Personal Finance

Travel insurance: Peace of mind or waste of money?

Travel insurance is nothing new. In recent years, however, it has attracted more attention and the debate regarding the value of the policies has grown more pronounced. Coverage has also expanded to include business travelers, extreme sports participants, and expatriates, among others. How does a traveler know if travel insurance is worth the investment?Like any kind of insurance, part of the value of travel insurance depends on a traveler's own tolerance for risk. The rest of the value equation involves the cost and length of the trip, the purpose of the trip, and the destination.
A&A

Flooding Hits Northeast Testing Financial Preparedness on Eve of Hurricane Season

Rivers crested after record rains eased in the Northeast U.S. on Tuesday leaving behind damage from some of the worst flooding the area has seen in nearly 80 years. As with the aftermath of last year’s hurricanes, many homes and businesses will not survive because the three states hardest hit by the flooding have relatively low participation rates in the federal flood insurance program, according to the Boston Globe.

How to Get the Right Mortgage

It seems that everyone sells mortgages these days. But finding the right mortgage with the right rate, in a sea of confusing ads and variable interest rate packages can be confusing and often costly if you don't have the best finance and negotiating skills. The lowest rate isn't always the best deal Before signing on the dotted line, there are other factors of the loan that need to be considered, such as points and closing costs. Closing costs are additional fees and expenses necessary in order to finance a property.
Tax

IRS’ Nationwide Tax Forums Offer Financial Planner CPE for the First Time

For the first time, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has registered as a continuing professional education sponsor for certified financial planners. The IRS is already a continuing education sponsor for enrolled agents and certified public accountants (CPAs). Thanks to an agreement with the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, the IRS will offer continuing education credits for certified financial planners for 24 of the 36 seminars at the IRS Nationwide Tax Forum being held this summer.

Gas Rewards: The New Frequent Flier Mile?

For years, credit card issuers have tried to lure consumers into using their card by offering frequent flier miles. The recent dramatic rise in gas prices, however, has led some of these companies to promote gas rewards and rebates instead. The question is, how does anyone decide which card, including rewards, is best for them?Credit cards offering gas rebates should not be confused with the gas credit cards issued by the gas companies and that can be used only to purchase gas at their stations.
Tax

Seller-Funded Down Payment Assistance Programs are Not Tax Exempt

The Sacramento, California-based Nehemiah Corp., a nonprofit mortgage assistance program, and 184 similar programs around the country, have been accused by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) of operating a down payment scam and are no longer eligible for tax exempt status, the Sacramento Bee reports.
Practice Management

Survey Reveals Alarming Contract Management Practices

A new AberdeenGroup analyst report reveals some alarming practices in global business today. The report The Contract Management Benchmark Report: Sales Contracts reveals that 85 percent of responding companies are using manual or only partially automated systems to manage sales contracts and 32 percent of customer contracts are not tracked, improperly serviced or forgotten entirely.

SEC Cuts FY 2007 Registration and Transaction Fees

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced last week that fees on securities transactions and registrations will be reduced by $1 billion in the fiscal year (FY) beginning October 1, 2006. Fees paid by issuers to register securities with the SEC will be reduced 71.3 percent. Fees applicable to most securities transactions will be reduced by 50.2 percent.“This is terrific news for investors,” SEC Chairman Christopher Cox said in a prepared statement. “Even by Washington’s standards, a billion dollars is a lot of money.
A&A

Young Farmers Optimistic about the Future of the Family Farm

More than 95 percent of young farmers and ranchers surveyed at the Farm Bureau’s Young Farmers and Ranchers annual meeting held in Des Moines, Iowa, last month said that they see a future for their children in farming and ranching, the Prairie Star reports. Last year 89 percent saw a future for their farms.

American Companies Can’t Continue Offering Adequate Pensions

A new survey from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) indicates that the vast majority of CPA’s in executive positions, such as corporate chief executive officers (CEOs), chief financial officers (CFOs) and Controllers, believe American companies can’t continue providing pensions that adequately cover their employees’ retirement years.
A&A

Building a Nest Egg for Your Small Business

Building a financial cushion for your business is never easy. Experts say that businesses should have anywhere from six to nine months worth of income safely stored away in the bank. If you're a business grossing $250,000 per month, the mere thought of saving over $1.5 million dollars in a savings account will either have you collapsing from fits of laughter or from the paralyzing panic that has just set in. What may be a nice well-advised idea in theory can easily be tossed right out the window when you're just barely making payroll each month.
A&A

Bankruptcy Filings Rebounding Despite Intention of New Law

The new bankruptcy legislation enacted on October 17, 2005, apparently only had a temporary effect on the number of bankruptcy filings.

Boomers More Worried About Fuel and Medical Costs

What is keeping Baby Boomers up at night?

Ignore the Tip Jar but Not the Maid

Tip jars are turning up everywhere in America these days. Don’t feel guilty if you ignore the ones at fast food establishments, even coffee shops, if they don’t bring food or beverages to the table. Tip jars are often placed so conspicuously that employees at self-serve businesses, from gas stations, convenience stores, hot dog carts, coffee houses and fast food restaurants, are being rewarded for service they are not providing. In the meantime, people who do provide service are often overlooked, especially when we travel around the country.Tips are not just rewards for good service.

Vacation Costs Increasing

The American Automobile Association’s (AAA’s) Annual Vacation Costs survey found that the overall cost of taking a vacation this year has increased 5.4 percent from the previous year.
Tax

It’s Tax Day: Take the Afternoon Off!

That’s what management is telling staff at Rachlin Cohen & Holtz, Florida’s largest accounting firm. Over the firm’s 51 year history, they have created a culture of year –round tax planning that allows the firm to close the office at 3:00 p.m. today, rather than burning the midnight oil.“The concept of April 15 is only important if you haven’t preplanned,” Rachlin Cohen & Holtz’ Managing Partner Larry Blum told AccountingWEB.
A&A

Fuel Cost Driving Large & Small Business Efficiencies

Large fleet carriers are not the only purchasers of fuel purchasing management software.
Tax

Refund-Anticipation Loans Under Fire

Widely advertised and promoted by U.S. tax preparation companies, refund-anticipation loans are a $1.6 billion market in this country. Jackson Hewitt has seen their latest quarter, ended January 31, beat their quarter revenue estimates. The Asbury Park Press reports that their Money Now loan program has helped the price of its shares swell by more 8.8 percent in a year.
Tax

Hybrid Vehicles Certified for the New Energy Tax Credit

Last Friday, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced tax credit amounts for certain hybrid vehicles manufactured by Ford, Mercury, Toyota and Lexus.

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