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“You have two choices! You can work for your money, or you can have your money work for you!”.
For most this is easier said then done. I created this site to help others with their path to financial freedom. I hope to do this by proving useful tools, resources, and personal experiences. Click Here To Continue Reading...
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For many when starting their new job thought of participating in a 401k plan was exciting. A place to store thousands and thousands of dollars, safe and secure, awaiting retirement. Then life happened. The transmission went out. Your son broke his arm. The tree fell onto the house. And that was just last month! Now what? Well, you invade the 401k, of course. But, as a wise man once said, “It is characteristic of wisdom not to do desperate things.” So, before we do desperate things, let’s look at some of the pros and cons of taking out a fidelity 401k loan.
401k Loan Fidelity – Pros & Cons
First the pros:
- 401k loans are fairly easy, if your employer offers it. Actually, it is almost too easy. Please remember, you are borrowing from your future. Your entire retirement may depend on the precedent set by you on this matter.
- No interest. If you do pay interest, it goes right back into the account. That’s a pretty good price to pay for money.
- No formal application to fill out and no waiting for approval. Since there is no credit check or waiting lines at the bank, the process can be done very quickly.
Now the cons:
- Human behavior. Yes, this is what gets us all. We are capable of deceiving ourselves into thinking, “just this time”. “It will never happen again”. Well, it generally does happen again. And when it does, we may wish we had acquired the funds from a different source. This leads us to our next bullet……
- A 401k loan default. If you terminate your employment, your loan will need to be paid back almost immediately. If you don’t pay back the loan, the borrowed funds are considered a 401k distribution. And you will have federal income tax due on your tax return, and also a 10% penalty to boot.
- Possible unforeseen fees. Pay attention to the fine print and ask questions. Several times.
- Loan Limits. Most often the amount you can borrow from your 401k plan is the lesser of $50,000 or 50% of your plan balance.
- You will have to pay it back. Now that statement seems obvious, but repeat the phrase, “I will have to pay this back” repeatedly before you initiate the paperwork.
- Not all plans allow for 401k loans. Even though the law allows borrowing from a 401k, your employer doesn’t have to.
401k Loan Fidelity – What are some alternatives?
- First, do you really need the money? Is a 401k loan absolutely necessary? Absolutely?
- Can you borrow the money from a family member?
- Can you sell something of value that you don’t really need anymore? This is often the best way to raise some cash.
- Have you considered a home equity loan?
- Can you extend the current debt that you’re borrowing against your 401k for?
- Do you have any low-interest credit cards? Yes, credit cards. Really. Not all would agree, but in most situations I would advise the use of a credit card rather than taking out a 401k loan.
Yes, 401k loans are fairly straightforward. You borrow the money from yourself, and you pay it back over time. You can do it. It is legal.
Just remember that you may not like the consequences.
My Current Position In Fitbit Inc.
I’ve been watching Fitbit Inc (symbol: FIT) over the last couple of years. During that time I’ve bought and sold shares of Fitbit here and there. During August of 2017 I began getting more serious and started purchasing shares fairly regularly. As of January 30th, 2018 I currently own 7,630 shares of Fitbit. With 1,930 in retirement accounts and the remaining 5,700 in my personal brokerage account. I have just $40k invested in Fitbit. with their current share price of $5.22. I’m currently averaging a cost basis per a share of $6.11 (I’m down just around $6,800). I plan to add an additional $5k over the next month to put my total original investment just above $50k.
Current Financial Situation of Fitbit, Inc.
There were a few things to call about about the latest earnings report for the fiscal Q3 ending on September 30th, 2017.
Highlights From Fitbit’s Q3 FY17 Financial Report
- $659 million in cash, with current assets totaling $1.23 billion
- $564 million in current liabilities
- $392 million in revenue, with $174 million and -$27 million in gross profit and operating income respectively
- -$113 million in net income
- Operating cash flow was $5.5 million, net change in cash for Q3 FY17 was -$38 million.
