How To Make Sure You’ve Done Enough 401k Planning

Let’s face it. Most people have no idea how exactly a 401k or retirement savings plan works, or how to best optimize it. I’ve met people of all ages, income levels and education levels, and there’s no one predictor for knowing how best to utilize a 401k. So let’s go over some basics to make sure you’re doing enough 401k planning for your future!

Have You Started A 401k?

First of all, have you started a 401k? You have access to one through your employer, and should take advantage if you can.

Start contributing at the highest level your employer will match at. That might be 3% or 6% of your income. Of course, you’ll want to pay off high interest debt first, but it’s important to take those matching contributions as soon as you can to get the most out of your 401k.

Read The Fine Print

When you’re trying to work out how best to use your 401k plan, be sure to read through the fine print. There are often small rules and minutiae that can help you, like maybe they’ll only match up to 3%, unless you have a specific condition and they’ll match additional (i.e. if you throw your annual bonus into the 401k they’ll match that above and beyond the 3%.)

Don’t Over Manage (Or Under Manage)

When it comes to a 401k, just let it ride out for the most part. Micromanaging it can hit you with too many fees to make it worth it. I generally recommend adjusting the 401k twice per year to make sure things are continuing to go smoothly. Any more than that, and fees can start to add up.

Hit Your Targets

Figure out what you need for retirement and your roadmap for getting their. For 401k planning, even though it’s through work, it can be in your best interest to get an outside financial advisor to help you figure out the best way for you to get to retirement with the money you need!

4 Misunderstood Facts About Catering

Sometimes a fact isn’t a fact. When truth is distorted, you can get the wrong impression from friends, family members or comments online. I’m here to help separate the truth from myths when it comes to event catering! Here we go!

1. Buffet Is The Most Affordable OptionCatering

You’d think buffet would be the most affordable option. You don’t need a bunch of servers to run plates to every table, the food can be prepared in huge batches, yada yada yada. But actually, it may not be. Often, buffet is hard for chefs to cook because they aren’t sure how many times your Great Uncle Phil is going to come up for seconds, thirds or fourths. So they may prep too much food, which can be a problem.

2. Catered Food Is Cooked In Advance And Reheated

Any catering company worth it’s salt will be cooking food on site. Whether there is a kitchen at the event location or they need to haul in equipment, good catering companies will cook the food fresh, as it’s the best way to ensure it is hot and safe for consumption.

While keeping tons of food hot and ready is a balancing act, doing so from a freezer or refrigerator is even worse.

3. Catering Is Just Restaurant Food

As mention before, catering is about cooking in large batches. While catering food may be larger version of restaurant meals, restaurant chefs are used to taking a table or two worth of orders at one time. In the catering business, chefs are taking dozens or hundreds of orders worth at one time and making it all happen.

This isn’t ‘just restaurant food’, it takes an entirely different set of skills to time everything and cook with the appropriate flavors at this scale.

4. We Only Need Minimal Staff

Think about a restaurant with five servers. Now, those five servers are taking food from three cooks in the back, and there are two dishwashers, and there’s one manager, two bartenders, an additional cleaner and an accountant in the back. Besides that, you may need drivers and people who can lift equipment if you’re transporting the food or kitchen to an outside location!

So when you tell a catering company that you only need minimal staff because you don’t have that many people to feed, remember you aren’t thinking about all of the people behind those servers and what they need to support them so the servers aren’t called back to do dishes, wrap silverware or clean up a spill so the chefs can keep cooking.

5 Biggest Advantages Of Hiring An Experienced Siding Company

If your siding has been damaged, either from storms or general wear and tear, you need an experienced house siding company. In central Minnesota, we get hit by so many storms, eventually this advice will apply to you.

Whatever you do, don’t hire a sider who is just starting out on their own for these 5 reasons.

1. Industry TrainingExperienced Siding Company

Experienced siding companies also keep their employees up to date the with the latest training, certifications and techniques! Going to industry training sessions and continuously learning are important parts of any siding career.

An independent sider without any experience won’t have the industry knowledge to back them up.

2. Documentation

Licences, insurance and warranties are all basic documentation required of established, professional siding companies. It gives you security, ensuring the job will be done right and any mistakes will be fixed as soon as possible.

An inexperienced sider may not even be licensed in your state, and may possible be operating illegally!

3. Practice Makes Perfect

You don’t want your siding to serve as training grounds for an inexperienced sider. It’s possible that, in their inexperience, they may damage your siding even more! Either that, or they may not finish the job, may use shoddy materials or not know the correct techniques to get things ‘just right.’

On the other hand, an experienced siding company will take care of everything, and knows just how to make your siding sound again.

4. Safety Measures

Safety first! You know that with all of the training, a professional sider will take every safety precaution, especially with their insurance watching. So they will be prepared for every eventuality, and take extra care to not harm themselves, your home or your family during their work. Can the same be said for an inexperienced sider?

5. They Can Explain What They Do

Experienced house siders are masters of their trade. They can tell you about the differences among types siding materials, and can explain every entry on the estimate they submit. They will walk you through the process, explaining how they will tackle each step. This proves you can fully trust their expertise.

3 Tips To Help Determine The Best ERP Software For Your Company

Many companies are choosing Enterprise Resource Planning, or ERP software solutions to streamline their processes, improve productivity and increase profitability.

There are a large number of ERP software systems in the marketplace today, so how do you choose the right software for your company?

3 Tips To Help Determine The Best ERP Software For Your Company

1. Hire An ERP Consultant For Their Industry ERP SoftwareExperience

My first piece of advice is to hire a consultant. When first learning about ERP software, it will be difficult to understand what vendors are trying to sell you. A knowledgeable ERP consultant can help you find the right ERP software for you.

Be sure the consultant you hire has experience working with companies in your industry, as well as of your size to ensure they are able to understand your needs and figure out a solution for your company.

2. Identify Your Company’s Needs

But how can the consultant understand your company’s needs if you don’t?

Put together a small working group or task force to help rank the needs of your company. Do you need industry specific ERP software, or something more generic? Depending on your industry or operation, you may need add-on functionality beyond the core functionality of an ERP solution.

Create a list of your most necessary ERP software needs first, then create a list of needs it would be nice to meet. Ensure upper management agrees with the list, as these specifications should be used in your request for proposal and in upcoming discussions with ERP vendors.

3. Deeply Investigate Different ERP Software Systems

You hired a consultant to help you investigate the different ERP systems, so definitely do that. Have the consultant outline the different system’s strengths and weaknesses for you, so you can better understand how a particular system will work with your manufacturing and business needs.