Thursday, October 19, 2006

BLOG PROBLEMS

We found out not long ago that many of our posts were not showing up on the blog! We use a special program to write our entries and it was showing us that everything was hunkydory! Over the next few days, expect a ton of posts to show up so scroll back and read what you have missed!

We are sorry for the inconvenience.

Great Reasons to have a Home Based Business

We've always encouraged our clients to have a home based business. It is a wonderful way to provide extra income as well as to receive certain tax breaks and incentives. It is a great way to find something you enjoy and turn it into a money making venture. Many of our clients have subsequently made their part time business their full time company!

For those of you that might still be on the fence about this, the following article might help you make up your mind.

By the Census Bureau's last count in 2002, half of all businesses in the U.S. are home-based. The U.S. government encourages this kind of entrepreneurship. Dig deep and at-home entrepreneurs will find a few precious tax deductions, say Mark Birge and Steve Mentzer, accountants with Aldrich, Kilbride and Tatone, an Oregon-based accountancy firm.

...

Below are five deductions homebodies would be foolish to ignore. (The last two also apply to any small-business owners.) To increase your odds of success, be sure to keep your business and personal life separate--including all checking accounts, credit cards and phone bills. "Don't commingle," says Mentzer. "You'll always lose out to the IRS."
With that advice, lets see the deductions!

1. Infrastructure (utilities, phone service, housekeeping services, landscaping)

Run-of-the-mill homeowners and renters can't deduct these expenses, but at-home entrepreneurs can. To calculate the percentage of these "indirect expenses" that is tax-deductible, determine how much of your house is used as office space. If your office takes up 200 square feet of your 2000-square-foot home, you can theoretically deduct 10% of these expenses. The IRS doesn't require the area be confined by walls--only that you spell out why you call it an office.
This is awesome! Now that room that you have been using to store your computer and surf the web can be converted into your office and used as a tax break!

2. Home mortgage interest and property taxes

U.S. taxpayers can deduct these anyway, but as a small business owner, you can save even more by applying a percentage of mortgage interest and property taxes to the home-office section of your tax form, says Birge. Reason: Deductions for mortgage interest and property taxes are capped, but there are no limits on the home-office portion.

Read that last part again. There are NO LIMITS on the home-office portion!

3. Travel expenses

You can't deduct fuel expenses if you commute to work each day, but if you work from home, you can deduct the costs of traveling away from your home for any business-related activity. For each mile traveled in a car, deduct 44.5 cents. Alternatively, you can take the percentage of miles traveled for work and deduct that proportional amount from what you spent on gas, oil changes and repairs. Mentzer suggests keeping a mileage log and writing down the purpose of every trip and the date in case the auditors come calling.
With the cost of fuel these days, this is very important. We have some employees that are averaging over $600 a month on gas alone. Now, if they were able to deduct part of that because they had a home-based business it would be a huge lifesaver! The log mentioned above is very important. In fact, we recommend logging all home-based business expenses. This will help you avoid any problems with the IRS and allow you to prove to them all the deductions you take. Again, KEEP A LOG!

4. One-time office equipment purchases

Section 179 of the tax code says you can take a one-time deduction--up to $105,000--for the purchase of office equipment, as long as you don't purchase more than $400,000 of equipment in a calendar year. That's nice, but many startups don't generate enough pretax income to get the full benefit of the deduction. Married entrepreneurs have an edge: If one spouse spends $10,000 on equipment, but only brings in $5,000 in pretax income, he can still apply that entire $10,000 to the couple's joint tax return. "There are not too many situations where it is beneficial to file separately from your spouse," says Mentzer.
Read that and follow it carefully. We encourage our people to take every tax advantage possible when running a home based business. Sometimes, getting these advantages aren't easy and there are some hoops that you will have to jump through. Make sure that you do it!

5. Family affair

Sole proprietors with children under 18 who work for them can deduct their children's "wages." Just make sure you actually get some work out of the whippersnappers.

It is a great opportunity to teach your children the value of hard work in a safe environment. The world can be dangerous and having your children work in certain places might not be the best thing to do. Having a home based business allows you to control all aspects of the work they do and the people they work with. A win-win situation!

These are only a few of the reasons to have a home based business. We'll continue to write more about this in the future so come back often!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Real Financial Heroes

These videos say it all. Hilarious and yet, far to true in today's world. You'll understand when you see them.

Real Financial Heroes

1. Mr. Impulse Buyer Guy

2. Mrs. Addicted to Big Sale Shopper

3. Mr. & Mrs. Too Much Home Buyer

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Eight Great Year-End Moves

It's hard to believe that it is getting to be that time, but it is! The year is coming to an end and it is time to start thinking about next year. With that in mind, this wonderful article tells you some of the things you need to do to get ready for next year. Let's take a look at them.

