Reeves Financial files for bankruptcy

One of the higher profile financial planning firms in the area has gone bankrupt.

Reeves Financial Services has filed to bankruptcy leaving almost 420 thousand dollars in debts and listing about 27 thousand dollars in assets.

The firm at one time listed offices in Hamilton, Burlington, Kitchener and Toronto.

Theres no indication that owner Scott Reeves has filed for personal bankruptcy.

The Financial Services Commission of Ontario says people who bought insurance through Reeves Financial should check with the insurance company issuing the policy to be sure their coverage is unaffected.

It adds if they placed investments through Reeves, they should seek legal advice.

(Hamilton Spectator)

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Antaeus Wealth Advisors announce their top 10 Tips for saving for college and …

Antaeus Wealth Advisors, a comprehensive financial services practice based in Boxborough, Mass., offers a broad range of financial services to a variety of niche markets.

Having served clients across market cycles and multiple generations, their team provides the resources and education for clients to make informed decisions with their money. By following the core values of trust, integrity and prosperity, Antaeus puts their clients’ interests first.

With graduation happening, Antaeus Wealth Advisors announce their top 10 tips for saving for college, and money management while in college.

o Find a way to fill up a Roth IRA. The maximum contribution is $5,500 per year, assuming the student earns at least $5,500, thus let us assume a college student puts in $5,500 freshman year (age 18), sophomore year, junior year and senior year (age 21). Then they add nothing for the rest of their life. By age 67, assuming a non-guaranteed average annual return of 8 percent, the ending balance is $857,473, and tax free, all from just $22,000 in contributions.

o While in college, use one, and only one credit card, and pay it off every month. This teaches thrift, builds credit, etc. If a balance is rolled over to the next month, stop using the credit card until it is paid off. Build credit while having only one statement to watch. A no fee card is best.

o While in college, get a part-time job, such as delivering food, and spend 50 percent of the money on fun, and save 50 percent of the money into a Roth IRA.

o Budgeting is a critical life skill. Making a simple monthly budget and taking it is extremely helpful in college. A budget should have broad categories, so it is easier to maintain.

o Get in the habit of paying yourself first: dedicate a piece of your college job’s paycheck to savings. An amount as simple as $50 per month establishes the habit of saving. In today’s electronic world this can be automated so your bank automatically moves the money into savings each month.

o Get used to living within your means.

o All parents should fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Retirement accounts, IRAs and equity in a primary residence generally do not count against the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) for financial aid purposes.

o Parents should open a 529 as soon as the child is born to take advantage of compounding. Assuming the child starts college at age 18.5, the parents only have 222 months to sock money away before college begins.

o These accounts may serve as a vehicle for grandparents and relatives to leverage their gifting goals in a tax-efficient manner. For example, provided that no additional gifts are made to the beneficiary during the 5-year period, any individual may contribute 5 years of annual exclusion gifts to a 529 plan, ie, $70,000 in 2014, in a lump sum without incurring federal gift taxes.

o Paying off your house before your child starts college makes it much easier to pay tuition out of cash flow.

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Insuring your earning capacity

There are many ways to build wealth, but what about protecting it?

Im often struck by how strongly Australians focus on the wealth-building side of their goals: they understand mortgages, they know about starting a business and they understand that regular contributions to super are a good idea. But look closer at these wealth-building ideas: they all require that you feed them with your cash or your hard work, and sometimes both.

Its actually you and your income-generation that builds wealth. So what would happen if that capacity was taken away or reduced?

The way to protect income-generation is though an insurance called life products. They insure you and your earning capacity, and every Australian with debts and children should investigate where these products could fit in their financial plans.

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The Motley Fool: Penny stocks are no way to build wealth

Bad pennies

Q: Since penny stocks are so inexpensive, I can buy thousands of them, which can make me richer faster, no? – HE, Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

A: Sorry, no. Penny stocks might seem like bargains, but they wont necessarily grow faster than other stocks. A $1 stock and a $60 one can both go up (or down!) by the same percentage in one day. With a 5 percent increase, the $1 stock will rise in value by 5 cents, to $1.05. For the $60 stock, its a $3 jump, to $63. If the $60 stock is tied to a healthier company with competitive advantages, actual revenue and profits, and a lower valuation (perhaps as suggested by its price-to-earnings ratio), its likely a much better bargain than the $1 stock.

Penny stocks (which trade for $5 or less per share) can be more likely to plummet than skyrocket. Theyre risky, and often hyped and manipulated. Penny-stock investors are typically looking to get rich quick, but thats not how reliable wealth-building works.

Focus on the long run – plenty of big, successful blue-chip companies have made shareholders happy over many years. Penny stocks have made many unhappy. Its fun to own 5,000 shares of something, but not when they crash.

Foolish Trivia

Name that company

A pioneering global importer of decorative home furnishings and gifts, I was born in California in 1962. My early offerings included beads, incense, beanbag chairs and groovy furniture, and over my decades in business Ive sold all kinds of things, such as wicker armchairs, hand-painted dinnerware, distinct clothing, scented candles, decorative accessories, and even life-sized suits of armor. Based in Fort Worth, Texas, since 1966, I now boast more than 1,000 locations in 49 states and Canada – and I have a presence in Sears de Mexico boutiques, as well. I employ about 21,000 people globally. Who am I?

