January and February are traditionally the months when we get our taxes organized and then send the information to our tax preparers. Or, perhaps it’s March and April for some. Either way, once we hear back from our tax preparers, many taxpayers experience what I call “taxpayer remorse.” This is when one realizes that, with planning, some taxes could have been avoided. A deferral here, a deduction there – and the tax bill could have been lower.
Posts from the ‘Uncategorized’ Category
2013 was a great year for defined benefit (DB) plans. A recent report by Mercer said that pension plans of the S&P 1500 companies are now 95% funded, up from 74% a year ago. Fueled by record high stock market levels, strong contributions by plan sponsors and modest increases in interest rates, sponsors of defined benefit plans are finding themselves in a much better position when looking at the funding of their DB plan.
While that’s great news for DB plans, it’s important that plan sponsors don’t become complacent. It wasn’t long ago that funding levels dipped to historic lows.
My recommendation to plan sponsors of DB plans right now? Be an elephant! Don’t forget about the risks a DB plan can have on your organization.
Have you ever watched an ultimate fighter train? I have. It’s fascinating. Imagine a steel cage, six fighters, five five-minute rounds, two-minute breaks in between. Every five minutes a new fighter with fresh legs comes in the ring to take on the guy who’s training. By the time the fifth person comes in the ring the guy, or gal, training is gassing hard. For them, they train like they fight – hard. Give it all you’ve got and then, give it some more with tenacity, passion and unfaltering perseverance to get to the ultimate goal.
If you think about it, a fighter is training for at best, 25 minutes in the ring. When we prepare for retirement, we are training for the rest of our lives. When they say your life depends on it, well it really does. Read more
As parents we often tell our kids to try their best (or harder or again). After all, in many things, it is effort that matters. But, as the great philosopher Yoda reminds us of in Star Wars: Episode 5 –The Empire Strikes Back sometimes effort is not enough.
“Try not. Do…or do not. There is no try.”
Yoda not so gently reminds Luke that results matter. Granted, most of us are not trying to save the entire galaxy from the evil empire; it does not diminish the fact that results matter.
One aftermath of the Great Recession is that many businesses have had their business values change — sometimes radically. And, it’s not always just a matter of changed earnings. Sometimes the business’s industry has altered, and investor expectations for price to earnings multiples are different. Sometimes there are simply fewer potential buyers with the financial resources to make the deal. Those who do have the needed financing can dictate more favorable terms … likely lowering the selling price.
From my experience, in most cases, after having a valuation done (whether the owner was pleasantly or negatively surprised), the business owner was glad to have the information. Read more
To the rest of the country it may seem like strange bedfellows: a state in the heartland of America on a first name basis with the world’s second largest economy. But for the past 30 years that has been the case between Iowa and China.
Since 1983, Iowa has been in a formal Sister State relationship with Hebei province, China.
While vastly different in language, culture and size—Hebei is 24 times bigger than Iowa in terms of population (72 million vs. 3 million)— over the years the cooperative agreement has fostered friendship, understanding and trust as well as exchanges in education, culture and, importantly, trade. Read more
Image your practice 10 years from now and think about the world we might be working in. What comes to mind? What does your client base look like? Where does your business come from? How might you start laying the tracks today for future opportunities? Enough questions, it’s answer time: if I’m in your shoes, two areas I might start to invest in are Generation Y and Hispanic investors.
We’ll hit on Gen Y in another post, for now let’s focus on the Hispanic market. I recently read a whitepaper that estimates in the next 20 years Hispanics will represent 31% of the work force.1 That’s a tremendous amount of growth, and more and more Hispanic employees will have access to some type of retirement plan.
Although retirement is not a new concept to U.S. Latinos, planning for retirement does have different meanings, and “saving” may not necessarily be part of it, especially for those who are in the early stages of an immigrant experience. Working with Hispanic employees is more than just speaking Spanish. It’s about cultural influence. Read more