Construction Bonding



To provide an expert’s view on construction payment and performance surety bonds, I sat down with Ellen Neylan, the owner of Surety Bond Associates, a WBE surety bond agency and consulting firm that provides specialty surety services to small, minority women and veteran owned contractors.

Often projects presented accompany a bonding requirement – too many times this is seen as an automatic disqualifier to an unbonded GC. Ellen stressed the abundance of options out there, and the importance of differentiating all risk reduction instruments from viable alternatives.

Many GCs are working with their insurance agencies to tackle bondability needs without realizing surety agents are their own specialty that add a different, more precise value. Ellen explained to me the contrast between a surety bond and subcontractor default insurance (SDI), two concepts that can be easily confused. In almost all cases, SDI is very inferior to surety bonding. Surety bonds exist to protect taxpayer dollars and a general contractor’s organizational health, while SDI serves to allow a GC to default subcontractors quickly with no payment protection downstream for anyone. High deductibles are associated with it – and since there is no qualification process to gain this protection, it is much more of a high-risk instrument.

Along with the confusion of bonds and SDI seeming interchangeable, comes a misinterpretation that bonds and insurance in general are comparable. I’ve previously heard the phrase that “Bonds are not insurance-they’re a credit instrument” and Ellen confirmed that in her Bonds 101 workshop, this is an idea that’s represented as fact.

Even though insurance companies can provide bonds, contractors have to qualify for bonding, which makes it quite different than insurance. Anyone can buy insurance if they can afford it, however bonds require an in-depth qualification process that fully vets a firm.

Prior to my conversation with Ellen, I read that many bonding professionals sum up their evaluation of a contractor with the use of “the three c’s: character, capacity, and capital” – and I was interested to hear if this captured her interpretation of the GC review scope. She emphasized that those are definitely the main ideas, however the importance of each area isn’t quite weighted equally in thirds.

The surety typically puts 70% emphasis on financial strength. For the capacity consideration, the contractor’s experience with project management and portfolio of work shape their rating. Some factors that are evaluated include:

– Staff resumes

– Typical project valuation “sweet spot”

– Scope of work

– References with subcontactors, suppliers, and banks

When evaluating the character review, this is a bit more challenging. Ellen rightfully mentioned that you don’t really realize a contractor’s true colors until there’s an issue. Since surety bonds are essentially a partnership between the surety and the contractor, the surety has to feel comfortable that the contractor can help them resolve any problems and deliver on promises. Project success is largely tied to a GC working with the surety so that they don’t have to file a loss.

So once you’ve taken the steps to become bonded – what is required for a firm to take steps to grow that bonding capacity?

Much of growing bonding capacity involves not taking on jobs that are too large for your company’s bandwidth. Preserving as much cash in the company and tightly managing it alongside accurate job cost accounting systems is key. A great CPA is critical to keeping a company in line financially. Surety companies look for detailed financial statements because the accounting needs of construction are very unique from other industries. Building that team of a solid CPA, surety agent, and bank is a powerful trio.

Payment and performance surety bonds can seem confusing, however with a bonding expert’s guidance, contractors are able to realize their full potential and not have to lose out on opportunities from lack of bonding. There are plenty of resources available for organizations looking to become bonded, and a “dead end” is far from how a bonding stipulation should be perceived.

About the Interviewee, Ellen Neylan:

Ellen Neylan is the founder and sole owner of Surety Bond Associates. Ellen is a surety veteran with over twenty-five years’ experience in the surety industry, holding positions with several major surety companies fulfilling a variety of underwriting, management, and operations, business and product development roles. Ellen has lectured diverse audiences on surety principals and underwriting disciplines, and is an active member of the PA and NJ Chapters of the Surety and Fidelity Association of America.

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Source by Heather Grossmuller

Building Sustainable Customer Loyalty



Building customer loyalty is integral for any business to be successful and more so if you are on your own. The key here is for your customer to trust you. They will need to trust you enough in order to come back to you for your service and product. At the same time, when their trust in you is complete, only will they start to refer their friends to you.

To start with, always be sincere in your business dealings. Do not try to fake your way through in your business operations or manipulate your customer into buying your product or service, because your customer will be able to see right through you and they can feel it.

