A Bright Foreign Investment Possibility - CHIE ETF

A Bright Foreign Investment Possibility - CHIE ETF

Due to a remarkable industrial growth in the past decades and an anticipatory bright future in this sector this country requires a large amount of energy. No wonder China has become a major player in this sector due to its ravenous demand. Considering the population explosion of this country and its enormous workforce China in 2010 has overtaken the United States to become the world's largest energy user.

In a report by McKinsey the energy consumption of China will account for 43% of the total GDP growth by 2020 as compared to 33% in 2010. As per the reports of the IEA (International Energy Agency) an advisor to 28 industrialized countries, China consumed 2.265 billion tones of oil equivalent of energy from sources such as coal, oil,Natural gas, hydro and nuclear power 4.4% more than USA. The same has been analyzed by BP PLC's statistical Review of World Energy.

As China's economy is anticipated to grow in the long term, more and more investment possibilities emerge in the form of products which are more accessible like the China ETF. ETF's are very apparent as the Fund Issuers publish the Fund assets and list them on a day to day basis. Though China straddles between the term of being associated as a developing or emerging economy and a world class economy, an investment in China ETF's can bring you a gain in terms of an exposure to China's Market and add to another feather in your cap as a great addition to ones Portfolio. This invest china energy sector acts as a hedge against the foreign investment risk.

It is stipulated in the Outline of China's 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015) for National Economic and Social Development that by 2015 the non-fossil energy will rise to11.4% in the national total primary consumption. The power consumption per unit of the GDP will drop by 16 % and CO2 emission per unit of GDP will definitely decrease by 17 % from 2010 onwards.As being one of the largest developing countries with a population of over 1.3 billion, China has committed that it must rely on itself to increase the power supply progressively to satisfy its enormous demands by focusing on the promotion of clean energy development and a strategic measure for new and renewable energy. The country is also expected to install 290 million kw hydropower generating capacity by 2015.

The government has stood out to encourage private investment into this sector as well to help regulate and strengthen the backbone of its infrastructure and overall economic growth.

Finding A Stairlift On A Budget

Finding A Stairlift On A Budget

Stairlifts are pieces of assistive technology which help people to ascend and descend their stairs every day. They have been designed to stop people needing to bend their knees as they walk up stairs, and they help people who can't physically walk up their stairs do so. There are however, certain problems associated with getting one of these pieces of assistive technology which prevents a lot of people from having one, and the main one of these issues is the cost of buying a stairlift.

Stairlifts cost thousands of pounds and many people can't afford the initial cost, even with benefits from the government, so they simply go without a stairlift and try to cope. Some companies offer pre owned or reconditioned stairlifts, which are a much cheaper alternative to buying one first hand. A reconditioned stairlift will have been owned and used before, but stairlift suppliers will take these stairlifts and refurbish them, checking for any potential faults and making repairs where needed to ensure the stairlift is up to almost the same standards as brand new stairlifts.

Most stairlift suppliers will provide a free assessment of a home prior to installing any of their products, and they should present you with every option available to you instead of just one, giving you the details of how each stairlift differs. By choosing the cheapest option a person can save money but they could lose out on functionality they need for their stairlift, making this decision is hard and needs to be talked over with an expert.

Breaking down the separate costs of a stairlift, three distinct categories can be made. These are the initial cost, the on-going care, and the added cost to bills. People can save money on all three of these if they find a good supplier that will offer them a rental solution. Renting a stairlift can be more cost effective for someone than buying one, as some people may never be able to afford to buy a stairlift. Both straight and curved stairlifts can be rented, and thanks to still being owned by the company, most stairlift suppliers will offer a lifetime warranty included in the cost of the rental service, meaning on-going costs cover everything a stairlift requires. The only issue someone might have with renting a stairlift is finding a curved stairlift available for rent, as there are only a few select stairlift suppliers which will offer curved stairlifts to their customers, helping them stick to their budget.

How Cars and Phones Affect the Lithium Industry

How Cars and Phones Affect the Lithium Industry

Growing popularity of Lithium funds owes the credit to its extensive usage in portable digital products and automobile industry, the industrial needs are fuelling the demand forecast for the metal which in all likelihood, will continue to grow annually at a positive rate of 24% till 2021. Following this trend are the big money managers from the Wall Street Inc. who claim to be indirectly tapping on the growing sales of products using Lithium batteries, by acquiring or investing in Lithium stocks.

World-wide retail success of products like Apple's iPhones and iPads along with of Toyota's Hybrid electric car are the main focus for this investor league.

The demand has incredibly increased due to the widespread use of energy effective batteries. Between the years 2003-2007, the industry doubled its consumption of Lithium carbonate, which is a very important constituent of these rechargeable batteries. Since then the industrial demand has more than doubled in the past few years.

Billion dollar investment firms like JP Morgan Chase have over and again shown affinity to Lithium companies and their listed securities starting 2011. Analyst at Black Rock Inc. agrees; and along with Morgan, they are still bullish on Lithium ETFs and equities.

Most major car makers are now sincerely considering a feasible electric vehicle that can be mass produced, demand surge from the automobile industry itself may be well upwards of 160% from current levels. Toyota Prius is a definite game changer in this class with other mention worthy names is Chevy Volt and Tesla Roadster which are now commonly used electric vehicles.

The growth of this rare element has depended a lot upon the adoption of clean energy technology. In contrast to lead and other chemical products, it is significantly eco friendly and has much higher energy storing capabilities. The gadget industry would have never inflated to this level if it was not for the easy energy solutions that lithium batteries provide. Its unique attributes and a fact that it is a rare metal found only in the top layer of the earth's crust adds to the importance of miners and explorers of the mineral.

Mining this metal has gained momentum with the upsurge in its demand and it will remain robust for the coming years. The demand has increased 25% in the years 2010-2012 and it is expected to double by 2020. Also the electric cars using lithium ion batteries are likely to reach 1.5 - 3.0 million in 2015.

An obvious negative here lies in a sudden scientific discovery that is able to not only display better energy recharging capacities but is also compatible with the existing products that use lithium cells. Reasonably, a better substitute will wipe out the demands for the metal but an invention to carry out such a mutiny is unlikely to occur in near future, indicating a bright outlook on the sector.

Major Equities like Rockwood (the company produces lithium hydroxide and is world's largest producer of lithium products) and FMC are some of the biggest players of this arena. Other major corporations include Talison Lithium Ltd., Soc Quimica, and Minera de Chile. These companies more or less control the capital market, which is roughly valued to be around a billion dollars annually. Along with the limited choices on the equity front, timing your entry in the markets is another hindrance for direct investments. Investors willing to emulate the trend may use the Lithium Invest and funds that track the Solactive benchmark. Barring Global X LIT there are no pure plays on this industry available, but a country centric fund like Chile ETF may suffice the need for Lithium exposure.

Preventing Late Payments - Don't Rely on the Law!

Preventing Late Payments - Don't Rely on the Law!

In our March article on late payments, we looked at how the law has recently changed to help protect smaller businesses against the risks of late or non payment. However, questions still remain around how much protection is actually being offered to suppliers.

For example, the new rules state that customers can't request payment terms of longer than 60 days to be written into the contract unless they can show that a longer period isn't 'grossly unfair' to the supplier. But what does 'grossly unfair' actually mean? The concept is fuzzy at best! And does it imply that it's OK for customers to impose terms that are merely 'unfair', but not 'grossly unfair'?

This is just one of the issues that are causing concern. It may be that the only answer to the late payments problem is to change the law again, so that the time limits for paying commercial debts become non-negotiable. This is already the case in some countries such as France, where companies can find themselves subject to large fines and even criminal proceedings if they don't pay their bills on time.

Whatever your views on the revised late payments laws, it's not a good idea to simply assume they'll protect your business! Instead, you should take action now to address any late payment issues you're experiencing at the moment, or to prevent problems arising in the future. Here are a few pointers that will help:

1. Customer not paying? Find out why.

There could be a good reason why your customer hasn't paid on time. Maybe they're not happy with your work, in which case, this is most likely to be because they didn't fully understand what you were (and weren't) offering to do for them, or because there were delays that were unavoidable or created by the customer themselves.

Talking to your customers and finding out the reasons for non-payment should sort things out. And in the future, make your sure quotes and terms and conditions are crystal clear so you and your customer both know exactly where you stand.

2. Protect yourself with staged payments.

Asking for payment in two or more stages will help preserve cash flow whilst you're working on larger projects. Where appropriate, you could also consider asking for a deposit or partial payment up-front - perhaps when you're dealing with a new customer, or someone who has delayed paying you in the past. Make sure the details of any staged payments are set out clearly in a written contract before you start work.

3. Have a clear payment process in place.

Tell your customers when you expect to be paid and remind them of the payment terms when you send their invoice. Follow up with regular reminders or statements until the bill is settled in full.

You should also encourage your customers to tell you straightaway if they're having problems paying. You may be able to accommodate delayed or staged payments, but only if you know about them sooner rather than later! Make sure any changes to your original payment terms are agreed in writing; an exchange of emails is fine.

4. Know your rights to charge interest and recovery fees.

The changes to the Late Payment of Commercial Debt (Interest) Act 1998 that came into force on 16 March 2013 mean you can now reclaim 'reasonable recovery costs' from late-paying customers.

