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Nick L.

Be Smart with Your Holiday Jingle
The holidays are upon us, and the pressure is on. There is so much to do to prepare for the holiday season and the holiday bustle can leave you wondering if this is really the most wonderful time of the year. This year, the average American household plans to spend over $1000 this holiday season on gifts, decorations, travel to family and holiday meals. This, on top of normal monthly spending can make November and December some of the most expensive months of the year. Without a plan of attack, December’s holiday magic can easily turn into January’s credit card nightmare. Plan Ahead When it comes to gifts, know who you plan to buy gifts for and how much you intend to spend on them. Stick to the budget. It is easy to get trapped into spending too much especially if you overspend on someone, you may be tempted to buy more for another to make the gift even. If you determine what you are spending, you can determine what you think you’d like to buy to before you enter the store. Use a holiday savings account to save a little bit each month to avoid feeling overwhelmed when the time to shop comes. Keep the store ads with you. Many stores will price match, and this could save you a stop or help you secure an item that you are having difficulty getting at another store. Don’t underestimate how planning your shopping trip ahead can save you both time and money. Plan your route and keep your list handy. By avoiding driving all over town, and potentially backtracking, you can save money on gas and save time. Eating a healthy meal before you head out will put you in a good frame of mind and help you curve the temptation of spending unnecessary money on meals out or stopping for snacks while out and about. Avoid shopping at times that attract crowds like mid-day Saturday and Sunday. By shopping at off times, you can move through your list quickly and with less frustration. Although this one won’t help your pocketbook, time is money and piece of mind is priceless. Shop Online Using a credit card is the most secure way to shop online. It is easier to dispute a fraudulent transaction on a credit card than with a debit card. Remember not to charge anything you cannot pay off when the statement comes. Check multiple websites to make sure that you are getting the best deal. Aim to get free shipping and check for coupon codes. Avoid paying more for something than you should. Items like gaming consoles and other highly desired items are often sold brand new by private parties for a healthy upcharge to parents who are willing to pay anything just to get something that they can’t find in the stores. These items can often be purchased at a fair price after the holidays when the demand drops. Avoid Holiday Scammers and Fraudsters Be mindful of your purse, wallet and credit cards. Watch for skimming devices and be discreet about how you enter you pin number. Track packages and know when they are being delivered. Arrange to have them shipped to your place of employment or to have a neighbor pick them up off your porch. Be wary of vendors selling goods online who ask for gift cards as payment. This is a common internet scam, and it is likely that you will not receive the goods you purchased. Review your credit card statements often. Report and dispute any suspicious transactions right away. By being prepared and organized, you can save time and money so that you can focus on what really matters this holiday season. May your shopping be stress free and may your holiday season be merry and bright!   Rebecca Agamaite, MBA Investment Advisor Representative  Rebecca joined the firm in 2011 as an Investment Advisor Representative. In this role, she works with clients to manage their investment assets and help them obtain their financial objectives. Rebecca brings a great deal of experience to the team having worked for several years at Marshall & IIsley Bank and MetLife.   Advisors Management Group, Inc. is a registered investment adviser whose principal office is located in Wisconsin.   Opinions expressed are those of AMG and are subject to change, not guaranteed, and should not be considered recommendations to buy or sell any security.  Past performance is no guarantee of future returns, and investing involves multiple risks, including, but not limited to, the risk of permanent losses.  Please do not send orders via e-mail as they are not binding and cannot be acted upon.  Please be advised it remains the responsibility of our clients to inform AMG of any changes in their investment objectives and/or financial situation.  This commentary is limited to the dissemination of general information pertaining to AMG’s investment advisory/management services.  Any subsequent, direct communication by AMG  with a prospective client shall be conducted by a representative that is either registered or qualifies for an exemption or exclusion from registration in the state where the prospective client resides.  A copy of our current written disclosure statement discussing our advisory services and fees continues to remain available for your review upon request.
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Nick L.

