Magazine article Black Enterprise

All-Star Advice 2010: Our Favorite Financial Experts Share Their Best Tips on Real Estate, Investing, Taxes, Insurance, and Debt Management-In Their Own Words

Magazine article Black Enterprise

All-Star Advice 2010: Our Favorite Financial Experts Share Their Best Tips on Real Estate, Investing, Taxes, Insurance, and Debt Management-In Their Own Words

Article excerpt

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JUST BECAUSE THE ECONOMIC RECOVERY IS MOVING LIKE molasses doesn't mean your personal rebound has to be sluggish. BLACK ENTERPRISE talked to some of the wisest financial planners, investment advisers, real estate professionals, tax accountants, and insurance agents we know to gain their best advice for the months ahead. What follows is a collection of top tips from experts passionate about providing such guidance to clients, friends, and family. Read on to benefit from their timely recommendations.

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JESSE ABERCROMBIE

Financial Adviser: Edward Jones Investments

Specialty: Financial Planning

RETIREMENT SAVINGS

Blend your 401(k) with a Roth IRA to achieve maximum savings and minimal taxes.

Max out your 401(k). Put as much as you can into it before using any other type of investment and retirement savings vehicle. It's a good idea to hold both a 401(k) and Roth IRA based on your tax bracket, but consult with an adviser. When you're planning for retirement you want to maximize the amount you can pull out tax free. The Roth is great but isn't deductible, so if you're in a higher bracket try to put in $16,500 or $22,000 (over 50 years old) to reduce your tax burden. The first thing I do with clients is talk to their CPAs. We look at their modified adjusted growth income and designate their tax bracket. When it comes to a 401(k), if you're in the 28% tax bracket and you put away an additional $4,000, it may put you in the 35% tax bracket. But let's say you put that $4,000 in a Roth--it keeps you in a lower tax bracket.

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ERIC GRANT

Senior Financial Adviser and Managing Partner, Polaris, a financial planning and wealth management firm

Specialty: Financial Planning

MONEY MANAGEMENT

Handle your family's finances like a business--with formal bi-weekly meetings.

I advise clients to stay on track with their financial and professional goals by holding regular, structured meetings. If you're single, meet with yourself. I've been helping clients to schedule and host a formal meeting with themselves no less than twice a month for at least 30 minutes. This meeting should not just be an opportunity to sit, relax, and think. It should be a formally scheduled meeting, written into whatever calendar tool you use, and with a formal agenda and note taking. The agenda should include a vigorous discussion and assessment of how well you're progressing toward your goals and you should leave the meeting with action items to complete within the next two weeks. The discussion should include a review and approval of notes from the last meeting, and an appraisal of any new ideas you've gathered. During tough times, it's important to not let the moment distract you from your desired end result. Surviving and thriving can occur at the same time.

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TARA-NICHOLLE NELSON

Licensed Real Estate Broker, Attorney, Consumer Educator for Trulia.com, and Author of The Savvy Woman's Homebuying Handbook

Specialty: Real Estate

REAL ESTATE

Forget about a short sale and buying a foreclosed home. So-called 'regular' sales are likely to present better bargains.

Contrary to popular belief, individual home sellers have more leeway and, often, more motivation to accept a lower offer than banks that are negotiating short sales or selling foreclosures. (In a short sale, the bank is the ultimate arbiter of how low the seller can go.) Banks must often adhere to guidelines and in many cases they can't accept an offer that is below a certain percentage of the home's fair market value. So rather than accepting a lowball offer, many banks have a policy of slightly reducing the list price and simply re-marketing the home. By contrast, individual sellers have no such limitations, and will often accept bargain-priced offers. …

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