This is on top of your pre-existing rights to charge a set fee that depends on the amount of the debt, as well as interest at the current Bank of England base rate plus 8%. You don't have to invoke these rights, but make sure you're aware of them.

5. Don't let non-payers get away with it.

Occasionally, you may encounter the customer who just won't pay - and for no good reason. Don't set a precedent by letting them get away with it. There's an online government-run service that you can use to reclaim the debt, or I'm always happy to recommend a reputable debt collection agency or solicitor.

Six Lessons on Protecting Your Inheritance As a Beneficiary

Six Lessons on Protecting Your Inheritance As a Beneficiary

Before my beloved aunt passed, she chose a cousin to serve as executrix. That executrix chose a CPA who was as unscrupulous as she and together, they ripped the estate and its beneficiaries off on thousands of dollars. They chose not to share any information with the seven beneficiaries or the estate lawyer. And to make matters worse, they skimmed off beneficiaries' inheritance payments by the thousands.

I was one of the beneficiaries who was ripped off, and include of the most important lessons learned from this experience so that you needn't go through a similar ideal.

LESSON 1: Make sure that the executor or executrix is bonded. It costs money, but will pay for itself, making the executor liable for valuables that may be stolen from a loved one's estate. No matter if that person is a family member. Never assume that he or she will be honest. I didn't know my cousin after so many years, as I had not seen her since we were children! She was a complete stranger to me. Had I been wiser, I would have insisted that she was bonded and made sure that my fellow-beneficiaries worked together to keep her honest..

LESSON 2: Always, always remember that estates are not policed. Unscrupulous persons, including professionals as CPAs, executors and atttorneys are not always what they seem. Check them out carefully and keep written records as well as copies of letters and other correspondence that you send or receive from any of them. If anything can go wrong, it will. To minimize the chances of something going wrong, beneficiaries should consider getting together and working as a team.

LESSON 3: Have the probate court assign someone to accompany an executor or executrix as he or she inventories assets in a decedent's home. Items as cash, jewelry, and other valuables can easily be stolen if an executor or executrix is left alone to his or her own devices..

LESSON 4: Remember that an executor or executrix is not your boss. He or she cannot deny you the right to visit a deceased parent's residence and take items as keepsakes. Another thing that executors must do is provide updated reports on their progress in administering a given estate. If an executor or executrix habitually refuses or procrastinates, beneficiaries have the right to get rid of him or her and request another person to serve. This may be as simple as requesting this transfer at probate court or hiring an attorney who is experienced and knowledgeable on estates and wills in your state. Every state differs in these matters, so it may be in all of your best interests as beneficiaries to decide what to do together.

LESSON 5: Be aware of how long an executor or executrix takes in responding to your questions or requests. If a month has passed and you have not heard from that person, start inquiring immediately and make copies of any written requests.

LESSON 6: Never sign off on anything without an opportunity to review the final accounting. Check it for omissions or errors, or hire an attorney to do that for you. Once you've signed off, you lose your right to have errors corrected and potentially thousands of dollars.

Pay attention and review those lessons before anything happens, so when the inevitable event occurs, you will what to look for and how to deal with it, avoiding mistakes and protecting what you are rightfully entitled to.

Arizona Moves To Approve Gold And Silver As Currency.

Arizona Moves To Approve Gold And Silver As Currency.

Will Arizona become the second U.S. state to approve Gold and Silver as a legal form of currency? The Arizona Senate approved State Bill 1439 and the bill will go to a vote in the Arizona House.

The State of Utah is the only other state that officially recognizes gold and silver coins as a form of legal tender. Governor Gary Herbert signed the bill into law in March of 2011, recognizing federally issued gold and silver coins as currency. In the State of Utah the law is now known as the Sound Money Act. In 2012, the number of U.S. states that were considering or had legislation pending to recognize gold and silver coins as legal tender was as high as 13 at one point.

When the Arizona Legislature moves to enact State Bill 1439 and Governor Brewer signs it into law, it would mean that any coin that is issued from the U.S. government, and contains gold or silver could be used for the payment of taxes and debts, which is the definition of legal tender. The law would also state that it could not be taxed as property, since it would now be considered money. If Arizona does pass the state bill, it would become effective in the year 2014. And although it would be considered a new currency in the state, nobody would be forced to accept gold or silver as payment.

Other states, including Virginia, South Dakota and Indiana all have similar bills, but have seemed to have either died in the in the State Assembly or were buried in Senate Committees. Some still see the move as a step that would undermine the U.S. dollar.

Many supporters of precious metals feel that the central bank is permanently damaging the value of the our currency by printing trillions of dollars and pumping it into the economy, which they feel is destroying the buying power of the greenback. Many have put that allegation squarely on the shoulders of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and the government's financial policies.

The question that arises is, why states are looking to take this course of action? The Utah bills name may very well sum it all up, the sound money act. What many people do not remember and for good reason is that in 1779 the United States defaulted on the Continental and again in 1862 with the Greenback. So it would be hard to say that it is has never happened before, when history would tell us something different.

Another Move Away From the Dollar - And What It Means to You!

Another Move Away From the Dollar - And What It Means to You!

For three years, these SAFE Insights have pointed out the danger of the U.S. dollar losing its place as the worlds' reserve currency; further, these Insights have stated clearly that in the globally competitive economy, China & Russia are anything but allies. Beginning in earnest three years ago when Russia and China concluded a trade pact that called for trading outside of the U.S. dollar, this trend to reducing the dollar as a trading vehicle has continued. China has recently concluded an agreement with Brazil to trade without using dollars, and just recently concluded a similar agreement with Australia. There are two important questions that American's face when considering this issue; what is the importance of having the dollar as the world's reserve currency and what are the ramifications of losing that status? These two fundamental questions are of course followed by "and what do you do about it?"

The importance of living in the nation that holds that coveted position is life-style. When goods around the world are priced in your nation's currency, you receive a slight discount on all imported goods because you don't face a markup on prices that reflect conversion of purchases into other currencies. In addition, the reserve status creates a substantial demand for a nation's currency so as supply and demand always impact prices, the value of the issuing nation's currency is held up. This is no more visible than in the pricing of oil. As oil is priced in dollars, oil in the United States is less expensive than other countries and therefore our economy benefits from lower energy prices. It's not possible to state exactly where gas prices would be if the dollar lost its importance to the trading of oil, but rest assured, gas prices would rise by a significant percentage, perhaps as much as 20% or more if the dollar were replaced.

The United States economy is now $15.8 trillion dollars with about $2.5 trillion of that coming from imports. Therefore, as the U.S. dollar moves out of its position as the reserve currency, the cost of these imported goods will rise. On the other side of this however, the export side of the U.S. today is around $1.7 trillion or so and that number would benefit as the value of the dollar decreases.

So we come to the bottom line, what to do about this? There are policy issues our government should most certainly do chief among which is quit debasing the currency by spending so much more than we earn. But for the individual trying to build wealth for themselves and their families the issue is how to capitalize on this transition so you're not left behind. There are fundamental things you should certainly be doing like not putting yourself in a position of borrowing money to survive and paying off your indebtedness and positioning your lifestyle so that you're saving that magical 10% each paycheck. With that said though, you need to position your investments (your retained earnings) to benefit from this strategic change. What companies will prosper in an environment of inflation and a devaluing dollar? Clearly commodities will react to rising prices so that means gold, silver and all precious metals; agricultural products; and other basic materials will likely see price appreciation as the dollar loses value. The second benefiting areas are exporting companies. As the dollar depreciates versus other currencies, their products become less expensive to the importing country so with lower prices, sales improve. So these two themes should be considered in your investments but bear in mind that the future is never perfectly predicted so while these trends will establish and continue, they won't happen immediately and they won't establish in a straight line. Prices will rise and fall in the short-term even as the longer term trend is up. So use these two themes as a part of your overall investment plan, not the total plan.

Building wealth is a function of two basic things; saving capital and investing capital. Saving capital is a function of spending less than you make and investing capital is a function of knowledge and action. You must take steps each and every day to insure that you are both saving and investing to the best of your ability. The fact of the matter is two things are inevitable; things will change and you will get older (Lord wiling). As things in our world change with increasing rapidness and you recognize that your life expectancy is now around 85 years old, it should hit you like a brick in the head that you must be protecting your own life-style and the only way to do that is to save capital and invest it well. American's by and large do NOT have the capital accumulated to provide a sound retirement for themselves and this is a burgeoning bubble that will burst in a very ugly way. As baby-boomers retire and possibly outlive their savings they will be forced to seek help from government; this is part of the $100 trillion in unfunded liabilities accruing by the U.S. government. The snowball effect from this is not pleasant but you can position yourself to capitalize on it and not suffer through it and you should start today if you haven't already and you should seek to improve if you have started. How do you improve, seek more knowledge and learn how to better take action, and that is the value of S.A.F.E. to you.

How The Self-Employed Individuals Can Reduce Tax Liability

How The Self-Employed Individuals Can Reduce Tax Liability

Not many self-employed individuals know that they can reduce tax liability in different ways. They often think that seeking to lower their dues would lead them to illegal activities. If you are one of them, here is good news for you. You can do so through careful study of everything you have at hand and definite planning of the steps you ought to make. Read the following ideas which can get you started on this.

