Mark P. Cussen, CFP®, CMFC, AFC

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  1. Insurance

    Top 10 Life Insurance Myths

    The most difficult aspect of this complex product is determining how much coverage you need and why.
  2. Retirement

    Roth Feature Boosts Benefits For 401(k) And 403(b) Plans

    Roth accounts tend to beat Traditional plans over the long term by providing tax savings.
  3. Insurance

    Living And Death Benefit Riders: How Do They Work?

    Find out how these different riders work, and which type is right for you.
  4. Investing Basics

    How Will Your Investment Make Money?

    Discover the basic types of investment income and which asset classes pay them.
  5. Investing Basics

    Portfolio Growth Strategies

    There are many ways to grow a portfolio, and the best approach for a given investor will depend upon various factors.
  6. Home & Auto

    Make No-Load Annuities Your Viable Alternative

    These alternative retirement funds provide diversification with no fees, so what's the catch?
  7. Personal Finance

    America's Compensation Gap Shows No Signs Of Slowing

    The gap between the rich and the poor and middle classes is rapidly increasing in America. Historically this is not a good sign, as a strong middle class has been the backbone of the U.S. economy for most ...
  8. Retirement

    Would A Retirement Plan Overhaul Fix Our Savings Shortfall?

    There are several theories and ideas about how we can make up for the $6.6 trillion retirement savings shortfall in America. Adjustments to Social Security and our retirement savings plans are some of ...
  9. Retirement

    2010: The Year To Convert Your IRA

    Thanks to fewer restrictions, it's now easier than ever to convert your traditional IRA into a Roth IRA.
  10. Retirement

    5 Investments You Can't Hold In An IRA/Qualified Plan

    The list of prohibited investment vehicles is short, but it's important to know what is off limits.
  11. Taxes

    Understanding The Insurance Transfer-For-Value Rule

    If you are banking on your life insurance payout being tax-free, you may be in for a surprise.
  12. Investing Basics

    The Best Investments For Young People

    Young investors today who wish to begin a savings plan face a bewildering array of investment options.
  13. Retirement

    7 Counterintuitive Retirement Strategies That Work

    We address seven investment misconceptions, and how you can make your retirement plan make sense.
  14. Insurance

    A Closer Look At Accelerated Benefit Riders

    Accelerated benefit riders can allow policy holders to access the death benefit in their life insurance policy while they are still living if they meet certain conditions. Knowing what you get for what ...
  15. Savings

    Top Strategies For Saving In A 529 Plan

    Saving for college can be a daunting task. These 8 strategies can help to make the process a little easier.
  16. Savings

    Managing A 529 Plan Based On College Expectations

    529 Plans are a popular way to save for college. Here's how to be strategic about how to fund them, depending on your children and their expectations.
  17. Budgeting

    Last-Minute Strategies To Help Pay For College

    Find out what to do when your kid is ready for higher education, but you aren't.
  18. Taxes

    How To Appeal Your IRS Audit

    The auditor's review isn't always the last word. Many taxpayers who are audited can successfully appeal their audits and save thousands of dollars.
  19. Credit & Loans

    Top Student Loan Providers

    Many banks and institutions offer student loans, but some offer better deals than others. Read this list of top student loan providers before you borrow.
  20. Taxes

    Cut Your Tax Bill With Donor-Advised Funds

    Beat the tax man come April 15 by investing in a charity-friendly fund.
  21. Credit & Loans

    Debt Consolidation: When It Helps, When It Doesn't

    Here's the smart way to use a debt consolidation to get your financial life back on track
  22. Credit & Loans

    7 Ways To Consolidate Debt

    Different loan sources to use when you consolidate debt.
  23. Credit & Loans

    Using Home Equity Loans For Debt Consolidation

    A home equity loan or line of credit is a convenient way to consolidate debts, cut your interest rate and gain a tax deduction. But there are big risks.
  24. Personal Finance

    Special Trusts For Special Needs

    If you or someone you love has a disability, these trusts can help ease the cost of care.
  25. Retirement

    Consolidating Your Retirement Money

    By midlife, you're likely to have accumulated a string of IRAs, 401(k)s and the like. This tutorial helps you organize them around your retirement goals.
  26. Insurance

    Is Whole Life An Obsolete Product?

    New, more-flexible features and current market conditions make traditional whole life insurance worth another look.
  27. Savings

    What Kind Of Financial Plan Makes Sense For You?

