2018 Roth IRA Contribution Limits

2018 Roth IRA Contribution Limits

We all know that we should be saving for retirement.  Whether you have a 401k, a pension, or an IRA, retirement accounts give individuals great tax breaks to help them prepare for their golden years.  It is often reported that people misjudge how much they will need in retirement.  The rule of thumb for a long time has been you need your retirement income to supplement 80% of your income when you were working; however, this number is different for everyone based on a number of factors.  One thing is certain.  Maxing out your retirement accounts never hurts.  For 2017, the IRA contribution limits stayed the same as they were in 2016.  You could contribute up to $5,500 towards your IRA, and if you were 50 or older you can contribute an additional $1,000 bringing your total yearly contribution limit to $6,500.  The 2018 Roth IRA contribution limits won’t be released until October of this year, but we can speculate what they might be.

Each year, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) sets the income and contribution limits for IRA’s.  The last year that the IRS raise the contribution limit was for the tax year of 2013.  The contribution amounts for traditional and Roth IRA’s are the same each year.  They are evaluated and raised based on inflation.  The IRS will raise contribution limits in increments of $500.  This means that the next time they are raised, people under the age of 50 will be able to contribute a maximum of $6,000 a year to their IRA, while people over the age of 50 will be able to most likely contribute $7,000 a year.  In order for this raise in contribution limits to take place, inflation would need to be around 9% over a period of time for this to occur.

9% of $5,500 = $495

This would be near the $500 increment level the IRS would like to see to raise the contribution limits.

Since the last time the IRS raised contribution limits in 2013, inflation has risen by about 6.5% based on data tables.  This means that another 2.5% increase in inflation would be needed for the IRS to raise the contribution limits for traditional and Roth IRA’s.  With all of this being said, the most likely scenario is that 2018 Roth IRA contribution limits will remain unchanged.  A more likely scenario would be a raise in the contribution limits for 2019.

Despite the fact that the 2018 Roth IRA contribution limits won’t change, the IRS will still probably change some limits.  The limit they will change, and almost always do, is the income limits associated with eligibility for participation in IRA’s.  For 2017, the IRS raised the income phase-out limit to $118,000 for single earners and $186,000 for married, joint filling earners, raises of $1,000 and $2,000 respectively.

There are still many months to wait until the IRS reveals their 2018 Roth IRA contribution limits.  An increase in the limit would allow individuals to save an additional $500 a year in a tax-advantaged account.  Although an increase is doubtful, we can still remain hopeful.

Budget Smart, Invest Wise

Getting the Best Return for your Auto Insurance Dollar

3 ways to save money on car insurance

Investments are all about getting the best return for your money. A stock that doubles in price can make a person rich, while one that loses value can cost them time and money. The same principles hold true when it comes to insurance, specifically auto insurance.

Auto insurance fees are a variable amount that can be affected by several factors. A safe driving record, the amount of your deductible and your credit rating can all affect the cost of your insurance. Managing these factors will allow you to spend less on insurance.

Insurance as an investment

By treating insurance as an investment, you can take control of the spending and create a policy that is right for you while still being within your budget. You want to maximize your benefits – in case of an accident – while minimizing your investment.

There are the limits, of course. Setting up a policy that doesn’t cover any of the factors you are concerned with is wasteful of time and money. Having too much coverage for policy issues that you do not need is also wasteful.

There are three areas that can be adjusted by the policyholder to lower your payments.

  • Increasing the deductible. By having a higher deductible, you can reduce the down payment and monthly fees for your car insurance. However, if you do have an accident, your out-of-pocket expenses will be higher than for someone with a low deductible. If you, and the other drivers of your vehicle have safe driving records, it is a risk that can be worth taking.
  • Combining policies. Using the same company for auto and home insurance allows you to combine policies and allows the insurance company to use a ‘low-risk’ homeowner’s policy to underwrite some of the cost of a ‘high-risk’ auto insurance policy. Bundling policies gives the insurance companies an incentive to lower your rates.
  • Carry the correct coverage for your vehicle. Over insuring a vehicle wastes your money. If you don’t need comprehensive coverage – for example, if the car is paid off and older – then the money you are spending for coverage is much higher than it needs to be.