Perhaps, having a better understanding of who the self-employed are would be the best starting point. A self-employed individual is someone who owns or co-owns a business. Apart from that, a self-employed individual could be engaging in trade as an independent contractor. Since a self-employed individual does not work for a company, he is responsible for his own tax planning strategy.

In connection to that, this person must know clearly the exact amount he needs to pay for a self-employment tax. This is an additional duty on top of the regular tax obligations he must pay. This is why rooting for means to lessen the amount it dictates would be a great benefit. The first procedure he can take is to shift the total income he receives to another person. This can be done legally if he employs any family member as part of the business he handles.

How does this work? He can transfer a small portion of his income to the family member employed in his business so the amount of the tax he needs to pay will be smaller. This, of course, is best observed with the help of an accountant so that penalties must be avoided. He must ensure that the amount of income to be transferred to his employed family member is matched with the position or work the latter does for the business; nothing more nothing less.

A self-employed individual can also reduce tax liability through the details of a health insurance plan. Obviously, he would not be receiving benefits from an employer and so he will be responsible for insuring his health needs. Health insurance premiums are legal deductibles. However, health insurance deductibles must not cost more than the income his business makes. Taking advantage of a retirement plan can also help a self-employed individual prevent high tax dues. This is quite complicated and so professional help must be consulted.

The ideas mentioned above are clear indications that performance of illegal practices is not needed just to lower tax payables. Any self-employed individual aiming to reduce tax liability must also be aware of the things which may be considered evasion. One clear example of this is failure to declare all income he receives as the duties would not be calculated correctly with the figures provided. There are times when one declares all the income he receives but fails to show proper allocation of income. This is a procedure that is illicit too. A consultation with a professional can ensure prevention of these practices and substantial penalties from the authorities.

It's Never Too Early To Plan Your Exit

It's Never Too Early To Plan Your Exit

There are more than 15 million family-owned businesses in the United States, ranging in size from one-man businesses and mom & pop shops to multi-million dollar corporations like Mars and Walmart. In spite of the large number of family-owned companies, only one-third will make it to a second generation. One reason for this is because companies sometimes fail to plan for their eventual exit, also known as succession planning.

What is succession planning? It is a strategic planning process where the owners of a business decide how the business will continue after they've left the company - through an internal or external sale, an illness, injury or death, retirement, or simply wanting to move onto another opportunity.

For those who wish to see their businesses continue after they've left the company, it is important to plot out the continuation of the company. Here are the basic steps involved.

1. Plan early for a smooth transition from one owner or group of owners to the next. You might think you have years to plan - and maybe you do - but sometimes life doesn't go as we expect, so preparing for contingencies is critical.

2. Bring in outside experts. Hiring a team of professionals, including attorneys, accountants, financial advisers and other key consultants, is important to ensure that every detail has been considered. They will employ their expertise to advise you, so that you can focus on the decisions that need to be made.

3. Involve family members in the planning process. As you develop your succession plan, involve key family members to explain your plan and ask for their input where appropriate. Doing so will help you create goodwill and perhaps gain their support.

4. Train your successors. Once you've selected your successors, take the time to work with them so they are prepared to take over when the time is right. Your successors will need your input to look at the big picture of running the complete operation, rather than the duties that they are currently responsible for.

5. Consider all options. There are three critical financial areas where business owners should focus - management, ownership and taxes. As you prepare your succession plan, understand that ownership and management may not involve the same people. One person, for example, might become the company's leader, but ownership might be spread among several people. How will this impact your tax liability? How will it impact theirs?

6. Review the financial impact of your succession plan. The transfer of a company with a lot of assets will have financial impacts on successors and heirs. Talk with your attorney and accountant to identify the potential impacts and develop strategies for minimizing any negative effects.

7. Be realistic. You may have always dreamed that your son would take over the business, following in dad's footsteps, but what if your son doesn't share your dream? Is it realistic to ask him to take over the company when you're gone? Is there someone else in the company better suited for the job? Perhaps your daughter, who works as CFO, is a better fit, or maybe an outside sale is the best option.

There are many factors to consider and multiple decisions to be made. Gather your team of professional advisors together, along with family members who may be impacted, and start the process now. By planning early and effectively, you can ensure your firm's continuation after you've moved on.

The Most Commonly Used Economic Indicators By Forex Traders

The Most Commonly Used Economic Indicators By Forex Traders

Many economic publications appear with regards to Forex trading on a daily basis, some of which are particularly monitored and reviewed by forex traders. According to their degree of relevance, they will influence more or less the evolution of the exchange rate.

These key indicators or publications are mainly focused on the U.S. economy due to the economic dominance of the latter. However, a number of economic indicators of major industrialized countries may also have a significant influence on the forex market.

The Beige Book is one of the most popular publications and the most anticipated. The Beige Book guides decisions including fixing the main policy rate U.S. (the "Fed Funds rate") and thus the conditions of short-term remuneration of USD. In general, the communication between the various central banks whether European, Japanese and Chinese are also closely monitored by stakeholders Forex.

GDP: For a national economy, growth is materialized by the extended real GDP per capita. Among the major economies, China is the country with the largest economic growth globally, followed by the United States at a lower level (around 3% per year). The euro zone rarely recorded growth above 2% per year. Sustained growth is supposed to promote the value of a currency. However, supply and demand in the currency market can counteract this development because of expectations of future growth, which may differ from current levels of growth recorded. Positive numbers will instead go in the direction of a valuation of foreign currency and vice versa.

The U.S. unemployment rate announced every first Friday of the month at 2:30 p.m. (French time) can also create sudden movements on the dollar and also, indirectly, on currencies such as the euro or sterling.

The IFO index is a monthly indicator of German economic situation while the ISM is an economic indicator (made by the private sector) among the most anticipated in the United States. The IFO index is calculated on a 100 and it is closely analyzed by the markets as it gives a clear indication of the evolution of the German economy and more generally of the euro. A positive IFO is a favorable development of the euro factor.The ISM index is an indicator that anticipate reversal cycles through close correlation with U.S. GDP growth.

Finally, the Consumer Confidence Index is a leading indicator of future consumer spending of U.S. households, and by extension, the future U.S. economic growth. When the index of consumer confidence falls on the rise, the trend is favorable to the U.S. dollar and instead unfavorable if the index spring down.

Saving Money on Your Laundry

Saving Money on Your Laundry

Having clean clothes is a must, but is continuing to get more and more expensive. Newer and more advanced products are coming out, and the price speaks for itself. Doing laundry is something you will always have to do, so you need to know how to maximize your savings.

Full Loads
Always make sure you are running full loads when doing laundry. The bigger the individual loads, the less loads you will end up doing in the long run, thus cutting down on the money you spend. You can also run your washer and dryer back to back so that you don't have to let the dryer heat up, which will cut down on the overall energy that is needed.

Putting your clothes on a clothesline instead of in the dryer can cut down on your energy bill immensely. Doing this will also be a lot more gentle on your clothes as well. If you don't live in an area where you can hang your clothes outside, you can purchase a drying rack and dry your clothes inside your home.

Using the right laundry detergent as well as the right amount is a necessity. The first thing to look at when purchasing detergent is to look at the number of loads that you are able to do with one bottle. You can spend the 5 or 10 minutes comparing prices and you will be amazed at the amount of money you save. Some companies add extra chemicals and additives that aren't needed which will also rack up the price in the end.

Using the right kind of detergent is only half of the 0problem. You need to know how much to use as well. Make sure you take your time and carefully read the directions that are given to you.

Wash Less
You should wash your clothes often, but it's not always a necessity to do it every time after you wear a shirt or sweatshirt. You will often notice that a lot of the clothing you wear doesn't get dirty and is almost perfectly clean. If you have any clothing that you don't really need to wash, then simply put it back in your closet. This will save you the money you would have spent cleaning clothes that are already clean, and leaves room in the washer for clothes that actually need to be in there.

Cold Water
Start washing your clothes in cold water instead of hot water. Cold water will still get your clothes clean, and will save you a lot of money in the long run. There are also special detergents that are specifically used for cold water washing, making this step even easier. 90% percent of the money you spend on washing your clothes doesn't come from the electricity to run your washer, but to actually heat your water.

Upgrade Your Washer and Dryer
With better technology becoming more abundant, the amount of money you spend on laundry can be cut down by simply having newer technology. You want to research the best product on the line that gives you energy efficiency as well as a better washing experience in less time. Some upgraded machines use about half of the water you would have originally used, and also fit bigger loads.

Homemade Laundry Products
There are many items around the house you can use to get out stains and help you out with your laundry. It just takes the right knowledge and resources. Here is a site that lists a variety of different laundry product alternatives.

Reducing Accidents in the Workplace: 5 Top Tips

Reducing Accidents in the Workplace: 5 Top Tips

Most businesses, whether big or small, will experience an accident within the workplace. You may not be able to eradicate all chances of an accident, but you can be diligent in reducing the risk. Below are 5 top tips to have in place which will help reduce the impact of an accident within your workplace.

1: Safety procedures

Ensure you have safety procedures in place and that your staff are well aware of them. This should include a company handbook which lists the steps that must take place in order to prevent accidents in the work place, as well as what to do in the event an accident does happen. Ensure that your staff has opportunities to be trained in first aid procedures. Regularly bring up health and safety procedures within staff meetings and have staff carry out risk assessments.

