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Eventually, How You Survive the Recession Depends on Your Financial Intelligence 

1. Eventually, How You Survive the Recession...

I once asked by my reader in my other blog – When do you think the recession will end, and how? I really am having a hard time to answer the question. So may opinions from experts and public, as well. To tell you the truth,...
Your Biggest Asset: Your Mind, Financial Knowledge and Information 

2. Your Biggest Asset: Your Mind, Financial...

People often forget that their biggest financial asset is not money, stocks, bonds, real estates or business. Your and my biggest asset is financial knowledge and information. It is heartbreaking to learn that people work hard for...

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How the IRS Works

The IRS is one of the most loathed and essential organizations in the country. When the United States was first established, America was wary of taxation and there was no organization set up to collect taxes. When the Civil War was over, the Bureau of Internal Revenue was created. This led to the establishment of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Today, the IRS is the country’s tax collecting agency. So how does it work?

Government Organization
The IRS is part of the Department of Treasury, and it employs thousands of employees. A commissioner heads the organization and is selected by the President to serve a five-year term. The President also selects a Chief Counsel to the IRS. This person handles all legal matters relating to the agency. The IRS is primarily located in Washington, D.C.; however, there are regional offices located in cities throughout the United States.

Oversight Board
There is an IRS Oversight Board that is compiled of nine members. These people are responsible for supervising the activities of the IRS and ensuring that audits are performed correctly. They also review and approve budget requests each year. However, they do not have any control over policy changes.

Taxes
During 2013, the IRS collected nearly $2.86 trillion in revenue. They also processed approximately 240 million tax returns and paid refunds totaling $364 billion. The money that they collect is used to pay for government operations.

Audits
Each year, certain businesses and individuals will receive audits on their tax returns. The IRS performs audits to make sure that a business or individual is providing accurate financial information and paying the right amount of taxes. The possibility of a future audit encourages the majority of people to be honest on their taxes. However, paying your taxes on time and honestly does not guarantee that you will avoid an audit. Audits are chosen based on different reasons including some of the following:

  • Random computer selections
  • Mismatching documents or information
  • Transactions involving people who have been audited

Computer System
Since the IRS stores and processes so much information, they need extremely powerful computer systems. According to 2290tax.com, the main IRS computer system handles the majority of their work. This computer or server is used for IRS notices, EIN’s, and SSN’s. It also calculates penalties and determines who gets audited. Another important IRS computer system controls the e-file system. Once the returns are filed, it checks for any errors, issues confirmations, and it backs up the information.

Although most people are wary of the agency, the truth is that the IRS is necessary and extremely efficient. While some view the agency as antiquated, in recent years the agency has aimed to work better with taxpayers, even setting up the Office of Appeals, which helps to resolve tax disputes impartially and out of court.

Are you a saver or a spender?

Figuring out if you are a saver or a spender seems to be a simple proposition. Simply put, if you spend more than your make, then there is no chance that you can be a real saver, since your liabilities will be greater than your assets.

If you have a BBT checking account with a balance that makes you feel good when you look at it, but at the same time you have a credit card bill that is higher than the bank balance, then your are fooling no one but yourself.

Rather than staring at a bank balance, one should think about saving in a more general way. Think of savings as an attitude or a habit that makes it more likely that you have positive financial things happening in your life. Having a savings habit doesn’t guarantee that positive financial outcomes will happen, but it makes it more likely that they are happening in your life.

In the following simple example, imaging that the following money habits or money situations are true:

  • Having a savings account with a high interest rate is better than having one with a low interest rate (note that banks typically give higher rates for accounts with higher balances).
  • Paying off a car loan is not as attractive as owning a car free and clear.
  • Paying off a card in full at the end of a month is better than carrying a balance.
  • Spending less than you make every month is better than having some months where you run out of money or have to dip into your savings.
  • Believing that savings is easy is better than thinking that savings is hard.
  • Saving for a special project or for your health or education is better than not doing so.

Reading about good examples stimulates your mind in one way, and looking at pictures stimulates a different part of you mind. You can check out at the infographic below and the words above and between the two you should be about to figure out what good money habits would work for you.

