Review Category : At The Workplace

Five Jobs You Can Outsource Today

Growing up in a small town, we used to handle all our own chores.  There were no cleaning services that came to the house, no extra special coaches for lessons (the high school coach did it all), and nobody brought groceries to the house.  People banter about the impact of technology and how that has affected our society, but not often have people talked about the changing dynamics of outsourcing.  If you really don’t want to do something, there is a person waiting in the wings to get paid to do it for you.   Here is my list of five things you can outsource today. Waiting In Line – taskrabbit.com – Task rabbit will allow you to outsource a ton of different tasks, but if you want to pay someone to wait in line for the next Star Wars move that comes out, no problem they can find you your man (or woman) for the job. Walking Your Dog – ...

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Big Financial Pitfalls If You Plan On Working Longer

There are more people I meet every day who tell me that they aren’t planning to retire early, but instead enjoy life a little bit more and succumb to the fact that they are going to have to work later into their lives.  While on the surface this all seems fine and dandy, the harsh reality is that there are some major pitfalls with trying to work past the age of 65.   This strategy is often filled with some pretty unrealistic expectations and can have close to retirement families grasping for straws if their plan isn’t executed successfully.  Here are my pitfalls and tips to be thinking about if you want to work past the age of 65. Reality vs. Fantasy – In a recent study by the employee benefit research, 38% of the workers in the workforce expect to retire at the age of 70 and only 4% actually retire at the age of 70.   So, many workers are ...

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How Life Insurance Made Jim Harbaugh, Not Nick Saban, the Highest Paid Coach in the NCAA

Most that follow collegiate athletics are familiar with Nick Saban, arguably the most successful head coach in NCAA history. Heck, even if you don’t follow college sports, Saban has become a figure that is well known throughout the country for his Alabama teams and their ferocious defenses. But did you know that despite his track record on the field, he is not the highest paid coach in the NCAA? That distinction belongs to Jim Harbaugh, head coach of the Michigan Wolverines. Despite not having reached the pinnacle of the sport yet in terms of national championships, Michigan made Harbaugh the highest paid head man in the country in August of 2016. The avenue in which Harbaugh and the University accomplished this is not commonly seen in professional or amateur sports. After his first season with the Wolverines, Harbaugh and the leaders at Michigan entered into a Split-Dollar Loan Agreement under which the University agreed to make seven loan advances, of ...

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VIDEO: What To Do If You Receive A Severance Package?

When the consulting companies are done offering advice to your corporation on how to make it more effective, the one word you don’t want to hear from upper management is “reorg”. Reorg, short for reorganization, if often a labor intensive process where a large organization systematically eliminates a section of the workforce to streamline their overall processes, people, and systems. When these reductions in workforce happen, one of the possibilities that may occur is to offer you a severance package. The problem for most families is that decisions have to be made so quickly that people often make poor choices on how to best maximize this package. Here are five smart money moves to make when you are offered a severance package. Read Full Article at: https://shar.es/1xFXsV ...

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How To Use Periscope In Your Business

If you have not been paying attention over the last year, a new app call Periscope (bought by Twitter in 2015) is gaining a lot of popularity.  This is a live streaming application.  Users can broadcast a live feed from their mobile device.  The company has not released its current number of users, but they have access to parent company Twitter’s 310 million users.  Their blog site states that over 200 million broadcasts have been streamed and over 110 years of live video are watched every day. So what can you do to integrate this technology into your business. Start by taking viewers behind the scenes of your business. People like to connect on a personal level.  Interacting with your customers and prospects to show them how your business works gives them a glimpse of who you are. Invite customers to have a live conversation. One of the features of Periscope is that viewers can leave real-time comments.  Hold a ...

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Five Smart Money Moves To Make When You Are Offered A Severance Package

When the consulting companies are done offering advice to your corporation on how to make it more effective, the one word you don’t want to hear from upper management is “reorg”.    Reorg, short for reorganization, if often a labor intensive process where a large organization systematically eliminates a section of the workforce to streamline their overall processes, people, and systems.   When these reductions in workforce happen, one of the possibilities that may occur is to offer you a severance package.    The problem for most families is that decisions have to be made so quickly that people often make poor choices on how to best maximize this package. Here are five smart money moves to make when you are offered a severance package. Double Dip On Pay If your company offers you six months or one year as a severance package, this is not the time to take an extended vacation.   Every month that you can work for a new employer ...

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How Did Apple Get A 14.5 Billion Dollar Tax

In the past week it was announced that the European Commission completed its investigation and concluded that Apple would need to pay back a 14.5 billion dollar tax to the EU.   While 14.5 billion only represents about 6% of the cash and investments Apple has on hand, the big question is what kind of precedence this might set for the future of big business overseas in light of the upcoming Presidential Election.   So, in simple terms, how did this tax even happen? This all started when Apple struck at tax deal with Ireland to locate their European Headquarters in Ireland in 1991.   Ireland create tax arrangement between now two Irish companies, Apple Sales International and Apple Operation Europe.    The profits that came from European sales for Apple were recorded in Ireland some of which were taxed and the majority of the profits were recorded through something called a “head office”.  In simple terms, this was an offshore company that wasn’t ...

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Trump vs. Clinton Tax Plans

While the election is kicking into high gear, there may be many reasons why you may choose one candidate over the other.  Or, you just may choose to vote for one of the independents this year.   Since I write a column mostly about smart money moves, it might be in the best interest of your family to understand the basics of what the candidates are proposing for tax overhaul and reform.  Here is the high level of Trump v. Clinton for income taxes. PERSONAL INCOME TAX Trump is proposing we move to four tax brackets 0%, 10%, 20%, 25%. More importantly, he is wanting to make the standard deduction for single people at $25,000 and for married couples $50,000 which means those families will pay no tax at all. Clinton is going to hold the same general similar tax bracket structure we have in today’s world. However, she is looking to make two major changes: one being a 4% surtax ...

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Going Digital With Your Filing Cabinet

When I was 12 years old, I found an old term paper in a box of my father’s things.  It was about creating a Cashless Society.  It intrigued me as a child on other things we could get rid of in our society.  My biggest desire was to get rid of paper.  I hated it.  So as a teenager and young adult, the idea of being paperless was exciting to me.  By the mid 90s scanner technology and cost had reached a point where I could start to realize my digital dream. I began scanning every bill, invoice, statement and tax return I had.  Fast forward 20 years and now my filing cabinet is 100% completely digital.  Here are 5 things you can do to achieve my dream of a Paperless Society. Ditch the receipts. Grocery Stores, Gas Stations, Fast Food joints.  Unless the receipt is something you can deduct on your tax return, then there is no reason to ...

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5 Ways Pokémon Go Can Help Your Business

In the 70’s we had the Pet Rock, in the 80’s it was Cabbage Patch Kids, the 90’s was Beanie Babies and today we have the latest craze, PokemonGO.  The difference with this fad is that it is attracting the attention of adults.  Some are the young adults that might have played with the original Pokémon games and cards from 20 years ago.  But it is even attracting the 40 somethings, and if Grandma hears enough about it, we might be seeing our senior citizens playing as they go on their daily walks. So for those that are still messing with their Pet Rocks and have not heard about PokemonGO, here is a simple explanation.  Using a phone App, the player wanders the real world hunting for animated Pokémon monsters.  Gathering Pokémon, builds your collection and makes you more powerful to battle other players in game Gyms. The game is causing people to walk in areas where they might not ...

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5 Things NOT To Do When Starting Your Own Business Or Setting Up An LLC

– Ted Jenkin | Atlanta Money Guy Topic: Five Things NOT To Do When Starting Your Own Business Or Setting Up An LLC Taped 7/07/16 Listen every Tuesday morning at 8:00 a.m. on ROCK 100.5 | Atlanta’s Rock Station to “Your Smart Money Moves” with The Rock 100.5 Morning Show and oXYGen Financial. Ted Jenkin, CFP® and Kile Lewis, CRPC® are the founders of oXYGen Financial, and our chief financial officers. All your money questions answered Breathe easier at http://oXYGenFinancial.net ...

