<![CDATA[laurent carrier financial speaker services - Retirement Done Right]]>Mon, 17 Dec 2018 08:33:52 -0700Weebly<![CDATA[5 Common Problems with Small Business Retirement Plans]]>Fri, 19 Oct 2018 07:00:00 GMThttp://laurentcarrier.us/retirement-done-right/5-common-problems-with-small-business-retirement-plansFinding the right retirement plan is like finding the perfect pair of shoes. You want to make sure it fits the size of your company while giving your employees the right level of retirement benefits. “A retirement plan isn’t just for the benefit of your employees. A good retirement plan can spruce up your business and help you reel in those top-tier professionals. But if not chosen carefully, your retirement plan could be viewed as completely useless, becoming more of a burden than a benefit,” say Laurent Carrier, a financial planner and owner of Carrier Financial Services LLC in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Yet, despite all your efforts to find the perfect plan, you may encounter some pitfalls. Here are just a few you may run into when it comes to setting up a retirement plan.

1. A lack of employee participation.
Not surprisingly, age, marriage and education level affect the probability that an employee will participate in their company’s retirement plan, according to the Small Business Administration’s 2009 Small Business Retirement Plan Availability and Worker Participation survey. Many of your younger workers won’t see the value in putting a portion of their paycheck into an account that they won’t be able to touch for 30 years. Others may not even meet the eligibility requirements of the plan you choose.

In 2009, only 19.5 percent of workers in small businesses participated in a retirement plan, according to the SBA’s study. A large majority of those employees who don’t participate in employer-sponsored plans blame strict eligibility requirements and an inability to afford contributions as the prime deterrents.

With this in mind, you want to tread carefully when it comes to picking a retirement plan, says Laurent Carrier. A plan that no one uses will become a money pit. You’ll still have to pay administration fees, regardless of your staff’s participation. And if your current employees don’t find it appealing, potential employees won’t either. “Before you choose a plan, talk to your workers. Find out what factors would entice them to participate in the company’s plan. Ask them what they think would be a reasonable contribution rate,” says Carrier. “Also, consider researching what types of plans other businesses in your industry are offering.”

2. Failing to keep up on compliance.
The government is constantly reforming and amending legislation surrounding retirement benefits and how it’s administered to your employees. For compliance reasons, you’ll be required to document all of the transactions between you and your employees.

The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) requires employers to uphold certain standards when administering retirement plans in their business. It requires you to report financial information and plan details to your participants and the government.

Among other things, employers are required to provide all participants with a Summary Plan Description that defines the participant’s rights and obligations under the plan. The Form 5500 Annual Return/Report contains details about the plan and its sponsors, as well as financial data and compliance measures. Your business could face hefty fines if you fail to submit the Form 5500. If your business has 100 or more participants, you’ll also be required to audit your plan yearly as part of the Form 5500 requirements.

3. Changes in the company size.
Recently, tough times forced many business owners to reduce their employee base. As your business changes, your needs change. With a smaller staff, a large pension plan may no longer be needed. The administration costs of your old plan are likely much higher than the costs of covering your new, smaller business structure.

What your business was when you first adopted your company’s pension plan might be completely different from what it is today. Be sure you’re not paying for a plan that no longer suits your business.

4. Market changes.
One of the main reasons you adopted a retirement plan was to attract more talented workers. But an outdated plan will lack the power of persuasion.

Businesses need to make sure the retirement plan they choose fits their industry, says Laurent Carrier. A retirement plan should never remain stagnant. To keep it enticing to employees, it needs to adjust to be competitive and fit your prospective employees’ expectations. You’ll need to make it a habit to research your industry’s standards and your competition’s offerings to keep up with the Joneses.

5. A lack of portability.
By law, when employees leave your company, they’re allowed to transfer their retirement savings into another retirement account. Carrier says that a plan that offers easy portability is much more attractive to prospective employees.

As often as possible, you want your employees to leave your business on good terms because you never know who they might know. Fighting with a provider for their money is the last thing your ex-employees want to deal with.
“It leaves a legacy taste,” says Laurent Carrier. If it’s a difficult process, the employee will likely get upset and someone either inside or outside the company is bound to hear about it. This is bad PR and bad for your company’s reputation, adds Carrier.

The Big Picture
Retirement plan providers will most likely try to sell you way more than you need. Don’t buy more than you need. Choose a plan that isn’t too much for you to handle. An industry expert can help you select a plan that isn’t too demanding for your business.


