Category: Financial Views

Irene West

Irene West San Diego Wealth Building Advocate | Why Buying Gold Now Is Not a Peak Purchase But Has Room for Profit

Irene West San Diego Wealth Building Advocate says “Gold has been fluttering around the $1,100 and $1,200 for a couple of years now without much movement.”

It has repeatedly shown signs of weakening as an investment with notable dips in the last three years. For example, at the beginning of August gold’s spot price broke below $1,100, the lowest price point in a year. No surprise, lots of folks think that gold is at the end of a commodity run, and as soon as the Fed Reserve raises the prime rates gold will begin to drop significantly. Of course, this logic entirely ignores one basic fact: the general stock market is long overdue for a correction, which will drive demand for safe harbors like gold.

A number of reasons are in play why gold will likely be a good position to have in the next few months. If the Fed Reserve does indeed raise rates, it will be the final hit on a shaky bull run, because the cost of money will go up. The market has been enjoying available cash at little or no interest, so any cost increase bites right into a positive direction and creates a braking effect. Additionally, the loss in oil prices as well as in other “reliable” commodities means that many folks will trying to preserve their values versus losing the in companies impacted directly by oil price changes. The chase for value preservation will move more folks to good, creating more demand and driving price up further. More to consider, governments are just now recovering from the effects of the 2009 Recession, delayed for them in the loss of tax dollars. They will not be interested in giving up returning tax revenues just to make it easier for business to operate. That too will contribute to more costs for businesses, slowing their growth and share price growth.

Finally, and this is the big one, we are going into a Presidential election without a clear forerunner and no incumbent. That means the big power position is up for grabs and anyone could get it. Politically instability is just the thing to cause a national market to tank; we saw this happen vividly when the Bush-Gore campaign occurred and then was prolonged by the vote count scandal in Florida. Again, people will run to gold or security, having been burned repeatedly by the market during times of ambiguity. Instead, gold is solid, predictable, physical and is not connected to the dollar or politics. It’s the ideal value preserver during potentially risky times ahead.

See more about and by Irene by visiting Small Business Trendsetters Magazine


Or by visiting her web site

Or by phone 877-879-4542

250X250 SBT Brian Livesay San Diego

Brian Livesay The San Diego Retirement Guardian | Year End Tax Planning

See My Who IsBrian Livesay The San Diego Retirement Guardian says “Knowing were the tax payer stands as the year comes to an end ensures the least amount of required taxes are paid by the tax payer. Yearend planning is essential. The tax code is complicated and advice should come from a qualified tax advisor.”

Tax planning is essential to get the most benefit from the tax code. Knowing what to look for as the year draws to an end will benefit the tax payer a great deal when it comes time to file a tax return. Using the tax code to avoid paying too much in taxes is legal and should be done by every tax payer. There are a number of areas were a tax payer has some control over the timing of payments or income that will benefit the tax payer when the yearend return is filed.

First knowing how much income for the year and allowable deductions the tax payer has gives the tax payer an idea of which tax bracket they will fall into and how close they are to the next tax bracket. Avoiding going into the next tax bracket by not taking any controllably timed income at year end will limit the tax payer’s tax burden for the year.

Deductions can also help control which tax bracket the tax payer will fall into for the tax year. If the tax payer’s Itemized Deductions are greater than the Stand Deduction the tax payer has some flexibility in the timing of payments that will reduce their taxable income for the year. Prepaying property taxes allows the tax payer to take a bigger deduction in the year the payments were made thus reducing taxable income by the amount of prepayment if the tax payer was already able to Itemize for the year. Making more charitable donations also by year end is another way to reduce taxable income. If the tax payer has medical expenses that exceed 10% of their Adjusted Gross Income the tax payer may what to schedule needed medical or dental procedures before year end to ensure the expenses can be deducted on the current year’s tax return.

Another area were timing can be used to benefit the tax payer is investment income. If a tax payer has recognized losses in a given year the taxpayer may want to sell any stocks that have appreciated in value since the lose will offset the gain. The tax payers Adjusted Gross Income will not be affected by these gains allowing the tax payer to avoid paying any tax on the recognized gains.

For more information visit Brian Ray Livesay’s Who Is Page here in the Journal

Brian Ray Livesay The Retirement Guardian
You may contact him at his office
Livesay Capital Solutions Inc.
1761 Hotel Circle S. Ste 360
San Diego, CA 92108
Call at 866-726-0725 / 619-281-8377
Or visit his Web Site

250X250 SBT Brian Livesay San Diego

Brian Livesay San Diego Retirement Guardian |Tax Advantaged Health Savings Accounts

See My Who IsBrian Livesay San Diego Retirement Guardian says “Health Savings Accounts are a unique investment vehicle that if used correctly can add tax free funds to an individual’s finances.”