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How The New Overtime Rules May Affect Your Business

The Department Of Labor is at it again, now changing the game for businesses as it pertains to overtime rules.   Since, that is what we really need . . . some more rules.  If it wasn’t challenging enough for small businesses dealing with making payroll and figuring out to maintain the costs of health insurance, now you’ll have to pay double attention to these new overtime rules which will become effective December 1st. Here’s a bet I’m willing to make on the record.  The cost for businesses across the country to manage and track all of these changes will far supersede the benefits that will actually be paid for people working overtime.  The administration believes by making these changes that many hard working Americans will earn overtime, but let me clue everyone in on four your smart money moves secrets. Right now, if you are a salaried worker who makes in between $23,660 and $47,476 and you have a reasonable ...

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It’s All About Two Words. SUPPORT and EXPECTATIONS.

As 2016 kicks off, both small business owners and corporate executives alike will be executing their business plans at the work place.   We know that leadership and culture are two big factors that can make a business or a division of a company become successful.   I thought I would start off 2016 with a simple exercise I have used over the years to help you avoid making the biggest leadership mistake you can ever make. “It’s all about two words.  SUPPORT and EXPECTATIONS.”—-Ted Jenkin If you put these two words together, I’m going to give you four different equations to consider.  If the math is done correctly, you can lead your business or company to a high level of success along with outstanding retention.  If the math is done incorrectly, you’ll be scratching your head as why the explosion went off in your business with a mess larger than Three Mile Island. Expectations With Support = TRUST Happiness ...

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Is There Really Value In Having A Holiday Party?

Over the past weekend, we had our annual holiday party at Top Golf.  If you haven’t been to one of the locations it is a ton of fun even if you aren’t good at golf.  As I talk with people from companies both large and small, many of them have ‘cut back’ and opted to either not have a holiday party or do something very informal at work.   After our annual holiday party, it reminded me that these gatherings are more than just a ‘party’, and that many companies underestimate how gatherings like these may positively affect the people within their organization. So, what is the value of having a holiday party? You need to recognize that the holiday party may not be a ‘relaxing’ night out on the town for some of the people who attend the event.  While forced social time with work colleagues is a fun thing for some people, for others it’s just another obligation so ...

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When Should You Take Your Deferred Compensation Plan?

Over the past several months I have seen an increased amount of nonqualified deferred compensation plans being offered at the workplace. These types of plans are often misunderstood by the employees that participate in them, and most of their decisions are made from discussions with their colleagues at work. When families build out their overall financial plan, they generally have the two phases of accumulation and decumulation. The challenge with deferred compensation plans is that most families can easily see the tax advantages in the short term, but don’t consider how the income will be received in the long term when they check off their elections for receiving money down the road. First things first, when it comes to signing up for deferred compensation plans at work. You should be sitting down as a family and carefully calculating the best strategy to minimize your taxes while not destroying your family cash flow. Sometimes it will be best to rob Peter ...

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Why 9 to 5 Will Never Exist Again

Who could ever forget Dabney Coleman as the boss who gets paid back in spades by Dolly Parton, Lily Tomlin, and Jane Fonda in the 1980 movie 9 to 5.  I’m sure those of you who can remember seeing the movie are probably humming the song in your head, so here goes: “Tumble outta bed And I stumble to the kitchen Pour myself a cup of ambition And yawn and stretch And try to come to life Jump in the shower And the blood starts pumpin’ Out on the street The traffic starts jumpin’ The folks like me on the job from 9 to 5…” It’s 35 years later and 9 to 5 might have existed in that world, but let’s look at the important changes: Before you even tumble out of bed, you pick your phone up to see what e-mails, text messages, and important Facebook notices have come in from 11 p.m. to 6:30 a.m.— and then you ...

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How To Negotiate Your Next $10,000 Pay Raise

You just finished up your taxes and realized that you either owe money or the refund you received just wasn’t enough to complete the remodel you had in mind this year. You hoped your income would go up here in 2015, but once again you were saddled with a cost of living adjustment and hoping the company will promote you sometime in the future. Are you serious about getting that $10,000 pay raise this year? Pay raises don’t happen by accident. They don’t happen to people who wait for them to happen. They come to those who prepare on the right way to get the $10,000 pay raise. Here are my five tips on how to make this happen for your future. Where Does Your Salary Compare In The Industry?–  I’m surprised by the number of people who never take the time to go to www.salary.com, www.glassdoor.com,or www.payscale.com to see exactly where their current salary compares to the same type of individuals in ...

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5 Career Moves To Make To Get Promoted In Your First Year On The Job

Do you want to put your life and your career on the fast track?   In my corporate career, I got promoted as one of the youngest district managers, field vice presidents, and group vice presidents in the history of the Fortune 500 I worked for during my corporate life.  I quickly learned that if you want to make more progress in a year than most people do over the first 10 to 20 years of their career, there are a few key lessons you need to learn to get on that fast track.  Those that follow these five lessons can set themselves up within a year to get a promotion and advance with light speed in their organization.  Choose The Right Boss– You’ll get asked all kinds of challenging interview questions and most certainly the one that asks where you want to be three to five years from now.   One of the most key questions you want to ask your ...

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The $11 Lunch You Didn’t Enjoy

You get rushed right around lunchtime and once again realize that you didn’t prepare something to eat today.   Your stomach is grumbling, so you rush to the basement floor of your building complex to just pick up a little something for lunch.   You notice the salad bar and begin to pile up a few things on your plate to eat for lunch.  You grab a bag of chips and then a drink to wash it all down.   The deli cashier rings it all up and tells you it will cost $10.89 for your meal.   As you shake your head in a state of shock, you only kick yourself further down the road for not preparing something that will cost you less and you’ll enjoy more.   How many $11 lunches have you had over the last year that happened just like this?   Here are five fast food places you could go to for $5 or less (and eat reasonably healthy as ...

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When Can I Hire My Kids In The Business?

When you run a small business, you often look for almost any tax deduction that you can take off your bottom line that has a legitimacy when it comes to filing your taxes. For most business owners, there is always a blurred line between your personal life and your business life. Often, your children end up getting involved whether it comes to running errands, filing papers, or even assisting with your company Facebook page. So, the big question is when can your hire your children in the family business and how do you document this when it comes to filing your taxes? I truly believe that one of the most underutilized tax deductions for small business owners is getting their children engaged in the family business. By placing children (or even grandchildren) on the payroll who are under the age of 18, you can create a great opportunity to take advantage of something called income shifting. Your company can hire ...

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How Much Of My Mileage Can I Tax Deduct This Year?

During tax time, we often get the question from employees and business owners about how much of their auto mileage they can deduct on their tax return. This is one of the biggest questions where a slippery slope can occur without approaching this topic in the right manner. For most people including business owners, their automobile is not used 100% for business purposes. Thus, if you use the car for both business and personal purposes, you can only deduct the mileage related to the business portion of using the car. Here are some ‘your smart money moves’ guidelines when thinking about how much of your mileage you can deduct on your tax return. You can generally figure the amount of your deductible car expense by using one of two methods: the standard mileage rate method or the actual expense method. If you qualify to use both methods, you may want to figure your deduction both ways before choosing a method ...

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Do You Really Think The Company Will Fall Apart When You Leave?

When you become an integral part of a company and its growth, you can convince yourself that there is no way the company can run without you.  You may be a senior vice president for a large company running an elite sales force, a design engineer working on an important product, or even the CEO at the helm of the entire operation.  No matter how much you want to convince yourself and tell your friends that the company is surely going to fall apart without you, it just may be that you have the facts all wrong.  Companies often have a backbone much larger than we’d like to give them credit, and before your derriere hits the door you’ll merely be a distant name from the past. Of all the behemoths of companies out there, arguably Apple could be the 800 pound gorilla.   When Steve Jobs passed away on October 5th, 2011, many were convinced that Apple had no ...

