With 2007 just around the corner, lots of folks are likely in New-Year's-resolution-planning mode. We all have good intentions when we make 'em, of course. The trouble is sticking to our game plan. If any of your goals are related to finances -- and if you're reading this, I'd say that's a safe bet -- here's a simple way for on-the-ball types to take their ever-changing moods out of the savings equation.
Ramp up your Roth
With systematic investments into a Roth IRA -- with which your brokerage will likely be happy to assist you -- you can rev up your retirement savings in a big way.
With a Roth, after all, the earnings your account generates are free from taxes, and once you turn 59-and-a-half, you can tap 'em tax-free, too. Even better, while the contribution limit for tax years 2006 and 2007 is $4,000, that figure rises to $5,000 in 2008. And if you hit the half-century mark during any of those years, you can kick in an additional thousand bucks to boot.
With that as a backdrop, the question quickly becomes which kinds of investments are best suited to this type of account. The answer: If you're just starting out, anything goes -- a Roth is a great place for beginners to, well, begin. If you want to kick in more than the contribution limit, though, and you find yourself deciding between taxable and tax-favored accounts, consider plunking those investments that generate steady streams of income and capital gains into to a Roth. Otherwise, you'll just rack up a tax bill that you could easily avoid.
High-yielding stocks like Lloyds TSB Group
High-turnover mutual funds can make smart Roth arithmetic, too. To be sure, most managers who churn through stocks at a rapid-fire pace aren't worth their portion of the fund's expense ratio, but there are important exceptions. Take American Century Value (TWVLX), a fund that counted the likes of Bank of America
What's the catch? Well, with a triple-digit turnover rate, it's not exactly the world's most tax-efficient fund. Funds have to distribute capital gains to shareholders, and the IRS will want its cut of those payouts, too. Hold the fund in a Roth, though, and the taxman vanishes.
Neat trick, no?
The Foolish bottom line
Central though a Roth should be to your investment game plan, there are loads of other ways to make the most of what you're making. Doing the homework on that front (so you don't have to) is precisely why the Fool rolled out our GreenLight personal finance service earlier this year. At GreenLight, we strive to give you the inside scoop on everything from growth stocks trading at a discount to the best way to get your kids interested in investing. That latter topic is covered in detail in our current issue, in fact, and the one we're prepping now provides three tips for fattening your nest egg during the year ahead.
Click here for a free 30-day guest pass and see whether GreenLight can shine a little light on your financial future. I'm biased, of course, but I suspect that our service will indeed help you hit the ground running in 2007. Check it and see.
Shannon Zimmerman runs point on the Fool's Champion Funds newsletter service, and at the time of publication, he didn't own any of the securities mentioned above. Lloyds is an Inside Value recommendation. Bank of America is an Income Investor pick. You can check out the Fool's strict disclosure policy by clicking righthere.