There are plenty of other factors that can affect individual insurance policies, exploring your options, as tedious and frustrating as it sounds, can save you considerable sums.

Credit rating can be important

The way your credit rating affects your insurance rate varies from state to state and it is difficult to give a comprehensive overview. Speak with your car insurance company to get an idea of how much weight your credit rating will have on your insurance.

In most cases, improving your credit rating will have a positive effect on your insurance premiums. Improving your credit rating is a valuable goal in itself but the savings you can get through insurance can increase the benefits.

Compare auto insurance companies

Educating yourself about the options you have with your current or potential insurance companies can mean an enormous difference in both your policy and your payments. Monitoring your policy and how your credit rating affects it can make a significant difference.

Getting cheap car insurance with points on your record is possible. Taking safe driver courses and keeping your driver’s record clean will help and there is a specific time limit for when points go away. Shopping around for insurance can give you an idea on which companies will give you the best rate, no matter the current state of your record.

Once you know how the factors affect each other, you can make well-informed decisions on the type and amount of insurance that is best for you and your situation. Treating the purchase of insurance like it was an investment is easy, because that is exactly what it is.

Allegiant Air Review

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The official start to summer begins on June 21st, but the warm weather and sunshine makes it feel like we are already in it.  Summer means kids out of school, pleasant weather and vacations.  Vacationing during the summer months has become a staple of many families across the U.S.  Whether you are travelling to visit family, going to the beach, or trekking through a national park, summer presents many individuals the opportunity to get out and about.  Nowadays, people are electing to fly more than ever.  Airlines have become more competitive with their fares in an effort to boost travel by air.  One of these airlines who is known for having great deals on flights is Allegiant Air.

Allegiant Air, or just Allegiant as it is more commonly known, is a budget airline based out of Las Vegas, NV.  Founded in the late 90’s as WestJet Express, Allegiant has rapidly gained popularity among passengers looking for cheap fares throughout the U.S.  With nearly 100 aircraft serving approximately 150 destinations, Allegiant has expanded its reach from coast to coast.  In this Allegiant Air review, I will discuss the positives and negatives of the airline along with some pertinent information you need to know before you book your summertime travel.

Allegiant Air Review: Positives

Probably the biggest positive in terms of Allegiant is the price of their fares.  I know of people who have booked round trip tickets for less than $100 on many occasions.  The earlier you plan and book your trip, the better the price.  Like most flights these days, Allegiant flights aren’t always booked to capacity.  This means that if there is an open seat you would feel more comfortable in you may go ahead and switch.  They also tend to fly into smaller airports.  The benefit of this is you have less crowds and TSA lines to deal with, and you can sometimes find flights into airports that the likes of Delta and American won’t touch.  Finally, their smartphone app and website make it easy to book and manage your flights just like the big airlines, so you don’t have to sacrifice convenience.

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Allegiant Air Route Map

Allegiant Air Review: Negatives

Of course there are also negatives to flying Allegiant Air.  First and foremost, when you book your flight, you need to stick with it.  Changing your flight or cancelling it results in lost money for you the customer.  Secondly, their customer service isn’t the greatest.  I’ve found myself calling before about a simple question only to find myself waiting for 45 minutes on the phone with no answer.  Lastly, as is the case with many budget airlines, they charge for the extras.  This means you have to pay extra for a carry-on or checked bag.  It also means that you don’t get any free refreshments.  Drinks, including soft drinks and snacks, are extra.

Conclusion:

If you are a planner and enjoy planning trips months in advance, Allegiant is definitely an airline to look at.  Even with paying for an extra bag or two, they are often times still cheaper than larger airlines.  The planes offer standard comfort, and  Allegiant oftentimes has direct flights that few other airlines can offer to varying destinations.

Financial Challenges in 2017

create your monthly budget2017 and beyond seems to be a difficult time for businesses. With the global financial situation affected by Brexit, by a divisive and embattled new presidency in the US and an upcoming General Election in the UK, it’s difficult to plan beyond the immediate weeks or months.

For reassurance and reflection, here are some of the bigger challenging issues facing businesses at the moment, and some tips to help.