Integrity is also an important recipe in building customer loyalty. Integrity is defined as "a concept of consistency of actions, values, methods, measures, principles, expectations and outcomes". Without integrity your business will not last long. Keep your promise to your customers. Deliver what your promised and set the right expectation. It is always better to over-achieve than to set too high an expectation that you could not deliver. Be consistent in your action and speech.

Communicate with your clients. This means listening to your customers needs as well as communicating what you want to say effectively. You need to communicate with your customers when things are going well and when things are not. When a challenge surface, provide to your customers the scope of the challenge and your proposed solutions. These builds not only trust and integrity but also confidence and credibility on your part.

Be credible. Do what you say and say only what you will do. When you say you will arrive at a certain time, be punctual (or earlier). If you know you will be late, call in advance to inform your customer. If you say you will call back, make the commitment to do so. It is OK if you can not have the information required at the time of the call. Be sincere. This also shows that you take the time to conduct proper research to get an accurate answer.

Testimonials and pass referrals. Nothing works better than a good testimony from your customers. Ask them to refer you customers. Ask if you have done a good job and would they refer to you their friends. If the answer is yes, chances are you have impressed your existing customers and they are bound to come back to you and refer their friends too!

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Source by Vivienne T

What Causes Yeast Infection of the Butt Crack?



Yeast infections can appear almost anywhere on the skin where it is warm and moist. In men the warm dark and moist area around the groin is what causes yeast infection on the penis. With women, the warmth and moister in the vagina is what causes the infection.

Infection of the butt crack can be a frustrating, painful, and embarrassing to have. It’s a fact that what causes the infection of the butt crack is common although infections generally infect the genital region. The reason why this area is what causes the infection holds true for the same reason other parts of the body causes infection. That is because it is in a warm moist portion of the body. Let’s say the environment is what the infection thrive on.

The symptoms of yeast infection of the butt are itching, burning, bleeding, and pain while having a bowel movement.

The ideal conditions for the bacteria to grow and multiply are moist darkness that this area provides by the anus. Since it is in close proximity to the genital region it is possible for it to spread to the anus. If you scratch this area during infection the skin can peel and cause more severe infections.

Treatment of Butt Infections:

The methods of treatment for yeast infection in the genital area may be used to treat the anus as well. It must first be understood that these types of infection is caused by the excessive activity of Candida Ablicans in the body. To cure them, the root of the problem must be treated.

Prescription and over-the-counter drugs and creams offer temporary relief of the symptoms but do nothing to treat the cause of the infection or to prevent recurrence. Yeast infection will recur and each time with more severity than the last infection.

The fastest, safest, and natural way to treat infections is to follow two steps. First, use natural ingredients from the refrigerator to treat symptoms such as burning, itching and pain. Second is to start an anti-Candida diet. This will work to control the Candida in your body and get rid of yeast infection for good.

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Source by Vicky Carr

What Type of Life Insurance Policy Should You Get



The primary purpose for getting life insurance will always be to protect the people you care about in case something were to happen to you. How much capital would you need in order to pay off debts, support your loved ones, or to take care of all your affairs?

After you understand what priorities you would like to protect through life insurance it is fairly easy to determine the correct amount of coverage.

What Type Of Life Insurance

The next question is what type of coverage will best serve your needs. In order to get the right amount of coverage you also have to make sure that the premiums fit comfortably into your budget.

Term Insurance Benefits

Term insurance is less expensive than whole life insurance, because you are renting the insurance. Your coverage is considered pure insurance in this case, because it doesn’t develop cash value or participate in company dividends.

Instead it allows you to get the right amount of protection for the least expensive premiums available. Term insurance has also developed over the years to offer more comprehensive options. You can get a return-of-premiums policy where you pay more during the life of the policy, but the insurance company refunds all of your premiums at the end of the fixed term.

There are also term policies that allow you to lock in your age and health for the remainder of your life, so that you can have the coverage and premiums locked in for the rest of your life. This is a great and inexpensive way to obtain permanent insurance.

