2018 401(k) Contribution Limit Unveiled

Death and taxes.  The two things that most say are certain in life.  Well now at least when it comes to taxes you might be able to avoid some because of a recent decision by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).  The IRS recently came out with the guidelines for 2018 when it comes to tax-advantaged retirement accounts.  Although none of the changes were dramatic, they made a few tweaks that will allow individuals to boost retirement savings in certain tax friendly accounts.

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The 2018 401(k) contribution limit is being pushed slightly upward to $18,500 per year.  This is a $500 increase on what it used to be.  Individuals who are 50 and over can still save an additional $6,000 meaning some can contribute as much as $24,500 into a company 401(k) plan.  While an increase in the 2018 401(k) contribution limit came about for the upcoming year, other retirement plans such as IRA’s and Roth IRA’s remain unchanged.  You are still only able to contribute $5,500 per year to both traditional or Roth IRA.

IS CONTRIBUTING TO A 401(k) A GOOD IDEA?

The short answer is absolutely!  While not all companies offer 401(k) plans for employees, a lot do.  It is highly recommend that you put in at least the minimum amount required to get the full match your company offers.  Once you have done this, see if you can contribute a little bit more and further increase your retirement savings.  At my first job, I began contributing 6% which was what I needed to do to get the entirety of my company’s match; however, I began to increase it over time.  Get a 3% raise?  Try increasing your 401(k) contribution by 2%.  This was a simple and easy method I did each time I’d receive one, and the best part was I never missed the money at all.

IS IT EVEN POSSIBLE TO CONTRIBUTE $18,500 OR $24,500 TO A 401(k)?

Yes again.  Is it hard?  Sure it can be, but is it doable?  Absolutely.  How do I know it’s possible?  Because I myself max out my retirement account for my 401(k).  I never see the money.  It’s taken directly out of my paycheck, so I never miss out on spending it.  The recent increase of the 2018 401(k) contribution limit is something that I will take advantage of.  A small percentage bump can make a lasting impact during one’s retirement.

In closing, the increase of the 2018 401(k) contribution limit won’t have much of an impact on most people.  Very few actually max out their retirement accounts.  But if you’re like myself, then you welcome the news with open arms.  While 2018 saw an increase to the 401(k) contribution limit, 2019 has a very good chance to see an increase for contribution limits to both traditional and Roth IRA’s.  Only time will tell.

Budget Smart, Invest Wise

Easiest Way to Become Landlord (From a Guy Who Knows)

Passive income is a term we hear about but might not truly understand.  What is passive income?  It’s the ability to generate a source of income where one is not directly involved.  One example can be dividends from stock and bond investments, but a more common passive income is rental income.

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Becoming a landlord and generating income might seem like a big task, but it can actually be done with a relatively simple process.  In the steps that follow, I will discuss the easiest way to become a landlord.  These steps are easy because I have done it, and it wasn’t very difficult.

Easiest Way to Become a Landlord (3 Steps)

Step 1:

The first step in becoming a landlord is to own a property, and thus purchasing one.  Right after school, I moved to a brand new city I had never lived in before.  I lived with an old friend for six months before I purchased my first home.  Whenever you begin thinking about purchasing a residence, always make sure you know the area.  For example, the home I purchased was near a local college and had many long-term residents as neighbors.  To complete this step requires a little bit of research, an understanding of the area you reside, and the ability to make the purchase.

Step 2:

Live in the place you purchase.  Many people get caught up in buying a rental property and renting it out immediately.  While this may work for some people, it can be a stressful situation.  You have to make sure the house is in livable condition, you have to market the place, then you have to meet potential tenants at the place throughout the week to show them the property.  All of this adds up and makes finding a tenant a long and complicated process.  By living in the place you purchase for say a year or two, you become comfortable with the property.  You won’t have to travel to show it to potential tenants, you can create your own date the property will become available, and you give yourself time to find another living situation while you look to create income.  I lived in my house for 18 months before I began renting it out.  The best part was that it was right at the beginning of summer which meant… No yard work! If you catch yourself needing to do some work around the house and you’re on a budget, you can get great vouchers and discounts online to save on these expenses.