Financial Management

With changes in government, both at home and more broadly, we can expect new financial regulations to come into force. Donald Trump has announced various high level reforms he intends to make to businesses, and at home in the UK, there are likely to be many new rules brought in to cushion or capitalise on our withdrawal from the EU and the Single Market.

At times like this, large firms need a good CFO, and smaller businesses would benefit from an experienced Financial Consultant. As Jon Burr puts it, “the convergence of ecosystems within financial services across banking, capital markets, asset management, insurance and professional services, all in an environment of increased technological innovation and regulation, is creating a new paradigm”.

This is a lot for a single individual to keep track of, and CFOs in this new ecosystem need to be exceptional individuals. It’s worth consulting a specialist recruiter like Savannah Search to make sure you have the best person for the job in your business.

Technology and Change

The pace of change in technology is only accelerating. Knowing when to jump aboard a new trend, and when to watch carefully is one of the best skills you can cultivate.

A good CIO can help you here, providing updates and expert opinion to aid your judgment. You can also bring a common sense balance check to suggested innovations from your tech experts. Remember, just because something is new doesn’t mean it will automatically be worth doing.

Always remember to check if you are filling a real gap in the market and remember the example of the feature rich, ruinously expensive juicer, which nearly wiped out the founder’s business when it was found the bespoke fruit packs could be squeezed by hand, without investing in the $400 machine. Don’t be a Juicero.

As long as you apply your practised business instincts to each new proposition, you can avoid sinking too much investment into an idea which may never return it.

Renasant Bank Review

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Many of us are familiar with the national banks that stretch across the U.S.  These include Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Chase and others.  While often times we assume banking with the big banks is the best, that is sometimes not the case.

During the recent financial recession, a lot of pressure came down on smaller, local and regional banks.  No matter what bank it was, they all saw their stock price take a nose dive.  Renasant Bank began over 100 years ago in Mississippi.  Throughout it’s century long existence, the bank has continued to expand over the years.  Today, they have more than 175 locations spanning across the Southeast.  States where they operate include: Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia and Florida.  Renasant Bank is a full-service bank that offers everything from checking and savings accounts to loans and wealth management services.  This Renasant Bank review illustrates many of the benefits one can receive from a smaller, regional bank versus a national bank.  Below are the three biggest benefits received from this regional bank.

Benefit 1: Free Mobile Deposit: Today the popularity of smartphones have made mobile banking a must.  Nearly every bank has an app where you can access your banking services.  The development of the smartphone led to the creation of mobile deposit.  When mobile deposits were first introduced, many banks charged their customers for this service and some still do.  However with Renasant Bank, mobile deposit is completely free and deposits made before 6:00 PM can usually be expected to post to your account the next day.  This has become the most popular banking service of the modern day and has led to branch closings which ultimately leads to lower costs for banks around the country.

Benefit 2: ATM Fees Covered: We are living in a country where cash becomes less of a necessity each and every day, but there are still many places that prefer the green money to the plastic.  The main reason for this would be that businesses don’t have to worry about paying the credit card processing fees.  With the existence of all-cash places, the need for it is still out there.  While you can often times withdraw money from a grocery store or your bank’s branch for free, it isn’t always the most convenient.  Because of a lack of regional and national presence, many smaller banks reimburse you for such fees and Renasant Bank is no different.  It is always reassuring to know that when are in a crunch and need cash ASAP that you won’t be subjected to the sometimes $10 fee.

Benefit 3: More Personal Service: Some individuals are inclined to support the communities they live in.  They feel a personal obligation to help out their local economy.  This goes for grocery stores, small business and also banks.  When you bank with a smaller, more regional bank, you are more likely to build a personal connection with the people in that branch.  Thus, often times they will work with you on various things such as loans that bigger banks sometimes won’t.

Banking is an essential part of every day life.  Maybe you are younger and looking to open a bank account.  Maybe you feel a lack of trust or professionalism with your current bank.  Looking into smaller banks like Renasant can be a great option for many.

 

 

Preparing To End a Financial Year Successfully

Year-End is a descriptive analysis of a company or a business performance for the period of 12 months.  It is a vital report as it is a statutory requirement. Banks, lenders, and potential investors take a keen interest in such analysis.