How Long Should You Lock In Your Premiums

The longer you can lock in your premiums the more advantageous it will be in the long run. The insurance company takes into consideration the mortality risk during the level period of the term. If you are 35 and you get a level 20-term policy then the rates will be fixed until you are 55. And because you are locking in the premiums at a younger age, the average risk and rates will be less than if you were to lock in your premiums at 55.

Most people have an insurance need that will last throughout the rest of their lives. If you can permanently lock in a portion of your insurance at a younger age this can save you substantially on premiums. It happens quite often where people will have to apply for new coverage after the fixed rates on their current policy have expired, and because they are now older and have to pay much more in premiums.

Your health is also locked in when you first take the policy out. Many people looking for insurance in their fifties or sixties are dealing with some type of medical condition that makes the cost of life insurance double or triple in cost. The same logic that applies to locking in your age is also good to keep in mind when locking in your health. We don’t know what is going to happen to us, and if we have our insurance locked in then our insurability and premiums will be unaffected by a medical event.

Level Term Insurance

I always recommend getting a level-term policy as opposed to one that will start off lower and increase premiums each and every year. The level term policies allow you to lock in your age and health for the remainder of the term, whereas the increasing-premium policies become more expensive every year based on your new age.

Because term insurance is a less expensive way to get the right amount of protection, I believe that it is the right choice for a large majority of people looking at life insurance.

Cash Value Life Insurance: When To Consider It

First A Word Of Caution About How The Life Insurance Industry Operates

An agent who pushes one company above the others is doing his or her clients a disservice. Every company has its positives and negatives and each company has focused on certain demographics to try to create a competitive edge. There are 17 life insurance companies in the fortune 500 alone. These companies have very similar investment portfolios and conduct business in ways that are more common than not. Eight of these companies are mutual, nine are stock companies, and they all operate in order to make a profit. The most important thing that anybody can do is to have an agent who can help them shop the market for the company that is going to fit their needs best. Somebody that is a smoker with high blood pressure is going to have better options outside of the companies that target nonsmokers without health conditions. Finding the least expensive company on the market for your age and health can save you thousands of dollars.

I used to work for an insurance agency where we only sold a single triple-A-rated-insurance company. When I worked for this agency, my fellow agents and I were especially inculcated with the benefits of this company’s whole life insurance. This situation is not unique.

Captive agencies have managers that groom agents to push one company because they get paid commissions when their agents sell these products. Please don’t assume that life insurance agents are experts on the benefits of different companies and types of insurance plans, because many of them are unaware of the benefits beyond their own company. Instead of consulting their clients and shopping the market they push a single product that doesn’t always match up well. There are far too many people being given advice from agents to consider whole life insurance, because they are trained to present the same products to every client.

When You Are Considering An Insurance Company It Will Always Be Advantageous For Some People And Ill Advised For Others

If you sit down with an agent who goes over a list of benefits about a single insurance company, keep in mind that most benefits are really trade-offs. For instance, if a company is a triple-A rated insurance company than they are probably also more conservative with whom they insure. A triple-A rating is great, but it is really only necessary if you plan on participating in the companies dividends, or in other words buying their whole life insurance. There is no need to pay extra money for the privilege of having a triple-A rated company as many agents insist. A.M. Best considers a company with an A-rating to be in excellent financial health and there are many A-rated companies with less expensive insurance offers if you are not planning on participating in whole life.

When Whole Life Insurance is a Good Idea

For some people, whole life insurance can be a great complement to their financial security. I have sold whole life insurance based on the following benefits.

1) It has a guaranteed return that will consistently build up the cash value in the policy.

2) It gives policyholders permanent insurance so that they are insured throughout their lifetime.

3) It allows them to stop paying premiums after a certain number of years, because the dividends from the company will be enough to keep the policy in force.

4) It allows policyholders to take cash from the policy in the form of a loan, so that you have another option if liquidity is needed.

5) The growth of the policy is tax deferred and tax-free as long as long as the policy is kept in force.

