs to be nurtured and protected from your first day of work to your retirement day.  When it comes to investment choices, take a look at the index fund options in your plan.  They should be the … [Read more...]