A Health Savings Account or HSA is a tax advantaged medical savings account. To be eligible for an HSA an individual or family must be enrolled in a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP). A HDHP has a higher deductible than a traditional health plan and can be considered a catastrophic health plan. These plans are best for younger and healthy individuals with little annual medical requirements. The annual premiums are lower than a traditional health plan which allows an individual to fund the Health Savings Account.

Contributions to an HSA account can only be made while covered under a High Deductible Health Plan.

Once an individual is no longer covered the HAS account remains open and the funds in the account continue to grow tax free until the time of withdrawal. A HSA is very similar to an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) since the accounts are funded with pretax money and grow potentially tax free if the money is used on qualified medical expenses. If the money withdrawn from the account is not used for qualified medical expenses there is a 20% penalty on the withdrawal if taken before age 59 ½. Non-qualified medical expense withdrawals taken after 59 ½ like a Traditional IRA are taxed as ordinary income in the year of the withdrawal.

A unique feature of an HSA account is the ability to make withdrawals and use medical expenses from previous years while covered under the HDHP as qualifying medical expenses to avoid the 20% penalty for non-qualified medical expense withdrawals. As long as the individual has the receipts from the qualifying medical expense the expenses can be used in any year to make an allowable withdrawal from the HSA account. This allows an individual to pay for smaller medical cost in one year and let their money grow tax free inside the HSA then withdrawal money later after it has grown in value tax free using the past paid medical expenses as qualifying medical expenses at the time of withdrawal.

The IRS also allows a onetime transfer from an IRA account to fund a HSA account up to the annual maximum contribution limit for the year. Employers can also contribute to an individual’s HSA account and the money becomes immediately the account owners with no vesting.

A healthy individual with minimum medical needs can potentially grow substantial funds inside the HSA account and later use the funds like a Traditional IRA or as tax free funds using qualified medical expenses at the time of withdrawal.

For more information visit Brian Livesay’s Who Is Page here in the Journal

Or see the article in Small Business Trendsetters

Or the article in CNN iReport ” Statement of Cash Flows: Cash is King”

Brian Livesay The Retirement Guardian
You may contact him at his office
Livesay Capital Solutions Inc.
1761 Hotel Circle S. Ste 360
San Diego, CA 92108
Call at 866-726-0725 / 619-281-8377
Or visit his Web Site

250X250 SBT Brian Livesay San Diego

Brian Livesay San Diego Retirement Guardian | Actual vs. Average Returns Impact On Your Investments

Brian Livesay San Diego Retirement Guardian said “An investor should monitor investments periodically to see what their actual returns are vs. the average return the investment products prospectus had illustrated.”

Actual returns are the real returns an investor receives from an investment. The investor’s account value actually increases or decreases by an amount giving the investor the actual return in the investment. An investment of $20,000 with an actual return of 25% over a two year period would have a gain of $5,000 with an account value of $25,000 at the end of the second year.

An average return is based on multiple returns averaged together. Average returns can make an investment seem much better than it actually is compared to the actual returns in the investment. An average return of 25% can be a loss of 50% and a return of 100%. In this example the investor invests $20,000 dollars losses 50% the first year leaving the investor with $10,000. In the second year the investment returns 100% giving the investor a $10,000 gain for the year. At the end of the second year the investors account value is back to the original investment of $20,000. The actual return over the two year period is zero but the average return is 25%. Using the average return the investor would think the investment’s account value would be greater than the original investment at the end of the second year. In reality the investor has exactly the same account value as when the investment began.

Most investments are sold based on the average return of the investment over a period of time. An investor should take the average return of an investment with a grain of salt. The actual rate of return will be significantly different than the average rate of return as the above examples illustrate.

For more information visit Brian Livesay’s Who Is Page here in the Journal

Or see the article in Small Business Trendsetters

Or the article in CNN iReport  “Wills, Trusts, and Probate | Differences You Need To Know”

Brian Livesay The Retirement Guardian
You may contact him at his office
Livesay Capital Solutions Inc.
1761 Hotel Circle S. Ste 360
San Diego, CA 92108
Call at 866-726-0725 / 619-281-8377
Or visit his Web Site

Brian Head Shot

Brian Davis San Diego Self-Directed 401 (K) Specialist | Advantages of Self Directed 401(K) Over Other Forms of Retirement Plans

Brian Davis San Diego Self-Directed 401 (k) Specialist says “The one-participant 401 (k) plan or Solo 401 (k) plan as it’s often called, is overlooked by so many self-employed individuals, and has so many benefits that I hope more and more people take the time to learn about it”

The self directed 401(k) plan (also referred to as Solo 401 k) is a retirement plan that is specifically designed for owner-only businesses as well as spouses. It gives them a chance to use their retirement funds to do any type of investment tax free on their own even without the consent of a custodian. It also allows them to make contributions (up to $53000 & $59000 for those under age 50 & above age 50 respectively). Additionally, they can also borrow (up to $50000) for any purpose.

