April 15, 2017
There have been lawsuits filed in the past that suggest something rather scary for your company. If you make the decision to not employ applicants at your firm who have a past history of criminal violations, you stand to face charges of discrimination, based on race and other factors. This protocol is due to guidelines that are in place by the EEOC or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. According to tritoncanada.ca, you can’t just turn people away because of unrelated criminal records.
You Need to Consider All Factors
For example, if your company deals in stocking auto parts at a warehouse, you can’t turn an applicant with a record for insurance fraud from fifteen years ago away from the opportunity. According to the commission, you aren’t allowed to turn people away based on the fact that they have a history. Instead, you are required to evaluate that record and see if the offenses they committed have an effect on their ability to perform their job duties correctly, or if the safety of the other employees at the firm is in danger.
Racial Discrimination Suits Could Arise
It is a well-known fact by now that over 70% of employers in the US run checks on potential job applicants’ criminal records. The number of people with such records in the USA has been rising over the years at the same time. Those individuals who have a criminal record without being convicted of a crime, an arrest can lead to a black mark on the record. Many of the people with such records have never committed a violent crime and have never spent time in jail. Employers tend to generalize everyone with a criminal record as being a threat to safety, which is blatant discrimination.
The case gets even trickier when you consider the statistics for arrests and convictions in the US. Black people are imprisoned six times as white people in the country. A company can be sued for racial discrimination if they turn away people with criminal records. You are allowed to use a background test in your business, of course, but you have to consider factors in this check including the type of crime committed, how relevant it is to the job, and how long it has been since the applicant’s last offense.
Explanations Need to be Made and Received
Even after all this is considered, and you still can’t hire the applicant, you have to explain to the person in writing why you couldn’t hire them. This cause needs a satisfactory explanation of why their criminal history makes them unfit. The law firm must give you a chance to explain yourself and prove you can perform well on the job at hand.
If you have a criminal record that shows a violent crime being committed, it’s one of the only times they can immediately reject an application. In recent years, a conviction for malicious and intentional assault and battery would indicate a red flag, for example.
April 13, 2017
If you buy a prebuilt home that doesn’t have a tremendous value as it stands, you might find yourself wondering whether to rebuild it from the ground up or try to repair and remodel it as it stands. The question is one worth considering seriously because there can be major variations in the cost difference between the two options. There are many factors involved in the final decision according to sites like thepattisallgroup.com, each of which can influence it in a certain way.
Historical Value Must be Checked
People commonly want to demolish and rebuild if the home they bought is a timeworn one. In cases like this, you have to think about the significance of the house in history. Some homes are protected by the city for their historical value. These are commonly referred to as heritage homes, and you can’t just take a wrecking ball to them. You must talk to the state and federal government and get permits to break them down before doing so. In times like this, it might be more convenient just to renovate the home instead.
Consider Local Building Limitations
Some parts of a town, state or country have certain restrictions placed on how you can rebuild the home after demolishing it. These are usually regions of architectural importance, which are visited by tourists often for a look at the homes which are of a certain basic design. Demolishing an old home might not be the best idea if you are required to rebuild it in almost the exact same way that it looked before.
Saving Money on Renovation Isn’t Easy
Most legitimate home improvements are quite costly. You may be tempted to save money by cutting corners on certain aspects of the renovation. However, if you ever try to sell the house in the future and the quality of even the tiniest aspect isn’t up to par, you will have to pay a pretty hefty fine to repair the house before selling it. Because of this, your long-term costs can still be far higher than when demolishing and rebuilding the house.
You Can’t Live in the House While Renovating
Many people choose renovation because they want to move in as quickly as possible. They think that staying in the home while it is being renovated is a good idea and one that will save on rent money. The truth is, this can be quite harmful to the health of the people in your home. Renovation releases toxic chemicals, dust, and worse. All of these can be harmful, especially to pets, kids, and people with allergic conditions.
You should also consider how good you are at planning things. There are people who are great planners and others who are terrible at it. If you’re a terrible planner, renovation might not be the best idea since you won’t be able to determine how well the project goes. Hiring an architect and demolishing the old house might be the best course of action in a situation like this.
March 26, 2017
These days, many wealthy people are buying their citizenship in locations where it is easy for them to preserve their wealth. There are actually numerous countries that allow what is called an immigrant investor program. These programs are set up by the countries’ governments in order to bring wealthy people into their ranks, and benefit from those people.
Countries with Immigrant Investor Programs
Countries like Cyprus, Spain, Malta and Australia have these programs. It is likely that in the future, more and more countries are going to begin implementing these types of programs. Especially as more countries are feeling the strain of the global financial crisis. This can help energize their economies. The most popular locations are in Europe, the Caribbean, and the Mediterranean.
An example of this type of program can be found in Malta. Their program is called the Malta Citizenship by Investment Programme. This program grants ‘naturalization by investment to reputable individuals and their dependents, after a rigid and thorough due diligence processes that make a significant contribution to the social and economic development of the country.’ What are the benefits? After five years of buying property in Malta, this will be tax exempt on sale. There is also no inheritance or death taxes, no estate duty, no net worth or wealth taxes and no municipal taxes, rates or real estate taxes. Dual citizenship is also available.
