Annual Financial To-Do List

By Lindsay Price, 1999-11-30
YOUR ANNUAL FINANCIAL TO-DO LISTThings you can do before and for the New Year.Presented by Arnold M. SocolThe end of the year is a good time to review your personal finances. What are your financial, business or life priorities for 2010? Try to specify the goals you want to accomplish. Think about the consistent investing, saving or budgeting methods you could use to realize them. Also, consider these year-end moves.Think about adjusting or timing your income and tax deductions. If you earn a lot of money and have the option of postponing a portion of the taxable income you will make in 2009 until 2010, this decision can bring you some tax savings. You might also consider accelerating payment of deductible expenses if you are close to the line on itemized deductions another way to potentially save some bucks.Max out your IRA contribution at the start of 2010. If you can do it, do it early. The sooner you make your contribution, the more interest those assets will earn. For 2010, the contribution limits are unchanged for both traditional and Roth IRAs: $5,000 if you are age 49 and below, $6,000 if you are age 50 and above. Remember that you can still make an IRA contribution for the 2009 tax year through April 15, 2010.1While were talking about maxing things out, dont forget your 401(k), 403(b) or Thrift Savings Plan if you are still working. You can contribute up to $16,500 to these plans in 2010, with a $5,500 catch-up contribution also allowed if you are age 50 or older.2Consider a Roth IRA conversion for 2010. Next year, anyone may convert a Roth IRA. The $100,000 modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) ceiling that often prevented that move will be gone - forever. The MAGI phase-out limits for contributing to Roth IRAs will be $167,000 for joint filers and $105,000 for single filers in 2010, but if your MAGI will exceed those limits, you may still contribute to a traditional IRA in 2010 and immediately roll it over to a Roth.2,3More good news: if you do a Roth conversion during 2010, you can choose to divide the taxes on the conversion between your 2011 and 2012 federal returns. This nice opportunity wont be available if you make a Roth conversion in 2011.3Another detail to remember: in 2009, withdrawals from a traditional IRA may be used to fund a Roth IRA. (This relates to the 2009 suspension of Required Minimum Distributions.) So even if you dont want to convert a traditional IRA to a Roth account, you may still fund a Roth IRA using a withdrawal from a traditional IRA through the end of this year (provided your 2009 MAGI is $100,000 or less).4Be sure to consult a tax or financial adviser before you arrange a Roth conversion or make any IRA moves. You will want see how it may affect your overall financial picture. The tax consequences of a Roth conversion can get sticky if you own multiple traditional IRAs.Should you take a distribution from your IRA this year? Its an interesting question. Barring an act of Congress, RMDs will be back for 2010. If you think taxes will be higher next year, you could opt to take a distribution before the end of this year to lower your IRA balance as of the end of 2009. As RMDs are based on an IRAs value as of Dec. 31 of the previous year, taking a distribution in 2009 will reduce a 2010 RMD.5If you are age 70 or older, you may want to make an IRA charitable rollover. It will lower your 2009 IRA balance and your 2010 RMD. The sun is setting on this tax break: the IRA charitable rollover option is currently set to expire at the end of 2009.6You may wish to make a charitable gift before New Years Day. If you make a charitable contribution this year, you can claim the deduction on your 2009 return.You could make December the 13th month. Can you make a January mortgage payment in December, or make a lump sum payment on your mortgage balance? If you have a fixed-rate mortgage, a lump sum payment can reduce the home loan amount and the total interest paid on the loan by that much more. In a sense, paying down a debt is almost like getting a risk-free return.Are you marrying next year, or do you know someone who is? The top of 2010 is a good time to review (and possibly change) beneficiaries to your 401(k) or 403(b) account, your IRA, your insurance policy and other assets. You may want to change beneficiaries in your will. It is also wise to take a look at your insurance coverage. If your last name is changing, you will need a new Social Security card. Lastly, assess your debts and the merits of your existing financial plans.Are you returning from active duty? If so, go ahead and check the status of your credit, and the state of any tax and legal proceedings that might have been preempted by your orders. Review the status of your employee health insurance, and revoke any power of attorney you may have granted to another person.Dont delay get it done. Talk with a qualified financial or tax professional today, so you can focus on being healthy and wealthy in the New Year.Arnold M. Socol is a Representative with Genworth Financial Securities Corp. and may be reached at, 845-562-6070 or are the views of Peter Montoya Inc., not the named Representative nor Genworth Financial Securities Corp., and should not be construed as investment advice. Neither the named Representative nor Genworth Financial Securities Corp. gives tax or legal advice. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If other expert assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. Please consult your Financial Advisor for further information.Citations.1 [10/19/08] [10/19/09]3 [9/11/09]4 [12/26/08]5 [10/9/09]6 [10/12/08]Investment and insurance products distributed by Genworth Financial Securities Corp., member FINRA/SIPC and a licensed insurance agency (dba Genworth Finan
