With the election out of the way and efforts taking shape in Washington to resolve the threat of automatic tax increases and the fiscal cliff, accountants and financial planners are recommending ways to protect their clients no matter what Congress and the Obama administration ultimately decide to do about the tax laws in 2013.

Rick Rodgers, president of Rodgers & Associates, in Lancaster, Pa., urged clients to diversify their income by putting it in various types of retirement accounts and investments. He told them to "put some money into a Roth IRA because the withdrawals will be tax free, and into tax-deferred accounts like a 401(k) or a 403(b) because you get the immediate tax benefits [in 2012]. Then save some money after tax because currently the earnings on investments in after-tax accounts are preferential in terms of qualified dividends and long-term capital gains. That way, you have your money in three different places. Going forward, we don't know what's going to happen with the tax laws, but that way you're somewhat covered as opposed to making a big bet one way or the other."

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