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Saturday, May 31, 2014

Hypoallergenic hybrid dog breeds of the future

Hypoallergenic dog breeds
Hypoallergenic dogs are less likely to trigger an allergic immune response
Allergies can make a change in seasons absolutely the worst. Even while everyone else is enjoy the warm weather and the increased greenery and the lack of freezing snow and rain, spring and summer can, for someone with allergies, be a time where they spend even more time indoors than they did throughout the entirety of winter. More problematically, the change from winter to spring isn’t the only time allergies can hit you hard; pets are often far worse, as they’re around 24/7 and can really wreak havoc on your health! Yet what if you want a pet anyway? After all, dogs are awesome.

The answer

Fortunately, breeders have heard the call of those who suffer from pet allergies, and hypoallergenic dogs are increasingly popular choices for those who suffer from allergies, but who still want to own and raise a dog.  Allergy specialists across the world regular recommend that furry, dander-producing pets not be allowed into your home. There are breeds that are considered hypoallergenic because they produce very low levels of allergens, to the point that they will have little to no effect on the health of someone who suffers from pet allergies.
Hypoallergenic dogs produce few or no allergens
Some purebred dogs are hypoallergenic

Generally speaking, certain purebred dogs are ideal if you are looking for a hypoallergenic dog. Poodles definitely top this list; their curly coat means that they typically produce very few allergens, while their high intelligence makes them a very enjoyable companion in life. Other curly-coated dogs that are ideal for allergy-sufferers include Portuguese Water Dogs, Bedlington Terriers, and Bichon Frises, while hairless dogs such as the American Created, corded dogs like the Puli, and wirehaired dogs like the Jack Russell Terrier are all great for allergy-sufferers as well.

Getting what you want

What if you aren’t interested in the personality or other temperament issues that some purebreds have, or what if you want a particular kind of dog but they dog would create allergy problems for you? The answer, of course, is hypoallergenic hybrid dogs. These are dogs that are a mix between a non-hypoallergenic dog and a hypoallergenic dog. The ideal result is a dog with a coat that produces little in the way of allergens while maintaining the traits and personality of the allergenic parent.

Thus, if you want a Golden Retriever or a Husky or any number of other breeds that would normally trigger your allergies, you can find a hybrid of that dog and a hypoallergenic dog and ideally get exactly what you want out of your pet. After all, the advantage of a purebred dog is that you know what temperament and talents and skills and problems you will have to deal with when raising the dog; with a dog specifically bred to be hypoallergenic, you are getting the same thing, only now it won’t have you sick all the time!

Even if your hybrid dog is hypoallergenic, however, it will still be important for you to care for that dog’s coat regularly lest hair and dander gather on them and in your home and eventually cause problems for you. By keeping your dog clean, you will keep your home clean, and thereby minimize the amount of allergens that you have to deal with every day. By staying on top of your hypoallergenic dog’s hygiene, your pet allergies will seem to be a thing of the past!

About the author: +Neil Kilgore is a dog owner, dog lover and the Jack (Russell) of all trades at Greenfield Puppies in Lancaster Pa. He regularly blogs about puppies, breeders and dog care advice on the Greenfield Puppies website.

Image licenses: 1. Ann, CC BY-SA 2.0 2. Author owned and licensed

Friday, May 30, 2014

How to choose a gift they won't return or exchange

The perfect gift
Ideal gifts are customized to the receivers interests and likes
By Sophie Evans

English businesswoman and entertainer Victoria Beckham once confided, “I’m not materialistic. I believe in presents from the heart, like a drawing that a child does.” If only my mother-in-law would take this bit of advice!

Bad gift? Return to sender!

I have returned so many terrible gifts from my mother-in-law that I feel like the National Consumer League should use me as an example when they discuss how stores track customers’ return habits. Yes, stores really do this and they have been doing it for years!

Returning a gift is sometimes so stressful that it is easier to keep the gift and try to find a way to get rid of it later. Some people are notorious for donating unwanted gifts to charity or a thrift store. At least this way you can still feel good about your gift helping in some way. But other people might re-gift an unwanted present to an unsuspecting person on some later occasion. 

And I know a few people who are not above throwing unwanted gifts right into the trash! Either way it is a waste of your time and money when people do this.

Finding the perfect gift

Unfortunately finding “The Perfect Gift” is a rare achievement. This is true whether the gift is for a male or female, regardless of their age. Will they like the gift you spent so much time carefully selecting?

