West Covina council candidates talk public safety, city finances at forum

by Shelton on December 8th, 2015

filed under Finances

West Covina council candidates talk public safety, city finances at forum

Cutter Family Finances: Long-Term Care Can Be Complicated

by Shelton on November 22nd, 2015

filed under Finances

When Susan and I teach people about how to prepare for retirement, we focus on financial preparation. Being prepared financially is critical to a sound retirement system, one that can provide security, peace of mind and independence. We often find one overlooked area of financial preparation, which can threaten this independence, is the cost of long-term care. But with medical advancements, life expectancies are increasing, and so is the need for long-term care.

The Bank of Montreal Wealth Institute recently published a report highlighting this, noting that one of the greatest fears associated with aging and retirement is the inability to afford healthcare services and long-term care when the need arises. According to the BMO report, more than one-third of Americans surveyed stated that losing their ability to live independently is their greatest healthcare-related concern. Yet, 28 percent of these same Americans have not made any plans or preparation for dealing with this fear.

The Critical Role Life Care Planners Can Play in Your Finances

by Shelton on November 21st, 2015

filed under Finances

Consider the case of a client I worked with this spring. She asked me to help her challenge an inflated and error-ridden hospital bill of almost $50,000, the amount left over after her insurer paid its contracted amount. After a couple of months of negotiating directly with the hospital, my client owed a revised balance of $0. Her experience illustrates just how critical it is to one’s financial security to have an advocate working on your behalf.

Independent health care advocates who work as life care planners (myself included) not only battle erroneous bills, but also can provide guidance on health coverage. The long-term consequences of your coverage selection can have a major impact on your finances. Monthly premiums are important but not the only factor to consider — annual deductibles can run several thousand dollars. Combine that with co-insurance, co-payments and the battle to prove that care is “medically necessary,” and it’s no surprise medical expenses can bankrupt so many Americans.

How life care planners help

These professionals are savvy in estate planning, capital growth and preservation; they’re also capable of reviewing income tax returns and are able to scrutinize insurance coverage of all types. They can help you in a time of vulnerability and stress by ensuring that you and your loved ones are not overcharged for medical care.

Life care planners can review your estate plan, financial records, income tax returns and insurance policies. Once that’s completed, they can provide you with a written analysis of your life care plan. You can then take this critique to your other trusted advisors — your estate planning attorney, accountant, financial advisor and insurance agent — and ask each to confirm that the part of your life care plan that they help you with is on track.

Over the years, traditional advisors who are entrusted with guiding people along the path to a secure financial future have dismissed as irrelevant the work done by life care planners and health care advocates. But as health care costs continue to rise, threatening the financial security of so many Americans, that’s bound to change.

Life care planners decipher your medical coverage plans, fight for fair prices and help protect any assets you’ve set aside for you and your loved ones. They make certain the components of your life care umbrella are soundly in place, covering every facet of your valuable life.

After 26 years of observing a constantly consolidating health care system that was hungry for profits, I realized that as a life care planner I could be effective as a determined David committed to showing a thing or two to Goliath. And it won’t be long before traditional advisors acknowledge the need for independent health care advocates and life care planners, who are passionate about protecting you physically, emotionally and financially.

This article was originally published on NerdWallet.com.

By Lisa Berry Blackstock
Learn more about Lisa at NerdWallet’s Ask an Advisor

The Montgomery County Book Festival group is hoping the community will invest …

by Shelton on November 20th, 2015

filed under Finances

Posted: Thursday, November 5, 2015 10:30 pm

Low finances threaten Montgomery County Teen Book Festival

By Stephen Green

Houston Community Newspapers

Keep Your Business Finances in Order With These 6 Tips

by Shelton on November 20th, 2015

filed under Finances

Do you find managing your business finances to be a pain?Although it may appear to be,and often is,tedious, keeping your finances in order is extremely important.

It helps you to project where your business is headed, and when you know exactly how your revenue and expenses are stacking up, you can begin to make more informed decisions for your business.Maintaining your financial records also makes tax reporting and payments a lot more manageable.

Dont try to do it all alone. Leverage the talent and the tools that are available to you. Here are six tips to help you keep your business finances in order:

1. Keep your personal andbusiness finances separate.

Mixing your personal and business finances will inevitably result in confusion. It might seem convenient to charge everything to a single card, but ultimately this will make tracking your spending far more complicated than it needs to be.

Begin by opening separate bank and credit card accounts for your business. For the ongoing tracking and measuring of your finances, and for tax purposes, this practice will take a major headache out of sorting your transactions every quarter, or every year as the case may be.