2: Inspect your premises

Make sure that you carry out a regular inspection of your premises to ensure that it meets health and safety regulations, and check that your staff are working with health and safety measures in mind. If you see any area or action that is a cause for concern, then discuss with the employee responsible to make sure they are aware of the problem and how to proceed. Then arrange a staff meeting in order to reiterate the importance of working within stipulated health and safety regulations.

3: Schedule regular training

Schedule regular training for your employees, such as how to lift heavy objects and how to store away products or equipment safely. Make sure they are well informed and that they fill out and sign forms stating that they have undertaken training and have understood what is expected of them. This will help support you in case there is any compensation dispute following an employee related accident.

4: Safety equipment

Make sure that you check on all your safety equipment to ensure that it is functioning property. This should include checks on all fire extinguishers, fire alarms and smoke alarms. Make sure that all escape routes are well planned and that you conduct regular fire alarm tests on equipment and with staff. Regularly check on first aid kits to ensure that they are well stocked.

5: Be well insured

Make sure you and your staff are adequately insured. Talk with your insurance broker about what your current insurance covers you and your staff for, and make sure you are comfortable about the level of cover you have. If in any doubt, then review your insurance policy and take out new or additional cover if required. Consider taking out additional cover such as income protection insurance, which will cover you if you experience any loss of earnings due to damage to your business. Make sure you have adequate business liability insurance and consider taking out an insurance package which will cover you for many possible outcomes. An insurance package deal will also cost less than taking out various separate options. Talk with your current insurance broker about what insurance packages are available to you and what they cover.

What Are Some of the Perks of Online Banking?

What Are Some of the Perks of Online Banking?

When you think of all the things we do online, it can be quite astounding. We communicate online through email and Skype. We watch movies through Netflix and YouTube. We find the restaurants we eat at through Yelp or social media. We take pictures of things we like on Instagram.

The internet has changed the way we do things and has, in many ways, made things much easier. Just think of the way we acquire information. What once may have taken hours can now easily be done in a few seconds with a Google search.

As we amend our internet habits, one of the things that may be a thing of the past is the brick and mortar bank. Online banking offers many different benefits that provide convenience and organization to banking customers. In one Forrester Survey, 47% of those polled said that they use online banking and the number of online banking households should see a jump to 63 million by the end of 2014. Here are some perks you'll find when opening up an account:

You never need to balance your checkbook again: Remember the days when you had to write every transaction down in your ledger. This would help you know what's gone in, what's gone out, and what still is pending. Online banking negates the need to balance your checkbook as you will have a real-time itemized listing of all your transactions on an intuitive platform.

You'll save on postage and fees: One of the biggest perks of opening up an online account is BillPay. Rather than mailing in a check, you can link your checking account up with your credit card or utilities account and pay your bill through your online account. In addition to saving on the postage, you'll also have the added advantage of avoiding late fees as you will receive periodic email reminders.

You'll never have to stand in line again: Have you ever tried making a transaction at your bank on a Friday afternoon? You might as well let your family know where you're going, so they don't send out a search party. If you're like most people, you're very busy, and a trip to the bank is an unnecessary use of your time. Online banking allows you to bank when you can, rather than within office hours.

For all of these reasons, you should certainly consider online banking if you haven't done so yet. When looking at particular banks to do business with, make sure to find one that offers free banking, an easy to understand platform, and purchase awards. This will allow you to take full advantage of the many perks of online banking.

Do You Know What a Bail In Is?

Do You Know What a Bail In Is?

Most of us are familiar with the term "bail out", as we have watched governments give almost endless amounts of money to large (too big to fail) banks to avoid them from becoming insolvent. Large bets made and balance sheets that are leveraged 40 to 1, in some cases, have destroyed the books of many large financial institutions. Much of that is hidden from the public due to the absolute panic that it would cause among the population.

Well, if you don't know what a "bail in" is, this would be a good time to become acquainted with it. The reason is because of what happened in Cyprus recently. How does a bail in work and who will be affected by it, is the question at hand.

For this example we will use an account balance of $150k. $250k is the current FDIC insurance amount in the US, but that was only done during the financial crisis of 2008 so that it would calm the fears of large account holders and not start a rush of money out of those accounts. Traditional FDIC has been $100k and that is the case for most of Europe. The $100k number will be coming back, make no mistake.

Okay, so you have $150K in a bank account, and the insured level of that account is $100K. You now have $50K in that bank that is above the insured limit. The not so unthinkable happens and your bank is found to be insolvent or bankrupt. What happens?

In some cases the bank would be flushed down the toilet, accounts would be transferred to other banks that would buy them, and the FDIC would cover the rest of the money exposed. Recently the government chose to extend credit or a loan (TARP) to those banks to make them whole again (bail out). Taking the example in Cyprus which has already been used and was explained by the Dutch Finance Minster as the new template going forward, this is what you should expect.

Of the 100 percent of money that is above and beyond the $100k, in this example $50K, 37.5% of that money would be taken from your account and converted into class a shares of stock in the bank itself. You just received stock in a bank that failed so what that is worth is basically nothing. Another 22.5% would have been held as a buffer for possible conversion to stock at a later date. An additional 30% percent would then be held as a frozen deposit, meaning it will show on your statement, but you cannot touch it. If your money is frozen in an insolvent bank, it is gone for the most part.

So 90% of your $50K is gone. Sounds bad right, but what if you had $300k or more in the account. Some of the depositors in Cyprus had hundreds of thousands and some millions or more. All gone. You now have $100k in your account and a boat load of worthless stock. That is the basic parameters of a bail in. The idea is that the depositors will now share in the loss that the banks have incurred due to bad investments on their part. This is what happened to the people of Cyprus.

The next question would be what if that amount of insured deposits is lowered? What then? Now, it is understood that you run a risk when you put more money into an account than it is insured for, but when did we get to the point when your money could be removed or frozen and that was that.

Remember this happened almost overnight in Cyprus, and even though there were signs of it coming. Many account holders that inquired about the instability in the system were told that there accounts were safe and that they had nothing to worry about. A complete bold-faced lie just days before this took place.

This legislation has been slipped into the system in many countries including the US and you have not heard a word about it. They call that a media blackout on the subject.

This may only affect a small portion of personal account holders. However, what about business accounts holding that much money and more? One must keep in mind the term "slippery slope" and how your relationship with your bank is changing by the day. Banks were once safe havens for depositors, but it would seem those days are over.

Refinancing Your Mortgage

Refinancing Your Mortgage

So, you have been hearing about the historically low- interest rate buzz for refinancing your mortgage over the last several years, and now you have decided it is your turn to take advantage of these offers. Where do you start? First thing you want to do is look at your financial mortgage health and make sure you are really to make that leap. What is your financial mortgage health in refinancing your mortgage it is a set of questions that your mortgage company is going to ask, and you want to have the right answers for this test. These questions are:

1. Have I been employed for the last two years at the same employer without any breaks in employment?

2. Is my current debt at a minimum level not more than 30% of my total credit limits?

3. Do I have at least three months of reserve mortgage payments in my bank accounts?

4. Have I check my credit report for inaccuracies?

5. Do I know where my last two paycheck stubs are, last two months bank statements, most recent mortgage statement, social security card, and the last two years Federal Tax Returns with their w-2 statements included are stored.

6. Have I not been late on any debts including the mortgage in the last 24 months?

If you can answer yes to each of these five questions you are probably ready to start the pursuit of refinancing your mortgage. Now the question is where are you going to apply for that reduction in interest rate you are seeking? The best place to start is your current mortgage holder. Dig out that mortgage statement look for the mortgage company's toll- free telephone number and give them a call. Before you give the representative any new personal information you want information from the mortgage company about new mortgage refinance programs.

The representative will provided you an array of information so you need a pen and paper to write it all down you are still in homework mode. Not only are you wanting to know about the lowest interest rate program available for you are wanting to know if they offer to current mortgage customers a zero point and zero loan origination fee program fee as well. What are points and origination fees? These are fees that the mortgage company will charge to increase their yield of profit for the loan it is usually from one to three percent of the mortgage amount you are seeking. Being that you are current customer, and probably already paid it the first time that you took out the mortgage you should expect to have these fees waived or drastically reduced.

This is the whole purposed of calling your current mortgage company first to save money. The representative will attempt to have you to start the loan application at that point now that they were friendly and courteous to you and gave you all of the parameters on what to expect in refinancing your mortgage. Be polite, and let them know that you need a day to think this information over, and that you will call the mortgage company back to start the process in the next few days. The representative that you are speaking is not on commission so don't worry that you have just wasted their time. Answering your questions is what they are paid by the mortgage company to do. If the quote that you have received is competitive you will be calling them back, and starting the mortgage refinancing process any way you just want to make sure of the information.

