Tag Archives: Todd Harrett

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Money Matters | Retirement Plans Can Be SIMPLE

Sponsored Post by Todd Harrett

If you own a small business (or are self-employed), there are many retirement plan alternatives available to help you and your employees plan your financial future. One popular option for organizations such as sole proprietorship’s, partnerships, corporations, and non-profit organizations to consider is the SIMPLE (Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees) Individual Retirement Account (IRA).

Unlike some retirement plans, there are specific criteria a business must meet to participate in a SIMPLE IRA plan. Here are the answers to some commonly asked questions about this type of retirement plan:

Can any business establish a SIMPLE IRA plan? Self-employed individuals and employers with fewer than 100 employees may adopt a SIMPLE plan. However, the business must not maintain any other employer-sponsored retirement plan where contributions are made or accrued during the calendar year in which the SIMPLE plan is effective. (This does not apply to plans that cover only union employees who are excluded from the SIMPLE plan.)

What is the deadline for establishing such a plan in order for it to qualify for the 2018 tax year? The IRS deadline for establishing SIMPLE IRA plans for the current year is October 1. After October 1, plans can only be established for the next tax year. An exception to October 1 exists if the business is a newly established company and has never sponsored a SIMPLE IRA plan.

Which employees are eligible to participate in this type of plan? An eligible employee is one who has received at least $5,000 in compensation from the employer during any two prior calendar years (does not need to be consecutive years) and who is reasonably expected to receive at least $5,000 compensation during the current year. In the plan’s initial agreement, the employer is able to reduce the amount of compensation and the number of years required. However, there is no required participation for this plan – eligible employees can choose whether or not they want to participate and contribute.

How much can employees contribute to the plan through salary deferral? The maximum salary deferral limit to a SIMPLE IRA plan for 2018 cannot exceed $12,500. If an employee is age 50 or older before December 31, then an additional catch-up contribution of $3,000 is permitted.

What are the maximum employer contribution limits for a SIMPLE IRA? Each year the employer must decide to do either a matching contribution (the lesser of the employee’s salary deferral or 3% of the employee’s compensation) or non-matching contribution of 2% of an employee’s compensation (limited to $275,000 for 2018). All participants in the plan must be notified of the employer’s decision. 

When must contributions be deposited? Employee deferrals should be deposited as soon as administratively feasible, but no later than 30 days following the last day of the month in which the amounts would otherwise have been payable to the employee. These rules also apply to self-employed individuals. The employer contributions deadline is the due date of the employer’s tax return, including extensions.

Can there be a vesting scheduled with a SIMPLE IRA? There is no vesting schedule with this type of plan – both employer and employee are immediately 100% vested.

How are withdrawals from SIMPLE IRAs taxed? Withdrawals from this type of account are taxed as ordinary income. However, if a participant is younger than age 59½ and makes a withdrawal within the first two years of plan participation, he or she will owe a 25% IRS penalty and ordinary income taxes on the amount withdrawn.  After the initial two years of plan participation, the 25% IRS penalty is reduced to 10% for pre 59½ withdrawals.  Exceptions to the 10% penalty on traditional IRAs are also exceptions to the 25% penalty for SIMPLE IRAs. Direct transfers to another SIMPLE IRA will not be subject to this penalty.

Can the assets in a SIMPLE IRA be rolled over? Participants are able to roll over funds from one SIMPLE plan to another at any time. After two years of participation, employees may roll assets to a traditional or SEP IRA without tax penalties.

As with any investment alternative, you should check with your Financial Advisor to evaluate the best option for your financial situation.

Wells Fargo Advisors does not provide legal or tax advice. Be sure to consult with your tax and legal advisors before taking any action that could have tax or legal consequences. Please keep in mind that transferring or rolling over assets to an IRA is just one of multiple options for your retirement plan. Each option has advantages and disadvantages, including investment options and fees and expenses, which should be understood and carefully considered.

