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Market Update from Ashley Vice, Portfolio Manager

After an incredibly muted 2017, volatility has returned to the markets.  This year, the US equity market (using the S&P 500 as a proxy) has experienced two separate “corrections”.   A correction is defined as a temporary decline of 10% or more.  The market got off to a great start in January and hit all-time highs in September, but has given most of that back over the past few weeks.  With dividends, the S&P 500 is up slightly for the year. In times of uncertainty, historical perspective can be a wonderful ally.  To that point, corrections are a normal part of the...

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401(k) Contribution Limit Increased to $19,000

The IRS has announced that the amounts employees can contribute to 401(k)s and IRAs will increase in 2019. In particular: The employee contribution limit for 401(k) plans will be $19,000, up from $18,500 in 2018. The catch-up contribution limit for employees aged 50 and over remains unchanged at $6,000. The employee contribution limit for IRAs will be $6,000, up from $5,500 in 2018. The catch-up contribution limit for employees aged 50 and over remains unchanged at $1,000. The employee contribution limit for SIMPLE IRAs and SIMPLE 401(k) plans will be $13,000, up from $12,500 in 2018. The catch-up contribution limit for employees aged...

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“Significant” Tax Incentives for Investment in “Opportunity Zones”

The IRS and Treasury have released proposed regulations and guidance for the Opportunity Zone program introduced as part of the 2017 Tax Act.  The Opportunity Zone program offers significant tax incentives (including gain deferral and partial exclusion) to investors who make qualified investments of capital gains in Opportunity Zones — i.e., the low-income urban and rural communities that were designated as Opportunity Zones earlier this year. The program encourages long-term, patient private capital to invest in eligible low-income rural and urban communities, called Opportunity Zones, all across the United States - including right here in Richmond and throughout the state. ...

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FBI Warns About Phishing Emails for Employees’ Payroll Information

The FBI issued a public service announcement (PSA) encouraging employers to remind employees not to respond to phishing emails from cybercriminals who want access to employees’ payroll information [FBI, Alert No. I-091818-PSA, 9-18-18]. How the Scam Works The FBI said that cybercriminals are targeting employees through phishing emails designed to capture an employee’s login credentials to his or her employer’s self-service application. Once they obtain the login credentials, cybercriminals can change the bank account information to which the employee’s paycheck is deposited. The cybercriminals also change the alert settings so employees are not informed of the direct deposit changes. How Employers Can Help The...

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It’s National Estate Planning Awareness Week

This week has been designated as National Estate Planning Awareness Week. Estate planning is a vital component of every financial plan, regardless of the size of the estate. Unfortunately, it's also an area that is commonly overlooked. This often results in wasted dollars and emotional hardship that could otherwise be minimized with proper advance planning and action. By definition, estate planning is a process designed to help you manage and preserve your assets while you are alive, and to conserve and control their distribution after your death according to your goals and objectives. But what estate planning means to you specifically...

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Several tax law changes may affect bottom line of many business owners

IR-2018-203, October 16, 2018 WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today reminded business owners that tax reform legislation passed last December affects nearly every business. With just a few months left in the year, the IRS is highlighting important information for small businesses and self-employed individuals to help them understand and meet their tax obligations. Here are several changes that could affect the bottom line of many small businesses: Qualified Business Income Deduction Many owners of sole proprietorships, partnerships, trusts and S corporations may deduct 20 percent of their qualified business income. The new deduction -- referred to as the Section 199A deduction or the...

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Workplace Bullying: More Common Than You’d Think

National Bullying Prevention Month is recognized every October. What many people don’t realize is that workplace bullying affects more than 35 percent of adult Americans. What is Workplace Bullying? Generally, workplace bullying is defined as the use of intimidation through power, influence, tone, or language to affect a person negatively. Often, bullying is intentional, but sometimes the bully is not aware of their hurtful actions or words. Workplace bullying affects safety, productivity, trust, and the workplace culture. What are the Signs of Workplace Bullying? Some common signs of workplace bullying include: Ignoring, isolating, or excluding an employee Reprimanding or humiliating an employee publicly Name-calling or insulting an...

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Open Enrollment Season is Around the Corner

Each year, once the dust of open enrollment settles, employers always ask, "What could we have done better?" The usual answer: employee communication. HR is in a unique position to talk about open enrollment because of their relation to employees and their extensive benefits knowledge. With this in mind, consider having HR distribute open enrollment communication through a multichannel approach. Reminder emails, text blasts, short explanatory videos, and posters in the break room are all great methods for reaching employees. Offering meaningful resources and reminders can boost employee engagement and retention, and improve workers' long-term health and wellness. Speak with one of SIMA's consultants...

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IRS Releases Forms 1094 and 1095 for Early 2019 Reporting

Form Instructions Also Released The IRS has released the Forms 1094-C, 1095-C, 1094-B, and 1095-B that employers will use in early 2019 to report on the group health insurance coverage they offered during the 2018 calendar year. Instructions on how to complete Forms 1094-C and 1095-C and Forms 1094-B and 1095-B have also been released. As a reminder, employers with 50 or more full-time employees (including full-time equivalent employees) generally must furnish a Form 1095-C to all full-time employees by January 31, 2019, and file Form 1094-C and all Forms 1095-C with the IRS by February 28, 2019 (or March 31, 2019,...

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Help your employees manage workplace stress

Keeping Stress at Work in Check Helping your employees deal with stress in the workplace can ultimately lead to greater productivity as well as motivating employees to perform better. Stress can sidetrack employees and prevent them from doing their best. Stress at work may come from significant workload, pressing deadlines and time management issues. When workplace stress feels overwhelming, the following are some simple steps managers and employees can take to reduce the pressure. How Managers Can Help Their Teams Reduce Stress With so many responsibilities, projects and tasks to implement in a given day, it’s easy for employees to lose a sense...

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