Category: FINANCIAL ARTICLES

Is Now a Good Time to Invest? Yes!
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Is Now a Good Time to Invest? Yes! | Jeff Holland

{3:00 minutes to read} Everyday, the stock market has an expected rate of return. This means that on the day that you invest, you have the potential to earn an expected rate of return. If you wait for that “perfect” time and hold off, you miss capitalizing on the market’s rates of returns. When it comes to investing, you’re either in or you’re out.

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3 Crucial Estate Planning Documents
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Authored by , re: Asset Management, Elder Care, Miscellaneous, Trusts, Estates & Elder law, on .
3 Crucial Estate Planning Documents | Peter Gordon

{4:40 minutes to read} Why should you have a living will, healthcare proxy, and power of attorney? People are living longer and enjoying fuller lives. However, it is possible that because of a sudden illness or injury, you may be unable to talk to a doctor to make decisions about your treatment or direct your financial decisions. To plan in advance, it is important to prepare a few simple legal forms.

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CLE Course: Recent Litigation and Legislation in Insurance Law
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CLE Course: Recent Litigation and Legislation in Insurance Law | Evan Schwartz

In addition to my law practice, I have the honor of serving as a faculty member on LawLine.com, which is the largest online, continuing legal education (CLE) provider in the United States. I have 11 lectures available, some of which I delivered on my own, and some with the help of my partner, Matthew Conroy. Those lectures are available for purchase and viewing on LawLine. Today, I want to talk to you about two lectures that Matthew Conroy and I will be giving on May 1st. The first part of the series is titled, “Recent Litigation and Legislation in Insurance Law.” We will offer an update for the legal profession on the trends in insurance coverage litigation.

Click here to read Evan Schwartz's full article...

Divorce and 401(k)s and IRAs – Part 3
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Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, Financial Planning & Insurance, MEDIATION, on .
 Divorce and 401(k)s and IRAs – Part 3 | Ada Hasloecher

{4:54 minutes to read} In Part 1 and Part 2 of BJ Mann’s article on retirement plans and divorce, we talked about retirement funds in general and the differences between 401(k)s and IRAs. Now to the topic of dividing the plans. No matter how these plans are divided (equally or some other sharing arrangement), the math must be done first.

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The Power of the Purse: Financial Abuse in Marriage
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Authored by , re: Financial Planning & Insurance, on .
The Power of the Purse: Financial Abuse in Marriage | Fabienne Swartz

{5:05 minutes to read} In a previous blog, I discussed the importance of knowing what you are signing when filing a joint tax return. While devastating, and potentially life altering, tax fraud is only one facet of financial abuse. In a large context, financial abuse can be found in every demographic, in every socioeconomic stratum.

Put simply, financial abuse is the attempt of the abuser to control the victim by various financial means. Victims can be male or female but trend heavily toward stay-at-home moms who gave up their highest earning years to raise their children.

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Mental and Nervous Limitations in Long-Term Disability Policies
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Authored by , re: Insurance Related, on .
Mental and Nervous Limitations in Long-Term Disability Policies | Evan Schwartz

Many, if not all, group long-term disability policies contain a mental and nervous limitation, as do some individual disability insurance policies. Typically, the limitation stipulates that the policy will only pay the insured for disabling psychiatric conditions for a finite period of time. Usually, the period is 24 months, but it can be shorter or longer depending on how the policy is written. It is important that disabled individuals fully understand the limitation including:  •What it states; •What it applies to; and •What it does not apply to.

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Fraud and Employee Theft 101
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Fraud and Employee Theft 101 | Nawrocki Smith

What is fraud? In criminal law, fraud is intentional deception made for personal gain or to damage another individual. Fraud is a crime, but it is also a civil tort under common law. There are two main types of fraud:

1. Occupational Fraud - The use of one’s occupation for personal enrichment through the deliberate misuse or misapplication of the organization’s resources or assets.

2. Consumer Fraud - Schemes devised to defraud individuals, like identity theft, Ponzi schemes, phishing schemes, and advanced-fee schemes.