This article was written by/for Wells Fargo Advisors and provided courtesy of Todd Harrett, Financial Advisor with Axiom Financial Strategies Group of Wells Fargo Advisors in New Albany, IN at 812-948-8475.

Investments in securities and insurance products are: NOT FDIC-INSURED/NOT BANK-GUARANTEED/MAY LOSE VALUE

Wells Fargo Advisors is a trade name used by Wells Fargo Clearing Services, LLC, Member SIPC, a registered broker-dealer and non-bank affiliate of Wells Fargo & Company.

© 2018 Wells Fargo Clearing Services, LLC. All rights reserved.    Car 0118-00640

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Money Matters | Is Divorce on the Horizon?

Todd Harrett, Financial Advisor with Axiom Financial Strategies Group of Wells Fargo Advisors in New Albany, Ind.

Todd Harrett, Financial Advisor with Axiom Financial Strategies Group of Wells Fargo Advisors in New Albany, Ind.

A divorce is obviously an emotionally charged time for you and your family. You’re juggling a lot of arrangements and financial details. Most divorce attorneys suggest thinking about how to divide your financial responsibilities as early as possible ‒ particularly if you have shared debt.

Look at shared debt. With the help of a mediator and/or your financial advisor, you may be able to decide which of you will take which debts. You may consider paying off or closing any credit accounts before you divorce. Most states allow you to settle debt issues between you. If you can’t come to an agreement and the court has to decide for you, the divorce can get very complex and expensive.

Another reason to be proactive about your shared debt: It can help you both maintain good credit ratings after your split and, perhaps most important, prevent uncomfortable conversations about unresolved debts with your ex-spouse in the future.

Get help as soon as you consider a separation. Meet with your financial advisor at the first hint of impending separation. A good financial advisor will be compassionate and willing to remain neutral if he or she serves both you and your soon-to-be-ex. Your advisor can revisit your investment portfolio and do a cash-flow analysis to illustrate what you might draw as future income. He or she can also offer advice about which shared debts might be best for you to take on (or avoid), given the amount of risk with which you are comfortable.

Start with your credit report. A smart way to begin reviewing your debts is to request a copy of your credit report so you can verify which liabilities are in your name. If your spouse is willing to share his or her credit report, that can help you get a full breakdown of all shared debts. Your obligations might include assets such as a primary home, vacation home, vehicles, credit cards and lines of credit, family business–related debt, and possibly student loan debt.

Once you have a full picture of your debts and assets, you can discuss dividing them.

What about the house? Research confirms most divorcing women want to keep the matrimonial home whenever possible, especially when children are still living there. The spouse who keeps each home should also take responsibility for its loan, refinancing it in their name if at all possible.

Information is important to handling debt well during a divorce. One situation where you might have to continue working together with your ex-spouse on a shared debt is if you have an unresolved tax obligation. You should talk to the IRS about setting up separate payments on that joint debt.

You may not agree on how to split contentious debts, such as secret credit card debt created by your spouse. In that case, your state’s laws will come into play. For instance, in most states, ownership of debts is decided by “equitable distribution.” A judge or mediator assigns debts to spouses according to factors such as who signed for it, got greatest value from it, or has the larger income.

Overall, information is the most important key to handling debt well during a divorce. Collect tax returns, credit reports, and bank and brokerage statements as early as possible. The more you know about your marital finances, the easier it should be for you to negotiate over outstanding debts at the settlement table.

 

This article was written by/for Wells Fargo Advisors and provided courtesy of Todd Harrett, Financial Advisor with Axiom Financial Strategies Group of Wells Fargo Advisors in New Albany, IN at 812-948-8475.

Investments in securities and insurance products are: NOT FDIC-INSURED/NOT BANK-GUARANTEED/MAY LOSE VALUE

Wells Fargo Advisors is a trade name used by Wells Fargo Clearing Services, LLC, Member SIPC, a registered broker-dealer and non-bank affiliate of Wells Fargo & Company.