Savers Vs Spenders Infographic by Newcastle Permanent Building Society

The Real Cost of Driving Uninsured

If paying your monthly insurance premium feels like a hassle at times, you may be tempted to let your policy lapse. Doing so will leave you and your car uninsured on the road. While some drivers consider the cost of insurance to be too large to be beneficial, looking at the costs of repairs for uninsured vehicles can be eye opening. The following infographic gives greater insight about the real cost of driving uninsured.

fix it yourself infographic
Presented By IFA Auto Insurance

Average Cost of Vehicle Repairs
If you are found at-fault in an accident while driving an uninsured vehicle, the cost of all repairs will fall on you. Whether or not you choose to fix your own vehicle, you are legally responsible for repairing damage done to another driver’s vehicle. While the average driver pays over $1,400 each year for a car insurance policy, the savings can be enormous if that policy is needed.

Lawsuits and Legal Representation
On top of the costs of repairing damaged vehicles in a car accident, uninsured drivers may also be held responsible for the costs of legal claims. An accident victim who is injured in a car accident may press legal charges against an uninsured driver resulting in lawsuits for:

  • Medical Costs
  • Lost Income
  • Pain and Suffering

The next time you think your insurance premium is too expensive, be sure to take these factors into consideration to see the real cost of driving uninsured.

Buying A Car Dealership Securely

When people want to make an investment in a car dealership, they need to look in a place like http://performancebrokerageservices.com/buy-a-car-dealership/ to get help making the deal work. These brokers are professionals who understand how to manage these deals to make sure that they go over well for both parties. If there is a large investment on the line, these brokers are the right people to manage that amount of money.

The Contract Price
The two sides need to negotiate the price for the investment, and the broker is the person who can mediate these deals. The broker knows the all the particulars for these deals, and they can use their expertise to guide the negotiation in the right direction. These sales are going to be very expensive, and the broker can help to make sure that both sides feel like they are making the right decision when they are signing the deal.

The Cash
The cash that is exchanged in the deal is something that must be handled by a third party. The broker can handle all the cash so that it is delivered to the right people in the right time. The broker makes sure that the deal is handled fairly, and they also make sure that both sides of the deal walk away from the table happy about what they have received in the deal.

The Signing
The deal is signed in the presence of the broker to make sure that there is someone there to witness it. The broker is the person who registers the contract in the city or county, and they also make sure that all the lawyers involved get all the information they need about the final deal.

When the broker is brought in to handle the deal, they are going to help the two sides that are negotiating. These two sides need these professionals to make sure that all their deals go off without a hitch. The broker is the impartial third party that makes everyone’s life easy when large amounts of money are changing hands at the table.

The Logic Behind CU Lending

You may think of a credit union as a member-owned financial cooperative. It is created and managed by its members, and profits are shared amongst the owners. A credit union is organized under a specific affiliation, be it a company, a region, or some other special relationship shared by its members. Credit unions offer many of the same financial services as banks. CU lending products may include car loans, home loans, personal loans, and others.

Credit Unions Focus on Members
Credit Unions are not-for-profit financial institutions. Rather than offer loans and other financial products that concentrate on earning a profit for the institution, as banks do, credit unions offer only those products they feel would be of benefit to their members. This approach results in a focus on consumer loans and services. Credit union earnings translate to:

  • Higher savings rates for members
  • Lower interest rates on loans

While credit unions follow many of the same guidelines and practices as banks, some of the vocabulary is different. For example, in a bank, customers make deposits. In a credit union, members invest in shares.

Responsible Financial Practices
While it may be true that credit unions prioritize service over profitability, it does not mean they are not concerned with making sound financial decisions. Just like any successful bank, a credit union must collect revenue, pay salaries for personnel, and compete with other lenders who offer the same or similar products. Oversight for a CU is provided by a Board of Directors. The Board is made up of elected volunteers who ensure that the credit union stays true to its principles and goals.