Step 3:

Find a good tenant and pronounce yourself “Landlord”.  Although finding a good tenant isn’t always the easiest part, you can use your best judgement and various tools in order to ensure you are getting yourself into a good situation.  I made all of my applicants run a credit report on themselves and provide me with the results.  Bad credit can sometimes mean a bad tenant.  I also required the tenant to provide an additional month’s rent to ensure payments were never behind.

While there might be many easy ways to become a landlord, for me the easiest way to become a landlord was through the process I outlined above.  I have now been a landlord going on four years and having someone else pay my mortgage feels like quite the accomplishment.

Budget Smart, Invest Wise

 

Don’t Let an Accident Jeopardize Your Stability: Why Income Protection Insurance is Essential to a Family Plan

Every year, millions of Americans find themselves out of work either due to prolonged illness or injury or because their employer has ceased trading. Unfortunately, without the gift of foresight it is just not possible to predict how events may conspire against you in the future but you can take some steps to give yourself maximum protection against all eventualities.

When a principal breadwinner loses their income, it can have a devastating ripple effect on the rest of the family. If the reasons behind your inability to work are medical, there are the additional expenses to factor in to your household budget which has already lost most of its income stream. Struggling to pay for expenses in this situation can lead to additional stress and even confrontation within the family.

What is Income Protection Insurance?

Income protection insurance is also known as permanent health insurance as it is in place over the long term to protect you should you be unable to work due to illness or injury. When you have an income protection policy you will continue to receive a regular income until such times as you are able to return to work or retirement, if that time comes first.

This kind of insurance also replaces part of your income if you have to reduce your working hours due to disability and basically provides solid financial support all the way through to retirement. Most illnesses that leave you unable to work are covered in these policies, whether short or long term conditions and you can make claims as many times as you need to while you hold the policy.

Do you need Income Protection Insurance?

Whether you choose to take out income protection should not be based on whether you have dependents or not, although naturally your family are of concern if you’re unable to work. Income protection is designed to give you a blanket of protection against serious illness so that you can continue to provide for yourself if you are unable to continue working.  If prolonged illness or injury would leave you in a situation where you could not afford to pay your bills, you need to consider it as an option.

For people who are self-employed and at risk of losing considerably more than their income if they should suffer from serious illness, income protection insurance is a must. Not being able to work when you are a sole trader is a more significant problem than if you work for a business organization and there could be some delay in getting government benefits to supplement your income in these situations. Income protection means that you are already set up to continue receiving an income from the moment you are unable to work and best protects you and your family from any financial shocks.

Why is Income Protection Important to My Family?

No matter how secure you are in your job or how confident you are of your financial future, it is impossible to clearly predict. Insurance is an affordable way of protecting against high risk situations such as the possibility of losing a principal income due to serious illness. A good family plan should include adequate support for all other members should one be incapacitated in any way so that the others aren’t disadvantaged. It is definitely worth further research and getting some competitive income protection quotes online.

Stephen Strasburg Net Worth

October is finally here, and for baseball fans around the country that means one thing… PLAYOFFS.  If your MLB team is lucky enough to make the postseason, then you are likely to be glued to the TV throughout the month rooting them on.  One of the teams who did make the playoffs is the Washington Nationals.  The Nationals have seen progress over the past few season and part of it is due to the stellar pitching of Stephen Strasburg.  Stephen has spent all seven of his professional years with the Nationals and is coming off back to back 15 win seasons.  Because of his success, Stephen Strasburg net worth tops out at $25 million.