Building Your Financial Foundation

Whether you are getting started on your own or have a lot of life experience, it is important to get back to the basics and make sure you have your financial house in order.  Sometimes people think that this is advice is only for young individuals who are newly on their own, but truth be told, everyone can benefit from revisiting the basics. Life’s circumstances are constantly changing and without being prepared, unexpected surprises can throw you off course. By taking the right steps and establishing a firm foundation, you can navigate these challenges more effectively, and have a greater peace of mind. We’ve compiled some steps to help you create a strong financial foundation. Maintain an Emergency Fund Savings Account Having enough money saved to cover 3-6 months of your household’s total monthly expenses is an important step in building your foundation. Many people are only a few missed pay checks away from financial ruin. Without a little extra money to fall back on, a job loss, illness or an unexpected expense such as a medical bill or a car repair could send you into a financial tailspin. Since these situations are urgent in nature, without an emergency savings, you may find yourself using a credit card to deal with these situations and you may not be able to pay off the bill when the statement comes. Maintaining an emergency fund will help you to deal with the unexpected. Pay Off High Interest Rate Debt and Credit Cards Of course, it is best to never take on unnecessary debt, but life happens and sometimes you just need to use credit cards. If you find yourself with credit cards balances that carry high interest rates it is best to pay these off as soon as possible. In most instances it works best to use credit cards for basic monthly purchases that you can pay off at the end of each month. Carrying a balance month-over-month on credit cards ends up costing you way more in the long run. If you are feeling overwhelmed by your current balances, consider making a list from smallest to largest. Pay the smallest off first, and when that account is paid in full, increase the amount you are paying on the next smallest debt.  This process is called the “snowball” method. The snowball method provides satisfaction by seeing smaller debts paid off quickly. Mentally, this provides encouragement to continue with the process. Make The Most of Your Employer’s Retirement Benefits It is important to know how your retirement benefits offered by your employer work. Consider contributing enough to take full advantage of any match your employer may offer. For example, if your employer offers a dollar for dollar match up to 5% of your income and you save 5% of your income, your employer will put another 5% into your account. In this example, if you only contributed 3% you are leaving free money on the table.  Set Clear Goals and Speak with A Financial Planner and Tax Professional For Guidance In Achieving Those Goals  What are your goals and how will you accomplish them? As you are building your foundation it is helpful to know where you want to end up. Do you want to save for your kids’ education expenses? Do you want to retire early? Are you hoping to purchase a home? How can you manage your income to maximize its use? Goals are more easily accomplished when you have clarity about what you want to accomplish and have a plan on how you will do it. Sometimes people think that you need to have to have a lot of money already saved to benefit from meeting with financial professionals. This is not always the case. Doing this early in your life can help you to prepare for all the decisions that will come your way as your wealth begins to grow. There is no better time than now to either establish your financial foundation or to revisit your existing foundation. Ashley Vega Investment Advisor Representative  Ashley graduated from Winona State University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. In 2005, she joined Advisors Management Group part-time as a part of the Administration team. After leaving AMG temporarily, she returned to Advisors Management Group full time in 2015 and became an Investment Advisor Representative and Tax Preparer in 2019. Advisors Management Group, Inc. is a registered investment adviser whose principal office is located in Wisconsin.   Opinions expressed are those of AMG and are subject to change, not guaranteed, and should not be considered recommendations to buy or sell any security.  Past performance is no guarantee of future returns, and investing involves multiple risks, including, but not limited to, the risk of permanent losses.  Please do not send orders via e-mail as they are not binding and cannot be acted upon.  Please be advised it remains the responsibility of our clients to inform AMG of any changes in their investment objectives and/or financial situation.  This commentary is limited to the dissemination of general information pertaining to AMG’s investment advisory/management services.  Any subsequent, direct communication by AMG  with a prospective client shall be conducted by a representative that is either registered or qualifies for an exemption or exclusion from registration in the state where the prospective client resides.  A copy of our current written disclosure statement discussing our advisory services and fees continues to remain available for your review upon request.

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Advisors Management Group

Credit Card Basics

The word credit card often creates a lot of anxiety for people, however when used appropriately, credit cards can be a great tool in managing your household finances. Whether you are already in a financially sound situation or you are just starting out, here are a few basic principles that can help you to master using credit cards Before you get a credit card, it’s important for you to have a solid financial foundation. To utilize a credit card effectively, you should understand exactly what your expenses are compared to your income. Be sure that you only charge what you can afford to pay when the bill comes. If you must use your card for an emergency, try to pay off the balance when it comes.  If you cannot pay your balance in full, you will be charged interest on the balance of your credit card each month that you carry that balance. Should you find yourself in this situation, pay as much as you can to bring the balance down quickly. While it may not seem like a big deal, paying interest makes the purchases more expensive over time. Be an Informed Consumer Before applying for a new credit card, understand the terms and conditions of the card and consider potential impacts to your credit score. Be sure to understand the interest rate and the various fees a card might charge.  Interest rates and late payment fees can vary greatly from card to card and some cards charge an annual fee. While applying for a new credit card could impact your credit score, other situations such as missing payments, or carrying large balances month-over-month can also negatively affect your credit score. Consider using a credit monitoring service to help monitor your credit and project the possible impact of different financial transactions. Credit Cards for Establishing Credit While credit cards can get a bad rap, they can also help improve your credit score if they are used wisely. By paying off your balance at the end of each month, not missing payments, and not maxing out your cards or carrying too much revolving debt, you can positively impact your credit score. This demonstrates that you can maintain low balances on your cards while using them frequently and shows a good track record of managing your credit cards. Students will often get their first credit card while in college. There are special cards that offer lower credit limits and will allow for individuals with limited credit history to get a credit card for emergencies or travel purposes. These cards are great for charging small amounts on a regular basis and paying it off when the bill comes. Credit Card users who are trying to recover their credit or are just starting to establish credit may want to consider charging a basic item such as their groceries or gasoline for the month and pay the balance in full every month.  A Word on Rewards Cards Credit cards that offer in store discounts, cash back, travel, etc. can be very enticing. If you are charging your normal expenses and pay off your balance at the end of the month, you can enjoy the rewards the card offers. You should not however, charge things you cannot pay off just to let the points add up. The interest you will pay will exceed the reward that the card offers. While credit cards can get a bad rap, utilizing them in a smart way can be a convenient way to manage your cash flow, help you in tracking your expenses and can help you to show a history of good habits on your credit report. Ashley Vega Investment Advisor Representative  Ashley graduated from Winona State University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. In 2005, she joined Advisors Management Group part-time as a part of the Administration team. After leaving AMG temporarily, she returned to Advisors Management Group full time in 2015 and became an Investment Advisor Representative and Tax Preparer in 2019. Advisors Management Group, Inc. is a registered investment adviser whose principal office is located in Wisconsin.   Opinions expressed are those of AMG and are subject to change, not guaranteed, and should not be considered recommendations to buy or sell any security.  Past performance is no guarantee of future returns, and investing involves multiple risks, including, but not limited to, the risk of permanent losses.  Please do not send orders via e-mail as they are not binding and cannot be acted upon.  Please be advised it remains the responsibility of our clients to inform AMG of any changes in their investment objectives and/or financial situation.  This commentary is limited to the dissemination of general information pertaining to AMG’s investment advisory/management services.  Any subsequent, direct communication by AMG  with a prospective client shall be conducted by a representative that is either registered or qualifies for an exemption or exclusion from registration in the state where the prospective client resides.  A copy of our current written disclosure statement discussing our advisory services and fees continues to remain available for your review upon request.