Related:5 Finance Tips All Business Owners Should Follow

This will also take the guesswork out of the equation. If you want to be successful in business, you need to be able to monitor and track your key performance indicators. You need to know the score, and some of the most important elements include cash flow, expenses, revenue, profitand so on.

2. Choose accounting software that makes sense for your business.

When it comes to accounting software, there are a variety of different solutions. Think of Xero, QuickBooks and Freshbooks. The best online accounting software depends on your business, and its worth considering several options before making a decision.

If you havent moved your financial data from desktop software to the cloud yet, that should be your first order of business. Cloud-based tools allow you to view real-time insights, and they can be accessed from anywhere at any time. The ability to keep an eye on your finances on the fly gives you a great deal of flexibility as a business owner.

If youve already picked out an online solution, ensure that its the right one for you and your business. Today more than ever, there are a myriad of options to choose from, and if you arent satisfied with your current service, you can always make the switch to another platform that better matches your needs.

3. Consider hiring a professional bookkeeper.

Most people arent numbers people, and will never be excited about them as much as accountants or bookkeepers are. If managing your own finances is starting to get on your nerves, its time to look into hiring a qualified bookkeeper.

Many entrepreneurs have a tendency to try to handle everything themselves. But as with legal matters, the granular elements of small-business accounting arent usually within a business owners wheelhouse.

Although its easy to balk at the expense of working with a bookkeeper, they will be able to help you save money over the long haul. Youll be freed up to work on high value tasks that keep the business moving forward, while your bookkeeper handles the tedium of number crunching.

4. Stay organized and plan ahead.

The aforementioned tips should help with keeping your finances organized. Moreover, monitoring your finances and projecting future revenue and expenses will enable you to make better long-term decisions for your business.

Without this information, planning ahead can prove challenging. If you arent looking at the future of your business, you could be taken by surprise. If you want to get ahead and stay ahead of the competition, you should plan as much as 10 years in advance.

Youll be able to mitigate unwanted surprises if you stay ahead of the ball. Even if unexpected expenses do rise, if youve been practicing conservatism in your spending, you shouldnt run into any major problems.

Related:Things Always Cost More Than You Think

5. Make abudget.

Part of staying organized and planning ahead should include creating a budget. Many business owners view this step as dull and unnecessary, but the importance of a budget could be equated with the value of a well-formed business plan.

A budget is not a tool for planning out how every penny should be spent. Rather, its a framework that you can use to help you make clear-headed decisions, whether its increasing your marketing spend, or cutting expansion costs to keep your profits on track.

Make a budget and use it as your guide. Dont allow it to force you into decisions you dont want to make, but use it to make adjustments when and where necessary.

6. Find a trusted credit union in your locality.

Credit unions are invaluable to small-business owners, especially since they are often willing to provide loans at competitive rates. Make it a point to seek out the best one in your locality, and make sure they understand your business needs. The partnership could prove immensely beneficial.

Some of the other advantages of credit unions include fewer transaction fees and account service charges, as well as flexible, customized services.

Since credit unions are not answerable to shareholders, they are empowered to put your interests at the forefront. Credit unions also keep profits within the community, and help budding entrepreneurs get their dream businesses off the ground.

Final thoughts

The reality is that many business owners do not keep track of their finances. Whether you know it or not, this could mean missing out on opportunities to minimize your expenses and maximize your profits.

Preparing online business accounts can take time, but the end result is worth the effort. Even if you dont consider finances to be the most important part of your business, streamlining your process will allow you to develop a straightforward step-by-step process as opposed to a search-and-find initiative.

Make the effort to simplify the organization of your business finances moving forward. This will allow for long-term stability and sustainability.

Related:10 Best Accounting Websites for Startups

CBS and NBC Hit Rubio over Finances; ‘On the Defensive’ Opening Door for …

by Shelton on November 19th, 2015

filed under Finances

With his continued rise in the 2016 Republican presidential polls, the liberal media has circled back to attacking Marco Rubio over his personal finances with the latest attack pieces coming on Wednesdays editions of the CBS Evening News and NBC Nightly News as both minimized the fact that Rubio was exonerated by a Florida ethics commission back in 2012.

Turning first to NBC, anchor Lester Holt hyped that while Marco Rubio is enjoying a surge in the Republican polls, but with more attention comes more scrutiny with him spending Wednesday the defensive about his own finances.

Reporting from New Hampshire, correspondent Hallie Jackson also stated that Rubios rise translates to more scrutiny and specifically more questions on how he used a state party credit card when he was a Florida legislator, admitting he charged personal expenses to the card but paid them.

Only briefly footnoting that [a] state commission found no ethic violations, Jackson declared that he nonetheless admitted this opens him up to attacks from rivals.

