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Check Your Fiscal Fitness

Presented by: Capital Financial Benefit Solutions How Fiscally Fit Are You?  The beginning of each year is an excellent time to improve those areas of your life that need enhancement.  You may vow to get into shape, lose weight, and eat healthier or some other measure to improve your overall physical health.  While these things will help you to feel better and hopefully live longer, they still require a strong will and self-discipline to meet the goal. Just as physical fitness can renew your vitality and increase your energy, fiscal fitness can help to invigorate your financial future.  Don’t be fooled, because this too takes discipline. The following test will help you measure your fiscal fitness.  If you are one of the fortunate people who have everything well under control – carry on.  If you don’t fall into this category – then it might be time to for a check-up. YOUR FISCAL FITNESS TEST Do you find yourself financially short before each payday? Do you have trouble knowing where your money went? Has a recent change in your job or family status caused increased financial pressure? Are you sure that the life, health and dental insurance that you receive from your employer will be sufficient for your family? Are you saving for your children’s future education? Will you run out of money during your retirement years? Should your current savings be working harder for you? Are your assets positioned properly to pass on to your beneficiary(s)? Do you plan adequately for taxes, or is April 15 disaster time? Lastly, have you established an emergency fund? If so, will it be sufficient for at least 3 months? How did you do?  If you’re uncomfortable with your answers, then it might be time to revisit your plans.  If you need assistance – […]

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Deferred Compensation—Understanding the Options

Presented by: Capital Financial Benefit Solutions  As American business enters the 21st century, old methods of doing business are quickly being replaced with the new – new technologies, new approaches, and new ideas about attracting, rewarding, and motivating high quality employees. Nowhere is this more evident than in the matter of key employee and business owner compensation, and specifically in the area of Deferred Compensation Planning. A Deferred Compensation Plan (DC Plan) is exactly what its name implies – it’s a plan that allows an individual to defer a portion of his or her current income, and the taxes due on that income, until a future point in time – usually retirement. Because it is a non-qualified plan, employers may select whomever they want to participate from their executive or management team. There are no contribution limits and no significant filing or reporting requirements. On the negative side, contributions are not tax deductible until benefits are paid out to participants and, under the doctrine of constructive receipt, benefits may be taxable to participants when they have the right to receive them – not necessarily when they are actually paid. (Establishing a vesting schedule can help address this issue) DC Plans come in many shapes and sizes. They can be Defined Contribution or Defined Benefit; Salary Reduction or Salary Continuation Plans; and they can be structured to provide disability and life insurance benefits. Choosing the right plan arrangement depends upon a company’s specific goals (e.g. retaining key employees) and upon the goals of the selected participants (e.g. supplemental retirement income, current tax reduction). To help you get a better understanding of the variety and flexibility of the DC Plans, let’s briefly consider each of the above structures: Salary Reduction or Salary Continuation? DC Plans generally fall into one of two categories […]

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Becoming Successful Takes Hard Work. Staying Successful Takes Planning.

Presented by:  Capital Financial Benefit Solutions It used to be that if you had a good product and provided solid customer service, you could pretty much count on being successful. And while product and service are still critical to the success of any business or professional venture, other variables – chief among them increased competition for key employees – can make maintaining and building on that success difficult. Consider your own business. Your success didn’t happen overnight. It most likely took careful planning, attention to detail and a lot of hard work. And if your business or practice is like most, the contributions of a few key employees – yourself included – are probably responsible for the lion’s share of your success. That’s part of the reason why more and more business owners are looking for creative ways to reward and retain their key people. Unfortunately, government regulations can make it difficult for businesses to reward one select group of people without doing something for everyone. So how do you build on your success and reward the people who’ve worked hard, year after year, to make that success happen? One answer may be through the use of a welfare benefit plan designed especially to help small business owners and professionals provide themselves and select key employees with substantial life insurance protection, medical benefits, or other optional benefits. Why life insurance? Life insurance is one of the most remarkable financial tools ever developed.  Life insurance proceeds can be used to: Help families maintain their lifestyle and pursue their objectives following the loss of a major breadwinner. Fund the purchase of a co-owner’s share of the business following his or her pre-mature death. Pay estate taxes and other expenses, allowing personal and business assets to pass to an individual’s named beneficiary intact. […]

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The Financial Stages of Life

Presented by:  Capital Financial Benefit Solutions Abraham Lincoln once said, “If I had six days to chop down a tree, I’d spend five of them sharpening my ax.”  What Lincoln meant by that remark is that sometimes, planning for an event can take longer than the event itself. This is particularly true when it comes to planning for a secure financial future. Many people put off financial planning, especially during uncertain economic times, because they either don’t know where to begin, or they don’t think they have enough money to make it worthwhile. The truth is: there is never an ideal time or place to begin and there is no specific level of income or assets one needs to have to make planning for the future “worthwhile.” You can (and should!) begin planning for the future regardless of which life stage you are in and regardless of how much money you have. To begin the planning process, you first need to identify your present and future financial goals. If you’re like most people, your goals will include protecting your family in the event you die prematurely or become disabled; managing your expenses while paying down debt; buying your first home or helping your children pay for college; saving for retirement; and distributing your assets to your heirs – privately, equitably, and tax-efficiently – following your death. Fortunately, there are steps you can take during each of your life stages that will help you build, and then maintain, your personal financial security. Let’s take a look at them: The Foundation Years:  If you’re in your foundation years, you are probably facing the most difficult times you will ever have financially. You may be newly married or just out of school; you may be taking on debt in order to acquire – […]

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