Personal Finance FAQs

  1. Do I need to hit my 401(k) contribution limit before I can begin making catch-up contributions?

  2. Can I still set up an SEP if one of my employees refuses to participate?

  3. Can an open-ended fund's price appreciate significantly?

  4. What is the difference between a collateralized mortgage obligation (CMO) and a collateralized bond obligation (CBO)?

  5. Which is better, a fixed or variable rate loan?

  6. Can I leave my pension to my spouse when I pass away?

  7. Who coined the term "entrepreneur"?

  8. What is variable life insurance?

  9. Why is my insurance premium so high/low?

  10. I'm a teacher. Which is better for me, a 401(k) or 403(b)? What is the difference? From whom do I get these plans?

  11. I understand that I can withdraw from a 401k the year I turn 55 without the 10% penalty (IRS 575). Can I do the same thing with an IRA without the 10% penalty?

  12. My company is the trustee of our 401k plan (which has 112 participants). What are the pros and cons of having the company instead of the plan provider/vendor as the trustee?

  13. Can I pull out most of my assets from my IRA and use the cash as long as I replace it in the IRA within a year?

  14. My 80-year-old mother used her Roth IRA assets to make an $11,000 annual gift tax exclusion. Will these still be considered Roth IRA assets?

  15. There are so many stockbrokers out there. How do I go about choosing the best one for me?

  16. I plan to retire in March 2005 at the age of 59.75. When and what percentage or dollar amount can I start withdrawing from my SIMPLE IRA account?

  17. Once substantially equal periodic payments (SEPP) of an IRA have started, is the payment fixed each year, or does it fluctuate with interest rates? Can payments be monthly?

  18. How do my siblings and I receive inherited pension benefit payments from our deceased parent?

  19. I stopped distributions from my retirement account while under Rule 72(t). Will this have any effect on future distributions that I do take? Am I subject to the 10% penalty?

  20. Is a Canadian resident allowed to participate in a direct stock purchase plan from a U.S. company such as Pfizer?

  21. I am 61 years old and would like to contribute to my employer's 401(k) plan. Is there an age limit?

  22. Can someone who is not yet of legal age open a brokerage account?

  23. What does the Pension Protection Act of 2006 say about charitable contributions?

  24. How do I avoid paying excess taxes on securities I have sold?

  25. Is my non-qualified Roth IRA distribution subject to taxes or early distribution penalties?

  26. Can I give stock as a gift?

  27. What is the difference between a 2/28 and a 3/27 ARM?

  28. What is the highest achievable FICO score?

  29. How can a trust lower federal transfer tax liability?

  30. What's the best kind of IRA for a 20-something?

  31. What is term insurance?

  32. What is multiline insurance?

  33. I overcontributed to my 401(k). What are my options?

  34. I converted my former IRA to a Roth for tax purposes in 1998, so even though the tax was paid over four years, am I correct to assume that this is now mine to withdraw, if I like, at no penalty? I am 60 years old.

  35. Does participation in a 401(k) plan prevent an individual from contributing to a Traditional IRA?

  36. My recently deceased spouse's IRA has been rolled over into mine. Does the cost basis change for me?

  37. Is it possible for a company to have a positive cash flow and a negative net income?

  38. I am 59 (not 59.5) and my husband is 65. We have participated in a SIMPLE IRA with our company for more than two years. Can we convert the SIMPLE IRA to a Roth IRA? If we can convert, do we have to pay tax on the SIMPLE IRA money placed in the Roth? Are t

  39. I'm an 80 year old making increasing required minimum distribution (RMD) tax payments. I plan to convert my IRA to a Roth IRA and pay the taxes for the total RMD. Will I be able to withdraw funds from the Roth the year following the conversion? I understa

  40. What is the best retirement plan option for a physician with her own practice, employees and a desire to fund her retirement without making things complicated? She'd like to avoid plans that rely on a stringent income test or require all employees to part

  41. My spouse is the primary beneficiary of my IRA. I also have a contingent beneficiary. Can my spouse still transfer my IRA assets tax-free to her own IRA?