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Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg

At 29 years old, Strasburg has secured his standing as a top pitcher in the MLB.  His professional career began in 2009 when the Nationals selected the pitcher as the first overall pick in the MLB draft.  His initial four year $15.1 million contract was the highest of any rookie ever to that point.  This initial contract helped to jump start Stephen Strasburg’s net worth.  After signing a number of one year contracts with the team, Stephen was finally rewarded a long term contract with the organization.  In May of 2016, Strasburg signed a seven year contract valued at $175 million.  The contract is designed in such a way that gives Strasburg a player option beginning in the 2020 season.  It also includes a performance bonus.  The bonus is based on the number of innings he pitches during the regular season.  If he exceeds 180.0 innings pitched, he is rewarded with a $1 million bonus.

In order to justify his new contract, Stephen went out and performed quite well during the 2016 season.  He posted a 15-4 record and an ERA of 3.60.  He followed it up with another stellar performance in 2017.  For this current baseball season, he has another 15-4 overall record but has lowered his ERA to just 2.52.  Since pitchers in the National League are required to bat, Strasburg even went so far as to hit two home runs during the 2017 season.  He also was able to secure his third All-Star appearance this season representing the National League.

Stephen Strasburg net worth is due in large part to his career earnings while playing baseball professionally.  To date, he has earned over $60 million in career earnings through the 2017 season.  Strasburg is not a super flashy and well known player like his teammate Bryce Harper.  Thus, he lacks a lot of the endorsement deals that come with big name players.

Strasburg is still quite young in terms of baseball’s longevity.  We expect Stephen Strasburg’s net worth to continue to increase over the next years quite substantially.  While his net worth sits at $25 million now, it can easily double in a few years time.

 

 

Relocating to Singapore: How to Manage your Finances

If you choose to relocate to Singapore from the UK, you are making a popular and increasingly sensible decision. After all, this is regarded as the easiest Asian city for UK ex-pats to adapt to, while it is also a safe and family-friendly location that delivers an exceptionally high standard of living.

Mercer’s cost of living survey regularly lists Singapore as one of the top 10 most expensive cities in the world, entering the top five as recently as 2015. This means that you will need to plan your finances carefully when moving to Singapore, whether you are relocating for work or as part of ambitious retirement plans.

Managing Your Finances When Relocating to Singapore

So, here are some key tips to consider when relocating to Singapore, as you look to make a seamless financial transition to living abroad:

  1. Allow Time to Accumulate Savings

Let’s start with the basics, as the cost of living and purchasing property in Singapore is noticeably high. In fact, Morgan Stanley has predicted that Singapore’s property prices could double by the year 2030, with sustained hikes forecast for 2018 and beyond.

This means that you must allow time to accumulate savings and organise your finances, and you may need expert assistance to help with this. Wealth management firms such as Tilney can fulfil this role, as they combine financial advice with investment options to help optimise your capital and build savings for the future.

  1. Understand the Intricacies of Currency Fluctuations 

While the British pound (GBP) has currently enjoyed two-week highs against the Singapore Dollar, the spectre of Brexit may cause the continued devaluation of sterling over time. This means that buying Singapore currency and translating your wealth may prove difficult, which is why you must monitor macroeconomic trends and ensure that you transfer your money at the optimum time. Similarly, you must also try to convert currency without incurring huge fees, as these can also eat into your accrued capital.

  1. Consider the Miniscule Costs of Living

 Even with savings and a pronounced understanding of finance, relocating to Singapore can still be challenging. This is because there are small details associated with day-to-day living that must be attended to, and these seemingly insignificant costs can quickly accumulate over time.

Singapore has its own, unusual form of TV licence, for example which is a generic tax applied to anyone who owns a television. This must be paid annually, so you must have a full understanding of costs before completing your move.

Plan for the Unexpected: Why Home Insurance Can Save Your Future

Buying a home is one of the most significant financial commitments you make in life and so it makes sense to protect the building that houses your family from unexpected events. Severe weather is becoming an increasing threat on a more widespread level than ever before and so unless you have a crystal ball, it’s essential to have a strategy in place to protect your greatest asset – your home.

