Get what you deserve by charging what your services are really worth — their value — to your clients.

Are you looking for ways to make your money go further?

Lots of IdeasWhen I ask for a client’s personal budget, many clients, including the financial advisors, don’t have one or haven’t looked at it for a long time. Those who watch their budgets (personal or business) always tell me there aren’t any places they can save money.

WRONG!

Peter* is saving $500 per month personally. Mary* just sent me a note that she’s now saving $1000 per year on one line of her personal budget. Why? They had their coach, who has a background in finances, check their family budget. Greg* isn’t saving anything because he puts the $400 per month right back into the business for the target marketing he really wants to do.

Request a Financial Accountability Review and let your financially-savvy accountability coach view your personal and business budget. During the month of October, I’ll be providing budget forms to subscribers who become "Budget Conscious". I’ll analyze your business and personal budgets for 50% off the $200 fee. If I can’t find at least 1 way to save you money, I’ll return all but $50 of the fee you paid. If I reduce your expenses more than the fee you pay, provide me with a bonus based on what you feel this service was worth. The coupon code is: birthday and you’ll get 50% off my regular session rates. Now just $100.
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*My clients’ confidentiality is important to them and me. The situations have occurred, the names have been changed.

"A belated thank you. I took your advice and got new quotes for our insurance. I could understand if the difference was $100 or so but I ended up saving over $1,000 a year!"

*Greg

Do you live in a country that doesn’t respect wealth?

“You can preserve wealth in a country that doesn’t respect it.” — Eric  Baldwin, Forbes Writer, in an article”Smart Money Strategies For Obama 2.0″  that  he wrote at http://www.forbes.com/sites/baldwin/2012/11/26/smart-money-strategies-for-obama-2-0/

Do you feel that we live in a country that doesn’t respect wealth?  (and why)  Do you disagree? (and why)   What does being wealthy or successful look like to you?

Personally, I agree with his comment.  For many, many years, I’ve noticed that as much as we strive for success, and for most of us wealth is a part of that success, it seems that as soon as someone or a company becomes “successful”  people look to “chew them down”.

 

Financial Advisors: How to set boundaries with clients and friends when they become ‘freebie-seekers’

Stategic Business Coach, Planning Strategist Maria Marsala
Establishing where free ends and fee begins can be challenging, but learning the art of declining gracefully is essential to focusing on what’s important in your practice.

As long as you’re in the financial arena, you’re going to be asked to work for free. Financial professionals endure a specific set of boundary-crossing issues. Timothy Yee, a corporate/non-profit retirement planner from Green Retirement Plans Inc., says this about the people I call “freebie seekers”: “It is amusing to be asked if they can buy a no-sales- charge/ultra-low-expense fund through me and not pay me for my time. I can’t imagine the same person going to a doctor and asking to fix a broken leg for free. Why has financial planning allowed itself to be turned into a commodity?”

Read the entire article,  leave a comment, and take action to plug up areas where you maybe leaking profits at http://www.riabiz.com/a/15222007/how-to-set-boundaries-clients-and-friends-when-they-become-freebie-seekers

Best Resources For Tax Information

Stategic Business Coach, Planning Strategist Maria Marsala
by Maria Marsala
Summary:  Know where to go for tax advice?  This article will assist you!

 

Where can a business owner obtain tax information? When you don’t know what questions to ask, it’s very helpful to take some classes, and read a few articles prior to visiting with a CPA. Enjoy these resources:

Internal Revenue Service (IRS) the best free classes around! Call your local office to find out when the home business or sole proprietorship classes are held. The home business class is a half-day class; the sole proprietorship class is a full day. The difference between these two classes — the extra half day — is spent dealing with employee tax information. Take a class every year. Expenses are deductible and I bet you will learn quite a few things each year.

Visit their web site at http://www.treasury.gov/Pages/default.aspx, or call toll free (800) 829-3676. Ask for Business Kit Publication 454 and STEP Publication 1057 (Small Business Tax Education Program). Tell them what type of organization you are considering, how many employees you will have, etc., so they can send you other free helpful publications. They’ll even send you a very nice Tax Calendar. Just ask for it!

Local Authorities Let’s look at some local taxing authorities. In some states, the Department of Taxation provides monthly classes for new business owners. They cover state-specific topics such as business income tax, occupancy tax and sales tax.

While we’re on the local level, don’t forget to contact your county, city or town revenue offices, too. Yes, everyone gets in the act of collecting some sort of tax! It could be yearly, quarterly, or monthly. At the very least, call each entity to see what they need from you and what materials or classes they provide. Don’t want to call? The end result is fines and penalties later on — usually many times more than you would have paid in the first place.

Web Sites

CPA, Accountant or Bookkeeper?

Besides trading on Wall Street, I was an Operations & Accounting Manager. At one point, I had bookkeepers, accountants and a few CPA’s working for me.  I was able to sign off on the work performed by the bookkeepers but I wasn’t unable to sign off on any  internal audits. Why? Because I didn’t have a CPA License!

So you can see, there is a difference between a CPA, accountant and Bookkeeper.   Now-a-days, with Quicken and Peachtree, many of us can set up our own bookkeeping and send out invoices – if that is how we choose to use our time.

If you are a small business owner, you have many choices.  You can: 1) Hire a CPA or accounting firm that has book keepers to do your monthly bookkeeping 2) Hire a CPA or accounting firm that will help you set up your monthly bookkeeping system and then you can do your bookkeeping or hire a bookkeeper yourself. 3) Hire a bookkeeper to do your monthly bookkeeping 4) do it yourself.

As my business grew, I hired a bookkeeper and worked with them to set up a monthly bookkeeping system.  The system was set up as suggested at the IRS Tax Class I attended – with categories names and in close order to the tax forms I’ll use as a sole proprietor (Schedule C & Form 8829).  I’ll choose the names of the sub-categories based on how I spend money.   They also suggested that you set up your file cabinet with similarly named files.

What do I suggest to my clients?  That they use their time, money and efforts wisely.  Hire a bookkeeper (of course, make sure they’re not just data entry clerks who know an accounting system, like Quickbooks).  Then before quarterly taxes are due, send a copy of the files to your CPA or Accountant to review.  Or hire an CPA firm who charges a lower fee for bookkeeping.  As your business grows, so can you!

 

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What have you found to work?  Let us know.

 

What do these ratings things mean anyway?

I’ve been asked about the importance of ratings and what they mean.

IN GENERAL

The main importance of a rating is to the entity issuing bonds.  The higher the rating (AAA being the highest) the lower the interest rate to the entity selling the bonds.  Entities can be the government, municipality or corporation.

Another importance is to those individuals, institutions or companies who own bonds.  If  you own a bond and rating goes up, your bond should be worth more money.  If you own a bond and the rating goes down, if you were to sell the bond, it would be worth less than you paid for it.

MORE INFORMATION (from the horse’s mouth so to speak)

Moody’s : http://www.moodys.com/researchdocumentcontentpage.aspx?docid=PBC_79004

S/P:  http://www.standardandpoors.com/ratings/definitions-and-faqs/en/us

Fitch:  http://www.fitchratings.com/web_content/ratings/fitch_ratings_definitions_and_scales.pdf

OTHER:

MBIA:  http://www.mbia.com/about/about_main.html

AMBAC:  http://www.ambac.com/

 

The columns, articles, and tips featured on our blog or website do not represent a recommendation to buy, sell, or hold any security. The views and opinions expressed in an article or column are the author’s own (period).