What if your gift sends the wrong message, such as a cookbook for someone who lacks talent in the kitchen? Here are some tips for finding a gift that will leave you the hit of any occasion.
  • Likes and dislikes – Take into consideration what the person likes and dislikes now, and make sure those tastes are current. Don’t assume that something they enjoyed ten years ago is still something they like, and don’t assume that just because something is trendy means they will like it, either.
  • The laugh factor – Gag gifts may not be perfect, but they are usually a safe bet. One year for Christmas we bought my father-in-law a toy chicken that laid candy eggs along with a gift card to his favorite diner – whose specialty is southern-fried chicken. While he was touched by the gift card, he still laughs about the silly toy chicken!
  • Stay appropriate – The gift that is appropriate for one person you know may not be appropriate for another. Just because your sister enjoys chick flicks starring Matthew McConaughey does not mean that your middle-aged male boss will feel the same.
  • Avoid clothing – There are just so many areas where clothing gifts could go wrong. The fit, the style, the color – the possibilities of failure are endless. Unless it’s something safe like a t-shirt they are guaranteed to love, stick with a gift card to a clothing store instead.
When you take the time to select a meaningful gift that comes from the heart, then you have a higher chance of your gift being received with broad smiles and exclamations of gratitude instead of awkward expressions and mumbled words of thanks.

Don’t be afraid of asking the person’s family and friends what they might like as a gift. And if all else fails, then come right out and ask the person what they want for a gift! The right present not only shows the recipient how much you really care, but it can also help you form a closer bond with that person.

The 3 P’s of gift giving

When choosing a gift for someone, I like to remember “The 3 P’s” as my grandmother would call them. The first is price. Stay within your budget, but don’t cheap out on the recipient. If all else fails and your budget is extremely tight, go for the homemade gift.

The second in “The 3 P’s” is promptness. Make sure you gift the gift on time, or as soon as possible after the event passes. There is a difference between a belated birthday gift and waiting so long that you have tripped into the realm of complete rudeness.

The third in the list of “The 3 P’s” is presentation. Even the plainest presents can turn into great birthday gifts with some careful attention to how you wrap it up, whether it is a gift bag that you embellish or personalize, or wrapping paper that you spruce up with some glitter spray or a bow that will really dazzle them.

About the author: California freelancer Sophie Evans is also a wife and a mother of two. Although she loves shopping, her busy lifestyle does not always allow her the time to devote to it, which is why www.gift-wiz.com is such a handy resource especially for birthday gifts. When she is not working or spending time with her family, Sophie’s hobbies include planning her family’s next Disneyland vacation and sneaking off to Starbucks for lattes.

Image license: Christmasstockimages.com, CC BY 3.0

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Steps to implement your startup business ideas

By John Smith

Most business investors will often guide you to pursue big business ideas, get familiar with your goals and work passionately to achieve them. This is regarded as one of the valuable advice that help a lot of startups find their ultimate goal. However, there are a number of considerations that one need to keep in mind when setting up a startup business. Let’s take a quick look at things that you need to take into account when starting a new business.

How to start a new business
Serviced offices provide affordable office solutions
Location of your business

The first and foremost thing is to decide the location of your business. As a startup, it can be really difficult to get an office for rent at the business center of the city. It can be really expensive and extremely difficult for new setups. But having your office, in some of the best business centers is the key to early success. 

If you lack funds to rent an office space, it will be better to opt for serviced office. These kinds of offices provide you with full furnished office space at most posh business locations for affordable leasing terms. With a Servcorp serviced office, you can save a lot of money on monthly overhead expenses as it eliminates the need to buy furniture or pay high rentals. Moreover, you will get a business address of a well-accepted business center location in your city, which means improved credibility in the market, leading to more business opportunities.

Think different and be optimistic

Your business ideas, planning, strategies, and organizational tricks can make you stand out in the competition. With cut-throat competition in the market, you need to formulate business strategies that can help you beat the prevailing competition in the market. For instance: if you a recruiting firm, you may consider visiting your clients personally. It is also important to be optimistic about your goals and equip yourself with the right resources and tools that will help you achieve them. Make sure you keep yourself updated with changing market trends.

Form an alliance

This is one of the best business ideas that you can implement by market experts. Aligning your startup with similar kinds of businesses can prove to be a powerful way to expand your business quickly. With good backup and sufficient funding, you can develop multiple lines of new products and form alliance with industry leaders. But makes sure you find a company that has a good reputation in the industry and also list out prospective customers. Given the numerous benefits of this association, you should not feel burdened shedding out a few dollars from your company funds. Increased sales will automatically help you recover the investment cost, as well as boost the company's revenue with higher rates. 

These were a few best business ideas for expansion and growth of businesses. It is time you take into consideration all the ideas given above and plan your business steps accordingly. These business ideas will not just help you grow in the industry at a faster rate, but also ensure better and much wider opportunities on a continuous basis. Keep yourself updated with changing market trends. It will help you grow your business at reasonable rates.

About the author: John Smith is a business writer and a young enterpreneur from Sheffield in the United Kingdom, currently doing business in Bangkok, Thailand.

Image: Author owned and licensed

Millions of drivers pay over the odds for auto-renewed insurance policies

Car insurance tips
Changing auto insurers may be cheaper than renewing
If you own a car, you should be more than a little familiar with that sinking feeling that appears every time your insurance policy runs out. It's the same feeling that the self employed get when it comes time to submit their tax returns. It's exactly the same sensation that homeowners start to dread as they look over their energy bills for the year. It's that burning question - should I auto renew or should I start again with somebody else? Fortunately, the answer is as simple as can be - it's just actually taking the time to follow the advice that seems to be the hard part.