  42. How can I purchase stocks directly from a company?

  43. Can an IRA beneficiary roll the IRA over into another account and designate another beneficiary?

  44. Can I have a self-directed IRA or Roth IRA using the forex market?

  45. I have just been laid off. Can I use my 401(k) for living expenses now and report it as income next year?

  46. What aids will help me file my own tax return?

  47. Can I return funds to my Roth IRA after I have taken it as a distribution?

  48. Can I donate stock to charity?

  49. How does the number of credit card accounts I have affect my credit score?

  50. What are the economic implications of government subsidies on fuel costs?

  51. What are the Gnomes of Zurich?

  52. What is reinsurance?

  53. What kinds of investments are allowed in a qualified retirement plan, and what kinds are forbidden?

  54. What are some of the features and benefits of SEP IRAs and Roth IRAs?

  55. Can I roll over a profit-sharing plan to an SEP IRA account without suffering any tax penalties and liquidation of current positions held in this account?

  56. Can an individual contribute to both a Roth IRA and a Traditional IRA in the same year?

  57. Can my spouse and I convert our IRAs to Roth IRAs regardless of earned income?

  58. Do hedge funds and mutual funds invest in commodities in high inflation environments?

  59. Are there tax penalties for closing my Roth IRA account?

  60. Can investment real estate be purchased within an IRA and, if so, are there any pitfalls?

  61. I participate in a profit-sharing plan at work. If I retire at age 62, will I be able to withdraw the money tax-free, or must it be rolled over to another account or plan?

  62. Should I put money into a retirement account even if it isn't tax deductible?

  63. I own a small business. Can the SBO-401(k) work for me?

  64. I have some stocks in a taxable account. Can I use them to fund my Roth IRA instead of using cash?

  65. When should a company recognize revenues on its books?

  66. If a company undergoes an acquisition can an employee withdraw 401(k) funds tax free?

  67. I didn't earn any income this year. Can I still contribute to a Roth?

  68. Are there special benefits for U.S. armed forces personnel?

  69. I've noticed executives buy a lot of stock below market value, and then they sell it for a large gain. How can they do this?

  70. Are mortgage-backed securities backed by any guarantees?

  71. After receiving a required distribution when and how are my taxes affected?

  72. Where can I find information on different companies so that I won't have to read every earnings report?

  73. What does greenwashing mean?

  74. What is market cannibalization?

  75. What are the benefits of an assumable mortgage?

  76. What's the difference between bottom-line and top-line growth?

  77. How are a company's financial statements connected?

  78. If an individual still has his or her former spouse as the beneficiary of an IRA, does the former spouse receive the assets upon the individual's death?

  79. I am a teacher in a public school system and I don't presently have a 403(b) plan, but I do have some money in a Roth IRA and also a self-directed IRA. Can I roll my IRA funds into a newly opened 403(b) plan, since I am presently employed by the school sy

  80. When should I take my Canadian Pension Plan distributions?

  81. I made involuntary contributions to a retirement plan while temporarily employed. Can I withdraw these funds without penalty?

  82. My mother inherited my father's IRA. When she died, I received an account application listing me as the beneficiary, as well as notice that my brother and I will have to take my mom's required distribution. My brother is nowhere to be found. How should I

  83. Can an employer adopt a different type of retirement plan for each employee?

  84. How does the marginal tax rate system work?

  85. Is an employee eligible for an SEP if the plan has already been set up for other employees?

  86. I withdrew funds from my Roth IRA to contribute elsewhere. How will I be taxed?

  87. Why do companies postpone earnings announcements?

  88. Can I contribute to my company-sponsored 401(k) after the company's year-end but before its tax-filing date?

  89. How can I reduce the taxes on my inherited retirement assets?

  90. How do I file taxes for income from foreign sources?

  91. What constitutes an "intention to call a debt instrument before maturity" for tax purposes?

  92. How does a credit crunch occur?

  93. I failed to distribute an inherited 401(k) that was found in an audit. What happens now?

  94. What is a rainmaker?

  95. I'm worried about the economy and want to move my IRA funds from stocks and bonds to cash. Will I taxed for this?

  96. Who qualifies as "single" for tax or retirement purposes when spouses do not live together?

  97. I work for a university, and I have a 403(b) with TIAA-CREF. But TIAA-CREF says I cannot transfer money to another provider. Can they prevent me from transferring my money to a better investment?

  98. Can I, without tax penalties, use the IRA I inherited from my father to buy a home that I will live in? He was 72 and had started taking small payouts on it.

  99. Can you have a 403(b) and also contribute to a 401(k)?

  100. What do you do for a non-spouse beneficiary receiving a required minimum distribution (RMD) when the plan terminates? Is the purchase of an annuity the only option? Any thoughts on whether an IRA could be opened?

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