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Naturals in the City Hair & Wellness Expo – Year III

natural hair expo
 
There is an empowering ring to the thought that natural beauty has an inside presence just waiting for the embrace of women, men and children. In that sense, TaKeisha Berry-Brooks is an empowering person.
 
 
The founder of the Naturals in the City Hair & Wellness Expo, Berry-Brooks was an organizer in motion this past weekend as the third annual event unfolded, drawing a lively crowd to Minglewood Hall on Saturday.

What are SEP IRAs?

money matters
A simplified employee pension plan (SEP) is a deferred-compensation arrangement that is similar to a profit-sharing plan. It can be set up by employers and self-employed individuals, as well as sole proprietorships and partnerships. Employers receive tax deductions for plan contributions made to employees’ accounts, and employees do not pay taxes on SEP contributions until they begin taking distributions (generally, in retirement).
 
Thus, SEPs can be attractive to both the employer and the employee.

Why do people buy annuities?

money matters
Annuities are insurance-based financial vehicles that can provide many benefits sought by retirement-minded investors. There are a number of reasons why people buy annuities.
 
Deferral of taxes is a big benefit, and so is the ability to put large sums of money into an annuity — more than is allowed annually in a 401(k) plan or an IRA — all at once or over a period of time. Annuities offer flexible payout options that can help retirees meet their cash-flow needs. They also offer a death benefit; generally, if the contract owner or annuitant dies before the annuitization stage, the beneficiary will receive a death benefit at least equal to the net premiums paid. 

What are the basic types of life insurance?

moneymatters 450
One of the best ways to protect against the financial consequences of a primary wage earner’s premature death is life insurance. However, only about 6 out of 10 Americans actually own life insurance and half believe they do not have enough. However, choosing from the many types of life insurance policies that are available can be a difficult process. A few main categories are described here to help you search for a life insurance policy that is appropriate for you.
 
Keep in mind that the cost and availability of insurance depend on factors such as age, health, and the type and amount of insurance purchased. Before implementing a strategy involving insurance, it would be prudent to make sure that you are insurable.
 
Term life insurance
 
Term life insurance is the most basic and usually the most affordable. Policies can be purchased for a specified period of time. If you die within the time period defined in your policy, the insurance company will pay your beneficiaries the face value of your policy.
 
Policies can usually be bought for one- to 30-year time spans. Annual renewable term insurance usually can be renewed every year without proof of insurability, but the premium may increase with each renewal. Term insurance is useful if you can afford only a low-cost option or you need life insurance only for a certain amount of time (such as until your children graduate from college).
 
Permanent life insurance
 
The other major category is permanent life insurance. You pay a premium for as long as you live, and a benefit will be paid to your beneficiaries upon your death. Permanent life insurance typically comes with a “cash value” savings element. There are three main types of permanent life insurance: whole, universal, and variable.
 
Whole life insurance. This type of permanent life insurance has a premium that stays the same throughout the life of the policy. Although the premiums may seem higher than the risk of death in the early years, they can accumulate cash value and are invested in the company’s general investment portfolio. You may be able to borrow funds from the cash value or surrender your policy for its face value, if necessary.
 
Access to cash values through borrowing or partial surrenders can reduce the policy’s cash value and death benefit, increase the chance that the policy will lapse, and may result in a tax liability if the policy terminates before the death of the insured. Additional out-of-pocket payments may be needed if actual dividends or investment returns decrease, if you withdraw policy values, if you take out a loan, or if current charges increase.
 
Universal life insurance. Universal life coverage goes one step further. You have the same type of coverage and cash value as you would with whole life, but with greater flexibility. Once money has accumulated in your cash-value account, you may be able to vary the frequency, as well as the amount, of your premiums. In fact, it may be possible to structure the policy so that the invested cash value eventually covers your premium costs completely. Of course, it’s important to remember that altering your premiums may decrease the value of the death benefit.
 
Variable life insurance. With variable life insurance, you receive the same death protection as with other types of permanent life insurance, but you are given control over how your cash value is invested. You have the option of investing your cash value in stocks, bonds, or money market funds. The value of your policy has the potential to grow more quickly, but there is also more risk. If your investments do not perform well, your cash value and the death benefit may decrease. However, some policies provide a guarantee that your death benefit will not fall below a certain level. The premiums for this type of insurance are fixed and you cannot change them in relation to the size of your cash-value account.
 
Variable universal life is another type of variable life insurance. It combines the features of variable and universal life insurance, giving you the investment options as well as the ability to adjust your premiums and death benefit.
 
Variable life and variable universal life are sold by prospectus. Please consider the investment objectives, risks, charges, and expenses before investing.
 
The prospectus, which contains this and other information about the variable life or variable universal life insurance policy and the underlying investment options, can be obtained from your financial professional. Be sure to read the prospectus carefully before deciding whether to invest.
 
(Charles Sims Jr., CFP, is President/ CEO of The Sims Financial Group.  Contact him at 901-682-2410 or visit www.SimsFinancialGroup.com.)

The business of tipping

Tipping
A huge part of a restaurant’s success is the ability to maintain great wait staff.  This becomes a major challenge when customers do not adequately compensate the waiters. 
 
In some states, waiters are paid a base salary that is a fraction of minimum wage, with the expectation that tips or gratuity will make up the difference. The lack of appropriate tipping is the primary reason excellent waiters move on to better-paying gigs. Soon after great staff leaves, the service begins to suffer and customers wonder why.
 
So many situations call for tipping that it is easy to become confused.  Sit-down restaurants, buffets, bars and hair salons are only a few of the locations where tipping is not only desired but expected. Tipping is considered a part of etiquette, according to the experts at the Emily Post Institute. How much to tip and how often are the questions that perplex many.

‘Mr. Gotti the Restaurateur’

prive 600As a foodie, I enjoy experiencing new restaurants, concepts, dishes and atmospheres. Memphis has a winner in the Privé Restaurant, thanks to Mario Mims, aka Yo Gotti. Privé is French for private and the Privé Restaurant can only be described as incredible dining.
 
Hailing from North Memphis, Gotti, embraces his background and upbringing in his recordings and music.  Rapping since the age of 14, he has come a long way. One of his most popular mainstream songs is “5 Star Chick” and Privé has all the elements of a 5-star restaurant. 

Retirement plan distributions

moneymatters 600When it comes to receiving the fruits of your labor – the money accumulated in your employer-sponsored retirement plan – you are faced with a few broad options. Should you take the payout as systematic payments, a lifetime annuity, or a lump sum?
 
Systematic withdrawals
 
Some retirement plans may allow you to take systematic withdrawals: either a fixed dollar amount on a regular schedule, a specific percentage of the account value on a regular schedule, or the total value of the account in equal distributions over a specified period of time.

A new chapter for retirement

sims1 600John F. Kennedy once said, “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” This is certainly true of preparing for retirement. If we continue to expect that the ways of the past will see us through to our futures, we will be left behind. The methods that helped prepare us for retirement are quickly disappearing, and we must start using others.
 
Today’s companies are rewriting the retirement rules for working Americans. Traditional pension plans, which gained prominence in the 20th century, are rapidly disappearing because of the high costs involved in funding them. Some corporations are defaulting on their plans, and an increasing number
of companies have underfunded or at-risk plans.