Last weeks trivia answer: Twitter.

The Take

Kicking Hertzs tires

If you have a parking spot to fill in your long-term portfolio, consider Hertz Global Holdings (NYSE: HTZ). Accounting problems have pressured the stock and may potentially delay the spinoff of its equipment business, but theres a lot to like in Hertz.

Hertz will be restating its past three years of financial reports. Thats not great news, but it could be worse. First off, the restatement is focusing on expenses, not aggressive revenue recognition policies or anything that suggests dramatic wrongdoing. Revenue growth, which is critical, will not change.

With the car-rental industry consolidating in recent years, having fewer competitors can prop up prices and profit margins for Hertz. (Hertz has participated in the consolidation, buying Dollar Thrifty last year for $2.3 billion.) Of course, business landscapes change over time. It remains to be seen whether new ride-sharing businesses such as Uber and Lyft turn into threats for car-rental companies such as Hertz.

Hertz plans to complete the spinoff of its equipment-rental business sometime next year. The move will give the company net proceeds of $2.5 billion, which will be used to pay down debt and reward shareholders via share buybacks (which reduce share count and thereby boost earnings per share). With a forward P/E ratio near 12, Hertz is worth a closer look. (The Motley Fool owns shares of Hertz.)

Universal Uclick

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Embattled Dentist Loses News Defamation Claim

DALLAS (CN) – A journalists false allegation of personal bankruptcy did not defame a dentist whose clinics were accused of fraud, a Texas appeals court ruled.
Dr. Richard Malouf, the founder and former majority owner of All Smiles Dental Care, is the dentist in question.
A few months after Maloufs chain of dental clinics agreed in March 2012 to settle Medicare fraud claims for $1.2 million, WFAA-TV broadcast a two-minute piece by investigative reporter Brett Shipp on recent civil fraud allegations filed against Malouf.
The June 26 report said Malouf has yet to comment on the allegations but filed for bankruptcy and is in the process of divesting his once impressive empire.
Malouf and his wife, Leanne, filed suit in Dallas County Court that October, claiming that he had not personally filed for bankruptcy and had not divested assets.
The court refused to dismiss claims against Shipp, but a three-judge panel with the 5th District Court of Appeals unanimously reversed on Tuesday.
In determining whether the lawsuit relates to his free-speech rights, the court must consider the entire news report, not just the complained-of statements, the court found.
We must consider the broader context of the speech to know whether or not it relates to an issue identified an a matter of public concern by the legislature, Justice Jim Moseley wrote for the court. We agree with Shipp that the entire communication – not just the allegedly defamatory portion – and the surrounding circumstances must be considered in determining whether the lawsuit relates to Shipps exercise of his right of free speech.
The appellate panel emphasized how Malouf has been the subject of a Medicaid fraud investigation by state authorities, and is accused of billing the state for unnecessary orthodontic work performed on children of welfare families.
In this context, the complained-of statements were communications made in connection with an issue related to the governments efforts to recover damages for Maloufs alleged violations of Medicaid laws, the opinion states.
A prima facie case for each essential element of the defamation claim also requires more, the court found, rejecting Maloufs argument that a false accusation of bankruptcy is defamation per se.
A statement that a dentist is personally bankrupt does not adversely affect the dentists fitness to practice dentistry – he may be a great dentist but a bad businessman, Moseley wrote. Therefore, we conclude Shipps statement about Malouf was not defamatory per se.
WFAA did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday.
The Maloufs could not be reached for comment Wednesday. Their October complaint alleged that WFAA and its reporters published more than 40 stories about them and their home in the past year.
Tuesdays ruling makes no mention of the other defendants or claims, one of which reports on water-park slides being installed in the back yard of the Maloufs mansion.
Court records show that the Maloufs filed a September 2013 fraud lawsuit after allegedly paying more than $553,000 for water-park components that were inadequate and impossible to assemble.

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Wells Abandoning Most Interest-Only Home-Equity Loans

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Home Equity Loans Are on the Rise…Should We Be Worried?

According to recent data, the home equity loan market is rebounding. Even though outstanding balances on home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) are more than 26% below their 2009 peak and have dropped for 10 straight quarters, it looks like the amount of new originations is on the rise.

Home equity loans were a major factor in the pre-crisis spending frenzy in the US, so should we be worried about this, or is it different this time around?

Still way below the peak
The dollar amount of new home equity credit lines originated grew 20% last year to $92.5 billion, but is far below what weve seen in years past. New originations peaked at $383.8 billion in 2006, and began to drop until 2010. Since 2011, originations have been on the rise once again. However, even though originations are on the rise, the total outstanding lines of credit continue to fall, for now.

What that tells us is that current lines of credit are being paid off, cancelled, or written off faster than new lines of credit are being originated. This makes sense given the massive volume of HELOCs originated in the pre-crisis years.

