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Fundamentals of Ethics, Corporate Governance and Business Law
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Fundamentals of Ethics, Corporate Governance and Business
Question: 89
Miss B is working closely with Mr L to deliver an important report on the efficiency of Mr L’s department. They have
had to work late together several times, and last night they went out to dinner afterwards. Miss B is starting to think
she may have feelings for Mr L.
Could her independence be called into question?
A . Yes, her feelings could be influencing her independence of mind
B . No, she is not actually dating Mr L so her independence of appearance is not compromised
C . No, provided she does not act on her feelings and continues to be professional
D . Yes, having dinner with a work colleague can affect her independence of appearance
Answer: A
Question: 90
ABC Accountants has taken out an advert in its local paper to promote its services. Mr B, an account manager, is
uncomfortable, as the advert says that ABC is expert in charitable tax issues, and he knows that none of the partners
have that expertise. However, Mr B does not want to be thought of as a ‘trouble maker’ by bringing the matter up with
his manager.
Which TWO things should Mr B do?
A . Seek guidance from CIMA’s Code of Ethics
B . Seek guidance from his line-manager
C . Do nothing
D . Speak to the local paper
Answer: A,B
Question: 91
What can companies do in order to minimize the likelihood of future legislation?
A . Maintain effective self regulation
B . Insist on the highest standards of ethical behavior from their company and its employees
C . Understand and address what the public expects of companies in terms of ethical
behavior and social responsibilities
D . All of the above
Answer: D
Question: 92
Completing work within established deadlines reflects the personal quality identified by the CIMA Code of Ethics as:
A . Responsibility
B . Accuracy
C . Timeliness
D . Tardiness
Answer: C
Question: 93
Which of the following statements are correct?
(i) A claim for unfair dismissal must be made to an industrial tribunal within 3 months of the effective date of
(ii) A claim for wrongful dismissal must be made to an industrial tribunal within 6 years of the effective date of
(iii) A claim for wrongful dismissal must be made to an industrial tribunal within 3 months of the effective date of
A . (i) and (ii)
B . (i)
C . (ii)
D . (i) and (iii)
Answer: A
Question: 94
Which of the following statements is incorrect?
(i) A term may be implied into a contract on the basis of previous dealings between the parties.
(ii) A term may be implied into a contract by statute.
(iii) A term may be implied into a contract by a court where it would be reasonable to imply it.
A . (i) only
B . (i) and (ii) only
C . (ii) only
D . (iii) only
Answer: D
Question: 95
In which country are accountants legally required to speak up about certain ethical concerns?
A . United Kingdom
B . Italy
C . United States of America
D . China
Answer: C
Question: 96
Although no-one has reason to suspect, you have taken a violent dislike to a particular assurance client.
This could severely affect your independence:
A . Of belief
B . In appearance
C . Of mind
D . In competence
Answer: C
Question: 97
Which of the following is incorrect?
A . All courts below the Supreme Court may refer a case involving European Law to the European Court of Justice for
a preliminary ruling.
B . Supreme Court must refer a case involving European Law to the European Court of Justice for a preliminary
C . An English court is not bound to give effect to a preliminary ruling of the European Court of Justice.
D . A preliminary ruling of the European Court of Justice is sent back to the Court which referred the question and
must be given effect by that court.
Answer: C
Question: 98
AB Ltd contracted to deliver two desks and three filing cabinets to CD Ltd. On the day when delivery was due to take
place AB Ltd did not have a vehicle with sufficient capacity to hold all the goods. As a result AB Ltd delivered the
two desks only
Which of the following is correct?
A . The contract between AB Ltd and CD Ltd is frustrated.
B . CD Ltd is legally entitled to refuse delivery of the desks
C . The failure to deliver the filing cabinets is a breach of a warranty which entitles CD Ltd to claim damages
D . The delivery of the desks amounts to substantial performance of the contract and CD Ltd is obliged to pay the
contract price less an amount for the defects in performance
Answer: B
Question: 99
While working as an accountant, you are asked to overlook certain irregularities in your company’s accounts.
This is likely to result in tensions described by which TWO of the following four options:
A . Personal and societal values
B . Personal and corporate values
C . Professional and corporate values
D . Professional and societal values
Answer: B,C
Question: 100
Which of the following terms can be defined as follows?
"…the way an organization manages its relationships"
A . Ethics
B . Social responsibility
C . Corporate governance
D . Professional behavior
Answer: B
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CIMA Fundamentals plan - BingNews Search results CIMA Fundamentals plan - BingNews Business Plan

A business plan is also a road map that provides directions so a business can plan its future and helps it avoid bumps in the road. The time you spend making your business plan thorough and accurate, and keeping it up-to-date, is an investment that pays big dividends in the long term.

Your business plan should conform to generally accepted guidelines regarding form and content. Each section should include specific elements and address relevant questions that the people who read your plan will most likely ask. Generally, a business plan has the following components:

Title Page and Contents
A business plan should be presented in a binder with a cover listing the name of the business, the name(s) of the principal(s), address, phone number, e-mail and website addresses, and the date. You don't have to spend a lot of money on a fancy binder or cover. Your readers want a plan that looks professional, is easy to read and is well-put-together.

Include the same information on the title page. If you have a logo, you can use it, too. A table of contents follows the executive summary or statement of purpose, so that readers can quickly find the information or financial data they need.