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Advisors Management Group

7 Signs You Need to Outsource Payroll Services

As a hands-on small business owner, payroll is one of those operations that seems easy enough to manage on your own. Many assume that payroll consists of calculating an employee’s hours worked, subtracting taxes, and then writing a check. If only processing payroll were so simple. Instead, it is a highly regulated and tedious responsibility. Payroll administrators must keep up with ever-changing payroll laws and tax rules on local, state, and federal levels.   Your time and energy are valuable and much better spent optimizing operations, directing creative campaigns, and driving growth. With financial advisors in Green Bay, WI; Eau Claire, WI; and La Crosse, WI; Advisors Management Group offers full payroll services for small businesses and larger companies.  Here are seven signs that it is time for your business to outsource payroll services. 1. You are way too busy. Overseeing payroll can be, quite literally, a full-time job. The role encompasses data entry, payroll calculations, and deadline management. When operating payroll, you must make time to learn about new payroll laws and research tax updates.  Falling out of compliance with payroll laws can be detrimental to your business.   2. Labor overhead is too high. The cost of a designated Payroll Administrator is high. Employed payroll professionals not only require a competitive salary package but can also be costly to recruit, onboard, and train.  This might make sense for large corporations but rarely is the cost-effective choice for small and mid-size businesses. Outsourcing payroll eliminates an entire position and saves your company high labor costs. 3. Retaining payroll employees has been tough.   It is not unusual to have high turnover in a payroll position. It is a demanding and high-stress job. There is nothing worse than hiring a payroll administrator, taking the time to train them, and then allowing them to tailor the processes to their liking, only to have them walk away a month later, leaving you with a mess.  When you outsource payroll services to Advisors Management Group, you can rest easy knowing that you have a team of reliable professionals with solid reputations in the community overseeing your company’s payroll.  4. Human Resources is overwhelmed.  It is common to place the responsibility of payroll under the umbrella of Human Resources. This is one of those cases where common occurrence doesn’t necessarily equate to common sense.  By freeing up your HR team of the demanding responsibilities of payroll, which require financial expertise, you allow them to better focus on the fundamental HR operations of your company.  5. There’s an absence of security policies & processes. Handling payroll can be a risky business. When you process your organization’s payroll internally, you are responsible for all of your employee’s personal data, including social security numbers and bank account information.  With this significant amount of responsibility, great security measures are required to prevent data leaks, security breaches, and payroll fraud. Most small businesses do not have the tools and resources to protect themselves from these types of security risks. As the leading strategic business advisors in Wisconsin, we offer full outsourced payroll services with cutting-edge data storage systems and strategic protective methods.  Advisors Management Group has multiple server locations and backup systems fully securing our payroll processes. 6. You do not have a payroll report.  Payroll reports are powerful tools that provide meaningful insight that can help your business make critical decisions.  It takes knowledge and experience to create an effective payroll report. When your business decides to outsource payroll services with us, we will provide a meaningful insight report specifically designed for you and the goals of your business. Our reports are bold, simple to understand, and our Green Bay investment advisors are on hand to explain the data to you and your team. 7. You are not a payroll tax expert.  The IRS is not an entity you want to disappoint, and they have quite a few payroll tax regulations. Each year, businesses across the country face large tax penalties for filing incorrectly or failing to file on time. The IRS does not offer grace for payroll mistakes, and even worse, these slips can serve as a red flag that leads to high-stress audits. It would be a challenge for a small business owner to keep abreast of every payroll tax update and new law. If you are not an expert in this field, processing payroll can be precarious. We are staffed with tax accountants in Green Bay and other cities in Wisconsin, all of whom keep up to date with payroll tax changes and immediately implement necessary updates to our outsource payroll services program. Outsource Your Payroll to Advisors Management Group Our payroll consultants are experienced and equipped with the latest in payroll technologies. Let us take the stress out of business ownership by taking payroll administration off your hands.  As a payroll client, you will have 24/7 access to cutting-edge technology and a protected online platform that allows you to view payroll in real-time with immediate access to payroll reports. There is a long list of benefits to outsourcing payroll services. Some of them include: Provides yourself and your employees 24/7 access to real-time payroll data with a user-friendly digital platform.  Eliminates costly internal payroll positions. Improves company culture and supports employee trust by delivering reliable, accurate, and timely paychecks. Supports compliant HR operations.  We offer affordable payroll services that support compliance and HR best practices, allowing you to offer your employees reliable payroll outcomes. Beyond offering weekly, bi-weekly, and monthly payroll services, our Green Bay accounting firm offers additional payroll assistance including: 1099 Preparation W-2 Preparation W-3 Preparation Worker’s Compensation Assistance & Audits Payroll Federal Taxes  Payroll State Taxes Unemployment claims Payroll Disputes  If you are ready to place your payroll in the hands of Wisconsin’s leading payroll administrators, contact Advisors Management Group today for a free consultation.

