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Showing posts from November, 2016

Active duty credit reporting alert aims to protect against ID theft

By Marcie Geffner - Bankrate

Veterans and military members who are called to active duty may be at greater risk of identity theft and other types of financial fraud. That's because they can be incommunicado or otherwise unable to monitor their credit accounts for weeks or months at a time. It also can be more difficult for military members to resolve an ID-theft problem if it occurs, especially if they're outside of the U.S., says Lori Dietrich, director of consumer information services at credit bureau Experian in San Francisco. An active-duty alert could help to protect against those risks, though it's not clear how effective this alert is compared with other options, such as a credit freeze or permanent opt-out from prescreened credit offers. Read more:

Misclassifying workers can be costly business mistake

By Marcie Geffner - Dun & Bradstreet

Classifying workers as independent contractors has plenty of appeal. You’ll have a lot more flexibility in hiring, firing, scheduling and compensating them. You won’t have to withhold income taxes, pay Social Security or Medicare taxes or pay unemployment tax on their wages.

That’s all good if your workers are indeed independent contractors. If they’re actually employees, misclassifying them as contractors without a reasonable basis for that decision could land you in a heap of trouble.

Class-action lawsuits, unwelcome attention from regulators, negative publicity, liability for employment taxes and benefits, and various fines and penalties are just some of the potential consequences of worker misclassification. Examples of industries that have been hard hit include construction, ride-sharing, long-haul trucking, package delivery, newspaper delivery, and professional football.

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How to build your business from small to middle market

By Marcie Geffner - Dun & Bradstreet

A June 2016 report by American Express and Dun & Bradstreet defines small and large businesses as those that generate annual revenues of less than $10 million and more than $1 billion, respectively. Middle-market enterprises bring in between $10 million and $1 billion.

These middle-market companies employ more than 53 million people and contribute $9.3 trillion annually to the U.S. economy. Since 2011, they’ve outpaced both smaller and larger businesses in both employment and revenue growth, according to the report.

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Prepping your supply chain for holidays, other busy seasons

By Marcie Geffner - Dun & Bradstreet

Whether it’s red roses, pink bathrobes, American flags, surfboards, pumpkins, turkeys or Christmas tree lights, seasonal products can be big winners for small and medium-sized businesses. But stocking seasonal products and dealing with the leftover supply when each season ends can mean big headaches, too.

It’s no secret that timing is everything when it comes to seasonal products. Successfully identifying trends, placing orders, receiving shipments, stocking shelves, advertising end-of-the season markdowns and returning or liquidating unsold stock all depend on smart day-to-day decisions.

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Should you be the first buyer in a new home community?

By Marcie Geffner -

Being first is often awesome.

But should you be the first buyer in a new community where none of the homes have been built yet?

Yes, if you’re willing to take a little bit of risk on your home’s future market value so you can move into what might be a hot new neighborhood and get a nicely upgraded brand-new home at an attractive price.

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How to buy CDs when rates are rising

By Marcie Geffner -

Interest rates on bank certificates of deposit, or CDs, have been super-low since the 2008 financial crisis.

Savers have waited -- and perhaps prayed. Investors have looked for ways to bump up their returns without taking on more risk than they can sleep with at night.

CDs, which return all of your principal, plus a certain rate of interest at the end of a specified term, can make sense in some situations even if rates are on the rise.

Should you buy them before the Fed raises rates this year for a second time since the Great Recession?

The answer isn't obvious because it depends on more than the uncertain rates climate.

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Chinese buyers prefer newer U.S. homes

By Marcie Geffner -

There’s no doubt about it: Chinese nationals shopping for homes to buy in the United States prefer new construction to resale — and by a wide margin.

In a recent online survey, prospective Chinese homebuyers assigned average scores of 7.3 to a brand-new home for sale by a builder and 5.8 to an existing home for sale by a homeowner.

The survey was conducted by Headquartered in Shanghai, Juwai is a top Chinese portal for international property listings with 2.5 million homes from 89 countries.

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How much seniors can borrow with a reverse mortgage

By Marcie Geffner -

A home equity conversion mortgage, or HECM, commonly called a reverse mortgage loan, can prove to be a windfall for seniors who have equity in their home. With this type of mortgage, borrowers can extract equity, spend the money almost any way they want, never make a mortgage payment and continue to live in their home.The loan need not be paid back until the borrower sells the home, moves out for 12 months or longer, or dies, at which time the principal, fees, interest and mortgage insurance become due. Heirs receive the right to buy the home for 95 percent of its appraised value.

How much money can seniors borrow with this type of mortgage? The answer depends on multiple factors and is subject to various rules, limitations and guidelines, some of which have changed in recent years to limit how much equity homeowners can extract and spend. Read more:

How seniors can use a reverse mortgage

By Marcie Geffner -

Reverse mortgage loans allow seniors to borrow against the equity in their home and get a lump sum, line of credit or monthly payments as long as they own and occupy their home. The opportunity is attractive to many.

But is it smart?

The answer depends largely on the homeowner's personal financial situation. What's smart for some might not be so for others. Still, experts say there are many uses that make sense in at least some situations and only a few uses that almost never make sense in any situation.

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