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Business

Cleaning up your financial records

FinancialCleaning 600In 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court settled a case between a widow and her deceased husband's former wife regarding who would receive the man's federal employee insurance benefits. The judges ruled in favor of the first wife, even though the couple had been divorced for more than 10 years when he died, because she was still the designated beneficiary on his policy.

Some people may not be aware that the assets in most bank accounts, retirement plans, and insurance policies convey directly to the people named on the beneficiary forms, even if they are different from the people named in their wills or trusts. Others simply forget to make the appropriate changes in writing.

If your beneficiary forms are out of date – and your intentions somehow become a matter of dispute – a state and/or federal laws or the administrator's plan documents could ultimately determine who receives your assets.

Networking in the health and beauty business

OnMyWayToHealthy 600From being the founder of the Block Party for Peace to the Community Baby Shower, Antonio Parkinson, State Rep. for District 98, is about "making a difference." Now he is poised to make a huge impact in the health and beauty industry with HINO, his latest venture.

Carlee McCullough: Please tell us about yourself.
Antonio Parkinson: I grew up in a single parent household. My mother was...well, still is a stylist. As a child we watched her go through cosmetology school and then helped her to build a business in the cosmetology industry. From that seed was birthed my entrepreneurial spirit and currently I am the owner of a marketing company, Black Market Strategies.

Linking traditional IRAs, tax management and retirement

CharlesSimsJr-160Traditional individual retirement accounts (IRAs) can be a good way to save for retirement. If you do not participate in an employer-sponsored retirement plan or would like to supplement that plan, a traditional IRA could work for you.

A traditional IRA is simply a tax-deferred savings account that has several investing options and is set up through an investment institution. For instance, an IRA can include stocks, bonds, mutual funds, cash equivalents, real estate, and other investment vehicles.

One of the benefits of a traditional IRA is the potential for tax-deductible contributions. In 2014, you may be eligible to make a tax-deductible contribution of up to $5,500 ($6,500 if you are 50 or older). Contribution limits are indexed annually for inflation.

Building ‘The Team’

onwealthy 600President Barack Obama has been very vocal about the significance of small businesses to our economy. According to the White House website, www.Whitehouse.gov, the President views small businesses as "the backbone of our economy and the cornerstones of our communities".

Unlike their Fortune 500 business counterparts, whose heavily entrenched internal culture makes swift change difficult, small businesses are agile, more flexible and can adapt more readily when the economy requires or the business model no longer works. So it comes as no surprise that we as a community put forth every effort to support and grow our small businesses.

Frequently forced to wear many hats, small business owners often juggle legal, accounting, marketing, operations, hiring, firing, manufacturing and distribution duties. Some do it all of this while maintaining a full time job and family. The idea is to grow the business enough so that the entrepreneur can leave the job and focus on the business.

Making a living or making a life?

hester 600Today's employers are not looking for people who want to work to make a living, they are looking for people who, more importantly, want to make a life.

Consider our parents and our grandparents and how they were able to do so much with so little for so long. They knew the difference between making a living and making a life. While it may seem like purely a matter of semantics, believe me, it's more than just a play on words.

Knowing which you are focused on can make the difference.

Is now the right time to shake up housing finance?

CharleneCrowell 600In an unconventional move, legislation designed to reshape the nation's $10 trillion housing finance market was released last Sunday (March 16th). Since then, reactions to proposed broad changes have ranged from strong support to 'wait-and-see, and outright opposition.

According to the bill's authors, Sen. Tim Johnson, chair of Senate Banking Committee and Sen. Mike Crapo, the committee's ranking member, the rare weekend release was the result of months of effort to accommodate varied input to secure bipartisan support and move the proposal forward – in time for a full Senate vote by November.

In a news release, Chairman Johnson said, "This proposal includes an explicit guarantee in order to add stability to the economy, keep costs reasonable for borrowers and renters, and ensure fair access to the secondary market for all lenders."

Mommy entrepreneurs

mommyentre 600Entrepreneurship requires dedication, commitment, organization, creativity and resourcefulness. Most mothers just happen to possess all of these qualities, which are transferable to business.

Mothers may not run the majority of Fortune 500 companies, however, they do run many small businesses, with excellent startups a part of the mix. And with mothers having to make difficult decisions all day every day, it comes as no surprise that they can easily call the shots in business when presented with the opportunity.

While balancing home life with the professional load of entrepreneurship can be extremely hard, many mommies make it look effortless. Let's look a few moms that have risen to the occasion.

MONEY MATTERS: Fixed-indexed annuities

CharlesSimsJr-160If you want to participate in the potentially attractive returns of a market-driven investment but would also like a guaranteed return, an indexed annuity might be worth checking out.

The performance of indexed annuities, also referred to as equity-indexed or fixed-indexed annuities, are tied to an index (for example, the Standard & Poor's 500*). They provide investors with an opportunity to earn interest based on the performance of the index. If the index rises during a specified period in the accumulation phase, the investor participates in the gain. In the event that the market falls and the index posts a loss, the contract value is not affected. The annuity also has a guaranteed minimum rate of return, which is contingent on holding the indexed annuity until the end of the term.

This guaranteed minimum return comes at a price. The percentage of an index's gain that investors receive is called the participation rate. The participation rate of an indexed annuity can be anywhere from 50 percent to 100 percent. A participation rate of 80 percent, for example, and a 10 percent gain by the index would result in an 8 percent gain by the investor. Some indexed annuities have a cap rate, the maximum rate of interest the annuity will earn, which could potentially lower an investor's gain.