As an entrepreneur, business owner, or company executive, a financial year statement will advise you on how the business is doing in a nutshell. A thorough revision of the same enables you to make informed decisions about the firm, review business performance and come up with plans.

Here are some preparatory steps to take ahead of time in checking that your accounts are in order.

Come Up With a Countdown

Since this takes place alongside the regular daily duties, it may pose a significant challenge to as the workload intensifies. Bring your team on board and break down the activities. Let everyone know what is expected of them and their participation level. Communicate by when each assignment should be complete, and the encourage them to collect purchase orders and invoices, file and go slow on expenses. If there is any potential client out there, this is a perfect time to seal the deal.

Update Your Accounts and Employee Details

Ensure all figures of the financial reports are entered and correct. They should tally with the bills, bank statements, and invoices among others statements. Unpaid invoices should be well labeled as outstanding debtors with a clear summary of the amount, invoice date, and number. Do not wait until the last minute. In case some invoices are unlikely to be paid, attach a note with some explanation.

Bring the employees to speed and highlight the importance of attaching the valid documents like receipts to expense forms. If there are any pending employee details, get them in and up to date.

Some team members may have joined the business along the way and have not handed in some crucial details, see to it the details are up-to-date. Ensure calculations on expenses and payrolls are accurate as the business is liable for the tax and National Insurance deductions that are not correct.

House Keeping and Back up Data

All files should be in order and stored well in a sequence that is easy to find. This applies to both hard and soft copies. Having the records in order will help you tell if there is anything amiss and correct it in time. It also makes it easy for other concerned stakeholders to get any information of interest easily.

With software like Sage Accounts, you can tell if there is a problem as they have data checking routines that report any errors. Backup all data upon confirmation that there are no mistakes.

Review and Analysis

The approaching end of a financial year is usually an excellent time to do some introspection and examine operations. Analyze various functions of the company and the value they add to the business. Tough decisions may have to be made at this time. Some contracts end and if you are planning to source for new stakeholders, start sourcing as you approach the end of the year.

Since it is a time to evaluate meaningful business relationships and their value to the company, expand the scope of the search and check other ways to get bargains. Are there other benefits that an insurance service provider may add?

Some insurance products may be favorable as opposed to others as they come with additional benefits. For example, check how term life insurance compared with whole life insurance may be of benefit to employees. In some cases, the premium is high due to factors like age, prevailing conditions, and others. Talk to the concerned individuals and see if they can top up.

Managing Your Finances When Disabled

Just about every stage of life requires an understanding of your financial situation; when you go to college, get married, decide to buy a home, choose to have children, when you choose to retire, et cetera. However, most of us don’t take into consideration the possibility of becoming disabled and how this will play a major role in our finances. Let’s learn more about managing our finances while dealing with a disability!

Social Security Disability Insurance

When people become disabled, it’s recommended they check and see what their SSDI eligibility is going forward. Once you understand what your benefits are, you will need to account for that in your budget. There is also a trick when it comes to SSDI benefits and working. Most people assume you cannot work if you are receiving benefits. This isn’t quite true! You can test your work abilities but there are very specific guidelines to how much you can make without losing benefits. This is crucial when many disabled persons don’t receive enough to care for themselves and still need some sort of income to help. Do not assume you can make any specific amount. Speak with your disability lawyer to find out what the rules are around making any extra income while disabled!

Look at Your Budget

If you already have a budget then you need to review it. If you don’t have a budget, you must create one. It doesn’t matter how much money you have coming in from Social Security, a budget will help make everything easier for you to manage. It’s more important to budget when you feel as if you have little to nothing. Disabilities often create extra expenses rather than lessen them. If you don’t take the time to budget, you can find yourself struggling quickly.

Of course, you will be tracking your spending over your standard expenses. Rent/mortgage, utilities, transportation, and food are the usual main expenses that should be considered. You will also need to look at clothing, healthcare (insurance, co-pays, meds, medical aids), home maintenance, and entertainment. Entertainment is important because although you may be disabled, spending a little time enjoying an outing is vital for your mental health. If you never try to do anything fun, it can wear you down mentally and contribute to further health issues.

