All posts by Fran

An Overview of myRA

A 45-second read by Victoria Cannillo: You have most likely heard of a Roth IRA or a Traditional IRA, but what about myRA? myRA was introduced in 2014 as an option for people who don’t have access to an employer-sponsored retirement savings plan or other retirement savings options. According to the myRA website, you can contribute up to $5,500/year into the account ($6,500/year for those older than 50). Once the account reaches an account balance of $15,000, or when the account is 30 years old, the savings will be transferred or rolled-over into a private-sector Roth IRA.

For 2016, the maximum income allowable to participate in the program was $132,000 for single-tax filers and $193,000 for couples filing together. Read more specifics about the program, here.

Some pros and cons of myRA to consider:

Pros:

  • No cost to open an account and no fees
  • Flexible contribution amounts (a traditional IRA has a $1,000 minimum)
  • Investments are backed by the United States Treasury
  • Tax benefits are similar to a Roth IRA, such as earning interest tax-free

Cons:

  • There is only one investment option – a treasury bond (accounts are invested solely in Government Savings Bonds)
  • Once the account balance reaches $15,000, it stops accumulating interest, so your maximum for savings is limited
  • Doesn’t seem to offer many long-term options at this time

Reach out to your Baron team if you want help in understanding what kind of IRA would be best for you.

Introducing the Baron Financial Group Team – Video

Video Transcription

Victor Cannillo: When you have good people, with the same common cause and the same purpose, which in our case is to deliver and do the right thing by clients- that is how we came together.

Nicholas Scheibner: What you can expect from the Baron Financial Group is really personalized service; when someone calls in, we know their name, we know their situation and it’s a team here.

VC: People are tired of dealing with these big brokerage firms, so they are looking for a relationship where the people work for me, and it is independent. When prospective clients come in, we say, “follow the money,” that is where the advice is going to be crafted. Ours is whatever the best solution is for the client.

Anthony Benante: We focus on constructing a plan for each client and it is a customized strategy for those clients; we educate the client as to what is going to happen with that strategy, and it is a strategy based on diversification.

Continue reading Introducing the Baron Financial Group Team – Video

College-Saving Options for Florida Residents

A 60-second read by Anthony Benante: The Florida Prepaid College Board offers several options for college savings. The two principal programs are the Prepaid College Plan and the 529 Savings Plan. Below is a brief outline of some of the key differences between these plans, as highlighted by the Florida Prepaid College Board. For more information, click here to read more.

Florida Prepaid College Plan

  • Overview: You “pre-pay” for future college tuition costs and other fees. There are several plans to choose from (1-year/ 4-year Florida University Plan, 2-year/4-year Florida College Plan, etc.). The cost you pay will be based on what the cost of tuition is projected to be the year your child would enroll in college.
  • Enrollment: You can submit your application to enroll your child at any time from birth until junior year of high school. A parent needs to be a resident of Florida for at least 1 year before enrolling.  The actual enrollment period runs from October 15th – February 28th each year.
  • Payment Options: You can pay monthly, over five years, or a lump sum.
  • What the plan covers: Tuition and other fees at a Florida College or State University (The plan can also be applied to other schools nationwide, but you should investigate actual benefits for schools outside the plan).

Continue reading College-Saving Options for Florida Residents

Baron Financial Group Attends CFA Institute Conference

Anthony Benante, CFA and Nicholas Scheibner, CFP® of Baron Financial Group recently attended the 70th CFA Institute Annual (four-day) Conference in Philadelphia, to keep updated on financial industry topics and trends. The CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) Institute’s mission is to lead the investment profession globally by promoting the highest standards of ethics, education, and professional excellence for the ultimate benefit of society.

According to the CFA Institute, it’s imperative that investment professionals remain current in this changing and complex climate to best serve their clients’ interests.

Read more about the CFA Institute at cfainstitue.org.

To learn more about Baron Financial’s investment management service, visit our services pages on our website.

What is the best way to plan for your assets to remain within your bloodlines?

A 60-second read by Nicholas Scheibner:  When planning your estate, it is important to divide all of your accounts into two groups:  accounts with designated beneficiaries and accounts with no designated beneficiaries.  Examples of accounts with designated beneficiaries are 401(k)s, IRAs, transfer of death (TOD) accounts, and other retirement accounts. The designated beneficiary on an account bypasses your will.  For example, if your will states that all of your money is to pass on to your child, but your 401(k) primary beneficiary is an ex-spouse, your ex-spouse will inherit the money from your 401(k).  It is crucial that you review your beneficiaries on your accounts to make sure they agree with your desires.

Continue reading What is the best way to plan for your assets to remain within your bloodlines?

Baron Financial Group says “Thank You” to Our Clients & Friends

To thank our many clients and friends for their continued support, we hosted two client appreciation events this year: one in Sarasota, Florida and one in Hawthorne, New Jersey.

