Monday, June 1, 2015

Are You Ready To Take Your Commercial and Financial Expertise to The Next Level?

Established in 2001, Quest Recruitment is the premier Irish resource consultancy when it comes to specialised sector knowledge, impeccable standards and conscientious service quality. Our reputation for expert provision of consistent delivery and extensive industry knowledge is unquestionable. We work closely with many of the leading Irish and European Fund, Banking, and Accountancy organisations and are proud to maintain our trusted status as a preferred & conscientious talent broker. We are continually striving to improve on our quality of service and passion for delivery with the support and recruitment expertise of our highly skilled Quest team.

What Regulatory Changes in the Financial Services Markets Mean for AIFMs?

Difficulties in today’s financial markets have, without doubt, underlined that many AIFM strategies are potentially vulnerable to one or indeed, several significant risks relating to investors, other market participants and markets. In order to provide comprehensive and common arrangements for supervision, it is necessary to establish a framework which is capable of addressing those risks taking into account the diverse range of investment strategies and techniques employed by AIFMs. The AIFMD affects AIFMs that have assets under management in AIFs above the thresholds of €100m if the AIF uses leverage, or €500m if the AIF does not use leverage.

By establishing a synchronised, EU-wide framework for regulation of alternative investment funds, the recent EU directive known as AIFMD (Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive) endeavours to further increase investor protection and reduce systemic risk by establishing a harmonized EU framework for regulating alternative investment funds.

Following the 2008 global market downturn, provisions of the AIFMD include increased transparency by AIFMs and assurance that all required information to monitor financial systems within the EU is made available to national supervisors, the European Systematic Risk Board (ESRB) and the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA).

Are You FATCA compliant?

The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), America’s global tax law was introduced into U.S. legislation in 2010 and carries a considerable global impact for its citizens, regardless of where in the world they reside. This statute was enacted to combat U.S. tax evasion by improving exchange of information between tax authorities in relation to U.S. citizens and residents who hold assets off-shore. Non-compliant institutions could be frozen out of U.S. markets, so, with few exclusions, everyone seems to be complying.

To date, more than 80 nations including 77,000 financial institutions and also a number of purported tax havens have joined up. Legislation for FBARs has been around since 1970 and submitted FBAR filing by 30 June each year for any U.S. persons with foreign bank accounts totalling more than $10,000 is still a requirement along with FATCA.

On 21 December 2012, the Minister for Finance, Mr. Michael Noonan signed an intergovernmental Agreement with the U.S. on behalf of the Irish Government enacting FATCA in Ireland. The Statutory Instrument implementing this Agreement is included in Part 3 of Schedule 24 to the Taxes Consolidation Act, 1997. This Statutory Instrument together with the Financial Accounts Reporting (United States of America) Regulations 2014 (S.I. No 292 of 2014) (the Regulations‘) and section 891E of the Taxes Consolidation Act gave legislative effect to the Agreement.

The Agreement provides for the automatic reporting and information exchange on an annual basis in relation to accounts held in Irish Financial Institutions by U.S. persons, and the reciprocal exchange of information regarding U.S. Financial Accounts held by Irish residents. The Agreement and the Regulations implement FATCA in Ireland. Under the Agreement, Irish Financial Institutions will be treated as FATCA compliant and will not be subject to the 30% withholding tax on US source income/proceeds as long as they comply with the requirements of the implementing Irish legislation.

Whether you are looking for a suitable candidate with the right spectrum of financial expertise that your company requires, or are an employment seeker who wants to progress your career to the next level and beyond, please contact the Quest Recruitment Experts who will use their professional, in-depth sector knowledge so you can truly achieve what you need. As winner of the coveted National Recruitment Federation (NRF) Best in Practice Accounting and Finance Awards in both 2012 and 2013, Quest Recruitment is, without question, the premier choice when it comes to finding that perfect job in Financial Recruitment, IT Recruitment, Fund Administration & Compliance!

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Saturday, March 21, 2015

Debt Common and Uncommon Sense Approaches to Debt Reduction

One of the major reasons people cannot achieve greater financial freedom is that they have excessive amounts of short-term debt. This debt is incurred from credit cards, student loans, car payments, and personal loans, among other things. This guide presents several ways to get a better grip on debt that has gotten out of control.

Get interest rate reductions: Ask every creditor to whom you have paid your bill in a timely fashion to reduce your interest rate. If a few of them agree to do so, you will be able to pay off the balances on those loans and cards sooner. You may also have more money to apply to paying off other accounts with the money you save from your lower interest rates.

