I needed to find a pay stub generator because I simply refused to pay the amount that a local accountant wanted to charge me to help me with what I needed. I thought that it was a simple job for someone in the profession, and I still think that it is. What would take me over an hour to do on my own should easily be done in a fraction of that time by a professional who works with numbers on a daily basis. I understand that people need to be paid for their expertise, but there are times when a line just has to be drawn. Continue reading
Recently I tried putting ‘money’ in my article topics to see how they would fare above the others that include health, child abuse, spirituality, and last days’ prophecies, among other things. Of the top twenty performers 12 deal with money or the financial system. This speaks volumes of the way many think when it comes to what’s important in the minds of many, and who can blame them? In today’s world the economy is tethering on the brink of disaster and people are struggling.
In Australia where an election will be held on July 2nd, it is the economy that is the main issue on the government’s agenda. The Prime Minister promises better management of it and more incentive and growth leading to more jobs. While that is the promise it is not the reality.
Over the three years of the present administration the economy has gone backwards. Jobs have been lost left, right, and center. Payments to parents have been cut, government sponsored services have disappeared, and generally the mood is one of gloom. Businesses are closing and retail shops are finding it so hard to trade that many are folding.
The world economy is also on a knife-edge while economists are struggling to prop up stock markets and keep something like stability going ahead. But how long can this continue before the big break comes?
Many of my articles deal with this crisis and it is no surprise that people want to know. It seems that there is a general nervousness that is driving people to look for alternate leaders who promise things that are impossible to deliver. Some don’t have to promise anything and they are leading in the poles because voters don’t want to have a return of the same.
Is there anything that can be done to prevent Australia going into a recession? That is the big question and it is one for the world as well as other countries fight back bankruptcy and declining incomes. Venezuela is one nation that stands as an example of what is likely for many other nations and right now there appears to be none that are immune.
It is my opinion that we are in the last days and the prophecies state that at this time there will be a collapse of the systems as the Spirit takes back control of the World Order that has been built on a false premise. That is the money that invented to give men power and while it has been pushed to the limit to do that it is based on nothing bur dreams.
With memory of reincarnation and a link to the Spirit of the Universe it is my opinion that things are about to change. In that event perhaps people should stop thinking about money and turn their attention to where they stand spirituality before the end comes crashing down on them.
State capitalism is referred to as a monetary system wherein business functions (profit oriented) are initiated by the state.
The production systems are arranged and controlled by the state. The government agencies manage the complete process – capital increase, the wage for labour and centralized management.
State capitalism is the combination of wage structure of production and control by the government. It could be utilized to denote a structure in which the state makes economic decisions to safeguard the well-being of mega businesses.
This is not a new concept e.g., the East India Company. However, it has witnessed an impressive recovery.
During the 1990s, state-controlled firms were nothing but government divisions in developing economies. The assumption was that, as the economy seasoned, the government would either shut or ensure they are privatized.
The crisis in the West and growth in emerging markets has convinced some experts, state capitalism is a viable model. According to them, capitalism has been revamped to ensure it is more efficient.
The requirement for leaders of the G-20 to construct consent behind the implementation of modified rules for financial institutions and dependable global oversight would supplement the movement.
Over a period of time, state capitalism has become prominent. The governments are steering mega capital flows across international markets with significant inferences for free markets and global growth.
The mega oil firms globally, assessed on the basis of their reserves are managed by governments.
Some of the examples are Saudi Aramco, Gazprom (Russia), China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), Petróleo Brasileiro (Petrobras), and Petronas (Malaysia).
The trend is not restricted to only the energy sector. State-controlled firms are making a foray into several sectors – military, power, telecommunications, metals and aviation.
The growth in an advanced segment of sovereign wealth funds is also facilitating an increase in state-controlled functions.
The governments with huge holdings in the currencies of other nations are creating mega risk-oriented funds to optimize the ROI and increase their political clout.
The international credit crunch increased the difficulty in securing funds, hence, sovereign wealth funds have become vital for the funding of state capitalism.
Economists backing state capitalism feel that it can deliver stability along with development.
The governments are in a position to lessen the crisis that a globalized capitalistic economy causes by increasing investments in public infrastructure projects and soft infrastructure of leading enterprises.
