4 Instances Where You Should Consider Seeking Compensation

legal proceedings

legal proceedingsBusiness is fraught with legalities of various size and importance. However, certain issues require more serious attention than others – many of these areas deal directly with compensation. To clarify – compensatory measures are taken when you feel your business has been unlawfully harmed by the actions of another party. Below we have listed four instances where you should consider seeking some form of compensation.

1. Income Loss

Businesses must be able to protect themselves against loss of income caused by a range of potential issues both internal and external. If someone or a group of someone’s is actively attempting to subvert your revenue stream – either by infringement on your intellectual property or by any other means, you will be entitled to pursue compensation. The first thing you should do is speak to legal experts who specialise in compensatory law such as Sinnamon Lawyers. From there you can work out your options. [Read more…]

An Education In Finance

investing with a small amount of money

investing with a small amount of moneyNobody teaches ‘money’ at school. It might be a good idea if they did. There are many businesses that exist to persuade people to part with their money. They range from banks and insurance companies to the whole of the retail sector, online and on Main Street. There is no suggestion that there is anything wrong with them but how people handle their financial affairs impacts greatly on their happiness.

There are some simple tips that will help everyone, no matter their age so that they have a good chance of avoiding trouble. Events such as the recent recession can ruin the best of plans, but those who had no plan at all were hit even harder than the majority. [Read more…]

Fast Food Workers Pay: How Much Is Enough?

Fast-Food-Workers-Strike1

fast food workers payI originally posted this back in 2013 when it became a hot topic around the country. Recently it is back in the news and so I wanted to update it and get your opinion on what is a solution to this issue.

Over the past few weeks, there has been plenty of news about fast food workers pay. Many workers across the country have marched in hopes of getting a pay raise to $15/hour. While everyone deserves to earn a living and get paid a fair wage, there are many factors at play when essentially doubling fast food workers pay. I will look at both sides of the issue, hoping to bring some clarity to this issue.

Background: Setting Up The Story

According to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, the average fast food workers pay is just under $9.00 per hour with annual earnings of roughly $12,350 per year, while working around 26 hours per week. The current movement is calling for pay increases to $15.00 per hour, better benefits, more hours and the right to unionize. (This is the third time since November 2012 that the union-backed group Fast Food Forward has organized marches.) A few points on this:

  • The reason hours are only 26 per week is because it allows the restaurants to avoid having to offer health care benefits to its workers. This is even more of an issue now with the introduction of the Affordable Care Act.
  • If fast food workers pay was to increase to $15.00 per hour and they were working 30 hours per week, their annual earnings would be $23,400 or roughly $11,000 more than they are now.
  • An $11,000 pay increase along with more hours sounds like a great thing, so why not just increase fast food workers pay and add a few hours each week? The reason is because there are many consequences to doing this.

[Read more…]

Selling Your Home At Auction: Valuable Advice Anyone Can Use

selling your home at auction

selling your home at auctionAn auction house environment can be an exciting environment and has the potential to be rewarding for those that know how the system works and when to raise their hand, but if you are new to the process, it can seem quite daunting and even a bit confusing.

If you have every asked the question and wondered whether I should consider selling my house at auction? Here is a look at some of the points and rules of the game that you should know about.

Auctions Are For Everyone

The most salient point to make about buying and selling property at auction, is that auctions are no longer the exclusive domain of ruthless property developers and wealthy investors with financial muscle.

These days, many people who are looking for a quick route to selling their home, can choose to list their property at an auction and know that there will often be healthy competition for your house when it comes under the hammer, and the price is often at least equal to the amount you would expect from a private sale.

You will find that a growing number of buyers, sellers and property investors are using auctions because they provide a well-controlled and opaque selling environment in which to buy and sell property in.

Suitability

The first aspect to consider is the suitability of your property for an auction.

It used to be that more unusual properties or renovation projects were listed at auction in order to attract cash buyers and developers, but many conventional properties are also sold through auction these days.

You will still find properties listed that need refurbishment, have been repossessed, or have been on the market for some while, but you are just as likely to see a property that attracts a lot of interest and therefore achieves at least the market value or beyond it, if there are bidders competing against each other.

Arranging The Sale

Contact your chosen auction house and arrange for them to carry out an appraisal of your property.