There are millions of drivers - about 8.8 million to be exact - who chose to auto renew their car insurance policies every single year. This is despite the fact that it is always cheaper to move on to a brand new insurer, in exactly the same way that applies to energy suppliers. It has been proven, time and time again, that this is the case - why are so many motorists happy to lose money on their premiums, when they could be making savings every year? The truth is that it's easier to auto renew, especially if you've got kids to drop off at school and a busy life to maintain, say the experts at Confused.com.

These drivers choose to automatically roll over their policies for the same reason that homeowners don't switch energy suppliers or mortgage providers once a year, even though they've repeatedly been advised to by financial experts. It's just easier to bypass the entire process and stick with a policy that has served you well for twelve months, whether or not you can get a better one for less money. Whilst it's a perfectly understandable move, it really isn't a clever one, say the experts at YourMoney.com. It has been estimated that drivers who auto renew are missing out on annual savings of over two hundred pounds.

A survey carried out by UK insurer Go Compare has, this week, revealed that forty six percent of the 8.8 million drivers who auto renew, do so because they assume they'll get a good deal. They surmise that as the cheapest available insurer last year, their chosen company must still be the cheapest available next year, say the experts at EveryInvestor.co.uk. The reality is that this is rarely true - in fact, many insurers rely on the fact that motorists are reluctant to change provider and they subsequently up their prices. If you decide to opt for a reliable insurer, like Direct Asia, you'll be treated as a valued and independent customer. Its team of experts aren't content to serve a customer base that is only present by default.

A reliable insurer is one who can find the right balance between customer service and customer respect, one who can hold onto its clients for the right reasons - not simply because they don't know where else to turn. This is usually achieved by offering genuinely valuable insurance deals to customers when the time to renew does roll around. It also happens to include making sure that these same customers are informed of such deals, not just left to make decisions about their policy without having the right information to hand. The only reason why it's cheaper to switch to another provider is because motorists just aren't giving insurers any reason to offer them a better deal. Don't be afraid to speak up and ask questions of your insurer - you'd be surprised at what you can achieve.

Image license: ER24 EMS (Pty) Ltd., CC BY-SA 2.0

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The weather, global demand and the cashmere industry

Cashmere industry news
Cashmere goats from Australia
By Sally Stacey

Gorgeous cashmere wool is produced from the finest hair of certain breeds of goat. Cashmere has never been in such high demand as the global population has grown. The economies of many Asian countries have strengthened and high street retailers in the west have started to feature affordable cashmere in their ranges. This should be good news for the traditional goat farmers of Ladakh in India but things haven't quite worked out that way.

The Indian Himalayas

Pashmina goats are reared in the harsh terrain of the Indian Himalayas where the cold temperatures promote the growth of the treasured undercoats of the goats. But in recent years heavy snow fall has led to many of the animals dying of starvation unable to access the fodder they need. In 2013 as many as 25,000 goats perished with a further 175,000 under serious threat and there were inadequate measures to transport vital food into the remote areas where it was so desperately needed. The region historically experiences low precipitation but there have been two heavy snowfalls in five years decimating the herds. It is not known whether the snowfalls were random events or the result of climate change.

Pashmina production in Kashmir

The pashmina scarves and shawls woven from the wool in neighbouring Kashmir are in huge demand and are vital to the economy of the region. The luxury accessories fetch high prices but a diminished supply of cashmere wool from Ladakh has forced the weavers to turn to China and Mongolia for their wool. The goats are reared in the Gobi desert where the harsh conditions are similar to those in the Himalayas and are perfect for promoting the growth of the goat's inner coat.

The threat from China

Unfortunately whilst the Mongolian goats are a valuable source of wool for the Kashmiri weavers they are also a major economic threat. Increased mechanisation in China has meant that higher grade cashmere can be produced and produced at lower cost. The enormous goat herds are also causing severe damage to the environment. Goats feed on grass but also eat the roots making the region ever more barren. The reduction in vegetation is causing sandstorms in the Chinese capital Beijing.

The pashmina industry in India is also being threatened by the mass production of fake products which are flooding the market. Efforts are being made to raise awareness of the problem but with the price of the genuine article being so high many people are tempted to buy a cheaper alternative.

At the end of the day there are only so many places that are suitable habitats for rearing the goats and promoting the growth of their undercoats. These regions are remote, harsh environments where there is a fine line between life and death, successful farming and disaster. When the snow falls the areas can be cut off making the transport of fodder next to impossible. The increasing demand for cashmere requires the rearing of more goats which are now impacting the environment of the regions where they are farmed.

