BFSG Blog

Financial Resources & News

Tax Season News and Survival Tips

It's not easy to keep up with complex tax laws that always seem to be changing, much less figure out how they might affect you personally. Even so, it's important to consider the potential impact of taxes when making many types of financial decisions. The IRS automatically adjusts the standard deduction and income tax brackets annually for inflation. The rate of inflation rose to 40-year highs...

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Financial and Investment Products You Should Avoid

When it comes to trustworthy professions, what professions would you typically think of? Take a second to think about some professions. Ok. What professions did you come up with? What might be top of mind for you could be “doctor”, “accountant”, or maybe “firefighter”. Much to my chagrin, I doubt that “financial advisor” came up for you during this thought exercise. Don’t feel bad, I’m used to...

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Basics of Valuing Alternative Investments

More than ever, we are seeing individuals begin to show more interest in investing in alternative investments. Alternative investments can be hard to define but for the sake of this article, we will focus on Private Equity, Real Estate investments, and other non-traditional investing options. These investments are more complex than traditional investments like stocks and bonds and are therefore...

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Upcoming Compliance Deadlines

February 2024 28th:  IRS Form 1099-R Copy A – Deadline to submit Form 1099-R Copy A to the IRS for participants and beneficiaries who received a distribution or a deemed distribution during the prior plan year. This deadline applies to scannable paper filings. For electronic filings, the due date is April 1, 2024, as the typical March 31 deadline falls on a weekend. March 2024 15th:...

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Reminder: Long-Term, Part-Time Employee Rules Effective January 1, 2024

As part of the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act of 2019 (SECURE Act), part-time employees who worked at least 500 hours each year in 2021, 2022, and 2023 qualify as Long-Term, Part-Time (LTPT) employees. LTPT employees were eligible to make elective deferrals on January 1, 2024. What happens if you missed enrolling one of these employees? Mistakes happen. When it comes...

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401(k) Deferrals: Don’t Exceed The Limit!

Excess deferrals occur when a 401(k) participant defers a greater amount than the annual IRS limit permits. The annual deferral limit was $22,500 for 2023 and $23,000 for 2024. For participants 50 years old and older, an additional $7,500 can be deferred. When this limit is exceeded, excess deferrals and earnings need to be removed from the plan and returned to the participant. Employer matching...

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Components of Defined Contribution Plan Compliance Testing

Save More for Retirement in 2024 Plans must be tested each year to ensure that they are compliant with the laws governing retirement plans. To understand the testing performed for your plan, it may be helpful to review some of the terms that are commonly used. First, let’s examine how your plan’s noteworthy individuals are identified. Highly Compensated Employees (HCE): There are two...

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Does My Plan Need an Audit?

The main determining factor in whether your plan needs an audit performed by an independent qualified public accountant is the participant count. An audit will be required if the beginning of year participant count is more than 100. For the plan year that began in 2023, there is a change to how the participants are counted. Prior to this, the count included active participants—regardless of...

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Markets in Review

Equity markets rebounded in the fourth quarter 2023 with the S&P 500 Index1 up 11.7%, and finishing the year up 26.3%. This was a welcome performance after the steep declines experienced in 2022 as the Federal Reserve was battling high inflation. Inflation figures fell to tolerable levels during the year and the Federal Reserve paused their interest rate hiking cycle, with the potential to...

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The Corporate Transparency Act: New Reporting Requirement for Small-Medium Sized Businesses

On January 1, 2024, the Corporate Transparency Act (“CTA”) comes into effect, requiring more than 30 million small and medium sized businesses to report ownership information to the Financial Crime Enforcement Network (a unit of the Department of Treasury, known as FinCEN). The CTA is designed to enhance transparency into entity structures and to fight money laundering, tax fraud, the financing...

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Financial Planning Tips for Mid-to-Late Career Professionals

You’ve entered your 40s and 50s and retirement no longer feels like a pipe dream. It’s far enough away that you can’t quite visualize it, but it’s close enough around the corner to have you thinking about taking your retirement plan more seriously. Maybe you have an average 401(k) balance for a 40-49 year-old of $100,300, or maybe you have the median 401(k) balance in a 401(k) for a 50-59...

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IRS Releases Standard Mileage Rates for 2024

Due to recent increases in the price of fuel, the IRS has increased the optional standard mileage rates for computing the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business purposes for 2024. However, the standard mileage rates for medical and moving expense purposes are reduced for 2024. The standard mileage rate for computing the deductible costs of operating an automobile for charitable...

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Monthly Market Update (January 2024): 3 Things You Need to Know

The resilience of the U.S. economy will likely be a continuing theme in the months to come, as will be the Fed’s timing (the Fed elected to hold interest rates steady at the first Federal Open Market Committee meeting of the year on January 31st). Here are 3 things you need to know: The S&P 500 recorded new highs and was up +1.59% in January. The Magnificent 7 accounted for 45% of the...

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SECURE 2.0 Provides New Retirement Savings Options in 2024

The SECURE 2.0 Act, passed in December 2022, made wide-ranging changes to U.S. tax laws related to retirement savings. While some provisions were effective in 2023, others did not take effect until 2024. Here is an overview of some important changes for this year. Matching student loan payments Employees who make student loan repayments may receive matching employer contributions to a workplace...

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Is Investing in the Stock Market Akin to Gambling?

Many prospective clients that we work with do not have any investments saved since they believe that the stock market is akin to gambling. I would like to take some time to illustrate why that sentiment is wrong and how probability, Roulette, and financial planning are all (somehow) related to each other. The chart below highlights the fact that the stock market had a 53.6% chance of having an...

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