• If you get the interest rate on one or more of your credit cards reduced, transfer balances from credit cards with higher interest rates to the card(s) with the lower rate. Check to see if the card(s) with lower rates has any balance transfer fees associated with it. If so, is the spread between the cards with higher rates and the one(s) with lower rates still better when you factor in the transfer fees? If the difference favors doing the transfer, get it done.

Get a consolidation loan: If your credit is above average and none of your creditors are willing to reduce your interest rates, consider getting a consolidation loan. These loans often have rates that are significantly lower than credit card rates and often cost less than paying each creditor separately would. Note, however, that your particular situation may require collateral, such as your home, to secure a consolidation loan. Not all lenders require collateral. So, it pays to shop around if you think your credit and financial picture are good enough to earn the loan without collateral.

Hire a professional Financial Advisor in Lancaster Pa

Tighten up your spending: Take lunch to work instead of eating out each day. Cut your cappuccino splurges back from five days a week to three days to zero. How many channels do you really need? Reduce your cable TV package. Use the money you save to pay down your debts. Your flourishing financial freedom will love you for it.

• This next one might seem to be out in left field, but it really will work. Do you have a qualified retirement plan? Does your employer offer a matching contribution? Do you contribute more to your account than the amount your employer matches? Then, it may be time to suspend contributing above the match for a moment. While retirement plans are great ways to accumulate, they are horrible for distribution. If your employer will only match your contributions up to three percent of your salary, then, do not contribute more than three percent of your salary.

Use the extra cash to pay down your short-term debt. Here’s why: You will likely never see gains in your retirement account that will come close to what you are paying in interest on your short-term debt, especially if much of it is on credit cards.

We are top rated & reviewed Family-centered financial advisor in Lancaster Pa

Let’s take a closer look. Let’s say your investment portfolio averages a solid 11 percent gain year in, year out. That would be an exceptional situation, but let’s say it happens. Let’s also say that your average credit card rate is 13.99 percent. By using whatever extra money you are socking away in your retirement account to pay down your credit card debt, you are essentially paying yourself an extra 2.99 percent annually on that debt. So, pay down it down. Then, if you want to restore your retirement contributions to their original levels, feel free. There may be better places to invest that extra cash, but that’s for a later discussion. You will have done a great job just freeing yourself from those short-term debt handcuffs!

Excessive short-term debt can become a serious financial burden if left unchecked. Finding a place to start dealing with it can be difficult in the midst of everyday life. There are more ways to reduce debt than are examined in this article, but using any of the ones listed is a step in the right direction- toward greater financial freedom.

Evan Blackmon, M.Ed., Financial Advisor and Registered Representative
First Financial Group
1869 Charter Lane, Suite 201
Lancaster, PA 17601
Phone: 717.393.4465

Registered Representative and Financial Advisor of Park Avenue Securities LLC (PAS). OSJ: 670 North River Street, Suite 300, Plains, PA 18705. 580-829-0717 Securities products and advisory services offered through PAS, member FINRA, SIPC. First Financial Group is not an affiliate or subsidiary of PAS. Agent of First Financial Group an agency of The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America, New York, NY 10004. GEAR 2014-16283 Exp 12/2016.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Forex Dealing Choices Industry Overview By Bryce Adams

The forex options market started as an over-the-counter (OTC) financial vehicle for large banks, banking institutions and large international corporations to hedge against forex exposure. Like the forex identify market, the forex options companies are considered an "interbank" market. However, with the plethora of real-time financial data and forex choice forex dealing platforms available to most investors through the internet, today's forex choice market now includes an increasingly large amount of individuals and corporations who are speculating and/or hedging forex exposure via telephone or online forex dealing platforms.

Forex choice dealing has emerged as an alternative investment vehicle for many traders and investors. As an investment tool, forex choice dealing provides both large and small investors with greater flexibility when determining the appropriate forex dealing and hedging strategies to implement.

Most forex dealing options is conducted via telephone as there are only a few foreign return brokers offering online trading choice dealing platforms.

Forex Option Described - A trading choice is a financial currency agreement giving the forex choice customer the right, but not the responsibility, to purchase and sell a particular forex identify agreement (the underlying) at a particular cost (the attack price) on or before a particular time frame (the expiry date). The amount the trading choice customer will pay to the trading choice supplier for the forex choice agreement rights is called the forex choice "premium."

