Category: FINANCIAL ARTICLES

How Can a CSA Help Seniors and Their Families?
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Authored by , re: Elder Care, FINANCIAL ARTICLES, on .

{2:45 minutes to read} I began New York Financial Organizers in January of 2015. During the previous four months, I explored the world of geriatric services, joining a wonderful organization, the Orion Research Group, as an exploratory member. Many other members suggested that I become a Certified Senior Advisor (CSA).

Click here to read Peter Gordon's full article...

The Prophets of Profit: Making A Global Impact With Shimmy Mehta
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Authored by , re: FINANCIAL ARTICLES, Leadership, on .
The Prophets of Profit: Making A Global Impact With Shimmy Mehta | Brian Califano

It is fitting that, as we begin to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday, we share our conversation with successful philanthropist, Shimmy Mehta, founder of Angelwish. Angelwish is a digital nonprofit that provides an accessible way to grant wishes to millions of children who suffer from chronic illnesses. Below are some highlights from our conversation in which Shimmy takes us behind the scenes of his incredible charity and discusses the global importance of paying it forward.

Click here to read Brian Califano's full article...

Year-End Tax Planning for Employees and Families
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Authored by , re: FINANCIAL ARTICLES, on .
Year-End Tax Planning for Employees and Families | Nadine Riley

{8:48 minutes to read} There’s something different about entering the month of November, in my opinion. I believe it is due to how close November is to the end of the year. It’s that penultimate month. November allows us to pause and rethink where we have been and where we would like to be before the year ends:

  • Some of us will pause to focus on the things we should have done and dwell there (do nothing).
  • Others will look back and choose to act and make a change that could be beneficial.
It is the latter group of individuals who may benefit the most from this article.

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

Metlife Long-Term Disability Policy Holders Beware
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Authored by , re: Insurance Related, on .
Metlife Long-Term Disability Policy Holders Beware | Evan Schwartz

Metlife stopped selling individual disability insurance last year, but kept all of its policies and continues to administer them and manage the claims. In insurance company lingo, this block of policies is in “runoff,” meaning that Metlife is not actively selling policies, and is winding down and closing out what it has already sold.

This is a situation typical in the insurance industry, where a company has a block of business that is no longer producing fresh revenue (other than the premiums from paying policyholders that have already purchased policies). Financial modeling leads to increased claim scrutiny, which results in more claim denials and terminations.

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

When is a Joint Return Not a Joint Return?
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Authored by , re: FINANCIAL ARTICLES, on .
When is a Joint Return Not a Joint Return? | Susan Moussi

{2:21 minutes to read} The tax court recently ruled on a case complicated by a divorce that was in-process at the time of filing. The lack of clarity, in this case, resulted in time, aggravation, and expense for both parties—highlighting the need for clear and indisputable documentation.

In June of 2013, a husband petitioned for divorce; however, the couple was still legally married on the last day of 2013.

According to the case, the wife sent a text message to her husband at the beginning of 2014 and proposed that they file a joint return for 2013.

Click here to read Susan Moussi's full article...

Is the Market TOO High?
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Authored by , re: Asset Management, FINANCIAL ARTICLES, on .
Is the Market TOO High? | Jeff Holland

{1:45 minutes to read} The market is a giant processing machine that sets prices by aggregating information from investors around the globe. Future, unknown news is what ultimately moves the market; therefore, the only way the market can be viewed as “too high” is with hindsight. We as people make new highs every day in our lives (our age). Headline markets like the S&P or Dow Jones may appear too high—but really aren’t when viewed in the context of a diversified global portfolio.

Click here to read Jeff Holland's full article...

SIMPLE Plans This Fall?
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Authored by , re: FINANCIAL ARTICLES, on .
SIMPLE Plans This Fall? | Susan Moussi

{2:22 minutes to read} Fall is in the air, and so a reminder about establishing SIMPLE plans, notifying employees, and making elections. SIMPLE plans are easy to set up, have a lower start-up and annual costs, and are simpler to operate in that there is no annual reporting. Employees decide how much to contribute, and the employer can choose one of two matching options. General Information

  • Plan establishment deadline date: October 1;
  • Maximum number of employees: 100; and
  • Election Period: Nov 2- December 31 (at least 60 days prior to the beginning of plan year which begins January 1).

Click here to read Susan Moussi's full article...

Where Are We With Tax Reform? (Business/Entrepreneur)
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Where Are We With Tax Reform? (Business/Entrepreneur) | Nadine Riley

{4:42 minutes to read} Hope you are enjoying the warm sunny days of the season.

I can’t help but wonder, is it just me, or is it becoming a challenge to stay on track with what’s going in Washington with regards to federal tax reform? The uncertainties are evident. The Trump administration released a report on July 28, 2017 regarding the status of all the proposed changes. As it relates to tax reform, the most current report that we are aware of was released on April 26, 2017. If what’s promised is implemented, individuals/families and businesses will be affected.