Here are some tips to help you prevent damage to your home:

  • Choose your insurance wisely: It’s important to completely understand your home insurance policy and what it covers in the event of your home sustaining any damage as a result of severe weather or any other cause.
  • Do you need Umbrella coverage? An Umbrella home insurance policy helps protect you from any incident or accident involving your home, including events where you’re determined as being at fault. Say for example your home is damaged as a result of someone leaving the taps running in the bath which causes extensive damage to the floor and ceiling of the room below. An Umbrella policy will protect you in events such as this.
  • Does your policy have full replacement coverage? This kind of home insurance policy provides for a rebuild of your home or replacement of items in it based on today’s prices. Other policies not offering full replacement cover only provide for the original cash value or market value of your home and its contents.
  • Keep detailed records: Make sure that you have all the details of your policy and who to call in the event of making a claim somewhere safe. When you’re in the middle of an incident and you are panicking about what to do, knowing where to look for the information you need is of great comfort. Most people have access to cameras with their smartphones these days which is important when it comes to making claims as photographic evidence can go a great way to substantiating the extent of damage done.
  • Keep an up to date inventory of your possessions: When you first take out your policy, make a video record of each room in the house, focusing on the items covered by your policy. Keep this information with your other policy details and if you make any purchases of significance, update your policy and take a picture of the new item to keep your records straight. Having as much information as possible ensures a really smooth process should it come to making a claim.
  • Small home improvements can make a big difference to your premiums: If you live in an area that is prone to extreme and serious weather conditions, making the alterations to your building to protect it from these outcomes can significantly reduce your home insurance premiums. Similarly, if you live in an area where there is a lot of reported burglaries, installing a security system as extra protection can also affect how much your home insurance costs.

Protect Your Home Against Any Eventuality with the RIGHT Home Insurance Policy!

This is why you should consider a reliable home insurance provider like TrustedChoice.com, who know the importance of taking the right steps to protect your home against the uncertainty of the future. Without the give of foresight, it’s just not possible to gauge how events will pan out or how your home may or may not be affected. Taking precautions by setting up a comprehensive policy that protects your most important asset over the long term gives you enormous peace of mind.

The Down Low on James Allen Rings

The online diamond and jewelry buying process is really scary for so many people who’ve never purchased something like this on the web. Since it’s such an expensive purchase – and can cost thousands of dollars if you’re buying an engagement ring – it often leaves people fearful and harboring a great deal of trepidation.

It’s hard not to be afraid when buying online, which is why some diamond sellers on the Internet do not succeed. They do not know how to make their customers feel comfortable that they’re getting exactly what they want when they buy a diamond or diamond jewelry on the Internet. JamesAllen.com does a great job of putting everyone’s mind at ease.

What makes JamesAllen.com so special? For starters, they really go out of their way to showcase every one of the diamonds they have for sale. They make it possible for their online customers to look at each and every one of the diamonds they plan to sell them, so they know exactly what they are getting whenever they make a purchase from this site.

That’s not all, because we only scratched the tip of the iceberg. So we’ll share some other amazing reasons why James Allen’s website is such an excellent place to buy diamond jewelry on the Internet.  Read more about them here.

View Real Videos and Pictures of the Actual Diamonds You’re Buying Online

Many online diamond sellers have a tendency to use generic, stock diamond photos when they show pictures of potential diamonds and pieces that people might buy on their website. That is not how it goes on JamesAllen.com. On the contrary, they have figured out the best way to sell diamonds online to make all their customers feel good about their purchase and confident that they’re getting exactly what they order.

On this website, every image and video was taken of the actual diamond being sold. So if you look at a particular diamond ring, as an example, that you really love and want to purchase for your significant other, you can bet your bottom dollar that it’s the ring you’re going to get. All of the images and videos showcasing the ring are real, true to life, and represent the exact item you plan to purchase.

