Finance

Joe Betcher
President and founder, Betcher Financial Group

Joe Betcher's introduction to retirement planning started just out of high school. Taking lessons learned from mentors and competitors alike, Betcher realized a need in the industry for something more. Using his knowledge of industry products and investment strategy, Betcher opened the doors to Betcher Financial Group. These strategies led Joe to various achievements including; MetLife Chairmans Council, MDRT and Top of the Table Qualifier, Life Member of Leaders and Master Council. In addition, he was in the top 25 advisors of the MetLife Enterprise.



Charitable Giving is Not Just for the Recipient


The season for charity is upon us, and while most of us who give do not think about what we can receive in return, the benefits of charitable giving extend beyond personal satisfaction. Giving to a worthwhile cause is a wonderful way to celebrate the spirit of the holiday season while also securing financial benefits through tax incentives.

This, if desired, can provide additional opportunities for giving. With proper planning, tax saving can allow people to give to charities and/or to give more to their heirs.

Additionally, gifting to a charity can reduce estates to a level that will result in no estate tax implications. Instead of giving estate money to the government, you can keep it and use it to build a legacy.

There are also ...

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Explore Options for Year End Tax Planning


The end of the year means income tax planning. The goal should be to keep as much of your income as possible, but many people overlook or are unaware of options that could save them money. Estate tax planning is one avenue that provides a variety of possibilities for individuals and businesses.

While there are several options depending upon the financial situation of the person or business, here are just a few that could help lower the amount of money given to the government.

There are two types of IRAs. One is a traditional and the other is a Roth IRA. A traditional IRA allows a person to save money, and the government taxes the money when it's withdrawn. Money in a Roth IRA, on the other hand, gets taxed in the ...

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Striving for Financial Independence


Times are hectic. This isn’t news. The U.S. government is ideologically divided, and the country remains in limbo as the pendulum swings back and forth. For families and businesses, it has become extremely difficult to anticipate and plan for the future.

The number of unemployed people is the country is more than 11 million. The Affordable Care Act fiasco has companies tightening their budgets and planning for additional cuts. With so many variables, financial planning can be a nightmare.

For some companies, there has been a huge paradigm shift. Businesses may no longer offer pension plans to employees. In fact, to reduce costs, some companies are offering lump sum pension buyouts to thousands of their salaried ...

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Examining Financials Can Save Lives


With September being Life Insurance Awareness Month, it’s a perfect time for insurance agents to reflect on their important purpose.

Many of them will never forget the life-changing moment when they delivered their first death benefit check. At that moment, every agent clearly understands that their job has a much deeper purpose than just selling insurance. They also, more than likely, remember every person that declined the purchase of life insurance and then had tragedy strike. Protecting people before tragedy strikes is much more desirable than trying to fundraise for devastated families after something has happened. Life insurance saves businesses and families from possible financial ruin, and helps people pick up the ...

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If Tomorrow Never Comes


“If” is a word we often take for granted. It implies that circumstances could change in the future, but for many, attention isn’t given to “if” unless it becomes a reality that’s staring them in the face. In regards to personal finances, “if” should be a main focus. Is your financial business in order? Have you thought about how much your family will need financially to survive if something happens to you?

Some younger folks tend to procrastinate on financial issues, because they believe they have a lot of time. Young couples, despite there now being two people to think about, often put off financial decisions today that they believe can be done tomorrow. As families are started and expenses increase, it ...

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Are You Leaving a Financial Legacy?


Making a difference is important. At the end of our life, we hope to leave this world a better place than when we were born. How we make that mark depends upon each individual’s personal priorities, but most everyone wants to contribute something to society. Leaving a legacy — no matter what it may be — is the opportunity to establish how we would like to be remembered long after we are gone.

One legacy that each individual has the power to leave is a financial legacy. It requires discipline and planning, but it will ensure there is a safety net for your next generation’s financial security, and it may also instill the importance to them of continuing to pass along the same legacy to future generations. A financial legacy is also ...

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Is Government Action Threatening Your IRA?


Providing a comfortable retirement for the U.S. workforce is extremely important to many financial industry leaders. Helping clients reach their full investment potential is the number one goal. President Obama’s recently released 2014 budget proposal, however, is seeking to place limits on the amount of lifetime savings in individual retirement accounts (IRAs), as well as other tax-deferred savings options.

The cap would only allow an individual to save the amount needed by a 62 year old to buy an annuity that would generate a $205,000 annual payment. If the budget is approved, the cap would prohibit individuals from accumulating over $3 million. Unless the cap value increased or the total account value fell below the cap, no additional money could be ...

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401k: The Business Owners Dilemma


As a business owner you have to ask yourself an important question: Are you doing enough to reduce your fiduciary liability? Some owners may not even be aware that they could face serious consequences for not staying on top of how their employee plans are managed.

According to recent financial studies, nearly four out of five businesses examined generated “monetary results for plans or other corrective action” totaling in excess of $1 billion in fines. If that wasn’t bad enough, the U.S. Department of Labor now says it will hold 401k plan sponsors liable even if it is their service providers who fail to comply. Life just got much harder for 401k plan sponsors. 

The U.S. Supreme Court stated that any person who is a ...

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Obamacare… Time to Cash in?