Executive Summary
The executive summary, or statement of purpose, succinctly encapsulates your reason for writing the business plan. It tells the reader what you want and why, right up front. Are you looking for a $10,000 loan to remodel and refurbish your factory? A loan of $25,000 to expand your product line or buy new equipment? How will you repay your loan, and over what term? Would you like to find a partner to whom you'd sell 25 percent of the business? What's in it for him or her? The questions that pertain to your situation should be addressed here clearly and succinctly.

The summary or statement should be no more than half a page in length and should touch on the following key elements:

  • Business concept describes the business, its product, the market it serves and the business' competitive advantage.
  • Financial features include financial highlights, such as sales and profits.
  • Financial requirements state how much capital is needed for startup or expansion, how it will be used and what collateral is available.
  • Current business position furnishes relevant information about the company, its legal form of operation, when it was founded, the principal owners and key personnel.
  • Major achievements points out anything noteworthy, such as patents, prototypes, important contracts regarding product development, or results from test marketing that have been conducted.

Description of the Business The business description usually begins with a short explanation of the industry. When describing the industry, discuss what's going on now as well as the outlook for the future. Do the necessary research so you can provide information on all the various markets within the industry, including references to new products or developments that could benefit or hinder your business. Base your observations on reliable data and be sure to footnote and cite your sources of information when necessary. Remember that bankers and investors want to know hard facts--they won't risk money on assumptions or conjecture.

When describing your business, say which sector it falls into (wholesale, retail, food service, manufacturing, hospitality and so on), and whether the business is new or established. Then say whether the business is a sole proprietorship, partnership, C or Sub chapter S corporation. Next, list the business' principals and state what they bring to the business. Continue with information on who the business' customers are, how big the market is, and how the product or service is distributed and marketed.

Description of the Product or Service The business description can be a few paragraphs to a few pages in length, depending on the complexity of your plan. If your plan isn't too complicated, keep your business description short, describing the industry in one paragraph, the product in another, and the business and its success factors in two or three more paragraphs.

When you describe your product or service, make sure your reader has a clear idea of what you're talking about. Explain how people use your product or service and talk about what makes your product or service different from others available in the market. Be specific about what sets your business apart from those of your competitors.

Then explain how your business will gain a competitive edge and why your business will be profitable. Describe the factors you think will make it successful. If your business plan will be used as a financing proposal, explain why the additional equity or debt will make your business more profitable. give hard facts, such as "new equipment will create an income stream of $10,000 per year" and briefly describe how.

Other information to address here is a description of the experience of the other key people in the business. Whoever reads your business plan will want to know what suppliers or experts you've spoken to about your business and their response to your idea. They may even ask you to clarify your choice of location or reasons for selling this particular product.

Market Analysis
A thorough market analysis will help you define your prospects as well as help you establish pricing, distribution, and promotional strategies that will allow your company to be successful vis-Ă -vis your competition, both in the short and long term.

Begin your market analysis by defining the market in terms of size, demographics, structure, growth prospects, trends, and sales potential. Next, determine how often your product or service will be purchased by your target market. Then figure out the potential annual purchase. Then figure out what percentage of this annual sum you either have or can attain. Keep in mind that no one gets 100 percent market share, and that a something as small as 25 percent is considered a dominant share. Your market share will be a benchmark that tells you how well you're doing in light of your market-planning projections.

You'll also have to describe your positioning strategy. How you differentiate your product or service from that of your competitors and then determine which market niche to fill is called "positioning." Positioning helps establish your product or service's identity within the eyes of the purchaser. A positioning statement for a business plan doesn't have to be long or elaborate, but it does need to point out who your target market is, how you'll reach them, what they're really buying from you, who your competitors are, and what your USP (unique selling proposition) is.

How you price your product or service is perhaps your most important marketing decision. It's also one of the most difficult to make for most small business owners, because there are no instant formulas. Many methods of establishing prices are available to you, but these are among the most common.

  • Cost-plus pricing is used mainly by manufacturers to assure that all costs, both fixed and variable, are covered and the desired profit percentage is attained.

  • Demand pricing is used by companies that sell their products through a variety of sources at differing prices based on demand.

  • Competitive pricing is used by companies that are entering a market where there's already an established price and it's difficult to differentiate one product from another.

  • Markup pricing is used mainly by retailers and is calculated by adding your desired profit to the cost of the product.

You'll also have to determine distribution, which includes the entire process of moving the product from the factory to the end user. Make sure to analyze your competitors' distribution channels before deciding whether to use the same type of channel or an alternative that may provide you with a strategic advantage.

Finally, your promotion strategy should include all the ways you communicate with your markets to make them aware of your products or services. To be successful, your promotion strategy should address advertising, packaging, public relations, sales promotions and personal sales.

Competitive Analysis
The purpose of the competitive analysis is to determine:

  • the strengths and weaknesses of the competitors within your market.
  • strategies that will provide you with a distinct advantage.
  • barriers that can be developed to prevent competition from entering your market.
  • any weaknesses that can be exploited in the product development cycle.

The first step in a competitor analysis is to identify both direct and indirect competition for your business, both now and in the future. Once you've grouped your competitors, start analyzing their marketing strategies and identifying their vulnerable areas by examining their strengths and weaknesses. This will help you determine your distinct competitive advantage.

Whoever reads your business plan should be very clear on who your target market is, what your market niche is, exactly how you'll stand apart from your competitors, and why you'll be successful doing so.

Operations and Management
The operations and management component of your plan is designed to describe how the business functions on a continuing basis. The operations plan highlights the logistics of the organization, such as the responsibilities of the management team, the tasks assigned to each division within the company, and capital and expense requirements related to the operations of the business.

