Money Clubs for Children

zealblack2bboy2band2bpiggy2bbankStarting an after school money club with a few other classmates can go a long way in the development of a child’s understanding of money. They can not only arrange trips to the bank together but they can also sit down every so often and talk about how money affects their lives. This provides a great experience that can go a long way in a child’s understanding of money.

Today many schools do not make money management a part of their daily curriculum. There are a number of very valid reasons why. Something has to be done however to bridge the money intelligence gap. The reason, at a certain point every child will grow up and have to be money smart. Without lessons on money they will have a financial intelligence gap that could hinder them. It won’t help with their family and it won’t help their work life.

Take Children to the Bank

Clubs can do a number of things to promote childhood understanding of money. As mentioned earlier members can take monthly trips to local banks. While they are there, club members can deposit allowance, birthday and holiday money they get from family and friends. They can talk with the tellers, bank managers and other employees about their accounts and how they work. They can also go over many other aspects of banking.

Children Share Reports on Money with Each Other

The young members of the club can also do reports on different aspects of money management and share those finding with their fellow members. They can go over the history of money, report on how salaries work or explain to each other how bills are paid. However, no matter what the money report is about each member gets something that they might not have received before. Those who have, can add to the conversation.

Parents Share Money Ideas with the Club

Another great way for children to bridge the money intelligence gap is to have parents come into the meetings with their own experiences with how to handle money. Parents can do this on their own, through the PTA or working with the local bank representatives.

Children look up to adults and parents especially. Parents can work together on the right ideas and presenters to give their children the best lesson they can on how to handle money.

Children of all ages can start or continue the process of learning about money management along with everything else they need to learn. The challenge however has been how to make that learning happen on a regular basis. Starting and expanding a money club can go a long way in encouraging that learning process.

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Buy the Car, Don’t Lease It

2010-Dodge-Charger-Sedan-Image-03-1024Should you buy a car or lease it? The debate for the average family is not even close.  Buy the car. Preferably two or three years old, certified pre-owned and the buyer should work to keep it running for ten to twenty years. Why? The money that the average family can save once the car is paid off far outweighs the cost of continuing to keep a monthly car payment with every new car leased.

Money Saved Buying a Car

For instance, let’s say a driver purchases a new car or a certified pre-owned car. With that purchase, let’s say they spend $350 per month for five years on the car. After five years, the buyer no longer has to make a car loan payment. They have completely paid off the car loan and they own the car without any debt on it.

Now let’s say they keep the car for another ten years or so.  Because the owner paid off the car loan that allowed for the purchase and no longer have a monthly payment, they now get to keep $4,200 per year. Over the course of ten years that’s a savings of $42,000. Real savings for a family over time.

The Problem with Leasing

If the driver leases the car however, after the three years of the lease agreement, the driver has to give the car back to the car dealer. They now have to get another car and the payments on the new car start all over again. What that means is that there is no extra $4,200 per year in savings.

Car Maintenance is Key

The key to making this buy over lease strategy work is maintaining the car. That means the buyer should keep up with the periodic maintenance of the car every three months or three thousand miles.

It means they need to get the oil changed, the tires rotated, brakes fixed or changed when needed and most importantly not driving the car to hard. When a driver does all of this, they have a better chance of the car lasting a very long time and saving a lot of money over that time period.

Forgetting the Joneses

One of the downsides to keeping a car for a long period of time is that drivers will not be able to keep up with the Joneses in the best car category. Year in and year out new and more stylish cars come out and having a car that is twelve or thirteen years old doesn’t make the driver the cool kid on the block. But it does mean that the driver will have the chance to save more for retirement, education, a rainy day and family vacations.

So if you are looking to get a new car but you also want to keep your financial security and financial freedom, buy the car and keep if for years instead of leasing it. You’ll thank yourself in the future.

 

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SECURE THE FUTURE OF YOUR BUSINESS

iStock_000008233795Medium-man4-908x1024When it comes to your business, hoping for the best won’t ensure its future. Take Jack Stanton for example. Jack spent thirty years building a manufacturing giant, Stanton Solutions Corporation. However, due to the rigors of maintaining his company, he had little time for any personal financial and estate planning. Then, Jack died unexpectedly in a boating accident. All of a sudden, Stanton Solutions, a multi-million dollar manufacturing empire was facing an uncertain future caused by the loss of its owner and upper-most key executive.