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Advisors Management Group

What is an LLC and should I have one?

As a small business owner, you want to protect your assets and create separation between your private and public or business finances. An LLC is a very popular way to provide legal security and protection for business owners, but it is so much more than that.  One of the most important parts of setting up a small business is to establish an LLC. But what exactly is an LLC, and is it better than other business structures, like a corporation?  This guide will answer the question, “What is an LLC for dummies?” We will break down exactly what it is and help you understand whether it is a good choice for your business.    What is an LLC? An LLC is a limited liability company. It legally organizes a business, protecting personal property from financial or litigation risk. It is a way of structuring a business as a legal entity.    What an LLC Does The most common thing an LLC does is separate the businesses’ assets from the business owner’s personal assets. It’s all in the name; it limits the liability to just the assets owned by the company, not the business owner’s personal assets.  Let’s explain this with an example.  If an LLC owns two real estate properties but defaults on its loans, the creditor can only go after any assets owned by the LLC. They cannot demand personal property from the business owner. They are separated legally, so the LLC must settle all debts, litigations, and other liabilities with assets it owns.  There are going to be caveats and other situations, but that is a simple example.  This is the most common benefit and why most people set one up. It’s essential to make sure that personal property is separated from the dealings of the business.  Let’s look at the most significant benefits of an LLC so you can see more clearly what it can do for your business.    Pros and Cons of an LLC  The easiest way to see what an LLC does is to look at the pros and cons. As advantageous as it is, an LLC isn’t the best idea for every single business.    Benefits of an LLC  Including asset protection, there are five main benefits of creating an LLC. It’s a way to organize and manage your business, and it offers tax flexibility, too.    Asset Protection An LLC protects members from personal liability due to anything the LLC does. This includes anything other members do on behalf of the business.  This means that creditors, clients, or customers cannot pursue personal assets such as financial accounts or real estate as a way to pay for business debts or dealings.  That is why it is called a limited liability company - it restricts how much members are liable for.    Name Reservation Another lesser-known benefit of an LLC is that it reserves your LLC’s name in your state. When you register your LLC at the state level, it prevents other businesses in your industry from using it.  This is a way of legally proving that your business actively uses the name without going through the time and expense of copyrighting it.    Less Red Tape An LLC also involves less bureaucracy than other types of business structures. Setting one up is relatively quick and straightforward.  Since it has fewer compliance requirements than others (like corporations or partnerships), it is one of the quickest ways to set up a business.    Tax Flexibility  An LLC provides more options when it comes to taxes, too. You can either choose to pay taxes as a corporation or a sole proprietorship.  Many LLC members enjoy the freedom to choose how to handle taxes. Often, members decide to allow business profits to go directly into their bank accounts. Then, they pay a tax on the profits on their personal federal income tax returns.  When they do it this way, filing taxes is easier than taxing your business at the corporate level.    Simple Management Lots of people appreciate how easy it is to manage an LLC. Since all of the members have an equal say, it relieves the owner from sole decision-making.  LLCs also make it easy for small businesses to hire professional managers to run the business for them.    Drawbacks of an LLC  Depending on how you look at it, some people view these benefits as negatives.    Members are Self-Employed The IRS taxes LLCs as partnerships by default, so members are self-employed and pay their own Social Security and Medicaid taxes.  Some business owners don’t want to pay self-employment tax; they prefer to pay taxes through a corporation.    Startup Costs It costs money to form an LLC, and there are ongoing fees related to it. This is why some people decide to just stick with a sole proprietorship.  Even though they don’t cost very much to create, even the most negligible fees might persuade a small business to refrain from establishing an LLC.    Difficult to Transfer Ownership The other drawback of an LLC is that all members must vote on and agree to any ownership changes that the business owner wants to make.  Instead of just selling stock or shares, members must agree before adding new members or changing ownership.  This is only a negative experience if there are multiple members in the LLC or it is formed as a partnership and the partners don’t get along.    Who needs an LLC? Now that you know what an LLC is, is it right for you? The best way to decide this is to discuss your business and financial situation with a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER.  You might need an LLC if:  You run a business as a sole proprietor Your business has any debts Your business is at risk for litigation  You run your company with a partner or a group of people  Of course, this list isn’t exhaustive. It’s best to speak with an experienced professional who can look at how your business is organized and help you decide which way to set it up further.   Should you start an LLC? Contact us. Knowing what an LLC is for dummies doesn’t take your specific needs into account. Now that you know the basics, it’s time to figure out if it makes sense for your small business.  If you want to discuss the benefits further, contact a financial advisor in Green Bay, WI, a financial advisor in Eau Claire, WI, or a financial advisor in La Cross, WI. They will look at how your business is structured and whether an LLC is the best course of action for you.  