The Forex dealing Option Buyer - The customer, or holder, of a forex choice has the choice to either sell the forex choice agreement prior to expiry, or he or she can choose to hold the forex options agreement until expiry and exercise his or her right to take a place in the actual identify forex. The act of exercising the forex choice and taking the subsequent actual place in the forex identify companies are known as "assignment" or being "assigned" a identify place.

The only initial financial responsibility of the forex choice customer is to pay the top quality to the supplier up front when the forex choice is initially purchased. Once the top quality is paid, the forex choice holder has no other financial responsibility (no margin is required) until the forex choice is either offset or ends.

On the expiry time frame, the contact customer can exercise his or her right to buy the actual forex identify place at the forex option's attack cost, and a put holder can exercise his or her right to sell the actual forex identify place at the forex option's attack cost. Most forex choices not exercised by the customer, but instead are offset in the marketplace before expiry.

Foreign currency options ends worthless if, at the time the forex choice ends, the attack cost is "out-of-the-money." In basic form, a forex choice is "out-of-the-money" if the actual forex identify cost is lower than a forex contact option's attack cost, or the actual forex identify cost is higher than a put option's attack cost. Once a forex choice has expired worthless, the forex choice agreement itself ends and neither the customer nor the supplier has any further responsibility to the other party.

The Forex dealing Option Seller - The forex choice supplier may also be called the "writer" or "grantor" of a forex choice agreement. The supplier of a forex choice is contractually obligated to take the opposite actual forex identify place if the customer exercises his right. In return for the top quality paid by the customer, the supplier assumes the risk of taking a possible adverse place at a later time in the forex identify market.

Initially, the forex choice supplier collects the top quality paid by the forex choice customer (the buyer's funds will immediately be transferred into the seller's forex dealing account). The forex choice supplier must have the funds in his or her account to cover the initial margin requirement. If the markets move in a favorable direction for the supplier, the supplier will not have to post any more funds for his forex options other than the initial margin requirement. However, if the markets move in an unfavorable direction for the forex options supplier, the supplier may have to post additional funds to his or her forex dealing account to keep the balance in the forex dealing account above the maintenance margin requirement.

Just like the customer, the forex choice supplier has the choice to either offset (buy back) the forex choice agreement in the number of choices market prior to expiry, or the supplier can choose to hold the forex choice agreement until expiry. If the forex options supplier holds the agreement until expiry, one of two scenarios will occur: (1) the supplier will take the opposite actual forex identify place if the customer exercises the choice or (2) the supplier will simply let the forex choice expire worthless (keeping the entire premium) if the attack cost is out-of-the-money.

Please observe that "puts" and "calls" are separate forex options agreements and are NOT lack of of the same deal. For every put customer there is a put supplier, and for every contact customer there is a contact supplier. The forex options customer will pay a top quality to the forex options supplier in every choice deal.

Forex Call Option - A forex dealing contact choice gives the forex dealing options customer the right, but not the responsibility, to purchase a particular forex dealing identify agreement (the underlying) at a particular cost (the attack price) on or before a particular time frame (the expiry date). The amount the forex dealing choice customer will pay to the forex dealing choice supplier for the forex dealing choice agreement rights is called the choice "premium."

Please observe that "puts" and "calls" are separate forex dealing options agreements and are NOT lack of of the same deal. For every forex dealing put customer there is a forex dealing put supplier, and for every forex dealing contact customer there is a forex dealing contact supplier. The forex dealing options customer will pay a top quality to the forex dealing options supplier in every choice deal.

The Forex dealing Put Option - A forex dealing put choice gives the forex dealing options customer the right, but not the responsibility, to sell a particular forex dealing identify agreement (the underlying) at a particular cost (the attack price) on or before a particular time frame (the expiry date). The amount the forex dealing choice customer will pay to the forex dealing choice supplier for the forex dealing choice agreement rights is called the choice "premium."

Plain Vanilla flavor Forex dealing Choices - Plain vanilla options generally refer to standard put and contact choice agreements traded through an return (however, in the case of forex choice dealing, plain vanilla options would refer to the standard, generic forex choice agreements that are traded through an over-the-counter (OTC) forex options dealer or clearinghouse). In basic form, vanilla forex options would be described as the buying or selling of a standard forex contact choice agreement or a forex put choice agreement.