Next step is to do a little shopping around so open up that computer there are variety of mortgage companies, and banks out there looking to get your business. As you surf their websites you will see mortgage companies that are advertising their loan programs. Browse through the programs keeping in mind that these are the mortgage company's teaser programs to get you to call them. Read through some of the lenders information and compare your notes to your mortgage company's quote. If you see a program that may be better than the program offered by your mortgage company give them a call and ask them the same questions that you asked your mortgage company writing down their information as well. Repeat this process at least one or two more times. There is some work involved here but you are working to save yourself money here. It is the same as getting an extra paycheck just larger seeing that you will probably refinance your mortgage for a new mortgage of 15 to 30 years so your savings could be tens of thousands of dollars over that time period in savings from the quote of other lenders. Keep in mind the mortgage representative you are speaking to does this every day you don't so they are ahead of the game all you have is your wits, and competitor information to compete against them.

Now that you are armed with several mortgage companies' data you have one more thing to do before deciding who is going to getting that next call to start the mortgage refinancing process. You need to know what your house is worth. Why would you need this information you are not selling your home at this point. The reason for this is the mortgage company is going to estimate the value of your home against the loan that you are seeking. They are trying to determine a loan to value ratio to know what loan program to fit you in as there are qualification parameters. A good place to start looking for this information is back on the internet again. The lower the loan to value ratio the better you are in to get the best loan program. The target you are aiming for is a number less than 80%. If you are not able to reach that goal the mortgage company still has programs to assist you.

Armed with all of this information you are ready to make the decision as to who will get the call to refinancing your mortgage, and fill out that credit application with. So, good luck.

Finding Grants - How to Do It And More

Finding Grants - How to Do It And More

What is a grant?

A grand is a non-repayable fund disbursed by grant makers, often a corporation, trust, a foundation or government department, often - but not always - a business, individual, non-profit entity, or an educational institution, according to Wikipedia.

Finding grants

You have to write a proposal or an application to get a grant, and you need to give your grant maker some level of reporting and compliance. It is important to submit your application by yourself or wait for the funder to ask you. You do not have to repay the money you get in a grant even though some considerations about how to spend your money might apply, along with some other contract obligations, but there is no need to pay the money back in a grant, according to Valerie J. Mann, in her book, Getting Your Pie´s Share.

Now I am going to talk about the different sources of grants:

1. Directories of foundations. You have to submit a letter of inquiry throughout the year. They will make their decisions mostly based on your personal conditions, and they will not give you large grants most of the time. It is important to know that foundations make grants mostly to nonprofit organizations.

2. The government. You just have to go to grants.gov, or to the websites of the Small Business Administration, the IRS, the Department of Commerce, and other government entities. Read all the information you need about getting a grant from a government department in its website.

3. Corporation directories. These directories will offer you information about companies that make grants to businesses, individuals, nonprofit organization, and other types of entities.

4. City, state, and county directories with listings of grants for individuals, businesses, nonprofits.

5. The "Government" section of your local telephone book is another potential source of business start-up grants, home buying grants, or any other type of grant.

How to apply for a grant

1. Decide that type of grant you need. The grant you want might be for research, training, development, or education. You have to make up your mind about the type of grant you need because your efforts will be wasted if you do not know what you want.

2. Find the potential grantors. Write up a list of potential grantors and the more there are, the greater your possibilities of getting the grant you seek.

3. Go to the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) and get your tax-exempt status if you want to get grants from some foundations. You will not get a grant for a business from a foundation.

4. Write up your grant proposal. You will need to use the form of your grantor if it has one. It is important to type each entry of the form. You have to avoid preparing a handwritten application.

5. Submit the proposal to each one of the grantors of your list, if you are allowed to make several grant applications, just do it. It is essential to deliver the proposal the way the grantor wants it - email, fax, postal mail.

6. Keep a positive attitude. If your proposal is rejected, keep your positive attitude because you just have to submit the proposal to another grantor.

7. It is essential to deliver more than you have promised in the proposal.

God Sees Our Challenges At Work

God Sees Our Challenges At Work

In Genesis 31, Jacob talked to his wives, Rachel and Leah, about the challenges he was having working with their father. In all the years that Jacob worked for Laban, most of the arrangements proved unfair to Jacob. It seemed that he just could not get a break.

It was probably even harder to deal with the fact that this was his father-in-law. Not only was Laban a bad boss, but he was also family! Those types of relationships are often much more difficult to walk away from.

Be still

But Jacob held on. He stuck through the hard times for years. Then, one night, an angel of God came to him in a dream. He reaffirmed for Jacob that God had seen his struggles. He was also given confirmation that now was the time to leave and return back home.

Jacob was a great example to us of how to deal with our challenges. We can almost be sure that there were many times when Jacob was slighted by Laban and ready to leave. We, too, can find ourselves ready to quit a job and walk away as soon as something does not go as we may have liked.

But rash decisions are often bad decisions. Proverbs 14:17 tells us, "A quick-tempered man does foolish things." (NIV) Can we think back on how many times we wished that we could take back a decision that we made in anger and in haste?

When we are careful and thoughtful before making decisions, we are usually better able to live with the consequences. When we take time, we are able to pray and meditate on the situation. It gives us an opportunity to hear from God on the direction He wants us to take with respect to that circumstance.

That's my daddy!

Proverbs 20:22 confirms our need for patience. It reads, "Do not say, 'I'll pay you back for this wrong!' Wait for the LORD, and he will deliver you." (NIV)

As weak and irrational human beings, we always think that we can solve our own problems. In most cases, our problems are bigger than us. But we have to remember that we are children of the King. There is nothing that He cannot handle. In fact, there is nothing that He is unwilling to handle on our behalf.

We can relate our relationship with our Heavenly Father to our relationship with our own children. Is there anything that we would not do for them?

Now, we do have to keep kairos time in mind. Although we live in a world of instant gratification, God does not. In fact, we've probably been spoiled too much by the internet, digital and wireless gadgets, and drive-thrus. God is a king, but He does not operate like Burger King. It will not always be "our way, right away."

Remember, Jacob's ordeal lasted years and years. We can look at other Biblical figures whose challenges also lasted years. Abraham waited years to have an heir. Joseph spent the remainder of his childhood and his early adult years away from his family. The Israelites wandered in the desert for 40 years. In each of these situations, God showed up. It just was not right away.

As we move forward, let us meditate on Proverbs 15:3. It says, "The eyes of the Lord are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good." (NIV) He's watching, and He will deliver us. We must be still enough to wait on Him, listen for His direction, and be ready to move when the time is right.

Save Time With More and Powerful Features in Enterprise Solutions V14

Save Time With More and Powerful Features in Enterprise Solutions V14

Our last article focused on Pro/Premier. However, features I'm most excited about this year are in Enterprise Solutions. In fact, a couple have been on my wish list for quite some time, so I'm happy to finally see them in the software (job costing, customizing expense columns and price breaks based on quantities).

Customize Columns on Expense Transactions - If you've been following me for a while, you know I like to use custom fields. But what has been frustrating is that you could not pull in a custom field on an expense transaction, such as a check, bill or credit card transaction. In fact, I sometimes recommended third party software as a solution for some clients. You also couldn't pull in a sales rep and for those who pay commissions based on a net profit, which was important. With Enterprise 14, you can now do both! I can check this off my wish list - finally!!

New Job Cost Reports - If you have larger projects, these two new reports are often high on your need to know list.

Committed Costs by Job Report - costs incurred for a job but for which you haven't billed the customer. Very important and challenging to track for large projects.

Est. Cost comes from your estimate

Act. Cost represents the costs you have already billed the customer

Committed Costs are those amounts that appear on unpaid Purchase Orders for a job (we were never able to pull this into a job cost report before)

Unpaid wages come from your time sheets that have not yet been pulled into paychecks (does not include burden of labor/overhead)

Total Cost is the Act. Cost amount plus Committed Costs and Unpaid Wages

Remaining Cost represents the Est. Cost amount minus the Total Cost amount

This report depends upon you following the Job Costing flow - Job Estimate to Purchase Orders to Time Keeping and Progress Billing.

WIP Summary Report - Whether you just need this information at year end or for percent completion or to help you with over/under billing, this report is a big timesaver. You can even filter this by Sales Rep or Job Status!

The Earned Revenue column shows the amount you've earned for the job but haven't billed the customer yet.

Lots of Timesaving Inventory Features - including Assemblies and Price Breaks!

Easily edit Cost, Price, Markup and Margin - right in the Inventory Center!

Or in the Add/Edit Multiple List.

Inventory Min and Max replaces Reorder Point - This gives you flexibility AND the ability for Enterprise to help suggest a quantity to order!

Enterprise can suggest what you need to order and how much with Create Auto PO's! Once Enterprise knows your minimum and maximum quantities, plus what's already on order, you can easily create a Purchase Order with the quantities suggested for you!

Automatically build subassemblies - if you deal with assemblies and sub-assemblies (an example might be a bike with subassemblies for the frame and gears), in the past you've had to find each assembly, build it, and then you could build the bike. Now you can do this all in one step - a huge timesaver for many!

Replacing components in assemblies - We've all seen parts change with our cars and appliances, whether a part is discontinued or you use a different supplier. Now you can easily replace one part with another! (Actually, that "Where used" feature can be helpful in many ways.)

Auto Calculate cost field for assembly - Save time now that you can opt to have the cost for an assembly automatically be updated.

Simplify your various pricing options with Intuit's powerful new Advanced Pricing. I've wanted to see price breaks based on quantity for a long time and now you can! With Advanced Pricing you can create Quantity Discounts and Price Rules (which replace the Price Levels) based on multiple criteria. You turn Advanced Pricing on in the Company Preferences; this is an annual subscription program, like Advanced Inventory, the Full Service Plan and payroll.

