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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Entrepreneur Series – Lesson 4 – Avoid Rookie Mistakes

I am not a professional athlete.  However, I would imagine that the rookie year on any of the professional sports circuits has to be daunting in nature.   Not only are you in front of some type of large crowd, it takes some time getting used  to all of the decisions you have to make to be the best of the best in what you do for a living.   Far too often, new entrepreneurs can make first year decisions which can put a major dent in the first year of your new entrepreneurial venture.  Even someone who has a lot of corporate experience cannot understand the firefight of being a business owner until you have to meet your first payroll.One great idea my business partner and I have put into place in our business is the 48 hour rule.   We’ve set criteria around what a ‘key’ decision is for our business and once we have made a decision on the direction ...

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Entrepreneur Series | Lesson 2: Incorrectly Pricing Your Product Or Service

In the first year of a start up operation, there is a great focus of energy from the new business owner on client acquisition. Gaining new customers opens the floodgates for the generations of revenue to pay the bills of the business. However, one of the tough lessons learned by young owners is not thinking clearly though pricing out the services of your business correctly. Most new business owners tend to undervalue what they charge for their work and services in order to compensate for not being as established as their competitors. As long as you have a top notch customer service experience and offer a product or service that’s similar or better than a competitor, you shouldn’t devalue yourself. If you set this pattern up early with clients, it can be very difficult down the road to raise your prices with your initial customers. Here a few tips to determining if the price is right on your new product or ...

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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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Entrepreneur Series – Lesson 2 – Incorrectly Pricing Your Product Or Service

In the first year of a start up operation, there is a great focus of energy from the new business owner on client acquisition.   Gaining new customers opens the floodgates for the generation of revenue to pay the bills of the business.   However, one of the tough lessons learned by young owners is not thinking clearly though pricing out the services of your business correctly. Most new business owners tend to undervalue what they charge for their work and services in order to compensate for not being as established as their competitors. As long as you have a top notch customer service experience and offer a product or service that’s similar or better than a competitor, you shouldn’t devalue yourself.   If you set this pattern up early with clients, it can be very difficult down the road to raise your prices with your initial customers. Here a few tips to determining if the price is right on your new product ...

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Personal Finance 101 – The Tax Management Triangle

Don’t you wish that you had a crystal ball to know what the tax rates will be 20 years from now?   In 1970, the top tax marginal tax rate was at 70%.   In 1980, the top marginal tax rate was still at 70%.   In 1990, the top marginal tax rate hit a historical low of 28%.   In 2000, that top marginal tax rate had moved back up to 39.6%.   Just one year ago in 2010, the top marginal tax rate settled at 35%. (source: taxfoundation.org)  With all the uncertainty going on with our debt and taxes, how can you best plan your finances for the certainty of uncertainty when it comes to income taxes? Over the years, we’ve adopted a tax triangle methodology around taxes and investing.  This allows an individual investor or business owner to think about where they place their investments and tax strategy upon the accumulation and distribution phase.  Here are the three sides to the triangle. ...

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You Can Now Tell Me What Credit Card To Use?

On Monday, the Justice Department sued Visa, MasterCard, and American Express for anticompetitive practices. At the same time, it reached a proposed settlement with Visa and MasterCard. The ruling aims to end anticompetitive practices and allow customers to save money, but it is likely to also have unintended consequences for consumers, says LowCards.com. (source: www.ctwatchdog.com) Interchange Fee is Confusing Interchange fees, or swipe fees, are difficult to understand, and credit card processors like Visa, MasterCard and American Express have provided very little information about these fees, protecting their control and this significant revenue source. (source: www.ctwatchdog.com) Interchange fees began in the 1960s to help banks to cover the cost of processing credit card transactions. The fee is divided between the merchant’s bank, the consumer’s bank and the credit card company. The fee covers processing fees, billing statements, fraud protection, innovations, and other expenses. (source: www.ctwatchdog.com) Interchange fees typically range between 1.0% and 3.5% of every purchase made with a credit ...

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I like April 15th!

Within a few weeks, we will be approaching one of my favorite days of the year April 15th.   This is the last day of the official tax season unless you are filing an extension.   If you ever want to see something truly funny, park your car around 10 p.m. outside of a U.S. Post Office on the last day of tax season and watch the masses flock with their tax returns. The thing I like about April 15th is asking the question, “Did you learn anything different this tax year than the year before this one?” Each year, people seem to spend more time watching Dancing With The Starts or some other reality show than figuring out ways to save money in taxes.   By the time the 2009 tax season ends on April 15th, we are almost a trimester into the 2010 tax year.   This is the time to reflect and ask yourself what you will do differently in 2010 ...

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Your Three Legged Stool Is Now A Pogo Stick?

It used to be that when most people talked about their retirement, the expectation was to have a three legged stool for deriving income when you actually retired. So, where is your pension coming from in retirement? Without a pension, you’ll have to hop that pogo stick of personal savings and investments to your retirement dreams. ...

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