FEATURED POST

Advisors Management Group

Mapping Out Your Future with a Financial Plan
Just like a map or a GPS is needed for someone driving a car on a long trip, a financial plan is useful for anyone wondering about their financial future.  A financial plan lets us know if we are heading in the right direction, for example north instead of south.  Much like a long journey, life will have many twists, turns and a few unexpected bumps in the road.  However, with a well-planned route, we can have a clear idea of whether we are heading in the direction of our destination. What is a Financial Plan? A financial plan is a document that evaluates cash flow, assets, goals, and brings the information together in a document that predicts how much money and income you will have in the future. This document will be used to determine if your current strategy will accomplish your goals, or if you need a different one. Who can benefit from a financial plan? Financial plans are useful for people of all ages. A financial plan looks at money that is coming in (wages for most people), assets that you have saved so far, and what you are currently saving. This along with other factors helps to plan a path for your financial future.  This could be saving for a large purchase, paying off debt, or saving for the future (children’s education or retirement).  Financial plans are also helpful for people already in retirement as they can be used to help identify a strategy for creating retirement income, spending down assets, or planning to leave them to heirs. To prepare a financial plan your financial planner will need to gather some information from you. You will likely need to bring the following: Recent paystubs Last year’s tax return Statements for any retirement or investment accounts that you have Information on any pensions that you may have Social Security Statements (get yours at ssa.gov/myaccount ) More complex plans may require information about insurance and/or legal work Your planner will ask some questions to get to know you and find out what is important to you. A good planner will be interested in not just how much money you have, but also in what you would like to accomplish with your money. This conversation along with the data you bring to your appointment will help your planner to craft a financial plan that is specific to your goals. Your planning process will likely consist of several meetings. Costs are generally dependent on the complexity of your plan, and it is even possible that your advisor will provide some basic planning at no cost. Life will continue to change over time, for this reason it is important to revisit your financial plan with your advisor every so often to account for any detours or bumps along the road of life.  Financial plans are working documents that need to be adjusted as circumstances change. You should expect to update your financial plan several times during your working years. Generally, this will be every few years or when a major life change occurs. If you would like to find out more about having your personal financial plan prepared, contact us to set up your no obligation consultation today. Kate Pederson Investment Advisor Representative & Tax Preparer  Kate joined Advisors Management Group in December 2017. Prior to joining the firm, she worked in manufacturing and healthcare during her career as a financial analyst. 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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Category: Tips

11 Mar 2022

Advisors Management Group

Should I hire employees or independent contractors?