Quantity Discount

With Advanced Pricing turned on, you can specify price based on quantity purchased and you can have several discount levels. You access this feature in the New or Edit Item screen. This is a long-needed feature for wholesalers and retailers. This also applies to services so if your customers get a price break based on the number of hours or some other unit, you can do that as well.

Price Rules

There are 2 basic steps:

  1. Set your conditions - The conditions can apply to Items, Customers, Vendors, Sales Rep. Then based on your selection, you decide if it's a type, specific name or some other criteria. Notice the plus sign so you can have multiple criteria.
  2. Set your date range, if there are limits. This is great if you have a sale or there are vendor promos.

There's lots of flexibility in the pricing options - you can even have price overrides and/or exclusions!

Advanced Pricing is $399 per year AND you must have your Full Service Plan active (amount varies depending on number of licenses).

If job costing or inventory are important aspects to your business, I would take a hard look at Enterprise this year. You can start with as little as one license. These new features eliminate the need for time consuming workarounds.

Why Property Appraisers Are Important

Why Property Appraisers Are Important

In this modern world, it has become more than important to appoint a real estate appraiser at the time of performing any dealing related to any property or asset. In which category you fall in case of a property dealing- buyer or seller, regardless to say, a property appraiser is the most needed to you and essential for the property transaction. In this case, a skilled appraiser will arrive and make a thorough examination of your home or property to estimate the most accurate value of that. The appraiser performs these actions in order to defend the lender, seller or purchaser, all of those who are mainly engaged in a property deal. Here is an informative discussion regarding the importance of a real estate appraiser.

Exploring the accurate value of an asset

Common sense says that a seller will definitely want to have a high price for the property that is going to be sold. It is because that will increase the profit for the seller. For a purchaser, the buyer has a wish to know that whether the asking price of a particular property is right or not. Furthermore, a lender wants to know the actual value of the property because this will help him to know that the money that is going to be loaned will make a better business deal or not. If the accurate value of the property is very low, the lender may think that the property may not earn future profit.

Through the actions performed by a knowledgeable real estate appraiser, all of the parties can desire for a perfect value of the asset that will be fixed considering some important factors like the market condition, neighborhood, developments and size of the property.

Why an appraiser is important for a buyer

A property appraiser helps buyers through providing a valuable report based on the study performed for estimating the real value of a property. Usually an experienced appraiser keeps track of all the recent record of the price list for the properties that have been sold before in your locality. This price list mainly helps to identify whether the asking price of the property is excessive or not. Besides, the appraiser will also give you explanations for the perfect value of the property. This will assist the buyer to take the right decision about the further procedure of the deal.

Why an appraiser is important for a seller

For a seller, a real estate appraiser assists in various ways in order to earn more profits from the business deal. A perfect appraiser will suggest the seller whether the asking price is right or not. Besides, an appraiser will also tell if there is any need for an improvement of the property. Sometimes, a little improvement can assist the seller to earn more profit.

Tax Planning Strategies Small Business Owners Must Know

Tax Planning Strategies Small Business Owners Must Know

It is a fact that it takes years for most small businesses to earn the profit they need. Apart from the possible cut-throat competition in the respective industries to which they belong, they could be paying for numerous obligations. One of these is taxes. If you are an entrepreneur looking for a relief regarding this matter, the tax planning strategies contained in this article are just right for you to read.

Do A Thorough Research - Taxes payment dues imposed by the government for different reasons. Compliance to their payments must be taken seriously as grave penalties maybe charged against you for inappropriate filings or missed deadlines. In connection to this you must be well-versed about the differences between and among sales tax, payroll tax and income tax. Ignorance of how they are properly computed will not be honoured by the government.

Hire An Outside Consultant - This procedure includes a number of details which can cause headache to anyone who are not used to understanding them. In fact, misinterpretation of data and miscalculations on your part can cause you to spend more than what you ought to pay. What's worse, your business license could be cancelled if the government suspects you falsifying your records. To avoid any of these, hire a consultant who can walk you through the right path of computations. This one of the best tax planning tips you must observe.

Track Possible Deductions - Do you know other deductions which may be taken from your gross income? If not, research. Deductions in the form of automobile, entertainment, home office and travel expenses may be helpful on your part.

Know Your Business Classification - You read that right. Some entrepreneurs do not even know under which category their business should belong. If your business is classified correctly, your dues maybe reduced. Why? Tax rates vary from one business to another. Know the liabilities due your business.

Be Mindful Of Your Due Dates - Due dates are important for all tax planning strategies. Due dates are fixed. However, there are certain circumstances where extension of the due dates may be requested. Do not get your hopes too high though because extensions are not always approved. Keen about getting delays? Try purchasing real estate and pieces of equipment before the new year comes. It can give you some more time to prepare. As you do that, observe advance collection of payments and sale of assets.

Discuss Potential Monthly Payments - Sometimes paying a part of your total dues on a monthly basis helps remove the pressure off your shoulder. This is one of the tax planning strategies that most tax payers fail to give a second look. For your information, there are varied payment plans which you can tap in accordance to your needs and eligibility. On the other hand, these plans come with added interest rates. Study first whether your earnings can afford the monthly interest rates or not. You would not want to have a bigger debt right? After all, reducing your payable is what you need.

All About Skip Tracing

All About Skip Tracing

Skip tracing is a service performed to find the whereabouts of a certain person or people. This is usually done by debt collectors, process servers, bail bond enforcers, repossession agents, private investigators, attorneys, police detectives, and journalists. People who skip payments or are avoiding contact often give false contact information or abandon their life to go into hiding.

The goal of skip tracing is to collect as much information about the subject as possible. The information about the missing person is analyzed, reduced, and verified. The missing person may have their whereabouts included in the data, usually obscured by the amount of information.

Skip tracing is more than simple research. It is a method handled by professionals who skip trace for a living. They employ methods of social engineering, down to calling or visiting neighbors, employers, and other known contacts to ask about the subject. Public and private databases cross-reference skip tracing information with people the missing person may have been within the past.

There are many resources a skip tracer can use to locate a missing person. These include phone number databases, credit reports, loan applications, credit card applications, job application information, criminal background checks, any utility bills, social security, disability, and public tax information.

There are three different types of skip persons. The first is unintentional, meaning they are not trying to hide from anyone but simply missed a responsibility. The second is intentional, when a person is trying to hide from a specific agency. The third is fraud, where the missing person is trying to hide from everyone.

There are certain qualities for each of these types of missing people. Unintentional skips most likely relocated for a job or are unemployed and living with friends or relatives. They may be unaware of their debt, unsure of their options, and possibly low on cash.

Intentional skips are aware they have debt and cannot or will not pay it. This type of person most likely has excessive debts in other places. Friends and relatives are most likely helping them hide from skip tracing. Their problems may be bigger than debt.

Fraudulent skips often never have any intention of paying their debt. They could be hiding from law enforcement or avoiding child support payments. Friends and relatives most likely have lost contact with this person. Collection from these people requires a harder approach.

There are many different tools to access when skip tracing. All previous applications for loans, credit, rentals, and jobs are helpful. Previous utility bills, phone numbers, addresses, personal contacts, and criminal backgrounds will also be beneficial in tracking a person. Their social security number and public tax information goes a long way.

The internet, believe it or not, can be the answer to skip tracing. Popular search engines, phone and address directories, and free tracking websites are all available. Public records can also be found on the internet, including marriages, divorces, civil actions, criminal actions, and foreclosures.

An all-in-one solution for skip tracing is to go through a credit bureau. A credit bureau's basic search can provide their name, age, date of birth, social security number, current address, phone number, historical addresses, aliases, and date of death. All that is needed for a credit bureau search is a social security number.

A trace detail report can be requested from a credit bureau report to provide detailed information on relatives and neighbors. It is a secondary search accessed from a basic search. It can provide additional phone and contact information for relatives and neighbors.

A credit bureau offers all kinds of different skip tracing services that allow the missing person to be found, no matter what problem is causing them to go into hiding. Most offer a driver's license search, business search, phone and address lookups, identity verifications, criminal and court searches, assets and financial data, and identity and credit protection packages.

Why Financial Literacy Education Will Save Our Nation From Economic Ruin

Why Financial Literacy Education Will Save Our Nation From Economic Ruin

Over-borrowing among students happens when they are not educated on loan repayment options and paying for college. In other words, a lack of financial literacy can create a series of debt problems that can last a lifetime.

You can put a lot of blame on the unbelievable costs of college that have contributed to the mammoth numbers of outstanding student loan debts. There is, however, another thing that has a direct impact on this grave situation - the level of financial literacy among students. Being naïve in this situation leaves them unable to cope with the confusing maze of financial aid and student loans, leaving them in financial hardships even after finishing school.

According to an article on USNews.com, the national student loan debt toppled $1.1 trillion. According to this article, more than $26,000 is accrued by each student upon graduating. Repayments of these debts are extremely hard because the borrowers are already in financial constraints and have no savings. At the time of borrowing, these students don't know what they're getting themselves into and are not educated on their repayment options.

