Author: Jeff Diamond, AIF®

Small Business Financial Health Checklist

small business financial health checklist
How to ensure your business remains strong now and into the future

As a small business owner, you understand all the complexities that come with being responsible for not only yourself, your company, and your family – but for your employees, as well. While it’s easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day details of running your business, periodically taking stock of your company’s overall financial health is a great way to ensure that your business is in a position to thrive now – and for years to come.

Each day, you make decisions that affect your business. How can you be sure that you’re keeping the big picture in mind and that each decision you make is a sound choice for your bottom line and long-term business goals? Below we’ll share a simple but effective financial health checklist for your small business.

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Understanding the Most Common Types of Employee Equity Compensation Plans

equity compensation
What You Need to Know About These Valuable, Complex Benefits

Equity compensation can be an incredibly valuable employee benefit, but it can also be a complex subject matter to get your arms around.  Not only are there multiple types of equity compensation, but each has unique characteristics you should keep in mind in order to maximize its value.

Below, we’ll discuss the most common types of equity compensation and dig into the potential challenges and unique benefits of each one so that you can make smart decisions for your financial situation – and avoid costly mistakes, too.

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Legacy Planning: Five Ways to Help Your Heirs Preserve and Grow their Inheritance

legacy planning
Don’t Skip this Often-Overlooked Step as You Plan the Disposition of Your Estate

Legacy planning, also called estate planning, is a long-term process. In fact, you’ve probably been engaged in it for much of your adult life, even if you didn’t realize it in the moment. Things like taking out a life insurance policy and naming beneficiaries on your retirement accounts are important steps in planning the eventual disposition of your estate and ensuring those you care about will be financially secure.

On the formal side of things, it’s important that you meet with an estate planning attorney, write a legal will, draft a durable power of attorney, and execute an advanced health care directive. In this article, however, we will examine an important legacy planning step that is too often overlooked: preparing your heirs to receive their inheritance – and helping them to preserve and grow it, as well.

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Fitting Equity Compensation into Your Financial Plan

equity compensation
The smartest move when granted equity benefits is to plan now, not 10 years down the road.

A growing trend in employee benefits is the inclusion of equity compensation to attract the best talent and to recognize top employees. Equity compensation is a form of non-cash compensation that represents ownership in the company, such as stock options or restricted stock. Depending on the company and the type of compensation they provide, employees will either receive company stock upon joining the team or the option to purchase it at a future date into their employment.

Equity compensation can seem complicated, and it may be tempting to let your benefits sit on autopilot, especially if you plan on staying at the company for a while and don’t have immediate plans to sell the stock. This might not be the best move, however, because equity compensation can come with unique tax rules, tax implications, and liquidity challenges. In order to ensure that you’re making the most of these benefits, it’s important to take a strategic approach to manage them and work to incorporate them into your broader wealth management plan. As you do so, keep the following questions and opportunities in mind.

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Zach Morris Provides Perspective on How to Talk to Your Parents about Estate Planning in a Recent Article for The Balance

estate planning

In an article published by thebalance.com,  Co-Founder Zach Morris offered his insight and expertise on how you can best talk to your parents about estate planning, and why it’s so important to start the discussion now. Here’s a snip of the article:

Discussing estate planning with your parents is a conversation that can be difficult to have. You might not want to think about the day that they are no longer here, or even consider that they might experience a decline in health that severely limits their ability to think clearly or communicate with you.

Reasons You Need to Have the Talk Now

The unpredictability of 2020 hammered home the frailty of life and how quickly someone can succumb to an ailment. But besides the possibility of your parents getting sick, there are other reasons to have this conversation now. In short, it’s not always about an inheritance or power of attorney, according to Zachary Morris, co-founder of Atlanta-based Paces Ferry Wealth Advisors.

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Navigating Inter-Generational Wealth Transitions When You Run a Family Business

wealth transfer
Guidance for Overcoming Common Challenges

Having something to pass down to future generations of your family is a dream shared by many people, especially those with family businesses. If you’re lucky enough to achieve it, however, you may face some of the common challenges of an inter-generational wealth transition. So challenging is such a transfer, in fact, that 90% of affluent families have greatly diminished wealth by the third generation. Below, we will discuss three common wealth transfer issues and provide guidance to help you navigate these potential challenges and ensure your assets move smoothly to the next generation.

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401(k) Plan Sponsors: 5 Reasons to Outsource Your Plan Sponsorship & Fiduciary Obligations

401(k)

Our Fiduciary File Checklist and Expertise in Plan Sponsorship Can Save You Time and Money

As an employer, offering a 401(k) plan to your employees can be incredibly rewarding. However, it is also a challenging undertaking – one that requires much of you, including meeting your fiduciary obligations to plan participants each year. The basic rules outlined by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) offer a standard of conduct that must be followed in administering a plan and managing its assets. Since the required actions and responsibilities are manifold, many small and medium-sized business owners outsource their plan sponsorship through a third-party service provider. 

At Paces Ferry Wealth Advisors, we understand your regulatory responsibilities as a 401(k)-plan sponsor and the need for proper documentation – and we know it can be a bit overwhelming. We believe that having a solid knowledge- base of plan governance, plan design, investments, participant investment behaviors, and recordkeeper services is unique, and we are proud to offer our knowledge and experience to our clients wishing to outsource their plan sponsorship. With the growing number of court cases and settlements related to the mismanagement of retirement programs, the stakes are increasing for sponsors to fully appreciate their plans’ risks and take necessary steps to meet their fiduciary obligations. 

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Social Security Taxes Will Rise Higher than Benefits in 2021: Are You Prepared?

social security taxes
Learn How These Changes Will Impact Your Financial Security

Each year, the Social Security Administration announces important numbers that impact both workers and retirees. In October, new wage base and benefit information for 2021 was released and it means a significantly larger tax bill for nearly 12 million high-earning workers. Why? Let’s dig into the numbers for both taxes and benefits below.

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FSA vs HSA: How to Make the Most out of Your Employee Benefits

healthcare costs
A comparison of the two biggest tax-advantaged savings accounts offered by employers

If there was a pop quiz and you were asked to explain the difference between a flexible spending account (FSA) and a health savings account (HSA), would you pass the quiz?

Chances are, you’d probably struggle with the answer. Though they share similar names and some other key similarities, such as both being tax-advantaged options available through work benefits, there are some major differences between the two accounts.

Like any decision, it’s best to make your choice from an informed position. To do so, here are the main takeaways you should know when it comes to the differences between an HSA and an FSA account.

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Small Business Checklist: How to Assess Your Financial Wellness

A Five-Step Plan for Busy Business Owners

Running your business day to day takes all of your energy and focus. Your waking hours are consumed with managing and sustaining it, and you likely spend many a sleepless night on the details no one else thinks about. This is the life of a committed small business owner.

When you’re grinding day after day to keep your business well-positioned, however, it can be easy to lose sight of the bigger picture. Specifically, it becomes difficult for many small business owners to find the time to monitor the overall health of their business in a meaningful way. The five-step guide below is designed to help you focus on five key elements of your business’ financial health.

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