About Laurent Carrier and Carrier Financial Services LLC
Laurent Carrier is the owner and founder of Carrier Financial Services LLC. For over 40 years, his mission has been to provide honest, simple financial advice to his clients. As a well-respected community leader, Laurent has served on the board of the American Red Cross and is now on the Advisory Board with the Colorado College Summer Music Festival. He is enthusiastic about supporting non-profit educational organizations locally, nationally, and internationally. For more information, contact Carrier Financial Services LLC, 919 North Weber Street, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80903. 719-249-4774 or visit online at www.carrierfinancial.com]]>
<![CDATA[4 Tips for Retirement Planning at Midlife]]>Thu, 11 Oct 2018 07:00:00 GMThttp://laurentcarrier.us/retirement-done-right/4-tips-for-retirement-planning-at-midlifeFinancial planning for retirement becomes crucial during a person’s midlife years (late 40s into the 60s). “Whether you’re late to the party or moving forward with bigger plans, working with a retirement planning checklist is a vital tool for everyone in their midlife years,” say Laurent Carrier, a financial planner and owner of Carrier Financial Services LLC in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
 
"At midlife, your income is usually a better than when you were younger, so you’ve got more information to work with. And if you’re already saving, this period means adding new layers to your existing retirement plan so that it can bloom into something bigger. If not, it means buckling down and making up for lost time," advises Carrier.
Here’s 4 Tips to creating your own retirement planning checklist for mid-life:

1. Retirement Planning at Midlife — Make Sure Saving is Second Nature
By the time you reach your late 30s, you should already have a good handle on tucking money away for retirement. U.S. News and World Report explains that you should have about 1.4 times your annual salary set aside by the time you’re 35, 2.4 times when you’re 40, and 3.7 times by age 45. When you reach 50, you’ll want 5.2 times your annual salary saved.

Laurent Carrier says that in your 40s, you’ll want to have a nice, long chat with a financial planner. They can help spot problems, and give you a more accurate idea of your overall financial fitness as it applies to retirement. If you aren’t maximizing 401(k) or IRA contributions, now is the time to take advantage of every tax deferred penny.

2. Invest With Purpose
If investments make you nervous, they shouldn’t. You don’t have to watch the market every day and read all of the financial magazines, although that doesn’t hurt. And you don’t have to be a hard-core trader to put your money to work so that it can grow.

Carrier explains that you should think like a pension manager, since that’s what you’ll be doing. A trader takes lots of high risks in the hopes of a major payout. A pension manager understands the goals of any investment and forms a slow and steady strategy that helps meet the future need. “The result is a calmer, more predictable investing style that more often meets its goals,” says Laurent Carrier.

3. Set Goals and Priorities
Mid Life.  There is a reason that this time is famous for crazy antics and crises.  But, a midlife crisis does not have to be a bad thing. Your 40s and 50s are an ideal time to take stock of what you have done and what you still want to do.  With whom do you want to spend time? Where do you want to live? What do you want to be doing? All of your goals and priorities should be worked into your retirement planning.

4. Bump Up Your Savings When the Kids Leave Home
As your kids get older, you can probably cut back a little more, streamline your budget and build up your savings. And, research shows that when the kids leave home (or graduate college), is a huge opportunity to really start saving a lot more for retirement.  The idea is that you start saving all of the money you have spending on the kids.

Midlife is the Time for Key Decisions and Taking Action
As discussed, saving and saving more is key during mid life. Getting a handle on your retirement plan is another critical checklist item. But, there are also many other big decisions to make and instead of just thinking about retirement, you need to take some actions cautions Laurent Carrier. The following factors can drastically impact how much retirement savings you will eventually need:
  • If you’re a homeowner, you probably want to consider whether you’ll stay put and pay off the house, or if you’ll likely have a mortgage in one location or another forever. Housing is usually a household’s most costly expense.  You will need a lot less in retirement savings if you have paid off your mortgage.
  • Can you get serious about paying off debt?  Especially non mortgage debt?
  • Health issues might emerge during this time that direct your planning toward long-term health care, and you’ve got a good handle on your money management style.
  • Will you help your kids pay for college or prioritize retirement savings?
  • When do you want to leave your current job?  Will you transition into retirement or stop working cold turkey?

