October 1, 2022

Recent Trends in Long Term Care Insurance

Long term care (LTC) is associated with the elderly for good reason. Over the past 50 years, life expectancy has increased significantly and is therefore something all families should be prepared to address. Even though we may live to a ripe old age, that doesn’t mean we will be healthy or able to live independently. Most people develop one or more chronic conditions that require living assistance – and many live with that ailment for years. Conditions such as arthritis, joint and muscle deterioration, or back pain often lead to chronic disability, making it difficult to impossible to take care of your own physical and lifestyle needs. Among even healthy seniors, about half of people age 80 and older experience […]
October 1, 2022

How to Host Awesome Holiday Office Parties

Fall is here and so are many of the holidays we love. Whether it’s Halloween, Thanksgiving or December holidays, here are some fail-safe things you can do to make sure everyone shows up and has a good time. Throw a Potluck One of the easiest ways to lure people away from their desks is – you guessed it – food. Create a sign-up sheet with different categories to make sure you have enough savory and sweet dishes, and provide options for those with dietary restrictions. If you’re the organizer, you might supply the drinks and utensils, maybe even some appetizers or snacks. Depending on the holiday, you might also suggest a theme. If it’s Halloween, you could ask folks to […]
October 1, 2022

Increase In Deepfake Attacks and How Enterprises Can Prepare

Deepfake technology utilizes machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) to manipulate or create synthetic audio, video and images that appear authentic. Deepfakes are commonly featured in entertainment and politics to spread false information and propaganda. For instance, deepfake has been used to show a celebrity or leader saying something that they didn’t, and this creates fake news. Unfortunately, in deepfakes, cybercriminals have found a new tool for cyberattacks. Cybercriminals are now using deepfakes to pose a variety of enterprise risks. How Cybercriminals Are Using Deepfakes Deepfake technology is now used to create scams, hoaxes and false claims that undermine and destabilize organizations. For instance, a manipulated video might show a senior executive associated with fake news, such as admitting to […]
October 1, 2022

Shoring up Protections for Sexually Abused Children, the Mentally Ill in Crises, and a Benefit Increase for Disabled Veterans

Eliminating Limits to Justice for Child Sex Abuse Victims Act of 2022 (S 3103) – Introduced by Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL) on Oct. 28, 2021, this Act eliminates the statute of limitations for civil lawsuits by anyone who, as a minor, was a victim of human trafficking or a federal sex crime. The bill passed in the Senate on March 2, in the House on Sept. 13, and was signed into law on Sept. 16 by President Biden. Law Enforcement De-Escalation Training Act of 2022 (S 4003) – This bill would authorize training for de-escalation and alternatives to the use of force when law enforcement officers are called to a scene involving mental and behavioral health and suicidal crises. The […]
September 1, 2022

Electric Vehicle Tax Credits and the Future of the Automotive Industry

One highlight of the recently passed Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (IRA; HR 5376) includes modifications to what is more commonly referred to as EV credits. Specifically, Section 30D of the Act is where the most important modifications are, and where the present tax credit for electric vehicles is spelled out in the U.S. Code. There is also new stimulus for previously owned electric vehicles, industrial vehicles and “alternative fuel refueling property.” According to the Joint Committee on Taxation’s estimates, in lieu of what was previously known as the credit for plug-in electric vehicles, there is now a new clean vehicle credit. It is expected to be worth $7.5 billion over the next decade. Other noteworthy tax credits include $1.7 […]
September 1, 2022

How Cost Accounting Helps Businesses Measure Performance

Cost accounting is a type of accounting that analyzes a business’ complete production costs by looking at both variable and fixed costs. This includes the concepts of marginal costing, lean accounting, standard costing and activity-based costing. It’s used by a business’ management to evaluate fixed and variable costs involved in the manufacturing operations. The initial step is to assess and document such costs one-by-one. Once production is finished, it will contrast projected costs to what actual costs ended up being and see how processes can be improved. Management gleans information on how funds are used, revenue is earned, and where funds might be misdirected. It can help businesses create greater productivity and financial efficiencies after analyzing such information. Looking at […]
September 1, 2022

Should You Upgrade Your Homeowners Insurance?