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Advisors Management Group

Be Smart with Your Holiday Jingle

The holidays are upon us, and the pressure is on. There is so much to do to prepare for the holiday season and the holiday bustle can leave you wondering if this is really the most wonderful time of the year. This year, the average American household plans to spend over $1000 this holiday season on gifts, decorations, travel to family and holiday meals. This, on top of normal monthly spending can make November and December some of the most expensive months of the year. Without a plan of attack, December’s holiday magic can easily turn into January’s credit card nightmare. Plan Ahead When it comes to gifts, know who you plan to buy gifts for and how much you intend to spend on them. Stick to the budget. It is easy to get trapped into spending too much especially if you overspend on someone, you may be tempted to buy more for another to make the gift even. If you determine what you are spending, you can determine what you think you’d like to buy to before you enter the store. Use a holiday savings account to save a little bit each month to avoid feeling overwhelmed when the time to shop comes. Keep the store ads with you. Many stores will price match, and this could save you a stop or help you secure an item that you are having difficulty getting at another store. Don’t underestimate how planning your shopping trip ahead can save you both time and money. Plan your route and keep your list handy. By avoiding driving all over town, and potentially backtracking, you can save money on gas and save time. Eating a healthy meal before you head out will put you in a good frame of mind and help you curve the temptation of spending unnecessary money on meals out or stopping for snacks while out and about. Avoid shopping at times that attract crowds like mid-day Saturday and Sunday. By shopping at off times, you can move through your list quickly and with less frustration. Although this one won’t help your pocketbook, time is money and piece of mind is priceless. Shop Online Using a credit card is the most secure way to shop online. It is easier to dispute a fraudulent transaction on a credit card than with a debit card. Remember not to charge anything you cannot pay off when the statement comes. Check multiple websites to make sure that you are getting the best deal. Aim to get free shipping and check for coupon codes. Avoid paying more for something than you should. Items like gaming consoles and other highly desired items are often sold brand new by private parties for a healthy upcharge to parents who are willing to pay anything just to get something that they can’t find in the stores. These items can often be purchased at a fair price after the holidays when the demand drops. Avoid Holiday Scammers and Fraudsters Be mindful of your purse, wallet and credit cards. Watch for skimming devices and be discreet about how you enter you pin number. Track packages and know when they are being delivered. Arrange to have them shipped to your place of employment or to have a neighbor pick them up off your porch. Be wary of vendors selling goods online who ask for gift cards as payment. This is a common internet scam, and it is likely that you will not receive the goods you purchased. Review your credit card statements often. Report and dispute any suspicious transactions right away. By being prepared and organized, you can save time and money so that you can focus on what really matters this holiday season. May your shopping be stress free and may your holiday season be merry and bright!   Rebecca Agamaite, MBA Investment Advisor Representative  Rebecca joined the firm in 2011 as an Investment Advisor Representative. In this role, she works with clients to manage their investment assets and help them obtain their financial objectives. Rebecca brings a great deal of experience to the team having worked for several years at Marshall & IIsley Bank and MetLife.   Advisors Management Group, Inc. is a registered investment adviser whose principal office is located in Wisconsin.   Opinions expressed are those of AMG and are subject to change, not guaranteed, and should not be considered recommendations to buy or sell any security.  Past performance is no guarantee of future returns, and investing involves multiple risks, including, but not limited to, the risk of permanent losses.  Please do not send orders via e-mail as they are not binding and cannot be acted upon.  Please be advised it remains the responsibility of our clients to inform AMG of any changes in their investment objectives and/or financial situation.  This commentary is limited to the dissemination of general information pertaining to AMG’s investment advisory/management services.  Any subsequent, direct communication by AMG  with a prospective client shall be conducted by a representative that is either registered or qualifies for an exemption or exclusion from registration in the state where the prospective client resides.  A copy of our current written disclosure statement discussing our advisory services and fees continues to remain available for your review upon request.

