Focus

Showing 273–288 of 333 results

  • New for 2010: Roth IRA conversions available to everyone!

    February / March 2010
    Newsletter: Focus

    Price: $225.00, Subscriber Price: $157.50

    Word count: 252

    Abstract: 2010 is the year when those with significant amounts in their traditional IRAs can convert and reap the tax-free growth benefits of a Roth IRA — regardless of their income level. Previously, one had to have a modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) of $100,000 or less to be eligible to convert. This short article looks at some of the benefits and caveats.

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  • Are you caring for aging parents? If so, you’ll want to know about the adult dependent exemption

    February / March 2010
    Newsletter: Focus

    Price: $225.00, Subscriber Price: $157.50

    Word count: 827

    Abstract: Many in their 40s and 50s find themselves caring for children and aging parents while worrying about their own retirement. The combination of these factors can create a substantial burden on personal finances. The adult dependent tax exemption may help, if one qualifies — that depends on the income of both the taxpayer and his or her parents. Even if one doesn’t qualify, it still may be possible to deduct some medical costs. A sidebar discusses long-term care insurance.

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  • A stabilizing force – An advisory board can steer your family business through tough economic times

    February / March 2010
    Newsletter: Focus

    Price: $225.00, Subscriber Price: $157.50

    Word count: 692

    Abstract: In these difficult economic times, companies are under extreme pressure to produce results, which can lead to increased tensions between company executives. In a family business, the strain can be even greater because of possible family conflicts or emotional ties. To maintain an even keel and ensure that decisions are made in the best interest of the company, forming an advisory board may be a smart option. An advisory board isn’t bound by a fiduciary responsibility to the company and shareholders, so it can feel freer to think creatively to develop solutions to business problems and identify new business opportunities. There are five key steps to consider when setting up a board.

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  • This for that – Barter makes a comeback in today’s economy

    February / March 2010
    Newsletter: Focus

    Price: $225.00, Subscriber Price: $157.50

    Word count: 653

    Abstract: Barter sounds so ancient, but the practice is still being used by companies — especially in today’s tough economic times. With credit still difficult to obtain from banks, many businesses are bartering their products and services to conserve cash flow and reduce excess inventory. To initiate the barter process, a company can handle the arrangements itself or can consult with an exchange company to help find trading partners. This article looks at some of the details, but a sidebar warns that these cashless transactions can’t cut out the IRS.

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  • Tax tips to consider before 2009 ends

    Year End 2009
    Newsletter: Focus

    Price: $225.00, Subscriber Price: $157.50

    Word count: 452

    Abstract: This short article looks at a number of ways to save money in regard to maximizing retirement account distributions, deciding whether to sell investments that have incurred a loss, and purchasing a car or computer.

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  • Structure your company around the right business structure

    Year End 2009
    Newsletter: Focus

    Price: $225.00, Subscriber Price: $157.50

    Word count: 744

    Abstract: Many businesses that start out as sole proprietorships find that such a business structure leaves them ill-prepared to cope with increased tax, liability and administrative burdens as the business grows larger and more complex. But there are other structures available, including general and limited partnerships, S and C corporations, and limited liability companies. To avoid choosing the wrong business structure, it’s important to become educated on the advantages and disadvantages of each.

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  • Left a job? Pay heed to your 401(k) plan

    Year End 2009
    Newsletter: Focus

    Price: $225.00, Subscriber Price: $157.50

    Word count: 1023

    Abstract: After leaving a job (whether voluntarily or involuntarily), some may wish for greater flexibility in how their retirement money is invested than a 401(k) allows. One option is to roll over the money into an IRA, either directly or indirectly. This article looks at the distinction and examines the tax implications, while a sidebar discusses the temptation to cash out a retirement fund during an economic crisis.

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  • All hands on deck – Collaborative management can boost a family business’s profitability and its nonfamily employees’ sense of self-worth

    Year End 2009
    Newsletter: Focus

    Price: $225.00, Subscriber Price: $157.50

    Word count: 632

    Abstract: A management issue that’s unique to family businesses is keeping nonfamily employees from feeling undervalued on company endeavors simply because they aren’t family members. To keep nonfamily employees informed and motivated, it may be best to replace a traditional, top-down management style with a collaborative management approach. A strong leader who clearly communicates the company vision, a performance measurement system that emphasizes and rewards teamwork, and networking with other family businesses can help establish a collaborative management style.

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  • First-time homebuyer tax credit set to expire Dec. 1

    October / November 2009
    Newsletter: Focus

    Price: $225.00, Subscriber Price: $157.50

    Word count: 268

    Abstract: Those who are ready to purchase their first home should consider doing so before Dec. 1. Why? Because that’s when a refundable “first-time” homebuyer tax credit equal to 10% of the purchase price of a principal residence is set to expire. This short article looks at details of the credit.

