75% of Americans agree they would benefit from having basic financial education and information.

Source: The 2016 Consumer Financial Literacy Survey, The National Foundation for Credit Counseling

Welcome to our research center! We've put together a library of information on important financial topics that we believe you'll find helpful.

Simply click on one of the general financial topics below and you'll find a selection of easy-to-understand information sheets about related financial concepts and strategies. This information is updated regularly to reflect the latest facts, figures, legislation, and economic trends.

Estates & Trusts

Wills and trusts allow you to spell out how you would like your property distributed, but they also go beyond that.
A living trust can help control the distribution of your estate upon death.
The probate process can be lengthy and complex. There are strategies you can use to help avoid the probate process.
To retain the tax advantages associated with charitable giving, your gift must be made to a qualified organization.
If you haven’t taken steps already, consider planning now for the distribution of your estate’s assets.
If you believe your estate will be subject to estate taxes, consider how your heirs will pay the bill.
An A-B trust can be an effective way to help reduce estate taxes and preserve family assets for heirs.
Compare the advantages and disadvantages of different gifting strategies available for planned giving.
Charitable lead trusts are designed for people who would like to benefit a charity now rather than later.
A designated income beneficiary could receive payment of a specified amount from a charitable remainder trust.
A wealth replacement trust could be used to gift appreciated assets to a charity as well as provide for heirs.
One estate planning strategy that families with closely held businesses could consider is the family limited partnership.
Sole ownership, joint tenancy, tenancy in common, and community property have special benefits for property owners.

Tax Planning

Capital Gain Tax
Capital gains are profits realized from the sale of assets; a tax is triggered only when an asset is sold, not held.
Estate Tax
Everything you own, whatever the form of ownership, is subject to federal, and possibly state, estate taxes.
Gift Tax
The federal gift tax applies to gifts of property or money while the donor is living.
Retirement Plan Limits
IRAs and employer-sponsored retirement plans are subject to annual contribution limits set by the federal government.
Required Minimum Distributions
Required minimum distribution is the annual amount that must be withdrawn from a qualified retirement plan/account.
Charitable Trust Tax Benefits
For the grantor, there are a few potential tax benefits that can come with setting up a charitable trust.
Retirement Plan Taxes
With traditional IRAs and most employer-sponsored retirement plans, taxes are not payable until funds are withdrawn.
Withdrawing Before Age 59.5
Tax-deferred retirement account withdrawals before age 59½ generally triggers a 10% federal income tax penalty.
Tax Deferral
There can be a substantial benefit to deferring taxes as long as possible.
Tax-Advantaged Investments
Many traditional tax-advantaged investment strategies have gone away, but there are still some alternatives.
Tax Deductions
Changes to the tax code have left a few key deductions for itemizers, like medical, dental and some business expenses.
Tax-Advantaged Alternatives
While stable, CDs can create quite an income tax bill. Fixed annuities and municipal bonds can offer tax advantages.
Tax Strategies for Retirement Plans
Consider a trustee-to-trustee transfer to an IRA versus a lump-sum distribution from a workplace retirement plan.
Tax-Free Investments
It’s important to understand tax-exempt vehicles when establishing a comprehensive tax planning strategy.
Mutual Fund Profits
Want to keep more of your mutual fund profits? You may be interested in strategies to help lower your tax liability.
Tax-Free Insurance Upgrades
A 1035 exchange allows you to exchange your life insurance policy for one from another company without tax liability.

Cash Management

Cash Management Basics
A sound cash management program uses a disciplined approach: accounting, analysis, allocation, and adjustment.
Doubling Your Money
Before making investment decisions, it is helpful to determine the real rate of return on the investment.
Cash Management Tools
Short-term cash management instruments can help you establish a sound cash management program.
Money Market Funds
Money market funds can be a highly liquid and effective cash management tool.
Managing Cash
There are numerous investment alternatives available to help provide liquidity.
Biweekly Mortgages
Biweekly mortgage payments can have a dramatic effect on the amount of interest homeowners have to pay.
Smart Financing Ideas
Here are some smart ways to refinance your home.
College Financial Aid
It's important to understand the options, such as financial aid grant programs, when having to pay for college.
Savings Alternatives
There are a number of savings alternatives that could help you earn a reasonable rate of return.
Effects of Inflation
Historically, one of the best ways to fight the effects of inflation has been to utilize growth-oriented investments.
Home Equity Loans
Shifting some debt to a home equity loan, which typically allows interest payments to be tax deductible, could have its advantages.