The Singapore government under the leadership of So Lee Kuan Yew allowed international companies to operate, accepted western management concepts and owned significant portions of firms.
China has achieved a growth rate of 8% in recent times. The US has a trade deficit of nearly $300 billion with China.
Several nations that function based on a state capitalist structure have overcome the impact of the global recession with better strength than free economies of the developed world.
The governments in a state capitalist structure, usually make long-term investments. The establishment of national mega firms that support the pursuit of the government’s policies is a critical strength of state capitalism.
However, there are serious weaknesses linked to state capitalism. State controlled firms absorb the capital and expertise that could have been used efficiently by private firms.
State-controlled firms usually replicate others technology since they could leverage the government’s influence to secure others technology. They would become competitive if they invest significantly in R&D.
State-controlled firms make few mega investments instead of many small investments. The pioneering innovations globally are mostly interconnections of small new ventures.
Stability is an area of concern. State capitalism functions efficiently only if it is managed by a capable state. Several nations in Asia have a common cultural background.
State capitalism favours insiders having excellent relationships with decision makers to highly efficient outsiders. It encourages crony capitalism.
The internal weaknesses in a state-controlled firm are not visible in the short-run, while resulting in several economic issues. Global investors in developing economies have to be careful.
State-capitalist regimes could be unreliable, with absolutely no concern for smaller shareholders. Some investors would find their affiliates or joint ventures facing direct competition from state-controlled firms.
A serious issue is the influence of the model on the international trading structure. Geopolitical problems could impact the trading structure.
For developing nations seeking to be competitive globally, state capitalism definitely has an appeal. It gives them a significant advantage in terms of the political influence that would take private firms a long-term to establish.
There would be more constraints on the entry to some international markets for certain firms.
The governments would provide subsidies to facilitate social development. This could have a negative impact on the economy.
The demerits overshadow the merits. The leadership of state capitalism must reduce their mega holdings in preferred firms and boost greater private investment.
To conclude, state capitalism would influence international economic trend significantly, but it would not be able to change the globalization process. State capitalism must negate the internal inconsistencies – the ecological price.
Security intelligence is the data related to safeguarding an organization from any outside and inside threats along with the processes, and policies developed to accumulate and evaluate the information.
It can also be referred to as the actual collection, standardization, and analysis of the data created by users, applications, and structures that influence the IT security and risk position of a business.
On a daily basis, information flows in organizations for the senior management to make smart decisions. The various stakeholders (employees, customers, contractors) are interfaced through various technologies.
However, the technological infrastructure can also result in serious security issues. The probable areas of intrusion are unlimited. Security experts and business leaders are trying to find an answer to the question – Is it feasible to have a robust security in an increasingly interfaced environment?
Though the answer is yes, it needs a radical transformation in processes and practices encompassing the financial services sector. The focus is not only on IT. Robust security facilitates a positive customer experience.
Cybercrime and Profitability
Financial institutions are at great risk since they are perceived to be an easy target for cybercriminals. According to a survey by IBM, “Financial markets, insurance, computer and professional services together account for over 40% of all security incidents worldwide.”
The losses, pertaining to cybercrime in other sectors could be due to industrial intelligence and fraud related to intellectual property, but in banking, online fraud is a possibility.
Any fraud related to the intellectual property and industrial intelligence could lead to reduced shareholder value, shut down of the business and net financial losses. These are the issues impacting the global financial sector, not only because the main reasons are not identified or the disruption to the customer is immediate, but also because they can result in a significant loss of money.
As per Andrew Haldane, Financial Stability Director at the Bank of England, “Cyber-risk has become a more pressing concern than economic depression and the Eurozone crisis, as it is a rapidly rising area of risk with potentially systemic implications”.
Comprehending the seriousness of the security risk is only a beginning. Financial institutions must establish an in-depth security intelligence strategy that would enable the financial institutions to have an insight into the perceived threats.
Financial institutions leverage top-notch analytics to get an understanding of:
- The types of attacks that are occurring.
- The probable source of the attacks.
- The technology used by the cyber criminals.
- Weak spots that could be exploited in the future.