Cashmere produces gorgeous, soft, insulating clothing and accessories which are highly treasured but there could come a time when these products become even more rare and expensive if the solutions to the farming issues cannot be found.

About the author: Sally Stacey is a keen writer and independent retailer in the fashion industry.

Image license: Paul Esson, CC BY-SA 2.0

5 best tips to earn more from any crowdsourcing site

How to crowdsource
Crowdsourcing gives businesses fast access to a large labor pool

By Somesh Shukla

Crowdsourcing websites such as Mturk.com, Clickworker, SquadHelp & Whinot are becoming a very popular means of earning extra cash for many people. And why not? Sites such as those listed make it so simple to make money completing various quick and easy tasks. There isn’t any experience required and if you are 18 years of age or older you can work as you choose to earn cash.

Making money with crowdsourcing websites is fun and easy and you can certainly make a nice chunk of change. But, what if you found out that you could increase the money that you earn even greater? It is possible to those who know the secrets. We are going to fill you in on 5 of those here. Continue reading to discover 5 tips that will help you make the most on crowdsourcing websites. Why not make all that you are worth?

1. Research

Before investing any time into a crowdsourcing site ensure that you have done your research. Not all are legitimate, and others aren’t really worth the time that they require to earn. Through research you can read reviews of sites and learn lots of information so that you are dealing only with legitimate and worthwhile sites for money-making opportunities.

2. Use your creativity

If you let your creative juices flow, making more from a crowdsourcing site is certainly possible for you to do. Combine your creativity together with your desires and you can really end up on the winning side of things, earning bigger and better paychecks every single day. No matter what it might be, using your creativity will make it the most.

3. Enter contests

Whether you are an artist, a writer, a publisher or something else, entering contest is a great way to pick up fantastic prizes and perhaps even finally find the break that you have been looking for. It is really fun to enter the contests, and most are free to enter. So, why not?

4. Understand the site

Before you create an account with any crowdsourcing site make sure that you take the time to familiarize yourself with that site, the rules and the regulations of the site and the ways that you will be making money. By acting this time to get to know the site you can ensure a smooth and worthwhile earning experience is found.

5. Join more than one

With hundreds of crowdsourcing money making sites available to people from around the world it is easy to register with several and have a continuous flow of work available at all times. Of course when you work steady the money is also steady, and it may even be possible for you to turn things into full-time positions. Who knows what the possibilities waiting really are? You must check this article if you are looking for more sites for crowdsourcing and even many other online jobs.

More money on crowdsourcing sites

These are just some of the ways that you can increase the amount of money that you are earning through the use of crowdsourcing sites. If you have yet to get involved with these wonderful sites, what are you waiting for? There are plenty of fun and easy ways for you to make money! With these tips you can make the most out of your time and ensure that you also are making the full amount of money possible for you to earn. What could be better than this?

About the author: This article is contributed by Somesh Shukla who is blogging about make money tips at Online Home Jobs. You can check the website if you are looking for online income opportunities.

Image license: Eigen Werk, CC BY-SA 3.0

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

5 most frequent types of accidents in the mining industry and how employers can prevent them

mining industry safety precautions
Following OSHA guidelines is good practice in mining
By David Incorvaia

In the United States, the processes of coal mining and hard rock mining are two of the most dangerous jobs within the workforce market. If you’re not afraid to blow stuff up, possibly dig yourself into a collapsing hole, or breathe toxic gases – I think you have found your calling.

Most individuals look at these blue-collar jobs as hard-work, but never imagine themselves in the shoes of people who actually live the life. I have the utmost respect for the men and women that mine for coal every day because of the safety hazards involved with every day work experiences. The following are five of the most frequent types of workplace accidents in the mining industry. Furthermore, what is a problem without a solution? Like every problem in the universe, there is a preventive measure that can save time and money in the future if implemented properly.

The top five – Explosions, gases, concaving holes, and much more

Underground mining, especially throughout the Eastern world, is the most dangerous profession in the world. Surface mining is a little less hazardous, but still poses threats that include gas exposure and blast debris. Thousands of miners die from mining accidents each year, particularly in China where the coal mines are the world’s deadliest – more than 10 miners die every day in China coal mines.

Methane gas exposure Methane and coal dust have caused more deaths collectively than any other workplace incident on the planet – that’s really saying something. For those of you who do not know what methane gas is, I have a quick and simple definition for you: Methane is a super-charged, highly explosive gas that causes humans to suffocate in an enclosed area.

Sounds great, right?

Generally speaking, methane gas is not toxic to human beings, but when trapped in enclosed areas at high levels, people cannot breathe properly and suffocate. Given that compressed rock formations and coal layers contain extensive pressurized methane content, blowing up the rock to extract usable coal can be extremely dangerous. Proper procedures from management and OSHA regulations must be followed if accidents and major meltdowns want to be avoided. Masks and proper breathing devices should always be present and available to workers (within reaching distance if not worn) in the case of an emergency.

