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What is an ERISA fiduciary?

The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) was enacted in 1974 to protect employees who participate in retirement plans and certain other employee benefit plans. At the time, there were concerns that pension plan funds were being mismanaged, causing participants to lose benefits they had worked so hard to earn. ERISA protects the interests of plan participants and their beneficiaries by:

·         Requiring the disclosure of financial and other plan information

·         Establishing standards of conduct for plan fiduciaries

·         Providing for appropriate remedies, sanctions, and access to the federal courts

Buffalo Solar Solutions Expands With Opening of Southern Tier Office

Buffalo Solar Solutions Expands With Opening of Southern Tier Office

Buffalo Solar Solutions Inc., the successful solar energy startup that opened in South Buffalo in 2015, is expanding into the Southern Tier with the opening of a second location. The new office will be located at 13 West Main St. in Cuba, N.Y.

“Solar energy just makes good sense down there,” said Tyler Uebelhoer, who owns and operates Buffalo Solar Solutions along with his wife, Alicia. “We chose Cuba because we know we can help a lot of people. If you look at any electric bill from that area, you will notice that residents are being charged almost 30 percent more per kilowatt hour.”

Buffalo Solar Solutions specializes in rooftop and pole-mounted solar systems, and recently introduced solar pergolas to their growing product portfolio.

Daemen Accounting Program Earns International Accreditation

Daemen Accounting Program Earns International Accreditation

Daemen College’s Accounting Program has earned accreditation from the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE), making it one of only five colleges in the country to hold this new specialized accreditation.

The five-year accreditation follows a rigorous self-evaluation that demonstrated Daemen’s accounting program meets the high standards established by the IACBE, an on-site visit that included an independent peer review, and a review by the IACBE Board of Commissioners.

“This prestigious new accreditation is a testament to the excellence of our accounting program at the national and international level,” said Dr. Sharlene Buszka, chairperson of accounting, business administration, and paralegal studies. “As an accredited IACBE institution, it reaffirms the strength and quality of the accounting education our dedicated faculty provide our students.”

Are you ready to retire?

Here are some questions to ask yourself when deciding whether or not you are ready to retire.

Is your nest egg adequate?

It may be obvious, but the earlier you retire, the less time you'll have to save, and the more years you'll be living off your retirement savings. The average American can expect to live past age 78.* With future medical advances likely, it's not unreasonable to assume that life expectancy will continue to increase. Is your nest egg large enough to fund 20 or more years of retirement?

When will you begin receiving Social Security benefits?

You can receive Social Security retirement benefits as early as age 62. However, your benefit may be 25% to 30% less than if you waited until full retirement age (66 to 67, depending on the year you were born).

How will retirement affect your IRAs and employer retirement plans?

Hotel Owners Turning to Sure Step to Keep Guests and Employees on Their Feet

Hotel Owners Turning to Sure Step to Keep Guests and Employees on Their Feet

Slip-and-fall injuries are a serious concern for all businesses, and the lodging industry is no exception. In fact, think about all the areas in a hotel, motel or bed-and-breakfast that have an increased potential for falls: Lobby floors and uncarpeted walkways, buffet and dining areas, kitchens, around swimming pools and saunas, locker rooms, restrooms. It’s a pretty lengthy list.

To prevent slip-and-fall accidents, more and more businesses, including hotels, are turning to a product called Sure Step, offered locally by Western New York-based Nonslip Safety Solution, to keep guests and employees on their feet. The result: Fewer potential lawsuits and/or missed work days.

Is It Wise to Trade Your Pension for a Lump Sum?

Most private employers have already replaced traditional pensions, which promise lifetime income payments in retirement, with defined contribution plans such as 401(k)s. But 15% of private-sector workers and 75% of state and local government workers still participate in traditional pensions.1 Altogether, 35% of workers say they (and/or their spouse) have pension benefits with a current or former employer.2

Many pension plan participants have the option to take their money in a lump sum when they retire. And since 2012, an increasing number of large corporate pensions have been implementing "lump-sum windows" during which vested former employees have a limited amount of time (typically 30 to 90 days) to accept or decline buyout offers.3 (Lump-sum offers to retirees already receiving pension benefits are no longer allowed.)

Tax Benefits of Homeownership

Buying a home can be a major expenditure. Fortunately, federal tax benefits are available to make homeownership more affordable and less expensive. There may also be tax benefits under state law.

Mortgage interest deduction

One of the most important tax benefits of owning a home is that you may be able to deduct any mortgage interest you pay. If you itemize deductions on your federal income tax return, you can deduct the interest you pay on a loan used to buy, build, or improve your home, provided that the loan is secured by your home. Up to $1 million of such "home acquisition debt" ($500,000 if you're married and file separately) qualifies for the interest deduction.