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25 Things You Need to KnowAbout the 2009 Tax LawsProvided by Arnold M. SocolWe are only one year away from perhaps the most interesting, most experimental year in the history of the tax code: 2010. But before we get there, we have a host of little adjustments in tax law for 2009. Lets take a look at the notable changes. While were at it, we will also include a couple of tax provisions enacted during 2008 that are still applicable in 2009. (For those of you wondering exactly where the last minute falls on your calendar, April 15 is a Wednesday this year.)1 No mandatory taxable withdrawals from tax-deferred retirement accounts in 2009.Late last year, President Bush signed a new law suspending all Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) from IRAs, 401(k)s and 403(b)s for 2009. If you are 70 or older, you can skip your RMD this year without a tax penalty.1 Did you turn 70 in 2008? You have until April 1, 2009 to take your RMD for the 2008 tax year, calculated using your account balance as of December 31, 2007. (You may have taken that first RMD in 2008.)2 Will you turn 70 in 2009? You have no requirement to take a 2009 RMD, but you will need to make a 2010 RMD by December 31, 2010, which the IRS will officially count as your second distribution from your retirement account, even though you didnt take a first one the year before.2 Do you have an inherited IRA? You can skip your mandatory withdrawal in 2009. Effectively, this gives you another year toward the five-year deadline you face to withdraw all the funds in that IRA. (In fact, you may not have to face this deadline. If the original IRA owner died after his or her Required Beginning Date or RBD, which is generally April 1 of the year after turning 70, the timetable for withdrawals is longer. If the initial IRA owner designated a beneficiary, the IRA custodian may permit stretch IRA planning, whereby the beneficiary may receive payments based on their own life expectancy.3) Are you taking regular 72(t) withdrawals from a retirement plan? You still have to take your required withdrawals; you cannot skip them in 2009.4 Do you have a defined benefit plan? Sorry this new law only applies to defined contribution plans. You still have to take your required withdrawals.42 The Making Work Pay tax credit will help individuals and families.This economic stimulus benefit amounts to A refundable tax credit of up to $400 for individualso Phase-out starts at AGI of $75,000, phases out completely at AGI of $95,000 A refundable tax credit of up to $800 for couples and familieso Phase-out starts at AGI of $150,000, phases out completely at AGI of $190,000Dont expect a check in the mailbox. For roughly 95% of Americans, this tax break comes in the form of reduced withholding tax (although certain veterans or retirees may receive checks for $250 instead.)Income tax withholdings on your paycheck will be lessened by about $8 per week across the remainder of 2009 and also in 2010. The reduced withholding is scheduled to begin on April 1. What if youre self-employed? You can elect to change your estimated tax payments, but you dont want to risk underpayment, so any such change should be arranged with the help of a qualified tax advisor.5,63 Many retirement plan contribution limits rise.The contribution limits on 401(k) and 403(b) plans have risen by $1,000 you can put up to $16,500 in either a 401(k) or 403(b) in 2009. Catch-up contributions (permitted if you are age 50 or older) also increase by $500 for both 401(k) and 403(b) plans to a maximum of $5,500 for 2009.7Contribution limits on SIMPLE plans are also raised by $1,000 to $11,500 in 2009. Compensation amounts for simplified employee pensions (SEPs) go up from $500 to $550 in 2009. The contribution limits on 457 plans rise from $15,500 to $16,500.8The IRS has not raised annual contribution limits on traditional and Roth IRAs. The annual contribution limits for both types of IRAs remain $5,000 or your taxable compensation for 2009, whichever will be smaller. Generally, up to $1,000 in additional catch-up contributions may be made by those 50 and older.74 MAGI limits affecting traditional IRA and Roth IRA contributions increase.Traditional IRAs: if you have a retirement plan at work, your deduction for contributions to a traditional IRA will be reduced (phased out) if your MAGI falls within these ranges. Married Filing Jointly or Qualifying Widow: $89,000-$109,000 Single or Head of Household: $55,000-$65,000 Married Filing Separately: $0$10,000 (no change from 2008).9If your AGI is above $176,000 in 2009, you cannot claim a deduction for contributions to a traditional IRA.9Roth IRAs: Roth IRA contribution limit phase-outs are as follows. Married Filing Jointly or Qualifying Widow: $166,000-$176,000 Single or Head of Household: $105,000-$120,000 Married Filing Separately and living with your spouse at any time in 2009: $0$10,000 (no change from 2008).95 The estate tax exemption rises dramatically.The estate tax exemption is $3.5 million for 2009, as opposed to $2 million in 2008. The estate tax rate is still 45% for 2009.106 The gift tax exclusion increases.For 2009, it is $1,000 higher rising to $13,000.117 Personal exemption values rise by $150.In 2009, each personal and dependency exemption you claim will be worth $3,650, up from $3,500 in 2008.118 Standard deductions increase.For TY 2009, standard deduction amounts rise by $250-500 depending on your filing status. Married Filing Jointly or Qualifying Widow: $11,400 Single or Head of Household: $8,350 Single or Married Filing Separately - $5,700119 Tax bracket thresholds have been adjusted for inflation.Heres where the brackets kick in for 2009. Single Taxpayers:o 25% bracket @ $33,950o 28% bracket @ $82,250o 33% bracket @ $171,550o 35% bracket @ $372,950 Married Filing
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SEO Workshop April 26, 2018