Michael Davison, Banking and Financial Markets, IBM, stated,” There’s not another single issue that unites the interests of so many people at senior levels of banks. It unites technology, the CFO, security and compliance functions. But cybersecurity is also mission critical for people running lines of business and who are running P&Ls. So quite rightly it sits on the Board agenda. But there’s still work to do to educate Boards about the urgency of an effective response to the rapidly changing environment.”
Financial institutions must implement the following practices to get the balance between the required innovation and the related risk:
Establish a risk-conscious culture
- An organizational transformation with an emphasis on zero tolerance towards a security failure must be established.
- An initiative encompassing the organizational hierarchy to execute smart analytics and automated response competencies is needed to identify and resolve issues.
Safeguard the Working Environment
The functions in distinct devices must be examined by a centralized authority and the wide array of information in an institution must be categorized, tagged with its risk profile and circulated to the concerned personnel.
The greatest problem with the IT systems and the unnecessary costs is from executing services initially and looking at security afterwards. Security has to be a part of the application from the first phase of design.
Ensure A Safe Environment
If the system is secure, security personnel can monitor every program that’s functioning; ensure it is ongoing and operating at optimal level.
Manage the Network
Organizations that route approved data through controlled entry points will be in a better position to identify and separate the malware.
Cloud Based Security
To prosper in a cloud scenario, organizations should possess the technology to operate in a secluded environment and track probable issues.
An organization’s security strategy must also involve its vendors and efforts must be made to establish the best practices among the vendors.
Financial firms have been a major target for malware attacks. Several aspects are impacting the financial sector. The direct connection between the breach of several personally identifiable information (PII) to the profitability has not been lost on the global financial stakeholders. This has led to the implementation of several global security projects.
A hazardous type of malware for online financial transactions is “Man-in-the-Browser” intrusions. It happens when a malicious program affects an internet browser. The program adjusts activities conducted by the user and in some instances, can initiate actions independently. It could lead to online stealing.
Financial institutions that can transform radically at a fundamental level, the way they function would be safeguarded.
The aim of enterprise security could initially emphasis on IT structures, it must be extended from the technology personnel & their systems to each individual within the organization, and all the stakeholders conducting business with it.
The study of human behaviour, which has traditionally come under the umbrella of psychology, would seem to have little relationship with economics.
But, as we learn more about how the brain works through the dual disciplines of neuroscience and psychology, there is an increasing marriage with the field of economics, in order to better understand how people make financial decisions.
This has evolved considerably in recent years and is an emergent field that deserves a little introduction and explanation.
The traditional view of economics and financial decision-making
It is sometimes forgotten in economics that the field is meant to be about the behaviour of people when making financial decisions.
The traditional economist’s view is that the world is populated by unemotional, logical, decision makers, who always think rationally in drawing their conclusions. This view is underpinned by the understanding that human behaviour displays three key traits: unbounded rationality, unbounded willpower, and unbounded selfishness.
This has always flown in the face of the findings of cognitive and social psychologists, who questioned these assumptions as far back as the 1950s.
With the rise of behavioural neuroscience since the 1980s (especially Kahneman’s work) providing more insight into the workings of the brain, we are now more sure than ever about the role that emotion and bias plays in all decision-making: from simple day-to-day decisions like which dress to wear, through to larger decisions that may affect many people.
Overconfidence and optimism are two examples of behavioural traits that may lead to sub-optimal financial decision-making, and divert from the traditional model used. People have also been shown to make poor decisions, even when they know it’s not for the best, due to a lack of self-control.
So this is where behavioural economics has been able to step in and modify many of the beliefs of the traditional economic views.
What is behavioural economics – and how can it help?
Behavioral economics and behavioral finance study the effects of psychological, social, cognitive, and emotional factors on economic decisions.
This may apply to individuals or institutions, and involves looking at the consequences for market prices, dividends, and resource allocation.
Of the three traits of human behaviour included in the traditional model outlined above, unbounded rationality has received special focus, with new understandings in the field resulting from neuroscience.
Understanding better how people arrive at financial decisions can help in many areas: from personal finance to organisations shaping products and trying to get more customer sign-ups; and from the vagaries of stock market trading through to governments and how they formulate financial legislation.
A healthy portion of car buyers secure their purchase with the help of an auto loan. But, very few of those people understand the concept of refinancing and its genuine benefits. It means paying back your auto loan with the help of another loan. It means the new lender will receive all your monthly payments from now on.
