Mar 08

HEADS UP - SMALL BUSINESSES

Posted on March 8, 2021 at 7:02 PM by Regina Roberts

Financial Blog Banner - Heads Up Small Businesses
If you have never hired a tax professional, this is the year you should do so. This is the year you want to be more prepared. Pay attention! There are some tax rule changes that will have an impact on businesses as you file your 2020 tax return. With everything that transpired with business during 2020, some business tax returns will be complicated.

Each taxpayer has his or her own unique situation, therefore, some advice to the small business owners, please speak to a professional that deals with taxes. It’s always important to get organized, so here are some ideas to get started.

1. Organize your records. Make sure all your financial materials related to your business are up to date, organized and filed in one place.
2. Organize the small things.
3. Again, if you took advantage of any of the COVID-19 programs, such as SBA loans, grants and credits that was made available to you through the CARES Act, please discuss them with your tax preparer.
4. Examples:
a. Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) - PPP loans may be forgivable if certain conditions are met.
b. Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) - Per the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), any forgiven Small Business Administration (SBA) loan should be included in taxable income.
c. Employee Retention Credit - Up to 50% credit, if you have employees that were kept employed during the pandemic.
d. Review all new credits - First Coronavirus Response Act, Small Employer Health Insurance Premium Credit and Work Opportunity Tax Credit.
e. Deferral of employer payroll taxes.
5. Consider all charitable donations.
6. Consider retirement plans and retirement contributions made.
7. Look at your expenses. Separate Capital expenses from Business expenses.
8. See if you qualify for Section 179.
9. Attorney or accounting fees for your business
10. Depreciation
11. Charitable donations
12. Stock deductions
13. Medical reimbursement
14. Health insurance premiums
15. Health savings accounts
16. Healthcare for employees
17. Banked health credit
18. Life insurance
19. Education expense (professional classes)
20. Website design

As you can see this is no way an exhausted list. Consider all deductions that can help you to avoid paying more taxes than you need to, because the more deductions you have, the lower your taxable income. You must also take time to understand the tax rules so you can avoid penalties. If you don’t think you can, then get professional advice as needed.

I believe in you!
Dec 03

BUDGETING FOR THE HOLIDAYS!

Posted on December 3, 2020 at 6:24 PM by Regina Roberts

Financial Blog Banner - Budgeting for the Holidays

It’s that time of the year again.  The Holidays, yeah!  COVID-19 quarantine has made us anxious to get out and shop but wait a moment!  Take a deep breath. You will want to budget your holiday spending to maximize all your dollars$$. 

Set yourself up to start the New Year off right by planning appropriately for your holiday expenses.  First you need to have a plan and your plan should have started months ago, nonetheless, here we are with one month before Christmas.  Alright, if you have $1,000 to spend then you need to create a list with the amount you are willing to spend next to each name on the list.

Shoppers who make a list to purchase are more likely to not exceed their budget.  This means making a complete list and staying with the plan.  Don’t wait for the last moment to do your shopping. Start early as it is more ideal to do your holiday shopping all throughout the year to capitalize on the best deals. Use cash during the holiday times, it will be harder to fork over large amounts of cash for your purchases.  One tends to be less free when spending cash. If you are one of the fortunate ones that saved all year long to now spend during the holiday time, then cash is the way to go.

This holiday season will be especially tough for many people.  Keep your credit card usage to a minimum especially this holiday season since we are still watching to see how well we will bounce back from this economy downturn.  Being stressed out during COVID-19 does not give you the opportunity to go crazy during the holiday time. If anything, put those credit cards in the freezer.  Many retailers will try to entice you to open credit cards during this time, however, refrain from doing so.  Credit may be easier to get, but it will be harder when the time comes to pay that bill and you don’t have the money, or a job.

Borrowing money to please your families and friends during the holiday season is not a good idea, as it is too hefty a price to pay especially when interest is being added.