This will enable the auctioneers to advise if your property is suitable for listing at auction and discuss your expected sale price and reserve price, to see whether both parties agree that the figures are realistic and viable.

The reserve price is the minimum amount you are prepared to sell your property for. If this figure is not reached or exceeded at the actual auction itself, the property will be marked as unsold at the auction.

Setting a realistic reserve price gives you the chance to get a sale on the day of the auction but prevents you from seeing your house sold for a figure below what you want or need to get for it.

Marketing

As with any sales process, marketing plays a key role in getting your house sold at auction.

The auction house will create an auction catalogue which contains details and pictures of all of the properties that are being auctioned on the chosen day and they will send this out to interested parties before the event.

They will also market the event itself so that hopefully, attendance will be high for the auction event. A successful auction hinges on there being a sufficient number of buyers in the room to create competition and be able to sell as many properties as possible.

The auction house will inspect your property in the same way that an estate agent would come and do a valuation visit and use these details and images taken, to create a profile of your property in the catalogue.

Day Of The Auction

You should be ready and able to vacate your property shortly after the auction, if a sale is achieved.

The auctioneer running the event has a gavel in his hand and as soon as bidding for your property has reached a conclusion and the sale price has equalled or moved beyond the agreed reserve price, he brings down the hammer or gavel, to signify that bidding has finished and your property has been sold.

You need to be aware that at this point, you have entered into a legally binding contract and there is no opportunity to change your mind or withdraw from the transaction.

The purchaser will be required to provide the auctioneer with identification and a deposit equal to 10% of the purchase price agreed. Completion of the sale of your property will then take place about 20 working days after the auction date, when the remaining balance is paid.

Selling your home at auction can provide a level of certainty that a private sale cannot, until you exchange contracts. This makes it an attractive way of potentially getting the price you want as well as being able to sell in a specific amount of time as well.

Jordan Gilman is a landlord and property owner. She likes to keep on top of the latest real estate news. Her articles appear on many real estate websites.

What To Look For In Mutual Funds

Mutual Funds

what to look for in Mutual FundsWhen it comes to investing, mutual funds are a great option for many investors. This is because mutual funds allow you to get started investing with a small amount of money and still be diversified from the start. But where do you even start? After all, there are thousands of mutual funds to choose from. This post talks about what to look for in mutual funds. The 5 areas explored here will help you narrow the field of mutual funds down to a more reasonable amount. From there, you can check out my posts on the advantages and disadvantages of mutual funds to knock the list down even further. By the time you get done reading these 3 posts, you should be left with a handful of mutual funds to choose from.

What To Look For In Mutual Funds

With close to 10,000 mutual funds to choose from, how do you know which ones are worth investing in? I did a non-scientific survey of a few random people on the street: Other than relying on their financial advisor to tell them which funds to invest in, the majority responded that they choose which fund to invest in according to the fund’s performance.

The ironic thing with this is that every piece of literature you receive from a mutual fund company states that past performance is not an indication of future performance. The funds are telling you not to pick a fund based on this. Granted, they tell you this in an almost unreadable miniscule font at the bottom of the page. In big fonts are the past performance numbers right in the middle of the page. (Sounds like a conflict of interest to me.) Yet, past performance is how the majority of people pick their investments. The industry knows this, which is why they structure their advertisements this way. [Read more…]

How To Get Ahead At Work And Become Filthy Rich

how to get ahead at work path

how to get ahead at work pathAre you tired of getting passed by for promotions and raises? Maybe you do get a raise but it is only a miniscule 2% cost of living adjustment every year? Do you want to get bigger raises, have a fatter paycheck and swim in a vault of money like Scrooge McDuck? If so, here’s how to get ahead at work and become filthy rich in the process.

How To Get Ahead At Work: 4 Tips

Tip #1: Become Invaluable

The #1 way for how to get ahead at work is to become invaluable. What does this mean? By doing things for your boss that no one else will do. Put another way, make his or her life easier. The next time you are in your boss’s office, take note of something you can take on. Maybe it’s the TPS reports. Maybe it’s the quarterly newsletter. Whatever it might be there is something they hate doing. Your job is to take ownership of it.

