For small businesses, a location is often the biggest overhead expense. For many businesses, though, it is possible to forgo a physical location or keep a very small physical location, even with employees. Work-from-home arrangements may take a bit longer to set up, but they can benefit both the employee and the business in the end.
Social effects of working from home
For small business owners, the prospect of having an employee work from home can be intimidating. Work-from-home arrangements inherently remove an element of control, which can be scary for entrepreneurs who are used to controlling every small detail of their [...]
Insurance underwriters estimate that Hurricane Irene may end up costing somewhere between $7 billion and $10 billion, much of that due to flood damage. While meteorologists had predicted worse from the weather event that was eventually downgraded to a tropical storm, the damage caused by Irene may still rank it among the top 10 priciest natural disasters in U.S. history. Led by the devastating Hurricane Katrina, here are America’s top 10 most costly natural disasters. Dollar figures and death totals are taken from National Climactic Data Center reports.
Hurricane Katrina, 2005
With $133.8 billion in damages, Hurricane Katrina is far and away [...]
We have all heard stories of people getting rich from a knickknack they bought at a garages sale that turned out to be a lost masterpiece by Michelangelo. While those kinds of finds are extremely rare, often forgotten treasures can be found at garage sales, priced at a pittance. Smart shoppers can make some cash — if they know what to look for — reselling garage sale treasures.
More than a pastime for some
Garage sales for some are a pastime, a job and a passion. “It’s an illness. The only cure is death,” Jim Daniels, a yard sale aficionado, told the [...]
Hurricane Irene may have been downgraded to a tropical storm before departing the eastern United States, but the flood damage left in its wake was severe. As families attempt to piece together the broken pieces of their homes and belongings, the flood of homeowners insurance claims begins. For the relative few who have flood insurance, here are some tips for dealing with insurance claims.
What Hurricane Irene victims should do immediately
After you’ve notified your homeowners insurance company, insurance experts advise those who have suffered disaster losses during catastrophes like Hurricane Irene to pause before attempting repairs.
“As much as somebody wants to [...]
Cleaning up after a major natural disaster is expensive. The Federal Emergency Management Agency acts as safeguard to help pay for the cleanup and help residents get back on their feet. The cleanup from Irene is expected to cost as much as $7 billion, a part of which FEMA should be responsible for, but the agency simply does not have the money.
FEMA cutting payouts
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has less than $800 million right now. Generally, FEMA will put a freeze on payouts if it has less than $1 billion available for immediate use. A significant amount of the $800 [...]
Hurricane Irene has left thousands of people facing expensive repairs for property damage. Concerned people want to help relieve some of that burden through relief charities. Unfortunately, these kinds of disasters also bring out scammers trying to make a fast back by taking advantage of tragedy and misery. The Better Business Bureau released some helpful tips in sorting the legitimate contractors and charities from the unscrupulous.
‘Concerned about avoiding fraud’
Stephen A. Cox, President and CEO of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, said:
“Not only do Americans need to be concerned about avoiding fraud, they need to know that their home contractors [...]
The American Bankers Association wants the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to come down hard on virtual currency in games like FarmVille and Second Life. This is the second time in less than a year that FarmVille and similar Facebook games have attracted the attention of federal regulators. Previously, concerns were raised about whether the privacy of millions of FarmVille players was being violated, as advertisers receive user data without their consent.
FarmVille: A freemium experience
Like many mobile and Facebook apps, FarmVille is considered a “freemium” game. This means that while there is no cost to begin playing, in order to reach [...]
It’s back-to-school shopping season, and a lot of people are going to be buying clothes for their young ones so they look fashionable while resuming their studies. Consumers should know that the clothing they are paying for has been steeply marked up.
Adidas in sin bin over price gouging
People are willing to pay top dollar to wear the same jerseys as their sporting heroes. While Americans are currently garbing their kids with MLB, NBA and NFL apparel for school season, Rugby World Cup season in New Zealand and a shady move by Adidas has angered the Kiwi public. According to Time [...]
The economic downturn has forced many to seek assistance for financial emergencies that their paychecks can’t immediately handle. Many larger banks are now offering a version of payday loans, usually marketed under a different name. The loans offered from major banks charge high interest, but generally the rates are considerably smaller than those attached to traditional payday loans.
