Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Roth IRA Contribution Limits for 2015

Roth IRA Contribution Limits 2015
Roth IRA - Individual Retirement Account is offered to millions of Americans wherein it acts as retirement saving account with tax advantages. The government has been increasing contribution to Roth IRA account over several years but for the new year 2015, IRS – Internal Revenue Service has limited the amount one can contribute to Roth IRA at $5,500 but have increased AGI - adjusted gross income. Learn how much you can contribute based on your income or compensation received, filing status and age.

Roth IRA Contribution Limits for 2015

For 2015, total contribution to your Roth IRA’s cannot be more than
·         $5,500 or $6,500 if you’re age is 50 or above.
·         You’re taxable compensation for the year, if your compensation is less than the limit.

The Roth IRA Contribution limit does not apply for.
·         Rollover contributions.
·         Qualified reservist repayments.

Amount of Roth IRA Contribution that you can make for 2015.

The Roth IRA contribution limits are based on your filing status and income. This table shows whether your contribution to a Roth IRA is affected by the amount of your modified AGI as computed for Roth IRA purpose.

Filing Status
Modified AGI (Adjusted Gross Income)
Contribution Limits
Married and filing jointly or qualifying widow(er)
 $183,000 or less
  $5,500
 More than $183,000 but less than $193,000
 a reduced amount as per IRS guidelines.
   $193,000 or more
 $0
Married and  filing separately and lived with your spouse at any time during the year
 $10,000 or less
 a reduced amount as per IRS guidelines.
 More than $10,000
 $0
Single or head of household, or married and filing separately and not lived with your spouse at any time during the year.
  $116,000 or less
 $5,500
More than $116,000 but less than $131,000
 a reduced amount as per IRS guidelines.
More than  $131,000
 $0

Amount of reduced Roth IRA contribution

As per IRS guidelines, if the amount you can contribute must be reduced, then the reduced contribution limit will be calculated as follows.
1.       Start with your modified AGI or Adjusted Gross Income.
2.       Subtract from the amount in (1):
·         $183,000 if filing the returns jointly or if you’re qualifying widow(er),
·         $-0- if married and filing a separate return, and you lived with your spouse at any time during the year, or
·         $116,000 for all other individuals.
3.       Divide the result in (2) by $15,000 ($10,000 if filing a joint return, qualifying widow(er), or married filing a separate return and you lived with your spouse at any time during the year).
4.       Multiply the maximum contribution limit  by the result in (3).
5.       Subtract the result in (4) from the maximum contribution limit before this reduction. The result is your reduced contribution limit.

The above contribution limit also applies to traditional IRA's.

Also Read Best Roth IRA Providers




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Monday, December 22, 2014

Socially Responsible Investing: 5 Things You Need to Know

Socially responsible investing is a relatively new concept that can also be filed under “green” investing, “ethical” investing, “mission” investing, and a myriad of other monikers, and while it may seem to still exist beneath the radar of traditional investing, it actually accounts for as much as $7 trillion of all American investments. As concerns about the environment, sustainability, private prisons, Big Pharma, defense practices, and the like continue to grow within the United States people are more and more regularly bringing those concerns into the world of investing.

If you’re someone who would like to invest but want to be able to do it according to the guiding principles of your conscience, thanks to the rise of socially responsible investing, there are ways to manage your investment portfolio accordingly. Here are five realities about socially responsible investing that will help you get you acquainted with the concept.

1. You Can Choose SRI Funds

Due to the explosion of interest in socially responsible investing, it’s actually possible to sit down with your financial advisor and ask to only be directed toward investing in SRI funds. While there is no one-size-fits-all definition of what makes a fund socially responsible, because of people’s interest, most funds define themselves in a way that will make sense to you and your beliefs. In general, there are three popular methods of screening companies to see whether or not they qualify for inclusion in an SRI fund:
·         The Negative Screen. This type of screen refers to a fund manager’s intentional decision to not invest in any company that does business within a particular type of industry, from tobacco and guns to pornography and defense.
·         The Positive Screen. This screen includes only those companies that promote sustainability, such as wind or solar power.
·         The Restricted Screen. As companies diversify and grow, a restricted screen may be used. This type of screening allows a company with mostly “green” practices to have some activities that are less than desirable.