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

Speculating and Investing are Two Different Things: Beware of Cryptocurrencies
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Authored by , re: Asset Management, FINANCIAL ARTICLES, on .
Speculating and Investing are Two Different Things: Beware of Cryptocurrencies | Jeff Holland

{3 minutes to read} It’s a strange phenomenon that people want to chase an investment after it has gone up—it can be hard to resist jumping on the bandwagon. In general, the global stock markets have gone up nicely in the last few  years—however, cryptocurrencies have exploded in value. Relatively new cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin or Ethereum, have gone up in price in the last three to six months resulting in hype and interest from investors.

Click here to read Jeff Holland's full article...

Where Are We With Tax Reform? (Personal)
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Where Are We With Tax Reform? (Personal) | Nadine Riley

{5:12 minutes to read} Hope you are enjoying the warm sunny days of the season. I can’t help but wonder, is it just me, or is it becoming a challenge to stay on track with what’s going in Washington with regards to federal tax reform? The uncertainties are evident. The Trump administration released a report on July 28, 2017 regarding the status of all the proposed changes. As it relates to tax reform, the most current report that we are aware of was released on April 26, 2017. If what’s promised is implemented, individuals/families and businesses will be affected.

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

Organizing Tax Documents? Remember—Statements, Not Screenshots
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Authored by , re: FINANCIAL ARTICLES, on .
Organizing Tax Documents? Remember—Statements, Not Screenshots | Susan Moussi

{1:37 minutes to read} Information seems to be available at the touch of a screen or click of a mouse. If one wants to know the balance in an account, in a brief moment, one can quickly pull up the summary on their desktop or smartphone. When several of your accounts are with the same institution, all the accounts can be summarized on a single page. This should make getting information gathered for a divorce matter quick and easy. That is until questions start to dig deep.

Click here to read Susan Moussi's full article...

Insurance Companies Beware of Bad Faith Denials of Claims in the State of Washington
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Authored by , re: Insurance Related, on .
Insurance Companies Beware of Bad Faith Denials of Claims in the State of Washington | Evan Schwartz

This is an important, recent decision from the Supreme Court of the State of Washington, its highest court, involving a personal injury situation arising from a homeowner’s claim. The name of the case is Xia v. Probuilders Specialty Insurance Company, which was decided in April of this year. The case involved a woman who bought a townhouse. She became gravely ill after moving in: the manner in which the water heater was installed in her home was causing a release of carbon monoxide. 

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

 

Substantial Changes to the Tax Law: How Do They Affect Your 2017 Returns?
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Authored by , re: FINANCIAL ARTICLES, on .
Substantial Changes to the Tax Law: How Do They Affect Your 2017 Returns? | Susan Moussi

{2:13 minutes to read} As we head into the second half of 2017, it is important to be reminded of the substantial changes to the tax law that will affect this year’s returns. Social Security The amount of time it will take for people to max out on how much of their income is subjected to Social Security has increased. Unlike the previous few years (when the maximum was $118,500), people will no longer pay into Social Security once their income exceeds $127,200—it will just take longer (and cost more) to pay it at the same 6.2% rate.

Click here to read Susan Moussi's full article...

Lessons from Hurricane Ike: Texas Revives Statutory Bad Faith
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Authored by , re: Insurance Related, on .

In the recent decision of USAA Texas Lloyds v. Menchaca, the Texas Supreme Court ruled that homeowners and other insureds can rely on Texas law to seek damages against insurance companies for unfair and deceptive practices in their investigations and payments or non-payments of insurance claims. In this case, a homeowner’s claim resulted from property damage caused by Hurricane Ike. Although the damage was not substantial, the Texas Supreme Court ruled that absence of substantial damages does not limit an insured from seeking recovery under the Texas Insurance Code for violations.

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

Budgeting Basics: Part I
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Authored by , re: Accounting & Bookkeeping, Asset Management, Business Development, Financial Planning & Insurance, on .

Many small business owners seek resources and information for both business and personal budgets. I am pleased to share guidelines and best practices for both types of budgets. Below, I discuss the development of household/family budgets; in Part II, I will discuss business budgets. Why is it important to have a budget? Here are a few common reasons:

Click here to read Sallie Mullins Thompson's full article

Relax and Enjoy the Summer! There Will Always be Storms to Weather
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Authored by , re: Asset Management, FINANCIAL ARTICLES, on .
Relax and Enjoy the Summer! There Will Always be Storms to Weather | Jeff Holland

The market, like almost everything in life, has cycles and seasons. But unlike weather patterns, the market’s seasons are not predictable. Snow laden terrain and short days can be depressing; but, as long as we know that spring is on the horizon, the winter’s challenges are more easily accepted. The same is true for the market—expecting the market’s cycles and seasons will help you to manage your counterproductive emotions, particularly anxiety.

Click here to read Jeff Holland's full article...

Late Notice is Not Always Late!
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Authored by , re: Insurance Related, on .
Late Notice is Not Always Late! | Evan Schwartz

A case was just decided in January of this year by the highest court in the state of Maryland, which is known as the Maryland Court of Appeals. What the Maryland high court did was require that the insurance company, National Union, cover an animal rights group’s portion of a $16M settlement for a RICO violation against two high-profile circus operators.