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Advisors Management Group

Caring for Your Aging Parents: How to Prepare

The time to get ready is well before the time comes. Here's how to approach some important talks and what you need to cover. Whether the time is now or somewhere down the road, there are steps you can take to make your life — and their lives, too — a little easier. It’s Time for a Chat The first step is talking to your parents. How will you know when it's the right time to do this? Look for indicators like failure to take medication, new health concerns, diminished social interaction, general confusion or even fluctuations in weight. What can make things more difficult is when the parents are unwilling or unable to talk about their future. This can happen for a number of reasons, including fear of becoming dependent, resentment toward you for interfering, reluctance to burden you with their problems, or because they are already incapacitated. Without their cooperation, you may need to do as much planning as you can without them. However, if their safety or health is in danger, you may still need to step in as a caregiver. If you're nervous about talking to your parents, make a list of topics that you need to discuss. This will help ease tension, and you will be less likely to forget anything. If there is some reluctance on the part of your parents, it may be wise to cover your list over several visits so that it doesn’t sound so much like an interrogation. Get Personal Once you've opened the lines of communication, a good next step is to get as much information as you can to prepare a personal data record. This document lists information that you might need in case your parents become incapacitated or die. Here is some information that should be included: Bank and investment accounts Estate documents like wills and trusts Funeral and burial plans Medical information Insurance information Names and phone numbers of professional advisers Real estate documents Be sure to write down the location of documents and any relevant account numbers. It's also a good idea to make copies of all the documents you've gathered and keep them in a safe place. Explore Living Arrangements Eventually you’ll need to have discussions on more sensitive subjects like your parents’ wishes on medical care decisions and future living arrangements. Where your parents eventually live will depend on how healthy they are. As they grow older, their health may deteriorate so much that they can no longer live on their own. At that point, you may need to find them in-home health care, health care within a retirement community or nursing home, or you may insist that they come to live with you. If money is an issue, moving in with you may be the best or only option. Keep in mind this decision will impact your entire family, so talk about it as a family first. Make It a Family Affair The physical and financial responsibility of taking care of elderly parents may fall on several adult children, and usually not all are equally able to bear the burden. The result can be resentment, even hostility, and the breakdown of family cooperation. The key to keeping harmony is communication when caring for your aging parents. Family meetings on a regular basis are key to keeping tensions down and everyone informed. Families can talk over who can pay for care when it's needed, and who can do physical work for a parent. Even if a family member lives at a distance, there are things they can do. Consolidating accounts in one bank, setting up online access to paying bills and overseeing financial management are areas that can be handled from anywhere in the U.S. Ask for Help The key is to not try to care for your parents alone. Besides getting the family involved, there are also many local and national caregiver support groups and community services available to help you cope with caring for aging parents. If you don't know where to find help, contact your state department of elder care services, or call: 1-800-677-1116 to reach the Elder Care Locator, an information and referral service sponsored by the federal government that could direct you to resources available in your area. Source: Kiplinger.com

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Advisors Management Group

Making Health Saving Accounts Work for You

When illness or injuries occur, paying for out-of-pocket medical expenses can be overwhelming for many people. By planning ahead and saving a little bit every month you can feel prepared to deal with unexpected medical costs. If you are a participant in a high deductible HSA eligible health insurance plan, a Health Savings Account can be an important part of your overall financial picture. Which insurance plans are eligible? For 2021, an HSA eligible plan must have a deductible of at least $1,400 for and individual and $2,800 for a family plan. HSA eligible plans require the insured to pay for most expenses out of pocket until the deductible is met.  It is important to understand that not every insurance plan is HSA eligible even if the deductible is high. How do HSA’s work? An HSA account allows you to put pre-tax dollars into a savings account, then use those dollars to pay medical expenses without ever paying any tax on the dollars used for the payment. The maximum annual deferral amount depends upon the type of health insurance coverage you have.  Also, the annual contribution limit usually increases slightly each year so you may want to adjust accordingly. HSA eligible health insurance plans may cost less which may allow you to choose to invest what you are not spending on premiums.          How much can I save? For individuals with single health insurance coverage the annual contribution limit is $3,600.  For individuals with family health insurance coverage the annual contribution limit is $7,200.  If you are over the age of 55, you can contribute up to an additional $1,000 per year to increase, your maximum annual contribution to $4,600 or $8,200 depending upon the type of health insurance coverage you have. Contributions can be deductible on your tax return if they are paid out of pocket instead through salary deferral from your employers’ payroll. Additional Benefits Some additional advantages an HSA account provides include: At the age of 65 you can treat your HSA like an IRA and take distributions for purposes other than medical expenses without penalty, although you will pay income tax on the distribution. You can invest the assets in the account no matter what your income is. There are no income limits to be eligible to contribute unlike an IRA.  Once your income goes above a certain level you can no longer make tax deductible contributions to an IRA. For higher income earners an HSA is one of the few ways to save money tax deferred. You can do a once in a lifetime tax free rollover from an IRA to an HSA up to the annual contribution limit. However, you must remain in a high deductible health insurance plan for at least 12 months following the rollover. You are not allowed make rollover contributions to an HSA from a 401(k), 457, or other retirement plan. You can first roll money over to an IRA and then do a rollover from the IRA to the HSA There are options available for those who want to grow their HSA in the equities market. This can be attractive for those who don’t typically spend down their HSA on an annual basis or those who have accumulated a larger balance. Can I use my HSA to pay health insurance premiums? You can only use your HSA to pay health insurance premiums if you are collecting Federal or State unemployment benefits, or you have COBRA continuation health insurance coverage through a former employer. Nathan Deets CFP Investment Advisor Representative & Tax Preparer Nathan joined the firm in 2006. As an Investment Advisor Representative, he is part of the team that designs our clients’ investment portfolios, prepares individual tax returns, and helps our Advisor Team with financial planning for our clients. Advisors Management Group, Inc. is a registered investment adviser whose principal office is located in Wisconsin.   Opinions expressed are those of AMG and are subject to change, not guaranteed, and should not be considered recommendations to buy or sell any security.  Past performance is no guarantee of future returns, and investing involves multiple risks, including, but not limited to, the risk of permanent losses.  Please do not send orders via e-mail as they are not binding and cannot be acted upon.  Please be advised it remains the responsibility of our clients to inform AMG of any changes in their investment objectives and/or financial situation.  This commentary is limited to the dissemination of general information pertaining to AMG’s investment advisory/management services.  Any subsequent, direct communication by AMG  with a prospective client shall be conducted by a representative that is either registered or qualifies for an exemption or exclusion from registration in the state where the prospective client resides.  A copy of our current written disclosure statement discussing our advisory services and fees continues to remain available for your review upon request.