The problem can be that many of these benefits point to life insurance as an asset or investment. Life insurance should always be considered for the death benefit first and foremost. If you have already maxed out both your Roth Ira and 401(k), have at least three months of expenses in accessible savings, and are looking for something else to build up savings then whole-life insurance can be a good option. The point is that whole life insurance is a good choice when you have the ability to max out your qualified retirement funds and are looking to complement your savings with a conservative tie in to your life insurance.

Whole life can be a mistake for a couple of reasons

There are risks when putting your money into whole life insurance. The risks aren’t always clearly explained, because the agents focus on the guaranteed dividends that will grow the cash value every year. However, one significant risk is buying into whole-life insurance, paying the premiums for a number of years, and then not being able to keep up with the premiums down the road. Life insurance companies bank on this happening to a certain percentage of policyholders.

If this occurs you are in danger of losing thousands of dollars in paid premiums without the benefit of accumulating any cash value. When a policy lapses or you can’t keep up with whole life premiums then the insurance company will retain your premiums without you having any cash value built up or any insurance in force.

These whole life polices are structured to have large front end expenses and it will take at least a couple of years before your premiums start to build up cash value. It takes about ten years before the amount of premiums you put into the policy will equal the cash value in the policy.

How Cash Value In Whole Life Insurance Works

The other risk with whole life insurance is not understanding how the cash value in the policy works and taking out too much of it. The cash value in the policy is liquid, but the insurance company will let you take out about 97% of it in order to protect against the policy lapsing. Any cash that is taken out of the policy is loaned from the policy at interest.

Lets assume that you are in the first 20 years of your whole life policy and are taking a loan from the cash value in the policy. The loaned interest rate is 8.0 %, the non-loaned dividend interest rate is 6.85%, and the loaned-dividend interest is rate is 7.9 %. Notice that the insurance company steps up the interest rate on the loaned amount or the amount borrowed from your cash value. This mitigates the cost of the loan, but the loan still creates an ongoing obligation to pay interest. For instance the cost of borrowing here would be 6.95 %.

(The loaned interest rate (8.0 %) + (the non-loaned dividend interest rate (6.85%) – the loaned-dividend interest rate (7.9%)) = cost of borrowing (6.95%).

The cash value in the policy is really a double-edged sword, because it leads to a significant risk that you will not be able to keep up with the premiums. It is practically intended for people who can repay the loan quickly so that the policy continues to develop dividends instead of an obligation to pay interest. It is great for people who aren’t ever tempted to borrow from the policy, because the dividends will compound and eventually be able to cover the cost of annual premiums. When this occurs the risk of lapsing will be negligible. However, this takes quite some time to achieve and it truly depends on how disciplined you can afford to be with the additional cost of these premiums. If you would rather have control of your money up front there is an argument that you can buy term and invest the rest instead of leveraging the insurance companies general fund.

Your Personality Profile And Budget Must Be In Line

I recommend taking a look at both your budget and how much control you want over your money for at least the next ten years if you are considering whole life. Because term insurance can now permanently lock in your age and health in the same manner as whole life insurance, the biggest question is whether or not you want control over investing the difference in premiums. Many people prefer whole life insurance because they don’t have to think about investing the difference; the insurance company does it for them. They can also grow their death benefit by the amount of growth in cash value and act as their own creditor if they ever want to borrow cash from the policy.

A Couple Other Points About Whole Life Insurance

The cash value component in a whole life insurance policy needs to be addressed. The first is that cash value is based on compounding dividends. So the longer you keep the paying premiums the more advantageous it is. The second is that if you go with a reliable insurance company they will usually pay non-guaranteed dividends that are based on the results of an insurance companies investments. This is when rating is important to consider, because you are now participating in these dividends. Also if you have allowed the cash value to grow and take out modest loans from the policy later in life, you will most likely have enough in dividends to keep pace beyond the ongoing obligation of interest. However if you do surrender the policy the gains will be taxed as capital gains and you will have to pay a surrender charge as well. If the policy is in force and you pass away while there are still outstanding loans, the death benefit will be paid out after it covers the cost of the loans that you have taken from the policy.

Term Insurance Vs. Whole Life

I believe the most important factor in all of this is the human element. If you are patient, conservative, and comfortably able to continue paying premiums without the temptation to borrow from the cash-value then you are a good candidate for whole life insurance. The majority of people have fluctuating budgets and circumstances where they are better off with something that locks in their age and health and gives them the opportunity to invest the difference elsewhere.