But, why would you take another loan? The reasons could be many.
Financial Pressure of Current Payment Plan
Suppose you wish to have smaller payments every month because the current loan is placing too much financial pressure on you, considering your current income. You could get a new deal for yourself where the monthly payments allow a balance with your expenditures.
Improved Credit Score
High interest rates make your monthly payments big enough to take away a sizable part of your income. It could be that you settled for high interest rate because your credit score was weak at the time of applying for the auto loan. But, now that you’ve been paying back your loan consistently, your credit score is better than it was. It means you can search for a better loan deal than you have.
Duration of the Loan Term
If you have moved up in your job, and there has been an increase in your income, you can opt for refinancing your auto loan to shorten the loan term. You could settle for paying more money than you do per month, and settle off your debt sooner than the previous deal would let you.
Refinancing your auto loan can also help you if you got the loan at a dealership. Sure, buying the car and getting a loan from the same place is convenient. But, it does not mean that your dealer offered you the best deal. If you find a lender whose payment plan suits you more, you should choose him.
Refinancing your auto loan can help you escape the unfortunate possibility of your car getting repossessed. The lender can repossess your car if the payments aren’t regular and sell it to someone else. By changing your lender at the right time, you could keep your car and pay back your loan at a new, more suitable interest rate.
Looking up deals online is a helpful tool as always. Find lenders in your area who are willing to strike a deal with you. The application takes a few minutes. You can finalize your options without needing to leave your room.
In the times of ever-expanding world and fast-moving lives, traveling with comfort has become a major necessity for everyone. Today, everybody wants to reach his destination on time and in style. Maybe that’s why a car has become a commodity that one must possess. Thanks to the developed financing environment in the country, buying a car is not difficult. With the help of the down payment, you can have your dream car in your garage.
Buying a car on loan majorly involves two stages i.e. the down payment and the monthly payments. The down payment is the upfront amount paid to the dealer before purchasing a car. On the other hand, a car buyer has to make monthly payments to the lender.
The down payment is useful for the dealer as well as the car buyer. It acts as security for dealer and helps the car buyer in reducing the debt burden.
Deciding the Down Payment
Deciding the down payment might seem a tedious job but actually the factors governing the same are easy to understand and calculate. The lender considers the following factors before approving the loan amount:
· Credit Score
· DTI (debt to income) Ratio
· Financial History
· Debt Repayment History
If the lender considers you a less risky car buyer, he will approve you for a larger loan amount. It means you will be able to buy a car with a smaller down payment. Therefore maintaining a good credit score and a lower DTI ratio will encourage lenders to lend you more money.
What to do if the Loan Application is considered Weak by the Lender?
Do not worry if you do not have a good credit score or a strong DTI ratio. In such a situation, you will have to opt for a larger down payment. Here are a few options that can help you in obtaining cash for the down payment:
You can exchange your old car and get a discount on the new car. You should also check for discount offers and other schemes that the dealer provides for trading old cars.
Choose your desired car and try to save money till the time you are ready to buy the car. It will help you to avoid obtaining personal loan for the down payment.
Although being the least advisable option, borrowing from a friend or a family member can sometimes be the only way to arrange cash for the down payment.
· Borrowing against your 401(k)
If you have a retirement savings plan, you can borrow money against it and pay it off later.
· Selling off unwanted items
You can lower your burden of arranging cash for the down payment by selling things that you no longer use and are just covering up your garage space.
· Get a gift
You can ask your friends and relatives to gift you money. As the gift amount up to $14,000 is excluded annually, your donor will be able to provide you money without any burden of tax.
According to an article in consumers affairs;
In general, it is better to go with a bank or an auto financing lender rather than the car dealership down the street that is offering a “buy here, pay here” deal. If you do wind up with a high interest rate on your car, work on rebuilding your credit score so that you can eventually refinance.
If you suddenly find yourself without a car you might be asking, “How can I buy a car with bad credit?”, well, You DON’T! I know not having a ride can be a problem, like how do you get to work, or what if you want to go out? Well as far as getting to work goes, see if a work colleague lives near you and chip in on some gas for a ride. As far as getting out from time to time, there’s always Uber.
