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Ten Year-End Tax Tips for 2016

Here are 10 things to consider as you weigh potential tax moves between now and the end of the year.

1. Set aside time to plan

Effective planning requires that you have a good understanding of your current tax situation, as well as a reasonable estimate of how your circumstances might change next year. There's a real opportunity for tax savings if you'll be paying taxes at a lower rate in one year than in the other. However, the window for most tax-saving moves closes on December 31, so don't procrastinate.

2. Defer income to next year

Consider opportunities to defer income to 2017, particularly if you think you may be in a lower tax bracket then. For example, you may be able to defer a year-end bonus or delay the collection of business debts, rents, and payments for services. Doing so may enable you to postpone payment of tax on the income until next year.

3. Accelerate deductions

Earnings Call: A Closer Look at Financial Reports

The second quarter of 2016 marked the fifth quarter in a row of declining U.S. corporate earnings. Low oil prices and a strong dollar were largely to blame for lackluster financial results. 1

Publicly traded companies are required to report quarterly financial results to regulators and shareholders. Earnings season is the often-turbulent period when most companies must disclose their successes and failures.

An earnings surprise--whether profits come in above or below the stock market's expectations--can have an immediate effect on a company's stock price, so it's easy to understand why executives may go to great lengths to impress their investors. Earnings do represent a corporation's bottom line and are generally a key driver of the stock price over time. Still, an earnings surprise may not be a reliable indicator of a company's longer-term outlook, partly because earnings figures generally reflect past performance.

The Importance of Saving for Retirement at a Young Age

A September 2015 study found that 60% of millennials think planning for retirement is harder than sticking with a diet and exercise plan. By contrast, 61% of baby boomers think dieting/exercising is harder, and 51% of Gen Xers think retirement planning is harder.

If you're an adult in your 20s, you are entering an exciting stage of life. Whether you've just graduated from college or are starting a new career, you will encounter many opportunities and challenges as you create a life of your own.

As busy as you are, it's no surprise that retirement may seem a long way off, especially if you're just entering the workforce. What you may not realize, however, is that there are four very important advantages to begin planning and saving for retirement now.

1. Money management skills

Expanded GDI Hacks Powered by AT&T to Benefit Local Women & Minority Owned Businesses & Nonprofits

Expanded GDI Hacks Powered by AT&T to Benefit Local Women & Minority Owned Businesses & Nonprofits

The Buffalo Chapter of Girl Develop It (GDI Buffalo) will once again host the region’s only all-women hackathon, GDI Hacks powered by AT&T, and has expanded it based on the popularity of last year’s event. The event, which will take place on Saturday, November 12th, 2016 from 8 am - 9 pm at the DIG Innovation Center, will be the second all-women hackathon in the region’s history and will expand the number of participants to 70 and double the number of businesses and nonprofits that can take part to 10. During the hackathon, teams of web developers, innovators, technologists, designers and marketing experts will be challenged to provide several area women and minority owned businesses or nonprofits with new or updated websites that they otherwise could not afford or have the expertise to do on their own.

Quiz: Test Your Interest Rate Knowledge

In December 2015, the Federal Reserve raised the federal funds target rate to a range of 0.25% to 0.50%, the first rate increase from the near-zero range where it had lingered for seven years. Many economists viewed this action as a positive sign that the Fed had finally deemed the U.S. economy healthy enough to withstand slightly higher interest rates. It remains to be seen how rate increases will play out for the remainder of 2016. In the meantime, try taking this short quiz to test your interest rate knowledge.

Quiz

1. Bond prices tend to rise when interest rates rise.

a. True

b. False

2. Which of the following interest rates is directly controlled by the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee?

a. Prime rate

b. Mortgage rates

c. Federal funds rate

d. All of the above

e. None of the above

Should I pay off my student loans early or contribute to my workplace 401(k)?

For young adults with college debt, deciding whether to pay off student loans early or contribute to a 401(k) can be tough. It's a financial tug-of-war between digging out from debt today and saving for the future, both of which are very important goals. Unfortunately, this dilemma affects many people in the workplace today. According to a student debt report by The Institute for College Access and Success, nearly 70% of college grads in the class of 2014 had student debt, and their average debt was nearly $29,000. This equates to a monthly payment of $294, assuming a 4% interest rate and a standard 10-year repayment term.

Be Prepared to Retire in a Volatile Market

In an ideal world, your retirement would be timed perfectly. You would be ready to leave the workforce, your debt would be paid off, and your nest egg would be large enough to provide a comfortable retirement--with some left over to leave a legacy for your heirs.

Unfortunately, this is not a perfect world, and events can take you by surprise. In a survey conducted by the Employee Benefit Research Institute, only 44% of current retirees said they retired when they had planned; 46% retired earlier, many for reasons beyond their control.1 But even if you retire on schedule and have other pieces of the retirement puzzle in place, you cannot predict the stock market. What if you retire during a market downturn?

Sequencing risk