By Edison Guzman, 2018-02-26


SEO Trends for 2018

By Edison Guzman, 2018-02-23


Your "Step-by-step" Blueprint for Business Success

As you may already know, I volunteer for many great organizations and sit on boards throughout the Hudson Valley.

Although, I'm not sure if you know about a program that I, and 9 other instructors teach for a great organization called SCORE. It's a 10 week course that I truly believe is Your "Step-by-step" blueprint for business success. Offering this course makes it possible to raise funds for our local SCORE Chapter and gives us the opportunity to really help start ups, entrepreneurs, and existing small business owners. 100% of the tuition goes directly to the Chapter, minus credit card fees, advertising expenses, and course material expenses of course.

Being in business yourself, you know that there are so many things to consider when you're in the trenches. For this reason, I've put together a few steps to consider to make life easier. (These are some of the topics we cover in our Entrepreneur Success Program

  • Create Your Goals/Reasons for starting/being in business
  • Market research to choose or confirm product or service
  • Create Business Plan
  • Choose the best legal entity for your needs and file accordingly
  • Get EIN # for company
  • Open bank and merchant account in order to accept credit cards
  • Research license/permits necessary for business
  • Location: Home based or office? If office, where?
  • Find the right supplier/manufacturer/drop-shipper for product
  • Hire employees/independent reps or outsource team
  • Create organizational chart/responsibilities
  • If partners, create partnership agreement
  • Get proper insurance
  • Create company policies
  • Promote your business with the following: 
  •  SEO / PPC / Email
  •  Referral program  
  •  Print Media / Direct Mail
  •  Web Site / Radio / Cable  
  •  Social Media / YouTube
  •  PR / Branding
  •  Joint Ventures / Affiliates
  • Track all promotions
  • Analyze conversions
  • Adjust marketing based on conversions
  • Database all existing & prospective clients
  • Measure Customer LTV
  • Research parallel markets
  • Streamline operation

The above is the anatomy of a successful small business and it's truly a blueprint for starting and growing your own business.

If you're interested, I invite you to attend our upcoming 10 week course, so that we can help you create a masterful business plan that includes all of the above and more.

Classes start on Saturday, March 3rd from 1 to 4:15 pm at 200 Rt 32, Central Valley NY 10917. Classes meet every Saturday until graduation on May 5th.

Please register now by going to, or to get the full course curriculum, see video testimonials, and get more details.

Orange County SCORE Chapter 465 to Host Business Plan Writing Course

Orange County SCORE Chapter #465 will give local entrepreneurs the opportunity to get answers to their business plan writing questions with its Entrepreneurial Success Program that starts on March 3, 2018 at 200 Rt 32, Central Valley NY. Classes meet every Saturday for 10 weeks, from 1pm to 4:15pm. Registration at

Speakers will cover a range of topics, including: Writing a complete business plan, promoting a business with social media, creating a marketing plan, and how to fund a business startup or business growth.

Featured at the presentation will be Edison Guzman of A&E Advertising and Web Design, Charlene Finerty of Plans and Profits, Greg Hogan of Curraba Insurance Agency, Eric Egeland of Capacity Business Consulting, Paul Campanella of Action Plus Project Management, and many other experts.

