Category: FINANCIAL ARTICLES

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.

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

Insurance Policies Part 1: Personal
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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?

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

Before You Sign a Joint Tax Return, Be Aware of What You’re Signing!
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Authored by , re: Financial Planning & Insurance, on .
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…

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

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...

Act Now & Save on Your 2016 Tax Return
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Act Now & Save on Your 2016 Tax Return | Susan Moussi

Tax filing season provides an opportunity to make decisions that can affect the previous year’s tax bill. There is still time to act on the beneficial options outlined below. Fund Your Retirement  Now is the perfect time to examine your retirement contributions. According to an article on CNBC.com, “To be financially ready to retire by age 67, you should aim to have 10 times your final salary in savings.” Before April 15th, you may still have the option to:

  • Fund a Traditional IRA (which may lower taxes for the previous year);
  • Fund a Roth IRA (which would not lower last year’s taxes but provides a tax shelter for the future); or
  • Fund a self-employed pension plan (SEP) if you are self-employed. Note: Funding an SEP may lower taxes for the previous year and, by filing an extension on the federal income tax return, you can extend the investment deadline to October 15th. 

Click here to read Susan Moussi'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.

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

Ensure that Your Portfolio Is a Winner: Diversify!
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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).

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

The Tax Impact of Crowdfunding
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The Tax Impact of Crowdfunding | Susan Moussi

{3:00 minutes to read} Crowdfunding is simply any method by which money is raised, for any reason, from a crowd. Back in the pre-computer days, the terminology would have been “fundraiser.” It’s only the means by which the funds are raised that has changed, not necessarily that it hasn’t existed before. The tax treatment of a transaction often depends on the intent of the donor. Most online crowdfunding campaigns are donation based. Funds are raised to help some charitable cause. It is also the most misunderstood.

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

Tax Court Finds That Doctor’s Cut of Surgery Center Income Not Subject to Self-Employment Tax
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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.

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

Website Map for Sallie Mullins Thompson
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Website Map for Sallie Mullins Thompson | Sallie Mullins Thompson

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

Click here to read Ronald Fatoullah's full article...

High Scrutiny of Long-Term Disability Insurance Claims by Insurance Companies
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Authored by , re: Insurance Related, on .
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.

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

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.

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

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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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.

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

End-of-Year Planning
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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.

Click here to read Michael Fliegelman's full article...

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.;

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

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.”

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

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...

Do You Know Where Your Money Goes?
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Do You Know Where Your Money Goes? | Peter Gordon

{2 minutes to read} One of the most powerful tools we use to help our senior clients is a monthly cash flow report. This monthly report allows clients to see if there’s a surplus or deficit and and if there’s a need to transfer money from savings into checking. The contents of the report include:

  • All income sources—where their money is coming from;
  • Expense categories—where their money is going; and
  • How much money is left at the end of the month.

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

How to Evaluate Consumer Options…and Not Get Cheated!
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How to Evaluate Consumer Options…and Not Get Cheated! | Peter Gordon

{2:20 minutes to read} A daily money manager helps with all aspects of a person’s daily financial life, such as paying bills, reviewing credit card charges and reconciling checking accounts. The leap from meeting a daily money manager to letting them handle these items can be difficult, as there is a lot of trust involved. Sometimes, even if you trust somebody, you really don’t know what it’s like to work with them. This is why hiring a daily money manager to help you make wise purchasing decisions is a good introduction to how you might work together.

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

Business Owner Checklist – Part I: Some Basics
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Authored by , re: Business Development, FINANCIAL ARTICLES, on .

Business What components are essential for business owners to be positioned for success and growth? Part I highlights the first 6 of ten such items that I have found to be fundamental, during my 20+ years of working with business owners. I have also incorporated references to professionals that I trust to assist my clients with these key areas.

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

The Myth of Being Fair
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Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, FINANCIAL ARTICLES, Financial Planning & Insurance, on .
The Myth of Being Fair | Vickie Adams

Sometimes “even” isn’t really fair. I have a lovely client who came to me when her husband left the family home. After much delay, he finally served her with his self-prepared divorce documents. In learning about his personality and history, I believe he factored into his projection his wife’s innate sense of fairness and wanted to use that to his advantage. He has dragged his feet, refused to get a lawyer and represents himself. In reality, he has taken control of the entire process by refusing to play by the rules.

Click here to read Vickie Adams' full article...

The National Student Loan Service Center
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The National Student Loan Service Center | Michael Fliegelman

{5:48 minutes to read} I wanted to welcome John DiGregorio and Natalie Luongo from the National Student Loan Service Center (NSLSC). Recently, we got together so that I could interview them on the very important service the center provides. So often, we talk about our blind spots and trying to protect our clients’ wealth from things of which we are not aware. Being in the financial service business for 32 years, I thought I knew pretty much what I was talking about on most subjects.

Click here to read Michael Fliegelman's full article...

A Team Approach to Senior Living
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A Team Approach to Senior Living | Peter Gordon

{2:20 minutes to read} For many seniors it is helpful to have a team of professionals – Financial Advisor, Attorney, Geriatric Care Manager, Geriatrician, Home Health Care Workers, etc. – assist them in managing their lives, enabling them to age with dignity.

As a Daily Money Manager, I assist people in organizing their finances. I do this by helping to pay bills, reconciling their checking and credit accounts and developing budgets. I also help them with filing health insurance claims and many other services. Click here to read Peter Gordon's full article...