Financial Components of Your Business Plan
After defining the product, market and operations, the next area to turn your attention to are the three financial statements that form the backbone of your business plan: the income statement, cash flow statement, and balance sheet.

The income statement is a simple and straightforward report on the business' cash-generating ability. It is a scorecard on the financial performance of your business that reflects when sales are made and when expenses are incurred. It draws information from the various financial models developed earlier such as revenue, expenses, capital (in the form of depreciation), and cost of goods. By combining these elements, the income statement illustrates just how much your company makes or loses during the year by subtracting cost of goods and expenses from revenue to arrive at a net result, which is either a profit or loss. In addition to the income statements, include a note analyzing the results. The analysis should be very short, emphasizing the key points of the income statement. Your CPA can help you craft this.

The cash flow statement is one of the most critical information tools for your business, since it shows how much cash you'll need to meet obligations, when you'll require it and where it will come from. The result is the profit or loss at the end of each month and year. The cash flow statement carries both profits and losses over to the next month to also show the cumulative amount. Running a loss on your cash flow statement is a major red flag that indicates not having enough cash to meet expenses-something that demands immediate attention and action.

The cash flow statement should be prepared on a monthly basis during the first year, on a quarterly basis for the second year, and annually for the third year. The following 17 items are listed in the order they need to appear on your cash flow statement. As with the income statement, you'll need to analyze the cash flow statement in a short summary in the business plan. Once again, the analysis doesn't have to be long and should cover highlights only. Ask your CPA for help.

The last financial statement you'll need is a balance sheet. Unlike the previous financial statements, the balance sheet is generated annually for the business plan and is, more or less, a summary of all the preceding financial information broken down into three areas: assets, liabilities and equity.

Balance sheets are used to calculate the net worth of a business or individual by measuring assets against liabilities. If your business plan is for an existing business, the balance sheet from your last reporting period should be included. If the business plan is for a new business, try to project what your assets and liabilities will be over the course of the business plan to determine what equity you may accumulate in the business. To obtain financing for a new business, you'll need to include a personal financial statement or balance sheet.

In the business plan, you'll need to create an analysis for the balance sheet just as you need to do for the income and cash flow statements. The analysis of the balance sheet should be kept short and cover key points.

Supporting Documents
In this section, include any other documents that are of interest to your reader, such as your resume; contracts with suppliers, customers, or clients, letters of reference, letters of intent, copy of your lease and any other legal documents, tax returns for the previous three years, and anything else relevant to your business plan.

Some people think you don't need a business plan unless you're trying to borrow money. Of course, it's true that you do need a good plan if you intend to approach a lender--whether a banker, a venture capitalist or any number of other sources--for startup capital. But a business plan is more than a pitch for financing; it's a guide to help you define and meet your business goals.

Just as you wouldn't start off on a cross-country drive without a road map, you should not embark on your new business without a business plan to guide you. A business plan won't automatically make you a success, but it will help you avoid some common causes of business failure, such as under-capitalization or lack of an adequate market.

As you research and prepare your business plan, you'll find weak spots in your business idea that you'll be able to repair. You'll also discover areas with potential you may not have thought about before--and ways to profit from them. Only by putting together a business plan can you decide whether your great idea is really worth your time and investment.

Thu, 25 Feb 2016 06:46:00 -0600 en text/html
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The Fundamentals Of Cryptocurrency Investment

(Disclaimer: Author holds investments in ether, bitcoin, EOS and Bitcoin Cash.)

2018 has already been another stellar year for organizations raising money for blockchain and cryptocurrency projects. While initial coin offerings (ICOs) reportedly raised more than $3.69 billion in 2017, the total amount raised this year already stands at a staggering $17.25 billion in late July, according to CoinSchedule.

Should the current trend I've observed in crowdsourced funding for technology companies continue, it will be important for investors to discern the nuances of investing in blockchain technologies and the virtual assets created on top of them, as ICO investors usually receive virtual assets in the form of coins or tokens in return for ether or bitcoin. Here's what you need to know about common blockchains and assets.

Fundamentals Of Currency

To understand cryptocurrencies, investors should first recall the fundamental tenets of currencies: They are typically units of measurement, stores of value and mediums of exchange. Blockchain-based virtual assets — such as cryptographic tokens — often demonstrate these three characteristics of currency. However, as an investor, I advise you to consider if and when these functions are only a byproduct of the objective inscribed by the creators into the asset's software code before investing in a cryptocurrency.

Ethereum's Ether

Ether is a virtual asset on Ethereum. Even in the current bear market, one ether trades at about $292 as of this writing, according to CoinDesk. That puts the market cap of the Ethereum blockchain at $29.66 billion — which isn't far off from the current valuation of NASDAQ-traded Vanguard Total Bond Market ETF.

Ethereum’s Virtual Machine, which allows developers to write programs called "smart contracts," executes if the user makes a payment in its native currency ether. These transaction costs on the Ethereum blockchain are consequently labeled as "gas." Like its real-world counterpart, gasoline, I believe this virtual gas should be valued by investors — not for its currency properties or inherent value but for the utility it fulfills in the Ethereum network. The more applications that are being built and used on the blockchain, the more demand ether is likely to have.


EOS is the virtual asset native to the recently launched blockchain EOS.IO. While providing similar functions as Ethereum, users of the EOS.IO blockchain are not required to pay for transactions in the blockchain’s native asset, "EOS.", which raised a reported $4 billion to fund the launch and rollout of EOS.IO, has according to a July 2018 report allocated about $700 million to grow the EOS.IO ecosystem. Like with other cryptocurrencies, one benefit to investors is that EOS token holders may receive free tokens from projects funded by venture firms supporting blockchain in what is referred to as an airdrop. I believe investors in Ethereum’s ether might also find it valuable to keep at least a small number of EOS in their digital wallets as an easy way to keep track of applications being launched on EOS.IO.