Exotic Forex dealing Choices - To understand what makes a fascinating forex choice "exotic," you must first understand what makes a stock choice "non-vanilla." Plain vanilla forex options have a definitive expiry structure, payout structure and payout amount. Unique stock choice agreements may have a modify in one or all of the above features of a vanilla forex choice. It is worth noting that exotic options, since they are often tailored to a specific's investor's needs by a fascinating forex options broker, are generally not very liquid, if at all.

Intrinsic & External Value - The cost of an FX choice is calculated into two separate parts, the implicit value and the extrinsic (time) value.

The implicit value of an FX choice is determined as the difference between the attack cost and the actual FX identify agreement amount (American Style Options) or the FX forward amount (European Style Options). The implicit value represents the actual value of the FX choice if exercised. Please observe that the implicit value must be zero (0) or above - if an FX choice has no implicit value, then the FX choice is simply referred to as having no (or zero) implicit value (the implicit value is never represented as a negative number). An FX choice with no implicit value is considered "out-of-the-money," an FX choice having implicit value is considered "in-the-money," and an FX choice with a attack cost at, or very close to, the actual FX identify amount is considered "at-the-money."

The extrinsic value of an FX choice is commonly referred to as the "time" value and is determined as the value of an FX choice beyond the implicit value. A number of factors contribute to the calculation of the extrinsic value including, but not limited to, the movements of the two identify currencies involved, the time left until expiry, the riskless interest amount of both currencies, the identify cost of both currencies and the attack cost of the FX choice. It is worth noting that the extrinsic value of FX options erodes as its expiry nears. An FX choice with 60 days left to expiry will be worth more than the same FX choice that has only 30 days left to expiry. Because there is more time for the actual FX identify cost to possibly move in a favorable direction, FX options sellers demand (and FX options buyers are willing to pay) a larger top quality for the extra period of your time.

Volatility - Volatility is considered the most important factor when pricing forex options and it measures movements in the cost of the actual. High movements increase the probability that the forex choice could expire in-the-money and increases the risk to the forex choice supplier who, in turn, can demand a larger top quality. An increase in movements causes an increase in the cost of both contact and put options.

Delta - The delta of a trade choice is determined as the modify in cost of a forex choice relative to a modify in the actual forex identify amount. A modify in a trade option's delta can be influenced by a modify in the actual forex identify amount, a modify in movements, a modify in the riskless interest amount of the actual identify currencies or simply by the passing of your time (nearing of the expiry date).

The delta must always be calculated in a range of zero to one (0-1.0). Generally, the delta of a deep out-of-the-money trading choice will be closer to zero, the delta of an at-the-money trading choice will be near.5 (the probability of exercise is near 50%) and the delta of deep in-the-money trade options will be closer to 1.0. In basic form, the closer a forex option's attack cost is relative to the actual identify trade amount, the higher the delta because it is more sensitive to a modify in the actual amount.

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How to Pass Your Wealth to the Next Generation?

If you are wanting to leave a legacy for your children and future generations, here are some tax-efficient strategies:

Use Your Annual Gift Allowance

You can give away £3,000 each year tax free to one or more people. And any unused part of this allowance can be carried over to the following year - but this can be done for one year only.

If you give away more than £3,000 a year and you die within seven years of giving it away, then the recipient/s of your gift will be subject to tax on a sliding scale. This is known as a potentially exempt transfer. The maximum tax rate is 40% based on based on death within three years, and this reduces to zero by the eighth year. This is known as a ‘potentially exempt transfer’.

Use Your Small Gifting Allowance

You can give away up to £250 to an unlimited number of people each year tax free, in addition to your annual gift allowance. However, you cannot use this allowance with any other allowance and, if one person receives more than £250, then the gift will not be regarded as exempt for tax purposes.

Get Married or Formalize Your Relationship!

The biggest concern for people seeking to pass their wealth to the next generation is avoiding inheritance tax (IHT).

Inheritance tax is charged at a rate of 40% on any wealth in excess of the inheritance tax threshold of £325,000.  This is called the nil rate bands. So, if your estate is valued at £500,000, the inheritance charge will be £70,000 because the difference between £500,000 and £325,000 is £175,000 which is taxed at 40%.

However, husbands, wives and civil partners (but not unmarried couples) do not pay IHT, and they can inherit each other’s nil rate band on death. This means that an entire estate, irrespective of value, can be transferred to a spouse or civil partner without being subject to inheritance tax. And, in the event of the second spouse’s death, the £325,000 nil rate band is doubled to £650,000.