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Source by Gary R Landisch

Top Ten Portland Cement Uses



When you decide to begin building your house, one of the most important considerations is about the cement that would be used. In fact, the commonest type of cement to be used across the world is Portland cement. The primary reason for this global general use is indeed its composition. Composed of concrete, mortar, stucco and grout, it is produced as a fine powder by grinding the Portland cement clinker with calcium sulfate. The origins of the cement can be traced back to in the initial years of the 19th century. Portland cement has today found its way as being the basic ingredient for ready-mix concrete. This adoption has been undertaken only after having successfully tested and recognized the fact that it creates a strong bond as compared to the early techniques of concrete production. With the increasing amount of importance that is continuously being attached to them, Portland cement, especially the one which forms a part of the ready-mix concrete, may be put to the following uses-

Uses-

  1. The most important use of Portland cement is the production of concrete. It plays a pivotal role in setting and hardening the concrete. 
  2. On being mixed with other aggregates, Portland cement begins to serve a dual purpose. One, it provides for the concrete products to be workable when wet and Two, it provides them to be durable when dry.
  3. It is extensively used by the retaining walls and the precast concrete block walls as a major component to build a strong foundation of concrete.
  4. By mixing it with water, Portland cement literally turns into a plastic stone and thereby it can be used for purposes and in places where stone was to be used and that too by keeping within the financial limits. 
  5. It may be molded to obtain a hard and fire-proof material which may further be employed in designing buildings, shop floors, reservoirs and other foundations.
  6. Any kind of iron or timber structure is exposed to corrosion either by air or water. But with a concrete casing, made by utilizing Portland cement, they can be effectively protected.
  7. Any structure that is meant to support huge amounts of weight will bring Portland cement into use. These structures range from ground floors of multi-storey buildings to bridge floors and from bridge spans to dams.
  8. Due to its ability to prevent corrosion, it is also put to use in ships, tanks and bunkers.
  9. A blaze or a devastating fire may leave a structure completely burnt but with the use of Portland cement, this can be prevented. 
  10. It is also brought into usage in mortars, plasters, screeds and grouts as a material which can be squeezed into gaps to consolidate the structures.

The use of Portland cements has galvanized ready-mix concrete production. Owing to the prominence which is being attached to them, these cements are said to have already made and left their mark.

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Source by Mike Nixon

Tips To Effective Working Capital Management



Working capital is the available cash on hand for the day-to-day operations of your businesses. And this can be affected by numerous factors, which include internal mechanisms and external issues.

Another factor that will have a huge impact on your working capital is the unwarranted focus on the task of coming up with excellent quarterly sales results. Oftentimes, this has a negative effect on your working capital performance. When your business operations marked seasonality and the requirements of your working capital vary from one quarter to another, there will definitely be a great chance for your working capital performance to be affected negatively.

Indeed, proper capital management will ensure that you maintain enough liquid resources for your everyday business operations. Proper manage will involve attempting to achieve a balance between reducing insolvency risks and maximizing your asset’s return.

How To Manage Your Working Capital

Create proper cash flow projecting – This process must consider the market cycles, the loss of a valued client, the actions done by your competitors, and the impact of all unanticipated events to your business’ overall performance. Moreover, you must also consider the unexpected demands of your capital.

Craft contingency plans for unexpected events – Regardless of how profitable your business is, you must always ensure that you are well-prepared in case unexpected events arises. You need to hone your skills in efficiently managing any uncertainty by formulating risk management procedures. Remember though to establish these procedures based on the objective and realistic view of your working capital requirements.

Use your working capital in a corporate wide basis – This is regarded as among the most effective capital management strategies because this will help make sure that your business’ cash on hand are utilized in various functions. This can be performed by using such cash from one place to another. Making sure that different aspects are in place is a great way of efficiently implementing this tip. These will include efficient banking channels, excellent linkages between production and billing, effective internal systems, information access, and good treasury practices.