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Advisors Management Group

What To Do With A 401(k) After Leaving a Job?

Are you one of the millions of Americans who have changed jobs during the pandemic? A report published by Prudential Financial, states that at least 26% of the workforce will change jobs during the current year. Changing jobs can carry a mix of emotions depending on the reason for the career change. Regardless of the reason for the job change, one thing everyone needs to know is what their options are with their 401k account from a previous employer.   After you leave your job, you have four options for your old 401k account. Option 1: Leave it where it is. In most cases, you can leave your 401k in the former employer’s plan.  This option requires the least amount of work since there is no additional paperwork needed. Also, your account is still able to grow tax-deferred until you withdraw funds. While this option might be an easier option it may not be the most advantageous. One of the limits of a 401k plan is that there can be fewer investment options. Also, 401k maintenance fees may be passed on to you, which can increase the expenses of the 401k plan. Another restriction is that you cannot contribute to a 401k once you no longer work for that employer. Finally, it can be complicated to keep track of where you have funds if you have multiple 401k with past employers. Option 2: Roll it over to your new employer If your new employer has a 401k and the plan allows rollovers, consolidating your 401k from your previous employer with your new employer may make it easier to keep track of where your funds are located.  Earnings will accrue tax-deferred until you withdraw funds. Some 401k plans allow loans, by rolling over your previous 401k to the new one you may be able to borrow against that balance in the future. The are some potential downfalls of rolling over your 401k to a new employer. Most 401ks plans have limited investment options.  Those investment options can be replaced by the plan trustee without your approval. In addition, record keeping and administrative fees of the plan may be passed on to you. Option 3: Cash out your 401k Cashing out your 401k is another option for an old 401k. While this option allows you to gain access to your funds, it usually carries a penalty if you don’t meet certain qualifications. If you withdraw the money from your 401k and do not meet the required qualifications for a withdrawal (such as age, typically 59.5, financial situation, or disability) you will be required to pay a penalty for the early withdrawal. In addition to the early withdrawal penalty, income tax may also need to be paid on the withdrawal. Option 4: Rollover 401k to an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) Rolling your 401k to an IRA allows for the most flexibility with your investment choices. This can give you access to mutual funds, exchange traded funds, stocks and bonds, to name a few.  You may also have greater flexibility with investments that provide income, such as dividends and interest.  IRAs can provide for greater flexibility with withdrawals and various tax withholding.  IRAs continue to allow for tax deferred saving. There are some possible disadvantages to using an IRA.  You are not allowed to take a loan against an IRA.  Depending on your investment choices there could be upfront commissions, high annual fees or even back-end charges limiting you from withdrawing money from the IRA within a certain period of time. It is important to remember everyone’s situation is different. When deciding what is the best option for you, it is wise to research all options and understand the fees involved with those options. These decisions are difficult, and you may want to reach out to a financial professional to assess your situation. In doing so, we suggest you work with a fiduciary, an advisor that works in your best interest.  Shay Benedict Trading Specialist Shay joined Advisors Management Group in June of 2020. Shay works as a Trading Specialist for AMG. He works alongside the advisors to trade client portfolios. He helps to provide continuous improvement within the trading department, to ensure we meet our client’s needs. Advisors Management Group, Inc. is a registered investment adviser whose principal office is located in Wisconsin.   Opinions expressed are those of AMG and are subject to change, not guaranteed, and should not be considered recommendations to buy or sell any security.  Past performance is no guarantee of future returns, and investing involves multiple risks, including, but not limited to, the risk of permanent losses.  Please do not send orders via e-mail as they are not binding and cannot be acted upon.  Please be advised it remains the responsibility of our clients to inform AMG of any changes in their investment objectives and/or financial situation.  This commentary is limited to the dissemination of general information pertaining to AMG’s investment advisory/management services.  Any subsequent, direct communication by AMG  with a prospective client shall be conducted by a representative that is either registered or qualifies for an exemption or exclusion from registration in the state where the prospective client resides.  A copy of our current written disclosure statement discussing our advisory services and fees continues to remain available for your review upon request.

