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Building a Strong Financial Foundation

Today, many people are concerned about saving for retirement or paying for a large ticket item, such as a child’s college education. If you belong to this group, now may be the time to organize your finances. It is never too early to begin, and the sooner you start, the better.

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Setting a Price for Buying or Selling a Business

In the overall U.S. business landscape, mergers, takeovers, and buyouts are occurring at a steady rate. If you were to place your business on the market, would you know what it is worth? Setting the price is often the most important aspect of the transaction.

Many business owners tend to base their companies’ worth on “sweat equity.” However, that does not have much to do with market value. To learn the true value of your business, you need a more scientific approach, starting with a valuation method.

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Exit Strategies for Business Owners

After years spent launching and growing your business, the day will finally arrive when you can sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labor. But, just as starting your business involved hard work and planning, the process of exiting your firm can be a long and challenging process.

Many entrepreneurs put off making decisions about the disposition of the business until their departure is imminent. Waiting until the last minute to put together an exit strategy can, however, prove to be an expensive mistake. Unanticipated events—such as a health crisis, a divorce, or the death of a business partner—may force you to dispose of the business quickly, and at a loss. Having a transition plan in place will greatly improve the chances that you will be able to draw income from the business to support your retirement needs, and ensure that the business is passed on as you had intended.

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College Admissions: Making the Grade

College applicants are often faced with apprehension and, to some degree, fear about getting into the college of their choice. Often, attending the right college or university can make the difference between average earnings and great career prospects in the future. While it is common for colleges and universities to look first at a student’s high school academic record and Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) scores, beyond that there are many other factors that enter into the equation as possible indicators of a student’s ability and potential for future success.

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Reduce Future Uncertainty with Advance Directives

Estate planning has traditionally focused on how to minimize estate taxes and designate “who gets what” when you die. However, managing your affairs in today’s modern world has become more complicated. Quality of life issues involving personal finances, health care, and how critical decisions are to be made are becoming increasingly more important.

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Financing Options for Homebuyers and Homeowners

For first-time homebuyers and homeowners who are considering refinancing their current mortgages, trying to decide between a fixed or an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) can be a bit puzzling. The future is relatively unpredictable, and it’s nearly impossible to try to guess whether interest rates will rise, stay level, or decrease in the coming years. However, a matter of a few interest rate points can make a big difference in the amount you will pay over the life of your mortgage, depending on the type of mortgage you choose.

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Teaching Kids About Cashless and Online Finances

In an increasingly digital world, your kids will need to know how to handle their finances online and how to responsibly use debit cards.

Start teaching with cash

More and more consumers use cards and mobile devices to conduct everyday financial transactions. Start lessons with real money and work into the online world. By the time kids are five years old, they can have an allowance, and you should open a joint savings account. Kids should learn to make change, so pay allowances in cash.

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Time to Get Real about Family Money

Instead of debating about politics or sports whenever they get together, what if families spent some time having candid discussions about their finances and plans for the future?

We know money is a hard topic for many families to broach. For the older generation, it can bring up the issue of aging and might signal the loss of independence. Younger family members may also have difficulty accepting that their parents may need their help and worry that they’re not up to the task.

Whatever the reason, know this: without a plan for finances, a family could run the risk of giving up control of health care and inheritance.

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Financial Recordkeeping for Tax Purpose

Keeping thorough and accurate financial records is one of the less exciting tasks that business owners face, but it is a necessary one. In addition to enabling you to monitor the progress of your business and make informed decisions on a daily basis, keeping good accounting records is essential when it comes time to prepare your tax returns. While the smallest businesses may be able to get by with the “shoebox method,” having in place a reliable and comprehensive financial recordkeeping system is crucial if you want your business to grow.

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A Trust Made for Marriages

One of the things that made the now iconic TV show The Brady Bunch stand out when it first hit the airwaves in the late 1960s was that it depicted what was, at least at the time, a very unusual family dynamic: a second marriage bringing together six children—three from each parent—under one roof.

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The "Taxing Effects" of Selling Your Home

Because of the generous capital gains exclusion on selling a primary residence, you may find that you do not owe Federal taxes when it comes time to sell your home. But there are situations in which a seller may incur a tax liability, especially if the sale price is very high, if the house is sold soon after purchase, or if the owners are unmarried or are selling as the result of a divorce. In many of these cases, however, the amount owed to the IRS can be minimized, or offset, with some advance planning.

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Trimming Your Taxes While Saving for Retirement

Contributing to tax-advantaged retirement plans is one of the most effective financial planning strategies available to U.S. taxpayers: Saving money in a 401(k), IRA, or a Roth IRA account can trim your tax bill, while helping you prepare for the future. Even if you are already contributing to a retirement plan, you should review your retirement savings strategy regularly to ensure that you are making the most of the tax breaks you qualify for.

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Keep Your Estate Plan on Track

For today's business owner, death can mark the beginning of a significant tax problem. The investment and sweat that went into building your business year after year could add up to a whopping federal estate tax bill for your heirs – up to 40% in 2018 of the combined value of your company and other assets.

With careful estate planning however, there are still ways to reduce the estate tax burden on your loved ones, while keeping the business intact. The following gives an overview of some available estate planning options.

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Protecting Your Financial Information Online

More consumers are conducting financial transactions online and may become vulnerable to tracking, hacking, identity theft, phishing scams, and other cyberspace risks. While nothing can guarantee complete safety on the Internet, understanding how to protect your privacy can help minimize your exposure to risk.

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Tax Breaks for Elder Care

Like many Americans, you may find yourself having to help cover the medical costs and caregiving expenses of an aging parent or other close relative. If you and your parent meet certain criteria set by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), you may qualify for tax breaks that can ease the financial burden of paying for care, even if your parent does not live in your home.

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