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Important to research eligibilities before opening new IRA

Posted On: 1/30/14
Written By: Chip Gordy, Contributing Writer

As April 15 approaches, many taxpayers should make sure that they contribute to their IRAs so as to receive the related tax benefit. If you do this, it’s important to make sure that you satisfy the contribution eligibility requirements in order to avoid penalties. Following are some important reminders to help you to meet these requirements. First, you must have eligible compensation in order to be qualified to contribute to an IRA. For IRA purposes, eligible compensation includes wages, salaries, tips, commissions received as a percentage of sales, and taxable alimony. If you are a sole proprietor or a partner in a partnership, your compensation is based on your  net earnings from your business, reduced by contributions to any employer-sponsored plan that you adopt and any deduction allowed for 50 percent of your self-employment taxes. Amounts you receive as interest, annuity, dividends, pension, earnings and profits from property investments, and any amount you exclude...
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Outten sees Berlin as ‘Antiques Capital of the Eastern Shore’

Posted On: 1/23/14
Written By: Sheila R. Cherry, Associate Editor

Outten sees Berlin as ‘Antiques Capital of the Eastern Shore’ BERLIN—Bill Outten is a man with a mission: to help make Berlin the “Antiques Capital of the Eastern Shore” and he is well on his way to accomplishing that goal. Outten launched a soft opening for his new venue “Uptown Antiques” on Jan. 15. The official grand opening is scheduled for Feb. 1, which is intended to give vendors time to finish setting up their assigned booths. He said he is still looking for a coin dealer, estate jewelry vendor, and a retailer who sells vintage clothing from period pieces to hippie era items. The naming of Uptown Antiques has more to do with the atmosphere Outten is trying to convey than the business’s physical location, at 13 South Main Street. After all, the two-story building is located in the former Donaway Furniture store site, with its glass-lined frontage and private parking lot. The new location will feature more upscale items targeted specifically for collectors looking for rare show-worthy finds, with higher...
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Where everyone knows your name…in Berlin

Posted On: 1/2/14
Written By: Sheila R. Cherry, Associate Editor

Where everyone knows your name…in Berlin BERLIN—It’s not that hard to be compelled to hum the theme song from the 1980’s sitcom “Cheers” when walking into the new Burley Inn Tavern, on 16 Pitts Street. One can practically see Cliff and Norm at the end of the bar chatting up Coach and Woody as they pour the drafts. Owner Cody Bates, 28, has no problem with his new venture being compared with the “place where everybody knows your name,” because that is what he is shooting to replicate. During a Dec. 24 interview he said he was trying to create a family restaurant/neighborhood hangout/sports bar atmosphere where all are welcome. “Come in and give me a shot. I promise you won’t leave unhappy, or hungry,” he said between filling orders. As Bates described it, the restaurant is still a work in progress. He opened his doors on Dec. 22 after four sleepless days of setting up. He is waiting to have his signage approved by the Historic District Commission in January and ha...
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Several financial resolutions to consider in 2014

Posted On: 1/2/14
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About 45 percent of Americans usually make New Year’s resolutions, according to a survey from the University of Scranton. But the same survey shows that only 8 percent of us actually keep our resolutions. Perhaps this low success rate isn’t such a tragedy when our resolutions involve issues like losing a little weight or learning a foreign language. But when we make financial resolutions — resolutions that, if achieved, could significantly help us in our pursuit of our important long-term goals — it’s clearly worthwhile to make every effort to follow through. So, what sorts of financial resolutions might one consider? Here are a few possibilities: • Boost contributions to retirement plans. Each year, try to put in a little more to an IRA and 401(k) or other employer-sponsored retirement plans. These tax-advantaged accounts are good options for a retirement savings strategy. • Reduce debts. It’s not always easy to reduce debts, but ma...
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With new year, it’s time to think about how to do it better

Posted On: 12/24/13
Written By: Chip Gordy, MBA, CRPC

As we get ready to start a new year, it’s a good time to push forward and think about all the things you’d like to do better or differently in 2014. As part of your planning for this year, consider taking action to improve your personal finances. To get started, here are some goals for 2014 and how to achieve them: Stick to a budget. You should know exactly where your money’s going and where you might make improvements. I’ve written about this before, and once you get started, it’s not too difficult. What’s not so simple for some? Following through! If you want to break out of the cycle of living paycheck-to-paycheck and learn how to spend within your means, keeping a budget is a smart first step. Pay off debt. There are many strategies out there to help you cut away your debt. You can start by paying down the debt that has the highest interest rate first and then work your way down. Just make sure you’re still making at least the minimum pa...
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New Berlin store provides tools for home beer brewers