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Advisors Management Group

Roth IRAs and High-Income Households

Roth IRA contributions are not tax-deductible, so there is no tax benefit for the year of contribution.  The tax benefit comes when you take a distribution.  If you follow the IRS rules, distributions from Roth IRAs are generally tax-free.  Typically, you have to be 59 ½ or older and the account has to have been established for at least five years. Although, there are special rules in the case of death, disability, and conversions. Not everyone can contribute to a Roth IRA.  First, you must have earned income, basically income from a job or self-employment.  Secondly, there are income limits for contributing to Roth IRAs.  In 2021, if your filing status is married filing joint or qualified widow(er) and your modified adjusted gross income falls between $198,000 and $208,000, you can still contribute to a Roth IRA, but the contribution is limited.  If your income is above $208,000, you cannot contribute to a Roth IRA.  For single or head of household filers, the phase-out range is $125,000 to $140,000.  If you are above $140,000, then you cannot contribute to a Roth IRA.  These income ranges can change each year. It is best to consult with a tax professional or an investment advisor to understand if you are eligible to contribute to a Roth IRA and how much. Backdoor Roth IRA If your income is too high and you do not qualify to make a Roth IRA contribution, there may still be a way to contribute to one. The strategy uses current tax law, and the term is coined, “backdoor” Roth IRA contribution.  First, you make a non-deductible Traditional IRA contribution. This can be done even at high-income levels.  Next, you immediately convert that traditional IRA to a Roth IRA; there is no income limitation for these types of Roth IRA conversions. A Few Words of Caution Even though the backdoor Roth IRA process seems simple, there are several things to be aware of when completing one.  The first thing is the timing of the traditional IRA contribution and the conversion to the Roth IRA is important. If done appropriately there may be no tax due on this transaction. Also, delays in the process could cause gains in the traditional IRA to be taxable upon conversion. In addition, if you already have other traditional IRAs, this strategy may not work for you as it can cause unwelcome tax surprises down the road.  Finally, this transaction will generate a 1099-R and will need to be reported on your tax return.  Due to the complexity of this strategy, we recommend consulting a tax professional and investment advisor before starting this process. If you would like to learn more about this strategy to see if it is right for you, please contact one of our team members. Rebecca Agamaite, MBA Client Experience Manager, Investment Advisor Representative Rebecca joined the Advisors Management Group in 2011 as an Investment Advisor Representative. Rebecca brings a great deal of experience to the team having worked for several years at Marshall & IIsley Bank and MetLife.  Advisors Management Group, Inc. is a registered investment adviser whose principal office is located in Wisconsin.   Opinions expressed are those of AMG and are subject to change, not guaranteed, and should not be considered recommendations to buy or sell any security.  Past performance is no guarantee of future returns, and investing involves multiple risks, including, but not limited to, the risk of permanent losses.  Please do not send orders via e-mail as they are not binding and cannot be acted upon.  Please be advised it remains the responsibility of our clients to inform AMG of any changes in their investment objectives and/or financial situation.  This commentary is limited to the dissemination of general information pertaining to AMG’s investment advisory/management services.  Any subsequent, direct communication by AMG  with a prospective client shall be conducted by a representative that is either registered or qualifies for an exemption or exclusion from registration in the state where the prospective client resides.  A copy of our current written disclosure statement discussing our advisory services and fees continues to remain available for your review upon request.

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Advisors Management Group

Boiling Down Bull and Bear Markets

You may have heard people talk about bull markets and bear markets or even use the term to describe how they feel about investing. You may hear people say, “I am feeling bullish” or “I am feeling bearish, but what exactly are they talking about? While the actual reason behind why bulls and bears have become synonymous with investing is unclear; history is full of folklore on why this association has been made over time.  One theory is that the bear representation comes from bearskin traders who would sell bearskins prior to receiving them from trappers in hopes that the future prices would drop and result in a bigger profit.  Bulls were considered the opposite to bears, stemming back to medieval times where blood sports pitted the bear against the bull in a battle to the death. Let’s break it down because once you know, it is easy to remember the difference and you can even begin to use these terms in your own conversations. The terms “bull” and “bear” are thought to come from how these animals attack their opponent. A bull attacks with its horns and pushes its opponent upward. Therefore, a bull market is a market that is going up. If market enthusiasm has got you excited, you are bullish. You are optimistic that the market will continue to go up. On the other hand, when a bear attacks, it claws its victim downward. Therefore, a bear market is going down. If you find yourself feeling pessimistic then you are bearish and you are expecting the market to drop. While we many never know the exact origin of the terms bull and bear markets, they will continue to be commonly mentioned in the world of investing. Rebecca Agamaite, MBA Client Experience Manager, Investment Advisor Representative Rebecca joined the Advisors Management Group in 2011 as an Investment Advisor Representative. Rebecca brings a great deal of experience to the team having worked for several years at Marshall & IIsley Bank and MetLife. 

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