During the first year of the pandemic, many homeowners spent their down time upgrading their homes. The year 2020 alone experienced at 3 percent uptick in spending on home improvements – to the tune of nearly $420 billion nationwide. This included modifications for remote work, online schooling and leisure activities at home. Between remodeling, high inflation and today’s elevated real estate prices, it’s important to review your homeowner’s insurance policy to ensure it’s up-to-date. Does it include enough coverage for recent upgrades to your home? Does it carry an inflation factor to ensure coverage is on par with more expensive building material costs and labor increases? Do you have coverage for ancillary factors, such as the cost of meeting local […]
September 1, 2022

Top Side Hustles

In our current economy, or anytime actually, it can’t hurt to have a side hustle to bring in extra cash. Some of these options can be quite lucrative, but like everything, it takes a little work to create a steady income stream. However, with a little pre-planning, you can do it. Let’s take a look. Become a Tutor Are you a math whiz? A wordsmith? History nut? Whatever your specialty, you can earn between $10 and $75 an hour. You might vary your price based on whether you’re tutoring high school, college or adult education classes. You can conduct your sessions online or in-person –totally up to you and your comfort level. All you have to do is create a […]
September 1, 2022

Risk of Browser Extensions and How to Stay Safe

Web browsers such as Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Edge, among others, play an essential role in enabling access to websites on the internet. Most browsers allow users to install extensions, also referred to as add-ons or plug-ins. These extensions are applications or small software modules that add functionality and other useful features to a browser. By means of the extensions, users can carry out various tasks such as password management, cookie management, ad blocking, interface modification, productivity tracking, grammar and spell-checking, etc. However, although the extensions offer different useful functionalities, cybercriminals have taken advantage of them, creating a security risk to users and their data. The Need to Beware of Browser Extensions Browsers enable websites to collect information such […]
September 1, 2022

Productive Month Passing Domestic Manufacturing and Prescription Drug Allowances, Climate and Gun Violence Mitigation, and Veteran Burn Pit Healthcare Legislation

Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (HR 5376) – This legislation was originally introduced as the Build Back Better Act, President Biden’s signature bill of 2021. After suffering defeat in the Senate, the bill was later revised with fewer provisions to enhance its likelihood of passage, and renamed the Inflation Reduction Act. The bill authorizes funding for investments in domestic energy production and manufacturing with the goal of reducing U.S. carbon emissions by 40 percent by 2030. The bill provides tax credits for clean energy home enhancements and electric vehicle purchases, permits Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices,and extendslower healthcare premiums for insurance purchased via the Affordable Care Act program through 2025. Also billed as a deficit reduction tool, the legislation […]
August 1, 2022

Expanding the Net Investment Income Tax

Despite borrowing massive amounts of money, the government still needs to find ways to raise revenue to pay for new programs and spending. The current democratically controlled Congress is looking to potentially implement new social programs and a climate bill. As a way of funding these initiatives, they are considering an expansion of the Net Investment Income Tax (NIIT). The NIIT is proposed to raise revenue since it is seen as politically more palatable, given that it typically only impacts a small group of wealthier taxpayers. Critics, however, say the plan in its current form would also hurt small family businesses. Who Pays NIIT Now? Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the NIIT applied a 3.8 percent tax on investment […]
August 1, 2022

How Businesses Can Mitigate Inflation & Maintain Pricing Power

Whether it’s tariffs, trade wars or post-pandemic inflation caused by kink-ridden supply chains and what many experts believe to be excess money printing, inflation is an insidious drag on businesses’ operations. When it comes to energy’s contribution to inflation, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports that crude and natural gas prices in 2022 have increased on an annualized and weekly basis. Looking at the snapshot of 7/21/2022, WTI crude on the futures market was $96.35 a barrel. This was up more than $26 compared to 12 months ago, and $0.57 higher than a week earlier. For the same time frame, natural gas futures were $7.932/MMBtu, an increase of $3.973 from 12 months ago and an increase of $1.332 from […]
August 1, 2022

How Businesses Can Mitigate Inflation & Maintain Pricing Power

Whether it’s tariffs, trade wars or post-pandemic inflation caused by kink-ridden supply chains and what many experts believe to be excess money printing, inflation is an insidious drag on businesses’ operations. When it comes to energy’s contribution to inflation, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports that crude and natural gas prices in 2022 have increased on an annualized and weekly basis. Looking at the snapshot of 7/21/2022, WTI crude on the futures market was $96.35 a barrel. This was up more than $26 compared to 12 months ago, and $0.57 higher than a week earlier. For the same time frame, natural gas futures were $7.932/MMBtu, an increase of $3.973 from 12 months ago and an increase of $1.332 from […]
August 1, 2022

