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CLEVELAND--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The CBIZ Small Business Employment Index (SBEI), a barometer for hiring trends that surveys labor data from over 4,000 companies employing 300 or fewer people, increased by 1.22 percent during December. This follows a decrease of -1.04 percent during the month of November and marks the first positive gain in the SBEI since the reading for the period of August 2014.
Wednesday's jobs report from the payroll processor ADP also had a positive tone in that it offered that businesses added 241,000 jobs last month, surpassing the 225,000 threshold that was expected by surveyed economists.
"Small business owners appeared extremely optimistic according to the November NFIB report, which pinned its gains to business conditions six months from now. The December SBEI results indicate that hiring advanced for those businesses in December, perhaps a result of that optimism," says Philip Noftsinger, business unit president for CBIZ Payroll Services.
To review an infographic with data from the employment index, visit our blog.¹
Additional take-away points from the November SBEI include:
- At-a-glance: 28 percent of the companies included in the SBEI during December added staff during the period, while only 21 percent decreased payroll commitments. 51 percent of the small businesses in the Index made no change to their employee totals. More than 4,000 small businesses were included in the November and December periods of the SBEI.
- Take-aways from Decembers past: The December 2014 SBEI reading also exceeded the prior two December readings in 2013 and 2012, further supporting that the optimism felt in the November NFIB report may have translated to additional job growth beyond what should be seasonally expected for December.
- What could the future bring? There is still reason for caution though, as the details behind the November BLS numbers continue to show growth in sectors that traditionally represent part-time employment. For example, Food Services and Drinking Places grew by 26.5% while Employment Services (temporary labor) grew by 28.4%. These indicate that a good portion of Americans are supplementing their income through holding part-time or multiple jobs.
"The path to labor recovery does run through part-time growth, as employers step carefully back into investments in labor through part-time and temporary help. So, while job growth is being realized, full-time growth is still needed, and can reasonably be expected if the overall economic environment can support transition from part-time investments in labor to full-time commitments," continued Noftsinger.
CBIZ Payroll Services manages payroll services for more than 4,000 businesses. Its index reflects a broad array of industries and geographies corresponding to the markets across the United States, where CBIZ provides human capital services. The data represented by the SBEI is derived from a segment of employers not completely accounted for by the ADP and Federal BLS employment reports.
(1) The SBEI illustration is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. Based on a work at http://www.cbiz.com/insights-resources/blog.
Follow CBIZ on Twitter at @CBZ or on Facebook.
About CBIZ, Inc.
CBIZ, Inc. provides professional business services that help clients better manage their finances and employees. CBIZ provides its clients with financial services including accounting, tax, financial advisory, government health care consulting, risk advisory, merger and acquisition advisory, real estate consulting, and valuation services. Employee services include employee benefits consulting, property and casualty insurance, retirement plan consulting, payroll, life insurance, HR consulting, and executive recruitment. As one of the nation's largest brokers of employee benefits and property and casualty insurance, and one of the largest accounting and valuation companies in the United States, the Company's services are provided through nearly 100 Company offices in 32 states. http://cbiz.com
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TED JENKIN: With our national debt topping $17.5 trillion and growing, is it any wonder where the government will strike next to begin collecting more and more revenue. With tons of people behind payments on their student loans, there is a new phenomenon that people collecting Social Security need to be on guard for...that your Social Security check can be garnished. Yes, that right, you can actually have some of your fixed income in retirement taken away from you.
With more people going back to get a midlife college degree and more parents and grandparents co-signing loans, once your name gets on the dotted line for a federal loan you will be responsible to pay it back one way or another. Back in 2000, only six people were being garnished for delinquent loans; now that number has risen to over 156,000 people. According to some reports, the total garnishments exceeded more than $150 million last year.
What can you do if this happens to you?
- You'll have a 180-day advance notice. Make sure you request a review within 20 days.
- You should contact the Department of Education and see if you can get your loan out of default. If you can, immediately apply for an income-based repayment plan. Those living on a fixed income will get their payment down to virtually zero.
- Apply for a hardship exemption. There is a ton of paperwork, but you might be able to use this to stop the garnishment.
If you are wondering whether or not Social Security can be 100% garnished from you, there is some silver lining. There is a floor of $750, which means they government can take 15% of your Social Security (after Medicare deductions), but it cannot push through that $750 limit. However, that can still mean a huge bite out of the wallet of someone living completely on a fixed income from Social Security.