2. Find Companies With Cultures and Practices You Believe In

If you’re the type of person who likes to take charge of your investments, then it’s time to start doing research on the companies that have cultures, practices, and outcomes you want to promote. It’s equally important to look into all the companies you currently invest in to discover which ones don’t meet your standards. Whether you’re committed to organic farming, resuscitating a declining honeybee population, ensuring we have clean waterways, or finding means of sustainable and non-polluting energy, there are companies who need capital to accomplish those things. Many of them have excellent business models in addition, so you can do good and see a return on your investment.

3. Invest Locally

Regardless of where you live, the chances are good that some young entrepreneur with a great idea and a clear conscience needs capital to get her idea off the ground. Investing in businesses where you live is a great way to help produce quality businesses for your local economy that are in keeping with your values, provide jobs, and earn you a return. From restaurants that source from local farms to startup marketing firms that do pro bono work for non-profits, look into your local scene and see if there are ways to improve the world in your own backyard.

4. Just How Socially Responsible Are They?

Not every company that claims to be socially responsible may actually live up to the standards you have in mind. While they may not contribute to an industry you find distasteful, their own manufacturing or shipping practices may conflict with your ethically minded investing goals. It’s important to look into the details of how a company conducts business — not just the details of the business they conduct. While it will take a little more effort and narrow your investments options, if you really want to ensure your money is supporting good practices, it’s essential.

5. Consider Microfinancing

One of the quickest and easiest ways to invest in a socially responsible way is to do so through microfinancing. Microfinancing makes money available to low-income people in impoverished parts of the world where traditional banking is hard to come by. Through a small investment, individuals are able to start or improve small businesses in order to completely transform their lives and the lives of those around them. From buying a sewing machine in order to offer tailoring services to buying a yak in order to sell milk and cheese, these small loans can make huge difference in someone’s poverty level, and your investment will usually make you money, too.

So, go on — be a bleeding heart. Investing in your future can be a holistic decision, thanks to the rise of socially responsible investing.




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Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Top Investment Books of All Time

Some people claim that you can only learns the basics of investing from making investments yourself. Jumping into the deep end of the investing pool right away can cause you to lose thousands of dollars and more. The more money that you lose, the less you'll want to continue in the investing field. One way that you can learn more as a beginner is with the right books. The best books, even those written in previous years, can teach you the fundamentals and help you avoid making some potentially risky decisions.



"Think and Grow Rich"

Napoleon Hill wrote "Think Rich and Grow Rich" during the Great Depression. At a time when most people worried about where their next meals would come from, Hill showed them that they had other options beyond working for the government or growing poorer with each passing day. Hill was good friends with Andrew Carnegie and managed to continue growing his wealth during the hardships of that time period. His book introduces basic concepts that every investor can use and gives them an overview of the steps that he took to remain successful.


"The Essays of Warren Buffet"

Even if you have little to no experience in the investment world, you still know the name Warren Buffet. The billionaire invested in nearly every venture in the world, and while he did see some failures along the way, he is still one of the richest men in the world. "The Essays of Warren Buffet" is a book that consists of multiple essays that talk about the lessons he learned throughout his career, how he makes investments and what others can do to follow in his footsteps. It ranks as one of the top business and investing books in the history of publishing.


"The Wolf of Wall Street"

Some know "The Wolf of Wall Street" for the nominated film based on the book of the same name, but others read the book long before it became a movie. Jordan Belfort worked as an investment broker during the 1980s and scammed thousands of people out of millions of dollars before finding himself under arrest. His book serves as a cautionary tale on what you shouldn't do and how to keep yourself under control. You can learn more about investing and the books you should read when you look at Online Trading Academy reviews and enroll in an online investing course



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Saturday, December 20, 2014

FRM or PRM ? Which is Better ?