In the example above, an estate worth £500,000 would not be liable for any inheritance tax because the nil rate bands have been applied from both partner’s on death.

It is important to make sure that you have a legally-binding will and that your relationships are formally recognized in the UK for this to apply.

36% Inheritance Tax Rate

The nil rate band can be further reduced to 36 per cent if at least 10% of the estate is left to charity.

Make Use Of Wedding Presents

If a wedding is planned then make sure you use your wedding gift allowance to make gifts to the betrothed that are free of tax:

• Each parent can give cash or gifts worth £5,000 to the couple getting married
• Grandparents can give cash or gifts worth £2,500
• Anyone can give cash or gifts worth £1,000

The gifts must be made on or shortly before the wedding and there is no exemption to tax if the ceremony is called off.

Make Use of Trusts For Life Assurance

A trust is a legal means of allowing a gift to be made to someone without giving them control over the gift.  They are commonly used for life assurance policies that are designed to pay out on death to meet a potential inheritance tax liability or to legally move money outside estate in the form of premiums.

The person who places the gift in trust is called the ‘settlor’ and the person or people who will receive the gift are called the ‘beneficiary’. The people in charge of the trust are called the ‘trustees’ and they are responsible for executing the trust to fulfill the wishes of the settlor.

The most common form of trusts for wealth planning is discretionary trusts that are used to ‘ring fence’ life assurance policies, and provide these benefits:

• The death benefit is paid into the trust and the trustees pay it out to the beneficiaries as they see fit.
• There is no delay for probate.
• There is no potential for inheritance tax, income tax and capital gains tax up to the nil rate band allowance - as long as the payments to the life assurance policy do not exceed annual gift and income allowances.

The legal and tax effects of a trust will vary depending on your individual circumstances and the circumstances of the beneficiaries.

Putting a life assurance policy into trust is a straight forward procedure and trust forms can be obtained from your Life Assurance Company or independent financial adviser. Your policies cannot be put into trust retrospectively.

You should be aware that, once a policy has been put into trust, it cannot normally be reversed. It is therefore important to make sure that the trust meets all your needs before you finalize it.

Make Sure You Plan Ahead

The rules and regulations around pensions, tax and finances are constantly changing and it’s important that you take advice about the options available to you when you are planning your wealth management strategies.

People often find it comforting to know that their financial affairs will resolve in a way that satisfies them in the event of their death, and planning is the best way to achieve this.

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Saturday, February 14, 2015

BitClub Network Offers Simple Way to Earn in a Booming Crypto Currency Market

The Internet has become a priority of people for almost everything. No matter if you are talking about home business, entertainment, news or information, the internet plays a very important role in all of it. And bitcoin, a relatively new digital currency, has made conducting business online even easier. There are millions of people using bitcoin, availing its advantages, and one can do their own research to understand how and why bitcoin and bitcoin mining has become so popular. And if you wish to be a part of the digital crypto currency market, then you would need to first understand where it all starts. mining for digital currency.

There are many individuals and businesses around the world that see a bright future for crypto currencies and they are not shy about announcing the great advantages of their trust.  The future of bitcoin digital currency is very bright and one just needs to look to the press to understand it’s not just hype. As you begin to explore the world of digital currencies and the opportunity they offer, you see how beneficial it would be for one to get involved with BitClub Network (BCN). In fact, getting involved with BCN will open one up to many future opportunities to make money from home.

With BCN everything is automated using specialized software to solve difficult math problems, allowing a certain number of Bitcoins to be issued in exchange. US Dollar Bitcoin prices differ from day-to-day and as of this writing, current high is pegged at $280.00. Predictions for this digital currency are currently positive. Some financial experts say that Facebook may adopt it to enable remittance, plus peer-to-peer money transfers (with no middle man) will skyrocket.

Experts have also predicted that every e-commerce point-of-sale will soon accept Bitcoin. Microsoft now accepts Bitcoin and major money remittance companies such as MoneyGram and Western Union could be forced to possibly close shop while exchange highs may soon be over the $1000 level in just a span of a couple years.

BitClub Network may be the company to bring new and passive income options to the doorstep of millions of people worldwide. The fact is, it is quite likely that in the future, all the e-commerce websites will soon accept digital currency like bitcoin, fueling new innovative micropayment-based methods for clients to use in commerce. And due to its popularity, the price of bitcoin may drastically increase in the future. If you want to avail the future advantages of bitcoin, then get involved with BCN today!  No need to stay away from such a big profit possibility any longer. BitClub Network  will give you a simple way to earn while riding the tidal wave with bitcoin and bitcoin mining.  Get started today and make your future bright with BitClub Network!

