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79% of Americans agree they would benefit from having basic financial education and information.

Source: The 2018 Consumer Financial Literacy Survey, The National Foundation for Credit Counseling

Welcome to our research center! We've put together a library of information on important financial topics that we believe you'll find helpful.

Simply click on one of the general financial topics below and you'll find a selection of easy-to-understand information sheets about related financial concepts and strategies. This information is updated regularly to reflect the latest facts, figures, legislation, and economic trends.

Estates & Trusts

  • Avoiding Probate

    The probate process can be lengthy and complex. There are strategies you can use to help avoid the probate process.

  • Controlling the Distribution

    If you haven’t taken steps already, consider planning now for the distribution of your estate’s assets.

  • Gifting Strategies

    Compare the advantages and disadvantages of different gifting strategies available for planned giving.

  • Property Ownership

    Sole ownership, joint tenancy, tenancy in common, and community property have special benefits for property owners.

Retirement

  • SIMPLE Plans

    The SIMPLE plan may appeal to small business owners as it is easy to set up, administer, and allows for a tax deduction.

  • Money Purchase Pension Plans

    A money purchase plan is a retirement plan where employer contributions are based on a fixed percentage of compensation.

  • Future of Social Security

    Greater demand is being placed on the Social Security system as the baby boom generation has begun to retire.

  • Self-Employed Retirement Plans

    Tax-deferred retirement plans for self-employed individuals have higher contribution limits than IRAs.

Tax Planning

  • Gift Tax

    The federal gift tax applies to gifts of property or money while the donor is living.

  • Tax Deferral

    There can be a substantial benefit to deferring taxes as long as possible.

  • Tax-Advantaged Alternatives

    While stable, CDs can create quite an income tax bill. Fixed annuities and municipal bonds can offer tax advantages.

  • Tax-Free Insurance Upgrades

    A 1035 exchange allows you to exchange your life insurance policy for one from another company without tax liability.

Investing

  • Bond Ladders

    A bond ladder is a strategy involving the purchase of bonds that have staggered maturity dates.

  • Exchange-Traded Funds

    ETFs have unique attributes and attempt to track all types of indexes, industries, or commodities.

  • Types of Bonds

    Bonds are issued by many entities and share many characteristics, each type of bond has certain benefits and risks.

  • Annuities

    An annuity is a flexible financial vehicle that can help protect against the risk of living a long time because it provides an option for a lifetime income.

Cash Management

  • Cash Management Basics

    A sound cash management program uses a disciplined approach: accounting, analysis, allocation, and adjustment.

  • Managing Cash

    There are numerous investment alternatives available to help provide liquidity.

  • Reverse Mortgages

    There are techniques that can enable older homeowners to use their property to finance their lifestyle.

  • Savings Alternatives

    There are a number of savings alternatives that could help you earn a reasonable rate of return.

Risk Management

  • Why Purchase Life Insurance

    If you have a family who relies on your income, it is important to have life insurance protection.

  • Life Insurance for Business Owners

    Company-owned life insurance is one way to help protect a business from financial problems caused by the death of a key employee.

  • Term Life Insurance

    Term life insurance differs from permanent forms of life insurance in that it offers temporary protection.

  • HMOs and PPOs

    Selecting health insurance is often one of the most important decisions you will make. Do you know the different types?