January 1, 2019
Divorce Can Be Taxing thumbnail

Divorce Can Be Taxing

Divorce is expensive. Aside from the emotional toll divorce takes on a family, both the process and aftermath of a divorce can be costly. Below we look at some of the steps people can take to help remove the tax sting out of an already challenging time and arrive at the best financial position. Changes to Alimony We ring in the new year with changes to alimony tax law. Prior to Jan. 1, 2019, alimony payments were deductible by the spouse who paid them and taxable to the spouse receiving them. Typically, this provided an overall benefit to the family unit as the alimony recipient, generally being the lower earner, paid a lower tax rate. Often referred to as the […]
January 1, 2019
How Will the 90-Day Freeze on Tariff Increases Impact the Markets? thumbnail

How Will the 90-Day Freeze on Tariff Increases Impact the Markets?

According to a press release issued by the United States Trade Representative (USTR) in the middle of September, tariffs of 10 percent on $200 billion of imported Chinese goods went into effect on Sept. 24, 2018. The same tariffs, according to the press release, were set to increase to 25 percent on the same $200 billion in Chinese imports on Jan. 1, 2019.    However, after talks between the leaders of the United States and China during G20 meetings in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the United States agreed to freeze tariffs at the 10 percent rate for 90 days starting Dec. 1, 2018. If the negotiations don’t lead to long-term settlements, the tariffs will increase to 25 percent on March 1, […]
January 1, 2019
Tips for Choosing the Appropriate Liability Insurance for Your Business thumbnail

Tips for Choosing the Appropriate Liability Insurance for Your Business

When it comes to liability insurance, the saying “you can never be too prepared” is quite meaningful. While business owners cannot predict what happens day to day or year to year, they can look into having business liability as way to give themselves peace of mind. The first step is to understand why it’s so important. The Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association reports that more than one in two home-based business owners lack necessary insurance. Furthermore, the Independent Insurance Agents of America (IIAA) found that 4 of 10 respondents do not have enough coverage because they believe their homeowners policy covers commercial liability. As you can see, education on this matter is essential. Here are descriptions of several different types […]
January 1, 2019
What Leading Economic Indicators Tell Us thumbnail

What Leading Economic Indicators Tell Us

One of the reasons investing is tricky is because it involves so many factors that we cannot control. One factor is the specific investment itself. In the case of a stock, the share price relies on company management and leadership; manufacturing, marketing and distribution; and balancing expenses with revenues. Another factor is investor and market sentiment, which can change on a dime based on economic uncertainty, the day’s news or a presidential tweet. Then there’s a third component, which encompasses broader economic events and how they impact investment market fundamentals and the business life cycle. One way we monitor the economy and try to predict market cycles is through economic indicators. These are trackable data points that economists use to […]
January 1, 2019
Prisoner Reform, the Farm Bill, and Taking Aim at Weapons of Mass Destruction thumbnail

Prisoner Reform, the Farm Bill, and Taking Aim at Weapons of Mass Destruction

Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Act of 2018 H.R. 7213 – Sponsored by Rep. Daniel Donovan (R-NY), this bill amends the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to establish a Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction office as part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). All personnel, budget authority and assets of the DHS Domestic Nuclear Detection Office and the Office of Health Affairs will be transferred to this new office. Its function will be to coordinate DHS strategy and policy to plan, detect and protect against the importation, possession, storage, transportation, development or use of unauthorized chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear materials, devices or agents. This new office also will have a Chief Medical Officer to advise DHS on medical […]
December 1, 2018

Congress at Work: Punishing Terrorists and Kiddie Porn Traffickers; Reinforcing Cybersecurity and Patents

Hizballah International Financing Prevention Amendments Act of 2018 (S. 1595) – This bill amends the Hizballah International Financing Prevention Act of 2015 to impose sanctions on foreign nationals and governments that knowingly assist in funding or recruitment activities for the Hizballah terrorist organization. This includes providing arms or other assistance, as well as narcotics trafficking and criminal activities. The bill was introduced by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) on July 20, 2017 and signed into law by the president on Oct. 25. Amy, Vicky and Andy Child Pornography Victim Assistance Act of 2018 (S. 2152) – This bill authorizes the federal criminal code to compensate victims of child pornography. Specifically, a defendant convicted of trafficking in child pornography must pay between […]
December 1, 2018