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Four Ways To Ditch Your Chatty Co-Workers

It is 3 p.m. in the afternoon, and you are vigorously working on an excel spreadsheet that has to be done for the boss by quitting time. While you pour over your work and feverishly toil away on the spreadsheet, you pick your head up after hearing a dreaded knock on your door (or the window glass on your cubicle). You look up to see Charlie, the office ‘Chatty Cathy’ lurking on the other side of your door. Unfortunately, there is nowhere to run and nowhere to hide, but you know if you let him in that he’ll spend the better part of the next hour amusing you with delightful stories on what he ate for breakfast and why Pop Tarts should be making a nostalgic comeback sometime soon. What do you do when you need to play a game of Ding Dong Ditch when the office blabbermouth comes to track you down? Here are four ideas that I think ...

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Are You Paying Too Much For Your Group Term Life Insurance at Work?

It’s 11:00 P.M. the night before your open enrollment, and once again you have waited until the last minute to check the boxes for next year’s benefits. Every year, I help hundreds of clients review the corporate benefits they get from their company. As the booklets get larger and the benefits more complex, one of the biggest mistakes that I see employees make is not doing a shopping comparison with their voluntary group life insurance. Remember these upcoming bullet points when it comes to viewing your company life insurance. First, there is no free lunch. Although the company may give you some life insurance that you get for no cost, if the insurance is more than $50,000 you’ll get something on your pay stub called imputed income. You’ll notice this if you look at your next pay stub and see GTL (group term life) as income on your paycheck. Second, when it comes to voluntary term life insurance and you ...

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The One Secret Your Benefits Department Never Told You About Your 401(k)

What if we were to tell you that you could get access to part of your 401(k) today and NOT pay a single penalty to move your funds into an IRA account?  You would think that we were kidding, right?  Unfortunately, most Time Warner employees (CNN, Cartoon Network, Turner, TBS, TNT, etc.) are unaware of a little known rule in your summary plan description of your 401(k) called an “in-service distribution”. Time Warner permits an in-service distribution which would allow you to withdrawal some of your money from the 401k and roll it over to an IRA while you are still employed with the company!  YES, this is 100% TRUE.  Call Fidelity yourself and find out!  By rolling over the assets to an IRA, you can maintain control of how you manage your money. Let’s face it- – some 401k’s are deficient with high fees, limited investment fund choices, and your ability to customize an investment process within your 401k ...

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Five Financial Moves To Make When You Change Jobs

Whether you leave your employer or your employer leaves you, changing jobs can be one of those money triggering events when you begin to take stock of where you are financially.    Job changes often bring along new responsibilities and challenges, and experience tells us that analyzing and maximizing your new benefits package normally goes to the bottom of the barrel.    This makes a ton of sense as typically the first three to six months in a new position you are immersed with the learning curve of a new role at a new company.    Having a financial advisor by your side can be a valuable resource to make these important decisions.   Here are five financial moves to make when you change jobs. Get all of your 401(k)’s in one backyard– When you hop from job to job, you may have left your 401(k) at your former employer.    I often refer to these as orphan 401(k)’s because most participants don’t pay attention ...

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You Thief: How To Stop The Office Refrigerator Bandit

Has anyone ever stolen your day old turkey sandwich from the refrigerator or the bag of almonds that you had hiding out in the cabinets at work?  You know what I mean, the work of the sneaky office food thief who sends your blood pressure skyrocketing up to epic levels.  I have witnessed this happen at many different workplaces and I know I am not alone when I pray that the food gods send these people into a lifetime of stomach problems. I always wondered what kind of individual would steal someone else’s lunch. I must admit that I too have been tempted from time to time when there is a half of a coconut crème pie left over in the fridge, but I would NEVER take the food of a co-worker without either a) leaving money and a note or b) asking permission first. But who is the office refrigerator bandit?   Is it . . . . . A ...

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THE GOOD, THE BAD, and THE UGLY of working at a small business

Over six and half years ago, I left corporate America to start my own business.  I now own five different businesses and consider myself to be unemployable.   I worked for a Fortune 100 company with more than 50,000 employees worldwide and now handle building and executing visionary plans for the future of my industry.   If you are at the crossroads of still working for a large company or potentially making the move to work for a small business in your neck of the woods, here are some the of the good, the bad, and the ugly that may influence your future decision. THE GOOD You Can See A Direct Immediate Impact From Your Work– You can usually come up with a new idea, an implementation plan, and begin to see immediate results on customers and the organization from your hard work.  In larger organization, it can take a year (or more) just to get an idea through the red ...

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Be Careful About The Rules Around Saving For Healthcare

With so many changes happening with our tax code every year, it is really important that you sit down and review how this will affect your family finances. As 2015, approaches us, one tax issue that could affect your family center around the changes intertwined with Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA’s) and Health Savings Accounts (HSA’s). In many prior years, traditionally FSA’s were you use it or you lose it plans if the money is not spend by year-end. Since 2013, you were allowed to roll money over from the prior year and carry it forward into the current. However, going into 2015 there is a BIG twist that you should consider before the 2014 year is over. If you elect to carry forward the $500 in your FSA plan from 2014 into 2015, you will immediately become ineligible to participate in a Health Savings Account for 2015. This is true for the entire calendar year. So, if you opted to ...

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I’m Going To Sell My Tech Firm For Millions. Now What?

It’s no secret that Atlanta’s technology start-up scene is booming.  I’ve had several young and very successful tech leaders ask me what they should do when they sell their company for millions – thus, this posting. I have to preface this blog by clearly stating I have never sold a company for millions.  However, in seeking feedback from numerous sources and speaking to different entrepreneurs, I’ve come up with this simple list to help you manage your new fortune the right way: Set Up Your Team – CPA, Attorney, Financial Planner and Most Importantly, Good Family Around You We’ve all heard the stories of people going broke after they hit it big and win the lottery.  Take the time before you ink the deal to get these important relationships in place with people you trust, as they are crucial for your future success.  And, it may be easier to identify the trustworthy partners before rather than after. Keep Your Circle of Friends Small ...

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Your Year End Naughty and Nice List

As we rapidly approach year end, making a list for Santa shouldn’t be the only list that you make.  It is also the time of the season to be making some end of the year smart money moves.  Here are my quick five to do’s and NOT to do’s before the end of the year. To Do’s Use up your FSA- You can only carry over $500 to 2015, so make sure you use the other money or you will lose it. Donate to charity- Especially your non-cash charitable contributions. Make sure to get a receipt for tax purposes. Match gains and losses- Look through what positions to sell to match losses against gains. Not every position will be a winner. Max out 401(k)- If you have a pay period left and are way behind in contributions, you might do 100% of the last paycheck. Make a holiday shopping list- Unless you want a holiday financial hangover, making a good ...

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Four Financial Ideas On Your Work Anniversary

It’s another anniversary and a good time to reflect on where you are in your career both professionally and financially.   It couldn’t be a better time to also take stock of where your overall financial plan is currently, and whether or not you are on track to make work optional.  Here are four smart financial ideas to consider on this work anniversary. Rule of 1/3rds– Your work anniversary often signals a time where you could earn an additional pay raise.   Most individuals often don’t deploy the important rule of 1/3rds.   What this means is that at least 1/3rd of the raises (and bonuses) you get every year at work should be captured immediately with some form of forced savings.  This should be priority number one.   So, if you got a $10,000 pay raise, a 1/3rd is likely to go to taxes, a 1/3rd should go to some type of savings, and a 1/3rd should be spent on something you enjoy.   ...