Tokens On The Ethereum Blockchain

The Ethereum blockchain provides an easy-to-navigate, token-generation interface referred to as the ERC20 Token Standard. This standard ensures that all people who control electronic wallets that comply with this standard can receive new tokens generated this way. These tokens can also easily be listed on exchanges that support this Ethereum standard, and most of the more than 200 virtual asset exchanges do.

Tokens created by software engineers on the public Ethereum blockchain are usually coded to fulfill a specific function, such as triggering an event, allowing access or assigning other rights. These tokens are therefore not created as "units of measurement." Consequently, I advise investors to value these tokens according to the overall validity of the system they are being deployed in, using startup investment criteria such as the state of the technology, experience of the team and product market fit. Good starting points for an investor’s research are the LinkedIn profiles of the team members (for qualifications) and activity of the GitHub repository of the project (to track progress). Positive signs are teams led by previously successful technologists and depositories with code development stretching back over a year or more.


The Bitcoin blockchain and its currency, bitcoin (the lower case "b" differentiates the currency from the blockchain and concept), is identified by its original creators in their 2008 whitepaper on the currency as electronic cash (registration required). However, unlike fiat currencies — which are created continuously and as needed by governments — bitcoin's total supply is limited by code to a total of 21 million, making bitcoin inherently scarce. Even though a number of major currencies accept bitcoin as a form of payment, most signals seem to suggest that bitcoin is mostly bought for its "store of value" function. I recommend, therefore, that investors approach bitcoin purchases in the same manner as they would approach the purchase of gold: as a hedge against their stocks or bond holdings.

Pure Cryptocurrencies

A few virtual assets were created for the specific purpose of functioning solely as a cryptocurrency. These cryptocurrencies include Zcash, Dash, Monero and Bitcoin Cash. Zcash publishes transactions on its public blockchain, but the currency's privacy features enable users to conceal the sender, recipient and amount being transacted. Dash — launched as "Darkcoin" — also provides privacy functions to users and is using a self-governed organizational structure referred to as a Decentralized Autonomous Organization.

The value of any currency is mostly determined by the soundness of its monetary policies and inflationary tendencies. Investors seeking to add cryptocurrencies to their portfolio should familiarize themselves with the government models of the blockchains these assets are being created on and follow their specific use cases, which can generally be found in the whitepapers published by these projects. Mainstream adoption, such as when well-known merchants accept the currencies and when U.S. exchanges such as Coinbase add them, is also a positive signal for investors to look as they build a cryptocurrency portfolio.


I believe that blockchains and their applications, such as cryptocurrencies, are likely to play a central role in the future of any investment strategy. However, investing in these assets is not yet well understood. This is likely in part because of their nascent history and because of contradictory handling by government agencies in the U.S. and abroad that seem to incorrectly conflate cryptocurrencies with other blockchain-based assets and functions. I advise investors to look at each blockchain project's individual merits. They should use standard venture investment criteria such as the team or community supporting the technology, the size of the market opportunity and the current development status of the product while differentiating cryptographic currencies from cryptographic assets.

Sun, 21 May 2023 21:29:00 -0500 Christian Kameir en text/html
Borrowing From Your Retirement Plan

Most qualified plans—such as a 401(k) or 403(b) plan—offer employees the ability to borrow from their own retirement assets and repay that amount with interest to their own retirement account. While most of us would rather not take money from our retirement plans until after we retire, we are sometimes left with no alternative.

If you find yourself in a financial bind, you may be considering obtaining a loan to meet your immediate financial needs. The question then is, should you borrow from your retirement plan or should you look into other alternatives? The answer is determined by several factors, which we will review. We'll also look at the general guidelines for plan loans.

Key Takeaways

  • Most employer-sponsored retirement plans are allowed by the IRS to provide loans to participants, but borrowing from IRAs is prohibited.
  • Loans taken from qualified plans are subject to limits and specific repayment terms.
  • While regulations allow plan sponsors to offer loans, they can choose not to or further limit loan amounts and other provisions.
  • To decide if borrowing from your retirement plan is the best choice, consider the purpose of the loan and its true cost, such as the loss of tax-deferred growth on investment returns.

Should You Borrow from Your Retirement Plan?

Before you decide to take a loan from your retirement account, you should consult with a financial planner, who will help you decide if this is the best option or if you would be better off obtaining a loan from a financial institution or other sources. Below are some factors that would be taken into consideration.

Purpose of the Loan

A financial planner may think it is a good idea to use a qualified-plan loan to pay off high-interest credit card debts, especially if the credit balances are large and the repayment amounts are significantly higher than the repayment amount for the qualified-plan loan.

The financial planner, however, may not think it makes good financial sense to use the loan to take you and your friends on a Caribbean cruise or buy a car for your child's 16th birthday.

True Cost of the Loan

The benefit of taking a loan is that the interest you repay on a qualified plan loan is repaid to your plan account instead of to a financial institution. However, make sure you compare the interest rate on the qualified plan loan to a loan from a financial institution. Which is higher? Is there a significant difference?

The downside is that assets removed from your account as a loan lose the benefit of tax-deferred growth on earnings. Also, the amounts used to repay the loan come from after-tax assets, which means you already paid taxes on these amounts. Unlike the contributions you may make to your 401(k) plan account, these repaid amounts are not tax-deferred.

