Mark P. Cussen, CFP®, CMFC, AFC

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  1. Federal Tax Brackets
    Taxes

    Federal Tax Brackets

    Why do we have income tax brackets? What do they do for us? Read this to understand the basics and where to find your own bracket.
  2. Perkins Loan Vs. Stafford Loan
    Credit & Loans

    Perkins Loan Vs. Stafford Loan

    If you qualify for both of these student loans – a Stafford and a Perkins – which one should you try to get? It depends on your income and education level.
  3. Stafford Loan Limits
    Credit & Loans

    Stafford Loan Limits

    How much you can borrow with a Stafford loan depends on your grade level in college, whether you're an undergraduate or grad student, and other key factors.
  4. Disadvantages Of Stafford Loans
    Savings

    Disadvantages Of Stafford Loans

    Stafford loans are popular ways to get federal help with college costs. However, they do have some drawbacks, especially for graduate students.
  5. Benefits Of Stafford Loans
    Credit & Loans

    Benefits Of Stafford Loans

    Stafford loans are the most popular federal student loans. This list of benefits will explain why.
  6. Direct Stafford Loans
    Credit & Loans

    Direct Stafford Loans

    Stafford loans are the most popular type of federal student loan. Read this guide to the types you can get, how much you can borrow and repayment options.
  7. Stafford Loans: Subsidized Vs. Unsubsidized
    Credit & Loans

    Stafford Loans: Subsidized Vs. Unsubsidized

    Before you take out federal student aid, learn the difference between these two types of Stafford loan. It could save you a chunk of money.
  8. Using Money Orders
    Budgeting

    Using Money Orders

    Money orders are usually the least expensive way to send "cleared" funds to pay a bill (or traffic ticket). Here's how they work and what to watch out for.
  9. 5 Services To Usher In New Clients
    Professionals

    5 Services To Usher In New Clients

    Discover ways in which advisors are increasingly choosing to promote their businesses.
  10. Should You Convert Your IRA?
    Retirement

    Should You Convert Your IRA?

    Discover the factors you must weigh to make this decision.
  11. Top 6 Ways To Recession-Proof Your Job
    Personal Finance

    Top 6 Ways To Recession-Proof Your Job

    In a recession, financial industry personnel are often hit hard. Find out how to avoid getting the ax.
  12. The Ethics Of Investing
    Investing Basics

    The Ethics Of Investing

    The proper application of ethics to the world of investments is a highly subjective topic.
  13. Everything You Should Know About Corporate-Owned Life Insurance
    Insurance

    Everything You Should Know About Corporate-Owned Life Insurance

    This type of insurance is a policy taken out on you by your company. Read on to find what it's all about.
  14. Deducting Disaster: Casualty And Theft Losses
    Taxes

    Deducting Disaster: Casualty And Theft Losses

    If you've been a victim, your losses may be deductible. Find out how.
  15. Tired Of Banks? Try A Credit Union
    Retirement

    Tired Of Banks? Try A Credit Union

    These nonprofit organizations can provide a range of services for lower fees.
  16. Accredited Financial Counselor: An Introduction
    Professionals

    Accredited Financial Counselor: An Introduction

    This designation is highly relevant as it allows you to help the middle- and lower-income population in America.
  17. Profiling: It's Not Just For The FBI
    Retirement

    Profiling: It's Not Just For The FBI

    Learn how to quantify each client's specific dreams and create a realistic financial plan.
  18. Divorcing? The Right Way to Split Retirement Plans
    Retirement

    Divorcing? The Right Way to Split Retirement Plans

    Mishandling how you define and allocate retirement-plan assets in a divorce can cost you plenty in taxes and aggravation. Here's how to do it right.
  19. How To Create A Business Succession Plan
    Entrepreneurship

    How To Create A Business Succession Plan

    Make sure the business you built continues to thrive long after you've left the helm.
  20. Should You Roll Over Your 401(k)?
    Retirement

    Should You Roll Over Your 401(k)?

    Before moving your retirement funds into another account, consider your options.
  21. Are Return-Of-Premium Riders Worth It?
    Home & Auto

    Are Return-Of-Premium Riders Worth It?