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Three Financial Moves To Make When You Get Promoted

There are few things in life that deserve a glass of champagne more than a well-earned promotion.  After years of blood, sweat, and tears, your company has finally recognized your efforts and decided to move you into a more meaningful role within your company.  Sometimes, only title are associated with these promotions, but more often than not there will be financial rewards as well.   This is exactly your time to fall into the lifestyle inflation trap and make some really smart financial moves that will pay dividends down the road. The Pay Raise– Generally, a new promotion will also mean more responsibility which often equals more pay.  If your salary jumps by $10,000 or even $50,000 dollars this will mean a significant bump in your cash flow for your family.   What should you do with this money?  Is it best to add to your 401(k)?  Start paying down the mortgage?  Or time to purchase that new vacation home?   With pay ...

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Did You Just Get A Raise In November

It’s pretty amazing to me how many people truly still don’t understand our payroll tax system.  When you work as a W-2 for an employer, both you and your employer are going to pay certain payroll taxes.  The two main types of taxes are the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) tax and the Medicare tax.   Both you and your employer pay 6.2% into FICA up to $117,000 this year and Medicare is a perpetuity tax at 1.45%.  In 2014, when wages, compensation, etc. get above $200,000 for an individual and $250,000 for a married couple, you will incur an additional .9% Medicare tax this year.   When your w-2 gets above $200,000, your payroll provider should be deducting that amount from your paycheck now, but it is important you double check at work. Since there are many individuals who pay their full amount into social security and their income exceeds $117,000 in a particular calendar year, unfortunately your HR department won’t ...

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I Can’t Take Money Until 59 1/2

There is an ever-changing landscape of families and individuals who are working on making work-optional by the age of 50 or 55. This doesn’t mean that they won’t continue running some small business or choosing projects to work on that they really enjoy, but at this financial juncture in their lives they are wondering how they may be able to tap into their retirement savings accounts. The biggest misconception people have about retirement savings accounts is that they simply cannot touch the money before the age of 59 ½ or they will pay significant penalties to the IRS. You’ll want to check this IRS link out. (http://1.usa.gov/1rB1ufw) Essentially, IRA owners have an option called Substantial Equal Period Payments which would allow them to withdraw money from their IRA or qualified plan before the age of 59.5 without incurring the IRS 10% early withdrawal penalty. The IRS will require individuals to continue the SEPP program for a minimum of five years ...

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Is it time to make an appointment with the doctor?

Getting laid off from your job can trigger a myriad of emotions. There are often important financial considerations to make during this period of time, but the number one investment step for someone to take who gets laid off is to review all of your group insurance benefits at work and determine the best course of action for this important foundation of your overall financial plan. You should immediately make any doctor and dentist visits for you and your family before you officially terminate from your company. Another smart idea is to assess how close you are to your deductibles year to date and potentially schedule any surgeries that are necessary, especially if you are getting close to the end of the year. Most large companies will allow you the opportunity to continue your coverage under COBRA, but if you work for a company of less than 20 employees you may only be eligible for state continuation. You could also ...

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Four Money Moves To Make When You Get The Pink Slip

The Pink Slip.  It’s the dreaded official notification from your employer that they no longer need your services.   You’ll often hear the corporate rumors flowing within your company about the impending layoffs, but you’ll never suspect that you might be a person on the hit list.   We never imagine that we will be that person who gets called in for dismissal time.   While getting a pink slip is an awful feeling, it’s also a phase in your life where you need to immediately get your financial act together.  Here are my four smart money moves to make when you get laid off from work. Time To See The Doctor- Health insurance is one of the biggest items for consideration during a layoff.  You should make all doctor visits before you separate from service with your current employer.   You should get the details of what happens to your health insurance plan if you get laid off. Are you under COBRA or ...

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Don’t Accidentally Pay The Homeless Man… Again

Let’s face it, the city of Atlanta hasn’t quite perfected the art of mass transit, and sometimes driving to an event is not only easier, but could be your only option. However, once you finally make it near the Dome, Turner Field, etc, the daunting task of finding the cheapest parking rip off still remains. You may creep your way over to that one trusty lot you usually rely on, only to find its full or “prepaid only” that day. Or maybe the only Falcons parking that’s still open is that $60 lot. Once you finally find your space, and pay, how many times have you walked away wondering if you just paid the actual lot attendant, or a homeless man? Next time, try this new parking service called Parking Panda! (https://www.parkingpanda.com/) You’ll save time and money! Just search for the venue the event is being held at; you’ll then be given a list of available parking lots and decks ...

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Five Financial To Do’s During Open Enrollment Season

Fall signals the changing of the leaves, football Sundays, and Halloween.  It is also the time of year where many of the companies in Atlanta offer open enrollment for your benefits.  With the complication of benefits packages, it is more important than ever that you learn how to make smart money decisions during your two weeks of open enrollment.  Here are my five smart money moves to look at when your benefits season comes this fall.  Don’t wait until the last minute to check your options!! Your Health Insurance Plan Is Sure To Change– Insurance companies today hardly ever let a company renew its old health insurance plan.  This means that you’ll likely get a new set of plans to sift through during open enrollment.  If you and your partner both have company benefits make sure to weigh the pros and cons of each of your health insurance plans.  Did the deductible change?  Did the coinsurance change? Will you have ...

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Think Wisely About Your Trustee

It’s never fun to think about gloom and doom. However, if you have been successful in building up an asset base or you carry a lot of life insurance, you may be considering setting up a trust fund for your children if something happens to you. There are many potholes that a family can stumble into when establishing a trust, but here are three mistakes parents often make. First, parents don’t often think through who they want as the trustee of trust for their kids. As complicated as it is to select a custodian, parents should consider whether they want a single trustee or a co-trustee to have some check and balance system for the trust. It is crucial to make sure you’ll have the right people in charge of the funds when you are no longer in the picture. Second, parents need to be clear about the goals of the trust. Specifically, most parents don’t think through when and ...

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Do We Even Need Vacation Policies Anymore?

When I was running one of my first corporate divisions for a Fortune 50 company, I had a very wise operations person by my side.   One day he shared an important lesson with me that I will never forget.  He said, “Ted, don’t plan to put any policies in writing that you are not 100% certain that you plan to enforce.”   In the midst of this, I have learned through corporate America, and through running several of my own businesses, that policies can be both good and bad for the culture of an organization.   One that has come under some heated debate is the notion of whether or not we need vacation policies in organizations anymore. What’s more scary to you and the health of your organization . . . a) your employees have four weeks of vacation but they never take it (OR) b) you have an unlimited vacation policy and worry about people abusing it? The truth ...

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Will The Robo-Advisor Be Short Circuited?

At a recent conference attended by some of the best and the brightest in the industry, I was amazed at the disparity in views and concerns regarding the rise of the Robo-Visor.  Relax…. Although the technology exists, I can’t imagine getting on a pilotless transatlantic flight just as I can’t imagine the majority of consumers handling all of their investments online. That said, Robo like the discount brokerage firms that “threatened” the financial advisors 20 years ago, is here to stay.  More than anything, this is a clear barometer that investing has become more commoditized.  For the Investment professionals who proclaim themselves as money managers you will certainly have the most exposure for losing clients.  For the financial planning professional I see this as an opportunity as more and more clients desire what I call the 3 C’s.  In today’s fast-paced environment we have learned clients seek far more than just investment advice.  They desire a Collaborator, a Connector, and ...

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5 Ways For Women To Build Confidence

So I know what you are about to say.  What does a 44 year old guy know about women building confidence.  I’m not about to tell you that I know the secret of women, but I thought I would attempt to list some things women can do to build confidence.  After reading  from the book The Confidence Code by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman, I picked up these 5 ways woman can build confidence: You don’t have to make things perfect, so stop tinkering You have to keep moving forward and tinkering takes time.  Even if you are wrong, failing fast can reduce the time going down blind alleys. Leave your comfort zone Try something you thought you’d never be good at.  The old saying  “What doesn’t kill you will make you stronger” is so true. Take credit for your successes Don’t just brush off a compliment, accept it.  Use it to give your next step confidence. Give rid of ...