The IRS now permits borrowers to keep contributing to their 401(k) plans, but check to see if yours requires you to suspend 401(k) contributions for a certain period after you receive a loan from the plan. This would also cut off any employer matches of your contributions. If this is the case with your 401(k) plan, you will want to consider the consequence of this suspended opportunity to fund your retirement account.

Qualified-Plan Loan Rules

Regulations permit qualified plans to offer loans, but a plan is not required to include these provisions. To determine whether the qualified plan in which you participate offers loans, check with your employer or plan administrator. You also want to find out about any loan restrictions.

If you have a 401(k) still held at a former employer, you are not allowed to take a loan from that account.

Some plans, for instance, allow loans only for what they define as hardship circumstances, such as the threat of being evicted from your home due to your inability to pay your rent or mortgage, or the need for medical expenses or higher-education expenses for you or a family member.

Generally, these plans require you to prove that you have exhausted certain other resources. On the other hand, some plans will allow you to borrow from the plan for any reason and may not require you to disclose the purpose of the loan.

Your employer may have special forms that you must complete in order to request a loan. If you want to request a qualified-plan loan, check with your employer or plan administrator regarding documentation requirements.

Maximum Loan Amount

A qualified plan must operate loans in accordance with regulations, one of which is the restriction on the loan amounts. The maximum amount you may borrow from your qualified plan is either 50% of your vested balance or $50,000, whichever is less.

An exception may apply if an individual's account has less than $10,000. In this scenario, the individual may be allowed to borrow up to $10,000 from the account.

Below are some examples demonstrating the maximum loan amounts.

Example 1

Jane has an account balance of $90,000 in the ABC Company 401(k) plan. Of this amount, $60,000 represents Jane's vested balance. Jane may borrow up to $30,000 from the plan, which is 50% of her vested balance and less than $50,000.

Example 2

Jim has an account balance of $200,000 in the ABC Company 401(k) plan. Jim is 100% vested. Although 50% of Jim's vested balance is $100,000, he may borrow only up to $50,000, which is the borrowing limit no employee can exceed.

Example 3

Mary has an account balance of $10,000 in the ABC Company 401(k) plan. Mary is 100% vested. Mary may borrow up to $10,000 from the plan even though $10,000 x 50% = $5,000.

An exception is made allowing Mary to borrow more than 50% of her vested account balance, providing the amount does not exceed $10,000. This exception is now allowed by all qualified plans, so be sure to check first.

Repaying a Retirement Plan Loan

Generally, qualified-plan loans must be repaid within five years. An exception is made if the loan is used towards the purchase of a primary residence. It is important to note that your employer may demand full repayment should your employment be terminated or you choose to leave.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 extended the deadline to repay a loan when you leave a job. Previously, if your employment ended before you repaid the loan, there was generally a 60-day window to pay the outstanding balance. Starting in 2018, the tax overhaul extended that time frame until the due date of your federal income tax return, including filing extensions.

If you are unable to repay the amount at this point, and the loan is in good standing, the amount may be treated as a taxable distribution. The amount would be reported to you and the IRS on Form 1099-R. This amount is rollover eligible, so if you are able to come up with the amount within 60 days, you may make a rollover contribution to an eligible retirement plan, thereby avoiding the income tax. Note that if you are younger than 59½, you will likely also owe an early withdrawal penalty, unless you meet certain exceptions.

Loan Repayment Schedule

An amortization schedule is prepared for qualified-plan loans, just as for loans made by financial institutions. The amortization schedule provides the repayment schedule and repayment amount, including interest. Regulations require you to make qualified-plan loan repayments in level amortized amounts at least on a quarterly basis; otherwise, the loan could be treated as a reportable and taxable transaction.

Your employer may make exceptions allowing you to defer loan repayments in certain cases. For instance, if you are in the armed forces, your repayments may be suspended for at least the period you were on active duty. The loan repayment period is then extended by the period that you were on active duty.

Also, if during a leave of absence from your employer your salary was reduced to the point at which your salary is insufficient to repay the loan, your employer may suspend repayment up to a year. Unlike the exception for active members of the armed forces, the loan repayment period is not extended for you because of your leave of absence. Instead, you may be required to increase your scheduled payment amounts in order to pay off the loan in the originally scheduled time frame.

Loans that do not meet regulatory requirements may be considered as "deemed distributions." For instance, if the loan repayments are not made at least quarterly, the remaining balance is treated as a distribution that is not rollover eligible, which means the amount will be subjected to income tax. If you continue to participate in the plan after the deemed distribution occurs, you are still required to make loan repayments. These amounts are treated as a basis (i.e., after-tax contributions) and will not be taxable when distributed.


Generally speaking, you cannot take a loan from your IRA, as this would result in a prohibited transaction, which is in violation of certain areas of the Internal Revenue Code. If you receive a loan from your IRA the retirement fund will cease to exist and the entire amount of the plan will be included in the owner's taxable income.

Special Considerations Due to COVID-19

Certain changes regarding retirement plan withdrawal penalties and tax liability have been put into place following the March 2020 passage of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and subsequently, June 19, 2020, following additional guidance from the IRS.

The original changes applied to what the law calls an eligible participant—a person who has been diagnosed with COVID-19, has a spouse or dependent diagnosed with COVID-19, or has experienced a layoff, furlough, reduction in hours, or inability to work due to COVID-19 or lack of childcare because of COVID-19.