1. Rebalance your 401(k)

2.
Revisit your estate plan

3.
Sock it away

4.
Give smarter

5.
Review your health plan

6.
Clean up your taxable account

7.
Do a property insurance checkup

8.
Check the new credits and taxes
Each section links to the appropriate area. There is some really good information in here for all of us.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Abundant Women Leaves Incredible Legacy

A woman who died not long ago at the age of 100 leaves over $35 million to charity. She lived a life of abundance, not a lavish life, but a comfortable one. Her goal in life was to leave money for research to help others and she was able to do so.

A 100-year-old woman who quietly amassed a vast fortune before her death last year left $35.6 million to local diabetes and cancer research.

Eugenia Dodson donated two-thirds of the money to the University of Miami’s Diabetes Research Institute, the largest gift in its 35-year history. The rest goes to the university’s Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center.
What an amazing woman! We salute her and her example of Abundance!

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Time for a Raise!

Not our normal subject material, but we know that all of you are working hard, living abundantly and deserve to make more money! So, here are some tips on how to ask and get that raise you deserve.

1. Have your ducks in order. Of course, you can't march into a meeting with your boss armed simply with your opinions. You need to back it up. That means analyzing and cataloguing what you've accomplished in the past year, writing it down and then preparing for that all-important meeting. It's also a good idea to bone up on industry standards. One good source is salary.com's salary wizard.
This is so very important! You know you deserve that raise, your boss probably does as well; but unless you have the information needed to justify it, forget it! You need to be able to show just how much you are needed and what a wonderful job you are doing. When you do this, it makes it easier for your superior to justify giving it to you!
2. Know the business climate. It's also important to know the current economic environment -- not only in the national economy but also in the company. "If business is booming, then seeking your fair share of the wealth is understandable," says Mimi Greenberg, president of MRG Associates, an executive search firm in New York City. "But if you're employed by a start-up or a larger company actively looking to slash costs, it may not be a very good time to ask for a bump in your paycheck."
If your company just lost money or broke even, it might not be the best time to ask for that raise, even if you deserve it. Keep your eyes open for the right opportunity to ask, then pounce!

3. Rehearse. Know what you want to say to the boss and practice saying it out loud. Remember, you are selling yourself.
We thought about moving this to number 1. 99% of people asking for a raise seem to be doing it off the cuff by the presentations they give. Work on it! Spend time getting it ready! This should be the best, smoothest presentation you've given all year. You've wowed them all year with the work that you've done, now wow them with your raise presentation!

4. Prepare for the worst. According to CareerBuilder.com, one of the largest online job-search Web sites, less than 1% of people who ask for a raise get it right away.

If your boss won't give you a raise, ask for other things such as more vacation time, a laptop computer or other equipment. If you are turned down, express disappointment, shake hands and calmly walk away. The composed manner in which you take the rejection may give your boss the impression that you have something else lined up -- even if you don't.
Many times superiors won't give a raise immediately just to see what your reaction is. They can find out just how loyal you are and just how well you are able to handle adversity. You've done well up until now, don't blow it! Be calm, be cool and who knows, you might get a call back.

5. Be gracious. If the final answer is "yes," express appreciation, but do not go overboard. Work twice as hard to prove your boss made the right decision. "Start right then and there earning that next raise," says Greenwood of Common Sense at Work.
Yes, yes, yes! Very important. Be gracious and then work even harder to show them they made the right choice.

You are all living abundantly so this should come natural. Even if it doesn't, if you follow the steps given above, it will seem to flow naturally from you.

Now get out that and get the money you deserve!

Friday, October 06, 2006

Lower your Debt, RIGHT NOW!

This is more for those who have just graduated college, although some of the advice is good for all. As we preach non-stop, get out of debt, get out of debt now! You can not imagine how good it feels to owe NOTHING! When you owe nothing, you own everything! Your life is your own!

Let's look at some of Kiplinger's ideas to debt reduction.

1. Consolidate your student loans
Consolidating your federal loans is like refinancing your debt into a single loan at a fixed rate.

2. Shop around for the best student loan perks.
Thanks to recent legislation, you are no longer required to consolidate with the lender who holds your student loans. You now can shop around for the one that offers the best terms that will help you trim your debt even further. For example, look for a lender that offers a discount on your interest rate if you opt to have your payments electronically debited from your checking or savings account each month and another rate reduction for making on-time payments over a 24- or 36-month period. Such perks can typically shave between 1 and 3 percentage points off your rate, saving you hundreds of dollars over the life of your loan.
These are both great ideas. People are shocked when they look at what just a 1% reduction in interest will save them over the life of a loan!

3. Ask your credit card company to lower your rate. Sometimes a solution really is this simple. A five-minute call to your lender could save you hundreds of dollars on interest charges. In 2002, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group asked 50 consumers of varying credit backgrounds to call their lenders and ask for lower rates. The strategy worked for more than half of the group, with the average rate reduction going from 16% to 10.5%.

