Financial Planning Blog Posts
July 15, 2018
Elder Care Planning During Terminal Illness
When a loved one is diagnosed with a terminal condition, elder planning is the last thing on your mind. Instead of wondering what’ll happen to your mom’s house, you’re more concerned with her health. However, without proper elder care planning, you’re bound to fall into financial trouble that will only make the situation worse.
Designing a plan is easier than you think. With proper elder care planning, you can spend the time with your loved ones knowing that finances are in order no matter what happens. While there are a list of services you could look into, estate planning should be at the top.
Estate Planning Review
In the unfortunate chance that a loved one passes away, what happens to their estate? Most families overlook this and find themselves digging themselves out of a hole while they’re grieving the loss of their loved one.
With an estate planning review, we’ll work together to create a will that clearly explains distribution of the estate assets. If this is skipped or overlooked, they’ll be distributed as per state law which can lead to a bigger headache. An estate planning review will cover such things as:
- Do you have long-term care insurance? This can be used to protect assets and provide better care options.
- Do your current documents authorize a loved one to protect your assets from healthcare providers?
- Do you have IRAs that are set to go to beneficiaries?
Financial Planning Services
Estate planning is just the tip of the iceberg. Depending on how far out you are planning, financial planning can exist in a variety of services. A few of the most common include:
- Cash Flow Planning & Budgeting
- Retirement Health Care
- Tax Planning
Whether you are planning for three months or ten years, BIG can help you make your assets last as long as they need to. Loved ones should spend their remaining time enjoying life, not worrying about if they’re able to afford it.
Elder care planning during a terminal illness is never easy, but planning ahead can allow you to spend more time with loved ones and less time worrying about finances.
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June 30, 2018
How To Avoid Business Cash Flow Trouble
Cash flow trouble is more than just an inconvenience. When your business has cash flow trouble, the effect can wreak havoc on more than just your finances. You could miss opportunities, establish poor relationships with both suppliers and customers, and even go out of business.
If you have business cash flow trouble now, you already recognize these signs. The stress is constant and employee morale is probably suffering. Getting your business’ cash flow back where it needs to be isn’t an impossible task. A few tweaks to the way you manage cash flow will go a long way. Getting started is easier than you might’ve thought.
Cash Flow Tips
To get out of cash flow trouble, getting a better handle on managing your cash flow is essential. While it’s easier said than done, following these tips can get you on the road towards towards a brighter financial future.
- Cut out the extras. That new machine model or software version can be tempting. Unless you absolutely need it, just skip it. Stick to the essentials until you get a positive cash flow.
- Check weekly. Looking over your finances at the end of the month isn’t going to cut it. Keep an eye on it weekly and constantly look for ways to improve cash flow.
- Hire better employees. They might cost a little more hourly, but a highly skilled worker can take on the work that two average workers could.
BIG: The Leading North Royalton Accounting Services
Eliminating cash flow trouble is just part of the financial picture that companies have to worry about. BIG is dedicated to helping you tackle the rest. We have the best CPAs in the area and we’re proud of it. We provide a variety of accounting services to help your business not only maintain a positive cash flow, but thrive for the years to come. A few additional services we offer to help your business grow are:
- Business Mentoring
- Business Financing
- Tax Consulting & Tax Return Filings
Cash flow trouble doesn’t have to be the end. Let BIG help get your business back on track.
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June 15, 2018
Financial Planning For Living Longer
Nearly half of families have no retirement account savings. That fact, courtesy of the Economic Policy Institute, just tells part of the story. Those families that do have money tucked away is far less than they need to retire. Roughly 35% of adults in the U.S. only have a few hundred dollars in their accounts, while another 34% are living paycheck to paycheck.
Fortunately, it’s never too late to start planning for retirement. The more time you have is better, but professional financial planning may be the key you need to get your retirement savings on track. A qualified CPA can not only help you get started with retirement planning, but can help maximize the money you do put away.