There’s a few important things to call out from Fitbit’s Q3 FY17 Financial Report
- Has a very strong cash position, with operating cash flow remaining positive.
- R&D spend remained at $84 million contributing to the lower net income
The Long Term Strategy Of Fitbit
If Fitbit is able to enter into the healthcare side of things. I believe there is a lot of potential for this company. During FY18 I’ll be looking for YoY sales increases and their plan for expanding their services. I still believe that Fitbit is undervalue at it’s current price. With the market cap just under $1.3 billion, this company has a lot of room to go, if they can prove to the market their value.
401k Distribution Rules
As you read thru this article keep something in mind………the IRS has permitted tax benefits to families by way of the 401k for many years. Primarily intended to permit individuals to salt away extra cash for their own retirement, participants have responded. 401k plans now make up the largest employer-sponsored retirement account type in existence. Knowing the 401k distribution rules will help you decide the best path for you.
But, you’re reading this because it is now time to retire or it is time to tap the 401k for some much needed cash.
Whatever the reason, care must be taken to abide by the 401k distribution rules. Otherwise, Uncle Sam may become more involved in your life than you ever believed he could be.
In an attempt to simplify the concepts of 401k withdrawals, I have boiled them down to two types.
1. Early 401k withdrawals and,
2. Withdrawals made at the age 59½ or older.
Let’s start with……
Early 401k Withdrawal
An early 401k withdrawal has the likelihood of creating two taxable situations on your tax return.
In addition to paying Federal income tax on the amount withdrawn, 401k early withdrawal penalties at a rate of 10% on the distribution amount will generally be required of you as well.
Congress had enough foresight (I can’t believe I actually wrote that) in the early years to understand that if participants were going to contribute to their own 401k account, they should have some access to their money.
So Congress put in a 401k hardship rule (this hardship rule also exists for 403b plans and 457 plans). These rules make allowances for early 401k withdrawals in a limited number of situations. Here are the exceptions:
- Expenses for medical care for an immediate family member.
- Costs directly related to the purchase of a principal residence.
- Payments of directly related educational fees, including room and board, for the next 12 months of post-secondary education for the employee or an immediate family member.
- Payments necessary to prevent the eviction of the employee from his/her residence.
- Funeral expenses.
- Certain expenses relating to the repair or damage of an employee’s principal residence.
“It’s important to note that the above exceptions simply specify conditions when a participant may have access to 401k funds. They are not exceptions to penalties or tax.”
401k withdrawal penalties will not apply if distributions before age 59½ are made in any of the following circumstances:
- Payments made to the beneficiary after the death of the participant.
- Disability of the participant.
- Substantially Equal Periodic Payments after separation from service.
- Payments made to a participant after separation from service if the separation occurred during or after the calendar year in which the participant reached age 55. More on this below.
- Payments made to an alternate payee under a qualified domestic relations order.
- Distributions to a participant for medical care up to the amount allowable as a medical expense deduction.
- Distributions to correct excess contributions, match, or deferral.
Although the IRS makes provisions for early distributions, your employer’s plan does not have to allow those distributions. Many employers do not allow premature distributions because of the added administration costs incurred.
As briefly noted above, a 401k withdrawal penalty does not apply to employees who separate service from their employer in or after the year they have reached the age of 55 (for qualified public safety employees that age gets moved back to age 50!)
Let’s re-phrase this exception. The 401k distribution rules state that you can begin taking a 401k early withdrawal in the year you turn 55 or later from your current employer only. Therefore, it may make good financial sense to roll older 401k’s into your current employer before you retire.
Distributions at age 59½ or Older
If your intent is to withdraw 401k assets at retirement, 401k withdrawal laws allow for these three options. Each item assumes that you’re at least 59½ and you are no longer employed by your employer.
- Take a lump sum. Your provider will write you a check after holding out 20% of the balance. This 20% is simply a required tax deposit on the 401k distribution. As you file your taxes the following year, the withdrawal will be included in your total income via a 1099 tax form. Whether the 20% Federal tax withheld is enough or too much depends on your particular tax situation for that year.