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The Lost Art Of The Hand Written Thank You Note

I’m really not sure why any of us get excited about going to get our mail every day.   Even though we know that ultimately the mail will deliver us three pieces of mail that are bills, five different types of non-sensical catalogues we didn’t order, and one incredible bulky Val-Pak stuffed with coupons, we still never get tired of the intrigue of opening up mail.   Even the halfhearted effort of companies that send us birthday cards unsigned still doesn’t seem to be able to break our spirit around the excitement of getting the mail.     Every once in a while when the sun shines bright and the weather is oh so perfect, it comes to our amazement that somebody today actually sends us a hand-written note and there it is; our day is made. For more than twenty years now, I have never stopped sending hand written thank you notes. Notes that have a personalized message so ...

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Use The KISS Principle

Today it is more complicated than ever for the average investor to really understand how to pick a mutual fund.   Most novices may choose a fund if it has a 4-star or 5-star ranking.   Or they decide to pick a fund because they did a Google search for best returns and then select one from the top of list.  The truth is, most investors today would be lucky if they could name one or two actual positions that their mutual fund owns if they were asked.  In my opinion fund companies could become more friendly if they used the Keep It Simple Stupid principle. First, mutual fund companies should provide consumers some sort of simple x-ray software so when they choose to buy multiple funds from a fund company, an investor can at least have some idea about how much the different funds overlap.  Far too often, I see consumers who own three or four different mutual funds only to ...

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Three Reasons Why Software Sales Guys Go Broke in Buckhead

Just closed a big deal, didn’t you?   Now you are the big man on campus as you swiftly exit Johnny’s Hideaway and slide down to Landmark Diner for a 3 a.m. burger.  You pop a ride home with Uber so you don’t bang up the finely tuned up Porsche you just bought, and then it’s on to five days at a four star hotel in Cost Rica.  While it seems like your leading the life of Riley, your ATM statement says otherwise leaving you scratching your head on where all of your cash is going.  So why do software sales guys go broke in Buckhead?  Here are three insights from the Tech Financial Advisor. Bar bills, fancy restaurants & night clubs: We’ve all been there when someone pulls out their credit card and buys a round of drinks for the whole group.  What do you have to show when you wake up the next morning with a $300 bar tab?  ...

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Don’t Let 2008 Happen To You Again

Should you be concerned at all as Dow 17,000 approaches us and may have already happened by the time you read this article? Is hitting 17,000 going to be your friend to a more bullish market or will it be time for people to take their profits off the table and we will see a pullback?   Is it really just as easy as putting the portfolio car in cruise control and just let it ride down the highway?   Here are a few smart money moves lessons to learn so 2008 doesn’t happen to you again in the future. What’s Your Time Frame?  In 2008, there were many parents who had saved for goals such as their children’s education only to see the balance of the accounts get cut in half.  If your son or daughter has college tuition due in the fall, make sure the allocation of your assets matches your time frame. You Must Have A Risk Mitigation Plan- ...

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Who Was Your Investment Role Model?

Each of us has a very special relationship with our money.  Whether it was a family member, a work colleague, or somebody famous, the lessons we learned from our investment role models shape the way we think about our money decisions later in life.  Fortunately, I had an unbelievable role model in my very first job out of college.  My previous boss indelibly etched three powerful principles back in 1991 that guide my investment decision making more than 20 years later. Pay yourself first.   As simple as this seems, he forced me to begin deducting $166.66 a month into an IRA account when I was just twenty one years old and struggled to make those payments each and every month.   No matter how much or how little money you make, one of the most powerful lessons is to take the savings off the top and then learn to live off the rest.  Take a third of every raise and add ...

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Five Ways Social Media Can Make You Money

There are still some people who are avoiding the whole game of social media.   They don’t quite get Twitter or have no interest in Facebook.  In fact, even if they are in the business community they haven’t added their entire professional summary to LinkedIn.  If the whole idea of social media hasn’t garnered your attention, perhaps the notion of putting some dollars in your pocket would be more intriguing.  Here are my five smart money moves on how social media can help you make some cash. Coupons and Deals- If you “follow” the financial people who are ‘frugal’ or cheap on social media websites like Twitter, you can get great advice on coupons, deals, and savings ideas.   Getting these deals just in time can even give you ideas on weekend events where you can receive discounts to places like fairs and festivals. Job Opportunities- Being in relevant groups and paying attention to discussions may help you land your next greatest ...

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$250,000 And Struggling

When the fiscal cliff went into effect in the beginning of 2013, the country declared a new baseline for a married couple by defining $250,000 of household income as being ‘rich’ or ‘wealthy’.   Even though making $250,000 of household income for most families in America seems highly unattainable, talk to someone who lives in a top 20 major metropolitan market and you’ll find out a wildly different set of circumstances.  Could it be that a family who makes $250,000 is actually struggling?  Yes, Yes, and Yes.   Let’s break down the numbers for family that has three children (this is a hypothetical scenario, but I’ve seen plenty that look just like this) Save For Retirement-  If 10% comes off the top (you’ll need at least that to make a decent work optional scenario, but probably a heck of a lot more) that will equal $25,000.   Now you are down to $225,000 assuming it goes into a pre-tax 401k plan. Health Insurance ...

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Top 10 Jobs For 2014

I have a daughter of my own who is finishing up her junior year of high school and we will be looking at colleges and career paths as many other families will be doing across America.   Most kids have no idea what they want to do with their lives, so it probably behooves you as a parent to at least shed some concrete data with your children about what’s paying at the cash register here in 2014. I know.  I know.   Money isn’t everything.  If your children choose their passion then ultimately the will figure out how to make a lot of money within their career.   However, if your child is dealing with the certainty of uncertainty then tip the scales in their favor and give them a few paths to choose from as they embark on their future endeavors.  Careercast.com put together a list of the highest and lowest paying midlevel income jobs across America (http://www.careercast.com/jobs-rated/best-jobs-2014) Best Jobs of ...

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Are Those Making $200,000 More Likely For An Audit

Nobody wants to get an audit.   About 1 in 150 of us will experience some type of audit in our lifetime.   The good news is that if you follow these six smart money moves, you may be able reduce your chances of getting flagged in the future. You didn’t disclose all of your income– The IRS gets copies of your w-2’s, 1099’s (reporting of your interest and dividends), and capital gains and losses.  Make sure you collect all of your statements from work, investments, etc. “Measure Twice Cut Once” whether you or your accountant does the math. You have a big mouth– Never brag (especially on social media) that you pulled a fast one on the IRS. The IRS does more trolling today than ever before on social websites such as Facebook, Twitter, etc. Whistleblowers can earn some significant rewards (15% to 30% by filing form 211) by turning in cheats.  Be very careful of ex-girlfriends, ex-spouses, etc. The dreaded ...

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Is It Time To Take A Sabbatical?

The corporate treadmill is pushing people to the point of breaking. With longer hours, more responsibilities, and 24/7 access to your e-mail through technology, you achieved your dream of making it up the corporate ladder. Only one problem. You don’t like it. You like the money, the perks, the benefits, but it is killing you and it’s hard to talk about it because nobody wants to hear your story. Well, I do. Imagine escaping the 8 to 8 (since 9 to 5 isn’t even available anymore) daily grind and spending a month in Tuscany, taking a cruise around the world, or simply tucking your feet in the sand without a care in the world. Wouldn’t that be unbelievable? Can you feel the sun beating down on you while you kick back and have a Corona with lime? The phrase sabbatical is actually derived from the biblical Sabbath which in ancient times allowed people for periods of rest and rejuvenation. Admit ...

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Should You Ever Borrow On A 401(k)?

