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75% of Americans agree they would benefit from having basic financial education and information.

Source: The 2016 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

  • Estate Planning

    Wills and trusts allow you to spell out how you would like your property distributed, but they also go beyond that.

  • Living Trusts

    A living trust can help control the distribution of your estate upon death.

  • Avoiding Probate

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

Retirement

Tax Planning

  • Withdrawing Before Age 59.5

    Tax-deferred retirement account withdrawals before age 59½ generally triggers a 10% federal income tax penalty.

  • Tax Deductions

    Changes to the tax code have left a few key deductions for itemizers, like medical, dental and some business expenses.

  • Tax-Free Investments

    It’s important to understand tax-exempt vehicles when establishing a comprehensive tax planning strategy.

Investing

  • Annuity Taxes

    One attractive feature of an annuity is tax-deferral but qualified and nonqualified annuities are taxed differently.

  • Mutual Funds vs. Stocks

    The difference between purchasing an individual stock vs. shares in a mutual fund to potentially earn dividends.

  • College Investment Options

    Starting to invest early for college and remaining consistent can help investors reach their goals.

  • 529 Plans

    529 plans are a tax-advantaged college savings plans that generally allow people of any income level to contribute.

Cash Management

  • College Financial Aid

    It's important to understand the options, such as financial aid grant programs, when having to pay for college.

  • Savings Alternatives

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

  • Home Equity Loans

    Shifting some debt to a home equity loan, which typically allows int pmts to be tax ded, could have its advantages.

Risk Management

  • Why Purchase Life Insurance

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

  • Annuities as an Insurance Product

    An annuity is a contract between you and an insurance co. to pay you future income in exchange for premiums you pay.

  • Business Owner Policies

    A biz owner policy is an insurance package that assembles the basic coverages required by a biz owner in one bundle.

  • Life Insurance for Business Owners

    Company-owned life ins is 1 way to help protect a biz from financial problems caused by the death of a key employee.

  • Long-Term Care Costs

    The odds of needing long-term care increase as you age. Prior planning can help protect you from financial ruin.

  • Medicare Coverage

    Medicare is the federal health insurance program for those persons age 65 and over. But what does it cover?

  • Long-Term-Care Needs

    If you were to suffer an illness or disability that required long-term nursing care, would you be covered?

  • Types of Life Insurance

    When selecting a life insurance policy, examine all your options, as well as the positives and negatives of each type.