Advantages of using self directed 401(k) plan over the other forms of retirement plans

1) Checkbook control

This is a great advantage of self directed 401 k plan. Unlike the other plans, you are not required to hire a trust company or a bank to serve as your trustee/custodian. You can open the account at any local credit union or bank and serve as a trustee yourself. This allows you to gain checkbook control over your funds. Your entire assets are under your authority therefore you can act quickly whenever you come across the right investment.

2) Tax free loan

With this plan, you can borrow up to $50000 (or 50% of the value of your account) for any purpose (e.g. mortgage payments, credit card bills, personal/business investments etc). The loan should be paid back over a period of 5 years and there is no prepayment penalty.

3) High contributions limit

The self directed 401(k) plan allows you to make a maximum contribution of up to $53000 (if you are under age 50) and $59000 (if you are above age 50). These amounts can either be made after tax or pretax.

4) Use leverage tax free

Unlike IRA, self directed 401k plan is exempt from Unrelated Dept Financed Income (UDFI). This means that Internal Revenue Code Section 514(c) (9) allows it to use nonrecourse leverage to make real acquisitions without penalty or tax.

5) Easy administration

The Solo 402 (k) is easy to operate and administer. You are not required to do annual filing unless the assets in your plan exceed $250,000 (if this is the case you will be required to file short information with the IRS).

“The 401 (k) plan is for the self-employed individual, and spouse if needed, whether they’re just a sole proprietor, have incorporated via an S-Corp or C-Corp, or an LLC.” Says Davis, “This allows such a large tax write off every year, there’s a way to have a Roth portion of the account and with the options of having checkbook control it’s an amazing plan. The beauty of our plan is also that ability to invest in non-publicly traded assets like real estate, notes, precious metals, and private companies. There’s so many benefits I can’t even list them all here.”

You can see more about and by Brian Davis on his Web Site
On Small Business Trendsetters

and on CNN iReport

Reuven Rubinson

Reuven I Rubinson San Diego CFO-CPA Financial Advisor | Taxation and Accounting Controversies Effect Business of All Sizes

See My Who IsReuven I Rubinson San Diego CFO-CPA Financial Advisor says “In taxation, the ongoing debate is over what items should have favorable treatment and whether or not we should go to a flat tax.
In accounting, the ongoing debate is over whether we should have one set of rules for all companies or whether small businesses should have a separate set of rules.”

There is also debate over whether the United States should adapt international generally accepted accounting principles, which are principle-based, versus our system, which is more rules-based. There is a convergence between the two, and the question is how much do we adapt and agree upon.

Whatever the outcome of these debates, one thing is clear, every business needs knowledgeable and reliable CFO-CPA Financial Advice.

Too often companies are unaware of many of the things that are going on in their business.

That being the case, almost any business will benefit when they have a discussion with an expert about their policies and procedures as well as their financial system. A major step in improving the company’s bottom line happens when you bring these critical issues into the light of day so they can be evaluated and handled.

As an example, Sarbanes-Oxley (an act passed by U.S. Congress in 2002 to protect investors from the possibility of fraudulent accounting activities by corporations) was implemented as a response to the Enron and other financial disasters. In many ways, it was overkill and an overreaction. However, the act forced businesses to put their policies and procedures in writing and critically evaluate them.

Most companies realized, in doing this, that there were some duplications and improvements that were absolutely necessary in their business. By forcing companies to take them out of people’s heads and putting them into writing, Sarbanes-Oxley was an invaluable service to businesses.

See more about Reuven I Rubinson CFO-CPA Financial Advisor by visiting
See on CNN
See on Small Business Trendsetters
Or his office 10601 Tierrasanta Blvd., #177, San Diego, CA 92124
Or by calling 858-344-0864

Scott Steger

Scott Steger San Diego Financial Representative On How To Find The Right Financial Representative

Scott Steger San Diego Financial Representative says “A financial professional is someone who can help you achieve your financial goals. Whether you want to save for retirement, buy your dream house or establish a sustainable business, this individual can create an attainable financial plan tailor made for your goals and economic status.”