Recent IRS guidance expands the definition of eligible participant to include people who had a job offer rescinded or job start date delayed due to the coronavirus. It also now includes permitting their spouses, even if still employed, to withdraw up to $100,000 from their retirement plan.

Eligible participants can take an early withdrawal of up to $100,000 from 401(k)s, 403(b)s, 457s, and traditional IRAs without paying a 10% penalty. An individual has up to three years to pay the taxes on the early withdrawal or to redeposit the money back into their retirement account (versus the standard repayment requirement of 60 days).

Retirement plans are not required by law to accept this modification of early withdrawal rules, but most plans are expected to follow suit. The law covers withdrawals made between Jan. 1, 2020, and Dec. 30, 2020.

The Bottom Line

Before borrowing from your retirement savings, you should determine that it's the best financial decision by considering the purpose, the cost, and the future effect of the loan. Be sure to contact your financial planner for help with this important decision.

Tue, 07 Jul 2015 02:28:00 -0500 en text/html
Strategic Plan
Cover of Strategic Plan booklet
Download a PDF of the Strategic Plan

In January 2020, following more than one year of conversations, planning and collaborative effort of our faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends, we launched Drexel Engineering’s new strategic plan, “Building on Tradition for Tomorrow: Engineering Our Future Together.” 

Initially, this work served as a critical mechanism of self-assessment and reevaluation of our college’s mission and goals. Today, it acts as a valuable roadmap in the implementation of our efforts to reimagine engineering education, and remain flexible and responsive in adapting our curricula and support systems to match student and workforce needs.

Our work is guided by the call: to respond efficiently to rapid change; to provide the tools and approaches for maximum impact on creating a sustainable future; to promote collaborative engineering solutions; and to advance engineering education through research on engineering pedagogy.

Aligning our efforts within this framework is how we will deliver on our mission, how we will provide a distinctly Drexel engineering experience and how we will build on our tradition for a better tomorrow as we collaborate and innovate together.

Sharon L. Walker, Ph.D.
Dean and Distinguished Professor

Fri, 14 Aug 2020 22:52:00 -0500 en text/html
Our Plan

Our Plan

As one of the top-ranked and top-funded schools of its kind in the nation, the UAB School of Health Professions did not need a new school-wide strategic plan. With 90% of our day-to-day efforts on track or exceeding expectations, we only needed a growth plan. The SHP Strategic Growth Plan 2022-2026 redefines and refocuses about 10% of our goals, helping us Improve in impactful, growing areas and usher us strongly into the second half of this decade and beyond. Click the image below to read the digital flipbook version.

Our Process

This was a thorough, inclusive process that began in May 2021, with a two-day workshop, guided by the Center for Transformation and Innovation and included two-dozen of the top leaders in our school. To ensure all employees had an opportunity to review and provide feedback, the dean conducted six, departmental, in-person and Zoom sessions in November 2021. In each session, the dean reviewed the initial draft of the plan, detailed the findings pillar-by-pillar and answered audience questions. The school tour was also an opportunity to collect employee feedback. After each presentation, employees received a digital survey (anonymously, if preferred) and all submissions were shared with the dean and with the chairs of each pillar for review and consideration ahead of building their teams.

Our Guides

Another benefit of this effort was a school-wide reexamination of who we are, what we do, and why we are here. We saw this as an opportunity to better clarify our intentions and efforts.

  • Mission

    Improving the health and well-being of people everywhere through exceptional, collaborative, and innovative teaching, research, and service.

  • Vision

    To be recognized as a global leader in teaching, research, and service that develops new scientific knowledge, removes barriers and disparities, and develops leaders who help individuals, organizations, and communities to achieve their highest potential in a changing world.

  • Values

    Collaboration | Compassion & Caring | Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Excellence & Achievement | Integrity | Respect | Service | Social Responsibility | Stewardship

Our Pillars

At the heart of our plan, we have four pillars. Each pillar provides equal strength and support. Remove one pillar, and our plan is at risk of collapse. Support each pillar, and they will lift up our mission, vision and values.

Our Philosophies

The foundation of our plan places emphasis on three philosophies. These philosophies form the basis of our culture and our future. This plan outlines how these thematic areas will help us design infrastructure, expand beyond SHP, develop programming, and impact our students. Success in these areas, will lead us to realize our mission and vision.

Tue, 18 Dec 2018 08:55:00 -0600 en-US text/html
What Is a Financial Plan? No result found, try new keyword!While this sounds fairly straightforward, a solid financial plan is highly individualized to reflect the unique circumstances each person brings to the table – including their personal desires ... Tue, 19 Jul 2022 07:56:00 -0500 text/html Best unlimited data plans in 2023

Finding the best unlimited data plan means making sure the cost of having all that data at your disposal won't put a serious dent in your monthly budget. Fortunately, there are a number of unlimited plans out there available for less than you might think. And even some of the pricier plans pack in enough perks to deliver serious value to subscribers. 

Best unlimited data cell phone plans at a glance

1. Best unlimited plan overall: Visible
2. Best unlimited plan discounts: Mint Mobile
3. Best unlimited value from a main carrier: T-Mobile
4. Most flexible plan: Verizon
5. Cheapest plan from a big carrier: AT&T

We monitor all the different plan options available through the best phone carriers as part of our effort to help you find the best cell phone plans overall. That includes comparing different unlimited plans to see which carrier offers the cheapest plan and which ones pack in more perks.

Mon, 22 May 2023 07:26:00 -0500 en text/html
529 Plan Rules and Contribution Limits

The price of higher education doesn't come cheap, which means it's a good idea to start saving while your kid is learning their ABCs — not while they're studying for their SATs.

