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Dust Off Your 2018 New Year’s Resolutions

There are 33 days left in 2018! That’s plenty of time to take action on some of those 2018 financial New Year’s resolutions that have been collecting dust since January. Read on for a few concrete steps you can take over the next month to fulfill your 2018 resolutions and get on track for 2019.

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June is Elder Abuse Awareness Month

by Mary Twomey, MSW, Aging Services Program Specialist, Office of Elder Justice and Adult Protective Services, Administration for Community Living, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

Today in a stuffy room somewhere in the U.S., dozens of fast-talking men and women armed with telephones, friendly voices, and empty promises have set their sights on older Americans. Their goal is to line their pockets with funds from those seniors, and chances are they will be successful.

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Should You Choose the New Military Retirement System?

by guest blogger Kimberly Lankford, author of Kiplinger’s Financial Field Manual: A Personal Finance Guide for Military Families

If you joined the military from 2006 through 2017, you have from January 1 to December 31, 2018, to decide whether to switch to the new “blended retirement system.” If you don’t do anything, you’ll continue to be covered under the old plan. (People who join the military after January 1, 2018, will automatically be enrolled in the new system, and those who entered the military before 2006 remain in the old system.)

The current military retirement system provides a generous pension – starting at 50% of your base pay every year for life if you stay in the service for 20 years, or up to 75% if you remain for 30 years. But if you leave the military before 20 years, you get nothing – and about eight out of 10 service members don’t stay long enough to collect a pension.

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Put Your 401(k) To Work

You know you need to invest for the future, but you procrastinate getting started because it all seems so overwhelming. You become paralyzed with indecision, inertia takes hold and you delay—or never get started—investing. Sound familiar? Fortunately, getting started is not as hard as you think it is, and there is a way for that inertia to work in your favor.

With pensions a rarity these days, a common retirement investment vehicle is the employer-sponsored 401(k) plan. For many of you, the opportunity to sign up for a 401(k) is part of your onboarding with a new job. You complete the necessary forms and each month a predetermined percentage of your paycheck is invested into your company 401(k) plan. While you will pay taxes on any withdrawals from a 401(k) once you’re retired, (and heavy penalties if you withdraw before the age of 59 ½) any contributions you make are pre-tax. Which means that your taxable income for that year is reduced, and you pay less income tax. Not bad.

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Get Ready to DASH for the STASH!

You know that the Investor Protection Institute is always looking out for you—it’s what we do. And with our online resources, blog posts and twitter feeds, our goal is to educate you—the investor—no matter what stage of life, or investing, you are in. From experienced investors to newbies, we offer a range of information and education for every investor or investor-to-be. And now we are about to do you one better. It’s time for our fourth annual DASH for the STASH! DASH for the STASH is a multi-State and online investor education and protection program and poster contest that arms investors with the unbiased and non-commercial information they need to make crucial investing decisions. The 2017 DASH for the STASH program runs from April 1–October 31, 2017.

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Big Changes Coming to the Military Retirement System

by guest blogger Kimberly Lankford, author of Kiplinger’s Financial Field Manual: A Personal Finance Guide for Military Families

The military retirement system is going to change in 2018. Service members may be able to participate in the new blended retirement system, which changes pension guarantees but also provides matching contributions to the Thrift Savings Plan.

Q. I hear there are going to be big changes to the military retirement system soon. How are the pension and retirement-savings options for service members changing, and do I need to make any decisions now?

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10 Best Financial Benefits for Military Families

by guest blogger Kimberly Lankford, author of Kiplinger’s Financial Field Manual: A Personal Finance Guide for Military Families

Members of the military have a lot of special financial challenges that most people don’t encounter. However, they have access to many special benefits, tax breaks and legal protections that can make a huge difference in their families' personal finances. Here are ten of the top financial benefits available to servicemembers and how to make the most of them to improve your family’s financial future. My husband was an Army doctor for 21 years and was deployed three times; many of these resources and benefits helped our family a lot over the years.

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Boomer, Gen-Xer or Millennial – Saving for Retirement is Up to You

When it comes to saving and investing for retirement many of us have our head in the sand. With financial demands in the here and now competing for our hard earned dollars we feel as if there is nothing to spare to save for a future that seems, and sometimes is, decades away. Our list of financial obligations is endless - education for ourselves or our children, a home, a car, medical expenses for ourselves or our parents. And what about the niceties of life? Retirement becomes the last item on our to-do list. Something to be dealt with someday. But someday is going to arrive sooner than we think, and we all need to be planning for our long-term financial security.

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