Latest Posts

Preparing for a 401(k) Audit: Yes, They Really Do Exist

As a business owner, the word ‘audit’ tends to send chills down the spine and upset the stomach. But did you know that if your company offers a retirement plan to your employees your Plan Sponsor—party designated to administer a retirement plan, usually a company—should be conducting a plan audit? Read more

9 Factors that Increase Your Auto Insurance Rates

You’ve got a brand new ride, and you’re just itching to get out on the road and whip around town in style. No problem, you deserve it. You hooked yourself up with some decent car insurance, so you’re covered just in case you have an accident. Hey, things happen. Now, let’s hope that if you do suffer some bad luck, you and anyone else involved walks away with no more than a scratch. After that, you can put everything in the rear view mirror until you get hit with that pesky little repair bill....Read more

Credit Card Compliance: The Military Lending Act

The Military Lending Act (MLA) was created to protect active duty members of the military, their spouses, and their dependents from certain lending practices that could pose a risk and a possible threat to military readiness as well as affect the retention of military service members. Since the inception of the MLA in 2006, there have been a number of changes to the program’s rules and regulations. In 2015, the final rule was announced which involves expanding the types of credit products that...Read more

Explaining Out-of-Pocket Health Care Costs to Your Employees

As an employer, of course you want your employees to take advantage of and appreciate the value of the benefits your company provides and pays for. However, it can be difficult to appreciate things we don't fully understand. Health insurance is usually one of the most involved and confusing benefits topics to explain. Given the significant expense of providing employees with health coverage, it's in your company's best interest to help employees understand the value of their health...Read more

The Endless Highway

“Sure as night will follow day, most things I worry about never happen anyway."—Tom Petty I was thinking about this Tom Petty lyric as I read a story this morning about the European Union (EU), Greece, and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) hammering out details of a deal to release more bailout funds. My first reaction was, “Greece? I thought they fixed this years ago!” It seems the Greeks have finally started to do what they should have done seven years ago: nod their heads and agree to...Read more

How to Finance a Fixer-Upper

If you're like many families who plan for a home renovation project, finding a way to pay for the remodel is the toughest part. There's nothing like a blow to morale after you've been caught up in the visions of entertaining in that brand new spacious kitchen, or having extra space for your home office just to realize you forget to consider the costs. Many families look to home renovation loans to fund their dream projects. You're not alone, a Homeadvisor survey found that 19% of...Read more

Picking Up Nickels in Front of the Steam Roller

  Back in 2007, I was in the thick of the “sub-prime” crisis at a major Wall Street firm. I had very little to do with subprime bonds or the insane derivatives that turned a $25 billion problem into a multi-trillion dollar problem. I’d like to say I had nothing to do with subprime because I thought it was going to end in disaster. In reality, I was late to the party, and all the clients who either created or invested in the bonds were already taken at this big firm. Read more

Making Corrective Distributions in Your 401(k) Plan

Do you offer a 401(k) or other retirement plan to your employees? If yes, it's wonderful that you assist your employees in planning and saving for their future! Like many other financial areas in your business, though, your 401(k) plan requires some oversight to avoid trouble and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) penalties. Make sure you familiarize yourself with these rules regarding contributions and the possible need for corrective distributions from your plan. Read more

Energy Independence? Thank Ben Bernanke!

It seems fitting to note (shortly after the United States pulled out of the Paris Climate Accord) that perhaps the greatest force in the U.S. oil and gas industry since John D. Rockefeller is none other than former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. I seriously doubt that when Chairman Bernanke’s Federal Reserve began their asset buying program in 2008, known as Quantitative Easing (QE), they knew they would drive the U.S. to a state of near-total energy independence. Read more

2017 Trends in FinTech

When it comes to any area of technology, one thing's for sure: it's ever changing and evolving. Financial technology, or fintech, is no exception. And while it can be tiring to keep up—let alone stay ahead—in the industry, we must do so, since falling behind quickly allows our competitors to gain ground.  Read more