Manage disputes properly – This can free up cash that have been locked in due to certain disputes to clients. Customer service can also be improved with efficient dispute management procedures. Most importantly, your business efficiency is expected to improve since you can begin to minimize operating costs via this tip.

These tips will definitely help you in measuring the operational and financial efficiency of your business effectively.

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Source by Marcus L Jimenez

Guide for Selecting an Aircraft Charter and Management Specialist



Aircraft Charter and Management is a highly regulated, highly specialized business. The relationship between an aircraft owner and their management company is unique; it is closer to a partnership then a traditional supplier/customer relationship. When it comes to selecting a company for aircraft management, most owners like to hire a company with deep experience, top safety ratings and one which understands and is aligned with the owner’s air travel requirements. In this post, we will discuss key areas that are differentiators when choosing and ACM company.

– Experience is one of the most important factors. When you are looking for an aircraft charter and management specialist, you have to consider their experience. This is extremely vital because it largely determines the kind of services you can expect from them. If required, ask the prospective company to offer references of past customers with similar aircraft and mission profiles.

– Consider their safety ratings. There are well known and respected organizations such as Argus, Wyvern, IS-BAO and the Air Charter Safety Foundation which rate ACM companies based upon their safety record. Ask potential management company for its ratings from these organizations.

– Who are their clients? While many organizations and individual aircraft owners prefer confidentiality, some may be available for use as reference. At a minimum an ACM operator should be able to provide a profile of their clients on a “blind” basis for review.

– What’s their expertise? A prospective management company should be able to provide you a summary of their Operations Specifications, or OPSPECS, so you can better understand their capabilities. This is especially important for owners who plan to travel outside of the U.S.

– How do they measure success? Another way of saying this is what type of reporting will you receive? Most owners of managed aircraft receive a monthly summary detailing every flight, every maintenance transaction, etc. As an owner, you have every right to receive whatever information you want, in whatever format you want it. If you are used to reviewing performance reports a certain way, you should be able to tailor your aircraft activity reporting this way as well. If desired, you can even have an automated data interface set up to electronically transfer this information to you as well.

Finally, you have to understand the value proposition. Not all companies can deal with management requirements efficiently, and it can only add to your overall costs. The whole purpose of hiring an aviation management company is to keep a tight control on the operations and increase efficiency and transparency. Unless the management company can meet your expectations in these areas, it is unlikely that you can expect good returns as far as customer service and delivery of execution are concerned.

Please consider these areas as your diligence aircraft charter and management companies for your potential use. If you would rather use a third part consultant, that can also provide the comfort you are seeking that the potential ACM companies have been properly vetted to meet your needs.

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Source by J Smith

Family Limited Partnerships in Asset Protection Plans



The Family Limited Partnership can provide a solid layer of defense between your assets and creditors. Once you have established an FLP, creditors pursuing the assets in the business are difficult. Should a creditor be awarded a judgment there is a specific court ruling that must take place in order to endeavor to receive dividends of profit from the partnership. Even if the creditor receives a charging order, that does not guarantee that the creditor will be paid any amount towards the debt, but rather places the creditor in a position of becoming a receiver of income, whether profits are recognized or not. The money is not distributed to the creditor, yet the creditor must pay taxes on the income derived.

The FLP is one of the most effective tools for asset protection. It helps to reduce estate and income taxes, gives the ability to manage assets while simultaneously denying creditors access to the asset.

General partners have the majority of control while limited partners have little or no control. The law rebuffs creditors' rights to obtain interest in the partnership. FLP's isolate your assets from lawsuits and help you retain control over your assets. FLP's are used to protect real estate, stocks & bonds, cash, jewelry, furniture and fixtures and any other personal and business assets. The FLP is a tax neutral entity. Unlike a corporation, you can freely transfer assets in and out of the Family Limited Partnership without concern about an adverse tax effect.

Establishing an FLP
The first step to take is to properly establish an FLP based on the needs of the client. The partnership agreement must be defined accurately and ownership determined. Assets must be legally transferred into the FLP. Once this is done, your assets are protected. The FLP must be filed with the proper state official, usually the person who handles corporations. Check with your state division of corporations to determine the requirements and fees required for proper filing.

