Your Emergency Fund: How Much is Enough?

An emergency fund may help alleviate the stress associated with a financial crisis. Have you ever had one of those months? The water heater stops heating, the dishwasher stops washing, and your family ends up on a first-name basis with the nurse at urgent care. Then, as you’re driving to work, giving yourself your best, “You can make it!” pep talk, you see smoke seeping out from under your hood. Bad things happen to the best of us, and instead of conveniently spacing themselves out, they almost always come in waves. The important thing is to have a financial life preserver, in the form of an emergency cash fund, at the ready. Although many people agree that an emergency fund is an important

The Anatomy of an Index

The S&P 500 represents a large portion of the value of the U.S. equity market. Did you know that nearly $10 trillion in assets are benchmarked to the Standard & Poor’s 500 Composite Index, including about $3.5 trillion in index assets?1 The S&P 500 is ubiquitous. It is constantly referenced in financial and non-financial media, and we may compare the return of our own investments to its performance. As the index represents approximately 80% of the value of the U.S. equity market (or about 80% of market capitalization), it may be worthwhile to gain a better understanding of its structure and workings.1 Breaking down the benchmark. The S&P 500, as we know it today, was introduced in March 1957

Traditional vs. Roth IRAs

Perhaps both traditional and Roth IRAs can play a part in your retirement plans. IRAs can be an important tool in your retirement savings belt, and whichever you choose to open could have a significant impact on how those accounts might grow. IRAs, or Individual Retirement Accounts, are investment vehicles used to help save money for retirement. There are two different types of IRAs: traditional and Roth. Traditional IRAs, created in 1974, are owned by roughly 35.1 million U.S. households. And Roth IRAs, created as part of the Taxpayer Relief Act in 1997, are owned by nearly 24.9 million households.1 Both kinds of IRAs share many similarities, and yet, each is quite different. Let's take a c

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