There she blows Improper explosions of dynamite and other explosive materials cause lethal coal dust that penetrates the lungs of workers. Long-term respiratory problems occur from exposure to these types of explosions.

Think of a nuclear power plant exploding and the exposure to radiation from the nuclear core – coal dust explosions are comparable to that experience. As a safety manager, you want to make sure there is focus and alertness within your working unit, as most premature blasts occur through carelessness. Other premature blasts occur from faulty fuses or degenerative explosives. Ensure that your explosive material is up to code and looks safe prior to entering the mining area.

Collapsed cave I’m sure you’ve heard on T.V. or seen in a movie miners stuck in a cave with no way out. Although you feel for them, you’re not there – you’re able to change the channel because it’s just a movie.

But this stuff actually happens in real-life. Seismic reactions occur all the time and when you dig deeper and deeper and start blowing stuff up, you’re more likely to cause seismic reactions on the surface. When this happens, instability occurs around the mining area and concaving consequences occur, killing workers or trapping them underground to suffocate.
As a safety manager, using the effective minimum workforce for a given task is the best way to ensure safety for the majority. Follow protocols and make sure that workers are away from the mine when they are not needed.

Don’t get too close Over the past 20 years, most injuries and fatalities have occurred from flying objects and rocks due to close exposure explosions. When workers stand too close to explosion blast radiuses, something bad is bound to occur.

Many workers don’t believe that a small blast could produce such high flying rock debris, especially debris that has a velocity to kill upon impact.

The best safety precautions are protective gear including hard hat, fire-proof jumpsuits, and eye wear are essential to worker on-site safety. In addition, ensuring all workers are way outside the blast zone will help lower possible flying debris impacts.

Machinery malfunctions Accidents related to the motion of machinery, including electric and air-powered tools, as well as haulage equipment, are prominent in the coal mining business. Due to the uneven surfaces and rugged terrain of the worksite, many workers trip and fall or misuse equipment.

Tipping or losing control of cranes, hauling equipment, and other payload moving devices cause safety risks for the driver, as well as other workers on-site.

If you want to minimize machinery malfunctions, ensure that all users are certified and authorized, only use the equipment when needed, and follow all cautionary measures via the OSHA handbook before, during, and after usage.

About the author: David Incorvaia is a Rollins College Senior. He majored in Music performance/business administration and currently performs around the southeast at various venues. Other then performing David enjoys trading options, reading, and cooking. He recently started work as a content writer for www.eCompliance.com

Featured images:Creative Commons image source

Monday, May 26, 2014

Employment services warn job hunters of searching from work

Online job search tips
Workplace policy may not allow job searches on comapny time
You’re probably at your desk working all day and hate the job you’re currently in. so, in an effort to find a better job you’re often searching for one during your down time. Looking through job postings, uploading your CV, calling up contacts who can help and speaking to agents from employment agencies can get you into a bit of trouble. 

There are many people who search for employment during their work week as opposed to during weekends. However, because companies are always monitoring employees it may not be a wise thing to do, then there are also ethical issues associated with doing this on your boss’s time.

You are being watched

According to a recent survey conducted by Proof point around 32% of those surveyed said that they would read employee’s emails. 28% of those surveyed said that they would terminate employees for violating their email policy, and 45% said that they would discipline an employee for improper use of message boards, social networks and blogs. That said what you may do from work is the employer’s job to monitor and so it’s not private. Think about the fact that around 17% of the companies surveyed above actually had employees whose job description was to read other employee’s emails. This is why you have to be careful.

What you should and shouldn’t do when searching for a job from work?

Never use your work email address and account – Use a personal account and try not to send over your resume, applications and cover letters from a work email account because this will get you into trouble.

Phones and computers - Don’t use your employer’s phones and computer system to contact employment services. Your email correspondence and resume, all of which is related to searching for another job should reside on your own computer at home. Always use your home cell phone and home landline to call up recruiters. Messages can be checked during your work day discreetly just so that you do not miss out on calls from potential employers.  

Workplace job search tips
Searching for a job during work hours could lead to termination
Using online services – If you’re maintaining a personal blog or a social networking account, you need to be careful about what you talk about. There have been many people who have received a dismissal from their employer because of comments made about their present employer. 

This applies to sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Myspace. The same problems are also faced on video sharing websites like YouTube. That said badmouthing your current employer will also decrease your chances of finding employment. Prospective employers will see you as being someone who is highly critical and hard to get along with.

Where and when should you search for a job?

The best and the safest time according to employment agencies is during your hour long lunch break. Go over to the nearest library, coffee shop or bookstore that has internet access and use your personal laptop for this purpose. You can also use this time to return phone calls from recruiters and potential employers.

Always be discreet

Don’t tell co-workers that you’re searching for a new job because they may tell the boss. Your family needs to know just so that when they do get a call that is meant for you from a potential employer they know how to handle it.

