Nonqualified Plans – Baiting the Benefit Hook

Attracting and retaining qualified employees and managers is always a challenge for companies of all sizes. Most employers realize competitive salaries are not the only things desired by the best workers. Sought-after employees also expect compensation packages to include valued benefits. A qualified retirement plan is a traditional component of many employee benefit packages. As a business owner, you’re likely to appreciate the advantages: Your contributions are tax-deductible and accumulate on a tax-deferred basis. However, these plans can be difficult to administer and contain many regulations restricting employee eligibility, participation, vesting, and employee contributions. What’s the alternative? Nonqualified plans offer the flexibility to selectively choose whom you’ll cover and how much you’ll contribute for each individual. Many companies use them to supplement or replace their qualified plans. Although there is a wide range of nonqualified plans from which to choose, executive bonus plans and deferred compensation plans are among the …

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Top 10 Financial Predictions for 2018

Top 10 Predictions for 2018: From Pretty-Darn-Certain to Absolutely Guaranteed This time last year, we were dealing with the UK voting to break away from the European Union (which no one predicted), a Presidential election (which no one predicted) and market experts calling for 2017 to be a year where the bears returned. So, in the spirit of making predictions that will actually come true, here are the Top Ten for 2018 – delivered in order of certainty. In other words, Prediction #10 is pretty-darn-certain to happen while Prediction #1 is absolutely guaranteed. 10. Volatility Will Increase The market’s favorite gauge of volatility, the Chicago Board Option Exchange’s Volatility Index (called the “VIX”) hit an all-time low in November, hitting 9.14, resulting in a 17% decline in 2017. Given the current market environment, a new tax bill, rising interest rates, fluctuating currencies, moving oil prices and more, few will predict …

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Mandatory Retirement: What You Need to Know

Retirement means different things to different people. For some it might mean a complete release from any work responsibilities or requirements and the start of a life of leisure. For others it may be more of a side-step into work they’ve always wanted to do, or the chance to start a business. But retirement comes when the worker wants to stop working, with exceptions made for pilots, air traffic controllers and, in some states, judges. Other employees aren’t told when to stop. “All U.S. employers with at least 20 employees are prohibited from taking adverse employment action based on age against most employees 40 years older or older,” says labor and employment lawyer Scott Horton. “In many states, age discrimination laws cover even more employers and employees. These laws essentially make it illegal to have a mandatory retirement age, even if someone could make a good business case.” Here’s what …

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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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What’s Next for Trump’s Tax Reform Plan

Tax reform took on new urgency for the Trump administration after it was unable to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (also known as the ACA or Obamacare), but disagreements that persist between the president and GOP leaders in Congress have put any action in doubt for now. The Senate has passed a budget plan, but no specifics regarding tax reform have been worked out yet, leaving the issue’s fate uncertain. For advisors and consumers alike, this means a wait-and-see situation. “Don’t overreact or make any reactionary plans based off of something that isn’t law, but make sure you’re aware of the changes that are being proposed,” says Garrett Oakley, a certified financial planner at Betterment, an investment adviser. Here’s what could be in store on tax reform. Fewer Tax Brackets While most experts agree that the number of tax brackets is likely to be reduced, it’s unclear what …

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