When discussed with the director of policy and federal relations at the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, Megan McClean, she replied: "It comes back to a financial literacy issue and making sure students understand what they're getting into, how much they're borrowing and understanding there are different options for them at the end."

Back in August of this year, President Barack Obama pledged that the Department of Education will be reaching out to struggling borrowers and enroll them in what will be an income-based repayment plan. The sad reality is that barely 10% of the millions of federal loan borrowers are enrolled in such a plan. While talking about these plans, McClean added, "Those programs really are under-utilized when you consider how many students we have going into default."

It has also been seen as a common practice for these students to give up repaying altogether because of the confusion in repayment options. Defaulting on their student loans can seriously damage their credit scores and also cause cuts in wages. Lauren Asher, president of the Institute for College Access and Success believes that keeping the default situation unresolved can ultimately take bites out of the Social Security checks of such students.

"It's crucial that borrowers are getting good and timely information about repayment options before they fall so far behind that they default. They need to know that these plans exist," Asher said. She further added, "The default rates that just came out are just the tip of the iceberg." Asher's experience suggests that most of the defaults done by borrowers are due to not knowing of any flexible options of repayment. Borrowers also think that they can get away by defaulting. What they don't understand is that once they default, they can never enroll in a similar program ever again!

Many experts believe that financial education should be started at a much earlier stage. Some states have also mandated including financial education to as early as K-12 curriculum. However, in a 2011 survey by the Council for Economic Education, not more than 20% of the teachers believe they are competent in educating students on personal finance.

The corporate responsibility leader at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), Shannon Schuyler also shared her opinion on financial literacy. In 2012, PwC made a pledge to invest a comprehensive $160 million in educating students, teachers and parents on the financial issues.

"You have a certain number of states that have mandated financial literacy, and we hope that those continue to grow. But even in those states where it's been mandated that students have (financial education) before they graduate from high school, those teachers don't know how to teach it," said Schuyler.

She further discussed the importance of financial literacy, which can affect where you'll end up living, what items you'll be able to buy and how soon you'll be able to consider starting your own family. The whole idea of financial literacy is to groom individuals into becoming better equipped to enjoy their life without having to worry about a decision they made without understanding the consequences.

Why Should You Choose Binary Options Trading

Why Should You Choose Binary Options Trading

Binary options is the virtual version of a trading experience. There are many Forex trading platforms that allow users to trade on different assets and commodities. Although the basic concepts are same that the trader picks an asset and earns a profit on it; but the procedure and internal working are completely different. The trader does not purchase any shares and securities; they only choose the asset and make their decision regarding the out and call. There are many benefits of binary options trading that contribute to its popularity, such as:

Planning Opportunities

Unlike traditional market, binary options platforms provide complete information to the trader. They also provide educational opportunities to the users. The working of the options and the trader impacts are communicated to the user before a trade is made. This allows the user to make a plan regarding his approach to earn profit.

Expiry Time

In binary options the put or call is made on price predictions. Expiry time is the period after which the option is no longer valid. The user can choose from the variety of expiry times; which is best suitable according to his trading strategy.

Simple and Clear Working

The platform working is clear. There is no ambiguity about how it works and how the platform earns. There are no hidden surprises; the users can attain all the information from the platform. its simplicity makes trading easier and better.

Experience Is Not Important

In a normal trading market, experience matters to a great degree. Even if the trader does not have the knowledge, they need to know the tips and tricks that prevail in that market. In binary options, experience does not matter. The user just has to make the right predictions according to the information provided.

Limited Risk

The amount the user deposits determines the extent to which loss can be suffered. So, unlike traditional trading the level of risk is variable. Deposit adjustments provide the trader opportunities to decrease loss.

Variety of Assets

There are multiple assets that the trader can choose from. It includes currencies, commodities and stocks. The trader has the freedom to trade in an asset whenever its market is open.

Stable Rates

Unlike an average market, the rate does not fluctuate. It is predetermined by the provider according to the market conditions and the asset. This allows the user to be prepared for profit or loss.


The user does not have to go to a specific place in order to trade in binary options. As long as, computer or such a device is available with a network connection, any person can trade in it.

No Legal Restrictions

The law does not have any provisions regarding binary options trading. There are regulatory authorities, but they restrict the platform activity, not the users.

Binary options trading is the new and effective method of trading, which is suitable for all types of people.

The Importance of Enterprise Investment Schemes

The Importance of Enterprise Investment Schemes

The DECC or the Department for Energy and Climate Change has found that the United Kingdom government's policies to increase energy efficiency has already started to reduce household bills. In order to further the policies there are some niche operators that specialize in equity fund raising and corporate finance for small companies. They place a strong emphasis on enterprise investment schemes that are funded by the government. These programs give attractive EIS tax relief to encourage people to put money in small-cap unquoted companies. The benefit can be claimed on the value of the investment. Many people would consider putting their money in such firms quite risky. It is because some of these companies might just be starting their business and one would not know if they are going to succeed or fail. However, the lure of tax benefits tends to attract many investors.

These schemes are also necessary to stimulate the energy efficiency programs that the government is trying to popularize. There are many people who have plenty of questions regarding energy efficiency policies and how they are playing a role in cutting household bills. The government of the United Kingdom has pledged that by the year 2020, a considerable portion of the energy supply will be generated from renewable sources. At the present time the portion is not very high. But by implementing these programs the goal of increasing the use of renewable energy will be met and at the same time reduce the bill of the average household.

The renewable heat incentive is one such program. It was initiated in 2011. The main goal of this program was to increase the production, and use, of renewable heating technologies such as biomass boilers. Enterprise investment schemes like these are an opportunity for interested parties to put their money in as asset backed EIS companies that specialize in operating and installing renewable heating systems for commercial properties. Many people will find this offer very interesting since the renewable heat market is expanding by the day. The other point is that they will also get a minimum quarterly heat payment from clients, and a RHI tariff which will provide a consistent, index-linked income stream for at least twenty years.

In light of such information it seems like there is no better time for people to put their money in enterprise investment schemes. Another reason that these programs are so important is because global gas prices are increasing by the day. There is little that governments can do to stem this tide. This is subsequently having its effect on household expenses. If the prices continue to rise as they are now then a day will come when energy will be beyond the budget of low and middle income households. That is why so much urgency is being shown in the implementation of these programs. People who avail of the enterprise investment schemes find that there are immense benefits to the economy, small companies, the encouragement of new energy sources and themselves.

Commercial Real Estate - Make Your Money When You Buy!

Commercial Real Estate - Make Your Money When You Buy!

It doesn't matter if you have been in the real estate investing business for 2 months or 20 years. We all know that we make the money in real estate when we buy, especially a commercial income producing property. Though the buying process is one of the most important components of investing, many entrepreneurs don't have a clue how to determine the true value of an income producing property or it's potential. Here are some simple tips to help you build more confidence in taking action.

Leave your emotions at home:

Many investors find a beautiful property where the seller promises the world of returns. Because of this beautiful
property they "fall in love" with and end up paying more than the true property value. The real pain begins when the property does not perform the way it was promised in that pretty picture and the deficit begins to hurt the cash flow. Investing in commercial real estate is like investing in a business. You find the true value in the income it generates vs. the costs associated with running and growing it. Don't fall in love with the property; fall in love with the numbers.

Let the seller prove it to you:

How did you arrive at that price? Don't just take the seller's word for their opinion of the property value; ask
them to prove it to you. You need to evaluate the property numbers to determine the true value, so begin by asking the seller or representative to provide you with all of the supporting evidence that proves the value of the property (financial statements, tax returns, bank statements, rent rolls etc).

Once they provide you with their case, you must always verify that the information is accurate and up to date. If
you are unsure of some of the information they give you, be honest and ask for more clarification. What you are looking for is the actual operating expenses and the actual rental income this subject property is producing.

Here are some common expenses for commercial properties.

• Insurance: Liability
• Insurance: Workers Comp
• Insurance: Property
• Advertising
• Legal/ Accounting
• Maintenance Labor
• Rent Discounts
• Repairs
• Reserves (Capital Improvements)
• Supplies
• License and Permits
• Property Taxes
• Management: Onsite
• Management: Offsite
• Telephone
• Utilities: Gas, Electric, Water & Sewer and Trash

In most cases you will not find capital reserves in the seller's numbers. This really should be addressed in your initial evaluation during your due diligence period. You should create a budget of the essential property improvements that will have to be executed over time to increase the property value. Please note that the operating expenses do not include the debt service (mortgage).

Know what ROI you want to make:

You need to decide what kind of returns you want to make as an investor. These returns can come in several ways.(Monthly Income, Tax Savings, Appreciation, Rental Increase, Mortgage Pay Down and Equity Build Up etc.) After you come up with the actual income the property is currently generating and deducting from that the anticipated expenses including your reserve budget for property improvements, you will come up with what is called the Net Operating Income (NOI).

Here is a simple formula that you can use. If you take the NOI and divide it by your potential purchase price you
will get the Capitalization Rate (Cap Rate). This rate tells you the projected annual rate of return you would receive if you would pay cash for the property. As an example, if the NOI is $100,000 and your purchase price is $1,000,000 the Cap Rate would be 10%. You can also divide your NOI by the preferred Cap Rate to determine the purchase price you would be willing to pay.