Job hunting is about networking

Many people don’t realize this but job hunting is all about having a network of contacts and colleagues. Whether you’re currently in a job or not, LinkedIn is probably your biggest ally, second to your ability to build a network of vendors, current employers, past employers, customers and friends. Also don’t forget to add recruiters and employment services to your network too. They will inform you of job openings and you can react accordingly. 

Getting caught

Even if you’ve tried hard to search for a new job without getting noticed by your current employer there is still a chance that you’ll get caught. If you do get caught don’t try to hide the fact that you were searching for a better salary or better position. Also, inform your employer that you did it with your own personal laptop, during your lunch break and used your personal number. MTC Australia stresses the need for people who get caught to be honest and forthcoming. 

About the author: Mark has been a recruiter for over two decades. He runs one of largest and most trustworthy employment services in Australia. He is also the author of various articles and blog posts that are aimed at helping people find a job. When he’s not helping people find jobs he’s working on his latest, soon to be released book.
Citations:Which Employment Services do I choose?
Image licenses: 1. Dean Meyers, CC BY 2.0; 2. Tax Credits, CC BY 2.0

Saturday, May 24, 2014

A look at corporate charitable contributions

U.S. corporations donated 6.7% of the total amount given away by the U.S. public in 2011. In terms of billions of dollars, the total amount of funds allocated by companies for charitable causes was $14.55 billion versus $217.79 billion for the American public. Goldman Sachs donated $241.3 million in 2011 and its net income was $4.44 billion, which makes its total donations 5.5% of total income. However, in terms of total revenue for that year or $34.82 billion, the actual percentage becomes many times smaller.

When viewed from a wider lens, the amount is only a very small fraction of what companies earn each year. To illustrate, Apple Inc.'s 2013 annual net income was $37.04 billion, or more than 154% more than the total corporate donations for the year; this fraction becomes many times smaller or less than .5% when corporate donations are divided by the top 10 largest U.S. businesses by net income. That is not to say, no charity is better, and that charitable tax benefits are a bad idea. It is to say the motivation or intent of U.S. corporate charitable donations are not necessarily benevolent.

The infographic below details some of the donations made by large U.S. companies in the past:

Corporate Charity

How to identify a ponzi scheme

Ponzi schemes masquerade as legitimate businesses or investment products, but are actually a decepitve ploy to seperate people from their money. Ponzi schemers utilize a range of sales and marketing tactics commonly used in industry, and this makes it more difficult to differentiate them from legal entities. Some key characteristics of ponzi schemes are a reliance on charismatic presentation and over-the-top promises, little disclosure of or falsification of financial statements and unaudited accounting practices. Not all unsubstantiated investment opportunities are ponzi schemes. However, as with any financial or job related decision, if there is not a guarantee of return on investment or income, then many outcomes and scenarios are possible.

 Ponzi Schemes

Friday, May 23, 2014

Health insurance giants join hands to develop an informative and transparent portal

By Peter Hensen

U.S. healthcare information
Healthcare information helps with insurance decisions
The Health Care Cost Institute has announced that it has started working on the development of an online information portal that will provide relevant and valuable information regarding health insurance plans. 

It was also announced that three major health insurance companies, Aetna, Humana and United Health Care were supporting the Health Care Cost Institute in this initiative. For the time being, only 3 major health insurance giants have offered their support for the development of the informative portal, but the institute is expecting other major health insurance companies to offer their support in the near future.

The information portal is expected to be available to the general public by the end of 2014 or in the early 2015. Even though the insurance companies are providing support, the data available on the portal will be administered by the institute only. The institute has kept all the administrative rights to the portal so that the data available on the portal remains safe and relevant. Some other major insurance providers have expressed their desire to participate in the development effort and hence the institute is hoping that almost all major health insurance providers will become a part of the team by the end of this year.

All insurance companies participating voluntarily will also continue to provide the consumers with their own proprietary tools to assess the worth of their health insurance plans.

The portal is supposed to have all the relevant information regarding all the available plans and hence it is speculated that it will provide invaluable information to the consumers and will help them in making an informed decision regarding the selection of health insurance plans.

It is a known fact that the health care related expenses have been rising at a more aggressive rate as compared to the wages. According to the government findings, the health care costs have risen 3 times faster than the rise seen in wages. Another estimate states that by the end of this decade, the U.S. health care spending will account up to 4.7 trillion Dollars. This is 80 percent more than what was spent during the year of 2010. Such rising prices have underscored the need for a transparent and informative portal with online tools that can help the consumers to better understand the health insurance plans so that they can make an informed decision.

The portal is supposed to provide information on health insurance plans from private sector health insurance providers as well as federally backed insurers like Medicare and Medicaid. The use of portal will be absolutely free. The institute has also stated that it is working on separate tools for consumers, insurers, employers and regulators. Such an array of heterogeneous tools will help people to research the health insurance plans from different perspectives.

