Personal Finance


T. Rowe Price Launches Individual 401(k) Plan

T. Rowe Price now offers an Individual 401(k) Plan that potentially allows self-employed individuals and small-business owners with no employees other than a spouse to save more for retirement than they could with other types of retirement plans. Unlike a SEP-IRA or profit sharing plan - two common retirement plan options for small businesses - an Individual 401(k) allows the business owner to add salary deferral contributions on top of the permitted employer contribution, which is generally 25% of net business income.

The Top Ten Year End Tax Tips

During the holiday season, visions of sugar plums are typically dancing in our heads, not Uncle Sam. But by taking the time to do a few simple tasks before the year end, you will be able to carry that warm holiday feeling all the way through to April 15. "December is typically the time of year to spend, but it can also be the time to save," stated Brian Whitlock, CPA, chairman of the Illinois CPA Society.

CCH Picks 2004's Top Tax-Complex Corporate Actions

While year-end often is a time for investors to reflect on their winning and losing holdings, the tax analysts and editors at CCH® Capital Changes have identified what they believe will be the top ten tax-complex and significant corporate actions likely to impact investors this year. "Corporate actions, like stock splits, mergers, and spin-offs, happen every day and all impact the cost basis used to determine investors' actual capital gain or loss come tax time," Stevie D. Conlon, an attorney, CPA, and senior tax analyst for CCH Capital Changes, said.

Protect Your Beneficiary's Inheritance

By, Jeffery Voudrie, CFP - An inheritance is the precious fruit of years of labor. It is an expression of love. Nowadays, more than ever, an inheritance is something that should be protected. All too often, inheritances are squandered or lost because of a lack of planning by those giving it. Read on to discover how to easily change that.There are many dangers that can threaten the inheritance you leave your children or heirs. The number one concern of many of the people that I talk with is that an inheritance will be lost if the beneficiary gets divorced.

Consumers Now Have Access to Free Credit Reports, Enhanced Fraud Alerts

Starting December 1, 2004 consumers will begin to have more tools at their disposal to fight identity theft, protect against credit card fraud, and check-up on the health of their total credit picture under a new federal law. The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2004 (FACT Act) was signed into law in December 2003 giving residents of the western part of the United States the right to a free copy of their credit report each year.
Community News

Giuliani Creates New Firm, Buys Arm of E&Y

When he was a prosecutor in the 1980s, Rudy Giuliani was criticized as a publicity hound when he took on insider trading and securities fraud as key issues during his tenure as Manhattan's U.S. Attorney. Now Giuliani is getting into the investment banking business, the Associated Press reported.

Financial Counseling Critical Component of Retirement Planning

A new study conducted by Ernst & Young LLP and ExecuNet revealed that personalized financial counseling is critical to help employees effectively manage retirement planning. The survey of human resource and employee benefits professionals found that financial education alone is not enough to influence a change in employee behavior. Employers that added more personalized assistance and counseling programs to their financial education programs, such as telephone and in-person counseling, reported a significant increase in the involvement of participants in their retirement planning.

Treasury, IRS Issue Proposed Regulations on Phased Retirement

The Treasury Department and IRS issued proposed regulations permitting private pension plans to begin pension payments to employees as part of a phased retirement program.
Community News

SEC Looking At 'Best Execution' Obligations

The Securities and Exchange Commission has an investigation that could uncover another instance of brokerage firms considering their bottom line ahead of their investors, the New York Times reported.The SEC is looking into more than 10 brokerage firms, including Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch, Ameritrade, Charles Schwab and E*Trade Financial, suspecting the firms failed to get the best prices for their customers on Nasdaq-listed securities when the markets open for the day.
Community News

Employers Seek Consultants Without Conflicts of Interests

The Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) received support from the nation's employers in its investigation into conflicts of interest among the consultants that servetheir employee retirement plans, a newly released survey by PLANSPONSOR shows.An overwhelming majority of 85 percent of so-called plan sponsors - employers who sponsor employee retirement plans - said it is 'extremely important' that their consultants are free of conflicts of interest.
Community News

2005 Accounting and Finance Salary Guide Now Available

Starting salaries for accounting and finance professionals are expected to increase an average of 2.4 percent next year, according to the just-released 2005 Salary Guide from Robert Half International Inc. Internal auditors and professionals focused on Sarbanes-Oxley and other corporate governance-related initiatives will see the greatest demand for their services and, as a result, the biggest increases in base compensation, research shows. The 2005 Salary Guide is based on an analysis of the thousands of job orders managed by the company's U.S. offices.