One notable difference between a credit union and a bank is cooperation between institutions. CU’s frequently work with one another and utilize tools to improve consumer lending and share resources in order to better meet their members’ needs. Whether it is a question of convenience, savings, or both, the bottom line rests with the service you get and your satisfaction as a member. Credit unions are invested in long-term relationships with their members.

Protected Assets
Similar to banks, member shares are federally insured, although the insurance is provided by a separate government agency. While bank deposits for individual customers are insured to at least $250,000 by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), credit union members’ shares are covered up to the same amount per member by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA).

Types of Lending
The variety of loans offered depends on what the individual CU believes is most beneficial to its members and to its operation. Some of the most prevalent products include:

  • Auto and recreational vehicle loans
  • Home loans
  • Home equity loans and lines of credit
  • Construction loans
  • Personal and lifestyle loans
  • Credit cards

You may apply for a personal or lifestyle loan to cover a wide range of needs. These types of loans may be closed-end, with a specific repayment schedule, or open-ended, functioning as a line of credit. You can use this type of lending to pay for medical expenses that exceed insurance coverage, orthodontics, vacations, weddings, funerals, debt consolidation, or any of life’s unpredictable offerings.

The idea behind credit union lending, and credit unions themselves, is to provide financial support to individuals through thoughtful resource management and responsible lending. In essence, members are creating a cycle of financial sustainability by pooling their resources and using the money to lend to and borrow from one another when the need arises.

Using social media to help your franchise

Technology is constantly changing, and one can argue that the rate of change is increasing in areas such as social media. The options that people have for communicating with social media keep increasing, as does the audience.

Sophistication or even capability doesn’t translate into instant success. For example, Facebook may be one of the most popular social media platform currently in existence, but it was not the first. Others, like MySpace, came before it, and someday something better may knock Facebook off its pedestal.

No matter how simple or how sophisticated, for the entrepreneur, the key question is how it should be used and whether it should be used at all. Take for example an ice cream related business opportunity like a Cold Stone Franchise. While the parent company may have a range of social media channels to generate customer interest, the franchisee wants to have specific customer interest in that owners particular location.

It wouldn’t help the franchisee to simply copy the parent company’s strategy since that strategy is not going to be customized for that franchisee’s needs. For example, if the location is near a university with a lot of foot traffic, the franchisee may want to develop a Twitter strategy that uses a pair of hashtags in the tweet. One of them may be related to a university event, and the second related to the franchisee’s business. If someone sees the tweet and is encouraged to eat ice cream, they are also encouraged to do so at that franchisee’s location.

How to Maintain your Assets with Fleet Tracking

In order to keep a company running profitably, there must be adequate oversight over one of its most valuable commodities: its fleet of vehicles. A smart way to do this is with fleet tracking systems. These intuitive networks can protect cars, trucks, and vans in order to create healthier bottom lines for businesses. GPS systems capabilities stem from digital connections, specialized instrumentation, and artificial intelligence.

Today’s Systems
Modern asset tracking networks are interconnected to allow a whole new level of interactions between people, objects, and systems. The instruments have the capability to sense, see, and calculate the condition of vehicles and facilities. Computerized intelligence can not only notify when repairs or maintenance is needed, it can also predict future needs.

Manage Fuel Use
One of the ways to contain costs is by managing fuel consumption. Tracking systems watch over multiple assets including the use of fuel/fluids, miles per gallon, and operators’ driving habits such as stops, starts, and speed while on the road. All of these details make a difference in gasoline and oil consumption of the fleet. Because preventative maintenance reminders are available to notify of necessary tune-ups, engines can consistently be operating efficiently and economically. If gas mileage starts to slip in certain cars, vans, and trucks, inspections can be performed to troubleshoot and remedy the problems.

Equipment Maintenance
Another way to economize is by staying on top of equipment maintenance and repairs. Some of the steps to be taken include:

  • Tracking oil changes, lubrication, and other fluids of the entire fleet.
  • Keeping track of the inventory of spare parts, so supplies are available on demand. This will reduce down time on out-of-circulation vehicles that are waiting for parts.
  • Managing tire needs on all automobiles, including rotations, new tires, and repairs of flats or other problematic wheel or tire issues.