FRM vs PRM

Among Finance and Risk management students and professionals, there is a lot of confusion on two of the most sought after course on Risk management, whether they should pursue FRM (Financial Risk Manager) or PRM (Professional Risk Manager).  In this post, we will try to sort out the confusion and try to bring out the comparisons and differences, the easiest and hardest one to crack and the passing rates between FRM and PRM.

FRM designation is more popular than PRM. FRM is more established and well-recognized than PRM certification. It is administered and certifications are provided by the Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP). Currently there are more than 26,000 certified professionals.

To be certified with FRM designation, you must
  • Complete two parts of the exam, Part I and Part II, which is offered twice in a year in May and November.
  • Have atleast two years of experience in the area of financial risk management or any other related field such as portfolio management, trading, risk consulting, risk technology, auditing, economics, industry research and faculty academic.

FRM Exam Format:
There are two parts of the exam, Part I and Part II. Each part of the exam is four hours long. Part I Consists of 100 multiple choice format questions and Part II consists of 80 multiple choice format questions. Part I is offered in the morning session while part II in the evening. This means you can give both parts on the same day. You must pass part I exam in order to have graded Part II.

Part I Exam Topic Areas:

FRM Part 1 Curriulum










Part II Exam Topic Areas:

FRM Part 2 Curriulum











The Exam results are pass or fail which will be notified via email approximately six weeks after the exam. The passing rate for the Part I exam is 46.7% while for Part II its 56%. The cost of registering for the exam is $350 for each part.
PRM is harder than FRM. It is also the most difficult and most technical risk management course in the world. It is administered and certifications are provided by the Professional Risk Manager’s International Association (PRMIA).

To be certified with PRM Designation, you must pass four exams. The Exams can be completed in one day or in four separate modules, which can be taken in any order over a period of up to two years. You must achieve a minimum of 60% correct answers to pass for each exam.

PRM Exam Format:

Exam I: Finance Theory, Financial Instruments and Markets – 36 Questions in 2 hours.
Exam II: Mathematical foundations of Risk measurement – 24 Questions in 2 hours.
Exam III: Risk Management Practices – 36 Questions in 1.5 hours.
Exam IV: Case studies, PRMIA standards of nest practice, conduct and ethics and Bylaws –                              24 questions in 1 hour.

You can take all the four exams in a single day with 120 questions in 6 hours with a one hour break.

The passing rate for the PRM exam is 50%. The cost of writing single exam is $195 and for full program it is $500. The number of PRM holders is unknown since PRMIA doesn’t publish it, but it is certainly lesser than FRM holders.

Conclusion:
Now you know the details of both the programs, so it is time for you to decide between these two. Which one of this is better? Well that depends on you. Both have most in common than differences.  FRM curriculum is more dynamic while PRM is more static. FRM is more general while PRM is more technical.

FRM is more popular and have a longer history, while PRM is backed by elite universities like NUS and HK University. But as far as international reputation is considered, FRM is ahead of PRM. If you are starting your career in risk, then FRM is right for you and if you are an experienced professional, consider the PRM. Both the designations are well recognized and respected in the risk management field and hence you can’t go wrong with either of them.



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Saturday, December 6, 2014

5 Budgeting Tips For Your First Job

So – you've graduated and landed your first “real” job. And now, you probably feel like you're swimming in cash. But as difficult as it may be to believe right now, your financial situation can change at any moment. That’s why it’s so important to budget wisely from the get-go.

You never know what could happen down the road – and in any case, it’s always a good idea to start building up savings. Though you may only be earning an entry-level salary, there are lots of ways to stretch those dollars to save money, avoid incurring debt and set the stage for a lifetime of financial freedom.