You want to give yourself a few months to save up some money and pay cash for a vehicle until you can get your credit to a point where you can get a 6% or less interest rate. Your choice of vehicle will be better and the total cost for the vehicle will be a lot less.
Another problem with buying a car with bad credit that most people forget is car insurance. Your insurance premiums unfortunately are also based on your credit score. The combined monthly cost of your car and insurance could be challenging. Again, waiting until you have a good credit score will save you on insurance as well.
Here is an example based on $35,000.00 vehicle purchase at 20% versus 6% on a 5-year loan.
$35,000.00 at 20% interest you will pay over $15,000.00 in interest at 6% you will pay approximately $5,000.00 in interest. Quite a difference.
Your total cost for the vehicle is about $15,000.00 less in interest at 6%, and your monthly payment is approximately $250.00 less per month!
OK let’s play a little game, what if you took that $250.00 per month that you’re NOT paying in interest and invested it each month over the same 5-year time period with a 6% return?
Well you end up EARNING $3000.00 instead of PAYING $15000.00. I’d say that’s a pretty good argument for doing everything you can to avoid a high interest car loan.
Instead, put ALL your resources into getting your credit fixed. This will put you in to position to buy at a good interest rate with minimum money down. This will save you a ton of money and you won’t regret it!
Buy a new car or even a used car is never a good investment, but one you can’t avoid. Buy a car with bad credit, as you can see, is yet a worse scenario. Make sure you do whatever it takes to avoid this costly mistake.
Whether or not you believe the old chestnut that everyone has a book in them, it is undoubtedly true that those who do have many more options these days for getting that book into the world.
If you want to try your hand at the great American novel, a poetry chapbook, a cookbook or a guide to better management techniques, you may want to venture into the world of self-publishing. It will be a lot of work, but you will have complete control over your final product. And if this is your first venture into self-publishing, you will confront all sorts of complexity, not the least of which are the many tax issues to consider.
When you think about the taxes associated with self-publishing a book, it will help to realize that you are essentially combining two functions. First, you are a self-employed author who has created a piece of intellectual property. Second, you are a self-employed publisher who will distribute the finished book to the world at large. These functions are somewhat sequential, but there is bound to be overlap, especially if you plan to write and publish more books.
You may not have thought of writing your book as starting a business in the way that opening a bakery or launching a tech startup would be. While there are differences, it is still important to recognize that you are a business owner to understand how your taxes will work.
When preparing to deal with the tax consequences of your writing, be deliberate in deciding whether writing is a hobby or a true business activity. Even hobbyist writers need to pay tax on any income their writing produces, but the Internal Revenue Service’s “hobby-loss” rules will apply, meaning hobbyist writers can only deduct expenses against writing-related income.
Assuming you treat your writing as more than a hobby, it will be important to substantiate your business activity in case the IRS asks you to prove this stance. There are a variety of ways to demonstrate your intent, which may include keeping business records related to your writing, maintaining a separate checking account for writing-related transactions, keeping track of your advertising and networking efforts, and attending classes to improve your writing-related skills. Freelance writers should report income and expenses on Form 1040 Schedule C, and their profits are subject to self-employment tax.
While no one wants to volunteer for more taxes, categorizing your writing as a for-profit business activity actually offers a substantial benefit. Authors may not show income for multiple years because of the periodic nature of their activities, but unlike hobbyists, their writing expenses can be deducted against other sources of income.
Most authors will be self-employed in a sole proprietorship – an unincorporated venture that the author owns and runs, with no legal distinction between the individual and the business. Unless otherwise stated, this article will assume the author is a sole proprietor.
Many authors forgo creating separate business entities because the liability protection inherent in other structures is generally not pertinent. For authors, most legal risks will be personal in nature, such as accusations of defamation, intellectual property infringement or plagiarism – issues that incorporation will not protect you against in most cases. An author seeking legal protection will typically do better directing funds toward a personal umbrella insurance policy, as long as the policy covers liability arising from business activity. Those seeking extended coverage unavailable in an umbrella policy may consider adding a business liability or, more specifically, a media perils liability policy.
