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The Rules For Retirement Are Changing And You Better Be Listening

I am sure you have heard that phrase from many financial professionals over the years.  This time I want you to really hear it THE RULES FOR RETIREMENT ARE CHANGING!!  Hopefully I have your attention now because what I am about to tell you will scare the hell out of you.  Whether you are in your 40s or 50s you have been hearing that you need to save for retirement in traditional vehicles such as 401ks, IRAs, and sometimes someone mentions Roth IRA.  The reason you are told this is because of the tax deferral and the amount of money you can grow your nest egg for retirement. If you are a business owner or an employee of a company what I am about to say is a very bold statement and I will take heat for it.  Your investment guy, your Certified Financial Planner™, your insurance representative, your CPA, your estate planning attorney and anyone in between I believe ...

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The 15 Minute Plan

Have you seen those commercials for fitness programs that say all you have to do is spend 15 mins a day in their program and you will get lean and fit.  You know, they show a before and after picture of someone that has been through the program.  Now, I do not know if they work, but I do know if you stick with any kind of plan you will see some kind of results. It is no different with your finances.  You have to have a plan and stick to it.  Here are some steps to your 15 minute plan. The start of any plan revolves around cash flow management.   In the 17 years that I have been in financial planning, I have found that the most successful people are those that can create, manage and read an Income-Expense statement.  You start with a system for collecting your data.  You can use pen and paper; an Excel spreadsheet; a ...

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Can Bourbon Save Social Security

So I know what you are about to say, what does Bourbon have to do with Social Security.  Well nothing in regards to the distilled spirit itself.  But a possible excised tax could save the day.  Our Founding Fathers have used an excised tax on Spirits three times in American history to pay for wars.  Washington did it to pay for Revolutionary war debts.  The Great Whiskey Rebellion eventually forced a repeal.  But then Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln both used a Spirits Tax to pay for their respective wars; War of 1812 and the Civil War.  Today the Federal Government does not have tax on spirits, they leave that up to the state governments. Fast forward to today.  Social Security has been called the Third Rail of politics.  A subject that politicians do not want to tackle for fear of being ousted from their jobs.  So what are the three biggest problems with Social Security and possible solutions. The ...

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Can The Government Garnish Your Social Security Check?

With our nation at 17.5 Trillion dollars in debt (source: debtclock.org) and growing, is it any wonder where the Government will strike next to begin collecting more and more revenue.   With tons of people behind on payments on their student loans, there is a new phenomenon that people collecting social security need to be on guard for . . . that your Social Security check can be garnished.  Yes, that’s right; you can actually have some of your fixed income in retirement taken away from you. With more people going back to get a mid life college degree and more parents and grandparents co-signing loans, once your name gets on the dotted line for a federal loan you will be responsible to pay it back one way or another.   Back in 2000, only six people were being garnished for delinquent loans and now that number has risen to over 156,000 people.   The total garnishments exceeded more than $150 million dollars ...

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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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Is Your Retirement Plan Full Of Swiss Cheese

Last year, I did a piece on retirement planning assumptions.    As I continue to see more and more plans done by other financial advisory firms, I become more concerned about consumers.    Most projections that are done in business or in your personal household need to carry assumptions.   These are the variables in the equation that allow to make a reasonable assessment about what needs to be done when you are trying to achieve your goals.  When you last did your projections for retirement through the tools offered from your 401(k) plan or the nifty 35 page book your financial advisor put together, are you sure the assumptions that were made were explained to you clearly?  You may have left feeling great about yourself only to realize now that your plan is full of gigantic Swiss cheese like holes.   Here are ten assumptions you need to consider within your plan.  I highly recommend as a smart money move you use conservative ...

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4 Tax Law Changes We Need To Make Permanent

With the presidential election beginning to heat up in America over the next several months, we are all going to hear a lot about income taxes.  We all know that with thousands of pages of tax code, it is impossible for the average citizen to really understand all of the different ways they can save money in taxes.  There are many tax law changes set to take effect in 2013.   If I had the opportunity to set the wheels in motion to make some tax law changes that would be permanent and easy to understand, here are four of them that I would recommend we change to become permanent. 1. Social Security Taxation –   From the day you begin working and earning waged income, 6.2% of your paycheck (the last couple of years 4.2%) goes toward your future social security benefits.    This is also known as your Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) tax.     You only see the 6.2% that comes ...

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Ten Common Mistakes Tax Filers Make

Don’t you hate that thought of getting your taxes done only to realize later that you make a common mistake that could cost you time or money? The tax code seems to be getting more and more complicated every year (500 changes alone in 2008), and we all seem to be strapped for time these days. Here are 10 mistakes we see taxpayers make all the time which could put a few dollars in your pocket this tax season. 1) If you are single and are caring for an elderly parent, you should investigate seeing if you qualify for ‘head of household’ for your filing status. As a general rule of thumb, you should be paying for 50% or more of the elderly parent’s expenses. 2) You should make sure you have kept track of your charitable mileage that you drove during the year. Eligible miles will have a .14 cents on the mile write off on your tax return ...

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