Don’t Miss These Year-End Retirement-Planning Deadlines

It’s not too late to ensure that your retirement planning is on track to maximize tax savings before the end of 2017. Understanding end-of-year deadlines can help you maximize your tax savings as well as prepare for another year of saving. “Tax planning should really start in January, not in November or December,” says Randall Luebke, a financial planner at Lifetime Paradigm. “That said, if you do wait, be sure to do everything you can to reduce the taxes you pay.” Now is the time to accelerate your tax-deductible expenses and put off receiving taxable income. Here are some tips. Consider Roth Accounts If you’ve been thinking about converting a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA, it’s a good time to make a decision and act because you must file forms by the end of the year. With Dec. 31 falling on a Sunday in 2017, experts recommend aiming for …

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New Industry Tools That Could Change the Way You Do Business

Times have changed for financial advisors. The advent of new technology has made it possible for independent advisors and smaller houses to compete with larger firms, and for larger firms to have a global reach. Keeping up with that technology can be a challenge — but it’s vital for any financial advisor who wants to stay competitive. Today’s clients want savvy, responsive financial advisors who are comfortable with technology. Fortunately, new industry tools are easy to use and integrate to provide top-level customer service and performance. “You don’t have a shot if you’re not organized,” says Jason Lara, director of sales and strategy at Ebix. Here are some new industry tools that can change the way you do business. Client Management Being able to manage your clients through scheduling and CRM platforms, as well as provide them excellent advice through market research tools, are among the biggest benefits of using …

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5 Things All Employees Need to Understand About Benefits

Keeping track of what your company’s employee benefits cover and how they can work for you can be a challenge, but it is vitally important. Your employer provides benefits as part of your compensation, and if you’re not taking advantage of them, you can miss out on some important savings and coverage. Here are five things all employees need to understand about their benefits. 1. Your Health Insurance Costs You need to understand what your health insurance costs are, including how much of the premium you pay each month, any co-pay and the annual deductible, says PJ Wallin, CPA and CFP at W Financial. “Employees should know what their benefit options are, as well as for their family and who pays the costs for each. Many employers may cover a larger portion of an individual, but then subsidize less of their family.” If your employer offers a choice of different …

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Make the Most of Your Pretax Deductions

Don’t set it and forget it when it comes to pretax contributions. The money that comes out of your paycheck before taxes can work for you, but only if you manage it properly. Many employees mismanage or underutilize the pretax deduction programs that employers offer, says Joe Holberg, founder and CEO of Holberg Financial, so it’s important to learn as much as you can about your options. “The first major step is to know what is available to you. This is when you read the nitty-gritty paperwork, reach out to the HR person and figure out what portions of the pretax opportunities make sense for you.” Follow this checklist to get the most out of your pretax deductions. HSAs You can get a health savings account only if you have a high-deductible health plan — but once you open the account, it sticks with you even if you change jobs. …

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5 Benefits You Might Not Know You Have (or Know How to Use)

5 Benefits You Might Not Know You Have (or Know How to Use)

It’s easy to zone out on benefits communications, especially when it’s not open-enrollment time. After all, you’ve filled out your health insurance forms, so what else do you need to know? Turns out, quite a bit. Chances are your employer offers benefits that you might not know about, or know how to use to your best advantage. “Employees must do more than pay attention once a year at an open-enrollment meeting,” says Chris Costello, principal and founder of CBG Benefits. “They should actively look for these details in their Plan Summary documents. They should log on to their employee portal or health insurance carrier’s website to see what’s listed. By taking that action, they’ll be able to experience financial savings, achieve wellness goals and fully utilize their employee benefits program.” You can start by considering these five benefits you may be missing out on. 1. Discounts Some companies offer discounts …

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