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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 

What Key Estate Planning Tools Should I Know About? Wills and trusts allow you to spell out how you would like your property distributed, but they also go beyond that. 

How Can a Living Trust Help Me Control My Estate? A living trust can help control the distribution of your estate upon death. 

What Are the Pitfalls of Probate? The probate process can be lengthy and complex. There are strategies you can use to help avoid the probate process. 

How Can My Gift Benefit Me and the Charity? To retain the tax advantages associated with charitable giving, your gift must be made to a qualified organization.

How Can I Build and Preserve My Estate? Life insurance can be used to help preserve the value of your estate for your heirs. 

How Can I Control the Distribution of My Estate? If you haven’t taken steps already, consider planning now for the distribution of the assets of your estate. 

How Will I Pay Estate Taxes? If you believe your estate will be subject to estate taxes, consider how your heirs will pay the bill.


What Is a SEP IRA?
A SEP IRA is a type of plan under which the employer contributes (up to a certain limit) to an employee’s IRA.

What Is a SIMPLE?
The SIMPLE plan may appeal to small business owners as it is easy to set up, administer, and allows for a tax deduction.

What Is an IRA Rollover?
If you leave a job or retire, you should consider your options regarding your employer retirement plan assets.

What Is a Roth 401(k)?
A Roth 401(k) is funded with after-tax money, and allows for tax- and penalty-free withdrawal of earnings if requirements are met.

What Is a Profit-Sharing Plan?
Profit-sharing plans give employees a share in the profits of a company and can help to fund their retirements.

What Is a Money Purchase Pension Plan?
A money purchase plan is a retirement plan where employer contributions are based on a fixed percentage of compensation.

What Is a 403(b) Plan?
A 403(b) plan is a tax-deferred retirement savings plan that can only be offered by a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt entity.

Tax Planning 

What Is the 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.

What Is the Estate Tax?
Everything you own, whatever the form of ownership, is subject to federal, and possibly state, estate taxes.

What Is the Gift Tax?
The federal gift tax applies to gifts of property or money while the donor is living.

How Much Money Can I Put Into My IRA or Employer-Sponsored Retirement Plan?
IRAs and employer-sponsored retirement plans are subject to annual contribution limits set by the federal government.

What Is a Required Minimum Distribution?
Required minimum distribution is the annual amount that must be withdrawn from a qualified retirement plan/account.

What Are the Tax Benefits of Charitable Trusts?
For the grantor, there are a few potential tax benefits that can come with setting up a charitable trust.

When Must Taxes Be Paid on IRA and Employer-Sponsored Retirement Funds?
With traditional IRAs and most employer-sponsored retirement plans, taxes are not payable until funds are withdrawn.


How Are Annuities Taxed?
One attractive feature of an annuity is tax-deferral but qualified and non-qualified annuities are taxed differently.

What Is a Bond Ladder?
A bond ladder is a strategy involving the purchase of bonds that have staggered maturity dates.

What Are Dividends?
It is important to understand how dividends (taxable payments to shareholders) fit with your long-term goals.

What Is an Exchange-Traded Fund?
ETFs have unique attributes and attempt to track all types of indexes, industries, or commodities.

How Are Mutual Funds Taxed?
Mutual fund taxes can be cumbersome, but there are ways to help mitigate the amount of taxes you may owe.

What Is Stock?
Before investing in stocks, it is important to understand some of the basics and the risks involved in owning stocks.

What Is Diversification?
An important element to successful investing is to manage investment risk while maintaining the potential for growth.