Posted On: 12/19/13
Written By: Sheila R. Cherry, Associate Editor

BERLIN—If you blinked you missed it, but a new supply store for home craft beer brewers and winemakers has opened and, owner Tony Hilligoss is offering the creatively inclined the opportunity to create their own concoctions with “brew on premise” classes. The new venture, Brews Up, is located on U.S. Route 113 near the intersection with South Main Street, near Pitt Stop Beer & Wine. Hilligoss plans to lend his 30 years of culinary expertise to individuals who want to try their hands at the growing beer and winemaking trend, with their own personal coach. Craft beer preparation classes cost $40 for a 1 hour, 20 minute session, and winemaking classes cost $30 for classes that can take up to 45 minutes. The company will operate in soft opening mode until the grand opening in early spring, 2014, as Hilligoss continues setting up the kitchen; grain, fermentation, and tasting rooms; and brewing and winemaking stations, in the commercial-styled preparation area in the...
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Moves prior to Dec. 31 can make difference in tax bill

Posted On: 12/19/13
Written By: Chip Gordy, MBA, CRPC

A take-off on the old adage “significant savings can often be had to those who ‘don’t wait’” states the case with year-end tax planning. A few smart moves prior to Dec. 31 can make a significant difference in your April tax bill. The key for most of us will be to defer income and accelerate deductions. Some common income deferrals include: delay year-end bonus, compensation, payments for service, and rents; postpone retirement plan distributions (that aren’t required), or hold off on the sale of capital gain property until after Jan. 1 (or possibly opt for installment payments instead). Investors want to be watchful of a few of the following points as well. New mutual fund investments may be best delayed until after year-end distributions have been made. This is because distributions are blindly made to an owner on a given date of record without regard to how long the investment was owned. Offsetting realized gains with losses can help as well, s...
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Consider giving monetary gift to charity this holiday season

Posted On: 12/12/13
Written By: Chip Gordy, MBA, CRPC

‘Tis the season to give. Have you ever considered a substantial gift to a charity? With a properly planned gift, you could rearrange your investment portfolio without paying capital gains tax on appreciated property or you could also possibly get an income tax deduction. However, to get the tax advantages related with planned giving, your gift must be made to an eligible organization. To meet the criterion, a charitable organization must have been created in the United States, strictly be a non-profit business, and not be involved in politics. You can contribute almost anything to a qualified organization. The deduction limits are more limited for gifts other than cash, but you are free to give almost any property that has worth. In addition to making an out-and-out donation, there are a number of other gifting methods you can use. You can give life insurance which may allow you to bestow a sizeable future gift at a comparatively reasonable cost. Of course this type of giftin...
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New salon provides wide range of services to Ocean Pines area

Posted On: 12/5/13
Written By: Sheila R. Cherry, Associate Editor

New salon provides wide range of services to Ocean Pines area OCEAN PINES—Air services are moving over to make way for hair services Beauchamp Road as Kate Bathon, owner of the Enchanted Beauty Salon & Spa, prepares to greet new customers into the home-like setting of her new venture. The salon is located at 11220 Beauchamp Rd., across from St. John Neumann’s Catholic Church. The building formerly housed Bathon’s husband’s Marc Anthony Services, which provides heating, air conditioning, plumbing and electrical contracting services. It looks nothing like a site for mechanical work. Instead, the front office has been reworked as a reception area, complete with Mickey the guard-Bichon. Inside, the salon has a separate room for massages, a bathroom bathed in dark bold teal with silver accents, and a warm and inviting waiting room with comfy sofas, a fireplace, and light refreshments, although Bathon noted, “The cookies go quickly.” Bathon, who is originally from Russia, said the idea for the salon was her h...
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Create investment mix that includes three types of income

Posted On: 12/5/13
Written By:

If you depend on fixed-income investments for at least part of your income, you probably haven’t been too happy in recent years, as interest rates have hit historic lows. Nonetheless, even in a low-rate environment, you can broaden the income-producing potential of your investment portfolio. However, before taking action, it’s helpful to know what the near-term direction of interest rates may look like. The Federal Reserve has stated that it plans to keep short-term rates at their current historic lows until at least mid-2015. The Fed doesn’t control long-term rates, making them somewhat less predictable, but it’s still likely that these rates will rise sooner than short-term ones. In any case, rather than worry about something you can’t control – that is, interest rate movements – try to focus on those things you can accomplish. And one achievable goal is to create an investment mix that includes three types of income: variable, reliable a...
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