Some of you might be thinking, “I have no idea how to complete the TPS report or write the quarterly newsletter.” If this is the case, then you need to learn how to do these things. Ask questions. I’m sure there is someone at your office that has an understanding of how to complete the reports.

In the event where no one does, then tell your boss you’d love to take them off their hands, you only need 20 minutes of their time to be shown how to ensure they are done correctly. My boss was more than happy to take 20 minutes to show me how to complete a certain spreadsheet because he knew after that, he wouldn’t have to deal with it again. [Read more…]

The Truth About Tax Deductions

tax deduction

tax deductionNow that tax season is upon us, many people look for ways to reduce their taxes (hopefully most of you took advantage of some tax deductions before the end of the year!). There is usually a mad rush to claim all of the deductions one can in order to reduce their tax liability. But are tax deductions really worth it?

Before getting into this discussion, I need to make a clarification between a tax credit and a tax deduction. Too often, people confuse the two and think they are equally as good. But, this isn’t the truth.

What Is A Tax Credit

A tax credit reduces the amount of income tax you have to pay and it is a dollar for dollar match. For example, the lifetime learning credit, which is currently $2,000 reduces your income tax by that $2,000. [Read more…]

A Reader Writes: Financial Advice for 20 Somethings

financial advice for 20 somethings

financial advice for 20 somethingsI received the following email recently from a reader who needs some help. I post it as I feel the question is common for many recent grads and I can talk about financial advice for 20 somethings:

Hi,

I just graduated college and received a job offer from a great company. I’ll be making $40,000 to start. I have no problems budgeting, as I have lived off campus in college since sophomore year. The concerns I have are my retirement plan, health insurance, and saving money for a variety of things (trips, house, friends weddings). Any suggestions?

First off, congratulations on finishing school and landing a job. Your email didn’t go into great detail, so some of the things I will suggest may not apply.

Financial Advice for 20 Somethings: Retirement

First, Your 401k Plan

To begin, find out if your company matches on the 401k plan. They may match anywhere between 3-5%. Whatever the match is, contribute that amount. When it comes to investment selections, look for a fund that invests in the market as a whole. An S&P 500 index fund or a total stock market fund would be ideal. If those are not available, look at a large cap stock fund.

If you are comfortable with a little more risk (and you can be since you won’t need this money for 40 plus years), look at small cap stock fund. This fund will be a little more risky, but since you are just starting out, you can afford to take the risk. Always remember, the sooner you start saving for your retirement, the better.

One note about the above: pay attention to the fund expense ratio of the mutual funds being offered. The higher the fee, the more it costs you. There is no relationship between a higher fee and a better performing fund. In many cases, the opposite is true – lower fee funds tend to perform better since they are trying to match the return of the market.

At the end of the day, the fees you pay for a large cap stock fund should be at or below 0.50% and for a small cap stock fund, at or below 0.75%. To understand more about how fees effect your returns, I highly encourage you to read this post. [Read more…]

How Long To Keep Financial Statements

FInancial Documents

financial statementsThis time of year as many people go through their clutter of receipts and financial statements from the previous year, I always get asked, “how long should I keep my financial statements” or “do I need to keep this for any reason”?  I’ve decided to write a post on how long to keep financial statements: what you need to keep, for how long, and some of the reasons why you need to do so. As an added bonus, I created a financial statements checklist in PDF which you can download for free. The benefit of this is that you can keep the sheet in a folder with all of your other financial records and always have access to it.

How Long To Keep Financial Statements

General Financial Statements

Bank Statements

Each month, you should be reconciling your checkbook to the statement that the bank sends you, or you get online. After you verify everything is correct, you should keep the monthly statements for one year. The exception to this is if there was a purchase made that relates to taxes, home improvements, a business expense, etc. In these cases, you will want to hold on to the statement permanently, or until you sell the house/business.

(Note: Since many have online access to your statements, you may ask why the need to keep them. After all, the bank can get them for you. While this is true, most banks will only do this for you back to a certain time, say two years. Anything older is considered “research” and they charge you per the hour for this. The average charge: $25/hour. And while it should only take a few minutes to pull up your account history, who is to say it won’t take them a few hours because of the “complexity” of your account history? Save the statement, avoid the fee.) [Read more…]