For most people, the choice of college savings vehicle is easy: 529 plans offer some great incentives for saving.

A 529 plan provides tax-free investment growth and withdrawals for qualified education expenses. Parents who start saving in a 529 account when their children are young can take advantage of those tax savings, as well as compounded returns and — in some states — a tax deduction on contributions.

But 529 plans also come with some complicated rules, particularly around distributions. Here's what you need to know.

529 contribution limits

Unlike other tax-advantaged accounts like a such as Roth and traditional IRAs, the IRS doesn’t set a cap on 529 contribution limits. States can set their own limit, however. Most states do set 529 max contribution limits somewhere between $235,000 and $529,000.

Contributions may trigger gift tax consequences if you earmark more than the gift tax exclusion ($17,000 for 2023) for any one beneficiary in a tax year. The vast majority of people do not need to worry about this since they are unlikely to need to contribute that much per year to meet their savings goals.

» Feeling generous? Learn about the gift tax

529 plan rules

1. 529 plans are state-sponsored, but you can pick a plan from any state

Most states offer at least one 529 plan. You don’t have to invest in your own state’s plan, but many states offer residents a state tax deduction for doing so. (There is no federal tax deduction for 529 contributions.) If your state doesn’t offer any tax benefits, shop around to find the best plan for you — NerdWallet has a list of all state 529 plans.

The state that sponsors your plan doesn’t have any role in where your child can go to school; students can use the money to attend a qualified school in any state.

The exception to that is a specific kind of 529 plan called a prepaid plan, which, as the name implies, allows you to prepay tuition at an in-state, public college, locking in the cost in today’s dollars and at current tuition rates. These plans make sense only if you’re sure your child will attend an in-state, public school. Only a few states currently offer prepaid 529 plans.

2. The account holder maintains ownership of the funds

Unlike other college savings vehicles such as custodial accounts, 529 plans allow the funds to remain under the account owner’s control, meaning you can withdraw the money at any time (though taxes and penalties may apply; more on this below). The beneficiary does not have control over the money in the account, even when they reach the age of majority, which is between the ages of 18 and 21, depending on the state.



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3. Qualified distribution rules are strict

A 529 is specifically for qualified education expenses, though that category extends beyond tuition; it also includes fees, room and board, textbooks, computers and “peripheral equipment” (such as a printer).

A 529 plan can also be used to pay for private or religious elementary, middle and high school tuition. Withdrawals made for purposes outside the rules will hurt: Earnings withdrawn for non-qualified expenses are subject to a 10% penalty and ordinary income taxes. There is no penalty on the principal.

There are a few exceptions: If the beneficiary receives a scholarship, you can withdraw money equal to the amount awarded; the earnings will still be subject to taxes, but there will be no additional penalty. Parents can also change the beneficiary on the account at any time. If, for example, your first child decides to take a different path, you can change the account beneficiary so that the money will go toward paying for a younger sibling’s education instead.

Lastly, Secure 2.0, passed in December 2022, allows for a 529 to be rolled over to a Roth IRA tax and penalty-free after 15 years. These rollovers have a lifetime limit of $35,000.

For many families, 529 plans will be the obvious choice for college savings. Most plans offer age-based investment options that will automatically rebalance, taking more risk as your child is young and less as they approach college age. You can open a 529 plan directly through your state’s plan website or through some online brokers.

Tue, 28 Jun 2022 05:02:00 -0500 en-US text/html
What Is a Financial Plan, and How Can I Make One?

A financial plan paints a comprehensive picture of your current finances, your financial goals and any strategies you've set to achieve those goals. Good financial planning should include details about your cash flow, savings, debt, investments, insurance and any other elements of your financial life.

What is financial planning?

Financial planning is an ongoing process that looks at your entire financial picture in order to create strategies for achieving your short- and long-term goals. It can reduce your stress about money, support your current needs and help you build a nest egg for goals such as retirement.

Creating a financial plan is important because it allows you to make the most of your assets and gives you the confidence to weather any bumps along the way. You can make a financial plan yourself or get help from a financial planning professional. Online services like robo-advisors have also made getting assistance with financial planning more affordable and accessible than ever.

The smartest place to shop

Compare top investment brokers side-by-side, complete with objective reviews from the Nerds.

Financial planning in 9 steps

1. Set financial goals

A good financial plan is guided by your financial goals. If you approach your financial planning from the standpoint of what your money can do for you — whether that's buying a house or helping you retire early — you'll make saving feel more intentional.

Make your financial goals inspirational. Ask yourself: What do I want my life to look like in five years? What about in 10 and 20 years? Do I want to own a car, or a house? Do I want to be debt-free? Pay off my student loans? Are kids in the picture? How do I imagine my life in retirement?

Having concrete goals can make it easier to identify and complete the next steps, and provide a guiding light as you work to make those aims a reality.

2. Track your money

Get a sense of your monthly cash flow — what’s coming in and what’s going out. An accurate picture is key to creating a financial plan and can reveal ways to direct more to savings or debt pay-down. Seeing where your money goes can help you develop immediate, medium-term and long-term plans.

For example, developing a budget is a typical immediate plan. NerdWallet recommends the 50/30/20 budget principles: Put 50% of your take-home pay toward needs (housing, utilities, transportation and other recurring payments), 30% toward wants (dining out, clothing, entertainment) and 20% toward savings and debt repayment. Reducing credit card or other high-interest debt is a common medium-term plan, and planning for retirement is a typical long-term plan.