How it works
If a sentence is obtained, a creditor must then acquire a charging order against the partnership from a court of competent jurisdiction. The charging order entitles the creditor to the debtor's portion of dividends from the FLP. However, if no distributions are made, the creditor does not get any money. The general partners who are the managing partners of the FLP remain in control of any dividends. If the partnership has profits that are not paid to the partners, the creditor receives a K-1 tax form as does every partner. The amount listed on this tax form must be included on the creditor's income tax return and pay any tax to the IRS on money that was never received. As a consequence, few creditors ever apply for a charging order. The partnership agreement is confidential and is not filed with any government agency. The limited partners are not listed in any government filings so complete anonymity is provided.

Implementation and Design
A Family Limited Partnership ("FLP") is a partnership formed by family members to assist in the preservation, management, and maximization of the family's assets. The partnership is typically managed by a family corporation to ensure the viability of the partnership for consequent generations. FLPs can provide solutions to many of the fundamental challenges families are confronted with, such as:
• Proper administration of family assets during the lifetime of the senior family members
• Capitalize on the full value as the assets are passed on to heirs
• The reduction of current income taxes
• Reduction of the taxable value of the family's estate
• Assisting in gifting of assets to family members
• Safeguarding family assets from the unwarranted assertions of creditors

Organization of an FLP
In an FLP, the assets of a family are contributed to the partnership in return for limited partnership units. The division of the units is generally among the members members who are the limited partners and one or more corporations, LLCs, or trusts that own the greatest number of units as general partners. The general partners are the management portion and the limited partners do not have any say in the operation of the business. The partnership will pay to the general partners fees for services rendered. Those fees are deductible by the partnership and in turn are income to the general partner. Any typical business expenses of the partnership are permitted under IRS regulations as with any business.

Income Tax Advantages of a FLP
Once properly prepared and with the consent of the general partner or as determined by the Partnership Agreement, any of the units held by any limited partner may be gifted to family members, be purchased by a trust in exchange for a note, or donated to a charity in any fashion desired. If donated to a charity, the grantor will receive an income tax deduction for the fair Market value of the gift. Keep in mind that not all choices are necessary or advantageous to the limited partners, therefore proper advice from experts in the field may be needed.

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Source by David G Komatz

Stop and Avoid Wage Garnishment and IRS Wage Levy



Getting to Grips with Wage Garnishment

Have you ever heard of a wage garnishment? If you have not, and you are responsible for paying the IRS what you owe them, then you should read on! If you're in a position where you owe the IRS money already, then you should not just read on, but take note because wage levy is something that could very easily be in your future!

Every taxpayer knows that Uncle Sam needs his pound of flesh (or at least roll of dollars), regardless of how many mouths you have to feed, and how high your mortgage payments are now that the financial world is in crisis, or how your income has changed. Uncle Sam does not care if you've lost your job, or had to take unpaved leave because of health reasons. If you owe Uncle Sam money, he wants it; and in the form of wage garnishments, he's going to make sure that he gets it.

There are strict procedural guidelines that the IRS must adhere to before they can attach a wage levy to your salary, and the first of these is to warn you that it's about to happen. If you have not defaulted on your tax payments, then you need to immediately contact them because they need you in default in order to proceed! If you're not in default, then they can not put a wage garnishment onto your salary. You should get about 30 days warning of the wage garnishment going into effect so check the date that it is due to begin and use your time wisely.

If you're already finding it difficult financially, imagine how much worse it's going to be if the IRS takes money from your monthly income before you get a chance to see it? It's difficult enough to decide which bills get paid when your income no longer covers your monthly outgoings. If the IRS has a wage garnishment on your salary, then they take what they want and you have to make do with what's left. As soon as you get that warning letter, notice of levy, you need to act fast.

Find the services of a reliable tax relief specialist. You need someone who is experienced in wage levy issues so that they know their way around the system. You do not have time for them to learn the process on your case, you need someone who already knows the process and can stop the wage garnishment being put into place. These specialists will be able to guide you through the process, and mediate with the IRS on your behalf so that an amiable agreement is reached regarding your tax debt to the IRS.

