Credit scores…do we really understand where they come from and how they are used? A study just released by researchers at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found that credit bureaus sometimes provide Americans with credit scores different than those used by lenders in as many as one out of four times. The study was based on a random sample of 200,000 credit files from the three major credit reporting agencies – Experian, TransUnion and Equifax.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will now begin supervising credit-reporting firms…about 30 companies. Another layer of bureaucracy required because these firms cannot be relied upon to self monitor. And what is the benefit to being inconsistent? It’s not too difficult to provide the same information to the consumer that you are providing to the lender.
Now that consumers are well informed about the necessity to monitor their credit scores, it’s only fair they receive the same information. Credit scores are used in determining who does and doesn’t get a loan, what your interest rate will be, etc. Really important factors. To both the borrower and the lender. Let’s get it right…and be consistent.
With baby boomers nearing or at retirement age, many expect social security to be one of their main sources of income, or at least a nice addition. If you were born between 1943 and 1954, the age for receiving the maximum amount of your earned benefits is 66. This age increases by two months for each year born until being born after 1959 when it plateaus at age 67. However, for all people that earned benefits, benefits can start being collected at 62, albeit with a 25% penalty in the monthly amount for people born between 1943 and 1954 and increasing up to 30% if you were born after 1959.
So which age should you start collecting at?
Let’s assume that full monthly benefits were earned at $1000/month and that you were born in 1950. The average life span for a male is 75 and at this age the retiree would have earned the exact same amount upon retiring at age 62 or 66, $144,000. Of course, at this point the present value of benefits is higher for the people that retired at age 62 since they started receiving money at an earlier date. When considering the present value of money, the break even point for this retiree would be age 81. Of course there are always taxes to worry about, even for social security earned, but these calculations get complicated depending on how much other income is earned.
“A negative economy has little effect on a given business’ survival. Businesses started in expanding economies in 1995 and 2005, those started just before the downturn in 2000, and those started just after the downturn had almost identical survival paths”…(Source: BLS, Business Employment Dynamics.)
Many new small businesses go under within their first two years but usually the failures can be explained. Knowing the pitfalls associated with a new business and having a professional team, including a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), can maximize your chances of success.
Being your own boss is exciting. It also means hard work and risk taking when you start a new business. You can be a successful business owner if you already have or can learn the right traits, such as being a self-starter, goal-oriented, committed and resilient, to name a few.
You have what it takes. Now what? You need to do your homework and develop a business plan. Here are some things to consider:
• You take on more risk if you build your business from the ground up.
• Because a start-up has no previous track record, raising capital to acquire an existing business with a proven track record of success may be easier than a start-up business.
• If you decide to acquire an existing business, engaging a CPA to assist in the transaction is advisable, and will be mandatory at some step of the process for financial credibility and tax purposes.
What’s the best type of ownership for your business (sole proprietorship, corporation, partnership, LLC, S corporation)? There are advantages and disadvantages for each type of ownership. Which software and accounting method is appropriate for your specific business needs? How can you raise capital for your business? Where’s the best location for your business? Should you buy or lease? These are all questions you should consider in developing your business plan.
Before you make your first dollar, you must comply with the state and local licensing requirements. These include state registration, state and local sales and use tax license, and local business licenses and permits. You’ll need to apply for a federal employer identification number (EIN) if you plan to have employees, or if your business will not be owned as a sole proprietorship.
Your business is now ready for operation. You must keep good accounting records for the preparation of year-end taxes as well as other compliance reporting. Examples include preparation of payroll reports and other government forms. You may also need advice on estimated tax payments that you should make during the year. Let your CPA help you with the record keeping and compliance issues, while you concentrate on running your business.
Having experienced support from the start will help your small business succeed. The right CPA can help you launch your business, assure long- term success and prevent costly mistakes through all the cycles of your business adventure.
The Accredited Estate Planner® designation is awarded by the National Association of Estate Planners & Councils (NAEPC) to recognize estate planning professionals who meet stringent requirements of experience, knowledge, education, professional reputation and character.
NAEPC is a national organization of professional estate planners and affiliated local Estate Planning Councils focused on establishing and monitoring the highest professional and educational standards.
Barnard Vogler & Co. is one of Reno’s oldest and most respected accounting firms with over four decades of experience providing quality service to a wide variety of clients. For more information or to contact Leslie, please call us at (775) 786-6141 or visit our website at bvcocpas.com.
I am excited to share what I have learned from participating in the 2012 Leadership Reno Sparks Program. I have really enjoyed the experience and learned so much about our community.
Leadership Reno-Sparks is a year-long program consisting of 12 workshops throughout the year where the participants are exposed to different segments of our community – such as the role of government, law enforcement, education, health care, media, art, history and the economy. Each workshop broadened my perspective on the Reno/Sparks area by giving me exposure to community issues and access to community leaders. I felt that I walked away from every session having learned something new.
In addition to the workshops, the class develops a community project. The class is responsible for both fundraising and the physical completion of the project within a specified time frame. This year’s project was a renovation of the Sparks Senior Citizen Center. Getting 37 people to agree on something is an interesting and challenging but rewarding process! The project was completed in late August of this year, and the results were nothing short of amazing.
If you are new to the Reno area or just want to learn more about our community, Leadership Reno Sparks is a truly worthwhile and enjoyable program. Besides learning so much about our community, you will learn about others who are aspiring leaders within their respective professions or companies and gain wonderful, long lasting relationships!
For more information on this worthwhile program, please contact the Reno-Sparks-Northern Nevada Chamber of Commerce at thechambernv.org or (775) 636-9550.