Two of the circus operators (including Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus) alleged that the animal rights activists paid off witnesses to testify about their mistreatment of African Elephants in order to shut down the circus performances. These large circus act companies sued multiple animal rights groups alleging Federal Civil RICO violations—allegations that ultimately resulted in an almost 16-million-dollar settlement.

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

Insurance Company Reservation of Rights Letters—Better be Specific!
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Authored by , re: Insurance Related, on .
Insurance Company Reservation of Rights Letters—Better be Specific! | Evan Schwartz

A recent case decided by the Supreme Court of South Carolina, Harleysville Group Insurance v. Heritage Communities Inc., exemplifies an important lesson for lawyers on both sides of the insurance recovery spectrum—particularly concerning reservation of rights letters sent by insurance companies.

In the case, two Myrtle Beach condominium complexes were built with major construction defects. A lawsuit was brought against a series of developers, resulting in multi-million dollar verdicts. Harleysville Group Insurance was one of the insurance companies that was going to be partially responsible for paying out these verdicts—indemnifying its insured, Heritage Communities.

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

“Someday” and “Maybe” Numbers: The Challenge of Dividing Retirement Assets Part 3
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Authored by , re: Asset Management, Family & Divorce, on .
“Someday” and “Maybe” Numbers: The Challenge of Dividing Retirement Assets Part 3 | Rachel Alexander

{4:00 minutes to read} In Part 2, we discussed marital vs non-marital retirement assets and how some of those assets require an actuary or other expert to figure out the “present value” before the asset can be divided.

We now arrive here: How do folks equitably divide these assets? Particularly because the present value doesn’t actually exist in a divisible form. It’s a theoretical, projected number!

Below are some popular options:

QDRO (NJ QDRO Overview)

A court order goes to the plan administrator, directing it to divide the asset in the way set forth in the order. This method avoids any tax consequences pursuant to this division at the time it is made.

Click here to read Rachel Alexander's full article...

“Someday” and “Maybe” Numbers: The Challenge of Dividing Retirement Assets – Part 2
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Authored by , re: Asset Management, Family & Divorce, MEDIATION, on .
“Someday” and “Maybe” Numbers: The Challenge of Dividing Retirement Assets – Part 2 by Rachel Alexander

{4:00 minutes to read} Just because we determine a value for something does not mean we divide it!Often spouses are concerned that the mere mention of an asset puts it on the auction block and forfeits their exclusive rights to it. Not so!

Getting a comprehensive picture and value of ALL assets is an important part of creating a solid settlement agreement. An agreement should even specify assets whose separate nature is undisputed, with the other party waiving any rights, title or interest thereto.

Click here to read Rachel Alexander's full article...

Via Four, A Trusted Financial Partner
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Authored by , re: Asset Management, FINANCIAL ARTICLES, on .
Via Four, A Trusted Financial Partner | Jeff Holland

When you partner with Via Four, you are not only gaining decades worth of experience from our advisors, you are also getting the security of our national brokerage custodians. According to Wikipedia, a custodian is a specialized financial institution responsible for safeguarding a firm’s or individual’s financial assets and is not engaged in “traditional” commercial or consumer/retail banking, such as mortgage or personal lending, branch banking, personal accounts, or automated teller machines.

Click here to read Jeff Holland's full article...

Do Your Current Work Conditions Match Your Expectations?
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Authored by , re: FINANCIAL ARTICLES, on .
Do Your Current Work Conditions Match Your Expectations? | Fabienne Swartz

{3:32 minutes to read} After graduating from college, women approach their emergent careers with vigor and determination—eager to advance, become breadwinners, and pursue their passions. Somewhere along the career trajectory, many women also yearn to start a family.

Career aspirations and the drive to start a family are not mutually exclusive. Yet, corporate America seems to think they are, making it challenging for women to have the best of both worlds. For many women, working leads to inner satisfaction. Without it, a sense of self is lost, which makes the “mommy track” of the corporate world so devastating for women who want to work—and work hard.

Click here to read Fabienne Swartz's full article...

Audits Are Down, But Don’t Get Your Hopes Up
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Authored by , re: Accounting & Bookkeeping, on .
Audits Are Down, But Don’t Get Your Hopes Up | Nawrocki Smith

For six straight years, the number of audits conducted by the Internal Revenue Service has decreased. In 2016, the rate at which people were audited fell 16% from the previous year, with about 0.7% of all taxpayers facing higher scrutiny of their returns. Digging deeper into the statistics, one can see that the higher the taxpayer’s income, the greater the chance of being audited. For example, taxpayers earning over $200,000 per year were audited at a rate of 5.8%, meaning they were over eight times more likely to be audited than the population as a whole.

Click here to read Nawrocki Smith's full article...

Is Now a Good Time to Invest? Yes!
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Authored by , re: Asset Management, FINANCIAL ARTICLES, on .
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.

Click here to read Jeff Holland's full article...

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.

Click here to read Peter Gordon's full article..

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.

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

 

The Power of the Purse: Financial Abuse in Marriage
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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.

Click here to read Fabienne Swartz's full article...

Mental and Nervous Limitations in Long-Term Disability Policies
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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.

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

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.

Click here to read Nawrocki Smith's full article...