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Monday, February 9, 2015

Important Tips for Consumers Considering Debt Settlement Services

A Florida based law firm practicing in class actions, business disputes, personal injuries and consumer debt, shares important information for consumers considering debt settlement services, including tips to avoid scams.

According to the law firm, the Federal Trade Commission passed a law in 2010 that amended the Telesales Rule, effectively banning advance fees on debt reduction services. Consumers must be aware going in that debt settlement companies are not allowed to charge fees in advance for settling debt until they have successfully settled at least one credit account. The law firm points out there are still many companies that fail to comply with this law, often because they know they won't actually succeed and want to be paid anyway.

Wites & Kapetan also points out that many consumers fail to understand that they may be sued by their creditors after signing up for debt settlement. Consumers who sign up for a debt reduction plan are typically instructed to stop paying bills to build up a lump sum of money for a settlement offer while also gaining leverage. Unfortunately, this gives creditors the right to sue in civil court for defaulting on the loan. Non-attorney debt settlement companies cannot represent their clients in court or offer legal advice, and most will drop any client who is facing a lawsuit.

Wites & Kapetan also urges consumers to first make sure their debt isn't already past the statute of limitations in their state before ever attempting to settle. In most states, there are laws stating creditors have a specific amount of time to collect the debt or lose their right to do so. Still, creditors will not turn down the opportunity to "settle" a debt they know is past the statute.

Finally, the law firm reminds consumers that debt settlement may not even be in their best interest. Bankruptcy may be a better option, depending on the type of debts of the balance, as individuals facing a massive amount of debt that won't be made more affordable with a settlement may only be digging themselves into more trouble by signing up for debt reduction services.

The firm specializes in negotiating pre-litigation resolutions of consumer debt disputes and has successfully obtained recoveries for and defended consumers in credit card disputes and consumer debts, including representing clients in court if they have been sued by a creditor. Wites & Kapetan also provides bankruptcy counseling and filing for consumers best served by filing for bankruptcy protection.

When is Debt Settlement a Good Idea?

Debt settlement services are certainly not for everyone, and the industry is still very unregulated, but it is worth considering in some cases. If you decide to turn to debt reduction services, make sure you exercise extreme caution and do your homework before working with a company, or even a debt settlement attorney, to avoid being taken advantage of.

Settlement allows you to pay less than your balance by negotiating with your creditors for a smaller amount to satisfy the total debt. While this may sound like a great solution to help you overcome a mountain of debt, there are serious consequences. Debt settlement companies appeal to consumers who are very troubled by debt but wish to avoid bankruptcy at all costs - and all costs is right. Not only is this service very expensive, it will also do serious damage to your credit.

Potential dangers of debt settlement include:

• Fraud: There are some companies who offer debt settlement services who are no more than fly-by-night scams, taking huge upfront (and illegal!) upfront fees and disappearing. Other debt settlement companies are simply too inexperienced to effectively negotiate a deal, or even bother. Either way, your money is wasted at a time when you cannot afford the loss.
• Damage to your credit: Debt settlement companies will require you to stop paying your bills to build up a lump sum for settling, and to get leverage, but this comes at a cost. Your credit will be tanked, and the higher your score to begin with, the harder the hit. Successfully settling debts also hurts your credit.
• Lawsuits and wage garnishment: Creditors will often escalate their actions against you when you obtain debt reduction services from a company. This means they are quick to file a lawsuit when you default, which can lead to a lien against your property and wage garnishment. In many cases, creditors will immediately take legal action when they find out you're working with debt settlement companies.
• No regulation: The federal government does not regulate debt settlement companies and the few rules they have in place are largely ignored. Proceed at your own caution.
• Taxes on forgiven debt: The IRS will usually consider the difference between what you owe and what you settle for as taxable income. This means you may owe about $2,500 in taxes for every $10,000 that's forgiven.
• Cost. Debt settlement is very expensive, and some companies will charge 14-18% of the total balance that you want settled, while some will want a huge percentage of the amount they successfully settle.
• Time involved: Finally, debt settlement is not a fast process and the average debt settlement process is longer than two years.

When Does it Make Sense?

