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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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Entrepreneur Series – Lesson 6 – Poor Staffing Decisions

One of the first things I heard when I got into management in my career is the phrase “you have to put the right talent on the bus”. While I understood its meaning, it took many years to realize how important hiring decisions are to grow an organization the right way. I also felt the pain of making poor hiring decisions, and how much time and productivity you can lose from just one bad hire. No entrepreneur lives in the panacea of having zero turnover as sometimes they might like to make it seem, but certainly making the right staffing decisions by putting people in the right roles can allow your start up venture to get off on the right foot. One of the critical questions to ask yourself early in your venture is what role do you (the CEO/owner) play in your firm. If I was to use a baseball analogy, what jobs are you going to be a ...

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Should I Loan Money To A Friend?

All of us have had awkward money scenarios happen to us in our lives. There are the immediate face-to-face confrontations when a personal friend asks us for money while out on the town. Or what about the time that your college roommate asked you if they could borrow $5,000 or $10,000? Remember when your 2nd cousin said they would be starting a business and were wondering if you would invest $25,000 in the new venture? So, how do you handle a money situation that may make you lose sleep at night? Here are three smart money moves steps to diffuse the problem. Step 1: Empathize. Listen, and Show that you’ve heard by recapping what specifically the other person is wanting to do with the money. Make sure you initially understand it from their point of view. Indicate that you know that economic times are tough, and their individual circumstances are particularly difficult. In a certain sense you need to be ...

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How To Save Money On Groceries

Sometimes it can feel like your family is an equal opportunity shopper when it comes to your grocery bill.  When you look back at the debit card or credit card at the end of the month, you can see charges from Publix, Kroger, Trader’s Joes, and Whole Foods.   You begin to ask yourself between the groceries you purchased during the month and the charges you had for eating out, it is possible that you really ate that much food and yet there is still nothing in the pantry?   If your family grocery bill is exceeding your monthly expectations and hitting that $1,000 a month mark, here are four smart money move tips on how to cut down on your grocery bill. Look For A Local Produce Program– Recently, my wife found a local program where we live in Milton that allows you to get a box of ‘produce’ every week based upon the number of people in your family.  What’s ...

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Five Items To Always Buy Used

Since we pretty much live in a throwaway society, the savvy shoppers that know how to snap up good deals on those items others are readily willing to depart with can snag themselves a smart money moves deal.   Some garments of clothing such as socks, underwear, and shoes are never to be bought used unless you want to think twice every day you slip them on your body.   However, there are purchases that can really last for a long time and improve your bottom line if you shop the right way.    Here are my five items to always buy used. Office Furniture- Whether you are searching for new office furniture for that space you have leased or the home office you recently built out, there is a glut of office furniture on the market place.     Remember, that many companies have gone out of business over the past five years and this can allow you to grab a great deal by ...

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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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Doing A Wedding On A Budget

Will you marry me?    That magical phrase is shared between two people in love every day whether it be on a baseball scoreboard or with the entire family watching on in the living room.    Today student debt for Generation Y graduates is approaching an all-time high.  About two-thirds of college grads in the Class of 2013 will graduate with some student loan debt. The average debt for these students is about $28,000. (source: www.usatoday.com).  The real question couples should be asking when they tie the knot is “Am I marrying you or your debt?”   It’s important to have these discussions as financial items including your credit score can have an impact on loan status and job employment as you grow your future together.    If you both agree that money is tight, what are the best ideas on how to do your wedding right but still have fun within a reasonable budget?   Here are five smart money moves tips for you ...

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3% Interest Rates Are Going, Going, Gone!

“The financial crisis that began in 2007 was the most intense period of global financial strains since the Great Depression, and it led to a deep and prolonged global economic downturn. The Federal Reserve took extraordinary actions in response to the financial crisis to help stabilize the U.S. economy and financial system. These actions included reducing the level of short-term interest rates to near zero. In addition, to reduce longer-term interest rates and thus provide further support for the U.S. economy, the Federal Reserve has purchased large quantities of longer-term Treasury securities and longer-term securities issued or guaranteed by government-sponsored agencies such as Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. Low interest rates help households and businesses finance new spending and help support the prices of many other assets, such as stocks and houses. By law, the Federal Reserve conducts monetary policy to achieve maximum employment, stable prices, and moderate long-term interest rates” (source: federalreserve.gov) Does this all mean as the economy ...

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Entrepreneur Series – Lesson 3 – Know Your Role As The Owner

As an entrepreneur starting a new business, you often have to wear the hat of cook, dishwasher, accountant, and general manager.   However, one of the biggest mistakes a young owner will make is not quickly clarify their role within the organization.   Far too often, new entrepreneurs will try to control every aspect of a new business which inevitably slows the growth of the organization.  In some cases, it can make hiring and training new people so difficult it can be destructive to the success of a company. One of things I recommend to new business owners is to draw a T chart with one axis being things you like to do and one access being tasks that you are good at.    What you should quickly try to figure out in the early stage of a new company is to list all of the items that you are good at and those tasks that you like to do.    After figuring out ...

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