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Portfolio Solutions Blog

Using short-term market information to invest for the long term is like trying to put a square peg in a round hole. Daily market conditions are erratic, which makes it hard to see how you can make successful investment decisions to reach a relatively stable long-term goal, such as retirement.

When you ignore the short-term noise and take a longer view, the big picture becomes clear. All investments have specific risk and return profiles they eventually follow. Over time, market returns tend to behave more predictably.  Therefore, you don’t have to worry about current market...

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A classic Thanksgiving tradition is when each person around the dinner table names one thing they are thankful for this year. Known as “giving thanks,” it’s an act of reflection to help appreciate the good and move on from the bad.

Giving thanks can also be a useful tool to carefully weigh the pros and cons of your investment adviser. Contemplating what you’ve thanked your adviser for this year is a good way to determine if he or she is meeting your needs.

Try it. If you need help, here is a list of things you should have thanked your adviser for this year (and every year):...

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In case you missed it: The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced a new rule recently that allows high-income earners to rollover after-tax money from their 401(k)s directly into a Roth individual retirement account (IRA) – tax free.

Typically, the money you contribute to an employer-sponsored retirement plan such as a 401(k) is in pretax dollars. Depending on your income, the new Roth IRA rollover option may be an incentive to build up your 401(k) even more with additional after-tax savings.

Before this rule change, individuals with adjusted gross incomes of $129,000 or...

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If exchange-traded funds (ETFs) were food, they’d be the best thing since sliced bread. That’s demonstrated by the fact that since their introduction in 1993, investors have been buying them like hot cakes. Apologies for the saturation of food metaphors, but it’s meant to represent the excess ETF choices now available.

At year-end 2013, there were 1,294 funds and around $1.7 trillion in assets in the U.S. ETF market, according to the ...

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The excitement from investment profits is easily tempered by the realization that you may have incurred capital gains taxes. Along with investment costs, taxes are a drag on your returns. However, taxes, also like costs, can be minimized. One popular strategy is tax-loss harvesting in which you sell an investment at a loss to help offset your gains, potentially lowering your tax bill.

Although tax-loss harvesting sounds great on paper, it doesn’t...

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A bear market is coming. Though we don’t know when – it could come tomorrow, next week, next year or many years later.

What we do know is that markets have always moved in cycles, so a future downturn is a near guarantee. Every day millions of seemingly random events tug at the markets, moving security prices in one way or another. Then there are large unanticipated events, such as the housing collapse in 2008, that turn market conditions upside down for longer periods of time. With the current bull market being one of the longest since World War II, some think a correction is...

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If art imitates life, what about game shows where a good plan and a little luck can lead to great rewards?

On the once popular game show, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, contestants are allowed a series of lifelines to help them answer questions. For example, they can call a friend or poll the audience. If you feel confident that you already know the answer, you can save these lifelines for later as the questions progressively become more difficult.

At times, we all rely on real lifelines – friends, family, technology, etc. When trying to reach the goal of a comfortable...

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