Assuming that you consider your writing a business activity, you will need to be aware of the uniform capitalization rule, sometimes abbreviated as UNICAP. As it relates to creative industries, the rule requires taxpayers engaged in the production or resale of creative property to capitalize certain costs, rather than to deduct them immediately, with some exceptions. This rule initially applied to authors by disallowing current deductions for expenses incurred while writing a book until the finished product began generating income, placing a large burden on authors to properly accumulate all of their expenses and capitalize them over the expected productive life of their books.
However, Congress soon established that authors were not the intended targets of the legislation and exempted “qualified creative expenses” from the rules when they were incurred by freelance writers. This means that while you are a self-employed author, UNICAP does not apply – at least until publishing begins.
It is also important to note that most partnerships and corporations are still subject to UNICAP rules. If your manuscript was written in collaboration with one or more other writers, the IRS may deem your collaboration a partnership, and thus subject to the rules.
Qualified creative expenses are those incurred by a taxpayer in producing a creative property through his or her own efforts, plus some other ordinary business costs. For a writer, these are the expenditures incurred in producing your manuscript, and they are deductible in the year that you incur them, whether or not your business (in this case, your book) produces any income that year.
Possible deductible expenses include travel costs for research, purchased books or publications, business liability insurance, office supplies, advertising or marketing costs, membership fees for the Authors Guild or a variety of other expenditures. Certain expenses are still subject to other sections of the tax code, such as depreciation requirements for a new desk used in your business or the stricter recordkeeping requirements for listed property assets such as computers or cell phones. Deductible creative expenses do not include printing the book itself, however, as this is considered a reproduction and distribution expense.
A final tax consideration before you move on to publishing is the reporting requirements for any freelance help you may have used in finalizing your manuscript. For instance, you may have hired a freelance editor to treat your manuscript or a designer to create a cover before approaching a publishing service. If you pay any independent contractor $600 or more for services, or negotiate a rate of $10 or more in royalties, you will need to ask the freelancer to complete a Form W-9, then issue a 1099-MISC reporting the payments shortly after the close of the year.
It is not always obvious whether contract service expenses are immediately deductible or are capitalized labor costs under cost of goods sold. However, if the expense was incurred while you were in the business of writing a manuscript and the contracted work does not overshadow your own creative contribution to the book, there may be an argument for an immediate deduction.
It’s one of the few times we look forward to tax-related tasks, and when it comes to saving versus splurging, CNBC reports that we have a tendency to treat ourselves this time of year. The IRS reports that the average refund is $3,116, which is a good chunk of change whether you want to pay off some bills, save or get yourself something nice.
MIT Sloan School of Management Professor Jonathan Parker says that there’s a lot of needless (but fun) spending happening in households reporting in a survey that they plan to save the money. That’s not to say that these households aren’t saving part of their refund, but it also seems too tempting to get a big check and not spend at least part of it on yourself or family.
Helping the Economy Out
Edward Jones, a financial services company, also has polled those getting refunds and discovered that only 8 percent of people admit to spending their refund on a fun but unnecessary treat for themselves (the key word here is “admit”).
Just over half, 52 percent, said refunds were earmarked for necessities such as household expenses or paying off debt. Another 30 percent say they plan to save, 8 percent want to invest it and just 2 percent weren’t sure yet how they would spend their windfall.
Some people even plan costly events like weddings around tax refund season. In 2015, a couple from Portland, Oregon, planned their destination wedding in Jamaica in early May because they knew friends and family would be flush with tax refunds that time of year. This savvy planning paid off, as the majority of their invitees accepted and spent Uncle Sam’s refund on tropical drinks, souvenirs and of course wedding gifts.
Make More of Your Refund
There’s nothing wrong with treating yourself, especially if you put aside just a small percentage of your refund for something fun. However, those who really struggle with saving or investing can try some strategies to improve fiscal responsibility.
For example, the IRS offers direct deposit of refund checks, and all you need to provide is the bank name, account number and routing number. Choose an account you don’t regularly check or have access to, or open a new savings account and opt out of getting checks or debit cards, and have your refund routed to this account.
CNN Money reports that 80 percent of tax filers get a refund, which means most of us are likely facing the same conundrum right now. Regardless of how small or big your refund, how should you spend it? The majority of those getting a refund (84 percent) make less than $50,000 per year, so a significant refund can make a big impact on paying down debt, saving or investing. Make the most of your refund this year and map out where each dollar will go.