New Federal Regulation for 401k Fee Transparency Rules

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Do you know how much it costs you on an annual basis to simply participate in an employer-sponsored 401k plan?

If you’re savvy, you probably already know that the mutual funds you select within your 401k plan have expense ratios.  That number shows how much out of every dollar invested you give to the mutual fund company to manage the fund.

On average actively managed mutual funds cost around 1% of invested assets (or $100 for every $10,000 invested).

But if you think that is the only fee being charged to you, prepare for a shock.

New 401k Fee Transparency Rules

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How to Invest In The Facebook IPO

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You almost have to have been living under a rock lately not to know that Facebook is about to become a publicly traded company and issue shares of stock.

Earlier in February, Facebook filed paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to start the process of offering shares of stock to investors in an initial public offering (IPO).  But, it will be next to impossible for the average individual investor to get in on the IPO action in the beginning when the stock starts trading.

Investment banks that handle the transactions for Facebook take care of themselves, their best institutional clients, and other mutual funds before regular small investors like you and me are able to buy shares.

Why It Is So Hard For Individual Investors

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Cost Basis Reporting – How it Affects Your Taxes

When you sell an investment, your gains or losses depends on your cost basis.

If you sell for more than your cost, you end up owning capital gains taxes on the increase.  If you sell at a loss, you don’t have to pay taxes on the difference; instead, you might be able to claim a tax deduction for your investment loss.

What is Cost Basis?

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Playing Dominion vs. Playing the Market

My boys received a copy of the game Dominion as a Christmas present.

It’s a super game.  You acquire cards with powers.  The different powers work together in lots of interesting ways, but of course you must acquire them on a limited budget and have limited time in which to get as strong as you need to be.

Making good choices requires effective strategizing.

After playing the game two times, I wanted to learn more about how to play well.  I typed the words “Dominion strategy” into the Google search box to see what I could find.

It pained me to see what turned up.

Dominion has only been around for a few years.  And of course it is only a game.  So it wouldn’t be a big deal if there were no good materials available.  I quickly found lots of outstanding materials.  In 30 minutes, I was a much improved Dominion player.

The painful part is in considering the contrast with stock investing.
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4 Ways to Save on Taxes with Mutual Funds

We normally think of mutual funds as investment vehicles—which they are—but they can also offer valuable ways to save money on income taxes this spring and beyond.

There are steps you can take with mutual funds right now that can lower your tax liability either for the 2011 tax year or, failing that, for 2012.  Yes, there are ways to save on taxes with mutual funds!

Some of these are time sensitive, so you’ll want to either make your moves now, or position yourself to be able to take advantage when tax time comes around next year.  The important thing is to move on this — the windows close quickly.

Municipal Bond Funds

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Investment Losses? Harvest them for a Tax Deduction

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No one likes to lose money on their investments.

However, in some cases, it is unavoidable.  If you are looking at some investment losers, though, you might consider how you can use them to your advantage.

Tax harvesting your losses allows you to get a deduction when you sell for less than you bought for.  As you get close to the end of the year, and you begin planning to maximize your tax deductions, consider how your investments losses can reduce your tax liability:

Offset Capital Gains

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What Are the Best Ways to Invest in Mutual Funds?

Most of us have a pretty good idea what mutual funds are about, so maybe the more relevant question is, what are the best ways to invest in mutual funds?

There are different ways to own them, different times and methods to invest, and even other assets we might like to hold in addition to mutual funds.

Properly used, mutual funds can increase investment returns substantially.

But view them as passive, invest-and-forget vehicles, and they may be no better than owning individual stocks.

Mutual fund family vs. brokerage accounts

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