So never worry about buying a fake ring or phony image because that doesn’t happen on JamesAllen.com. This website is the real deal and their videos and photos are all real images of diamonds and jewelry they have for sale.

Customer Service Can Help You 24/7 All Year Round

James Allen understands the value of top level customer service and he has truly outdone himself on this website. He has a wide range of diamond experts available to answer your call, email, or instant message. So feel free to contact the expert staff at any time if you have any questions or concerns.

The staff is there to help you and the specialists know so much about diamonds. So do not hesitate to contact them whenever you feel it’s convenient.

Conclusion

Between real photos and videos and expert customer service, just know that you can’t go wrong making a purchase from James Allen’s website.

Where Can I Get a POS System for My Business?

Obtaining a credit card processing system that works for your business is easier than you might think. While there are many options out there, there is one just specially made for your business practices and needs. Merchant Account Solutions offers a variety of POS systems to help you with everything from credit card transactions to database marketing and employee scheduling. Consider these merchant account options listed below to see what system works best for you. I cannot stress enough how important it is to know your business inside and out. Before making a decision you must do your due diligence in researching what type of system is right for your business. Somethings to consider are, how many customers you have in a given day, what type of monetization you need, is your business mobile? There are many things to consider when implementing cutting edge software into your business. It is worth your time and energy to go over these things as the reward is far greater then the time spent.

Clover Systems

The Clover line of machines offers you everything from a standing register to a handheld mobile device for accepting payments. This amazing system allows you to keep a record of client information to make your marketing plans easier to tailor to your client’s needs. You can even use your smartphone or tablet on the go to accept payments with the Clover Go option.  A huge advantage this machine will give you is the ability to analyze your customer data management which will give you so much valuable information in determining which products you should push, what types of marketing materials you should create and even implementing a rewards program. Having a database of all your customers transactions from what they purchased, when they purchased to how much they purchased is crucial if you want to be strategic in your business and overall make more money and insightful decisions.

SmartSwipe

This is another great option available from the Merchant Account Solutions team. You can easily use your phone or tablet to be your POS machine without having to pay huge fees for a machine to be installed. This option is perfect for those running either a retail location or a restaurant. You can calculate tips, send receipts, keep customer information and run inventory all from your own device. SmartSwipe is the perfect way to get your credit card systems rolling without having to be tied down to a counter in one location. If you’re on the go with your business, this is the perfect POS option for you.

There are a variety of options available for you to accept credit and debit cards in your establishment. Be sure to check with Merchant Account Solutions for a variety of ways your store or restaurant can start accepting and processing credit transactions today. The pos system does not limit you to basic cash or credit card transactions but even allows customers to user their smartphones to complete their order through applications like Apple Pay.

Sidney Crosby Net Worth

Sidney Crosby is a professional hockey player for the Pittsburgh Penguins of the National Hockey League (NHL).  Nicknamed “Sid the Kid”, Crosby recently completed his twelfth season with the Penguins where he helped lead the team to yet another NHL Stanley Cup championship.  Originally from Canada, Crosby was drafted first overall by the Penguins in the 2005 NHL draft and has remained with the team ever since.  His career earnings for the Penguins is close to the nine figure range.  This has helped Sidney Crosby’s net worth skyrocket over the years.  As of 2017, Sidney Crosby’s net worth sits at $50 million.

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Crosby was born in 1987 in the province of Nova Scotia in Canada.  At just 29 years old, Crosby has garnered accolades thus far in his career that many could only dream of.  Sidney has helped the Penguins win three Stanley Cup championships since his arrival, most recently back to back for the 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 seasons.  He led the NHL in goals scored this past season which isn’t surprising considering he has totaled nearly 400 goals during his twelve season NHL career.  In addition to his NHL success, Crosby has also helped lead team Canada to back to back gold medals in the 2010 and 2014 Winter Olympics.

