April 16, 2017
The new year and the new presidential administration has ushered in a host of fiscal changes that could impact your wallet. Safeguard your money and act in the best interest of your household or business’s bottom line by learning more about the growing financial trends in 2017.
Rising Interest Rates
Interest rates are on the rise in 2017, creating a financial environment that is geared more toward saving than borrowing. In fact, people who put money into personal savings and retirement accounts have the opportunity to create and grow their wealth. Alternatively, people who need to borrow money face paying higher interest rates and making larger payments on their loans each month.
The higher interest rates correlate to the expanding economy and the creation of more openings in the American job market. As unemployment rates go down and American workers may more money, they have the unique opportunity this year to save money and take advantage of rising interest rates that could lead to greater personal wealth. Capital management services offered by professionals like James Dondero are also expected be more in demand this year.
Freelancing in Retirement
This year also has the makings of being the ideal time for retirees to make some extra cash doing side gigs. It is no secret that retirees are living longer and often outliving the money they have set aside for this time in their lives.
Until recently, however, people in this age demographic had few chances to earn extra cash. Many employers did not want to invest time and effort into training employees who would leave the workforce sooner rather than later.
However, thanks to companies like Uber and Lyft that rely on freelancers, senior citizens now have the opportunity to work for themselves as independent contractors and earn money that will not put their Social Security incomes in jeopardy. Along with driving for Uber or Lyft, they also can freelance as writers, artists, tutors, and other independent contractors.
Investment Portfolio Automation
This year also shows signs of increasing the demands for investment portfolio automation. This automation makes investing with financial pros like James Dondero easier and essentially creates an ideal if not passive way for people to put money into the stock market without putting forth any unnecessary effort on their part.
Further, this automation shows promise of being tax efficient and low in cost. Moreover, it costs the same if not less than an exchange-traded fund.
About James Dondero
James Dondero began his career in the financial industry in 1984 and has since become one of the leaders in capital and investment management. As the co-founder and president of Highland Capital Management, L.P. in Dallas, Texas, Dondero also serves as the CEO and chairman of the board at HCM Acquisition Company. Before founding Highland Capital Management, L.P. he worked for top financial companies like American Express and Protective Life.
He graduated with top academic honors from the University of Virginia’s McIntire School of Commerce with dual degrees in finance and accounting. He is certified as a Certified Management Accountant as well as a Chartered Financial Analyst. He also volunteers for Dallas-based charities and organizations like the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Institute, Education is Freedom, Snowball Express, and the Perot Museum of Natural Science.
, financial planning
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 14, 2017
Holiday plans are often spontaneous and happen when you’re desperately in need of a break from the monotony of your life. Suppose you are planning a family vacation when your spouse or kids have holidays but your funds are a bit tied up. Should you postpone your vacation till you have the money? Absolutely not! Instead of being disheartened by thinking that you do not have sufficient funds at the moment, you can simply plan a vacation with a personal loan.
You can finance your travel smartly by availing a personal loan. Based on your credit history& income source, the eligibility and amount will be determined and accordingly the tenure and repayment conditions for the loan will be laid out. Salaried individuals find it easier to avail personal loans as compared to self-employed businessmen. However, if you have filed tax returns & all company documents are in place, even self-employed individuals can avail a personal loan without providing collateral.
An online personal loan is extremely easy to avail and rarely require any form of collateral. If you meet the eligibility criteria set by the lending institutions and have the necessary documentation in place, there is a definite chance your application will get an approval. In fact, these days online personal loans can be completely paperless with online submission of scanned id and residence proof.
How do personal loans compare with credit card EMIs? There are tax benefits for personal loans. You can claim income tax benefit under Section 24 on personal loan which offers an overall interest benefit of 1.5 lacs for tax exemption. In addition, extending your credit card to finance your travel is not a good idea as they have predefined credit limits that may not suffice the amount you need for your travel.
, personal finance
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