3. Budget for emergencies

The bedrock of any financial plan is putting cash away for emergency expenses. You can start small — $500 is enough to cover small emergencies and repairs so that an unexpected bill doesn’t run up credit card debt. Your next goal could be $1,000, then one month’s basic living expenses, and so on.

Building credit is another way to shockproof your budget. Good credit gives you options when you need them, like the ability to get a decent rate on a car loan. It can also boost your budget by getting you cheaper rates on insurance and letting you skip utility deposits.

4. Tackle high-interest debt

A crucial step in any financial plan: Pay down high-interest debt, such as credit card balances, payday loans, title loans and rent-to-own payments. Interest rates on some of these may be so high that you end up repaying two or three times what you borrowed.

If you’re struggling with revolving debt, a debt consolidation loan or debt management plan may help you wrap several expenses into one monthly bill at a lower interest rate.

5. Plan for retirement

If you visit a financial advisor, they will be sure to ask: Do you have an employer-sponsored retirement plan like a 401(k), and does your employer match any part of your contribution? True, 401(k) contributions decrease your take-home pay now, but it’s worth it to put in enough to get the full matching amount because that match is free money.

  • If you have a 401(k), 403(b) or similar plan, financial advisors also generally suggest that you gradually expand your contributions toward the IRS limit. In 2023, that's $22,500, or $30,000 for those ages 50 or older.

  • Another savings vehicle for retirement planning is an IRA, or individual retirement arrangement. These tax-advantaged investment accounts can further build retirement savings by up to $6,500 a year in 2023 (or $7,500, if you are over 50).

6. Optimize your finances with tax planning

For many of us, taxes take center stage during filing season, but careful tax planning means looking beyond the Form 1040 you submit to the IRS each year.

For example, if you're netting a sizable refund each year, you may be needlessly living on less throughout the year. Learning how and when to review your W-4 can help you to take control of your future tax bill by setting you up for fewer surprises.

Getting cozy with the tax law also means looking into tax credits and deductions ahead of time to understand which tax breaks could make a difference when it comes time to file. The government offers many incentives for taxpayers who have children, invest in green home improvements or technologies, or are even pursuing higher education.

7. Invest to build your future goals

Investing sounds like something for rich people or for when you’re established in your career and family life. It’s not. Investing can be as simple as putting money in a 401(k) and as frictionless as opening a brokerage account (many have no minimum to get started). Financial plans use a variety of tools to invest for retirement, a house or college.

8. Grow your financial well-being

With each of these steps, you're building a moat to protect yourself and your family from financial setbacks. As your career progresses, continue to Improve your financial moat by:

  • Increasing contributions to your retirement accounts.

  • Padding your emergency fund until you have three to six months of essential living expenses.

  • Using insurance to protect your financial stability, so a car crash or illness doesn’t derail you. Life insurance protects loved ones who depend on your income. Term life insurance, covering 10-year to 30-year periods, is a good fit for most people’s needs.

9. Estate planning: Protect your financial well-being

Financial planning also means looking out for your future needs, as well as mapping things out for your loved ones. Creating a will can help ensure your assets are distributed according to your wishes. Other types of estate-planning documents can also provide your loved ones with clarity on how you would like to be cared for and who should manage your affairs.


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Types of financial planning help

A financial plan isn’t a static document — it's a tool to track your progress, and one you should adjust as your life evolves. It's helpful to reevaluate your financial plan after major life milestones, like getting married, starting a new job, having a child or losing a loved one.

If you're not the DIY type — or if you want professional help managing some tasks and not others — you don't have to go it alone. Consider what kind of help you need:

Complete financial plan and investment advice

Online financial planning services offer virtual access to human advisors. A basic service would include automated investment management (like you’d get from a robo-advisor), plus the ability to consult with a team of financial advisors when you have other financial questions. More comprehensive providers basically mirror the level of service offered by traditional financial planners: You're matched with a dedicated human financial advisor who will manage your investments, create a comprehensive financial plan for you, and do regular check-ins to see if you're on track or need to adjust your financial plan.

Specialized guidance and/or want to meet with an advisor face-to-face

If you have a complicated financial situation or need a specialist in estate planning, tax planning or insurance, a traditional financial advisor in your area may fit the bill. To avoid conflicts of interest, we recommend fee-only financial advisors who are fiduciaries (meaning they've signed an oath to act in the client's best interest). Note that some traditional financial advisors decline clients who don’t have enough to invest; the definition of “enough” varies, but many advisors require $250,000 or more. If you want to know more about how much seeing an advisor will cost, read our guide to financial advisor fees.

Portfolio management only

Robo-advisors offer simplified, low-cost online investment management. Computer algorithms build an investment portfolio based on goals you set and your answers to questions about your risk tolerance. After that, the service monitors and regularly rebalances your investment mix to ensure you stay on track. Because it's all digital, it comes at a much lower cost than hiring a human portfolio manager.

Why is financial planning important?

Financial planning can help you feel more confident about navigating bumps in the road — like, say, a recession or historic inflation. According to Charles Schwab's 2021 Modern Wealth Survey, Americans who have a written financial plan maintain healthier saving and investing habits, with a higher percentage of those with a plan having a three-month emergency fund compared with those without a plan


Once your basic needs and short-term goals have been addressed, a financial plan can also help you tackle big-picture goals. Thoughtful investing, for example, can help build generational wealth, and careful estate planning can ensure that wealth gets passed down to your loved ones.

Mon, 04 Oct 2021 23:23:00 -0500 en-US text/html

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