CPA Retirement Planning Benefits
How much money should you be putting away each payday? Which is the best financial instrument to use? Do my contributions need to change over time? These are all great questions that a CPA can answer to help you make the most out of your retirement planning. Using a CPA for your retirement planning has a host of additional benefits including:
- Creating strategies to keep and grow your retirement account balance
- Developing a backup plan to cover unpredictable and unfortunate events
- Identifying expenses that could occur during retirement and create a plan to eliminate any shortage in income
Financial Services So You Don’t Outlive Your Savings
Retirement is the time to relax and enjoy yourself after decades of work. Unfortunately, many Americans aren’t prepared financially for retirement and end up working far longer than they intend. Regardless of your age, seeking financial services now is a great first step to make sure that you don’t outlive your savings. In addition to retirement planning, a CPA can also help with:
- Elder planning to ensure comfort and peace as you age
- Estate planning to ease estate transitions
- Education planning for future generations
It’s never too late to start planning for retirement. Get started by contacting BIG today.
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May 30, 2018
How A CPA Firm Can Help Grow Your Business
Should you upgrade that software for your business? How about that potential new hire that promises to increase revenue? These questions come up on a regular basis and without a plan in place, you’re flying blind with your finances. By not managing your money properly, you’re setting yourself and your business up for failure.
Investing in a CPA Firm can help eliminate these problems. Imagine them as high-powered finance glasses for your business. A good CPA firm can do everything from setting up and advising on essential systems like payroll and expense tracking to in-depth cost-benefit analysis to decide what to invest in. Why are these important? Let’s take a deeper dive.
Why Cost-Benefit Analysis?
A cost-benefit analysis needs to be performed on most major purchases. A proper cost-benefit analysis can help your team determine the pros and cons of a potential investment and, based on the weight that is given to each point, can help you determine if the cost or the benefit is more substantial. To make the most of this exercise, here are a few things you need to know:
- Make an exhaustive list. It’s better to have too many costs and benefits than not have enough. You can also omit some of them if needed.
- Estimated value is difficult to put on a benefit. Cost can be measured in cash most of the time, but benefits can be tricky. Take the extra time on this and come up with your best estimate of the value of the benefit.
- In the end, focus on the big wins that can help the most people.
Accounting Services For Business
Cost-benefit analysis are a crucial element to making financial decisions that will benefit your business long-term. This is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to creating a financially-sound strategy though. At BIG, we can help fill in the rest with accounting services tailored specifically to what you need. Whether you are a budding start-up or an established business, we can help. A few of the services we provide include:
- Payroll setup
- Tax advice
- Administrative tasks
A proven CPA firm can help grow your business through tools such as a cost-benefit analysis to various accounting services that keep your finances in check.
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May 15, 2018
Best Financial Advice You're Not Doing But You Should
What if I told you that you’d have to sell your house by the end of the year and take a big pay cut next month? This is the unfortunate truth that many retirees face because they’ve spent their entire life living paycheck to paycheck. Once that steady income stops, the trouble starts.
Social Security only pays out a fraction of what they’d make during their career and they are forced to sell their home and live on a fraction of they used to. Are you part of the majority that lives paycheck to paycheck? Do you want to avoid being broke when you when retire? Gaining financial independence needs to be a top priority to make sure you can retire with peace of mind. So, how do you get started? The path to financial independence is a lifelong pursuit, but living below your means and seeking out a financial planner are some of the best financial advice you’ll ever receive to get started.
How Living Below Your Means Will Gain Financial Independence
People tend to spend exactly what they make. They get a raise, they raise their standard of living to make up the difference. Whether they make $100 or $1000 a day, most will find a way to spend all of it. To become truly financially independent, you need to consistently live below your means. Avoid the trap of spending all of your paycheck and try one of the following approaches to make sure you keep more of your money:
- Set aside a specific percentage of your paycheck to automatically go to savings. That way when you your income increases, so will your savings contributions.
- Don't upgrade if you don't need it. Want that new phone? New car? Take a hard pass if your current option still works.
- Stop eating out. It's perfectly normal to want to go out to a restaurant to celebrate an accomplishment. But don't overdo it by keeping up that dining out streak. Eat at home and you'll be amazed how much you'll save.