Growing a business is exciting and complicated at the same time. When you need to build reliable and professional staff you'll be faced with a choice. Do you go with employees or independent contractors?  What is the difference? Is one better than the other?  It all depends on your current business and your short-term goals.  Differences Between Employees and Independent Contractors There are some stark differences between employees and independent contractors. Most of them have to do with how they are paid and how much control/oversight the work requires.  To help make the decision easier, let’s look at what employees and independent contractors are.  Employees Employees perform work for the employer, and the employer maintains control over every aspect of this work - when and how it is to be done.  Employers have the legal right to set specific working hours and to control the details or standards about how the work is to be done.  When they pay their employees, businesses must take out social security tax, Medicare, and income tax withholdings.  Employers also provide their employees with the tools they need to do the work required of them. This might include office space, work computers, or company vehicles.  Types of Employees Not all employees are salaried full-time workers. There are actually a few different classifications of employees that you might hire.  Full-Time Hourly - These are employees that work more than 35 hours per week and are paid hourly. Full-Time Salaried - Employees that work full-time and are paid a set salary, no matter how many hours they work.  Part-Time - These employees work less than 35 hours per week. They are usually paid per hour.  Seasonal - Employees that are only hired to work for a specific season. You may offer to hire them as full or part-time or let them go after the season ends.  Independent Contractors An independent contractor is self-employed. They are different from employees because they perform work for a person with a contracted understanding between them. All the details of the work to be performed are outlined in the contract.   As an employer, you will have control over the work the independent contractor does for you, but not how it is completed.  There are differences in how you pay them, too. Independent contractors will send you invoices for their completed work. The company that pays them will not take taxes out of the payments. It is up to the independent contractor to make estimated quarterly payments to the IRS.  Since they are self-employed, an independent contractor may work for multiple people at one time.  Examples of Independent Contractors There are quite a few different career fields that work almost exclusively as independent contractors. Some of the most common examples are:  Real estate agents Copywriters Graphic designers IT professionals  Consultants Benefits of Hiring Employees The biggest benefit of hiring employees is that you will have more control over the work they do. If your business is such that you need to establish working hours and the work must be accomplished according to a set of standards, hiring an employee is a better choice.  Another benefit is exclusivity. You can legally require the employee to only work for you and not a competitor. Some businesses even require their employees to not have any other side gigs or side hustles at all.  Depending on the scope of the project or work to be completed, it might save you money to hire employees. If the work you are hiring for is ongoing, without an end in sight, the salary of an employee might be more affordable than freelancer fees.  Finally, when you hire employees, you are building a team of people who take pride in their job and represent your business. This is beneficial for reputation and growth.  Benefits of Hiring Independent Contractors One of the biggest benefits of hiring independent contractors is that they require very little supervision and training. This saves you time and money.  It’s also smarter to hire independent contractors if the work is temporary or the project has an end date. This way, you don’t have to go through a lengthy onboarding process only to have to let them go when it is finished.  There are also financial benefits of hiring independent contractors. Since you don’t have to pay them benefits and don’t need to commit to a salary, you are only paying for work that is completed.  You have a lot of flexibility, too. If the independent contractor isn’t working out, all you have to do is not work with them again. If an employee isn’t working out, firing them could be a lengthy process, and you’ll have to go through the effort of interviewing and hiring someone else.  Should I hire employees or independent contractors?  When you are trying to decide, you need to look at the scope of the work. How much control do you need? Will you need to set specific hours? Will this project end soon or is it an ongoing one?  If you need to have the final say in how a project is completed and the hours they work, then you probably need to hire an employee.  On the other hand, if you have a small project that doesn’t require a lot of oversight and has a clear start and end date, then you might be better off hiring an independent contractor.  Speak to a Financial Advisor  It is always best to speak to an experienced financial advisor when you are trying to make a financial decision that affects your business. They will be able to look at your goals, the demands of the job, and help you make an informed decision that will help your company grow. Advisors Management Group is here to help. Contact our Business Consultant today and get started on a plan that works for you.

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04 Mar 2022

Advisors Management Group

What is a brokerage account and how is it different from an IRA?