The chairperson of HCCI’s governing board, Mr. Stephen T. Parente, said that the institute was very pleased with the co-operation that some major health insurance providers are offering in the development of the portal. He applauded and appreciated the commitment that major health insurance providers have shown for developing a single and comprehensive information hub regarding the health insurance plans.

About the author: This article is authored by Peter Henson. Peter is a freelance writer and a guest blogger. In the past, he has written many articles explaining the need of a single and comprehensive informative portal for health insurance policy.

Image license: PublicDomainPictures.net, US-PD

Spanish property sales up 26 percent

By Bradley Shore

Sales in the Spanish property market grew 26 per cent in the one year period from March 2013, the National Institute of Statistics has announced. 

Spanish real estate sales
 Coastal areas in Spain saw the highest real estate price rises
The highest gains were coastal areas where an influx of foreign buyers purchasing holiday and retirement homes has seen resales up by 36 per cent and new sales up 7 per cent. These figures are partly due to the government altering the tax code per cent, according to property guru Mark Stucklin from Spanish Property Insight.

 In an interview with propertywire.com, Stucklin says that “This dramatic rise in Spanish home sales can be partly explained by tax changes, which have been playing havoc with Spain’s property market statistics in recent months. The elimination of tax breaks for mortgage borrowers at the end of 2012 artificially inflated the depressed sales statistics both at the time, and now that the year on year numbers are out”.

He goes on to explain that this is why there has been so much contradictory news in recent months with figures showing sales both rising and falling at the same time. However, he thinks that these distortions on Spanish real estate sales should now begin to ease off and true values will become clear.

“Fiscal distortions apart, the Spanish property market increasingly looks like it has bottomed out between 20,000 and 25,000 homes sales a month. With 24,377 sales in March the market was up 5 per cent on a monthly basis, and the highest for two years, up 10 per cent on March 2012. So the underlying trend looks like a depressed market finally showing signs of stability, though no recovery outside of coastal areas and big cities” he explained.

Whilst the figures in the National Institute of Statistics are indeed not a true reflection of the Spanish property market, things are still looking up for the depressed housing market. With house prices set to begin rising again before the end of 2015, now would be a good time to invest in Spanish property as prices are at or close to, rock bottom with a resurgent rise just around the corner.

Ron Wilkinson, a Spanish property expert from Alta Vista Property says that there has been a surge in new sales, although not as much as the report suggests. “We have experienced a significant surge in the number of property sales to foreign buyers, particularly from Asia and the Middle East. Whilst we expect these figures to continue rising, there is some concern regarding domestic buyers. There has been a slight drop in sales to Spanish citizens this year, and this can be attributed in part to the continued rise in unemployment and the seemingly never ending recession”

Wilkinson believes that there is still reason to be optimistic however, “Experts keep saying that a turnaround is close, and it would be foolish to disregard their advice. At the end of the day, the fall in prices is slowing, and the number of buyers and investors is rising. If those aren’t positive signs, I don’t know what is. Hopefully things will begin to pick up speed towards the end of the year and we will be able to get back to the healthy market that many in Spain were used to before the crash”.

About the author: Bradley Shore is an experienced travel and property investment blogger who writes for a number of clients. He has been travelling an writing ever since leaving university, he would one day like to run his own blog but until then is sticking to freelance writing.

Image license: Tomas Fano; CC BY-SA 2.0

Thursday, May 22, 2014

How to immigrate to Canada as a business person

Immigration to Canada as a business person
Canadian investor immigrants must have a net worth of 1.6 million CAD

By Willard Strong

Canada provides numerous opportunities for business residents. It’s a country with a history of an open attitude towards immigrants who help foster cultural diversity and economic growth.

Canada recognizes the benefits of welcoming businesspeople who are looking to create new opportunities for themselves and for its citizens. Immigrating to Canada as a businessperson can be a great move for you as an entrepreneur or investor. But it requires thorough planning and a full understanding of what it takes to move to Canada.

Why businesspeople immigrate to Canada

Businesspeople choose to immigrate to Canada for a number of reasons. Canada bas been recognized consistently as one of the best places to live with a high standard of living that many people enjoy. The country boasts a diverse culture benefiting from high-quality healthcare and superior educational systems.

Most importantly, it’s a country that welcomes entrepreneurs who are looking to build businesses and create new opportunities for themselves and their community. Canada’s Business Immigration program is the foundation of its commitment to encourage and assist businesspeople looking to make the move.

There are 3 classifications of businesspeople with respect to Canadian immigration:
  1. Investors
  2. Entrepreneurs
  3. Self-employed

Investors moving to Canada

The Canadian government classifies an investor as any individual who has operated a business for at least 2 years or has experience in a senior executive position. After an initial interview, you are requested to make a 5-year investment of $800,000 CAD in a government-approved fund.

Once approved, you have 110 days to deposit this investment into a bank or brokerage firm approved by the Canadian government. Financing is also available as an alternative to liquidating assets for the initial investment. In addition, you are required to have a net worth of $1,600,000 CAD in assets. This can include those of a spouse as well.

