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Review Category : For The Pros

Attention All 1099’s… There is a BIG October 1st Deadline!!

Since there are so many people who are getting 1099’s and setting up individual LLC’s or home-based side businesses, you need to keep a close eye out this time of year for setting up one kind of retirement plan, a SIMPLE IRA.   The deadlines are just around the corner in the next few weeks, so could this be the right type of retirement plan for you? A SIMPLE IRA (Savings Incentive Match Plan For Employees) was first available to small business owners in 2001. A SIMPLE IRA plan is an IRA-based plan that gives small employers a simplified method to make contributions toward their employees’ retirement and their own retirement. Under a SIMPLE IRA plan, employees may choose to make salary reduction contributions and the employer makes matching or nonelective contributions. All contributions are made directly to an Individual Retirement Account or Individual Retirement Annuity (IRA) set up for each employee (a SIMPLE IRA). SIMPLE IRA plans are maintained on ...

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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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I will be getting my first 1099 . . . Now What?

You recently lost your job or your job lost youJ and now you have decided to take some freelance consulting job to pick up some spare cash.   You fill out a W-9 in order to get paid, and a few weeks later a check comes in the mail made out to you.  You are really excited because no taxes have been taken out and you feel flush with cash.   At some point next year, you’ll get your first 1099, but what should you be doing here in 2014 to make sure your ducks are in a row come tax filing time? The reality is that most of you who earned your first 1099 will likely file Schedule C (sole proprietor) with your first year of income.   Some of you may set up an LLC, but are still uncertain what you can deduct or how exactly incomes taxes will be paid.  Here are some your smart money moves tips for you. ...

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Nothing But Net Is All That Matters

Analyzing fund returns can be one of the more treacherous tasks for the average investor. There is so much information on the internet, but it doesn’t necessarily make the regular Joe more knowledgeable when it comes to picking a fund. In addition, the prospectuses have such technical legal and financial jargon that you practically need an engineering degree to get through it cover to cover. In my mind, the most important thing you do not want to overlook is making sure you are comparing funds net vs. net when making a decision about where to put your money. The first piece of the ‘nothing but net’ conversation is to line up all the costs of the fund. Beware that some costs will take you more time and research to find out versus others. Review shareholders fees such as sales loads, exchange fees, and purchase fees. Closely examine fund operating expenses including management fees, 12b-1 fees, and a line item called ...

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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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How Rich Do You Think You Are?

Wealth can be defined in many different ways, but classically it is measured through one’s net worth.  Your net worth is simply everything you own versus everything you owe.  The own part of the equation includes real estate, cash, stocks, bonds, 401(k)’s, IRA’s, businesses, and much more.   The owe part of the equation includes mortgage debt, student loan debt, car loans, credit cards, and more.  Once you subtract the liabilities from the assets, you can begin to determine just how rich you really are in today’s day and age. WHERE DO YOU RANK IN WEALTH (source: wsj.com) (If you have a household net worth of X … you rank in the Y percentile): $50,000 … 60th percentile $93,000 … 50th percentile $100,000 … 48th percentile $200,000 … 34th percentile $500,000 … 18th percentile $750,000 … 12th percentile $827,000 … 10th percentile $1 million … 8th percentile $1.4 million … 5th percentile $6 million … 1st percentile There is a really ...

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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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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 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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