There are so many similarities that it is easy to get them confused. Both a brokerage account and an IRA give you the ability to invest your money into stocks and bonds.  Ultimately, your choice depends on your financial values and preferences. How many choices do you want? Do you prefer to pay taxes on the money you invest or when you withdraw the money?  These questions - and more - all affect which type of investment account is best for you.  What is a brokerage account? Basically, a brokerage account is an account that allows you to pick and choose which investments to buy and sell stocks and other investments. As these investments earn interest and dividends, you will pay taxes on this income. You might also have to pay capital gains taxes when you sell stocks, too.  Through a brokerage account, you have the ability to purchase investments such as:  Stocks Bonds Mutual Funds ETFs Commodities  Benefits There are a few alluring benefits of a brokerage account.  There is no annual contribution limit with a brokerage account.  You can invest as much as  you want each year.  A lot of people also like that brokerage accounts do not have fees or penalties for withdrawing money before a certain age. Drawbacks The biggest drawback is that you don’t get any tax advantages with a brokerage account. In fact, you will have to pay taxes on the financial gain in the year it is received.  What is an IRA? An IRA is an Investment Retirement Account. Through this account, you are able to purchase unlimited types of stocks and bonds.  You don’t pay taxes on it until you withdraw all your money at the very end. Since it is a retirement account, there are limits on when you can withdraw funds. There are also limits on how much you can contribute.  Types of IRAs Here is a quick overview of the different types of IRAs:  Traditional IRA - the most popular kind. Earnings are not taxed until the owner withdraws them.  Roth IRA - Contributions are taxed, but withdrawals are not taxed. There are annual contribution limits. Withdrawals are tax-free and penalty-free, at any time.  Simple IRA - This stands for Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees. It exists for small businesses and self-employed individuals. There are contribution limits and qualifications that a person must meet to open this type of account.  SEP IRA - This stands for Simplified Employee Pension. This account is set up by employers who also contribute all the funds to it. Employees are not allowed to contribute to it and there are annual contribution limits.  Nondeductible IRA  - This is the type of account someone has if they (or their spouse) have a retirement plan at work and their income exceeds the IRA income limits. They can still contribute to an IRA, but contributions are not tax-deductible anymore.  Benefits Depending on the type of account you open, you could receive tax benefits from IRAs that you don’t get from a brokerage account. Either the contributions are not taxed or the withdrawals are not taxed, and you get to choose which one you prefer.  People also like how easy IRAs are to understand and set up. It is usually a quick process and doesn’t have a steep learning curve.  Drawbacks The biggest drawbacks to IRAs depend on the type of account you open. They can be restrictive.  No matter which kind you have, there are contribution limits restricting how much money you can invest in them each year.  For the 2021 and 2022 tax years, you are only allowed to contribute up to $6,000 to your IRA accounts per year if you are younger than 50 or $7,000 per year if you are older than 50. There are also income limits on IRAs. For example, in 2021, people could only contribute the full amount if their income was less than $198,000 for married filing jointly or $125,000 for single filers.  Another drawback to IRAs is that there is a penalty if you withdraw before you reach retirement age. Most IRAs will charge you a 10% penalty if you withdraw funds before you are 59 ½ years old. The only exception to this is a Roth IRA, which allows you to withdraw money at any time without penalties.  Which is better?  Figuring out which is the better choice depends on your knowledge of stocks, bonds, and securities, your income, and your financial situation.  It’s actually smarter to have both. When you diversify your investments, you have the ability to enjoy the benefits of all of them and will be able to absorb the risks better. Contact a Financial Advisor  When you are looking at a brokerage account vs IRA, it is important to speak to someone you can trust.  An investment advisor from Advisors Management Group can explain everything in detail and suggest the best options for your financial situation. 

