Tips from Business Pros
Smart Ways to Save Green
November, 2009 - Issue #61
Start End-of-the-year Planning Now

With 2009 quickly coming to a close, now is the time to start your year-end planning. Take the time to check-in with your accountant, CPA or tax advisor this month and estimate your taxes due for the year. Investing a little time now will enable you to better determine where you stand and what steps you might take before year end to minimize any possible surprises.
~ Mission Valley Bank Senior Vice President Marianne Cederlind 775-4100 (Valencia) 253-9500 (Santa Clarita)

Manage Money by Setting Goals
Setting goals allows you to envision how good you will feel when you've actually achieved those goals, which in turn will help keep you motivated.

The first step is to set a positive goal for yourself. For example, "I will save to buy a home" is a positive goal. On the other hand, "I will not spend money" is a negative goal. By focusing on the positive, and imagining yourself in your new home, you will likely stop spending money by default.

Second, set a date for achieving your goal. Remember, a goal is only a wish unless you set a date for it.

Third, write it down. Until you see your goal in front of you, it's not real. Tape your goal onto your bathroom mirror, your refrigerator or even make it your computer desktop screen.

And fourth, stay focused. If your goal is to buy a home, then go take a tour of some model homes. Read House and Garden, and similar magazines. By immersing yourself in your goal, you'll find it easier to stop spending money.
~ Glen Esteban of LPL Financial 295-8938

Make your Insurance Dollars Count
The best way to cut down on your insurance costs is to package your auto and home insurance with the same company to save on the auto and home premium. Plus, take advantage of discounts like the good driver discount, multi-car discount, member of a credit union, and good student discount. There are occupational discounts for engineers, scientists, the medical profession, educators, firefighters, police personnel and county/government/city employees, too.
~ Tammy Jacobson of JS Insurance Services 478-8088

Start a Health Savings Account
Business owners evaluating health plans to offer employees may want to consider a High Deductible Health Plan with a Health Savings Account (HSA), a tax-favored account established exclusively for individuals and families who are covered by high-deductible plans to pay or be reimbursed for qualified medical expenses. Employers can contribute to employees' plans as an added benefit; plan ownership stays with the employee and the balance rolls over year to year. Not everyone qualifies but if you are eligible, you can establish an HSA the same way you would an IRA - with a qualified trustee or custodian.

Maximum contribution limits for 2009 are $3,000 for single coverage and $5,950 for family coverage, with an additional $1,000 catch-up contribution allowed if you are between 55 to 65 years of age and not enrolled in Medicare. The deadline for regular and catch-up HSA contributions is your federal tax return due date, excluding extensions. Consult with your tax advisor to see if an HSA is right for you, then contact banking experts to open an HSA account.
~ SCVBank Regional Vice President Kris Hough 255-9250
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