Bank profits down
Bank profits have been down in the last few years as lending institutions feel the pinch of the sluggish economy. Although they have shown improvement in the last few quarters, profits are still not nearly what they were in pre-recession years. [...]
When a company’s fortunes turn for the better or worse, employee benefits are usually the first to change. Companies with improving sales are more likely to offer benefits, while companies with dropping sales are most likely to cut benefits. Employee benefits, however, can be surprisingly effective in keeping employees happy.
Basics of benefits
Employee benefits can vary widely from company to company, but on average benefits end up costing a company from 20 to 40 percent more than a base salary. A $50,000-per-year salaried employee’s basic benefits may cost a company from $12,500 to $20,000. When offered a $10,000 per year raise [...]
You clip coupons and economize whenever possible at the grocery store. But do you know how to make food stay fresh longer? Your refrigerator isn’t the only way. Take advantage of some of these food preservation tips and save money.
Wilted greens, rise up
Do vegetables like broccoli, green beans and snow peas look saggy and wilted? A couple of teaspoons of baking soda in simmering water will brighten up those grizzled greens. This happens because the baking soda’s alkaline content boosts the plant’s chlorophyll. Keep in mind that this only restores color, however.
Make that chicken run
So you’ve bought a whole chicken [...]
In July of 2011, The number of unemployed individuals in the United States was estimated at almost 14 million. Not all unemployed individuals qualify for unemployment insurance, but those who do may get up to 99 weeks of state-sponsored unemployment benefits. Some private businesses are getting into the business of providing additional insurance for unemployment.
The reality of unemployment
Unemployment may seem like a pretty sweet gig – money from the government if and when you lose your job. Unemployment benefits, though, often pay less than half of what the take-home pay for that individual was previously. Usually, the benefits work out [...]
Labor Day is just around the corner, which means a lot of people will be taking to the road or flying the friendly skies. However, consumers should be aware that some airports are a lot more expensive to fly from than others.
More carriers means less money spent on tickets
The first weekend of September brings about the Labor Day holiday, one of the precious few three-day weekends that Americans get to enjoy. There are fewer people willing to splurge on a holiday for Labor Day 2011, according to the Chicago Sun Times, as a survey by AAA found that 2.4 percent [...]
Lawmakers on Capitol Hill have struggled to devise a mortgage refinance plan that will help struggling homeowners, stimulate the economy and leave only a small footprint on the nation’s budget. The New York Times reports that the Obama administration is putting the final touches on a new plan that would allow millions of homeowners with government-backed mortgages to refinance at 4 percent.
Mortgage refinance: Stimulus through reduction
The existing theory is that by lowering homeowners’ mortgage bills, that money will be spent elsewhere, thus stimulating the economy. While this may seem like the pill America needs, regulators in charge of oversight for [...]
The deadline to participate in the Internal Revenue Service’s 2011 Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Initiative (OVDI) is less than a week away. U.S. citizens with undisclosed foreign bank accounts have until Aug. 31 to become compliant and avoid stiffer penalties and possible prosecution.
May be the last amnesty offered
The OVDI is the second, and possibly last, amnesty program offered by the U.S. government in its crackdown on U.S. citizens, residents and green card holders with undisclosed bank accounts abroad. The IRS calls this the “last best chance” for citizens to come clean and pay taxes and penalties owed before the agency issues [...]
Everyone can use more income these days, with the approach of inflation and increased prices on real goods and services hovering like dark clouds. However, don’t expect your employer to simply hand you the money. Learn how to get ahead at work in just three simple steps.
Don’t wait for them to give you a raise
While it pays to know the specific ins and outs of your company, fall is generally budget season, when employers make arrangements for compensation for the upcoming year. Plan your raise discussions accordingly. Various experts predict that the average raise in 2012 will be larger than [...]
With earthquakes on the East Coast and incoming hurricanes, insurance agencies are being flooded with requests about insurance. Flood and earthquake insurance are rarely included in standard renters policies. The decision about carrying these policies, however, should be made very carefully.
The basics of flood and earthquake insurance
Most homeowners, renters, and property insurance policies do not cover earthquakes and floods as a matter of course. These separate insurance policies usually have to be purchased separately, as the risk of these events are very different than the risk of other standard homeowner damage. Earthquake insurance is offered by individual insurance companies. Flood [...]