Finding the best financial professional is tricky because the success of your investment will depend on his expertise.  If you failed to seek out the right person, the time and money you invested will be a total waste. This is the reason why you have to search and examine all potential candidates carefully before making a decision to hire your financial professional.

Start by asking referrals from the people with whom you share the same financial needs or outlook in life. It is also helpful to find and contact financial planners online or directly from the official websites of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors as well as the Financial Planning Association.

Always make it sure  that your financial representative is either a Registered Investment Advisor (RIA), a Certified Financial Planner (CFP), a Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) or a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Having this credential does not mean that the individual is an expert but it can give you an assurance that he knows what to do with your money.

Furthermore, never forget to do a background check on your financial planner as well as his payment scheme. If he earns through commissions, you need to take this into account and make sure that your investments will be paid off sooner or later. Most importantly, hire someone who acts in accordance to your financial interests. You will be working with your financial professional for a long time so you should be comfortable in sharing ideas to him, particularly when it comes to your personal goals and future plans.

See more about Scott Steger San Diego Financial Representative
on Small Business Trendseters
CNN iReport

Or by calling 323-793-3574

SBT Marc Manor Healthcare Insurance Specialist

Marc Manor San Diego Independent Healthcare Insurance Agent | Right Decisions and How to Make Them

Marc Manor San Diego Independent Healthcare Insurance Agent says “There are many myths and misconceptions about Health Insurance and Financial Protection in the minds of the general public. They are easily dispelled by doing a little research and asking the right questions”

There are many people who think that agents are trying to sell them an insurance policy that is best for the agent and not necessarily the best for them and their family. While a there has been numerous instances of unscrupulous practices by some agents, the majority of agents are honest, hardworking people just like their clients.

Some important things you should look for when you need a Health Insurance Professional are;

• Is the agent licensed? Additionally, in California, agents are to display their license information on all their advertising (business cards, web sites etc. License information in California can be verified at$.startup
• Is the agent appointed with the company? This information is also available on the aforementioned website after you locate the agents name and click on the license number (frequently insurance products are underwritten by a parent or associated company of a different name. The name should be easily located and verifiable).
• Are there any references, testimonials, or complaints associated with the agent. Does the agent have any advanced certifications such as Consumer Directed Health Care (CDHC) Certification?

In choosing the right Health Insurance Professional you should prepare a list of questions.

What if I can’t afford the coverage, can I cancel?

Healthcare coverage should only be cancelled during the open enrollment period. This is because in order to meet the requirement to obtain replacement coverage, certain requirements must be met. These requirements are referred to a “special” or “qualified” enrollment. You will not qualify for a special enrollment period if: you terminate coverage voluntarily, your coverage is terminated due to fraud, you fail to pay a premium, or you lose coverage for plans like Short Term Medical or Fixed-Benefit Insurance. A qualified agent will help fit a plan that is affordable so cancellation should not be required.

What if I am healthy and I feel I don’t need health insurance?

It’s true that a healthy person may think they not use insurance; however, no one is immune to sickness and/or injury and sickness and/or injury can lead to costly medical bills.

Will I be able to keep my doctor/physician?

Healthcare insurance typically is structured as a “network” of providers. The two most common types are Health Maintenance Organizations (HMO) and Preferred Provider Organizations (PPO). Typically the HMO is more structured and requires the insured to remain within the network. PPOs on the other hand, have a little more flexibility in that; the insured can usually go outside the network but at a higher cost. It is always best to ask the agent when choosing a plan, to look up any preferred physicians prior to purchasing a plan. Supplemental products such as accident and cancer coverage typically have no network restrictions.

May I enroll in a Health Savings Account (HSA) if I choose this plan?

HSA’s can be very helpful in offsetting the costs associated with deductibles and co-insurance. HASs allow the insured to set aside tax-advantaged dollars that can be used to cover out-of-pocket medical expenses.

How much supplemental coverage can I afford?

Most people can afford the equivalent of 1-2 hours of their wages per week. The 1-2 hour formula can serve as a starting point for most individuals/families. After that, it becomes a matter of compiling the current liabilities a person should consider. Each person or family has unique situations. Many times an objective opinion on who best to manage a family budget is a good idea.

How do I file claims?

This question does not come up as often as it should because most people think as long as they have an insurance card, their claim will be paid directly from the insurance company to the health care provider. This is generally true for major medical insurance; however, supplemental and indemnity insurance plans sometimes need to be filed separately by the insured. Some agents will assist in the claims process, other companies have claims personnel that can be reached via telephone at the home office. Be sure that it is clear how the claims are paid and who to contact if the need arises. A time of crisis is usually not the time to be looking through the file cabinet for contact numbers. Keep contact phone numbers along with policy numbers accessible to expedite the claims process.