‘Renaissance, The Tax People’ Promoters Indicted for $84M Tax Fraud

Michael Craig Cooper, founder of Renaissance, The Tax People, Inc. was arrested late Tuesday crossing the border from Mexico to the U.S. near Laredo, Texas. On August 13 of this year, a federal grand jury returned a 148-count indictment charging Mr. Cooper, together with Jesse Ayala Cota, Todd Eugene Strand, Daniel Joel Gleason, and Renaissance, The Tax People Inc. ("Renaissance") with conspiracy to defraud the United States by impeding the IRS and to commit mail and wire fraud, willfully assisting in the preparation of fraudulent federal income tax returns; mail fraud and wire fraud.

Divided SEC Votes to Begin Inspections of Hedge-Fund Operators

Large hedge-fund advisers will be required to register with the Securities and Exchange Commission and undergo inspections starting in February 2006, the SEC decided Tuesday.The change was approved on a 3-2 vote and will only apply to hedge-fund operators who manage $30 million or more of assets, Dow Jones Newswires reported.SEC Chairman William Donaldson led the move for greater oversight of hedge funds. He said inspections would provide more information about the industry and prevent fraud. Failing to do so "would be a major dereliction" of the SEC's duty to investors, he said.

AICPA Launches New Website '360 Degrees of Financial Literacy'

As part of its on-going efforts to improve the financial health of Americans across all life stages and socio-economic levels, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the CPA profession went live this week with its new consumer website.

Credit Card Access to 401(k) Savings on the Way

Will convenient access to savings in 401(k) plans encourage workers to put away more money for their future or tempt them to drain their retirement accounts?The debate over that question has raged for nearly 25 years, but the various theories will be tested in the real world soon. A new 401(k) credit card is set to be unveiled today at a financial conference in Washington, D.C.

SEC, Spitzer Look for Conflicts in Investment, Retirement Planning Relationships

In a new conflict of interest case, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is finding signs that mutual-fund companies and other investment advisors paid retirement-plan consultants for referrals, the Wall Street Journal reported, quoting sources close to the SEC's year-long investigation.Last December, the SEC began an investigation of possible conflicts within the financial services industry, looking for “quid pro quo” arrangements between consulting firms and financial managers, especially when the two branches fall under the same umbrella company.Last week, New York Attorne

Commercial Property Owners Among Winners in New Tax Law

President Bush has approved $136 billion in tax breaks for businesses, commercial property owners, farmers and others in a dramatic rewrite of corporate tax law.

Social Security Announces 2.7 Percent Benefit Increase for 2005

Monthly Social Security and Supplemental Security Income benefits for more than 52 million Americans will increase 2.7 percent in 2005, the Social Security Administration announced this week. Social Security and Supplemental Security Income benefits increase automatically each year based on the rise in the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W), from the third quarter of the prior year to the corresponding period of the current year. This year's increase in the CPI-W was 2.7 percent.

Financial Professionals Question Accuracy and Timeliness of Credit Ratings

Corporate financial professionals are questioning the accuracy and timeliness of credit ratings and believe the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) must take a more active role in promoting competition among the credit rating agencies, according to a new survey released today by the Association for Financial Professionals (AFP).According to the survey, a third of financial professionals (34%) believe that their company's ratings are inaccurate, while only 42% believe changes in their organization's rating are made on a timely basis.

401(k) Loans Boost Business Startups

When seeking money for their startup business many entrepreneurs are turning to the Solo 401(k) to get a loan.Solo 401(k) retirement plans with a loan feature first became available in 2002 as a result of tax law changes that lifted restrictions on business owners getting a loan from their 401(k) plan. This change is important because in most cases when one withdraws money from a retirement account prior to age 59 ½ they are hit with a 10% tax penalty on top of the regular income tax.


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