Scale Back

Once you see what your expenses are and what you are bringing in, don’t panic! It’s not uncommon to see your expenses higher than your disability income. Take a deep breath and look to see where you can cut back. Don’t start with your heavy hitters, such as healthcare and food. You need those to take care of yourself. Instead, start with your rent and utilities. Can you move into a smaller home or apartment that can help you save money? Can you eliminate pay-television and stream movies and television through the internet? If you have a mobile phone, can you get rid of your landline (or can you rid the mobile and keep the landline?) If you own your home, don’t rush to sell it just yet. Check with your lawyer first to be sure it will not harm your benefits.

Dip into Retirement

Depending on where you are in life and whether you were denied benefits, you may have to dip into retirement savings to maintain your life while disabled. This should only be a last resort and if you have enough saved to take care of yourself! If you are under 62, this is probably not the way you want to go. However, if you are 62 you can “retire” and apply for Social Security Insurance Benefits (not disability benefits). However, it will be greatly reduced! You can then dip into your own IRA/SAP/401k to supplement your needs.

If you find yourself still struggling with managing your finances, look to family and friends who will help you make sure bills are paid timely and that you are well within your means for living. It can be a difficult discussion to have but well worth it in the long run!

 

3 Simple Tips to Promoting Your Business Via Instagram Direct

Instagram Direct is an Instagram feature that allows users to send videos, pictures and texts privately to other users. You have the option of sending messages to one to 15 people in a single thread. Moreover, while the social media sites are offering businesses greater exposure, this feature from Instagram helps businesses engage with their clients in a more targeted manner.

In terms of small businesses and targeting your audience, there are several ways you can use Instagram Direct. If your social media marketing plan includes Instagram, read further to see how you can use Instagram Direct to propel your business from one success to the next.

Connecting With Industry Leaders

Popular bloggers and industry leaders and influencers reviewing, featuring or posting about your business’ products and services is a great way to boost credibility and enhance your reach. Creating connections with industry gurus is tricky, and their inboxes may already be crowded. However, if they are ardent Instagram users, Instagram Direct is your best bet at creating that vital connection.

Send the gurus direct messages with bite-sized, visual and quick content to create that initial contact. Before writing that message, take some time to familiarize yourself with the influencer’s account. Look at what type of content they post on all their channels, not only Instagram.

Looking at their public accounts helps you understand their writing styles, values and interests. The research is a great way to show genuine interest in your industry influencer’s journey to the top as well as helping you communicate with them in a way that resonates with them. It also displays respect when you take time to research first.

Run a Contest

Instagram Direct can be used to initiate a contest – a great way of increasing your social media engagement. One way to start the contest is by posting an image with a description of the contest and code. The first few people to respond with the code get a small prize, discount or coupon.

Another method is to post a picture and the first few people to respond receive a direct response in a message with a coupon or details on how to enter the contest. You can also use Instagram Direct messages to enter people to a contest by having them send you a direct message that explains why they think they should win, or provide a video or photo – both of which you can post at a later date.

Generate Leads

Instagram is an exciting way to market your products and services. However, did you know that you could also use the platform to generate leads? With proper research, Instagram Direct makes this a breeze.

Dive into hashtags and trends that people likely to be interested in your products are using. Maybe they follow accounts that are similar to your business, they are posting about issues that you can solve or they have a tendency of preferring a product or service you offer. Even without their email addresses, you can also reach users through Instagram Direct messages.

Consider adding a link to your eBook along with a photo of the cover, a before and after picture or simply introduce users to Instagram accounts they would love. With Instagram Direct messages, you can reach users in a more personal and relevant manner, turning them into leads in no time.

Direct Messaging is a feature that any social media platform offers its users, and you can use it to connect with your followers and customers. However, when it comes to Instagram Direct messaging, you get a unique communication environment that allows visual content for enhancing your messages with small business health insurance quotes online, for example. Whether you are on the hunt for new leads, increasing your social media engagement or reactivating your inactive followers, Instagram Direct messages can help reach your business objectives.

Is Vehicle Insurance Part of Your Monthly Budget?

How to Save a Quick $250 in Your Yearly BudgetRegardless of the brand or model of the vehicle you drive, there is one thing that will always be required. If you are going to drive, you are going to need insurance on the vehicle. While many people believe this is something they can get around, it simply isn’t worth the risk.