So, when does attempting to settle your debt actually make sense? If you can afford your debt but only if the amount is reduced, attempting to settle may be a good option. In general, settlements should be used if you can't qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy (or cannot afford to do so because of your job), if you accept that your credit will take a big hit and you understand that you may be on the hook for paying a lot in taxes and fees.

If you're thinking about turning to debt settlement, consider working with a debt settlement attorney versus a non-attorney company as they can represent you in court if your creditors sue you, and they will offer better leverage in dealing with your creditors.

Warning Signs of a Debt Settlement Scam

With millions of Americans facing hard times and unbearable amounts of debt, it comes as no surprise that debt settlement companies are everywhere, advertising that they can settle debt for pennies on the dollar, stop creditor calls and preserve your credit. Unfortunately, most of these companies make unreasonable or even illegal claims, and you can get yourself into even greater trouble by signing up for their services, left in the end with an even greater amount of debt and thousands gone in fees.

Before you consider debt reduction services, make sure you know the following warning signs of a scam. 

1. They claim they can dramatically reduce your debt
This is the primary claim associated with debt reduction services, of course, but it's a serious red flag if a debt settlement company claims they can and will do so. It's true that some of your creditors may be willing to reduce your balance, but this is an unrealistic claim and they cannot make any sort of guarantee.

2. They claim they will stop collection calls and prevent legal action
Be aware that debt settlement companies have absolutely no control over the debt collection practices of your creditors. This means they cannot stop collection calls, and they absolutely cannot prevent legal action against you. Unfortunately, many creditors are known to become more aggressive, not less, when they find out you are working with one of these companies. That means collections will start sooner, and you will be more likely to be sued in court. In this case, the company cannot help you.

3. They charge a high upfront fee
Did you know it is illegal for debt settlement services to be charged upfront? A debt settlement company must successfully settle at least one debt before charging you, so be aware of your rights. Also, a legitimate company bases fees on the amount you owe to your creditors and it's directly tied to their performance on your behalf. Don't agree to pay huge fees for a service you do not know you will even receive.

4. They tell you your credit will be unharmed
Do not trust any company that provides debt reduction services if they tell you your credit will not be affected. The truth is your score will be affected when a debt settlement company gets involved. You will most likely be told to stop paying your accounts to create incentive (which causes late payments on your credit), and even the successful settling of a debt is a red mark on your credit that remains for 7 years.

5. They tell you not to speak with creditors
Finally, be aware that this is only an attempt to keep you from knowing the real status of your accounts. This is not something a reputable company will do, and one of the many reasons you may be better off working with a debt settlement attorney who is bound by the law and works in your best interests.

Understanding General Business Liability Insurance

Small businesses face a great deal of uncertainty, and that's why small business liability insurance is so important. Accidents can happen at any time, no matter how hard you try to avoid them, and sometimes in spite of your efforts. There are many names for liability insurance, including commercial or business general liability insurance, but it's really just a form of protection for your business's assets.

General Business Liability Insurance

Liability insurance is meant to protect your assets by paying for costly obligations like medical bills if you are sued by someone who is hurt on your property, or regarding property damage or an employee or yourself causing injury. Business general liability insurance will also cover the cost for a legal defense along with a settlement if you are sued, including non-monetary losses and compensatory damages.

This form of insurance will also protect you against claims of false or misleading advertising against your business, while also protecting against liability as a tenant if you cause any damage to the business space you rent.

Do You Need Liability Insurance?

Does your business really need liability insurance? Consider this: about 80% of all businesses in the U.S. are partnerships or sole proprietorships, which means personal assets are at risk. If the business is sued, a judgement may be ordered that could cost you your life savings, your retirement and even your home. Small business liability insurance gives you the protection you need if you are sued for personal injuries or property damage by covering both the damages and legal costs. Even one accident can easily put you out of business, with legal costs alone easily topping $300,000 just to defend yourself.

Unfortunately, we live in a litigious society, and it's not unlikely that you will find yourself facing a claim at some point in time. General business liability insurance can actually save your business and it isn't nearly as expensive as you might guess. Depending on your business type and coverage, the annual premium may be somewhere between $750 to $2,000. Compare that to the cost of defending yourself in court and paying a substantial settlement!

While some business owners choose to buy liability insurance as a separate policy, it may be in your best interest to purchase it as a part of a Business Owner's Policy, which includes other important forms of business insurance.

