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Showing posts from November, 2018

The Business Plan

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What is a business plan? Essentially, a business plan is the management and financial blueprint of your company. It is meant to serve as both your business guide and as a tool to help you attract investors. The plan should be comprehensive yet concise. It should explain the characteristics of your business, as well as discuss how the business will be financed and managed and how it will function in its target market. There is no limit to the length of a plan, though the average is probably under 50 pages. Your plan should be separated into sections, such as business, marketing, financial, and "supporting documents." You should also include a cover sheet and an executive summary. Before you begin writing, however, it is probably a good idea to consult an attorney and/or an accountant with experience in business-plan preparation. Following are brief descriptions of the sections generally found in a business plan. Cover sheet The cover sheet is simply a title page for your bus…

Advantages and Disadvantages of Self-Employment

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You've grown tired of commuting to a job where you sit in a cubicle and do someone else's bidding. You've got a better idea, you can build a better mousetrap, you know you have the knack for being in the right place at the right time, and so you're thinking of self-employment. But how do you determine if this is a pipe dream or an idea worth pursuing?
Can you handle it? Whether you're running your own business or working as an independent contractor, you'll soon realize that working for yourself isn't just another job, it's a way of life. Are you someone who likes a nine-to-five routine and collecting a regular paycheck? When you're self-employed, you must be willing to make sacrifices for the sake of the job. You're going to work long hours, which means that you won't have as much time as you used to for family or leisure activities. And if the cash flow becomes a trickle, you're going to be the last one to get paid. Can you get along …

ABCs of Financial Aid

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It's hard to talk about college without mentioning financial aid. Yet this pairing isn't a marriage of love, but one of necessity. In many cases, financial aid may be the deciding factor in whether your child attends the college of his or her choice. That's why it's important to develop a basic understanding of financial aid before your child applies to college. Without such knowledge, you may have trouble understanding the process of aid determination, filling out the proper aid applications, and comparing the financial aid awards that your child may receive.
But let's face it. Financial aid information is probably not on anyone's top ten list of bedtime reading material. It can be an intimidating and confusing topic. There are different types, different sources, and different formulas for evaluating your child's eligibility. Here are some of the basics to help you get started.
What is financial aid? Financial aid is money distributed primarily by the fed…

Tax-Advantage Ways to Save for College

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In the college savings game, all strategies aren't created equal. The best savings vehicles offer special tax advantages if the funds are used to pay for college. Tax-advantaged strategies are important because over time, you can potentially accumulate more money with a tax-advantaged investment compared to a taxable investment. Ideally, though, you'll want to choose a savings vehicle that offers you the best combination of tax advantages, financial aid benefits, and flexibility, while meeting your overall investment needs.
529 plansSince their creation in 1996, 529 plans have become to college savings what 401(k) plans are to retirement savings — an indispensable tool for saving money for a child's or grandchild's college education. That's because 529 plans offer a unique combination of benefits. There are two types of 529 plans — savings plans and prepaid tuition plans. Though each is governed under Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code (hence the name "52…

Investing for Major Financial Goals

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Go out into your yard and dig a big hole. Every month, throw $50 into it, but don't take any money out until you're ready to buy a house, send your child to college, or retire. It sounds a little crazy, doesn't it? But that's what investing without setting clear-cut goals is like. If you're lucky, you may end up with enough money to meet your needs, but you have no way to know for sure.
How do you set goals? The first step in investing is defining your dreams for the future. If you are married or in a long-term relationship, spend some time together discussing your joint and individual goals. It's best to be as specific as possible. For instance, you may know you want to retire, but when? If you want to send your child to college, does that mean an Ivy League school or the community college down the street? You'll end up with a list of goals. Some of these goals will be long term (you have more than 15 years to plan), some will be short term (5 years or le…

Leaving a Legacy

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You've worked hard over the years to accumulate wealth, and you probably find it comforting to know that after your death the assets you leave behind will continue to be a source of support for your family, friends, and the causes that are important to you. But to ensure that your legacy reaches your heirs as you intend, you must make the proper arrangements now. There are four basic ways to leave a legacy: (1) by will, (2) by trust, (3) by beneficiary designation, and (4) by joint ownership arrangements. Wills A will is the cornerstone of any estate plan. You should have a will no matter how much your estate is worth, and even if you've implemented other estate planning strategies. You can leave property by will in two ways: making specific bequests and making general bequests. A specific bequest directs a particular piece of property to a particular person ("I leave Aunt Martha's diamond broach to my niece, Jen"). A general bequest is typically a percentage of…