When Sidney first got drafted back in 2005, his first contract was worth $11 million for three years.  The Penguins quickly recognized the great player he would become and in 2007 he signed a five year contract worth over $8 million a year.  His top play continued, and knowing that they didn’t want to lose their franchise player, the Penguins signed Crosby to a 12 year $104 million contract in 2012.  If Sidney plays out the remaining contract he has with Pittsburgh, he will have earned more than $150 million for his NHL career.  To put that in perspective, the highest paying contract that NHL great Wayne Gretzky earned during his hall of fame career was a two year deal for $13 million in the late 1990’s.

The majority of Sidney Crosby’s net worth comes from his professional hockey earnings with the Penguins and team Canada; however, his top-notch play has led to numerous endorsements that have helped increase it further.  It is estimated that Crosby’s current endorsement deals pay him more than $4 million annually.  At the time of signing his endorsement with Rebook, it was the largest endorsement deal for any professional hockey player.  Coming off his second straight Stanley Cup championship, Sidney Crosby’s net worth should continue to increase significantly through further endorsements along with his future career earnings.

Upon getting drafted by the Penguins in 2005, Sidney lived with Penguin great Mario Lemieux for five years before purchasing his own place.  Crosby is very active in the community and in 2009 he created the Sidney Crosby Foundation that benefits children.  At under six feet tall and 200 pounds, Crosby isn’t the biggest of hockey players, but he sure is one of the best.

5 Tips for Running a Successful Business

As you start your business, you will definitely get a lot of advice about what you should and should not do. Most of the advice will come from people with no idea what it takes to run a successful company in today’s business environment. When you go the Internet, you’ll be flooded with, literally, thousands of articles and long lists focusing on the subject.

However, do not make the mistake of over-analyzing and over-thinking about how to take your company from one success level to the next. All you need is follow a few simple steps, and you are sure going to be headed down the path towards success. Here are five basic tips that have worked for many other successful companies.

Have a Detailed Plan

This is one of the first things you should definitely do. Devise a detailed business plan that fully explains how you will tackle the upcoming challenges. The plan should consist of possible opportunities, a clear mission, a description of your target, measurable goals and a set of deadlines for every milestone. Remember, while having a plan is great, you should also have one that is flexible enough to adapt to certain changes that may occur along the way.

Create Networks

Most successful businesses would not be where they are without having professional networks established when they started out. Of course, the process of creating networks is an ongoing process that never stops. Until you have established your business, you will need to depend on word-of-mouth; become your own brand ambassador and sell the benefits of working with your company whenever given a chance.

Start at your own momentum by attending trade shows, events and networking groups associated with professionals in your niche market. Such initial contacts may lead to future business prospects, strategic partners and mentors that can help grow your company.

Work with the Right People

The right strategic partners and mentors are not the only people you need to align yourself with. Surround yourself with a team that is great to work with. Building your staff with driven, talented and smart employees who share your vision will help steer you in the right direction.

Not only will such a great team transform how you do business, but they will also accelerate its growth. Hiring can-do, positive employees will help nurture a teamwork culture. A participatory environment occurs when everyone plays a critical role and collectively celebrates the company’s successes.

Always Stay Ahead

In today’s times, it is risky to stay rooted and only focus on what is happening on a day-to-day basis. It is critical that you keep focused on the future, predicting the possible changes in your industry and related service providers like insurance coverage through online resources like insurance.me can help. Without anticipating huge changes in the future, you are destined to lag behind.

Successful entrepreneurs are always looking at the trends and anticipating what is coming around the corner. This gives them an opportunity to put in place strategies to evolve and adapt to the changes.

Maintain a Healthy Balance Between Work and Life

Running a business requires a lot of time and energy. It is critical that you find a healthy work-life balance, but it can be challenging to do so. However, do not let work dominate your life.

The result of work overwhelming you is that you eventually lose touch with the people you consider the most important in life. It is also important that you take good care of your well-being and health. Your business cannot run without you. While you may believe that running a successful business requires perpetual hustle, that pace will eventually burn you out if you don’t take care of yourself.