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Divorce and 401(k)s and IRAs – Part 2
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Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, Financial Planning & Insurance, MEDIATION, on .
Divorce and 401(k)s and IRAs – Part 2 | Ada Hasloecher

{3:54 minutes to read} In Part 1 of this series, BJ Mann reviewed the three main types of retirement funding. In Part 2, we move on to the important details for the mainstay of the typical retirement plans: 401(k)s (and their sisters) and IRAs in all their permutations. These do not address pensions, which will be discussed in a future post. Of particular interest is the difference between qualified and non-qualified plans, which require different sets of instructions for dividing.

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Insurance Policies Part 1: Personal
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Authored by , re: Accounting & Bookkeeping, FINANCIAL ARTICLES, on .
Insurance Policies Part 1: Personal | Nadine Riley

{4:54 minutes to read} Oftentimes, the demands of everyday living make us forget about protecting our most valuable asset, ourselves. We protect our identity, our homes, vehicles, phones, appliances, etc. without thinking twice about it. Our day is filled with the to-dos of today, the plans for tomorrow and the regrets of yesterday, but when was the last time we slowed down to think about life’s what-ifs?

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Before You Sign a Joint Tax Return, Be Aware of What You’re Signing!
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Before You Sign a Joint Tax Return, Be Aware of What You’re Signing! | Fabienne Swartz

{3:55 minutes to read} Tax time is a great prompt—for some people the only prompt—to think about finances. I have found that many of my clients actually know very little about the marital finances, trusting instead that their spouse will make appropriate decisions. Unfortunately, women who do that are putting themselves at risk for a variety of reasons:

  • If your spouse were to die: The consequences of your spouse dying without a will are grave. It could result in a lengthy probate process while you are forced to make due without any money from the estate. That is why it is essential that you know…

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Divorce and 401Ks and IRAs
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Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, FINANCIAL ARTICLES, Financial Planning & Insurance, on .
 Divorce and 401Ks and IRAs | Ada Hasloecher

{3:18 minutes to read} My colleague and fellow mediator, BJ Mann, who practices in Rochester, NY, has written as comprehensive, cogent and concise a primer on the basics of retirement plans for divorcing couples as I have ever read. She graciously allowed me to post it on my site for you, dear reader. After all, why reinvent the wheel? I’ve broken it down into 4 posts for easier digestion.

Click here to read Ada Hasloecher's full article...

Trying a Long-term Disability Case: The Big Gamble?
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Authored by , re: Insurance Related, on .
Trying a Long-term Disability Case: The Big Gamble? | Evan Schwartz

{3:35 minutes to read} Having participated in a number of long-term disability trials over the years, I can tell you that the trial process is an exhilarating experience—for an attorney—but is a very daunting and painful process for you, the claimant. It is extraordinarily expensive, time-consuming, and high-risk. A long-term disability trial is an all-or-nothing proposition. In most cases, you either win and get all your back-benefits and benefits paid into the future, or you lose and get nothing.

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Ensure that Your Portfolio Is a Winner: Diversify!
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Authored by , re: Asset Management, FINANCIAL ARTICLES, on .
Ensure that Your Portfolio Is a Winner: Diversify! | Jeff Holland

{1:30 minutes to read} According to Nobel Prize winner and economist Harry Markowitz,diversification is the only “free lunch” in economics. The smartest investors diversify—by doing so, you drastically minimize risk and the potential sabotage of your financial future. By diversifying your assets, you’ve ensured a “win.” The Kentucky Derby provides a fitting analogy; all the horses are great, but their prowess can vary from race to race, from year to year. By diversifying, you bet on all of the horses—and you always win! (And hopefully you will sell some of the winning “horses” and buy some of the losing ones knowing that they will be winners one day).

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Tax Court Finds That Doctor’s Cut of Surgery Center Income Not Subject to Self-Employment Tax
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Authored by , re: Accounting & Bookkeeping, LAW RELATED ARTICLES, on .
Tax Court Finds That Doctor’s Cut of Surgery Center Income Not Subject to Self-Employment Tax | NawrockiSmith

In Hardy v. Commissioner, an important, recently decided tax case, the Tax Court found that the share of income received by a doctor due to his ownership in a surgery center may not be subject to the self-employment tax. Dr. Hardy was a plastic surgeon specializing in pediatric reconstructive surgery. He bought a minority interest in a surgery center run through an LLC. The opinion in the case held that he did not have self-employment income on his share of the center’s income. It found that Hardy had no meaningful non-surgery related service responsibilities with the surgery center and never managed it, having no day-to-day responsibilities there.

