Mark P. Cussen, CFP®, CMFC, AFC

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  1. Understanding The Insurance Transfer-For-Value Rule
    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.
  2. The Best Investments For Young People
    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.
  3. 7 Counterintuitive Retirement Strategies That Work
    Retirement

    7 Counterintuitive Retirement Strategies That Work

    We address seven investment misconceptions, and how you can make your retirement plan make sense.
  4. A Closer Look At Accelerated Benefit Riders
    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 ...
  5. Top Strategies For Saving In A 529 Plan
    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.
  6. Managing A 529 Plan Based On College Expectations
    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.
  7. Last-Minute Strategies To Help Pay For College
    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.
  8. How To Appeal Your IRS Audit
    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.
  9. Top Student Loan Providers
    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.
  10. Cut Your Tax Bill With Donor-Advised Funds
    Taxes

    Cut Your Tax Bill With Donor-Advised Funds

    Beat the tax man come April 15 by investing in a charity-friendly fund.
  11. Debt Consolidation: When It Helps, When It Doesn't
    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
  12. 7 Ways To Consolidate Debt
    Credit & Loans

    7 Ways To Consolidate Debt

    Different loan sources to use when you consolidate debt.
  13. Using Home Equity Loans For Debt Consolidation
    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.
  14. Special Trusts For Special Needs
    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.
  15. Consolidating Your Retirement Money
    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.
  16. Is Whole Life An Obsolete Product?
    Insurance

    Is Whole Life An Obsolete Product?

    New, more-flexible features and current market conditions make traditional whole life insurance worth another look.
  17. What Kind Of Financial Plan Makes Sense For You?
    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?
  18. The Rise of 401(k) Brokerage Accounts
    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?
  19. An Introduction To Target Date Funds
    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 ...
  20. Is Annuitization Your Best Strategy?
    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, ...
  21. Bulk Up Your Retirement
    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
  22. Credit vs. Debit Cards: Which is Better?
    Credit & Loans

    Credit vs. Debit Cards: Which is Better?

    Be strategic about the card you choose
  23. How Can I Fund A Roth IRA If My Income Is Too High To Make ...
    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.
  24. Avoid Taxes on IRA Rollovers
    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 ...
  25. Six Ways Your Tax Preparer Knows You're Lying
    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.
  26. Why The IRS Blocked Refund Anticipation Loans
    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 ...
  27. The Gloomy Future Of The Tax Preparation Industry
    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 ...
  28. Could The Fair Tax Movement Ever Replace The IRS?
    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 ...
  29. Six Ways Your Tax Preparer Knows You're Lying
    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.
  30. How Powerful Is The IRS?
    Taxes

    How Powerful Is The IRS?

    The IRS has considerable power to enforce tax collection and reporting. But does it have too much power?
  31. What is an Iron Butterfly Option Strategy?
    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.
  32. Need To Enroll In Obamacare? File Your Taxes
    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.
  33. Introduction to Leveraged ETFs
    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 ...
  34. Money Habits Of The Millennials
    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 ...
  35. Tax Issues For Same-Sex Spouses
    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.
  36. How Restricted Stock And RSUs Are Taxed
    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.
  37. America's Frozen Pension Dilemma
    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.
  38. Oil: A Big Investment With Big Tax Breaks
    Investing Basics

    Oil: A Big Investment With Big Tax Breaks

    Oil and gas investments can provide unmatched deduction potential for accredited investors.
  39. Major Tax Credits Expiring In 2013
    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.
  40. Janet Yellen: Background And Philosophy
    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 ...
  41. How To Read The Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index
    Active Trading Fundamentals

    How To Read The Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index

    The Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index has provided a key leading indicator for investors and economists for decades. This respected index is published monthly from the results of random telephone surveys. ...
  42. Introduction To Retirement Money Market Accounts
    Retirement

    Introduction To Retirement Money Market Accounts

    Money market funds are used in retirement plans and accounts because they are liquid, stable and pay competitive rates of interest.
  43. The Difference Between Emerging And Frontier Markets
    Investing Basics

    The Difference Between Emerging And Frontier Markets

    Emerging and frontier markets offer investors global diversification in return for higher risk. These sectors have performed well over the past few years, but do your homework before you venture into them.
  44. Which Order To Use? Stop-Loss Or Stop-Limit Orders
    Active Trading Fundamentals

    Which Order To Use? Stop-Loss Or Stop-Limit Orders

    Stop-loss and stop-limit orders can provide different types of protection for investors seeking to lock in profits or limit losses. Investors need to know how each type of order works to know when to use ...
  45. Should You Offer Alternative Investments?
    Options & Futures

    Should You Offer Alternative Investments?

    Find out what problems arise for financial representatives when they start to diversify their client offerings.
  46. Introduction To STRIPS
    Bonds & Fixed Income

    Introduction To STRIPS

    STRIPS provide an alternative form of bond for fixed-income investors who need definite cash flows at specific times. Read the article to find out how.
  47. Understanding Interest Rates: Nominal, Real And Effective
    Economics

    Understanding Interest Rates: Nominal, Real And Effective

    Interest rates can be broken down into several subcategories that incorporate various factors such as inflation. Smart investors know to look beyond the nominal or coupon rate of a bond or loan to see ...
  48. Top 4 Financial Jobs You Can Do From Home
    Entrepreneurship

    Top 4 Financial Jobs You Can Do From Home

    You don't have to go to an office to make a great salary in the financial sector. Here are the top four highest paying financial jobs you can do from home.
  49. Income, Value and Growth Stocks
    Investing Basics

    Income, Value and Growth Stocks

    Investors who buy stocks generally seek one of three criteria: undervalued holdings, growth potential or steady income. The characteristics of stocks in each of these categories differs accordingly.
  50. Introduction to Treasury Securities
    Bonds & Fixed Income

    Introduction to Treasury Securities

    Purchasing bonds that are backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government can provide steady guaranteed income and peace of mind. Knowing the characteristics of each type of treasury security ...
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