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Bylined Articles

Building a Strong Financial Foundation

Today, many people are concerned about saving for retirement or paying for a large ticket item, such as a child’s college education. If you belong to this group, now may be the time to organize your finances. It is never too early to begin, and the sooner you start, the better.

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Setting a Price for Buying or Selling a Business

In the overall U.S. business landscape, mergers, takeovers, and buyouts are occurring at a steady rate. If you were to place your business on the market, would you know what it is worth? Setting the price is often the most important aspect of the transaction.

Many business owners tend to base their companies’ worth on “sweat equity.” However, that does not have much to do with market value. To learn the true value of your business, you need a more scientific approach, starting with a valuation method.

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Exit Strategies for Business Owners

After years spent launching and growing your business, the day will finally arrive when you can sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labor. But, just as starting your business involved hard work and planning, the process of exiting your firm can be a long and challenging process.

Many entrepreneurs put off making decisions about the disposition of the business until their departure is imminent. Waiting until the last minute to put together an exit strategy can, however, prove to be an expensive mistake. Unanticipated events—such as a health crisis, a divorce, or the death of a business partner—may force you to dispose of the business quickly, and at a loss. Having a transition plan in place will greatly improve the chances that you will be able to draw income from the business to support your retirement needs, and ensure that the business is passed on as you had intended.

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College Admissions: Making the Grade

College applicants are often faced with apprehension and, to some degree, fear about getting into the college of their choice. Often, attending the right college or university can make the difference between average earnings and great career prospects in the future. While it is common for colleges and universities to look first at a student’s high school academic record and Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) scores, beyond that there are many other factors that enter into the equation as possible indicators of a student’s ability and potential for future success.

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Reduce Future Uncertainty with Advance Directives

Estate planning has traditionally focused on how to minimize estate taxes and designate “who gets what” when you die. However, managing your affairs in today’s modern world has become more complicated. Quality of life issues involving personal finances, health care, and how critical decisions are to be made are becoming increasingly more important.

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Financing Options for Homebuyers and Homeowners

For first-time homebuyers and homeowners who are considering refinancing their current mortgages, trying to decide between a fixed or an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) can be a bit puzzling. The future is relatively unpredictable, and it’s nearly impossible to try to guess whether interest rates will rise, stay level, or decrease in the coming years. However, a matter of a few interest rate points can make a big difference in the amount you will pay over the life of your mortgage, depending on the type of mortgage you choose.

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Teaching Kids About Cashless and Online Finances

In an increasingly digital world, your kids will need to know how to handle their finances online and how to responsibly use debit cards.

Start teaching with cash

More and more consumers use cards and mobile devices to conduct everyday financial transactions. Start lessons with real money and work into the online world. By the time kids are five years old, they can have an allowance, and you should open a joint savings account. Kids should learn to make change, so pay allowances in cash.

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Time to Get Real about Family Money

Instead of debating about politics or sports whenever they get together, what if families spent some time having candid discussions about their finances and plans for the future?

We know money is a hard topic for many families to broach. For the older generation, it can bring up the issue of aging and might signal the loss of independence. Younger family members may also have difficulty accepting that their parents may need their help and worry that they’re not up to the task.

Whatever the reason, know this: without a plan for finances, a family could run the risk of giving up control of health care and inheritance.

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Disability Income Insurance: Protecting Your Most Valuable Asset

Have you ever wondered how you would manage financially if you were to sustain an injury or illness that left you unable to work? How long could you maintain your standard of living, pay your bills, and cover your daily expenses? The likelihood of such an event may be greater than you think. According to the Council for Disability Awareness (2013), Americans underestimate their chances of experiencing a long-term disability: 64% of working Americans believe they have a 2% or less chance of being disabled for 3 months or more during their working years; however, the reality is that the odds of experiencing a long-term disability are about 25%.

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Designing an Employee Benefit Plan

When you begin to create an employee benefit plan, you may want to start with a few core benefits, including life insurance, health insurance, and a retirement plan. These benefits form a base from which your company’s benefit plan can grow and evolve in the future. Every year or two, it may be wise to consider the addition of a new benefit to the plan, such as dental insurance or disability income insurance. Rather than bearing the entire burden of cost, you can contribute a portion of the cost, with your employees paying the balance.

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Creating a Long-Term Financial Plan

To help manage your personal finances, you can now purchase computer software that will balance your checkbook, figure out your budget, track your investments, and even help take the sting out of filing your income tax return. Even with the best apps available, you still have to take the initiative to create a strategy that will meet your needs while reducing the stress that goes along with financial planning.

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Estate Planning: A Team Effort

Estate planning often involves a team consisting of an attorney, a financial professional, an insurance professional, and yourself. However, whether you are establishing a new estate plan or revising an existing one, only you can provide the guidance, direction, and information your estate planning team needs to develop an effective plan.

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Financial Recordkeeping for Tax Purpose

Keeping thorough and accurate financial records is one of the less exciting tasks that business owners face, but it is a necessary one. In addition to enabling you to monitor the progress of your business and make informed decisions on a daily basis, keeping good accounting records is essential when it comes time to prepare your tax returns. While the smallest businesses may be able to get by with the “shoebox method,” having in place a reliable and comprehensive financial recordkeeping system is crucial if you want your business to grow.

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