4. Shop for a lower-rate credit card and transfer your balance. If your credit card company won't lower your rate when you ask -- or it won't lower it far enough -- shop around for a better deal. Once you have been making regular payments on your college-issue card for a while, you might have built enough of a credit history to get a lower-rate card elsewhere. Watch out for introductory offers, though. You don't want to get reeled in with the promise of a 5% rate only to find that it'll shoot up to 18% after three or six months. Unless you're confident you can pay off your entire balance within the introductory time frame, you'd probably be better off with a card charging a fixed rate.

5. Scrap the monthly fee. Your low-rate card may not be the deal you think it is if you're paying an annual fee. For example, if you pay $40 each month toward a $1,000 balance on a card with a 12% interest rate and a $50 annual fee, that's equivalent to a no-fee card with an 18.4% interest rate.
The killer of this nation, credit cards. There is nothing that can be more evil and destroy your independence faster than a credit card. Yes, they are necessary in life, but make sure you control them and not the other way around. Kiplinger's advice on the subject of credit cards is great! Follow it!

6. Trim the fat from your spending.
We like the title of this advice, just not all the rest that they give you. So, sticking with the title, we say, trim the fat and use the excess to pay off your debt! Be careful when trimming the fat that you don't go to far. Life is to live and enjoy! If you trim so much that you get rid of all the joy you'll just end up rebounding and going on a spending spree that will set you back years in your quest to become debt free! You need some excesses in life. You need to do those things that make you feel good. Just don't go overboard!

Of course, these are the things that we excel at. If they are giving you problems, give us a call! We are here to help!

Finally...

7. Stop using your cards. "If you're paying down one credit card and charging up on another, you may as well be a hamster on the wheel going around and around -- you're never going to get off," says Dvorkin, and you won't save any money. Put your credit cards away, and you'll whittle away at your debt faster, as well as spare yourself a future of more debt. But don't close the accounts -- having unused credit available from lenders you've been with a long time can actually raise your credit score.
We agree with this to a point. Put those cards away while you are paying off your debt. Once that debt is paid off, use your cards, just make sure to pay them off, completely, at the end of each month! NEVER, EVER, EVER, NEVER, EVER carry a balance on your credit cards again!

Kiplinger didn't do a bad job of giving advice. With a few tweaks here and there, it becomes great advice!

Now go out and have an AWESOME day!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

A Nation of Addictions

Nothing kills Abundance like addictions. It destroys families, friends, relationships, everything. It can eat up your last dollar and destroys your ability to make good, proper and wise decisions. Avoid addictions and if you are addicted to something, GET HELP!

People have no idea how much addictions cost. Leaving out the emotional burdens, lets look at the monetary burden alone.

The 5 most expensive addictions

* Alcohol. Estimated annual cost: $166 billion. Binge drinking hits the unemployed harder on a per capita basis -- 10.4%, vs. 8.4% of employed people. It is most prevalent in small metropolitan locales, rather than big cities or rural areas. The $18 billion spent on alcohol and drug treatment last year represented 1.3% of all health care spending.

* Smoking. Estimated annual cost: $157 billion. The tab includes $75 billion in direct medical expenses, with the rest in lost productivity from ill patients missing work. Given the low-tax (or no-tax) underground cigarette economy on the Web and on Indian reservations, it's unlikely that sales and usage have dropped much over the past decade, official government statistics notwithstanding.

* Drugs. Estimated annual cost: $110 billion. Like alcohol, illicit drug use is more prevalent among the unemployed. Most addicts are also heavy drinkers, though only a small minority of alcoholics are drug abusers. Crystal meth has followed marijuana, cocaine and heroin as the drug of choice among the young set.

* Overeating. Estimated annual cost: $107 billion. Overeating increases the risk of many health problems, including heart attacks. Obesity causes 14% of attacks suffered by males and 20% of those suffered by females, the National Institutes for Health says, and fewer than a third of adults get regular exercise. The bulk of the $107 billion is the direct cost to treat heart disease, osteoarthritis, hypertension, gall bladder disease and cancer.

* Gambling. Estimated annual cost: $40 billion. Addicted gamblers often feel compelled to chase after bad bets with more money in the hope of winning back their losses. And some who catch the fever develop the need to periodically raise the betting stakes to keep the same thrill. Also, addicts often face job loss, bankruptcy and forced home sales, and they are at greater risk to commit crimes like forgery and embezzlement.


Just look at all that money wasted! Scarcity, scarcity, scarcity! That is money that could have been used abundantly, sucked down a dark hole. Yes, someone will use the money and maybe, eventually, it will be used for an abundant purpose, but for you, the addicted individual, it is wasted.

Again, if you have an addiction, get help now!