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  • Don’t let family matters interfere with business matters

    October / November 2009
    Newsletter: Focus

    Price: $225.00, Subscriber Price: $157.50

    Word count: 670

    Abstract: Even though knowing family members are watching the shop can be reassuring, the requirements of running a business can strain even the strongest family ties. The stresses can become further exacerbated when sibling rivalry exists or when one’s spouse is involved. But there are ways to address these issues, including treating siblings equally and dividing responsibilities between spouses.

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  • Now is the time – Take advantage of today’s low interest rates to transfer more wealth tax free

    October / November 2009
    Newsletter: Focus

    Price: $225.00, Subscriber Price: $157.50

    Word count: 741

    Abstract: To help jumpstart a struggling economy, the federal government began lowering key interest rates last year, and they remain at their lowest level in several years. This is good news for those looking to transfer wealth out of their estate. Lifetime giving strategies are particularly effective when interest rates are low because the probability of outperforming the hurdle rate — and, therefore, transferring wealth tax free — is high. This article explains what hurdle rates are, and details such giving strategies as family loans, grantor retained annuity trusts (GRATs) and charitable lead annuity trusts (CLATs).

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  • Preparing for any business scenario – A buy-sell agreement can steady a company through uncertain times

    October / November 2009
    Newsletter: Focus

    Price: $225.00, Subscriber Price: $157.50

    Word count: 867

    Abstract: Smart business owners work to control the risks they can — such as if an owner leaves the company. To guard against the negative consequences that might arise from such a predicament, it’s important to be proactive and establish a buy-sell agreement. This article looks at some of the details of a buy-sell agreement, which is a contract among a business’s owners that sets guidelines for the transfer of their ownership interests. It discusses using life insurance to fund an agreement, while a sidebar explains the difference between fair market value and investment value when determining how to value a business.

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  • Ethics matter — now more than ever

    August / September 2009
    Newsletter: Focus

    Price: $225.00, Subscriber Price: $157.50

    Word count: 521

    Abstract: Even in healthy economic times when companies are thriving, business ethics can easily fall by the wayside. A poor economy only increases pressure on employees of every rank to do “whatever it takes” — even if it’s fraudulent or illegal. A company wishing to avoid these pitfalls needs to lay out the ground rules in a written policy and be prepared to enforce them. It also needs to develop strong internal controls and look out for poor quality control and evidence of fraud. And, it should be aware of specific potential risks when cutting costs.

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  • The right trust can help shield assets from creditors

    August / September 2009
    Newsletter: Focus

    Price: $225.00, Subscriber Price: $157.50

    Word count: 606

    Abstract: More than ever, people are looking for ways to protect their assets — and with good reason. With the erratic stock market and weakened home values, threats such as a frivolous lawsuit or a forced bankruptcy filing could sink a business owner’s financial ship. Or, he or she may be more concerned about threats to assets being passed to children. All of these threats can be battled by placing assets in a trust — but not just any trust. Spendthrift trusts and offshore trusts may offer special protection — although there are some caveats.

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  • Rewarding nonfamily employees – Offer “alternative” compensation and benefits

    August / September 2009
    Newsletter: Focus

    Price: $225.00, Subscriber Price: $157.50

    Word count: 587

    Abstract: Family business owners understand the need to reward their nonfamily workers. After all, in many cases, these employees make up the lion’s share of a company’s workforce. But it can be difficult to keep the “lions” motivated when family employees are also owners and nonfamily employees aren’t. To avoid giving ownership interests to nonfamily members, consider instead offering them “alternative” compensation and benefits. These may include matching contributions for a retirement plan or, for executive employees, participation in a nonqualified deferred compensation plan. Phantom stock and fringe benefits are also possibilities.

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  • Does your retirement future look as bright as it used to?

    August / September 2009
    Newsletter: Focus

    Price: $225.00, Subscriber Price: $157.50

    Word count: 925

    Abstract: Many people approaching their “golden years” are understandably nervous about opening their retirement plan statements these days. Although leaving the workforce — and a steady income — behind during the current economic downturn probably isn’t ideal, it may still be possible to retire in style. But it’s important to look at finances. How lavish a retirement is desired? Will there be enough money for health care? Beyond Social Security, one must look to a tax-advantaged retirement plan, such as a 401(k), IRA, or simplified employee pension (SEP). Or one can work longer, but retirement plan minimum distribution requirements take effect at age 70½ (although, as a sidebar explains, these have been suspended for 2009).

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