Warranty Tracking
Businesses can also save money on their cars when they keep track of warranty information. When management is on top of this detail, repairs can be covered by the manufacturers more easily. Companies that lease their fleets can monitor rental warranties, as well.

Your transportation fleet is invaluable, containing assets that you need to run your operation. In order to protect your vehicles, keep your drivers safe, and enhance your profitability, it’s crucial to monitor your fleet. Today’s GPS and digitalized tracking systems can assist you in a myriad of ways by watching over fuel costs, the maintaining of your equipment, and tracking your warranties. If you allow these intelligent networks to help you do your job, you will be able to keep more cash in your company’s bank account.

The risks of starting an adult services business

Deciding to start an adult services business comes with many risks. Those who do so have usually tested the waters and calculated the risks before taking the leap. It is important to understand the types of challenges you may face as you venture into this industry. It can be quite lucrative, but there are some real hurdles you may have to jump.

Adult merchant processing
If you decide to take credit or debit cards for services, which makes your offerings more accessible to more people, there are a limited number of card processing companies willing to take the risk on approving you for a card reader. There are many ways the business could slide into the realm of operating illegally, so many reputable card processing companies simply choose to avoid dealing with high risk business ventures. There are companies that specialize in making card readers available to these companies, however. Some offer point of service terminals at slightly higher fees, but they make it possible to present a professional way for you to provide your customers with payment options.

The Legalities
Because the laws vary from state to state, it is sometimes tricky to know whether you are operating lawfully or breaking a law. For this reason, adult service business owners must be vigilant about researching the laws in their own states. Even after informing themselves through research, it is still important to retain legal representation to fill in the gaps. Research may not help if you have to go through litigation or with knowing some subtle nuances of the law. The most successful businesses educate themselves, but rely to attorneys to make sure all bases are covered. They also educate their staff about what is legal to ensure an employee does not put the company at risk.

Reputation
It is likely that your true friends will not judge what you have chosen as a business venture once they know you work in adult services, or one that sells merchandise like sex toys. There is also a possibility that they will judge and distance themselves from you. For many who try to maintain traditional value systems, a business of this type is still taboo. People make assumptions that adult services is connected to either something illegal or morally questionable. If you are open about what you do, it may limit the number of people in your inner circle. For some business owners, this is a blessing rather than a curse. Others, however, should be prepared for potential backlash from their own communities and from others in conventional businesses.

Paying Bills with Short Term Money Options

People who live in the Rocky Mountain area can testify to the rising cost of living in these states. As the prices for housing, groceries, utilities, and more go up, more families in these states find it challenging to stretch their paychecks to cover all of their bills. When unexpected bills arise in between pay periods, it can be easy for people to panic and fear being unable to meet these obligations. Rather than have their bills turned over to a collection agency or have their utilities shut off, they can use financial remedies like a Nevada payday loan to get money fast and meet these obligations.

When they want to know more about this financial option, people might wonder where they can get all of the facts they need. They can learn about these options by going online and reading all of the information on the website at their leisure. The website contains a host of details that will give people all of the facts they need to understand and apply for one of these loans. They can discover the interest rate, payment methods, approval amounts, and more before they complete an application.

Completing the application also can be done entirely online at clients’ convenience. People can avoid rushing home to fill out an application for fear of missing the deadline or the website shutting down for the day. The site is available around the clock, which lets people who work odd hours get access to this financial option anytime they want. They can wait until they get off work or after they put the kids to bed to sit down and fill out the application at leisure.

When they submit their application, people may think that they have to wait days or weeks to find out if they have been approved. However, they can generally find out within hours if they can get the money they need to pay bills. If they are approved, people have the option of getting the money deposited into their bank accounts or onto a prepaid card. These direct deposit options let the transaction occur safely and in a timely manner. People can get access to their cash quickly rather than having to find a place that will cash a paper check. They can pay their bills, eliminate the worry that comes from being indebted or without important purchases, and move on with their lives.