Motorcycle Safety Tips Every Rider Should Know

Summer is just around the corner and more motorcyclists will hit the open road. There’s no denying that motorcycles are cool, fun, and fuel-efficient, but it’s also true that riding a motorcycle is riskier than driving a car. To some people, that’s part of the appeal. Living life on the edge and taking risks can be part of what makes riding a motorcycle rewarding.  Read more

Why You Should Offer an Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

May 2017 marked the 68th anniversary for the observance of Mental Health Month, opening the discussion for why companies should consider offering an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). An EAP provides free and confidential assessments, counseling, referrals, and follow-up services to employees that experience personal and/or work-related problems. Each year, more than 40 million Americans experience mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety, stress, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic...Read more

Estate Planning 101: 6 Reasons Why You Need a Will

You know what they say: where there’s a will, there’s a way. This is true not only in life but in death as well. A will is necessary to provide a clear directive for your family after you pass away. Some may believe that a will is only for the high-brow rulers of society, but in reality, a will is for anyone who wants to provide clear communication of their wishes to their family and loved ones upon death.  Read more

How To Avoid Underinsuring Your Investment Properties

There are more than 15 million single-family rental homes up for grabs, and the rental market continues to be in demand. So what does this mean to real estate investors? Becoming a real estate investor with a portfolio of rental properties comes with many different responsibilities and risks, such as making sure your rental properties are properly insured and keeping your tenants happy. The fact is, you simply can’t afford to risk underinsuring your rental properties. Life, natural disasters,...Read more

5 Tips You Should Consider to Make the Right Tenant Selection

Real estate investors have quite a to-do list when it comes to minimizing risk for their investment property portfolio. You must consider things like adequate insurance coverage, estimated home maintenance costs, potential tax implications, and how to find and keep the right tenants for your rental properties. While finding a tenant may be easy for some investors, particularly if you're in a popular location, finding the right tenant is not always so simple. Unfortunately, if you don't find the...Read more

3 Financial Activities You Should Consider When Planning For a Baby

First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes baby in a baby carriage? No matter the path you took to get here, if you're expecting a little bundle of joy or planning to adopt a child, now is the time to start planning ahead. Perhaps it's been something weighing on the back of your mind, and you just haven't gotten around to it, or maybe you hadn't even considered the financial "to do" list that comes with a new baby, but the fact is, adding a new family member comes with new financial...Read more

Top 7 Mistakes to Avoid with Your Employee Handbook

An employee handbook is a living document for any organization and exists because they set the tone between the employer and employee, acting as a valuable communication piece. Inside every employee handbook, you can typically find historical information about the company, policies, procedures, and an explanation of benefits, among other things. It is important to create a well-written employee handbook, and regularly revisit the content to ensure it aligns with any new laws or regulations that...Read more

How Swimming Pools Affect your Property Insurance

As the days get longer and the weather gets warmer, some Americans find a thought surfacing on their minds: “Should I invest in a pool?” Perhaps each summer you think it, but this summer you really mean it. You’re going to beat the heat in your very own backyard oasis. While owning a pool can be a dream for some, it can quickly turn into a nightmare without the right insurance. Here are some things to consider. Read more

How to Improve Bad Credit to Secure a Home Loan

Bad credit . . . it's a dark cloud that hangs over your head and finances. Whether your bad credit is from making misguided choices or hardships that were out of your control, it can make qualifying for a mortgage loan difficult and stressful. Read more

Why More Americans Are Delaying Retirement

I am several years away from retirement, and while I sometimes daydream about the day that I'll officially retire from the "rat race" (particularly on those long, tough days at the office) and trade my suit and tie for hunting gear, I recently learned that many Americans are delaying retirement. I found this surprising, so I sat down with Reuben Escobedo, Retirement Plan Specialist at SWBC, who has nearly 17 years of experience in the financial and retirement industry, to learn more about this...Read more