Moral of the story? You may love your children and grandchildren, but be very cautious before you agree to sign on the dotted line. It just may cost you a piece of your Social Security.
Ted Jenkin (@tedjenkin) is the co-CEO and founder of oXYGen Financial, a financial advisory firm focused on the X amp; Y generations. He also blogs at yoursmartmoneymoves.com.
Read the latest Investing in Funds amp; ETFs Report.
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KPS Company LLC has changed its name to Kosovsky and Company, CPA Consultants LLC.
Becker Professional Education, which is part of the DeVry Education Group, has made updates to its CPA Exam Review course and products. The enhancements include significant increases in multiple-choice questions and simulations, robust new lectures and hundreds more flashcards all designed to ensure students prepare with the most current content on the CPA Exam. The enhanced CPA Exam Review, created with the help of student feedback, now consists of: More than 7,000 multiple choice questions, 300 task-based simulations, 100 hours of expert instruction, two full final practice exams per part, interactive study planner and study roadmap, comprehensive textbooks and eBooks and unlimited academic support. In addition, students can now supplement with: More than 30 hours of video lectures and over 700 multiple-choice questions for the Final Review, 1,400 flashcards, and additional multiple-choice questions for select topics.
HLB International has recently signed a new member in India: Roy Varghese Co, located in Trivandrum and Cochin, Kerala State. Established in 1993, Roy Varghese Co provides audit, tax, corporate finance and business advisory services to a wide range of companies including listed and public companies, with special expertise in the technology, financial services, healthcare, infrastructure and manufacturing sectors. The firm comprises over 50 staff and all partners, most of whom are Big Four-trained, are fellow members of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India. Roy Varghese Co has a large international clientele, which will have a positive impact on the rest of the HLB network particularly in the Middle East and Asia Pacific regions.
The regional CPA and advisory firm of DeLeon Stang, CPAs and Advisors won the Small Business of the Year for Volunteerism award from the Corporate Volunteer Council of Montgomery County.
Dannible McKee LLP welcomed a group of high school students from Manlius Pebble Hill School to its Syracuse office on Dec. 15, 2014 and provided them with an overview on the accounting industry. Audit senior Alanna Abreu spoke to students about the day-to-day activities of an accountant and answered questions. The interactive session ended with a tour of the offices where students were provided with an opportunity to meet with more members of the firms audit and tax departments. CohnReznick LLP has signed a long-term lease for more than 125,000 square feet occupying the seventh and 10th floors at 1301 Avenue of the Americas. The new location represents a significant expansion and upgrade for the Firms national headquarters, which will feature state-of-the-art work spaces and collaborative meeting areas completely customized for the needs of the growing Firm. CohnReznick will move from its current 90,000 square-foot location at 1212 Avenue of the Americas in phases beginning at the end of 2015 with an expected completion by end of 2017. The new location will bring together 39 Partners and more than 300 employees to provide improved efficiencies and cross-functional team collaboration. Mitchell Titus LLP the largest minority-controlled professional services firm in the US, celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2014. The firm, a certified Minority Business Enterprise (MBE), is the first minority-controlled accounting firm in the US to align with one of the Big Four firms.
Dixon Hughes Goodman donated 431,475 lbs. of food during the past 12 months to organizations that feed the hungry. With their Count the Cans Food Drive, they continued to help those in need in their community. Dixon Hughes Goodmans successful Count the Cans Food Drive benefited Loaves Fishes whose tagline is bringing the hungry fresh food daily. They state that 18.8 percent of South Carolinians are food insecure, which means they do not know if they will have enough to eat from one day to the next. Over 61,000 people in Greenville County do not know where their next meal will come from. Loaves and Fishes depends on food drives like Count the Cans to feed the hungry in our community.
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Automated investment advisory services aim to be as easy to deal with as C-3PO, the Star Wars droid famous for his eagerness to help.
Unlike C-3PO, however, robo-advisors can't talk. That means you can't interview them to understand how they approach investing and if their approach is in sync with yours. But you can use some of the same tactics you would with a carbon-based (ie, human) financial advisor: Understand your goals, the scope and limitations of what the digital service offers and how to kick the tires.
"Robo-advisors are to investment advisors what TurboTax is to tax preparers," says Charles Sizemore, founder of Sizemore Capital Management LLC in Dallas."If you have a complex situation, TurboTax won't help you. If you have a complex situation, the more wealth you have, the more tailored an approach you need." Sizemore taps into some automated services for his own clients and advocates consumers take an a la carte approach, using digital advisors for basic investments, such as index funds, and human advisors for more complex decisions.