“Business funding is one of the most difficult problems that new and growing small business owners face,” says Orange County SCORE Chapter President Edison Guzman. “We put together the Entrepreneurial Success Program to help write the best business plan, whether or not they seek funding,” Mr. Guzman adds. The Entrepreneurial Success Program is the latest in a series of such courses held by Orange County SCORE to assist local business owners.

Previous seminars addressed how to handle employees, how to use social media to promote businesses, how to create a marketing plan, and choosing the right business insurance.

About SCORE: Since 1964, SCORE has helped more than 10 million aspiring entrepreneurs. Each year, SCORE’s 10,000+ volunteer business experts provide free and low-cost small business mentoring, workshops and education to 350,000+ clients in more than 300 chapters. In 2015, SCORE volunteers provided 2.2+million hours to help create over 45,000 jobs and 55,000 small businesses. For more information about starting a small business, call 1-845-237-2476 for the local SCORE chapter nearest you.

Visit SCORE at to get more information and register for this very valuable course. 

Free Workshop on Shaping Your Policy and Culture with Employee Handbooks

Define your role as employer, set employee expectations, and learn how your company’s policies can help determine workplace culture.

Join national HR leader Paychex and SCORE at their upcoming seminar and learn how to avoid some of the most common employee handbook mistakes for small businesses.

Attend SCORE's Free, Local Seminar

A Paychex HR professional will help you identify practical ways to shape policy, culture and value for your organization with an employee handbook.

Create a great company culture by leveraging some of the potential benefits of a handbook.

Learn more about:

1 . The Importance of Culture
Understand the concept of culture and why it’s important.

2. Value of a Handbook
Discover the many potential benefits of a wellwritten handbook for your company

3. Legal Matters
Review the legislative foundation for developing a handbook

4. Best Practices
Learn what content to avoid and include

5. Important Decisions
Identify 5 key decisions required to develop a handbook

And more! Click here to register today.

September 20, 2017

9 am to 10:30 am

Goshen Chamber of Commerce
223 E. Main Street
Goshen NY 10924

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Who Else Wants to Profit from the Upcoming Entrepreneur Success Program?

If you want to start or GROW your business, this 10 week course will help you succeed. Classes are held Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6pm to 9pm starting September 19, 2017.

Click here to register online for a one time-tuition of $297. ($399 after Sept 15)

Click here to take advantage of the 3 Pay Plan. ($99 today and 2 more monthly payments of $99 - $133/mo after Sept 15)


Secured Credit Cards  - Learn About Them, Apply For Them, Or Market Them At

Hello, My name is Emanuele Intorrella, Founder of  Our office is in Middletown NY. 

I thought I would share our video on secured credit cards with your all.

Video Link:

Here is my contact information if you have any questions: Emanuele Intorrella 973-220-5801 If you would like to apply for a secured credit card you can apply here:

If you would like to market secured cards and earn commissions please contact me Video On Secured Credit Cards: Script of the video: Hello and Today you will learn about secured credit cards, how they can help, and where you can apply for one. Have you been refused a credit card in the past? has a possible solution for you! Apply for a secured credit card.  

About Secured Cards:

-Designed for people who want to establish or build a credit history

- Give access to a credit line to use

-Payments report to major credit bureaus

-You typically need to deposit cash as collateral for your credit limit (commonly from $200 to $2000)    

About Secured Cards Continued:

-Most secured cards will have an annual fee, possibly other fees

-APR’s will be higher than an unsecured card

-Commonly your credit limit is what you deposit as collateral

-Be sure to read the terms and conditions      

Typical requirements to obtain a secured card:

-You need the ability to make minimum payments so your income should be more than expenses. 

-You need proper identification

-Past bankruptcies must be discharged  

Tips once you get a secured card:

 -Show the bank you can responsibly own a credit card!

-NEVER make a late payment

-Pay your bill on time each month

-Pay your balance in full OR pay more than your minimum payment each month. 

-Never charge more than 10% of your total credit limit.  

When applying for a secured card:

 -Have your bank account information handy so you can deposit your money with the bank.

-Be sure to set 15 minutes aside to fill out the online application

-Have are your personal information handy

-Be sure it reports to all 3 credit bureaus  

How long should I keep a secured credit card?

Keep your card active as long as possible. Closing an account can potentially reduce creditworthiness.   I was refused a secured card. 

Any other options?