The examples above for Malta are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the benefits for the wealthy related to immigrant investor programs. These programs are specifically aimed at the very wealthy. The investments required can range from $500,000 to several million dollars. For those that do make this kind of investment, this is a very small amount. In Europe, Bulgaria requires a $700,000 investment in government bonds for five years, whereas in the Caribbean, St. Kitts& Nevis requires a $400,000 investment in real estate or the sugar industry.
Why are the wealthy investing in new citizenship in this manner?
So if the investment is minor for these investors, then what makes them want to participate in this type of investing? The main reason for doing this is the tax benefits. The super rich are always looking for ways to keep their money out of the hands of their government, and hold onto as much of it as they can. In this instance, the countries offering these programs, like the ones mentioned above, offer lower income taxes, and, more importantly, inheritance taxes.
There are other incentives as well. These include:
• Access to better education
• A desire to escape political instability or disagreement
• Better passport or visa-free travel to more countries, especially those in Europe as part of the European Union
• Higher standards of living
• Tax advantages
There are even some of the very rich who try to avoid taxes altogether by bouncing between countries around the globe with different citizenships and residence permits.
Who are these extremely wealthy people making this type of investment?
Those who are gaining citizenship through investment are from all over the world. Generally, many of these wealthy are from the Middle East, India, South Africa and China.
So how can the not-so-wealthy take advantage of these programs?
There are a few countries that do not require as large of an investment, like Bulgaria, in order to invest in citizenship, but gain all of the benefits. Dominica, for example, is the most inexpensive deal. With only an investment of $100,000 plus some fees, citizenship can be bought. Even St. Kitts and Nevis has a cheaper program than the $400,000 mentioned above. For only $25000, you can make a non-refundable donation to the St. Kitts & Nevis Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation to get access to citizenship.
There are also many countries that offer citizenship for an investment below one million US dollars. These include Malta, Portugal, and other EU countries where you can also gain all the benefits of the EU. Of late, citizenship by investment in Malta is gaining popularity due to various benefits. Moving and living in Malta has become so popular also due to the economic boom there is on the island
The least expensive of them all may be Latvia, where with a five-year residency costs merely $96,000. The benefits associated with this program include a common visa policy shared by twenty six European countries, but there is no telling how long this deal will last.
More countries are now offering this type of Immigrant Investor Program to help their economies bring the wealthy, and not so super wealthy, into their citizenship.
, financial planning
January 15, 2017
Try, for a moment, to think of a corporation that compares to Apple. What company has the name recognition, branding, and carefully constructed image that Apple has built over the last decade of total technological dominance?
The Leader of the Pack
The answer, of course, is that Apple has no real competition. Their rise to power has been slow and steady, but the cell phone industry analysis is indisputable. As of mid-2015, CNet reports that about 100 million Americans use iPhones. That’s roughly 1/3 of the population of the United States.
If you walk into your local coffee shop, you’ll immediately note the dominance of the MacBook as the preferred notebook computer for telecommuters across the US. Want a tablet? The iPad is the obvious choice.
The popularity of a product is one of the most important variables in determining whether there is money to be made in servicing and repairing that product. Consider other household goods, appliances, or even vehicles? If a car manufacturer produces a dominant model, and that model is purchased and driven by 1/3 of the US population, how many other services professionals can benefit from that popularity? Mechanics will exclusively service the model. Aftermarket part manufacturers will build and distribute exclusively for the model and re-sellers will benefit from exclusively carrying the model, since such a huge percentage of the population will purchase it.
Using the auto analogy helps to demonstrate the significant opportunity that exists for an iPhone repair franchise. Sure, cars cost more. But the impact of Apple’s popularity is difficult to comprehend without thinking in terms of other, similarly valuable products.
Apple Franchise Markets are Everywhere
One of the secrets to successful franchising is selecting an appropriate market in which to operate a new business. For some franchises, that decision can be tricky. Food preferences can depend on region. Educational and fitness needs are largely dependent on demographics like age and income. But Apple products, with their complete market domination, are present in every metro area and suburb, every college campus and retirement community. Uses vary, certainly. The average MacBook pro user will differ significantly from the average owner of an iPhone manufactured three years ago. Their repair needs, however, are universal.
Refreshed Apple Products as an Income Stream
Making money with an iPhone repair franchise is possible in part because of the multiple income streams that are generated by a familiarity with the products and the capacity to fix them. One of those income streams is the sale of refreshed products, which come in as trades for customers in search of an upgrade. Although we’re accustomed to hearing about how high-tech goods are out of date as soon as they are purchased, there are several reasons that consumers have proven to be quite interested in purchasing used or refurbished Apple electronics.