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Website Map for Sallie Mullins Thompson
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Authored by , re: Accounting & Bookkeeping, Business Development, on .

In this announcement of my new website at www.smtcpapllc.com, I want to let you know what’s available and how to navigate! Please spend some time browsing through the new website, as I think you will find it to be a comprehensive resource for gaining knowledge about various aspects of your financial life.

Click here to read Sallie Mullins Thompson's full article ...

Top Tips to Prepare for Tax Season!
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Top Tips to Prepare for Tax Season! | Peter Gordon

Tax day is drawing near. For our clients, we ensure their tax information is properly organized throughout the year so that when we prepare their tax information report, everything is properly categorized. With this done, we pass their report over to their individual accountants, making it a much more efficient process and often resulting in lower accounting bills.

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Why You Need a Lawyer Before Filing an LTD Claim
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Why You Need a Lawyer Before Filing an LTD Claim | Evan Schwartz

3:40 minutes to read} Many years ago, before 1995, a professional could file a long-term disability claim on their own and likely get paid. After 1995, the industry changed dramatically. Many companies went out of business in the long-term disability space, claims were being denied and terminated like wildfire, and litigation spawned all over the country on a massive basis; a huge industry shakeup happened. About ten years later, long-term disability insurers started selling these policies again, but they changed their claims management model.

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Pursuing A Bad Faith Claim Against Your Insurance Company
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Authored by , re: Insurance Related, on .
Pursuing A Bad Faith Claim Against Your Insurance Company | Evan Schwartz

{3:20 minutes to read} An insurance company engages in bad faith when it unreasonably denies, delays, terminates or underpays your claim. For example, if the insurance company refuses to pay for your homeowner’s claim or your business interruption claim, or to compensate you for harm caused due to water or fire damage, these denials may have been made in bad faith.                             Bad faith conduct happens frequently. There is an analysis that requires a skilled attorney to help you determine whether there is a possibility that the insurance company has engaged in bad faith conduct, based on how they have treated your claim.

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How Life Insurance and Divorce Can Impact Retirement Planning – Part 2
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Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, Financial Planning & Insurance, MEDIATION, on .
 How Life Insurance and Divorce Can Impact Retirement Planning – Part 2 | Ada Hasloecher

{3:54 minutes to read} The scenarios Steve Kobrin outlined in Part 1 of this series are something to which most married couples don’t give much thought until the time is upon them to make the decision. At that time, it may be too late to make the choice they would prefer. If they were to take Option #1 (and who wouldn’t want that – you receive the maximum amount the plan would pay out on a monthly basis), the participant is probably at an age where it is unlikely they could obtain a substantial and affordable life insurance policy to cover the difference, were they to die once in payout status. Therefore, they may likely opt for Option #2.

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Deductibility or Long Term Care Insurance and the 2017 Limitations
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Authored by , re: Insurance Related, on .
Deductibility or Long Term Care Insurance and the 2017 Limitations | Ronald A. Fatoullah

By: Ronald A. Fatoullah, Esq. and Elizabeth Forspan, Esq.

{4:22 minutes to read} Many people wisely choose to purchase a long-term care insurance policy which will pay for all or some of the costs of long-term care services, such as care at home or in a skilled nursing facility. It is important to understand that the government provides certain incentives, in the form of tax deductions and credits, for those who purchased and continue to pay for such policies. There are tremendous added tax benefits that individuals with such policies must understand before “tax time” rolls around.

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High Scrutiny of Long-Term Disability Insurance Claims by Insurance Companies
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High Scrutiny of Long-Term Disability Insurance Claims by Insurance Companies | Evan Schwartz

{3:30 minutes to read} Filing a claim for long-term disability benefits is an exhausting and complicated process—especially in the early stages. Professionals need to be wary of what this process entails in order to be prepared and ensure that their claim is approved. Upon receiving a long-term disability claim, insurance companies carefully and extensively examine it before they acknowledge their liability to pay the claim. A simple medical report and claim form will not be sufficient. In today’s environment, insurance companies treat disabled professionals seeking benefits like suspects in a criminal conspiracy.