- Do nothing. Leave your plan assets with your employer. There is no tax consequence as no money is withdrawn.
- Rollover 401k to IRA. There is no tax implication of this is done correctly.
401k withdrawal rules can be extremely complicated. Contact your financial advisor or CPA for more help.
So, what do investment bankers do exactly? The simplest explanation is that investment bankers are the world’s deal makers, usually acting as a type of broker. Basically, they match projects with money. Investment Bankers find projects, analyze them, cherry-pick the best, then structure them as investments and, lastly, find the investors (or in the case of an in-house investment banker present the project to the firm’s investment committee.) Most investment bankers will review over one hundred projects per year and eventually reject 99% of them. It’s a really difficult job. A great investment banker is literally worth more than his or her weight in gold. There are few great investment bankers… and even fewer after the 2008 financial crisis.
My Background In Investment Banking
To better understand what do investment bankers do I’m going to provide my background. I have been an investment banker for the past thirty-eight years. I started at the ripe old age of eighteen with the purchase and syndication of two apartment buildings in Northern California, then went on to start one of the first video store chains in the United States. On my first group of syndications, I tripled my investors’ money within three years. Honestly, it was luck and timing.
Somewhere along the line, I developed a reputation and I managed to pick up hundreds of clients that I helped raise money for and manage their investor relations. Some of those clients you
might recognize: IBM, AT&T, Chevron, ADP, FMC, Motorola, Lockheed Martin, Intel, State Farm, Allstate, and 19 other Fortune 500 companies. I have personally syndicated over 100 investments in my career and helped raise billions of dollars in equity for my clients.
I also worked in the entertainment industry writing, directing and executive producing motion pictures. There are 7 motion pictures based on my screenplays, two of which I also directed. I personally invested in or helped finance over 100 independent movies and I founded several successful media services companies in Southern California. Those are my credentials.
I have had my ups and downs–2008 was particularly tough–but I have survived and even prospered. Over the years, I have learned a few secrets about investing that I would like to share with you. If you are not already wealthy, I hope this information makes you become wealthy… like REALLY WEALTHY!
And if you are lucky enough to already be in the top 1%, then I hope this information helps you stay there and sleep better at night knowing your nest egg is safe.
They Usually Specialize
Investment bankers usually specialize in industry sectors such as energy, real estate, technology, consumer goods, minerals, communications, transportation, media, etc. They also specialize in the types of deals that they put together. Some work in mergers and acquisitions (M&A), while other develop IPOs. Many work in equity placement or financing. Some investment bankers specialize in financing startups and growing companies, while others only handle mature companies. Still others stay away from corporate finance and instead specialize in project financing (my personal favorite) like commercial real estate development or acquisition financing.
To answer What do investment bankers do? We need to understand more about their education. Most investment bankers start off graduating from a prestigious university, then working for a number of years at one of the big investment banks; Goldman Sachs, , Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan, Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse, etc. Once they gain their confidence and develop their contacts many leave to launch their own firms and develop their own projects. Some end up running investment funds, while others remain independent putting deals together for sponsors in need of capital.
Investment bankers keep massive Rolodexes or databases of investor contacts. My personal database has over 8,000 investor contacts all of which have over $100 million in assets. Investment bankers are similar to sports or entertainment agent in that their power comes from who they know and who will take their call on short notice.
An investment banker must always understand current capital market conditions, so they know which projects will get funded and which are a waste of time. They must have a keen eye and are always on the lookout for quality projects and sponsors. An investment banker must know how to structure an investment deal so that it is marketable to investors, while still leaving enough meat on the bone to incentivize the performance of the investment sponsor.
Now you should be able to answer what do investment bankers do! Most successful investments over $10 million have an investment banker behind them. The new arena for investment bankers is crowdfunding. It is the ultimate free market system for raising capital and very well could change the way American business are financed. But more about that in posts to follow….