I would suggest the following five things;

  1. Start saving early in the new year for your spending on holiday gifts.
  2. Set automatic deduction from your paycheck or automate an amount into a Holiday Savings Account, by doing weekly, bi-weekly or monthly deposit to that account.
  3. Create a budget and stay with it!
  4. Start your naughty or nice list for the families and friends you want to buy for.
  5. Re-evaluate your list as you go.

Something different:

Maybe this is the year you rethink your gift giving.  A few years ago, I informed my family that I will not be giving gifts that year and I will be gifting investing education. Let me tell you it did not go over well with them.  I opened a few online trading accounts with STASH, ACORN and TD Ameritrade for them with a few hundred dollars$$ and the education began.  So, think outside the box and come up with different gift giving ideas for 2020.  Remember, “It’s the thought that counts, not the amount you spend.”

Happy holidays and happy budgeting.  Please stay healthy and safe!

Dec 03

7 RULES TO TAKE CHARGE OF YOUR MONEY

Posted on December 3, 2020 at 4:04 PM by Regina Roberts

7 RULES TO TAKE CHARGE OF YOUR MONEY
by Susan Gooding-Liburd, CFO

Money Goals Image

As we close one year and start another, I can’t help but reflect that this is the beginning of a new decade.  I am a year older and smarter than I was a year ago.  I am looking forward to 2020 with anticipation, enthusiasm and excitement for what I will accomplish, not what I hope to accomplish.  I am giving thanks in advance because I know that everything that I plan will manifest for me in 2020 and into the next decade.  I would therefore like to share with you some of my MUST DO’s for 2020.  No more procrastinating, forget the past and set a positive course for the new decade.

As we approach 2020, FOCUS ON THESE FINANCIAL RULES:

1. Earnings:

Set aside the first hour of your earnings from your job each day for your family, you deserve it, they deserve it (in other words, pay yourself first).

2. Become the master of your money:

Tell your money what to do, don’t let your money control you.  If your money is controlling you, reverse that role for the new year and don’t give it up (money should be your servant).

3. Respect money:

Respect money and money will respect you.  You read that right.  If you are constantly stepping on your money, crumpling it up in your pocket, tossing it around and saying negative things about money, it will run from you.  Change the negative attitude you have about money; begin to take an interest in it and get a better understanding of how it works; and you will see how money begins to gravitate to you and want to be in your company.

4. Learn how to make your money work for you:

It’s time to invest. 

Make it a goal for this New Year to sign up for an investment class and get a better understanding of how to put your money to work just as hard for you as you are working for it.  Find a way to own a piece of the companies you are making richer and richer every year when you use their products and services. (i.e. Amazon Prime, Disney, Walmart, etc.)

5. Get your side hussle on:

One source of income is not enough.  For this new decade, get in the game with multiple sources of income.  Activate your imagination and let those creative juices flow; and turn your hobbies into income making machines.  Make 2020 the year you start that business you’ve always wanted to do.  Have no fear, you have nothing to lose and a whole lot to gain.  Go for it!  Tell yourself this is your year and see yourself as the CEO of your own business.   

6. Make this the year you OWN a piece of Earth:

You live here so why not own a piece of it or multiple pieces of it and create passive income. 

7. Create an emergency fund:

Make this the year you put your credit cards on notice that you are divorcing them and getting a new financial Robinhood.  Your emergency fund could start with as little as $250 and build up to $1,000.  Your goal is to save up to 6 to 9 months of your living expenses.  

I firmly believe that if you want to see improvements in your life or lifestyle it begins with YOU.  Only you can change you!

Why take the same old mindset into a brand-new year?  The most powerful thing you have is your MIND so set a new course and develop a better plan for your future.  If your future does not look bigger, better, brighter or more prosperous than the past, you have nothing to lose but fear.  So, get rid of FEAR and Fight Everyday And Rise.  I believe that each and everyone of you reading this blog can set that new course and arrive at the destination you have chartered.  I believe that for you!

Susan A. Gooding-Liburd,
Chief Financial Officer