For some of you a dreaded financial question may stare you in the mirror at some point in your life. Should you borrow against your 401(k)? While all initial responders in your body say no, there could be a few instances where borrowing against a 401(k) may actually make sense. Here is my smart money moves take on when to make yourself a loan. In general, it is not a smart financial move to borrow against your 401(k) plan. There are many individuals who are quitting their job and considering starting up a new business. In order to start their new entrepreneurial venture, they will likely exit from their current employer. The additional problem is where will the new entrepreneur find the capital to open up their new business? Instead of cashing in your old 401(k), one tremendously creative option to potentially fund a new business is to set up your new corporation and create a Solo 401(k) plan. Solo ...

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Is It Worth Going To Conferences?

When you work for a large corporation, you don’t have much of a choice about whether or not you go to the company conference.  They are often filled with workshops, PowerPoints, happy hours, and every once in a while a late night story that you really don’t care to share by the time you get back home.  However, there are industry conferences that are being put on all the time.  In the financial services industry alone, I counted well over 100 conferences I could attend ranging from technical competency training to practice management.   So, is it a smart money move to attend a conference over the next year? Here are seven tips to consider to determine if it will be worth going to an upcoming conference: Determine Where Your Biggest Personal Or Business Bottleneck Is At This Time- If you are going to spend the money to go to a conference, make sure the agenda matches what skill sets you ...

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What Atlanta’s #Snowmageddon 2014 Taught Us From a Financial Standpoint

Review and shop out your car insurance coverage often. Typically, you can shop your rates out on a semiannual basis to see if you’re getting the best deal possible.  If you were someone who was sliding around in the snow and ice and had Comprehensive and Collision coverage then your insurance will pay to repair or replace your car if it is stolen or damaged in an accident, regardless of who is at fault. Depending on your car, amount of a balance you have left on your car note, distance you commute, and cash flow you can look at ways to increase your deductibles, reduce your coverage, or you can check out my other article about taking a defensive driving class(http://www.ajc.com/weblogs/atlanta-bargain-hunter/2013/dec/04/perks-driving-defensively/) to find ways to reduce your premium. Travel with a full tank of gas. Unfortunately, some friends needed to sleep in their cars overnight and had over 14-24 hour commutes home; some inevitably abandoned their cars because they ran ...

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Do You Change Lanes In Traffic?

Several days a week my travels take me from Milton to Buckhead during morning rush hour traffic. If you talk with most Atlantans who live in north Fulton County, they’ll be able to tell you exactly what times to beat the traffic if you are going to drive downtown and when the traffic will subside if you want to wait it out. Otherwise, it is destiny that you’ll be moving bumper to bumper for an hour or so on the journey to downtown Atlanta unless school is out of session. Being stuck in traffic is a pet peeve amongst all of us. Once your automobile comes to a dead standstill, you’ll begin to notice that when your lane comes to a complete stop that it appears other lanes are moving faster than yours. Once you convince yourself that the lane on the far right is actually moving faster, you’ll begin to squeeze your car over lane by lane until you ...

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How Much Should I Pay for a Custom Suit?

$399 for a custom suit? You may be surprised to hear that the price tag can be well beneath 4 digits. Many tailors in this space start their pricing around $1,000, but most of us in the X&Y generation don’t want to foot that kind of a bill to look sharp.  I’ve been fortunate to watch two Atlanta entrepreneurs start a custom suit business more “tailored” to our needs. Trio Tailoring https://www.triocustoms.com/ realized there was a big need for moderate to low priced custom suits in the market, and the concept has been well received locally and is gaining traction nationally.   Check out the tips below from the owners at Trio – Benjamin McMillan and Mike Hu: Fit matters more than brand. The cardinal rule of the Office Style Guide is that the fit of the suit trumps everything else. A three-piece from the Ferragamo Fall Collection isn’t doing you any favors when the jacket is falling off your shoulders. ...

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The Simplified Home Office Deduction

We have seen a monumental shift to more and more individuals who are freelancers, consultants, or starting some type of home office business over the past five years.  The home office deduction has often been bandied about as the dreaded ‘red flag’ that will surely cause you an audit.   When you file your 2013 taxes here in 2014, the IRS has now offered you a simplified version of the home office deduction so you don’t have to break out your spreadsheets and start doing a set of massive math calculations. The new optional deduction is $5 for each square foot of home office space up to a maximum of 300 square feet.   Instead of filling out the usual 8829 form, you’ll use a new worksheet in the Schedule C instruction book and enter your simplified home office deduction in Schedule C.   Of course, the regular rules around home office deductions will still apply, but here is some guidance the IRS ...

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I Just Want To Be In Charge Of Me

Like most people fresh out of college, I dreamed of landing a job with a Fortune 500 company. Most of us wanted to get a good company on our resume so we could begin building our careers. The thought of working your way up the ladder was truly exciting, and when you met your first big boss with the cushy corner office it got you motivated even more to work harder for your dreams. Many of these big companies flashed fancy trips, stock options, and powerful titles at you. In return, you follow the bouncing ball and drink whatever Elixir the powers at be were serving for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. So what’s this movement we are beginning to see here in the United States? Is it the loner movement? Is it a trend of more people that want to work in their pajamas at home? Is this a monumental shift in the course of time that your friend isn’t ...

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What Should I Do Before I Quit My Job?

You have officially decided that you want to quit your job. While all of your emotions tell you to write the resignation letter and head to your bosses office, you muster up the energy to consider the pros and cons of making this important decision. Are you quitting this job and going to open up your own business? Will you quit to move to a higher paying job with better benefits? Is quitting this job just for a complete career change? Quitting a job can be one of scariest career decisions you ever have to make or it can be an empowering situation. It all depends if you have your ducks in a row. Here are some your smart money moves considerations before you tender that resignation letter. Where will my income come from next month? If you quit a job, you should really be thinking about where the next six to twelve months of income will be funneling into ...

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You Are A Sole Proprietor: How About A Solo 401(k)

I am seeing more and more people quit the corporate America lifestyle and venture into becoming their own business owner.  This shape of a business owner can be a freelancer, consultant, or someone who actually starts up a ‘brick and mortar’ operation.    Many of these folks will ask questions about whether they should incorporate their business, which I have discussed in other articles.    Once they become profitable, they often ask which kind of retirement plan would suit them the best.   For someone who is a sole business owner, the Solo 401(k) has been around for about a decade and provides a great alternative to helping maximize your retirement contributions.   Here’s a little history on the Solo 401(k) and how it can be a smart money move for your business. The Solo 401k came about in 2002 after Congress passed Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 (EGTRRA). EGTRRA added some small paragraphs to the tax code that put ...

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Entrepreneur Series – Lesson 9 – Execution

I remember growing my career in management with a large Fortune 500 company when my Executive Vice President told me something one day.   He said, “Ted, execution is the one thing that separates the good from the great.  Let me put it to you this way.   If you don’t execute, you’ll be executed.”   I guess it’s hard to forget that, but it still rings true in my mind today.   Some of the best leaders and managers in business don’t achieve peak results because they simply don’t execute the plan. If you like to read, I highly recommend that you pick up a book written by Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan called Execution.  There is a wealth of knowledge in this book about execution, and how to be very successful at getting things done.    Here are three mistakes new entrepreneurs make when it comes to execution. Changing the plan too often– One of the sayings I love is that focus beats ...

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There is no stress when the check is in the mail

Written By: Van Pappas, CFP These days there are fewer and fewer companies offering pension plans.  If you are fortunate to have one, you might find a letter in the mail one day from your pension manger with what looks like an attractive lump sum buyout.  Most times the amount of the lump sum payout could be the biggest check you will ever see.   They offer these buyouts as a way to reduce the impact on the company’s financials, by shrinking the size of their pension obligations. One of the issues is that if you take the lump sum personally, rather than rolling it into an IRA, you will have to pay income tax on the entire amount and this could push you into a higher tax bracket.  Once you elect to take the offer, you cannot undo it. Look at the monthly payment options available and calculate the performance you may need to make to potentially get a similar ...