© 2017 Wells Fargo Clearing Services, LLC. All rights reserved.  CAR 0217-04883

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Money Matters | Focus on Year-End Tax Planning

 

Michelle Floyd, CFP, Financial Consultant

Michelle Floyd, CFP, Financial Consultant

Our company is committed to helping you succeed across all areas of your financial life.  Here are five considerations to think about when it comes to tax planning.

Five areas to consider at year-end:

  1. Analyze your investment portfolio.
  • Review your portfolio to help ensure your allocation still aligns with your goals.
  • Assess tax consequences if you have sold assets earlier in the year.
  • Review tax-loss selling strategies if you have capital gains but wish to keep exposure to a depreciated sector or security.
  1. Manage your taxes.
  • Evaluate the pros and cons of deferring taxable income, if you expect to be in the same or a lower tax bracket next year.
  • Talk to your CPA about increasing your tax deductions.
  1. Maximize your tax-saving opportunities.
  • Consider increasing your retirement savings for the year.
  • Find the right type of IRA for you.
  • If suitable for your circumstances, consider consolidating your assets.
  • Take advantage of an FSA or HSA for health care expenses.
  1. Protect what matters.
  • Review your insurance coverage to help make sure it is adequate for your needs.
  • Review your beneficiary designations and make any necessary adjustments due to life changes (i.e., marriage, divorce, birth of child/grandchild, death, etc.).
  1. Leave a legacy.
  • Review your estate plan to help ensure it is aligned with your wishes.
  • Think about creating or adding to a tax-advantaged college savings plan.
  • Consider developing a plan to complete charitable and family member gifts by year-end.

Taking the time to create, review, or update your investment plan can help you reach your short-term and long-term financial goals. Contact us to schedule a review of your financial situation.

Wells Fargo Advisors is not a legal or tax advisor. However, we will be glad to work with you, your accountant, tax advisor, and/or attorney to help you meet your financial goals.

This article was written by/for Wells Fargo Advisors and provided courtesy of Michelle Floyd, CFP®, Financial Consultant with Axiom Financial Strategies Group of Wells Fargo Advisors in New Albany, IN.  She can be reached at 812-948-8475.  Visit our website at www.AxiomFSG.com.

Investments in securities and insurance products are: NOT FDIC-INSURED/NOT BANK-GUARANTEED/MAY LOSE VALUE

Wells Fargo Advisors is a trade name used by Wells Fargo Clearing Services, LLC, Member SIPC, a registered broker-dealer and non-bank affiliate of Wells Fargo & Company.

© 2017 Wells Fargo Clearing Services, LLC. All rights reserved.   0817-02327

 

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Money Matters | Which Retirement Plan Is Right for Your Business?

By Todd Harrett | Financial Advisor with Axiom Financial Strategies Group of Wells Fargo Advisors in New Albany

Todd Harrett, Financial Advisor with Axiom Financial Strategies Group of Wells Fargo Advisors in New Albany, Ind.

Todd Harrett, Financial Advisor with Axiom Financial Strategies Group of Wells Fargo Advisors in New Albany, Ind.

If you own a small business, there are many retirement plan alternatives available to help you and your eligible employees save for retirement. For most closely-held business owners, a Simplified Employee Pension Individual Retirement Account (SEP IRA) was once the most cost-effective choice. Then the Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees (SIMPLE IRA) became a viable alternative. Today you may find that a defined benefit or 401(k) plan best suits your needs. To make an informed decision on which plan is right for your business, review the differences carefully before you choose.

Simplified Employee Pension Individual Retirement Account (SEP IRA). This plan is flexible, easy to set up, and has low administrative costs. An employer signs a plan adoption agreement, and IRAs are set up for each eligible employee. When choosing this plan, keep in mind that it does not allow employees to save through payroll deductions, and contributions are immediately 100% vested.