Small Business Tips: Benefits of a Time Clock

Keeping track of employee hours is a vital part of running a business or company. If proper records are not kept, you could find yourself on the wrong side of the law with the Department of Labor. Installing and using a time clock — like those at Allied Time — provides many benefits to both you — the employer — and your employees.

Track Records and Reduce Errors
There is always room for errors when an employee tries to keep track of how many hours they have worked in a week. Even with their best intentions, mistakes and miscalculations occur. Especially when the beginning and ending of breaks occur. Without a time clock, trying to determine what hours the employee has worked will lead to many errors. And these errors will take valuable time to correct, and there may even be some that go unnoticed. A proper time clock system actually keeps track of your employee hours down to the exact minute, which — lets be honest — not many people do on their own. All of which will eliminate any potential mistakes of an employee not being paid for time that they worked and vice versa.

Compliance with Federal Law is Simplified
Federal law requires all employers have and keep accurate records of their nonexempt employee’s shifts. From the very beginning to the very end of the shift, employers must keep records of the hours worked per day and per week for every single one of their employees. While, the law doesn’t require that an employer must use a time clock, utilizing one will help in your defense if you are ever in dispute over hours worked with the Department of Labor.

Prevent Schedule Adherence Problems
Many of the newer models of time clocks give the employer the option of programming the schedule of their employees into the machine. Depending on the model, the time clock can even alert you when an employee tries to clock in later then they were scheduled, or if the employee has skipped their required break. These type of time clocks encourage your workers to take their require breaks and even identifies which employees are tardy. There are also options that lock employees out before a certain time, which prevents clocking in early.

Manage Your Overtime Costs More Efficiently
Time clock models that can be programmed help you identify which employee is accruing overtime or who is coming close to the overtime threshold. You can set the time clock to alert you when your employees are reaching the overtime limit. With this knowledge, you can either send them home earlier then schedule to save on overtime costs or remarriage the schedule accordingly.

5 Car Insurance Myths That Every Driver Should Know

Most drivers think their auto insurance will cover them in an accident if they are current on their monthly premium. This is true in many cases, unless an uninsured driver hits their car – or a friend borrows the car and wrecks it. Auto insurance may not protect them from theft, either.

Without proper insurance coverage, these incidents could cost drivers a small fortune. According to estimates by the Insurance Research Council, more than 16 percent of drivers are uninsured, and state legal requirements are generally not enough to cover the entire cost of an accident. Here are five car insurance myths that every driver should know.

Myth 1: The State Requirement is All a Driver Needs
While the state requirement is all a driver legally needs, it will not cover the expenses for a serious accident. Getting by with the minimum requirement can be costly, especially for an accident that involves litigation.

Myth 2: The Driver is Responsible for an Accident
In most cases, the insurance follows the car no matter who is driving. If a driver has an accident in a borrowed car, the car’s owner must pay for the damages. If the insurance is not enough to cover the expenses, the responsibility goes to the driver involved in the accident.

Myth 3: All Insurance Policies Cover Uninsured Motorists
A basic insurance policy does not protect against uninsured motorists (UM); this coverage is an option. Moreover, drivers who have UM protection are only covered for physical injuries. Only collision insurance covers property damage caused by uninsured motorists.

Myth 4: All Insurance Policies Cover Natural Disasters and Theft
Unless a driver has comprehensive coverage, auto insurance will not pay for damages or loss due to natural disasters or theft. Most drivers do not have this optional policy, unless their car is financed by a creditor that requires it.

Myth 5: A Rental Car Requires Additional Coverage
Basic insurance policies already cover rental cars, so it is not necessary to buy additional insurance. For example, full coverage insurance on a personal car also applies to a rental if both are intended for personal use. Drivers who only carry liability insurance, however, are wise to buy additional coverage for rental cars.

Protection from loss is a crucial part of smart investing, including car insurance investments. Small monthly premiums protect assets (cars) as well as health in case of an accident. A Wilmington auto insurance representative can work with drivers to fully explain their plans and prevent overlapping coverage.

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