What would happen to your business and your family should you become disabled or die unexpectedly? Do you have key employees for family members who could step in and run the company in your absence?

Business Continuation Basics

It is essential to the future of your business and your family to have a succession strategy in place. In order for your business to maintain continuity, you need to implement a succession strategy that coincides with your goals and objectives. Your strategy should be flexible enough to handle changes within the company and its related industry(ies). However, one of the keys to a succession strategy is determining who or whom your successor(s) will be.

Deciding on, and preparing a successor may require years to familiarize him or her with the finer points of the business. Thus, it is important to select a replacement as soon as possible in order to maximize the possibility of a successful transition. In smaller businesses, it is not uncommon for one or more family members to be at the top of the list of potential successors.

If you wish to pass your business on to future generations, you will need to make an honest assessment of the respective needs of your family and business, the qualifications of any interested family members, and whether the family and business would be best served by a continued relationship. Communication with family members is extremely important in order to better ascertain overall interest or concern.

You can prepare yourself by honestly evaluating and reflecting on the necessary components of a well-thought-out succession strategy. Here are some points that may require further elaboration:

• a thorough job description of each position, including details regarding areas of responsibility and delegation of duties;
• a management/organizational plan;
• Assuring the availability of cash to meet the demands of federal and/or state estate taxes;
• a list of potential successors to your ownership, taking every candidate’s job experience and academic background into consideration; and
• a mechanism to ensure extensive on-the-job training for the successor(s).

Other Considerations

A succession strategy may also include a buy-sell agreement funded by life insurance. More than likely, your successor may not have the cash, or the ability, to borrow at the time of successorship. Under such an agreement, the death benefit proceeds of the life insurance can be used to provide the cash necessary for a successor to purchase an owner’s share of stock in the event of his or her untimely death.

In addition, it may be prudent to explore how your unexpected disability could affect not only your plans for successorship, but also your financial well-being. Under a disability buyout arrangement, a disability buyout policy provides a successor with cash to purchase shares in the event of the owner’s untimely disability.

 

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Wills Are Not Enough for Business Owners

brand1-e1383682355561Most business owners will leave the business they own to their family in their will. Before those with large estates do that however they have a few important questions to think about and answer about that will. First, do their heirs have the money to pay the estate taxes on the value of the business? Next, do their heirs know what the business is worth?

Business Owners Need to Value the Business

The owners will need to find the answers to those questions because their heirs either don’t know what the value of the business is or aren’t interested in what it is. Here’s the challenge though, when it comes time to assess the value of the estate of the owner, the IRS will tell the heirs what the business is worth. Then they’ll want taxes paid on that value. Do they have the money to pay those taxes?

When it comes to the valuation process, naturally to avoid a higher estate tax bill the heirs will want the IRS to put a lower value on the business while the IRS will want to put a higher value on the business. Guess who usually wins out?

Many times heirs will have to sell homes, stock or other assets to pay that estate tax bill. Worst case scenario they may have to borrow money or even sue remaining partners to satisfy the IRS. This is not what the owners wanted to do to their loved ones and their former partners.

So how do owners figure out what their business is worth? The following are the most common methods used to value a business:

  • Book Value
  • Straight Capitalization Method
  • Capitalization of Earnings Method
  • Years’ Purchase Method
  • Discounted Future Earnings Method

Solutions with a Fully Funded Buy Sell Agreement

These methods of valuation answer the question of what the business is worth but leave another one unanswered. Namely, how do you set aside money to pay the estate taxes based on the value of the business?

In many cases the answer is, by setting up a guaranteed fully funded buy sell agreement (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buy-sell_agreement ).This is an agreement where the terms are laid out what happens to a business should something happen to one of the owners. As part of the agreement it looks to put a value on the business and determines a way to pay for it.