This may be a backlog of business
One reason were seeing an increase in new HELOCs is the sharp recovery in home prices in many parts of the country. According to the Samp;P/Case-Shiller Composite 20 Index, average home prices are up about 25% from their lows in major US cities.

This means that people now have more equity they can tap into, and may take the opportunity now to borrow money for things they have been putting off. For instance, many home equity loans are taken out to finance repairs or improvements to the home. If someone didnt have sufficient equity in their home, they could put the repairs off until the equity improved. This type of delayed borrowing may be what were seeing now.

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Governments Probe eBay After Data Breach

eBay was under attack — now it is under investigation. After admitting to a data breach earlier this week, the online auction giant is now under investigation by multiple government agencies.

On Tuesday, eBay asked users to change their passwords in the wake of a cyberattack that compromised one of its databases. Unfortunately, it was a database that included eBay customers names, encrypted passwords, e-mail addresses, physical addresses, phone numbers and dates of birth.

At the root of the matter is employee log-in credentials, a small number of which eBay said cyberattackers breached to gain stealth access to its corporate network . Although eBay said there’s no evidence of unauthorized activity on user accounts or credit card information — which they stressed was stored separately in encrypted formats — government authorities are launching investigations of their own.

Governments Get Involved

According to Reuters, Illinois, Florida and Connecticut are leading a probe into the massive data breach and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is asking for free credit monitoring for everyone affected. eBay could not immediately be reached for comment.

“The magnitude of the reported eBay data breach could be of historic proportions, and my office is part of a group of other attorneys general in the country investigating the matter,” said Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi. “We must do everything in our power to protect consumers’ personal information, which is exactly why I worked with the Florida Legislature on the Florida Information Protection Act.”

Meanwhile, the United Kingdom watchdogs also expressing concern. BBC News is reporting that the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is getting involved.

Theres millions of UK citizens affected by this, and weve been clear that were monitoring it, but by taking the wrong action under the law now we risk invalidating any investigation, Christopher Graham, an ICO spokesman, told the BBC.

A Tipping Point of Awareness?

We asked Tom Smith, a vice president of Business Development Strategy at CloudEntr, a division of the French identity management firm Gemalto, for more thoughts on the eBay breach. He told us it’s yet another example of the fact that hackers can and will leverage any avenue to gain access to a company and their customers data for financial gain.

“Employee login credentials would appear to be an obvious access point that companies would put an extremely heavy emphasis on protecting, yet in fact, the opposite is true,” he said. “Many companies, such as eBay, provide high levels of security for customer access to their service but do little to secure employee access to the customer records they may have on file.”

From his view, both Fortune 1000 companies and small businesses need to take proactive action to limit access to sensitive corporate data and intellectual property that could bring an organization down with one breach.

“There is no point in having multiple locks on a door when you leave the window wide open for hackers,” he said. ” Hopefully the eBay breach will be a tipping point in awareness of the need for a best practice, dedicated security strategy that includes employees in the equation.

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Bitcoin Exchange Mt. Gox’ Bankruptcy Protection: What does it mean?

Bankruptcy protection is when an individual or business finds itself to be unable to make payment to creditors to pay off their debts. They can file for bankruptcy protection under the bankruptcy laws of the United States. For a business, bankruptcy protection may either provide complete or partial relief of debts and contracts, assuming the business will remain in operation, or the business may cease operation and sell off its assets to pay debts.

There are two types of bankruptcy protection commonly used by individuals: Chapter 7, and Chapter 13, where “chapter” refers to the chapter of the bankruptcy code that describes each one. In Chapter 7, also called a “straight bankruptcy” or “liquidation”, a trustee is appointed to control the individual’s assets. The trustee then liquidates, or sells the assets, then gives the money to creditors in order to pay off debts, to the extent that this is possible.

Chapter 13, also called “wage-earner bankruptcy”, allows the individual to propose a plan to repay their debts interest-free over a three to five-year period, although the individual’s payment plan is subject to court approval. While in Chapter 13, an individual is protected from creditors collecting on debt or seizing assets to pay debts, and creditors are required to abide by the terms of the approved payment plan. Both types of personal bankruptcy make it very difficult for the individual to obtain credit for a period of seven to ten years after seeking bankruptcy protection.

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Here’s Why Saving For College Is Not Enough

It’s no secret that the cost of a higher education continues to surge.

The College Board reports that tuition, fees and room and board charges at private nonprofit four-year colleges were up 14% over the five years from the 2008-09 to 2013-14 to $US30,094. In public four-year colleges they were up over 27% in the same period to $US8,893.

According to JP Morgan Funds, 69% of the money set aside for a college education is held in cash accounts because parents and grandparents are worried about the risk of investing in financial markets. But the interest on cash can’t keep pace with tuition inflation.

In rolling 18-year periods since the late 1970s, cash has not kept pace with the average tuition increase, according to JP Morgan Funds.

Rather than just saving cash, the analysts recommend taking risk and investing.

A diversified 50-50 10% portfolio of stocks and bonds offers higher 8% returns than cash, and gives the investor the opportunity to achieve returns high enough to pay for Junior’s education.

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