Portions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare, went into effect January 1, 2013 and along with it, tax reform. As part of the law, a 3.8 percent Medicare tax increase will be added to Net Investment Income. The calculation is determined by the lesser of: A) Net Investment Income, or B) the excess of Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI) over certain limits. An individual or family must have both net investment income and MAGI for the new tax to apply. In addition, there will be a 0.9 percent increase in Medicare tax on employee wages.

Utilizing tax deferred strategies can help decrease, and may even eliminate, your exposure to the new tax laws. This includes maximizing qualified ...

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Personal Finance Management


I was surprised when I read an article recently that said the average American has more credit card debt than retirement savings. I guess at some level I understood people needed to reduce their debt and do a better job of preparing for retirement, but I never realized that the debt had exceeded the average Americans long-term savings.


As a credit union we believe it is our responsibility to improve the financial lives of our members, and that a great first step to do this is through educating our members about how to better manage their finances.  As the recent overhauls to mortgage lending revealed many adults are confused by the products and basic financial information available to them.


I’m encouraged by examples ...

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Accelerate The Economy: Raise Credit Union Lending Cap


I’ve heard many suggestions about accelerating the economy. One solution that I’d like to share with you would help unfreeze credit for small businesses and provide resources that would ignite local economies. That simple solution is raising the business lending cap for credit unions; something that Congress has debated since 2009. Raising the current lending cap would accomplish the following:


• Provide additional capital to small businesses
• Encourage small businesses to invest in local, Michigan economies
• Increase job growth


You’re probably wondering what the downside is to raising the business lending cap? The great thing about this solution for our economy is that there is ...

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Ensure Consumers Know Your Charitable Actions Are Genuine


As we transition into a new year with a focus to accomplish our 2012 goals, I’d like to reflect on an event that I was fortunate to participate in during December. Community Choice Credit Union team members worked with alumni of our scholarship program to wrap gifts and prepare hand-written cards for children who are affected by pediatric cancer and other related illnesses.


That same night, Community Choice Credit Union presented a $10,000 check to Kids Without Cancer; a charitable organization who uses donations to fund research for pediatric cancer. I’m proud of the donation, and I have no doubt it will greatly help research efforts; but I was struck by how fulfilling it was to wrap presents and to create cards for children who were in ...

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Bank Fees May Be on the Rise


Earlier this year, Congress passed the Durbin Amendment, which regulates and restricts the charges related to debit card transactions. The effects of the Durbin Amendment are now starting to be felt by banks.


The new legislation places caps on income that financial institutions can receive from their card network each time a consumer uses their debit card. In the coming months, it is likely consumers will hear about banks raising fees across many categories as they seek to recoup profits for their shareholders. Carefully watch the following areas for increased fees and requirements in the coming months:


Free Checking: Fee free checking will likely be altered by many banks. Banks may move to have minimum balance ...

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Going off to College


There are many stress factors this time of year for parents of college freshmen. There’s dealing with an empty house, coordinating when your son or daughter can visit home, and trying to plan for the next family vacation over the summer.

Before you get engrossed in all of the above, I suggest making sure your son or daughter doesn’t fall into one trap that’s rarely considered but can hit college kids very hard — identity theft. The annual survey of consumer fraud from Javelin Strategy & Research found that 8.1 million people were victims of identity theft in 2010.

To minimize being a victim, among many factors, teach them to:

• Monitor financial and credit union statements regularly to look for ...

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Boosting the Local Economy with Local Business Lending


What if someone told you we could produce 5,242 new jobs in Michigan and invest an additional $430.8 million into local businesses at no cost to the taxpayers?

As you pondered that query, you may have been filled with excitement, you may have been filled with doubt, but either way — you wanted to know more. Those projections come from the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) based on an analysis of Member Business Lending (MBL) results. The projections were based on credit unions that could lend up to 25 percent of their asset size1.

Currently, credit unions can only lend up to 12.25 percent of their asset size, which inhibits many such organizations from becoming more viable business lenders. It also limits the options of local business ...

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Michigan’s Brain Gain


The Michigan “brain drain” has been a hot topic the last few years. Here are a few numbers that make this issue hard to ignore, as reported by Michigan Future.

  • In 2008, Michigan lost 1,500 students with four-year degrees to more promising opportunities elsewhere.
  • As of November, 2010, Michigan is ranked 37th in per capita income by state. We are 19 percent below the national average.
  • In 2009, The Detroit News reported that Michigan is among the last in the nation in the number of workers with four-year degrees, and in another closely related figure, per capita income. This has sparked conversation about the need for a more knowledge-driven economy in Michigan.
  • ...

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Hope for a Michigan Turnar­­ound


In a rapidly changing economic and political landscape, many business owners we talk to are concerned that even more governmental change will slow them down or increase costs. I understand this concern, but here’s why I’m looking forward to 2011:

Electing a CEO

Maybe I’m partial, but I think hiring a CEO to fix an economy is a great idea. As a businessperson and entrepreneur, Governor-elect Rick Snyder understands our challenges and the urgency for change. So far, he is a politician that speaks our language. It’s not just about the campaign rhetoric that matters though. I’m looking forward to seeing what he can do to translate his promises into action.

Farewell to Partisanship?

Mr. Snyder famously ...

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