So here is the big question... What is a good Cap Rate? The answer is really up to the buyer and the ROI they desire to make. Some buyers say they want a minimum Cap Rate of 10, others at 7 and some at 12 (Many times their Cap Rates are too unrealistic in my opinion). By knowing what you want to make and creating your own criteria you will have a clearer picture when evaluating properties.

Note: Because we don't always pay cash for commercial property, we have to dig deeper on the numbers. Whenever you are using any kind of financing (debt), you will want to find what your Cash on Cash return is.

Start by calculating your debt service, subtract it from your NOI and you will have your cash flow before taxes. You can then divide that annual cash flow by the amount of capital you have invested to get a quick snapshot of your possible pre-tax annual Cash on Cash return.

Can you add value?:

At times you will find some deals that appear to be just shy of your desired returns. When this happens you
will want to take a closer look to see if the property cash flow can be increased in a short period of time. Here are some examples. If you are looking at a property that has leases $35 to $50 under market and through your due diligence you know that you could increase the rents in a short time and increase your NOI, can that become a higher Cap Rate?

What if you came back to the seller and told them that you want to close but in order to move forward the financial institution or lending source requires that the seller notify tenants of a fair market rent increase in order to get the cash flow to their satisfaction before closing. What if through your research you find that the expenses can be lowered by 25% in just a few short months because the seller was not being prudent about his or her spending?

Another factor to take into account is how much your financing will cost. Depending on the seller's situation you
may even find that the seller is willing to owner finance 15-30% of the sales price at a reasonable rate. This leverage may offer you higher returns now and over time.

Take action:

Though what I have given you in this article is a simple starting point, if you don't take action and start making offers, running numbers and putting properties under contract you, will never get to the next level. There is an old saying that says "Think long and strike fast." This is how you should approach real estate investing. Think on the opportunities that you have in front of you and when the numbers work, "strike fast." If you don't feel comfortable or don't have the time to seek out these investment opportunities look to invest with buying groups. Many of our clients love working with us because all the work is done for them. They just evaluate the final numbers and if it works they invest. Regardless of which direction you want to take, when you approach investing, you must leave your emotions at home.

Advantages And Disadvantages Of Being A Trader In Forex Markets

Advantages And Disadvantages Of Being A Trader In Forex Markets

The forex markets have been popular through the years because of the huge sums being traded on a daily basis. Certain surveys show that being a trader in any of these is disliked because of the many financial requirements that come along. However, wheels have turned and those who are interested in easy money-making opportunities found a haven in them. And with the aid of technology, everything about trading became speedier and more accurate.

There are number of advantages to explore once you decide to do business in here. The first of these is 24 hours exchange for six consecutive days in a week. Flexibility of work hours is enjoyed those who toil in the forex markets. Depending on their preferred time and enthusiasm to learn the breaking news, brokers can push through with or withdraw their transactions any time.

Securing all your profits to oneself is another benefit which regular trading practitioners enjoy in the industry. This is made possible by the free of commission principle. Are you worried about the fluctuations and surges which happen every now and then? While this is very true, no broker leaves empty-handed because there is always an opportunity to earn profits. And this is regardless of the currency prices too.

Here are additional benefits which may come from this profession. Independence is evident in the currency market place even though certain economic use can affect the rates. Similar to a stock market trader, a forex broker can make a fortune even at the comfort of your own home. The starting capital would not be a huge problem because a small amount will do to get started in the industry. A generous flow of profits may follow soon after a reliable system is created in accordance to your resources and skills.

It is a given though that in everything, there are accompanying disadvantages which can limit the flow of profits. Investment lost is the first negative possibility which can take place. Whether you trade carefully or not, losses are bound to happen but they are manageable especially when you make calculated moves. In the case of rooting for bigger profits, allocating a big amount for capitals is needed. This goes to show that you must only trade the amount which you can afford to lose should your strategies bring about negative results. Lastly, monitoring the movement of the currencies could be boring as you do it day in and day out. The boredom may even increase if you are trading from home.

To be a successful trader in the forex markets definitely come at a certain price - hard work, consistency, diligence and other positive traits. Disadvantages may outnumber the advantages if you allow them too. Being determined to do otherwise can change the future awaiting for you in the industry. Secure the right tools. Learn the right strategies from the experts and practice them. Do not be scared to try different possibilities and you would definitely establish your position in the market place.

Maintain Your Composure At Work Even When Conflicts Arise

Maintain Your Composure At Work Even When Conflicts Arise

When Jacob was confronted by Laban about stealing the gods in Genesis 31, he decided to let out all of his frustrations. He wanted Laban to understand just how faithful of an employee he had been while working for him. He also pointed out that Laban was unreasonable as an employer.

We, too, will face challenges at work. Some may be short-lived, while others will linger much longer. We have to be careful not to give in to the pressure. One poorly-timed outburst could cost us more than we can afford to pay. In our current economy, are we really in a position to walk away from a job? How easy would it be to find another one?

Let's look at two challenges that Jacob points out that may also arise in our own workplace.

Faithful Employees May Have to Bear the Loss

In Jacob's time tending Laban's flock, he took pride in his results. As he mentions in the verse, he never brought the bad, damaged animals back to Laban. He bore the loss himself, and only gave Laban the best.

We should also approach our work in the same manner. We should give our bosses or clients our best, even if we have to take a loss behind the scenes.

For instance, we may have to take a financial "loss" when our company is unable or unwilling to reimburse for a work-related expense. We may have to reframe the situation in our minds. Rather than arguing about it, we can consider the possibility that this short-term expense could have a long-term, positive impact on our career and our productivity.

Bosses May Demand More

Laban expected Jacob to pay for things that were stolen. We, too, may have an employer that is very demanding and uncompromising. Should we really be held accountable for things that have been stolen?

There can be valid arguments for both sides. However, if we are in a management position, our job description includes maximizing profit and minimizing losses. When a company incurs a loss, it is not just the employer that is impacted. The entire firm will suffer the consequences. Lower profits mean that less is available for payroll. We should ask ourselves, Is there something that we can do to minimize company losses?

Be the Best

God expects the best from us in all circumstances. Paul shared this concept with the Colossians when he wrote, "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men." (Colossians 3:23 NIV)

We must take this instruction with us into our workplaces as a reminder of how we are to approach each obstacle. While our bosses may not always have our best interests at heart, that is not our concern. Let God handle that. Paul continued in his letter to the Colossians, "Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for his wrong." (Colossians 3:25 NIV)

We will never know what ultimate good God has in store for our faithfulness and obedience. There may be someone that we come in contact with that needs to know Jesus. Christianity is not something that we should turn on and off. As His lights in this dark world, we should always be ready to represent.

What Does A Growth Mindset Have To Do With Income?

What Does A Growth Mindset Have To Do With Income?

Have you heard about this quick little test?

Have somebody hold their arms out from their sides. Get them to think of something as depressing as hell... give them a few seconds. Then try to push their arms down to their sides.

Then, do the same thing again, however this time get them to think of something that makes them feel magnificent, powerful.

Was it more difficult to push their arms down the second time?

What if I told that the difference between you being cash strapped and having piles of money was all in your head?

I know what you're all thinking. Well let's pretend I do.

"What's this guy tryin to sell now?"

"Here's another one of those stupid schemes that'll make that guy rich and I'll never get anywhere."

So let's cut the crap.

Growth Mindset and Wealth

I suppose there's a lot of that kinda thing going around, which is why you're less than positive. There will always be the snake oil salesman, the used car "lemon" salesman (I qualified that!) that are out to take you for a ride... and then leave you stranded by the side of the road wondering what the hell happened.

Yes, there are those people out there and you've got to be wary of them. You are wary of them. It's in your nature. You've been taught that. Not directly, of course. It's not something they teach you in school.

But you've heard it from friends, web sites, and other media telling you that making money online is just a scam and no one can really do it. There are a select few who make lots of money and you ain't one of 'em. And because you hear it from all these sources... well it must be right, right?

So you go on about your day, your life, doing the same old thing and wondering why things are so difficult. "If only I could have been a movie star or a famous sports star or a lottery winner or... "

You have been told that you can't be wealthy all your life. It's a mindset that has been drilled into you since you were a kid and it's a tough one to change.

Go to school. Get a degree. Get a job. And you're a slave for the rest of your life. That's an exciting prospect.

Change To A Growth Mindset

But can you really be more than that? Can you really make the money that would free you to do the things you want to do? No and no.

Until you change your stagnant mindset to a growth mindset.

If, in your heart, you believe you are destined to be stuck living pay cheque to pay cheque then that's exactly where you will live out the rest of your life.

But something drives you to hope for something better. That's the human spirit.

"There has to something better than this!" (Growth Mindset)

Tevye in The Fiddler on the Roof... "If I were a rich man... " In his heart he believed he would never be a rich man. He succumbed to what he thought was his fate. (Stagnant Mindset)

Is that you too? Do you, in your heart, believe that you are stuck with what you've got?

Or do you have the inner strength to break free of that? (Growth Mindset)

I'm not suggesting that it's easy. You will have to put forth effort. You will have to learn new things. You will have to leave your comfort zone.

If you're not willing to do that... see ya later.

If you are... start dreaming again. (Growth Mindset)

Decide not to succumb to the fatalistic belief that Tevye has.

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