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15 Feb 2022

Nick L.

Merging Finances: What to do before you say “I do”

The gown has been bought, the venue has been chosen, and the flowers have been ordered. There are so many details that go in to planning your perfect wedding day. As couples find themselves getting ready to walk down the aisle, it is essential to discuss how matters of the pocketbook merge with matters of the heart. Like everything in marriage, open dialog and careful planning can avoid later conflict as well as create healthy boundaries and expectations surrounding money. Conversations to have before saying “I do” What are your financial goals? Create a list of financial priorities that are important to you both. Determine how you both would like to accomplish these goals. What does our combined budget look like? Laying out a combined monthly budget can help determine not only what you will have to spend on necessities, it will also help you determine how you can save for your goals. If you are unsure where to start, a financial advisor can help. What debts are outstanding and who will pay them? Be honest and candid about debts such as credit cards, car loans, and student loans. On the same note, be honest about any concerns that may come up later regarding credit history. Who will pay household bills? Will this be something you do together or individually? By discussing this ahead of time, it can alleviate tension later. Joint or Individual Bank Accounts While it may seem that logical for married couples to combine bank accounts, there is not a one size fits all approach. For many couples, combining accounts can make budgeting and paying bills a simpler process. It also creates a focus on “our money” vs. “my money and your money” which is particularly helpful when incomes are not equal. Some couples may forgo combining bank accounts if one spouse has considerable debt or bad credit. This could also be a consideration for couples who are remarrying or marrying later in life. Another option may be to maintain separate accounts, but run household expenses from a joint account. Both spouses will transfer an agreed upon monthly contribution from which expenses will be paid. This hybrid type approach can allow all the benefits of joint budgeting, but also allows for spending without judgment from the individual accounts. Keys to Monetary Marital Bliss If you take a quick poll amongst married couples, you will likely find that the topic of money and finances is one of the most common reasons couples argue. Therefore, it is so important to have conversations before marriage to establish healthy expectations. In addition to premarital conversations, having ongoing and honest conversations about finances can keep you and your spouse on track with spending and savings strategies as well as be the foundation of your financial wellness.  Having ongoing conversations about money is the first step in planning your long-term financial strategies such as planning for children’s education, purchasing a home and retirement. By working together and having communication open, you will be well on your way to establishing financial wellness as a married couple. Rebecca Agamaite 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. She earned a Masters of Business Administration degree (with an emphasis on finance) from Concordia University. 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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14 Jan 2022

