“I’m from the government and I’m here to help” is an old punch line that always generates a laugh. But it is no laughing matter when the annual cost of complying with federal government mandates has grown to more than $1.1 trillion. That means the per household cost of complying with regulations now exceeds that of health insurance.
Are you worried about the upcoming tax season and the bill that the Internal Revenue Service may be sending you? Most of the time when we’re unexpectedly caught in a tight financial situation, panic can overcome us and visions of prison creep into our minds. If you think you might soon be in this situation, take a deep breath and relax. Approach the situation logically; you are not going to jail because you owe tax.
Recent revelations concerning contractor and government misconduct in the federal contracting sector culminated recently in the adoption of strict new ethics rules. The rules mandate the adoption of a Code of Business Ethics for most companies doing business with the federal government. Effective Dec. 24, 2007, all federal government contractors must have a written Code of Business Ethics and Conduct and a corresponding awareness program and internal control system within 30 days of award of a covered contract.
The traditional sales process — handing your sales staff a product and sales materials, and then instructing them to go out and tout all the great features and benefits of the product and how the prospect can’t live without it — has lost its effectiveness, according to many sales experts. That outdated approach has taught prospects how to keep your sales people on the hook long enough to get free information and consulting services, all the while the prospect is building up the ammunition needed to buy from your competitor.
I’ve been writing about personal finance for some time now, and I’ve got to fess up that there’s one glaring hole in my family’s financial plan. That hole is health care. In fact, if my premiums keep going up at the current rate, I calculate that my annual premium will be about $140,000 a year in 15 years, hopefully just before I become Medicare eligible.
You might not have noticed, given the media’s fascination with the presidential campaign, but there are 435 U.S. House contests and 35 U.S. Senate races taking place this year. These are important elections, for even more reasons than you might be hearing about. Indeed, unless I miss my guess, the candidates and press in those many contests are barely talking about one of the most important issues we face: the role of Congress itself.
Managing a business, small or large, often leaves little time to keep track of national, regional or local economic indicators that might affect your industry and your company. However, there are a lot of things, such as interest rates, inflation, gross national product, stock prices and consumer confidence that have a direct impact on the profitability of your business and your relationships with vendors, customers and employees.
Purchasing commercial real estate or an existing business poses many challenges. The prudent buyer of either will usually allow time to undertake adequate due diligence to determine if the business or property is likely to provide the opportunities the buyer envisions and has any risks that the buyer should consider in determining whether to proceed with the acquisition.
The question of ethics is often left out of the business discussion. Yet, as we learned, thanks to Enron, Quest and ImClone, they can have a profound impact on business beyond the offending companies. Consider the Sarbanes Oxley legislation. One might assume that when the economy slows, people are more likely to cross ethical lines in business. But that might not be the case.
Reading the market headlines lately is enough to turn us all into nail-biters. “World stocks plunge” and “It’s another horrible day” are pretty representative of the doom and gloom these days. What is the average investor to do in the face of all this stomach-dropping, scary news? Let’s start by looking at the facts, in both the short-term and the long-term.
Even with capital gains rates at historical lows, taxpayers always seem to want to defer the payment of tax. Many real estate investors use the strategy of a 1031 Exchange to accomplish this deferral if they are going to continue their investment in real estate. But the recent presidential debates have raised questions about the future of these capital gain rates.