Driving without insurance puts you in great danger. No, you’re not exactly at a higher risk to be involved in an accident. But, you could be in danger of many severe consequences. You could lose your license, you could be setting yourself up for financial disaster, and you could find yourself sitting in a jail cell.

Money was just too tight

The night of my accident, my wife and I had been in the middle of pretty difficult times. She had to give up her job a few months prior due to the birth of our child. Money was tight and things were difficult at the time, but the addition to our family made the sacrifices we endured well worth it. Except for one.

When we first felt the pressure from the loss of her income, one of our first moves was to compare auto insurance rates of different companies. We found a company that offered a significant difference in the monthly premium we were already paying, but we lacked the money that was needed to begin the new policy.

We new driving without insurance was illegal, but we found comfort in the fact that we were both great drivers. Neither of us had ever received a ticket, let alone be involved in an accident. We decided that insurance was something we could go without, just until we were able to get back on our feet.

Even the report indicates that the accident wasn’t my fault. However, because our car was uninsured, I was given the blame and held legally responsible. The small area we lived in was making a push at the time against uninsured motorist, and I was the perfect example of what could happen.

I was in shock as the officer placed handcuffs around my wrist and placed me in the back seat of his car. I was taken to jail where I would wait for my court appearance the following afternoon. I would like to say that was the worst that happened. That just simply isn’t the case.

Facing the consequences

Once I was in front of the judge, matters only got worse. Although it wasn’t my fault, damage had been done to the other driver’s truck. Because I was now legally responsible and didn’t have insurance, it would be up to me to pay for the damage. Out of my own wallet.

Because of the fact that I was in jail waiting to go to court, I was unable to be at work that morning. Hearing about my new need for money wasn’t enough to persuade my employer to save my position. The company has a strict no absence policy and the fact that I missed work due to being in jail didn’t help. My employment had been terminated.

You may believe that you can not afford to insure your vehicle because of your circumstances. Trust me when I say, you can’t afford to get caught driving without it.

Joey Bosa Net Worth

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Joey Bosa

Joey Bosa is an American professional football player for the Los Angeles Chargers.  At just 20 years old, Bosa was selected third overall in the 2016 NFL Draft.  With his selection, he became the recipient of a very nice rookie contract that is worth nearly $26 million over four years.  Many were unsure if Bosa would suit up in his first season due to a holdout in his contract negotiations between his agent and the team.  Nonetheless, the parties were able to come to a resolution that came with a hefty $17 million signing bonus.

Currently, Joey Bosa’s net worth sits at $6 million.  Due to the structure of his deal, he didn’t receive the entirety of his signing bonus up front.  Additionally, living out in California has its price, especially in taxes.  Not only is Bosa in the highest federal tax bracket of 39.6%, he is also accountable to pay the highest income tax rate for the state of California of 13.3%.  Quick math tells us that more than half of his 2016 pay went away to the government.  Regardless of his high tax bill, he is still doing quite well for someone who is only 21 years old.  Joey Bosa’s net worth will continue to grow as he develops in his career.  In the next three years of his contract, when you combine Bosa’s salary, signing and roster bonuses that are due to him, he will make an additional $11 million.

In the 2016 campaign for the Chargers, Bosa had a great start to his career.  Despite only playing in 12 games, he recorded 41 tackles, had 10.5 sacks and forced a fumble.  The Chargers hope he can continue his progression for all 16 games in the 2017 season as the team relocates to Los Angeles.  If Bosa produces on the field, the Chargers will most likely reward him with a fifth-year option that would equate to a yearly salary of around $13 million.  After that, he is eligible for a massive contract.  A top defensive end can expect to earn approximately $14 to $18 million a year.  Back in 2014, J.J. Watt of the Houston Texans signed a deal that was worth over $100 million for six years.  Playing at a high level is the easiest way for Joey Bosa to increase his net worth in years to come.

Bosa was selected as the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year for the 2016 season.  This should come as no surprise as he was a standout player during his college days at Ohio State.  He recorded 51 tackles for loss and 26 sacks in his three seasons at Ohio State.  He also helped lead the Buckeyes to the 2015 National Championship.

Joey’s dad, John, played a few season in the NFL in the late 80’s and his brother, Nick, currently plays for Ohio State.