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163 Million Reasons Why Small Business Owners Should Be Mad

If you hadn’t noticed that 5 o’clock shadow looming over your shoulder, it’s the payroll tax cut that is set to expire beginning January 1st, 2013.   For the last 18 months, most of us have received a nice little holiday bonus from the U.S. Government.  We have all been paying only 4.2% into Social Security rather than the normal 6.2% into Social Security.   The Social Security wage base was $110,100 here in 2012 which meant that the upper end of tax payers got a roughly $2,200 pay raise.    The program was designed by this administration with the average wage earner in mind.   For someone earning $50,000 a year this tax break represented roughly $20 a week more in their paychecks.    And who noticed at the end of the day . . . nobody! For those of you who don’t fully understand how Social Security gets funded, here is a quick math lesson.   In most tax years (the last couple not ...

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10 Mistakes That Entrepreneurs Can Make

There are 10 Mistakes that Entrepreneurs make that can prohibit them from creating a very successful business.  By learning how to avoid these mistakes you can get your business started up quickly, draw top line revenue, and be able to create a very profitable entity for yourself.  So here are the 10 mistakes that business owners and entrepreneurs make. Mistake #1 – Undercapitalization –There are many businesses out there that simply don’t think about how they are going to growth the business from a financial point of view.   Do you have the right lines of credit?  Are you going to equity out part of the company?  Or, are you going to try to fund your growth through the cash flow each month knowing you may sacrifice your own pay?  Have I assessed the appropriate pro forma analysis to figure out my real profit and loss in the business?  Should I lease or buy equipment? Essentially, what is the best way ...

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Does Your Charity Event Need Bid Pal?

It never ceases to amaze me about how technology is transforming the way we go about doing things in our daily lives.    From the smart phones to applications we literally learn about some new advancement in technology that is going to change our life. Many of us do everything we can to help out charities during the course of the year.   This may be donating money or clothes to a local religious organization.   Perhaps you give some money back to your alma mater or some other charity within your city that you feel to be worthy of a generous donation.    Generally, during the course of the year I will attend four to six charity events filled with silent and live auction items to bid on during the evening.   Before the normal 9:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. final call on the silent auction items, people will scurry around the piece of paper in front of the item they want to win ...

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Forming the Side-Business: Tax Benefits – LLC, S-Corp, or C-Corp?

It is always recommended that you get liability protection if you are engaging in trade or business for the purposes of making money.  And the tax law is surprisingly generous when it comes to classifying a “hobby” as a business, as long as you meet certain requirements. Having a side business has the potential to create substantial tax savings that you can garner against your normal, ordinary income.  Whether you form an LLC, S-Corp, or C-Corp largely depends on the amount of money you intend to make, how much you’re willing to spend each year on keeping up the company, how much documentation you want to do each year for the company, and certainly the state you live in.  Your long-term intentions can also come into play, though most of the time switching from one type of company to another is a relatively simple proposition. LLC’s are most often the most simple and least expensive of the three.  They require ...

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oXYGen Financial Hires Financial Advice Expert For Dentists To Lead Atmos Dental Advisors

(ATLANTA,GA) –September 23rd, 2011- Atlanta based oXYGen Financial, a growing leader in financial services for Generation X and Y individuals and business owners, has hired Chris Sands to pioneer a new business model focused on dental professionals called Atmos Dental Advisors.  This new venture will create a customized offering allowing dental students, residents, and practitioners across the country to gain access to a family office atmosphere catered specifically for the needs of dental professionals.   This is another addition to the growing brands of oXYGen, a cutting edge leader in the financial services industry. “Our family at oXYGen Financial keeps growing, and we are delighted to have Chris running our new venture specializing in dentists”, said Kile Lewis, co-CEO and founder of oXYGen Financial.   “Most financial firms are strictly pitching students and dental practitioners with insurance products or some basic tax services.   We believe that to help a dental professional truly succeed, you need a family office model that allows them ...

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Entrepreneur Series Lesson 10 – Passion, Persistence, and Perseverance

Lessons one through nine of my entrepreneur series were lessons extracted from my own business and other business owners across the country over the past twenty years.   Undoubtedly in your first year of business, you will make your fair share of mistakes like anyone starting a new venture.   There are so many valuable pieces of wisdom to learn as an entrepreneur, but here are my big three traits you must have to truly succeed in your business. Passion – Many business ventures people conjure up in their heads often revolve around the dreams of making a lot of money.  While building your wealth can be an outcome of a successful entrepreneurial pursuit, passion around your dreams is what will get you through the good times and the bad times.   When you get out of bed every day with emotions that are so compelling around what you are doing, it becomes easy to motivate others to get excited around that dream.    ...

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Entrepreneur Series – Lesson 8 – The Marketing Plan

Marketing your products and services is the lifeblood of a new business.   While you can ultimately have all kinds of long term business strategies, without having a steady stream of new revenue your new business venture can close up in a short period of time.   In my opinion, if you look at the three big areas of business including marketing, the actual product or service you are offering, and client service, marketing is the one driver that can help sustain a business even if the other two areas are slightly sub par.    There are really two parts to the marketing plan.   One section involves dealing with implementing strategies that will specifically drive new client acquisition.   The other arena is building the brand of your new company. Many new entrepreneurs substantially underestimate the time and money it will take do marketing in the first year of their business.    From a time perspective, your networking functions, community involvement, and meeting face to ...

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Entrepreneur Series – Lesson 1- Being Undercapitalized

It’s always exciting to think about the idea of having your own new start up.   You hear about stories where entrepreneurs started with just $300 and a cardboard box and then turned their business into millions.  In reality, having worked with many types of business owners, the first mistake made by most is simply not having enough capital or access to capital while growing your business. Undercapitalization really involves the language used when a personal cannot sufficiently fund their business venture.   An idea alone will not lead to business success.   This lack of capitalization not only includes the initial outlay to get the business up and going, but really miscalculating the operating expenses in the business especially in the first year of operation. Here are three smart things to be thinking about so your new entrepreneurial venture doesn’t fall short financially. Lines Of Credit –  Whether it is a true banking relationship or you have set up an arrangement with ...

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Free Webinar – 5 STRATEGIES TO IMPROVE THE BOTTOM LINE OF YOUR BUSINESS IN 2011

5 STRATEGIES TO IMPROVE THE BOTTOM LINE OF YOUR BUSINESS IN 2011 Join us as Ted Jenkin, CFP®, AWMA®, CRPC®, AAMS®, CMFC®, CRPS®, co-CEO and Founder of oXYGen Financial, discusses 5 key strategies to improve the bottom line of your business.  We will explore: •  How to lower your overall income taxes •  How to reduce your fixed costs in the business •  How to increase wallet share with your existing clients •  How to improve overall client acquisition •  Determining the best insurance and retirement plan to have in place •  Is your dashboard green, yellow or red? Space is limited, so reserve your spot today! SELECT YOUR TIME BELOW!!!!! CLICK HERE TO REGISTER When: Wednesday, June 15, 2011 8:00 AM – 9:00 AM EDT CLICK HERE TO REGISTER When: Wednesday, June 15, 2011 7:30 PM – 8:30 PM EDT   ...

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Personal Finance 101 – Who Buys The Business?

Part of any good business plan is an exit strategy if the unexpected happens.  A good Buy-Sell Agreement should anticipate certain unfortunate but foreseeable events, and make sure a plan is in place that is fair and reasonable for the owners and the business itself.  One important detail to include in any Buy-Sell Agreement is: Who has the right to buy an owner’s interest after a triggering event occurs?  There are a few main options discussed below. Redemption. In a Buy-Sell Agreement using the Redemption structure, the business agrees to purchase (“redeem”) the interest of an owner after a triggering event.  The owner agrees that he, or his estate, will sell the business interest back to the business for the agreed price.  The main advantage of the Redemption approach is that it is usually the simplest form of buy-sell transaction, and when there are many owners involved, the simplest structure can sometimes be the best. However, there are certain key ...