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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16 Dec 2021

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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13 Dec 2021

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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10 Dec 2021

Advisors Management Group

How Do I Sell My Business?

There’s an avalanche of useful information out there about starting a business. On the other hand, it’s much more difficult to find a trustworthy source on how to sell a business. If you are ready to move on to a new chapter in life and wonder, “How do I sell my business?” this guide is for you.  This helpful resource will take you step-by-step through the entire process. You’ll learn what you need to do and the best, stress-free ways to sell your business.  Why Sell a Business Before you even begin to sell your business, it’s important to be clear on why you are doing it. This is a question potential buyers might ask you, and it’s good to be prepared.  These are the most common reasons that people sell their business.  Retirement  Retirement is the biggest reason most people sell their business. They are ready to work less and travel more, or they don’t want to be a business owner this late into life.  If a person can sell their business for a price that allows them to have a comfortable retirement - no matter the age - it’s definitely tempting.  Professional Change  Another reason people sell their business is that they want to switch industries. Maybe they built up their business but are interested in a different opportunity. It makes sense to sell the first business and focus on the next thing.  Business Flipping If someone gets the chance to sell their business at a profit, then this is an offer that is tough to turn down. Business flipping is a lot like house flipping. The entrepreneur builds up sales and the business and then sells it, earning a hefty profit for their efforts.  Makes Financial Sense  There are a plethora of risks associated with owning a small business. Anytime a business owner has the chance to get liquidity by selling the business (or a part of the business) it is a good idea.  Maybe the owner wants to sell because they are unable to absorb the financial risks. This happens either in the beginning stages or later on when the damages can get pricier.  If a person grows uncomfortable with the amount of risk it takes to own a small business, it might be time to sell it.  Illness or Death  Finally, physical health plays an important role in someone’s ability to run a business correctly. When one’s health begins to decline, it’s common to consider selling the business.  This also includes the times when a partner in the business dies or is unable to do their share. It’s more important to focus on family and health than trying to operate a small business. How to Sell a Business No matter the reason for selling it, there are specific things you must do when you are ready to let it go.  The most important thing is to speak with an experienced financial consultant who will work with you to prepare for a successful transaction.  1. Make It Look Financially Attractive  The first thing you need to do is increase sales and profitability. To attract serious buyers, the business must look like a solid investment that will pay off.  One of the best ways to make your business look desirable is to increase sales and decrease debts. If you can prove that the business is steadily increasing in sales and revenue, buyers will be more inclined to sign on the dotted line.  2. Start Preparing Early  While you are trying to increase sales and make the business look financially attractive, you should also clean up the books and spend time organizing all the paperwork.  When you begin to sell your business, potential buyers will have a lot of questions about the financials. Do the prep work ahead of time so that you are ready to answer all of their questions.  There are things you can do a year ahead of time, like improving your business structure and customer base, that will help it sell at a higher profit.  3. Get a Professional Valuation  To understand how much your business is worth, you must have it evaluated. Most small businesses will sell for about three to six times your normal cash flow. Knowing where your business sits on this spectrum is tough, so you will need to hire a third party.  A business valuator or agency will look closely at sales, debt, inventory, and revenue and create a precise figure identifying what your business is worth.  This is a lot like a home appraisal. After a homeowner has a current appraisal, they have a better idea of what it might sell for - and the same is true for your business.  4. Prepare an Exit Strategy  Next, create a process that you can enact as soon as you hand business ownership over to the new buyer.  In your exit strategy, include what happens to the current staff, how to manage pain points that might occur during the transition, and what your role will be after the sale is final. 5. Safeguard Secrets From Suspicious Buyers There are some private financials that are shared with potential buyers. This information could damage your business if it ended up in the wrong hands - like a competitor.  The best way to protect your business information is to ask buyers to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA). Not only does this prevent the potential buyer from sharing the information with anyone else, but they also cannot use the information to undermine you as the seller.  6. Decide Whether to Use a Broker If you go through a broker, you won’t make as large of a profit. It might be tempting to keep all the profit for yourself and just do it all, but there are a lot of reasons that a broker will help you.  For example, if you are selling the business to a close friend or family member, the broker is an unbiased third party that will handle the issues that commonly arise among family members.  A broker can also free you from the burden of pouring over paperwork and following up with lenders and the buyer. Since they work on commission, the broker will help you get the highest price that you can.  7. Organize Paperwork  There is going to be a slew of paperwork involved in selling your business. It’s a smart decision to find a lawyer you can trust who can help you draft and review all contracts.  Make sure you hire a lawyer that has experience with contract law. There are a lot of loopholes that can work against you if you don’t catch them early.  Also, you’ll be dealing with more than contracts. Make sure you have tax returns from the past few years and review them with your accountant.  Other important documents you’ll need to find and organize include current lease agreements, customer information, operating manual, employee manual, and a list of equipment that you own.  How Much Selling a Business Costs  There are a lot of different things that influence the cost of selling a business. A broker will take a commission of about 10-12 percent.  On top of that, you will probably incur attorney fees, the cost of improving the business so that it is more valuable, and marketing fees.  Rely on Professionals to Help You Sell Your Business When you are ready to sell your business, rely on financial consultants who can tell you whether this is a good time to sell it and what you can do to maximize your profits.  A business consultant will walk you through every step and help you have the best experience so you can live your best life.

