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Business

Taxes: Making the most of refunds

TaxRefunds 600With W-2s and 1099s in hand, most folks expecting a refund are lining up to file those returns. The doors are open to the many tax preparers who have waited patiently for the season to arrive. Once the money arrives there are many things that can be done with those much-anticipated dollars. Plan to get the most out of the money and improve your financial position. So, let's discuss a few of the many options of spending the refund checks.

Checking, savings or money market account

One option is to save your refund check for a rainy day or emergency. Experts advise that savings should equal between three and six months of expenses for cushion in the event of layoffs or cutbacks. This rainy day or emergency fund is separate from other accounts to make sure that it is not spent or mingled with the rest of the funds. It is to be used for the mortgage, rent, car repairs and such in times of need.

Instead of spending every cent received, try placing some in a checking, savings or money market account. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) through direct deposit will place your money electronically into your account as instructed. The IRS will even divide your refund over multiple accounts with the completion of Form 8888, which is the Allocation of Refund Form.

Tax season means it’s time to focus

taxes 600As employees receive W-2s and independent contractors receive 1099s, many will be anticipating a refund and others may owe money. The connecting bottom line is that taxes must be filed in a timely manner.

Those expecting a refund usually will rush to file as soon as possible. While those expecting to owe the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will frequently wait until the April 15th deadline.

Many years ago, there were only a few major tax preparation firms, along with accountants, that prepared taxes. Now, small businesses dedicated solely to tax preparation have sprung up all over the Mid-South. These businesses are thriving and experiencing tremendous growth with a business model based on operating only a few months of the year.

Spotlight Productions & the business of videography

FabianMatthews 600Even as businesses grow and expand, there is a never-ending need to connect with customers. One way to assist in that outreach is the strategic use of commercials.

When I first started a business in Memphis I used the services of Spotlight Productions to create my website and my very first commercial. The result was incredible for a new business. Over the years, Spotlight Productions – co-founded by Fabian Matthews – has become a major player in the video, commercial and web arena. This week Matthews shares his journey.

Carlee McCullough: Tell us about yourself.
Fabian Matthews: I'm a graduate of Arkansas State University in Jonesboro. I'm married, with 2 kids, Darion and Mia. I've won 3 Emmy Awards and 8 Telly Awards. My First job in TV was at KAIT in Jonesboro and then WMC-TV in Memphis. I started Spotlight Productions in 1999 with Isaac Singleton and Craten Armmer.

Should you wait to claim Social Security?

CharlesSimsJr-160Many people file for Social Security as soon as they stop working and/or become eligible for benefits. Full retirement age is 66 for most baby boomers and 67 for those born in 1960 or later, but Americans can claim early worker benefits starting at age 62.

The monthly benefit increases with claiming age by up to 8 percent a year, so filing early could cause you to lose out on thousands of dollars in benefits, especially if you enjoy a long life.
Consider this hypothetical example:

Paul could receive an annual benefit of about $15,400 if he files at age 62, $20,500 if he files at age 66 (full retirement age), or $27,100 if he waits until age 70.

ON OUR WAY TO WEALTHY: The business of romance

lovebusiness 600Romance should not be placed on the shelf until Valentine's Day. At times, relationships need spice and many are lost on where to begin the process. HiHeelz Concierge Service provides ideas and direction for those in need. Customers need only to bring their sweetheart and have the confidence to pull off the evening.

Part 2 of our look at the Business of Romance continues with the completion of our conversation with Dennette Smith-Ross, the founder and owner of HiHeelz Concierge Service.

Carlee McCullough: What is the greatest reward in running your own business?
Dennette Smith-Ross: I control my own destiny and work/life balance. I am doing what I am passionate about. I feel pride in building something of my own, but most of all I connect with my clients.

The business of romance – a ‘HiHeelz’ approach Part 1

CarleeMcCullough-160There are many excuses for why the sizzle has dwindled in a relationship, such as:

"I'm too busy working and I'm tired!"

"We have kids now!"

"I have gained too much weight to be sexy!"

"We have been married for 20 years, they know how I feel!"

"I gave them some money to go shopping!"

No matter the excuse, the solution is Dennette Smith-Ross of HiHeelz Concierge Service.

Cash for Cars

cashforcars 600What do you do with a car or van that is old, paid for and does not work? One option is to call the self-proclaimed No. 1 junkman in the South, Patrick Boone. A fireman, Boone has carved out his own slice of the cash-for-cars niche. In this economy the business model could not have been more timely and he has it down to a science. Ready to jump into action with the receipt of a phone call, Boone has groomed a talented team that is responsive and eager to trade cash for vehicles.

A financial map for your family

CharlesSimsJr-160Your financial life is probably more complicated than you realize. You may have multiple bank, retirement and investment accounts; insurance policies; a safe-deposit box; and more.

You have bills to pay and perhaps a mortgage and other outstanding loans. And then there are the people you might depend on for financial matters: your attorney, financial advisor, insurance agent, and accountant, just to name a few.

Now, think for a moment about how your family would navigate this financial sea if you were gone.