    Comprehensive financial plans can help people maximize their financial potential and make smart decisions. But how complex a plan do you really need?
  28. Retirement

    The Rise of 401(k) Brokerage Accounts

    Many 401(k) plans now allow participants to trade stocks and bonds by offering brokerage accounts inside the tax-deferred plan. Good idea or too risky?
  29. Retirement

    An Introduction To Target Date Funds

    Target date mutual funds can be an alternative to bonds and CDs for investors who do not wish to actively manage their savings. The reason: These financial products periodically reallocate fund holdings ...
  30. Retirement

    Is Annuitization Your Best Strategy?

    Annuitization has traditionally offered annuity owners a stream of income they cannot outlive, but there are some disadvantages to this form of payout. Consider alternatives, such as income-benefit riders, ...
  31. Retirement

    Bulk Up Your Retirement

    If your business has receiveables, here's a smart way to leverage them to build up your retirement fund – fast
  32. Credit & Loans

    Credit vs. Debit Cards: Which is Better?

    Be strategic about the card you choose
  33. Retirement

    How Can I Fund A Roth IRA If My Income Is Too High To Make ...

    Roth IRAs are not available to you if you are a high income earner - unless you use the following strategy.
  34. Retirement

    Avoid Taxes on IRA Rollovers

    For years, IRA owners have been allowed to roll over their money from one IRA to another once a year without penalty, for each IRA account they had. A tax court ruling in January 2014 has brought that ...
  35. Taxes

    Six Ways Your Tax Preparer Knows You're Lying

    An experienced tax preparer can usually sense when a customer is providing fraudulent information to them. Find out what sets off a tax preparer's lie detector.
  36. Taxes

    Why The IRS Blocked Refund Anticipation Loans

    Refund Anticipation Loans provided tax preparers with a substantial stream of income for several decades. But high fees and widespread fraud convinced several banks to exit this industry, and the IRS finally ...
  37. Taxes

    The Gloomy Future Of The Tax Preparation Industry

    It's often said all that is certain are death and taxes. By extension, undertakers and tax preparers should enjoy similar levels of ironclad job security. But recent changes to the marketplace have caused ...
  38. Taxes

    Could The Fair Tax Movement Ever Replace The IRS?

    Although many taxpayers would love to see the IRS abolished, only a handful of thinkers have come up with any sort of viable replacement plan. The Fair Tax is one such idea that has continued to slowly ...
  39. Taxes

    Six Ways Your Tax Preparer Knows You're Lying

    An experienced tax preparer can usually sense when a customer is providing fraudulent information to them. Find out what sets off a tax preparer's lie detector.
  40. Taxes

    How Powerful Is The IRS?

    The IRS has considerable power to enforce tax collection and reporting. But does it have too much power?
  41. Options & Futures

    What is an Iron Butterfly Option Strategy?

    This relatively simple strategy is designed to provide a profit for investors who believe that there will be minimal price movement in the underlying security until expiration.
  42. Taxes

    Need To Enroll In Obamacare? File Your Taxes

    Taxpayers who need to obtain health coverage under the Affordable Care Act can now do so easily and conveniently when they file their taxes through an eligible preparer.
  43. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    Introduction to Leveraged ETFs

    Leveraged exchange-traded funds have appeared that are designed to move either conversely or inversely to their underlying benchmark, which may be either a financial index or a specific segment or sub-segment ...
  44. Budgeting

    Money Habits Of The Millennials

    Millennials are facing the bleakest financial future of any generation in decades, and are not likely to enjoy the same standard of living as their parents did. Their spending and investing habits are ...
  45. Taxes

    Tax Issues For Same-Sex Spouses

    The tax rules for same-sex spouses are largely the same as for traditional filers, but there are a few special considerations that apply.
  46. Options & Futures

    How Restricted Stock And RSUs Are Taxed

    This form of executive compensation limits how these stocks can be sold. Find out more here.
  47. Retirement

    America's Frozen Pension Dilemma

    Unfortunately, there are several factors that have eroded the presence of pension plans in America, and workers need to be prepared to replace that expected income for their retirement years.
  48. Investing Basics

    Oil: A Big Investment With Big Tax Breaks

    Oil and gas investments can provide unmatched deduction potential for accredited investors.
  49. Taxes

    Major Tax Credits Expiring In 2013

    Here are the major changes and tips that you need to know before filing your taxes for 2013.
  50. Investing News

    Janet Yellen: Background And Philosophy

    Janet Yellen's nomination as chairman of the Federal Reserve Board will mark the first time that a woman has served as head of the board. Her previous experience and credentials won support for her in ...
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