Online Home Appraisal Tools

Real estate appraisal and land valuation is the process of putting a price on the value of property. Buy and sell transactions generally require an up-to-date appraisal because each property is unique and values are based on the current economic landscape. In the past, it was necessary to hire a professional real estate appraiser to conduct an onsite property visit to make this assessment. Granted, an onsite appraisal is still considered the most accurate because it involves a thorough review of the home, including the roof, siding, foundation, windows and doors, flooring, walls, plumbing, electrical, kitchen and bath updates. However, it is also possible to get a relatively accurate appraisal using automated valuation models. Fortunately, there are a variety of […]
December 1, 2018

6 Ways to Avoid the Holiday Blues

Despite the never-ending flurry of merry salutations, the holidays can be emotionally challenging — if not downright depressing. Here are a few practical ways to take care of yourself during this time of year. Set a Budget. When you’re out shopping, it’s so easy to cave to “spending sprawl” – irresistible gifts that seem to call your name, obliterating any control you thought you had before you left the house. Truth is, you can’t buy happiness with an avalanche of gifts. Instead, you might want to make something for someone (cookies or a homemade ornament), organize a gift exchange and set a spending limit, or donate to a charity in a person’s name. Another way to save money and infuse […]
December 1, 2018

Financial Planning Advice for Women

The path for women is a little like two steps forward, one step back. For example, almost 40 percent of all privately held firms in the United States today are owned by women. Furthermore, the 2018 midterm elections yielded 23 female senators and more than 100 in the House of Representatives. And yet, despite the fact that women comprise 51 percent of the U.S. population, their ranks account for less than one-quarter of Congress. And women hold only 10 percent of chief executive and chief financial officer positions in S&P 1500 companies. What is most unfortunate about the lack of women in powerful positions is that they continue to trail men in terms of income and investment assets. When it […]
December 1, 2018

Will the United States Become a Bond Haven in 2019?

With Italian bond yields rising quickly from 2 percent to 3 percent since the middle of 2018, it begs the question if the United States will become a bond haven. There are many reasons why the United States Bond Market has the potential to became a refuge for many global investors. According to a 2016 paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research, safety is in the eye of the beholder – in the case of the global markets, it’s the investor. When there are global economic worries, the paper credits a “nowhere else to go” theory for investors that choose U.S. debt versus others. Along with a country’s ability to handle its own debt, the National Bureau of Economic […]
December 1, 2018

How to Maximize Subscription Marketing Efforts

According to research from McKinsey & Company, 15 percent of Internet consumers have become members of at least one subscription service in 2018. The consulting firm also found that these subscription-based models cover a multitude of products, including food, drinks, meal kits, clothing, vitamins and razors. While these are well-known by consumers, there are many other types of subscriptions – such cloud computing or storage technology services – available for purchase by both consumer and business customers. According to McKinsey & Company, the online subscription industry has increased in size from $57 million in 2011 to $2.6 billion in 2016. With this rapid growth, it’s best to know how to maximize one’s approach in this increasingly crowded and competitive industry.      […]
December 1, 2018

What’s the Best Type of Business Entity for Tax Purposes

There are several major types of business entities, including S Corporations, C Corporations, Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) and being self-employed. Each type of structure has its own advantages and disadvantages when it comes to taxes, assets and liability protection. Generally, certain types of businesses are best for certain professions from a tax perspective; however, with the tax law changes last year it may be time to reconsider. Under the current tax law, what used to be the best business entity type for certain scenarios may no longer be the same due to the pass-through deduction and corporate tax rate changes. Let’s look at the most common business entity types and see what’s best. Self-employed The self-employed includes everyone who is […]
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