Do I Need A Financial Planner? YES!
What financial goals do you have? Do you have money set aside for an emergency? Are you contributing to the right type of retirement account for your needs? These are all questions that you’ll need answers to if you want to maximize your financial independence.
Financial planners can help answer these questions for you as well as establish a plan for your financial needs. At BIG, our financial planners can help you:
Determine short and long-term goals based on lifestyle and income
Choose the best investment account for your needs
Create a financial plan from scratch to start your path towards financial independence
Achieving financial independence is possible regardless of where you’re at now. At BIG, our goal is to help you get there faster.
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March 30, 2018
Is your company profitable enough for a CFO? The answer is yes. A CFO can provide invaluable strategic advice that keeps your company moving forward. The problem that most small businesses face is the cost of hiring a CFO.
Because of the cost, most CEOs also function has a defacto CFO. This is fine until the company starts to grow. Then the CEO becomes preoccupied with finance-related tasks and can’t focus on long-term revenue-generating activities. This is where a CFO-like business consulting services can be beneficial. A few areas where a consulting services can be helpful are by creating a strategic business plan and performing crucial tasks like a cost and profitability analysis.
Creating A Strategic Business Plan
Improving performance should be a top priority for any company. Without continual improvement, a company fails to thrive and grow. Analyzing current business problems can expose troubled areas that need improvement. In order to develop a proper action plan, three different types of strategy need to be created.
- Business Strategy
- Market Strategy
- Pricing Strategy
By creating these types of strategy, you’ll get a better overview of where your company needs to improve and what actions are needed to improve.
Cost & Profitability Analysis
Tracking and controlling costs is the first step to improving profitability. Most businesses won’t last long without a plan. Unfortunately, the data can seem overwhelming for many business owners and they can end up with a subpar pricing strategy.
By using a cost and profitability analysis, the consulting service can provide strategic advice based on a variety of factors to help you determine the best business opportunities and pricing models to help you maximize your profits. A few include:
- Quantifying historical data
- Reviewing inventory values
- Review current pricing structures
Hiring a full-time CFO isn’t a necessity, but every company needs strategic advice that the CEO can’t provide.
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November 30, 2017
Management accounting generates monthly or weekly reports for a company or business’s employees including managers and the CEO. These reports show the available money, sales revenue, state of accounts payable, debts, charts, analysis and other statistics.
This system and type of reporting is used by company leaders to make decisions about day to day operations. Management accounting allows for forecasting the market and trends.
The main difference in financial account and management accounting is financial accounting is important for future investors and management accounting helps executives make important decisions that impact the company and business’s future.
Management accounting can also serve as a motivator for other employees. Not only does it help the company solve problems but it can also motivate employees to reach specific goals that this form of accounting has set.
While this form of accounting encourages executives make decisions, the main purpose is to analyze information. They find problem areas within the company and suggest ways to correct these things. This in turn, leads to the recommendations for company leader’s decisions.
Management accounting comes in many different forms. These forms include forensic accounting, business check-ups, turnaround management, receivership, crisis management and more. No matter the size of your company or business, management accounting is crucial. It can help set future business goals as well as find any potential risks and stop them before they happen.
Our team at here at BIG offers a wide variety of management accounting services. To learn more contact us at http://www.bizimprove.com/contact/.
September 29, 2017
Retirement planning is more than just participating in your company’s retirement plan. You have to take an active role to achieve your goal. Here are five retirement planning mistakes you could be making and how to fix them.
Turning Down Money
About 1 in 4 participants don’t take advantage of their employer's maximum match. It’s can be due to confusing policy choices, but be sure you are pocketing the maximum match from your employer. Also, a typical plan should include a 6 percent contribution from your salary. Most auto-enrollment programs default employee’s contribution to 3 percent.
The fix: Even with auto-enrollment, it’s important to check that you are contributing enough of your salary to achieve the maximum match.