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03 Dec 2021

Advisors Management Group

Should You Buy a Timeshare? Read Before You Sign

Buying a timeshare might seem like a personal investment or a way to own vacation property so you never have to search for rentals again. Is it smart? Is buying a timeshare as good of an idea as the ads and salespeople make it sound?  Before you spend thousands of dollars on a timeshare, it is vital that you speak to a financial advisor. They will look at your income, investments, and the deal itself, and be able to suggest whether it is the best choice.  Until you speak to an advisor, this guide will attempt to answer as many general questions about buying a timeshare as possible. The short story is, there might be a way to buy one, but it isn’t always a good idea.  What is a timeshare? With timeshares, multiple people share in the ownership rights of a vacation property. A timeshare is typically a condominium unit located within a rental property, but it could also be a rental house.  When someone purchases a timeshare, they usually buy the right to use it for a specific date each year - usually for one or two-week periods.  Types of Timeshares There are a few different types of timeshares - from the type of ownership to where they allow people to stay and when they can stay. Before you buy, you must understand which type you are purchasing.  Fixed Timeshare Weeks The most popular type of timeshare gives the buyer a specific date each year when they are allowed to use the property.  Some people love the comfort and tradition of taking their vacation at the same time and place every year. Others don’t like how difficult it is to change the fixed week to a different time if they can’t make it.  Floating Timeshare Weeks Some timeshares offer the option of purchasing floating weeks. This means the buyer has the ability to choose a week (or weeks) within a certain season or period of time. Then, the timeshare owner can reserve a week each year within that period.  This is always subject to availability, so you might not be able to book your ideal vacation week. Some people like the flexibility, others don’t enjoy the stress of the possibility of not having their first choice of dates.  Fractional Timeshares Fractional timeshares are not as popular, but they are certainly available. This type of arrangement gives the buyer use of the property for longer lengths of time. They can last from as little as a few weeks to as long as a few months.  Timeshares That Pay With Points  Some timeshares sell points that people can then use in a variety of timeshare locations at different times of the year.  Several factors will affect the value of a buyer’s points, such as the size of the property, time of year, and where the resort is located.  The point system opens up a lot more choices for people, which is desirable if they don’t want to return to the same place every year. It can be risky, however, since so many outside factors affect the value of the points.  Shared Deed Ownership Shared deed ownership isn’t sold as often. In this model, each buyer owns a percentage share of the physical property. That means a condominium could have a maximum of 52 different deeds and each person would own 1/52 ownership interest.  With shared deed ownership, the deed can be resold to another party or willed to someone’s estate.  Since this option gives people a right to sell their deeds, it also comes with a higher price tag.  Shared Leased Ownership Interest The shared leased ownership is the most common type of timeshare people buy. Through this model, the developer owns the deed to the property and the timeshare buyer holds what is called a “leased interest” in it.  Leased interest works a lot like renting. The lease agreement gives the buyer the right to the property during the agreed-upon time and usually has an expiration date.  This is typically priced lower than deed ownership because the buyer cannot sell it or transfer it to someone else.  Included Expenses  In addition to the upfront cost of buying the timeshare, there are often annual expenses that buyers are responsible for.  Many timeshare owners also pay an annual maintenance fee. This covers the cost of property upkeep. This may be a really high cost that people regret.  Benefits One of the biggest benefits of owning a timeshare is knowing that you have a location reserved for vacation every year. There is security and relief knowing you don’t have to spend hours searching for hotels or vacation rentals.  The deed ownership is alluring because it can be sold, gifted, or transferred. Some people like the idea of passing their timeshare down to their kids or other family members. That is essentially where the benefits end. There are more drawbacks to timeshares than there are benefits.  Drawbacks  It’s very important to understand the drawbacks of buying a timeshare before you sign on the dotted line.  Even if you buy a deeded timeshare, the resale market is so crowded that you might find it difficult to recover your buying price. Many timeshare resellers find they are selling at a loss.  Another downside is that they require either full purchase price upfront or they will offer to finance it. This means that some people take out loans or go into debt for something that won’t make them any money. One of the biggest downsides to timeshares is that the salespeople are relentless and many people buy timeshares for more than they can afford. The fine print sneaks in fees and other things that drive up the price tag - all things that the buyers are unaware of when they buy it.  Even the points system isn’t always reliable. They are subject to inflation and can lose value over time. What costs 100 points this year might cost 150 points next year.  Should I buy a timeshare?  Whether you buy a timeshare or not is a personal decision. It can be beneficial to some people under some circumstances and a money sink for others.  Timeshare salespeople are extremely persuasive. Before you agree to talk to one, please speak with a financial advisor. Then, you will know how much you can afford, the terms you need to ask for, and whether you should even consider it.  If you look at buying a timeshare like renting a vacation unit each year, and your finances allow the extra spending, it might not be a bad idea. However, if you think this is an investment, you should reconsider. Timeshares are not worthwhile investments.  There is one option to consider. If you are able to buy a secondhand timeshare at a heavily discounted rate, then it might not put you more into debt. You’ll get the enjoyment of the timeshare without the hefty price tag.  Contact a Financial Advisor  Timeshares can be alluring but also confusing and costly. Before you make this important purchase, reach out to a financial advisor in Green Bay, WI.  Advisors Management Group can look at the pros and cons with you and help you decide whether you should buy a timeshare or make a different purchase for your future vacation plans.

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30 Nov 2021

Advisors Management Group

What is an LLC? for Dummies

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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18 Nov 2021

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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