Now is the time to set more focused goals and tweak your saving and investing strategies to make your retirement exactly what you need it to be.


About Laurent Carrier and Carrier Financial Services LLC
Laurent Carrier is the owner and founder of Carrier Financial Services LLC. For over 40 years, his mission has been to provide honest, simple financial advice to his clients. As a well-respected community leader, Laurent has served on the board of the American Red Cross and is now on the Advisory Board with the Colorado College Summer Music Festival. He is enthusiastic about supporting non-profit educational organizations locally, nationally, and internationally. For more information, contact Carrier Financial Services LLC, 919 North Weber Street, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80903. 719-249-4774 or visit online at www.carrierfinancial.com]]>
<![CDATA[3 Tips for 2018 Year-End Financial Planning]]>Tue, 25 Sep 2018 19:35:40 GMThttp://laurentcarrier.us/retirement-done-right/3-tips-for-2018-year-end-financial-planningWith 2018 drawing to a close, it's time to get busy making holiday plans. It's also time to get serious about year-end financial planning.

During the hectic holiday season, it can be tempting to put off financial decisions until the new year, but taking certain steps now may well be worth the effort. Timing is especially important when it comes to making tax-related moves that may reduce what you owe when filing season rolls around.

"The year end is a busy time for all of us," say Laurent Carrier, a financial planner and owner of Carrier Financial Services LLC in Colorado Springs, Colorado. "There are some things that can always wait, but there are a couple of tax-related planning opportunities that truly have a deadline of Dec. 31."

Here are three key items that you should be thinking on during the final months of 2018.
1. Reducing your personal tax liability through tax-loss harvesting. The fourth quarter is an optimal time for tax planning because, by now, many of us have a good sense of how our personal and financial lives have changed over the past year.

Tax-loss harvesting is one way to reduce taxes on realized capital gains from winning investments. Start by evaluating what you own in your portfolio and why you own it, and then consider selling some holdings that have lost value by the end of the year.

These so-called realized losses can be used to offset realized capital gains. If losses exceed gains, taxpayers are allowed to deduct up to $3,000 from their ordinary income. Any excess loss can be carried forward to future tax years.

“If you're a retiree who relies heavily on investments in taxable accounts for income, this strategy is worth considering,” says Laurent Carrier.

"Tax-loss harvesting is generally for people who have taxable income and are looking to create a write-off via taxable loss," he explained.

2. Charitable giving by means of stocks, bonds or mutual funds. It feels good to support your favorite charity during the holidays. Of course, doing so can have some nice tax benefits, too.

Many people simply donate cash or personal property to charities, which, while well intentioned, may not be the most effective way to maximize the tax breaks tied to charitable giving. One frequently overlooked strategy is to donate stocks, bonds or mutual fund holdings that you've owned for at least a year and that have risen in value.

By doing so, you get an income-tax deduction and — because the securities are donated, not sold — you won't owe capital gains taxes, according to Laurent Carrier of Carrier Financial Services LLC. Tax-exempt charitable organizations can sell donations of appreciated assets without having to pay capital-gains taxes on the profits.

"What's better than giving and receiving at the same time?" asks Laurent.

3. Maximize workplace retire plans to create your optimal benefits. If you have a 401(k) or similar retirement plan through work, it's a good time to take a look at how much you've contributed this year. You may still have time to bump up your salary deferral to ensure that you put away the maximum allowable amount for 2018, which is $18,500. The catch-up contribution limit for employees over age 50 is $6,000.

Some investors may want to convert a traditional individual retirement account or 401(k) plan into a Roth IRA. There is no upfront tax deduction for Roth IRA contributions, but qualified distributions are tax-free. Roth IRAs generally make sense for investors who expect to be in a higher tax bracket after they begin taking distributions.

"Low-income years can be a great opportunity to convert IRA balances to a Roth," said Laurent Carrier. "You can potentially pay a lower tax rate on the conversion than you would during a high-income year, and the account grows tax free and doesn't have future required minimum distributions," he added.


About Laurent Carrier and Carrier Financial Services LLC

Laurent Carrier is the owner and founder of Carrier Financial Services LLC. For over 40 years, his mission has been to provide honest, simple financial advice to his clients. As a well-respected community leader, Laurent has served on the board of the American Red Cross and is now on the Advisory Board with the Colorado College Summer Music Festival. He is enthusiastic about supporting non-profit educational organizations locally, nationally, and internationally.

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