We were pleased to host, for the second year, a client appreciation event at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, Florida, the spring-training home of the Baltimore Orioles.  At the Feb. 27, 2017 game, the Yankees won 4-1, a happy outcome for the many Yankee fans in attendance.  A special appearance by the Oriole’s mascot added to the enjoyment of the day.

It is our custom to make a donation to a local charity whenever we host a client appreciation event.  Continuing with our tradition, a donation was made in honor of our clients and friends to the “All Faiths Food Bank” in Sarasota.

Tony Benante, Victor Cannillo and Nick Scheibner of Baron Financial Group with Baltimore Oriole’s mascot

Baron hosted their third annual Casino Night event on May 4, 2017, at Macaluso’s in Hawthorne, New Jersey. Attendees were given “play” money to participate in the casino games, ensuring no one could lose real money. Chips were cashed in for raffle tickets for the chance to win some great prizes, including gift baskets, and gift cards to various local restaurants and businesses. The ultimate and most coveted prize was two tickets to see Wicked on Broadway.

Although guests had an opportunity to win raffled prizes, the big winner was the “Fair Lawn Food Pantry”, who received a monetary donation from Baron to honor our clients and friends.

Baron Financial Group recognizes that there are members of the community who are not as fortunate as others, who need help to meet the most basic of needs. Baron’s purpose is to help our clients reach their financial goals and to secure a better future for them and their families. In keeping with our philosophy, the firm is committed to making the community a better place. It is our hope that together, we can look forward to a future of promise for all.

Class of 2017: It Isn’t Too Early to Start Thinking about Your Retirement

A 60-second read by the Baron Team:  Congratulations 2017 college graduates! Throw that mortarboard as high in the air as you can and before it circles back down to earth, start thinking about saving for your retirement. You are most likely going to be responsible for setting yourself up for a successful retirement, so your best bet is to invest early and often.

Invest in yourself first. Most people think investing is the key to wealth, but while certainly important, you have to have some money first to invest. So as soon as you begin your first job out of school, start saving as much as you can for retirement.

Continue reading Class of 2017: It Isn’t Too Early to Start Thinking about Your Retirement

Baron Financial Supports SCARC Foundation

In support of the SCARC  Foundation, members of Baron Financial Group attended the 2017 SCARC Foundation Honors and Leadership Awards Celebration on March 9, 2017.

SCARC Inc., an organization serving people with developmental disabilities, is dedicated to the empowerment and support of persons with developmental disabilities and their families. The organization will facilitate partnerships with community resources, assist in maximum community participation, promote individual planning based on choices, preferences and needs, and foster the development of socially valued roles for each person served. For more information, visit the SCARC website at scarc.org.

At Baron, we recognize that the financial planning challenges faced by families with special needs members are significant.  We take great pride in helping families address today’s needs and plan for those that are likely to follow.  For more information about our services for families with special needs, visit our special needs page.

Do Not Call Registry: tips to help avoid phone scams, part II

A 30-second read by the Baron Team: In a previous post, we provided some tips to help avoid phone scams from the FTC. If receiving excessive sales calls is a concern for you, there is an option to help reduce the amount of telemarketing calls you receive by joining the National Do Not Call Registry.

The Do Not Call Registry is a free service where you can register your phone number in order to reduce telemarketing/ sales calls.  According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), if a company is legitimate and sees that you are on the list, they should not call you. If a company sees you on the list, but calls you regardless, it is most likely a scam call.

While being on the Do Not Call Registry may not prevent robo-calls, the FTC has several initiatives to try to solve this issue.

If you are interested in putting your number on the registry, go to donotcall.gov or call 1-888-382-1222. They will accept both cell phone and landline numbers.

For more information from the FTC, click here to read more.

For more specific information regarding “Cell Phones and the Do Not Call Registry,” click here.

Feel free to reach out to us for any other questions.

How to File an Extension on Your 2016 Tax Return

A 60-second read by the Baron Team: Need more time to compile information for your tax return? Haven’t received all of the documents you need? It will be in your best interest to file a tax extension. This will extend the due date up until October 16, 2017.

How to file a Paper Tax Extension:

To file an extension, you are going to need to fill out Form 4868 [Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return]. You can download the form and instructions from the IRS website.

With the form, you also need to send in at least 90% of your estimated tax liability due for the year.
To pay by check, mail the form with the check together. Make the check out to United States Treasury. On the memo line, write your Social Security Number, Form 4868, and the tax year (2016). This way, they know that you are sending the check as part of your extension.

When mailing in the tax extension, it is highly recommended that you send it via certified mail or another method that provides you with a tracking number. The envelope needs to be postmarked by April 18th. Check the instructions portion of Form 4868 for the correct mailing address (it varies according to what state you reside in).

 To Prevent any Penalties:

  • Carefully read all instructions and follow all directions on Form 4868.
  • Correctly estimate your tax liability for the year and send in 90% of the amount due.

Miscellaneous tips:

  • It is possible to file your extension online. See the IRS website for more details.
  • If you ever feel unsure or concerned about the process, consult a Tax Professional to assist you.

Any other questions, contact the Baron Financial Group Team.