The maximum an employer can contribute each year is 25% of an employee’s eligible compensation, up to a maximum of $270,000 for 2017. However, the contribution for any individual cannot exceed $54,000 in 2017. Employer contributions are typically discretionary and may vary from year to year. With this plan, the same formula must be used to calculate the contribution amount for all eligible employees, including any owners. Eligible employees include those who are age 21 and older and those employed (both part time and full time) for three of the last five years.

Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees (SIMPLE). If you want a plan that encourages employees to save for retirement, a SIMPLE IRA might be appropriate for you. In order to select this plan, you must have 100 or fewer eligible employees who earned $5,000 or more in compensation in the preceding year and have no other employer-sponsored retirement plans to which contributions were made or accrued during that calendar year. There are no annual IRS fillings or complex paperwork, and employer contributions are tax deductible for your business. The plan encourages employees to save for retirement through payroll deductions; contributions are immediately 100% vested.

The maximum salary deferral limit to a SIMPLE IRA plan cannot exceed $12,500 for 2017. If an employee is age 50 or older before December 31, then an additional catch-up contribution of $3,000 is permitted. Each year the employer must decide to do either a matching contribution (the lesser of the employee’s salary deferral or 3% of the employee’s compensation) or non-matching contribution of 2% of an employee’s compensation (limited to $270,000 for 2017). All participants in the plan must be notified of the employer’s decision.

Defined benefit pension plan. This type of plan helps build savings quickly. It generally produces a much larger tax-deductible contribution for your business than a defined contribution plan; however, annual employer contributions are mandatory since each participant is promised a monthly benefit at retirement age. Since this plan is more complex to administer, the services of an enrolled actuary are required. All plan assets must be held in a pooled account, and your employees cannot direct their investments.

Certain factors affect an employer’s contribution for a plan, such as current value of the plan assets, the ages of employees, date of hire, and compensation. A participating employee with a large projected benefit and only a few years until normal retirement age generates a large contribution because there is little time to accumulate the necessary value to produce the stated benefit at retirement. The maximum annual benefit at retirement is the lesser of 100% of the employee’s compensation or $215,000 per year in 2017 (indexed for inflation).

401(k) plans. This plan may be right for your company if you want to motivate your employees to save towards retirement and give them a way to share in the firm’s profitability. 401(k) plans are best suited for companies seeking flexible contribution methods.

When choosing this plan type, keep in mind that the employee and employer have the ability to make contributions. The maximum salary deferral limit for a 401(k) plan is $18,000 for 2017.  If an employee is age 50 or older before December 31, then an additional catch-up contribution of $6,000 is permitted. The maximum amount you, as the employer, can contribute is 25% of the eligible employee’s total compensation (capped at $270,000 for 2017). Individual allocations for each employee cannot exceed the lesser of 100% of compensation or $54,000 in 2017. The allocation of employer profit-sharing contributions can be skewed to favor older employees, if using age-weighted and new comparability features. Generally, IRS Forms 5500 and 5500-EZ (along with applicable schedules) must be filed each year.

Once you have reviewed your business’s goals and objectives, you should check with your Financial Advisor to evaluate the best retirement plan option for your financial situation.

This article was written by Wells Fargo Advisors and provided courtesy of Todd Harrett, Financial Advisor with Axiom Financial Strategies Group of Wells Fargo Advisors in New Albany, IN at 812-948-8475.  Visit our website at www.AxiomFSG.com.

Wells Fargo Advisors does not provide legal or tax advice. Be sure to consult with your tax and legal advisors before taking any action that could have tax consequences.

Investments in securities and insurance products are: NOT FDIC-INSURED/NOT BANK-GUARANTEED/MAY LOSE VALUE

Wells Fargo Advisors is a trade name used by Wells Fargo Clearing Services, LLC and Wells Fargo Advisors Financial Network, LLC, Members SIPC, separate registered broker-dealers and non-bank affiliates of Wells Fargo & Company.

©2016 Wells Fargo Clearing Services, LLC.   All rights reserved.         1216-01966 [86913-v6] 1115 e6830