You can see more about Marc Manor at Small Business Trendsetters
On CNN iReport

On his Web Site
Or by calling 619-798-8240

250X250 SBT Brian Livesay San Diego

Brian Livesay San Diego Financial and Tax Planner | Reduce Risk and Build a Life Plan

See My Who IsBrian Livesay San Diego Financial and Tax Planner says “I like to think of a holistic approach, combining many important areas of finance into one life-plan. Not just financial planning, but a system more aptly described as Life-Planning.”

When you combine three components, tax planning, retirement planning and risk-reduction you get what can best be called a “Tax-Free Retirement Income System” and that is Life Planning.

The most important component of your life plan is risk reduction.

Start your plan with risk-reduction because no matter how great your track-record of building wealth is, your approach must provide more safety and security than traditional financial planning.

For the most part, the way risk management is addressed in financial planning is something like: “You’ve got this nice little pie chart here; you’ve got so much in these different types of investments, x amount here in small-company stocks, in mid-company stocks, growth and value… and there’s a little bit of bonds in there too, so that should significantly reduce the risk for you.”

Unfortunately that is not always the case, and as a matter of fact there are far too many people who are positioned in high-risk portfolios right now. Because we’ve had a five year market run-up, too many people underestimate their level of risk, focusing on the opportunity cost of exiting the market, rather than the peril of having most or even all of their assets in fluctuating investments, with no downside protection. You must implement real, tried-and true methods to reduce your risk and plan a lifetime of income you can never out-live.

Another important part of Risk-Reduction is protection from financial catastrophe that often devastates individuals and their families due to critical, chronic, or terminal illness. Right now, 3 in 5 bankruptcies in the United States are filed due to medical reasons. Simply put, if you can’t work, you can’t pay; if you are responsible for your family, an elderly parent or grandparent, it’s even more devastating.

When it comes to Life-Planning, this problem is not just a pothole or another bump in the road. It’s a sink-hole and one that most people will never climb out of. Your life-plans must equip you to handle future medical costs while building wealth at the same time. That adds up to greater peace of mind and enjoyment of life in the present.

For more about and by Brian Livesay go to Small Business Trendsetters

or CNN iReport

You may also contact Brian Livesay in his office at 1761 Hotel Circle S., Ste 360, San Diego, CA 92108
Or by Telephone 866-726-0725

3X3 Jim Porter

Jim Porter San Diego Insurance Specialist Points Out The Questions You Should Ask and The Decisions You Should Make

Jim Porter San Diego Insurance Specialist says “Cost comes up a lot. Ask yourself if cost really is the most important part of buying Insurance.”

Several other questions carry a lot more weight than the cost.

Ask about the Insurance Company that is being recommended to you. Include that in the question about the local agency. Who owns the agency? How long have they been in business? How long have they represented the Insurance Company they are recommending to you? A broker has many Insurance Companies to represent. Some of those companies have come and gone. The ones which have stuck around did so because they treat the broker and their clients well.

Insurance agents are everywhere, so what sets one apart from another? What is their experience? Where else have they worked? How do they handle a claim? How do they describe Customer Service?

Probably the most important question is how much coverage you should have.

The best general answer to that question is that you should have liability protection at least equal to the value of your assets. In other words, look at the value of all of your things; property, money, and all of your other valuables. Add it up; that gives you a really good starting point. Some people think not having a lot of stuff is a good excuse for not carrying much insurance. You worked hard to earn your things, why not protect them adequately. Also, people frequently don’t think of future income when calculating the total value of their assets.

Then there is simply Property Damage Insurance. If you hit and totaled a Tesla or Bentley, and you had relatively low coverage, how would you pay the difference between what your coverage would pay and the actual loss?

Sometimes it is the little decisions we make that come back to bite us. Let’s say you are deciding on the coverage for an automobile policy. You can add rental reimbursement onto an auto policy and the cost will be $30/year. While that policy is in effect if you are involved in an accident and your car has to go to the shop to get fixed the company will reimburse you for renting a car at the rate of $25 per day while your car is in the shop.

Now let’s say that feature is offered but you decide against it at the time of purchase. How will you react when you are involved in an accident and now have to pay for the car rental out of your own pocket.

Have your agent or broker review and explain all of the features in the policy. Make your decisions carefully.

See more about Jim Porter at
And on CNN iReport

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