The Details of Your Policy

Your liability insurance policy will have a maximum amount the policy will pay out for a claim. If your policy caps coverage at $350,000 and you are sued for $300,000 in medical expenses for an injury caused by a workplace hazard plus an additional $75,000 in legal fees, you will then need to pay the extra $25,000.

If you have a high-risk business or you already have a liability insurance policy, you can opt for excess coverage which increases this limit. This may be necessary in some cases if one of your clients requires your business have a certain amount of coverage to complete work.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

The Importance of being Insured

The world can be a very scary place. Every day, people are faced with innumerable challenges, and sometimes they face events that are not only unavoidable, but can have tragic results. When accidents or natural disasters occur in your life, you need something in place you can trust to be in your corner and help you salvage and rebuild your life. You need a safety net that allows you to run not only your life but your day to day operations without having to worry about what will happen to you if something disastrous occurs. You need insurance policies.

There are many different types of insurance policies out there. They can cover anything from house fires to tornadoes tearing through your warehouse. Everyone should have multiple policies in place to take care of their personal needs should something happen to themselves or the things they own. Homeowners insurance takes care of the house, automobile insurance takes care of the car, and life insurance policies take care of your loved ones. Having these policies in place is smart and helps in protecting the ones you love. These personal policies are all well and good, but one must consider the consequences of not protecting their business with general business liability insurance policies.

If something were to occur within your company or business and lawsuits and liability issues result, what are you going to do if you’re not covered? Having a general liability insurance policy is a smart way to make sure that you will have the legal and financial help you need should your company suffer a tragic or costly event in the workplace. If your commercial business insurance policy is not in place when an accident or natural disaster occurs you are opening yourself up, personally, to some very expensive consequences. These consequences could overflow from your business into your personal finances and cause any number of setbacks that you may not recover from.

Insurance is designed to allow you to run your business with the knowledge that if a bad situation occurs; the consequences will be taken care of. Insurance makes it possible to rebuild, to restructure, and to retain what is yours. You don’t want to spend your life building a legacy for your family only to find that at the first sign of disaster all of your hard work goes right down the drain. You have to protect your investments and that means making sure all of your assets are covered. So when your laying out your business plan, make sure you get yourself covered, and get a commercial business or general liability insurance policy. Don’t lay the foundation for your life’s work without a safety net place.

The Best Insurance Leads are Fresh Leads

Regardless of how you acquire and cultivate leads, there's one thing that's certain: the warmer the leads, the faster you sell. This is especially true when you buy life or health insurance leads, as these prospects will most likely be contacted by numerous agents in a short amount of time.

Unfortunately, in the rush to sell to business leads, many agents simply overlook the quality of the leads they themselves are buying. This is a huge mistake that may cost them their entire business. While there are definitely many types of leads you can buy, you want to get the best, regardless of the niche you operate in. In general, the best leads are the freshest. Keep in mind there are plenty of unreliable lead generation companies out there willing to sell you stale, month-old (or in some cases year old!) leads that turn out to be a dud after you waste your time and money chasing them down.

This is a common practice among the poor quality companies that sell life insurance leads. Many will sell leads that go on and on, circulating amongst dozens or hundreds of agents for years! Fresh leads that have been captured within the last day or even hour of someone requesting information is important, because these people are still in the market to buy. They haven't moved on, and they are waiting to hear from agents who can give them more information and quotes. The fresher the business leads you buy, the greater your chances of selling a policy.

You've probably been in the business long enough to understand that getting a potential customer on the phone quickly, discussing their needs, answering questions and providing great service puts you a lot closer to a fast sale than calling someone who has just spent the last week receiving and dodging calls from nearly every agent in town. When you're working to make a profit, the last thing you want is wasting your valuable time on unproductive calls with leads who don't want to hear what you have to say.

That's where fresh health or life insurance leads come in. You get to leads no one else has spoken to yet, which greatly increases your chances of making a sale. Remember, this is not like cold calling either; insurance leads from a reputable company are people who have requested information from agents. Fresh leads tend to close quickly, assuming you work with due diligence. Just because you're the only person getting the leads doesn't mean you can let them fall through the cracks and not work them as fast as possible.

If your leads aren't interested in buying the day you call, don't forget the importance of follow-up, just as you would with any other type of lead. Some people take up to 6 weeks to purchase a policy after requesting a life or health insurance quote online, so you'll probably lose a sale if you only call once. Don't make assumptions or try to make up the person's mind for them. Offer information and leave the decision up to them, but don't forget your follow-up procedure to see greater success when you buy leads online.