-You do have other options.

-Ask a friend or family member if they can make you an “authorized user” on their account. 

-There are no requirements to qualify and you will build a credit history with each on-time monthly payment.  (Bank must be reporting) -Get a cosigner.  

About is your online resource for credit cards, loans, merchant account, credit reports, and other financial products. 

If you are interested in applying for a secured credit card, we have some offers for you to review on our website,!   Where can I apply for a secured credit card?  

Visit: and apply online today!

The New Customer Getting System, that Small Business Owners Now Love

Getting customers over the past few years has become easier and easier, yet small business owners still have a difficult time with it.

If you’re like most business owners, you’re constantly being solicited to buy into another way to advertise your business.

You may be one of the thousands of small business owners that get 13 robotic phone calls a day from someone telling you that they can get your business on the first page of Google. Call after call on a daily basis. It’s maddening.

If you’re a brick and mortar business, you may get unsolicited visits to your store by sales people from all sorts of publications, directories, social media managers, website creators, SEO services, etc.

The list of solicitations is too long to list here, but you know what I mean.

The problem is that small business owners, whether they have a physical location, or work out of their homes, live in what is called, an “Expensive Advertising Loop.”

What’s an “Expensive Advertising Loop?”

It’s called that because it goes something like this:

You respond to the calls and solicitations and pay for services rendered. Some of the services gets you results, yet some of them don’t. Since you’re constantly working in your business, you don’t take the time to see what is working and what isn’t, so you continue to spend. This creates an expensive advertising loop that gets you stuck where you are, with no hope for business growth.

In essence, you’re probably throwing away 60 to 70 percent of your advertising dollars. You just don’t know which part is not working. If you do know which part doesn’t work, you don’t know how to fix it, and instead of stopping, you throw more money at it. I call this insanity.

Does this sound like you?

If you are spending money on advertising and marketing, there are many ways to track your ads and sales, and many business owners are doing just that.

The problem, it seems, is that small business owners may not be tracking the right components of their advertising. They also don’t track and test properly.

Answer these questions, and see how well you’re tracking your results:

  1. What’s a good call response rate for newspaper/magazine advertising?
  2. What’s a good call rate for PPC advertising?
  3. What’s your break even on advertising campaigns?
  4. How do you calculate the LTV of your customer?
  5. Do you know how to calculate the best amount to pay for acquiring a customer?
  6. Is it possible to brand yourself and get customers at the same time? Or is it one or the other?
  7. What’s a good daily advertising budget for daily calls or visits to your business?
  8. Which social media platform gets you the best ROI for your business?
  9. How do you get Google to send you customer traffic and phone calls daily?
  10. What’s the best tool to use to get clients coming back or calling you for more business throughout the year?

When you can properly answer the questions above for your business, you’ll be two steps ahead of your competition.

I call this leverage.

The problem is that most business owners work within the “Advertising Expense Loop,” and never figure out the answers to any of these questions.

Small business owners, instead, choose to throw advertising dollars at many advertising services that simply are not adequate to get customers. The strategies may work for one type of business, but may not have the same universal results.

In other words, business owners see what their competitors are doing, so they do the same. Unfortunately, one business owner may be following a failing business owner, instead of following the leader. Better yet, the business owner should get more customers by creating a unique strategy specific to their needs.

There is only one way to be sure of the right strategy for any business. That is to take the time to sit down and get the answers to the 10 questions above.

The best way is to call an experienced professional and have them guide you through this process.

At, LLC, we’ve been using a newly updated tool designed to answer these 10, and many other questions about your business.

We call it the “Marketing Audit,” and it’s designed to create the most intelligent and profitable marketing plan for your specific needs.

Unlike a feasibility study where you’ll spend between $5,000 and $100,000, our unique Marketing Audit will reveal the best strategies for your business at a fraction of the cost.

If you are a small business owner and already have a marketing plan, the Marketing Audit will test and tweak it to ensure that it gives you maximum return.

If you don’t have a marketing plan at all, call us, and using the Marketing Audit, we will create one for you.

This is truly a new client getting system that small business owners now love, and we’re getting great results for businesses that are now implementing it.

Stop wasting money on ineffective advertising. Instead, let’s figure out the best message and marketing strategy you can implement to get as many customers as possible, at the lowest cost as possible.

It’s the only way you’ll grow revenue, increase profit margins, and decrease advertising expenses.

Call Edison Guzman at (845) 940-5369 today to schedule your one-on-one Marketing Audit.

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