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How Life Insurance and Divorce Can Impact Retirement Planning – Part 1
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Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, Financial Planning & Insurance, MEDIATION, on .
How Life Insurance and Divorce Can Impact Retirement Planning – Part 1 | Ada Hasloecher

{3:18 minutes to read} Life Insurance and how it relates to retirement plans is not something most couples give much thought to. The following articles, which I collaborated on with Steven H. Kobrin, a life insurance specialist, provide some insight and things to consider. Life insurance can play a pivotal role in retirement planning.

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Do You Think You Have a Bad Faith Insurance Claim?
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Authored by , re: Insurance Related, on .
Do You Think You Have a Bad Faith Insurance Claim? | Evan Schwartz

{3:40 minutes to read} In my last blog, I spoke about what bad faith is generally. In this blog, I discuss a few preliminary considerations when you are wondering if your insurance company has treated you in bad faith and whether you can do something about it. Is the insurance policy governed by federal law or state law? •Federal – Group policies obtained through your employer are ordinarily governed by a federal law, known as the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). Policies governed by ERISA cannot have a bad faith claim under any circumstances.

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Relax, the Year is Almost Over
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Authored by , re: Asset Management, FINANCIAL ARTICLES, on .
Relax, the Year is Almost Over | Jeff Holland

{1 minute to read} Enjoy the holiday season! The election is over. The year is almost over. Don’t think about your money. Let your money work for you. Markets are always priced to have a positive expected rate of return. The media and your neighbor or friend are always going to try to scare you or get you to do something. But you should follow the plan that you have in place. Election years are very stressful on both sides, and you may have been very passionate about your candidate. You may or may not like the president-elect, but the markets have already reacted to the presidential election and priced him into the market. You’ve been told to worry by the media for 11 months of the year about what’s going to happen. Now you should take the month off of worrying and let your plan and the markets work for you—and do this in the future, too. And let the markets work for you, not against you.

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End-of-Year Planning
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Authored by , re: FINANCIAL ARTICLES, Financial Planning & Insurance, on .
End-of-Year Planning | Michael Fliegelman

{2:12 minutes to read} As things change: Taxes may change. Laws may change. Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security may change. Tax rates may change. Estate planning rules may change. And, yet some things remain the same. When it comes to money and financial planning, there are certain rules of the game that will always be applicable.

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Insurance Bad Faith
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Authored by , re: Insurance, Insurance Related, on .
Insurance Bad Faith | Evan Schwartz

{2:00 minutes to read} The term “bad faith” is used when an insurance company unreasonably denies, delays, terminates, or underpays a claim. First-party bad faith specifically refers to the contract between you/your business and the insurance company (as opposed to the insurance company paying a claim made against you or your business from a third party). Examples of first-party bad faith could include your insurance company’s refusal to pay for: •Homeowner’s claims; •Business interruption claims; •Property damage suffered due to water or fire, etc.;

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Lessons from 2016 Election: Invest, Don’t Predict
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Authored by , re: Asset Management, FINANCIAL ARTICLES, Financial Planning & Insurance, on .
Lessons from 2016 Election: Invest, Don’t Predict | Jeff Holland

{2 minutes to read} People often base their investments on their emotions and their predictions. What I want people to realize is that when you’re investing properly, you’re not really making any predictions. You’re using data and empirical research that incorporates information from market participants globally. Predictions can seem very entertaining. They might even be fun, with a small stake of the money. But you only remember your correct predictions. Predictions can cause you to go off the rails and not achieve your financial goals. You should not base your portfolio on predictions. You want to succeed with your financial goals. And if you think you’re smart because you make an accurate prediction, remember you can also be wrong. As John Kenneth Galbraith said, “The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable.”

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Taxes: So What’s Next?
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Taxes: So What’s Next? | Nadine Riley

{3:36 minutes to read} What will my tax bill look like in 2017 under the new president? In the past weeks, I have been asked this question many times.

If you are also pondering this question, let’s recap in more detail some of the tax changes Mr. Trump proposed. In addition to Trump’s plan, we will also examine the blueprint delivered by the Ways and Means Committee Republicans (in June 2016) regarding the proposed rebuilding of America. (You can read more about Ways and Means here.)

Click here to read Nadine Riley's full article...