    Find out if this policy coverage will add money to your pocket, or cost you in the long run.
  22. Introduction To Financial Planning Organizations
    Personal Finance

    Introduction To Financial Planning Organizations

    Organizations such as the FPA and NAPFA are striving to provide higher standards for the financial planning profession and greater protection for consumers through a combination of community programs, ...
  23. Top Companies That Manage 529 Plans
    Personal Finance

    Top Companies That Manage 529 Plans

    Planning to open a 529 plan? Check out our roundup of top-rated providers and what makes them special. Then see what works best for you.
  24. Benefits Of A SIMPLE IRA
    Retirement

    Benefits Of A SIMPLE IRA

    If you're at a small company, you may be offered a SIMPLE IRA retirement plan. Contribution limits are lower, but vesting is instant, with other benefits.
  25. Top 7 Estate Planning Mistakes
    Retirement

    Top 7 Estate Planning Mistakes

    Many people try to avoid this process altogether, making things difficult for heirs.
  26. Retirement: The One Thing Couples Shouldn't Do Together
    Retirement

    Retirement: The One Thing Couples Shouldn't Do Together

    Staggering retirement can have both financial and emotional benefits for married couples.
  27. Introduction To Growth Investing
    Investing Basics

    Introduction To Growth Investing

    There are principles and techniques that are applicable for many different types of investors and growth strategies.
  28. Insurance: Avoiding The Modified Endowment Contract Trap
    Insurance

    Insurance: Avoiding The Modified Endowment Contract Trap

    Congress has placed limits on the amount of money that can be put into life insurance policies - what can you do to counteract this?
  29. Using Life Insurance To Make Charitable Donations
    Home & Auto

    Using Life Insurance To Make Charitable Donations

    Your life insurance policy can be a great tool for charitable giving. Find out how.
  30. Introduction To Commercial Paper
    Bonds & Fixed Income

    Introduction To Commercial Paper

    Commercial paper is a short-term instrument that can be a viable alternative for retail fixed-income investors looking for a better rate of return on their money.
  31. State Laws Dictate Division Of Joint Property
    Retirement

    State Laws Dictate Division Of Joint Property

    In breakup, divorce or death, community or common law will determine how property is divided.
  32. 5 Lesser-Known Retirement And Benefit Plans
    Retirement

    5 Lesser-Known Retirement And Benefit Plans

    These plans aren't widely used, but they fill a specific niche for employees in certain situations.
  33. Trending Toward Asset-Based Management
    Insurance

    Trending Toward Asset-Based Management

    Will charging fees instead of commission increase your client base?
  34. Preparing Finances For Deployment: A Guide For Service Members
    Personal Finance

    Preparing Finances For Deployment: A Guide For Service Members

    Those who follow the instruction in this article can look forward to a homecoming of financial prosperity.
  35. Manage Your Clients' Expectations
    Professionals

    Manage Your Clients' Expectations

    You can't control how they react to the market, but you can help them understand the reality of the situation.
  36. Beware Of Company Stock In Qualified Plans
    Investing Basics

    Beware Of Company Stock In Qualified Plans

    While this strategy does have a few advantages, it can also pose some substantial risks to employees.
  37. Is Your 401(k) Administrator Competent?
    Savings

    Is Your 401(k) Administrator Competent?

    The more that employees know about their employee 401(k) plans, the better. But what doesn't your administrator know?
  38. Will You Pay Taxes During Retirement?
    Taxes

    Will You Pay Taxes During Retirement?

    Income taxes are one of the things that's certain in life. We'll explain the different tax situations when you retire.
  39. Financial Planners: Specialize In Seniors
    Retirement

    Financial Planners: Specialize In Seniors

    Find out how this demographic has all the needs to keep your firm busy year-round.
  40. A Guide To Financial Designations
    Personal Finance

    A Guide To Financial Designations

    Find out which certifications can bring you the greatest career returns.
  41. Top 10 Life Insurance Myths
    Insurance

    Top 10 Life Insurance Myths

    The most difficult aspect of this complex product is determining how much coverage you need and why.
  42. Roth Feature Boosts Benefits For 401(k) And 403(b) Plans
    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.
  43. Living And Death Benefit Riders: How Do They Work?
    Insurance

    Living And Death Benefit Riders: How Do They Work?

    Find out how these different riders work, and which type is right for you.
  44. Portfolio Growth Strategies
    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.
  45. How Will Your Investment Make Money?
    Investing Basics

    How Will Your Investment Make Money?

    Discover the basic types of investment income and which asset classes pay them.
  46. Make No-Load Annuities Your Viable Alternative
    Home & Auto

    Make No-Load Annuities Your Viable Alternative

    These alternative retirement funds provide diversification with no fees, so what's the catch?
  47. America's Compensation Gap Shows No Signs Of Slowing
    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 ...
  48. Would A Retirement Plan Overhaul Fix Our Savings Shortfall?
    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 ...
  49. 2010: The Year To Convert Your IRA
    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.
  50. 5 Investments You Can't Hold In An IRA/Qualified Plan
    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.
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