2. Contributing Too Little
Studies have shown that you should save around 15 percent of your earnings to have the income you will need upon retiring. Most people are only saving up to 6 percent and even with a matching program from employers, it is still not enough.
The fix: Increase your contribution rate by at least one percent every year if not more. Contributing up to 15 percent is key to a steady retirement fund.
3. Turning down the Roth 401(k)
Half of employers now offer a Roth 401(k) but less than 10 percent of people take advantage of it.
The fix: Focus on the payoff of a Roth 401(k) even though your contributions are made with after-tax dollars.
4. Poor Allocation Strategy
Most people are either too conservative or gamble with no awareness of the downside.
The fix: Most retirement plans offer tools to help you sort through allocation decisions. Try to create an age-appropriate mix of stocks and bonds as well. With all of these allocation decisions, be sure to benchmark it using your expected retirement date.
5. Staying in an Expensive Plan
When you leave a company, you have the option to move your money out of that retirement fund. A good test to see if you should find another option is whether or not the plan’s investment options charge an above-average annual expense ratios which could easily be found online.
The fix: If the fees on your current 401(k) are high, it’s time to figure out your next move. Before transferring money into a new plan, check to be sure that the options are low cost. Another option is to move your money directly into an IRA account.
These are very common 401(k) mistakes but following these tips will jumpstart your retirement planning success.
September 15, 2017
Retirement planning is extremely important, but some people lose all of their money from scammers. The monetary cost of financial elder abuse has been estimated to be from $3 to $36 billion. While that’s a large range, the numbers tell a frightening story. What are the scams, big and small, that seniors need to be wary of?
1. Pump and Dump Investment – telemarketers often call seniors to sell them shares of a new company which sound too good to be true (trust us, it is). Once the share prices shoot up, the marketers dump their shares and collect their “hard earned” money, leaving seniors with a boat load of worthless stock.
The best way to avoid this scam is to either do independent research on the Internet from trusted sources like Yahoo Finance or work with a licensed professional.
2. Medicare Open-Enrollment – Every fall, right before Medicare Open Enrollment begins, scammers who claim to represent the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services call unsuspecting seniors about new Medicare identification cards. The ploy works by having the seniors give their bank account info and their social security numbers.
This is why it’s important to never respond to phone calls asking for sensitive personal information! In addition, Medicare does not call, e-mail, or visit anyone asking for that kind of information.
3. Anti-Aging – perhaps not as potentially disastrous as the above two scams, bogus anti-aging products can still put a serious dent in senior financials. "Anti-aging quackery and hucksterism are pervasive on the Internet and in clinics advertising anti-aging treatments," writes Thomas Perls, MD, MPH, of the New England Centenarian Study, Boston Medical Center.
You can typically spot a bogus anti-aging product by the excessive use of testimonials and “scientific” evidence, and absurd claims that they have helped thousands of people, even though you’ve never heard of them.
Remember, don’t believe everything you read. Now more than ever, false information is floating around, and people will use it to take your money! We help seniors find legitimate means of growing their savings and do the often difficult task of sorting the bad from the good.
August 15, 2017
Early last month, The Plan Sponsor Council of America (PSCA) released results of a survey that intended to get people’s thoughts on a new tax preference for retirement savings plans.
So what does this mean?
This new plan would include reducing or eliminating pre-tax contributions to raise tax revenues and offset losses in tax receipts from lowering marginal income tax rates.
The survey found that more than 90 percent of respondents indicated that they agree that eliminating or reducing pre-tax contributions to retirement savings plans is a bad idea.
These proposals could impact millions of Americans that participate in tax-qualified retirement savings programs.
Strategic retirement planning is important and it’s never too early to start. Here at BIG, we can help you prepare for your future as well as for tax reforms. Looking ahead at future expenses is the first step to preparing for retirement. This will allow you to be ready for whatever expenses are to come and not let the cost of retirement or reforms get in your way.
Most importantly, you can work with us to create strategies to not only preserve but help grow your retirement balances while determining your spending amounts.
Tax reforms can come and go but your retirement savings should stay the same. Work with us now and we can ensure a successful financial future.