- Upgrades are largely software based. From one generation to the next, cell phones, tablets, and computers no longer change physically by leaps and bounds so that they quickly become obsolete. Instead, Apple (along with its competitors), rolls out downloadable software updates that keep even older hardware running for many years.
- New products are prohibitively expensive. Thousands of dollars for laptops. Hundreds of dollars for even the cheapest cell phone in the lineup. Apple products are extremely expensive, but that has done nothing but whet the public’s appetite for them. Middle-income consumers have kept the prices of used and refurbished Apple products steadily high for years, with online and iPhone repair franchise profits significantly greater, as a percentage of original retail pricing, than any other comparable goods. A car driven off the lot loses a third of its value immediately. A brand new iPhone does no such thing.
- Many repairs are easy. Broken screens and dead home buttons are often enough to send consumers—accustomed to instant gratification from their expensive devices—running to order a new tablet or phone. But the repairs are often simple and largely cosmetic, which means excellent profit margins on refreshed items. Frustrations with non-working features or broken exteriors often mean upgrades for buyers, but for an iPhone repair franchise they mean quick turnover, minimal investment, and exceptional profits.
Selling refreshed Apple products is worth investigating for any savvy entrepreneur as a personal experiment—list an item online for sale—something in a desk drawer that you’ll never use again—and look how quickly buyers flock to purchase your used electronics. It’s a lesson that warrants reflection.
October 5, 2016
It is one of those timeless conundrums which has tested the thinking of man for centuries. If you had to, would you do something you know was very dangerous.
If you saw a child about to be run over, would you step in front of a car to save them? If you are dying of thirst, would you drink filthy water to survive? If you house is on fire, would you jump out of the window to escape.
We have all pondered these kinds of questions at some point, but fortunately most of us never have to contemplate the dilemma in reality.
But there are other everyday dilemmas that we do have to confront which, whilst perhaps not involving the same danger, can still expose us to significant risk.
One such example of this is when we use online banking. We know online banking is insecure. It doesn’t matter which bank you use, and how many trendy keypads and other gadgets they give you, we all know there is still a risk when we log into our online account which isn’t there if we want into a branch.
The popularity of online banking suggests two things about this. Either we don’t fully understand the extent of the risk, or we have decided it is a risk we are willing to take. For most of us, it is a combination of both.
But make no mistake, online banking does pose a significant risk. The level of security used by all banks is extremely weak and the techniques of online hackers gets ever more sophisticated. And often we don’t help ourselves, making basic errors like using easy-to-break passwords or logging on while connected to public Wi-Fi networks.
The ramifications if you are hacked can be significant too. Of course, you can lose a lot of money. However, as most banks will compensate you in those circumstances that is sometimes not a big worry. But going into overdraft or losing a sizable amount of money can affect things like your credit cards, and premium accounts you may hold, and of course run up charges with your bank that can take months to sort out.
Then there is your credit score. If you are hacked and miss payments as a result, it can affect your credit score which might cause you to be unable to get credit and secure mortgages and other financial services.
So, the question I am often asked is whether there is a way to protect ourselves when using Online Banking. Is it possible to make the process more secure?
Encouragingly, the answer is yes. And in this article I will give you my tips as to the top 3 ways to keep your online banking secure in 2016:
1. Use an ‘Anti-Spy Privacy Screen:
For all the high-tech ways that people get hacked these days, there are still a significant number of incidents where data is stolen simply by watching over people’s shoulder as they use their online banking account in public.
It might seem silly, but it happens a lot and it is unnecessary because there is a cheap and simple bit of kit which can prevent it: an Anti-Spy Privacy Screen.
There are available for all devices these days and work in the same way as a regular screen protector. However, they are a little thicker and a little darker, and this means that when you look at the screen of a device from an angle, you can see nothing.
Only the person directly facing the screen can make out what is there, so when you log onto your online banking on the go, you can be sure that the only person looking, is you.
2. Change your Password Regularly:
Passwords are another big vulnerability of online banking. Often they are easy to guess, simple to crack, and offer little or no real protection.
One way around this is to use a Password Manager such as Last Pass which can make it easy for you to use complicated passwords without having to remember them all.
But another relatively effective approach is just to change your password on a regular basis. If you are an occasional user, making a password change every few months is a sensible precaution, but if you are logging into your account regularly and from different locations, every few weeks would be more sensible.
3. Use a VPN:
Perhaps the most important tip on this list is to use a VPN. A VPN can help ensure your online banking is secure in a variety of different ways.
Encryption is vital to keep your data secure online and whilst all banks will encrypt their online banking data, some are more secure than others. A good VPN will ensure all of your online activity, including online banking is encrypted securely.
They also protect you when you are using public Wi-Fi. Again the encryption they offer means even the weakest of Wi-Fi connections becomes secure.
Indeed, VPNs are so good at encrypting your online activity that you can even access otherwise inaccessible online services, like being able to log onto Gmail while in China, where it is usually blocked.
With a VPN in place, and using these other precautions as well, you can be pretty confident that your online banking will be secure, no matter who you bank with.
, Financial Securities
, Online Banking