 Need for Updated Business Valuation

Here’s a challenge for business owners when it comes to valuing their business with the buy sell agreement. Simply put, the value changes. The business owners started 20 years ago is worth more today than it was 20 years ago.  And since most owners don’t know when they will create their estate for the IRS to value, they should look to update the value in their guaranteed fully funded buy sell agreement every few years or so. Remember the IRS will want taxes to be paid by the heirs based on what the business is worth and if the heirs don’t have the money to pay that estate tax bill, problems arise.

Are Heirs Qualified to Run the Business?

Finally, is a partner’s spouse or children qualified to take over the business if they pass away? Again, the buy sell agreement can spell out what happens to the business if one of the owners passes away. This even applies if the business is owned by one person.

Wills are a great way to start the process of transferring a business to loved ones and friends however there are a few gaps with it that can be filled by a guaranteed fully funded buy sell agreement. Working with a qualified and licensed insurance advisor and other team members can go a long way in filling those gaps.

 

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Starting a Business

408611g3ehbfo67Are you dreaming about starting a business? Many people do. Starting a new business is exciting and demanding. Anyone that chooses to take on the hurdles of doing it have to be willing to juggle any number of opportunities and challenges at the same time. If it’s done right however, it can be very rewarding and gratifying.

Surround the Business with a Positive Environment

For starters, aspiring entrepreneurs want to make sure they keep themselves in a positive and encouraging environment. That environment doesn’t simply include the space they work out of, however. It includes family, friends, business partners and employees, just to name a few. They need to support them and the business.

It also includes healthy, positive living. Diet, exercise and personal time are part of that. This is important because when difficulties do come up, that environment needs to support the efforts of the business owner. Without it, it’s just more headaches for them to deal with.

Be Passionate About the Business

That environment goes hand in hand with the owners’ passion for what they’re doing. If owners are not passionate, then they may simply give up on everything at the first sign of problems.

For those aspiring entrepreneurs that are unsure about what they’re passionate about, figuring it out can be simple. I’ve found that if they simply ask themselves honestly, “What would I do every day if I had $10 million?” They would know what they’re passionate about. And again, that passion will carry them through the tough times.

Dealing With the Tough Times

Those tough times for many owners come very early on in the process. What or who is, the right financing, the right marketing plan, the best employees, the ideal clients. Have I saved enough money to make this work long term? These are just some of the challenges involved with starting a business. As the experience evolves, the triumphs and setbacks present new challenges that have to be handled.

So if you’re considering starting a business make sure you create the best environment for the business to flourish. That includes being in a positive and passionate space. It involves knowing your business backwards and forwards and it means being prepared to change along with the circumstances in order to keep the business going. Making all of this work harmoniously will lead to long-term success for the owner and the business.

 

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Do a Quarterly Financial Review

470480e1gdwufwtHave you met with a professional and done a financial review lately? Every quarter I like to meet with my clients and go over any changes that have occurred in their lives. In many cases, the meetings give me the opportunity to find out what adjustments need to be made in their financial lives.

Life Happens

If there’s been a promotion, we may be able to increase the amount that is set aside for a rainy day or retirement. If there’s been a marriage or new birth, we need to make sure that family members have the right protection. If clients are no longer happy with their job, we need to map out a plan to find a new job or start a new business. Whatever the changes are, there’s a very good chance that my client’s financial life has been affected. I need to know that so we can tweak our prior plan.

Benefits of a Review

One of the major benefits that results from this quarterly review is that it helps my client feel comfortable letting me know what new things are going on in their lives. How? Some people may feel that they’re interrupting advisors. Scheduling a quarterly review sends a clear message that the changing circumstances are important. It also keeps the lines of communication open for events that happen between meetings.

One of the other benefits resulting from the meetings is referrals. Meaning, I get referrals for my business and my clients help those close to them. How? My clients have family, friends, associates and co-workers that need financial advice. Keeping the lines of communication open lets them know that they have a go to person in their financial life. Why not help others have that same peace of mind?

So if you’re working with an advisor, try to meet with them on a quarterly basis to go over what changes have occurred in your life and see how that can impact your financial life. Remember, the meeting may last a few minutes or hours but the impact can last a lifetime.

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