The best time to start budgeting and saving money? Right now. Start putting these five budgeting tips to work today:

1. Keep it simple
With steady money flowing in, you may feel ready to buy a house or car, or make other “grown-up” purchases. But doing so will put a serious dent in your cash flow, and there's no need to rush. For a little while at least, stick to renting with roommates (or even living with your parents, if money is a big concern). If you need to, buy a used car or keep the one you already own. You have the rest of your life to worry about a huge car payment or down payment on a house – start saving for it now.

2. Use technology to help you budget
Most people don’t have an innate understanding of budgeting and managing money. Why not put technology to work for you? With an app like Mint, you can stay on top of your financial situation without lifting a finger (or doing any real number-crunching). Just enter in your income, your monthly expenses, and your debit and credit card information, and the app will notify you when you’re exceeding your budget and when important bills are due.

3. Set up your 401(k) ASAP
Many first-time workers don’t think much about retirement planning – after all, retirement seems like a long way a way. But as tempting as it may be to hold off on saving for retirement, the sooner you start, the better your nest egg will ultimately be. Sure, your paychecks will be a little smaller now. But down the road, when you have a sizable amount set aside for retirement, you'll thank your younger self. So review your benefits package, talk to your HR department, and start contributing to your 401(k) – now.

4. Automatically transfer money to savings
Even if you promise yourself you'll take some of each paycheck and put it into a savings account, that can be hard to do. Maybe you’re tempted to make impulse purchases with the money instead – or maybe, despite your best intentions, you just forget. A great way to sidestep this potential problem? Have a small portion of each paycheck automatically deposited into savings. By doing this, you won’t have a chance to miss the money – and you’ll see your savings account grow.

5. Get a head start on student loans
The sooner you're able to pay off your student loans, the better off you'll be. If you can, avoid deferring your loans and start paying them off as soon as you’re financially able. Use a tool like Tuition.io to help you analyze your total debt, your monthly payments and your interest rates to help you figure out the fastest way to pay them off. You'll be amazed by what a difference a few extra payments can make, especially when it comes to interest.

By budgeting and saving from the get-go, you’ll be able to set the stage for financial freedom much earlier in life. What are your tips for budgeting and managing money? Did you budget well with your first job?

Abby Perkins is Editor in Chief at Talent Tribune, a Software Providers blog dedicated to jobs, workplace culture and HR technology. 
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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Three Reasons to Use a Broker When Buying a Car Dealership

There are several ways to approach the issue of buying a car dealership, but you should consider going through a car dealership broker. There are advantages to using this type of service, and the following are three ways you will benefit.

They have a database of sellers
They not only work with buyers, but they also work with sellers. They have in their possession a large number of dealerships available for sale throughout the country and can match your requirements with one or more of the car dealerships available for purchase. This benefit of a brokerage service will save an enormous amount of time in your search to find the right dealership. You most likely will find dealerships available that you were unaware of. This expands the number of options available to you. 

Confidentiality and coordination
When you are working with a broker, your information is kept in confidence as your broker searches for the car dealership that meets your requirements. A broker will also coordinate the work of other professionals that you are working with to make the deal. This includes both lawyers and accountants who are integral and critical to your acquisition team. They can help work with you to create the best strategy to acquire a car dealership using the best options available. They will even work with you to create an initial offer to the seller.

A broker will alert you to new opportunities
Whether you are looking to only purchase a single car dealership or continually expand your dealership operation by making two or more acquisitions, a broker can alert you to any new dealerships that have become available on the market. This gives you the advantage of acquiring the best businesses available. A broker will always be conducting an ongoing search for the types of dealerships that are of interest to you.

The benefits of utilizing a broker to buy a car dealership listed above only scratch the surface of what they can do for you. If you are in the market to acquire a dealership, but still have many questions, a broker can work with you to help you determine what type of dealership is best for your circumstances. There are many car broker dealerships you can use to achieve your goals of owning a car dealership. One example is Performance Brokerage Services. They can be found at http://performancebrokerageservices.com/buy-a-car-dealership/

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