Under the Canadian Immigrant Investor program, applicants who are approved are granted permanent and unconditional residential visas and gain eligibility to obtain full citizenship.


Canadian business immigration
Entrepreneurial immigrants are sought for their business skills
To obtain classification as an entrepreneur, you must demonstrate the ability to establish or purchase a business in Canada. You can also make an investment in the same way in which investors are required.

In addition, your business should create new jobs for a minimum of one Canadian citizen or permanent resident outside of any family members. The Canadian government must also ensure that you’re able to manage a business within the country before granting you residency.


The self-employed classification requires you to have the experience and intention of being self-employed while living in Canada. Contributions to economic activities must also be ensured to receive residency under this classification.

The established business must create and maintain employment while enabling you to contribute to the country’s cultural activities. Experience consists of 2 years of self-employment beginning 5 years prior to the application date.

Preparing to immigrate

If you’re considering immigrating to Canada as a businessperson, it’s recommended that you make an initial visit to become familiar the environment.

You will get a better impression of the potential challenges and opportunities with respect to your business. Each province can vary, making it important to explore your options before settling down.

Applying for residency

As a businessperson, you must first apply outside of the country. Authorized business immigration offices can be used to begin the application process. You’ll need to have all of the required documents in place including any educational diplomas, marriage certificates, and medical documentation.

You’ll also need to establish at least 3 months of private medical insurance in Canada prior to your move. You, along with family members, must pass a medical exam. Any condition that poses a danger to public health and safety will disqualify you from residency.

Any condition that would place a significant demand on health or social services will also result in denial of residency. This includes long-term hospitalization or care for physical or mental issues.

In order to be accepted, you’ll need to meet the requirements for any of the 3 classifications: investor, entrepreneur, or self-employed. In addition, there are 5 factors that are assessed: age, education, experience, adaptability, and official language.

Canadian business immigration requires preparation and the ability to qualify for one of the three classifications. Each one has its own definition and criteria that must be met before acceptance and residence can be granted.

Canada offers opportunities for all businesspeople. It’s a culture that welcomes new residents from all over the world, and is committed to creating a diverse culture that contributes to the well being of all Canadian citizens.

About the author: Researching on the economy thrills me, the various possibilities and opportunities lies in every aspect of the life. This research  allows me to help out people who are really finding it difficult to find a source or figuring out what to do with the resources they have. Basically, I am an Economist. – Willard Strong.
Images licenses: Royalty Free or iStock source: www.shutterstock.com

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Areas where people can save more money

Saving money is something that everyone could stand to be better at. Most people find themselves financially stressed from time to time, but find it difficult to cut back on life expenses without feeling like they're making drastic sacrifices. Thankfully, there are ways to save money that are easy and hassle free, and don't feel like a huge compromise. Here are some areas where you can save money:
Image Courtesy of Shutterstock
Most people spend far too much money at holidays, which results in that seasonal stress that doesn't seem to belong in such a jolly season. There are some helpful ways to cut down on both stress and spending over the holidays, though. The best thing to do is to budget your spending and plan some gifts in advance. It's far too easy to make impulse decisions on expensive items last minute, so plan ahead. Set aside a certain amount of money to spend on each person when the holidays roll around, and stick to it – no matter what! Another way to save money at the holidays is to make your own treats and goodies, rather than buying them from stores. A peppermint latte and a gingerbread cookie from a local coffee shop could run you upwards of ten dollars – two things that you can replicate at home for a much cheaper price. 
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It's incredibly easy to overspend when it comes to traveling. A significant reason is simply that you don't have many options when it comes to flights and hotels, so you are subject to the prices dictated by companies. However, you can combat this difficulty in a few different ways. First, consider taking a vacation on a regular week or weekend, rather than on a holiday. Most plane tickets around holidays are at least double the average price, and often triple or quadruple. For the price that it takes to travel for a holiday, you could both travel to and pay for a week-long vacation during a different time of the year. Another great tip for saving money when traveling is to plan in advance: it's usually cheaper to book a hotel ahead of time, and it's always cheaper to pack your own food rather than to eat at restaurants and stores.
Image Courtesy of Shutterstock
Everyone is always looking for ways to save money while shopping without sacrificing too much.  It's actually easier than a lot of people think. The first thing to do is buy foods in bulk: non-perishable items such as oats, rice, beans, spices and flour are all much more affordable when purchased in bulk. You can also cut back on expenses by buying large amounts of items when you find them on sale. Whether it's canned foods or dish soap, if you stock up on sale items you'll spend a little more now and save a lot later. Finally, you can save a large amount of money by planning your meals before you go shopping. Grocery stores make a living by selling you things that you don't need for prices you can't afford, all because they convince you that it's worth buying. Before you go to the grocery store, plan outyour meals for the week, then stick to what's on the list.

With these tips, you can quickly start saving money on holidays, traveling and shopping, and find that your expenses quickly reduce. 

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