As the recession tightens its grip, an increasing number of people are finding themselves in a wage garnishment situation. A recent news story from Lima, OH suggested that there was a 24% increase in these cases compared with the same 5-month period in 2008. Uncle Sam wants his money, if you did not have it to pay when it was due, chances are you do not need him taking it from your wages so if you owe the IRS money, or you get a letter telling you that you are about to have a wage garnishment or wage levy attached to your salary – do not wait until it's too late to stop it.

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Source by Mike Habib

Good and Bad Ways to Buy Gold



Gold is going higher! The Dollar will soon be worthless! Every other television commercial seems to scream that gold – and gold alone – will secure your financial future. Maybe the warnings are sound. At the very least, gold represents a diversification from the stock, bond and real estate holdings found in a typical portfolio.

But what's a would-be gold owner to do? Buy a gold coin on eBay? Open a commodity account to trade gold futures? Or call one of the TV pitchmen? Is counterfeiting a possibility?

What could possibly go wrong?

Unfortunately, the benefits of buying gold sometimes drown out the potential pitfalls for an inexperienced buyer. Gold can be purchased in a number of forms – some of which are more or less affordable and appropriate for a given investor. Brokers and salespeople tend to push whatever they have and gloss over alternative forms of ownership. Before you jump into gold or any other precious metal, be sure you understand your alternatives.

Gold Ingots or Coins

Good: Coins are widely recognized as being valuable because people are used to non-gold coins. Ingots – little bars of gold – are also somewhat familiar and therefore, freely exchangeable. Pure gold does not corrode and is easily stored / understood. And possession is key compared to gold ownership represented by a piece of paper.

Bad: When buying physical gold, you're charged more than the exact, current market price. How much more depends on how much you buy and who you buy it from – so shop. And when some TV commercials and their salespeople tell you there is "no counterparty risk", ask them about counterfeiting and clipping – leaving away tiny quantities of metal. As gold becomes more valuable, the incentive to defraud grows.

Collectible Coins

Good: Advocates claim that collectible or numismatic gold coins are less likely to be confiscated by the government in times of economic emergency. After all, they were expelled from President Roosevelt's 1933 gold nationalization.

Bad: Collectible value can be difficult to determine. Condition and rarity are key to collectibles, unlike non-collectible coins and ingots. If a coin is "unique" its value lies completely in the eye of the beholder. You may be sold on the idea that a coin is rare, shell out big bucks, and then learn that it is either rare nor in demand. Oh, and collectibles can be counterfeited and clipped, too.

Gold Stocks

Good: If a company mines or refines gold, it must own gold. As the price of gold rises, the stock in a gold company should rise along with it. Gold stocks are easy to buy and usually run by managers who are experienced in their business. Let them worry about costs and storage.

Bad: Owning a stock certificate does not mean that you own any gold. Company managers may or may not be capable of getting gold out of the ground profitably. And while you can presume professional honesty and competency, consider the alternative likelihood: Enron. Madoff. WorldCom.

Futures

Good: Commodity futures permit the use of leverage: you only have to put up about 10 percent of gold's value to "own" it. So, you can own more gold, faster – and profit more if the price goes higher. Storage, transport and counterparty risk are all someone else's problem. Futures prices track the cash market almost perfectly.

Bad: The futures markets are designed as price risk management tools for owners of commodities, not vehicles for taking delivery of physical gold. Therefore they institute another form of "paper" and very temporary ownership. And the same leverage that permits quick profits exposes you to losses that are just as quick. You possess no metal – and are subject to margin calls.

And there are other forms of paper gold. A gold Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) can be purchased like a stock, without the hazardous leverage of futures – but also without possession of the metal. Or you can purchase physical gold, receive a certificate of ownership and pay to have it stored in a secure location. Similarly, you can purchase bullion in an IRA account to shelter any profit from taxes. Again, you pay for storage and do not possess the gold.

Bottom line: Leave leakage and collectibles to the pros. Possession, price and any ongoing storage costs are key. There are always costs over and above the cost of the metal itself and no form of ownership is best for everyone. Buy gold – but only from a trusted seller.

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Source by Nick Flamel