Over on the CBS Evening News, the setup was nearly identical with anchor Scott Pelley providing results of a new poll of the field from Quinnipiac before ruling that [f]or Rubio, a rise in the polls means rising scrutiny.

Chief White House correspondent Major Garrett gave viewers the facts about Rubios finances and use of the Florida GOPs credit card, but only afterward did he mention that the Florida Senator was cleared of wrongdoing by a Florida ethics watchdog in 2012.

Speaking of opponents like Donald Trump, Garrett mentioned how that last point hasnt stopped Rubios rivals…from attacking him.

Further, if one peruses the files of NewsBusters for blogs about the medias coverage of Rubio, his finances has been a reoccurring issue that the liberal press have attempted to harness as a way to discredit him throughout the campaign thus far. By the looks of it, its all but certain this line from them wont be going away anytime soon.

RNC asks IRS to audit Clinton charity’s finances

by Shelton on November 18th, 2015

filed under Finances

The Republican National Committee asked the IRS Tuesday to audit the finances of one of the Clinton familys charities following its initial refusal to re-file tax forms even after acknowledging errors in reporting donations from foreign governments.

Reuters reported that the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) said this week it had decided against re-filing so-called Form 990s because the errors had no impact on the total amount of income it reported to the IRS. The charity claimed that the total amount of income was correct, but the breakdown of government and private funding was not. As a result, CHAI spokeswoman Maura Daley initially said the organization does not believe a re-filing is necessary.

The group apparently reversed course by Wednesday, with Daley telling Politico that following media interest in the matter it will refile two years worth of forms.

RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, in response, said re-filing erroneous returns 7 months after the fact amid political pressure is hardly a show of good faith, and continued to call for an IRS audit.

Priebus first requested the audit in a letter to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen.

New books claim widespread mismanagement of Vatican finances

by Shelton on November 18th, 2015

filed under Finances

Merchants in the Temple, by Gianluigi Nuzzi, and Avarice, by Emiliano Fittipaldi, are due to be published on Thursday

The Vatican’s new leaks scandal intensified on Tuesday as a book detailing claims of mismanagement and internal resistance that has been thwarting Pope Francis’s financial reform efforts.

Citing confidential documents, it exposed millions of euros in potential lost rental revenue, the scandal of the Vatican’s saint-making machine, greedy monsignors and a professional-style break-in at the Vatican.

Merchants in the Temple, by Italian journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi is due out on Thursday but an advance copy was obtained on Tuesday by the Associated Press. Its publication, and that of a second book, come days after the Vatican arrested two members of Francis’ financial reform commission in an investigation into stolen documents.

The Vatican on Monday described the books as “fruit of a grave betrayal of the trust given by the Pope, and, as far as the authors go, of an operation to take advantage of a gravely illicit act of handing over confidential documentation.”

“Publications of this nature do not help in any way to establish clarity and truth, but rather generate confusion and partial and tendentious conclusions,” the Vatican said.

The arrests and books mark a new phase in the so-called “Vatileaks” scandal. The saga began in 2012 with an earlier Nuzzi expose, peaked with the conviction of Benedict XVI’s butler on charges he supplied Nuzzi with stolen documents, and ended a year later when Benedict resigned.

With the scandal still fresh, Francis was elected in 2013 on a mandate from his fellow cardinals to reform the Vatican bureaucracy and clean up its opaque finances. He set out promptly by creating a commission of eight experts to gather information from all Vatican offices on the Holy See’s overall financial situation, which by that time was dire.

Mgr Lucio Angel Vallejo Balda, a high-ranking Vatican official affiliated with the Opus Dei movement, and Francesca Chaouqui, an Italian public relations executive, were both members — and now are accused in the leaks probe.

Rubio swings back at Trump over finances

by Shelton on November 11th, 2015

filed under Finances

    I find it ironic that the only person running for president thats ever declared a bankruptcy, four times in the last 25 years, is attacking anyones finances, Rubio told CNN when asked about the feud.

    Trump has been hitting Rubio over his financial history on the trail, mocking his personal debt and raising concerns about personal expenses that were charged to a Republican Party of Florida card.

    RELATED: Rubio dismisses criticism of finances

    Rubio’s controversial finances keep getting messier

    by Shelton on November 10th, 2015

    filed under Finances

    The most damaging political controversies tend to be the easiest to understand. To this extent, Sen. Marco Rubios (R-Fla.) current flap has the potential to do some harm: in the broadest sense, its a story of a presidential candidate whos made a mess of his personal finances and whos made claims about the controversy that dont appear to be true.