Stock Splits, Explained

Imagine selling slices of a large pizza. You can cut it into four even slices and charge $2 a slice. Or, you can cut it into eight even slices and charge $1 per slice. Either way, the total value of the pizza will still be $8. That’s what happens when a stock splits. Let’s say a stock’s market price is $100. With a 2-for-1 split, each current owner receives one additional share for each share he owns. Now, each share is worth $50. If you had one share to start, you now have two, but the total value of the investment remains $100. A stock split differs from when a company decides to issue new shares, wherein new shares flooding […]
August 1, 2022

8 Ways to Save on School Supplies

Even though summer is still somewhat in full swing, school will be starting soon. Yes, you heard that right. This means that you probably need to get prepared for the inevitable cash outlay ahead. But it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Here are some ways to navigate the upcoming expenditures and save a penny or two. Start Early We’re talking a few weeks ahead, if possible. If you wait until the last minute, supplies might run out. You may have to spend time online searching and/or driving from store to store – and paying the premium both in terms of products and gas. If you spread out purchases a little at a time, you won’t feel […]
August 1, 2022

What Are NFTs and How Can Businesses Benefit?

Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are rising in demand, and some brands are already generating great results in their campaigns and providing a unique experience to customers. As the hype around NFTs continues, businesses need to understand how they can benefit. What is an NFT? An NFT is a valuable digital asset created using blockchain. Unlike cryptocurrencies, NFTs are not mutually interchangeable as each NFT represents a different asset with a different value. Hence, an NFT verifies the authenticity of a non-fungible asset. This means that the purchaser of the asset/product can only use a product. Unlike other digital products, an NFT can’t be duplicated and sold. This is because the non-fungible asset is made into a token with a digital certificate […]
August 1, 2022

Strengthening the Supply Chain, the Professional Workforce, Cybersecurity and Coastal Ecosystems

Supply Chain Security Training Act of 2021 (S 2201) – This legislation is designed to identify supply chain risks and develop a government program to train federal officials with supply chain risk management responsibilities to prepare and mitigate those risks. The training program would cover the complete acquisition life cycle, including funding for data access and processing as well as appropriate technology and communication vehicles. The bill was introduced by Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI) on June 23, 2021. It passed in the Senate on Jan. 11 and in the House on May 10. It was signed into law by the president on June 16. Bridging the Gap for New Americans Act (S 3157) – Introduced by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MI) […]
July 1, 2022

The IRS is Auditing Fewer Returns than Ever

One of the perennial fears of taxpayers is getting audited by the IRS. Financially, few scenarios strike such fear into the heart of taxpayers. However, taxpayers can probably breathe a sigh of relief – at least for now. This is because the rate at which the IRS is initiating audits of individual taxpayers is dropping like a stone. Decline in Audit Rates The rate at which the IRS is auditing individual taxpayers has declined overall between the years of 2010 and 2019 (2020 data is too new and 2021 returns are still being filed through the extension period). According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), nearly 1 percent of all taxpayers were audited in 2010 compared to only 0.25 percent […]
July 1, 2022

Measuring the Margins

Corporate profits, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, grew by $20.4 billion in the final quarter of 2021, a 0.7 percent increase. For the first quarter of 2022, corporate profits fell by 2.3 percent or $66.4 billion. On an annualized basis, corporate profits fell 5.2 percent in 2022, but grew 25 percent in 2021. With the economy facing inflation, the uncertainty of the Russia/Ukraine conflict, and the world working its way out of the COVID-19 pandemic, economic uncertainty abounds. For companies, measuring margins is one way to evaluate performance and strategize ways to survive and thrive in a dynamic economy. Here are a few common margins that businesses can determine to measure their financial performance. Operating Margin Defined Also […]
July 1, 2022

Building Wealth Through Home Equity

Often the first house a person buys is an affordable condominium, townhouse or older single-family dwelling, also referred to as a “starter home.” It might be small and lack features they dream about, from new appliances in the kitchen, to dual sinks in the bath, to a large yard or a garage. However, the key to a starter home is not to acquire your dream house, it is to build equity that you can eventually deploy to buy your dream home. It’s important not to wait until you have enough money for the ideal property. Start as early as you can and buy something affordable to get your foot in the door of homeownership. Interest Rates and Maintenance Expenses Buying […]
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