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Personal Finance 101 – How To Value Your Business

One of the trickiest details of a good Buy-Sell Agreement is determining the purchase price to be paid for a departing owner’s interest in the business.  Most Buy-Sell Agreements create a formula to estimate the business’s actual “fair market value” and then derive a purchase price for an owner’s pro-rata share of the business.  Sometimes the Buy-Sell Agreement requires the business to be appraised by an independent qualified appraiser with special certifications.  Whether there is a formula in the agreement or an appraiser will be involved, the goal is identifying “fair market value” of the business and the interest to be transferred.  “Fair market value” is often defined as the price that would be paid between willing and independent buyers and sellers, assuming neither is being forced to buy or sell and both have good knowledge of the facts.  If a minority owner’s interest is being acquired or there are restrictions on subsequent transfers of an ownership interest (e.g. in ...

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Personal Finance 101 – What Is A Buy-Sell Agreement?

For many business owners, the value of their business is one of the largest components of their overall net worth, and the business itself is the result of years of hard work and investment.  Most business owners want to preserve the built up value of the business for themselves and their family while also ensuring that the business legacy they have helped create continues for years to come.  The best solution is a well-considered Buy-Sell Agreement. A Buy-Sell Agreement is a contract entered by owners of a business that specifies when and how ownership in the business will be sold or transferred.  The agreement can be a stand-alone agreement or incorporated into a partnership or operating agreement for your business. Buy-Sell Agreements are not “one size fits all”, so careful attention should be given to the details. Most business owners have heard of the importance of a good Buy-Sell Agreement, but many push this planning to the “back burner” to ...

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Unemployment Extension: F.A.Q.’s

So here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about the Unemployment extension: Q. Who’s eligible for extended unemployment benefits? A. Unemployment benefits will be extended by 14 weeks to all people in all 50 states without a job. Benefits will be extended for an additional six weeks to those in about 26 states where the unemployment rate exceeds 8.5 percent. Q. Who will be helped by the unemployment extensions? A. The extensions are aimed at people who have been out of work for a long time, or about a year to a year and a half, according to Andrew Stettner, deputy director of the National Employment Law Project. “This was really a stopgap measure to address the fact that a large number of people were running out of the extensions before Dec. 31,” Mr. Stettner said. “People who have been out of work since July of this year are not going to get any extensions. People ...

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Save More For Retirement? – Think Again – 401(k) Limits

In October, the IRS will go about announcing how much you can put in your 401(k) for 2010. For 2009, the maximum contribution is $16,500 for people under 50 years old, and $22,000 for people who are over 50 years old. Generally, the calculation is based upon the 3rd quarter inflation rate vs. the inflation rate one year ago. ...

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What happens when the Unemployment Check runs out?

With almost 1.5 million people nearing their end of the unemployment check, the big questions will be what happens next? If we are depending on the large corporations to create new jobs, then we will be waiting for a long time. Big companies have been spending the last year figuring out how to reduce costs in order to meet the expectations of their shareholders. After working 16 years for a large company, I learned restructuring is just another way to say cost cutting. ...

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Generation Y’s goal? Wealth and fame.

Generation Y's goal? Wealth and fame. Eighty-one percent of 18- to 25-year-olds surveyed in a Pew Research Center poll released today said getting rich is their generation's most important or second-most-important life goal; 51% said the same about being famous. ...

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Health Insurance by Arthur Benz

There are announcements almost every day of layoffs across the country. With roughly 10 percent unemployment across the United States people are concerned about their health insurance coverage. One of the things that we've been hearing is that people simply do not know whether to utilize COBRA coverage or purchase their own separate policies. written by Arthur Benz President, oXYGen Financial Insurance, Inc. Insurance Agency ...

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Focus on the purchase price . . . not the payment.

The other day, my mom called me up from New Jersey and she was shopping for a car. She told me over the phone what she thought was she could afford on a monthly basis for a payment. That’s when I stopped her and said, “Never tell the dealership what you want your monthly payment to be when you negotiate a car price.” If you talk about monthly payments at the car dealer, that is when you get yourself in a trap. ...

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Can your local school district help you save money?

Right here in the state of Georgia, it's almost time for school again. We're roughly one month away. One of the things to look for as you're trying to save money in these tight times is to see what your local school may be able to do for you. There are two quick things that you should look at in your research in saving money. ...

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Is it time to begin ‘washing’ your stock laundry?

Ted Jenkin, CFP®, AAMS®, AWMA®, CRPC®, CMFC®, CRPS® Co-CEO and Founder oXYGen Financial, Inc. I’ve been in the business almost 18 years, and I can remember scenarios around stock losses like this back in the Internet bubble of 2000. When the Internet stocks busted, many people were asking should I hold onto these stocks, or is this time for me to consider dumping my stock and taking some losses? One of the things that I talked about at that time and recommended that clients consider is the notion of something called a “wash” sale. This is really all about the notion of you still wanting to hold the stock on a long-term basis, but be able to lock in some of your long-term losses so you can offset capital gains. As always, I recommend talking to a qualified accountant or CPA before you make any financial decisions. So what happens when the value of your stock goes down, and you ...

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You Better Open That 401(k) Statement!

It's your retirement and if you don't take control, the government isn't going to bail you out. Most important, are you going to want to be that one person that can't explain what happened with the accident on the side of the road. Especially if it is your retirement. ...

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Roller Coaster Week

I do think the one thing that should come out of this is knowing what you make and what you spend because saving is still one of truly key elements to building wealth. To do this as the CEO of your family finances, now is the time to get with a private CFO™ to understand your balance sheet, income statement, and your bottom line. I'm pretty sure they won't do that for you on CNBC!Visit OxygenFinancial Today ...

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McMansion is part what caused McDownfall?

For all those gen-X and gen-Y out there, maybe you’ve realized that this bailout from the government around our financial future in my opinion really wasn’t totally around Wall Street, but it was in part for our own greed for wanting to have a big house as a first starter home. Who can blame us? Truthfully speaking, most people couldn’t really stand to have a $200,000 home for their first starter home. So, everybody wanted a McMansion. You saw it on MTV’s Cribs, Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, and you even saw it on CNN and CNBC. Wouldn’t it be great to have the American Dream, but have it in surround sound. However, your American Dream wasn’t really to have a $200,000 dollar house. Your dream was to have exactly what you saw on TV. The $450,000 house with the four bedrooms, the Pottery Barn furniture, a beautifully landscaped lawn, and a hot tub to boot in the backyard. ...

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You Don’t Look $300,000 Cool!

Hey folks, one thing I will tell you, as I’ve been saying in the Money Guy’s radio show, is the fact that as much as a new car looks nice and makes you feel good, the reality is that the new car purchase just simply does not make financial sense. You may want to feel good showing off your driving skills on GA 400 with your new ride, but ultimately it is one of the largest recurring financial decisions you will make in your life. Since 1993, I have not bought a new car. The reason being is a new car is one of the worst investments that you can make in your overall portfolio. It may make you feel the best now, but it’ll make you feel the worst later when you look at the math of what happens. When you go into a new dealership, and I don’t care if you decide to lease a car or buy ...

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Should You Convert Your Roth IRA?

Hey folks, I’ve got a news flash for you. Going into October, it isn’t just football season, it’s recharacterization season. While most of you are worried about the stock market, I hear individuals and businesses talk everyday about what they should do with their money. (i.e. should I put it in the market, should I put it in a bank account, where is the best place that I should put my money?). The reality is right now, you can’t always think about your portfolio, but also you have to start think about tax strategy. With that being said, for folks out there that make less than $100,000 adjusted gross income, you’ve got the ability to do what’s called recharacterizing your IRA. What this would give you is the ability to do if you make under $100,000 in adjusted growth income is to take your existing IRA and put it into a Roth IRA. There is a handful of legislation that ...

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