4 Tips on Getting Free Money for Retirement

It goes without saying that retirement advice is always appreciated and is highly sought after. That’s why we are featuring Retirement Tuesday every Tuesday in June!


While retirement advice is often complicated and must be personalized, we have four tips on picking up free money for retirement that everyone can follow.

free-money

  1. Max out your 401(k).
    Your 401(k) is an excellent tool for getting your retirement money. In order to do this, you should focus on maximizing your contributions and making sure you always get the company match.
    ** To learn how to make your 401(k) work for you, tune in to our blog next week where we will go into 401(k)s in depth.
  2. Open a spousal IRA.
    If your spouse does not have access to a 401(k) (for example, if your spouse is a homemaker), you can open up a spousal IRA. With this type of IRA, you can set aside money each year into your spouses account for you to access after retirement. As a bonus, it will cut your joint taxes down in the meantime.
  3. Max out your Roth IRA.
    Contributions to Roth IRAs can be taken back out immediately if needed with no tax consequences. It is like having a tax free savings account. Therefore, it is smart to max out your contributions every year. If you make over the threshold for contributing to a Roth IRA, call us and we can go over your options. Often, the benefits outweigh the initial cost.
  4. Consider a health savings account (HSA).
    With HSAs, you are essentially taking the money you would be spending on health care and putting it into a separate account… only the money is now pre-tax. As an added bonus, any money not used will roll over every year with interest. For those with high-income, it’s like having a second IRA!

If you have any questions on picking up free money for your retirement, feel free to call us at (314) 993-4285 or email us at office@hkaglobal.com.

Cost Accounting: What Is It and Why Is It Important?

cost-accountingIf you are a small business owner, chances are that you depend on a timely set of financial statements (a balance sheet, income statement, and cash flow statement) prepared using generally accepted accounting principles, or GAAP, to provide you with a multidimensional view of the company’s financial health. That being said, there are most likely a series of other improvised reports that you run (probably on a spreadsheet) because the financial statements are not as useful when it comes to the day-to-day running of the business. By design, GAAP is continually being molded into a set of rules to report transactions in a way that fairly represent an entity’s business performance.  Lenders and investors have come to rely on this form of presentation so this has become the standard.  While there is no question of the value of financial statements prepared under GAAP, to more effectively manage your business you need different information to supplement those financial statements. That is where cost accounting comes in.

At the highest level, cost accounting is the branch of accounting that focuses on the assignment of costs. A critical component in the management of any business is developing the true cost of producing a product or delivering a service. By way of multiplication and division, it is relatively easy to assign direct costs (labor and supplies) to a product.  However, it becomes trickier when trying to apply costs that are indirectly related.  For example, what portion of the phone bill or administrative staff salary should be applied to a unit produced?  How do you factor in downtime due to routine maintenance? How should overhead be applied if multiple products use many of the same resources? The ability to properly apply indirect of a product or service creates an opportunity for you to see the true cost of operations as well as to objectively quantify profitability per product or service. Fortunately, methodologies have been developed to address these and countless other issues faced by business owners every day.

Cost accounting can provide you with data to supplement the information you are currently receiving from your financial statements; this allows for more effective budgeting and planning, and will improve your internal control.  If you have not yet implemented a cost accounting system into your business, we encourage you to consider doing so.

If you have any questions regarding cost accounting, please give us a call at 314-993-4285 or email us at office@hkaglobal.com

7 Most Forgotten Items

Don't Forget

As tax season nears a close, it’s important that you remember to send your tax preparers (that’d be us!) all necessary items. Making sure you are giving your CPA all of your information makes the process of preparing and completing your return go smoother and faster, and makes sure that nothing gets left out.

Below we’ve listed the top 7 items that get forgotten most:

  1. Cost basis for stock sales
  2. Estimated payment values and dates of contribution by municipality
  3. Non-cash charitable donation values
    *if you need help deciding the value of an item, head to www.itsdeductible.com
  4. Last pay stub
    *it has important information that your W-2 doesn’t have
  5. Long-term care insurance
  6. 529 plan contributions
  7. Deferred compensation or stock option pay-outs

If you have any questions or you realize that you forgot to give us some important information, please call us at 314-993-4285.

Preparing for the 2014 tax season? Here’s a guide to your 2014 Tax Organizer.

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Click on the links below for tips & tricks on each portion of your 2014 tax organizer:


Filing Status

Estimated Tax Payments

Refund

Salaries and Wages

Other Income

Business or Rental Income

Adjustments to Income

Itemized Deductions


If you have questions or concerns regarding your 2014 tax organizer, please give us a call at 314-993-4285 or e-mail us at office@hkaglobal.com.

Click for a blank, printable version of the 2014 Tax Organizer.

 

3 Tips Regarding Cyber Security!

Cyber SecurityRecently a major news story has been circulating about Dropbox being hacked. With this story there have been many ups and downs: first it was stated that Dropbox WAS hacked and then Dropbox came back declaring they WEREN’T hacked, but outside servers were hacked and the passwords/usernames from those servers were used to log in to many websites, including Dropbox’s site.

While this story has created major panic, speculation, and confusion, we believe that it can be used as an educational experience in cyber security.

If thought about logically, it makes sense that hackers would grab usernames and passwords from one site and use them across the board. According to a 2013 study by Ofcom, the UK’s communications regulator, 55% of online users use the same password for every website!

Therefore, we have 3 tips on how to keep your important* websites and information safe:

  1. Never use the same password on more than one website at a time.
  2. Much like the security measurements used on the HKA website, make sure your passwords include at least: one uppercase letter, one lowercase letter, one number, and one special character (if permitted).
  3. Change your passwords at least once every quarter.

Of course, this creates the question: “How do you remember all of these passwords and keep them safe?” Stay tuned for our next blog for 3 tips from the experts.


 

* When it comes to social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, many people believe that their security is not as important. We disagree! Social media websites may not contain secure documents, but they do include something important: your reputation. And in today’s world, online reputation is an important aspect of your professional reputation!