Most digital advisory services are geared toward millennials, those 20-somethings and 30-somethings for whom retirement planning is simply all about saving, says Adam Nash, CEO of Wealthfront Inc., a digital financial advisory firmbased in Palo Alto, California. "They've grown up with technology, and now they have jobs and have to save and invest," Nash says. Millennials are also accustomed to handling banking, travel arrangements and, of course, online shopping, so most understand the concept and logistics of self-serve financial advisories.
Those just starting out usuallyhave simple, straightforward needs and mainly want to ensure their portfolio growth isn't undermined by high fees. Typically, robo-advisors park money in low-fee funds such as index funds or exchange-traded funds, amplifying potential returns, executives at digital services say.
Preretirees and early retirees face a complex array of decisions, says Karin Risi, head of Vanguard Personal Advisor, based in Malvern, Pennsylvania. "Their needs are greater, and their portfolios are more sophisticated," she says.
One filter you can use: If you complete the long form for your annual income taxreturn, you may need a personal advisor. If you complete the short income tax form, an automated advisor may be sufficient for the time being.
Scope of services.The obvious difference between robo-advisors and humans is that you can't expect a robo-advisor to talk you through a tough stretch when your portfolio is getting hammered. Although robo-advisors can't prevent you from panicking and making a major misstep, such as dumping a mutual fund that's temporarily down, they can offer instant reports that address anxiety in a different way, Nash and executives at other digital advisories say.
For example, Nash says, a human advisor would likely look at your portfolio four times a year, at most, and recommend any rebalancing then. But a well-structured robo-advisor will automatically rebalance your account to reflect current economic and market conditions. That means you may be less worried about reacting to fluctuating markets because you know the robo-advisor is taking care of it, Nash says.
If you suspect you may need afinancial advisor within a few years, you may consider a robo-advisor that can transition you to an advisor within its network.Betterment, for example, is developing a network of financial advisors to work with clients as their needs grow, saysJon Stein, CEO and founder of the New York-based digital advisory.
Vanguard offers personal advisor services for a fee of 0.30 percent. The human advisor starts with the computer-generated plan and then customizes it according to the client's needs.A service that offers a continuum lets you escalate the level of service as you need it, Risi says, precisely when life is complicated by a welter of decisions about children in college, aging parents and career decisions.
If you are, or anticipate, quarterbacking the efforts of an estate lawyer, tax accountant and insurance agent, you may need a full-fledged financial advisor to tie it all together, Risi says. "Even if you have the inclination and aptitude to manage your own investments, you might not have the time," she says.
How to kick the tires.Robo-advisors are designed to detect your investing goals by asking key questions, but no digital advisor can be as thorough as a thoughtful, experienced human advisory, executives at digital advisories say.
You can glean insights into a service's approach by going through the goal-setting exercise most services use as an opener, Sizemore says. Any advisory that quickly spits back investment recommendations based primarily on age is probably not credible, he says. "If it starts with age and doesn't get more nuanced, that's a terrible way to do things, for lack of more creative options," he says. "Age, income and net worth are the quantitative factors that matter most."
About 25 percent of new customers call Betterment's customer service line in their first week of signing up, Stein says, usually to make sure they understand some of technicalities of setting up their account. Sizemore recommends calling just to see how well the service staff responds to your questions. "If you hate calling customer service centers in general, you want to make sure you are satisfied with the robo-advisor's support before you get very far into the relationship," he says.
Other red flags:
- A quiz or diagnostic that flat-out asks you what your risk tolerance is wont be an effective test.Most people think they have stronger stomachs than they do, Sizemore says. Look for questions that put risk tolerance in terms of your likely emotional reaction to various scenarios.
- Does the system clearly outline what you must do to transfer to a different advisor? It should be a simple, straightforward explanation that is easy to find on the site.
Part of the appeal of digital services is that they can link to your other financial accounts, but you can't see how well that works unless you set everything up in a full-fledged account. That full-fledged account is more difficult to dismantle, however, if you then want to try another service,executivesof digital advisory firmsconcede.
An alternative is to sign up for the lowest level of service with the minimum amount of money and see how it goes, Nash says. Moving a $10,000 trial account around is easier than transplanting your entire investing life just to experiment with various services, executives say. Then when you find the Goldilocks service, the one that's just right, you can settle in for the long haul.