Vacation Homes at Work!

NewsUSA  |  2015-11-24

(NewsUSA) - If your vacation home has started to become more of a financial headache than a refuge, it might be time to consider renting out your property.

According to industry experts, an average vacation home can garner an owner an extra $30,000 of income per year.

"Renting out your vacation home can open up a significant stream of revenue," says Mary Lynn Clark, president of Wyndham Vacation Rentals North America. "Understanding the business side, and all it entails, however, is a critical part of increasing your home's value without adding hassle."

Before listing your home for rent, it's important to decide whether you will handle the details yourself (think booking, reservations, marketing, maintenance and management) or hire avacation rental firm.

While doing it all yourself may sound like a good idea (and the Internet has certainly made that a viable option with hundreds of rental listing sites), a recent study shows that owners spend an average of more than eight hours per week marketing and managing their vacation properties. This translates to a heavy time commitment that few people have.

Clark likens it to performing maintenance on your car.

"The average car owner doesn't change their own oil or replace their own brake pads," he said. "They leave it up to the professionals to do that. Why should it be any different for managing your vacation property?"

To take advantage of the added income, without having to invest a significant amount of time, professionally managed vacation rental companies provide the perfect balance. Typically, these firms assume responsibility for marketing and managing your property and taking care of any requests by the renters.

Professional management companies, such as Wyndham Vacation Rentals, can help keep your property occupied by using its vast network of resources and commitment to take care of guests' experiences.

Unlike other vacation rental companies, Wyndham offers a host of unique benefit programs along with dynamic pricing to get owners the most value possible. Most importantly, it offers a Vacation Rental Bill of Rights that assures guests that Wyndham will take care of their needs every step of the way.

To learn more, visit www.wyndhamvacationrentals.com.

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What Happened to the American Dream?

NewsUSA  |  2015-11-19

(NewsUSA) - That the middle class is being squeezed is a popular sentiment nationwide. Deciphering whether or not this sentiment holds true, however, may be a secondary concern. According to analysts, the prevalence of this perspective alone has severely limited market growth in the United States over the past decade.

In the investment community, many potential investors, especially those with smaller amounts of investment capital or limited experience, are shying away from investing due to perceived risks perpetuated by public sentiment. The number of Americans investing in securities of any type is now at only 54 percent, down 13 percent from its peak in 2002.

But just because Americans are not investing does not mean the money does not exist. The Wall Street Journal reported that the Federal Reserve estimate of privately-held wealth in the country is approximately 80.7 trillion dollars, potentially establishing United States citizens as the world's largest investment bank, by far.

This means that hundreds of billions of potential investment dollars remain sidelined. This is money that could potentially fuel the next wave of growth in the United States. The economic stimulus could be significant enough to reduce the national debt, eliminate annual Federal deficits, replace failing infrastructure nationwide and secure Social Security for future generations, even at lower tax rates.

"This equates to an unimaginable amount of money," says REGULUS CEO David Emery. "If even a small portion not now being productively invested could be deployed in support of Main Street businesses, the economic impact would be tremendous."

Part of the obstacle for many firms is a blend of complicated regulations and vague promises of a fair return. For many middle-sized entities, especially, accessible capital is limited. While small businesses and large corporations have a multitude of resources to choose from, medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) ranging from 20 to 500 employees have a more difficult time attracting the necessary capital to take their businesses to the next level.

REGULUS Corporation has pledged to create opportunities for these underserved components of the U.S. economy. Specifically, the organization is helping SMEs make sense of rules, regulations and procedures, such as the ever-important JOBS Act, officially known as Public Law 112-106.

For entities interested in business advice and strategy, REGULUS desires to promote the best traditions of free-enterprise capitalism by allowing private citizens to increase their own wealth which, in turn, helps other fellow citizens to build something of value.

To learn more, visit REGULUS at www.reguluscorp.com.

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Attract Top Talent With a Double-Bottom-Line

NewsUSA  |  2015-11-19

(NewsUSA) - Startup companies come in all shapes and sizes -- some thrive, some fail, but many would argue that the most successful startups lie not with its product, but the talent it can attract.

The challenge in finding the right talent is attracting the necessary experience, skill set and cultural fit that embraces the entrepreneurial mentality.

Young professionals are often up to the task, but may lack key experience, while mid-career professionals have the necessary skill sets, but are more risk-averse. Furthermore, startups typically can't afford the salary experienced professionals expect.

So what's a startup to do? For Movo, a hot Silicon Valley startup, you first and foremost provide great talent the opportunity to change the world, which is how the company was able to attract its newest talent acquisition; Daniel Kjellen, President and CMO, has the necessary and successful background in fin-tech and payments.

"Movo is on a mission to transform mobile devices around the world into a ubiquitous banking system with the starting goal of turning 68-million un-banked adult Americans into banked consumers. "It starts by squeezing out costs through innovation." says Eric Solis, CEO. For Movo, that means offering a free alternative banking platform with a first-of-its-kind P2P payments app for this neglected market. Movo accounts are opened and loaded without a bank account right from a mobile device. Stored value is then redeemable in the form of a real-time digital VISA card, which can be spent at retail using standard POS equipment or integrated with Apple Pay. Movo can also be used to instantly pay bills right from a mobile device.

Imagine what the world would look like if the smartest executives in America spent their time and energy at companies delivering products and services that they truly believed in. "A key measure of success is the positive impact and change we create in the people around us," says Kjellen. "It is our view that to deliver innovative products and value, we must keep our passion to change the world alive."

With more than 16 years of proven success at companies like Check, PayPal, and Green Dot, Kjellen joined Movo for these reasons. "Eric is committed to creating a team with a double-bottom-line philosophy, and I am convinced that we are on the cusp of something great." For more information, please visit www.movocash.com.

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Musicians Fight for Performance Royalties

NewsUSA  |  2015-11-19

(NewsUSA) - Americans can listen to the radio via AM/FM, Internet, satellite, or cable TV. The music is the same, but payments to the artists are not. Internet radio pays musicians a small amount, but AM/FM radio pays them nothing.

Most experts agree that this policy doesn't fit the digital era, and many musicians say that it hurts performers and will continue to adversely affect the music industry.

"When many of us think of the song, 'Respect,' we think of Aretha Franklin," notes David Byrne of the Talking Heads. "Many people are shocked to learn that Aretha never made a penny from all the radio broadcasts of her performance. Many musicians receive little compensation or struggle to pay bills despite having widely-aired recordings."

Musician Sheryl Crow adds, "Dionne Warwick does not get paid for her beautiful recordings when they are played on the radio. She had to file for bankruptcy."

Artists' advocates, such as MusicFIRST, point out that AM/FM radio earns billions of dollars a year selling ads to listeners while musicians struggle to make ends meet.

A growing number of top stars including Rosanne Cash, Elvis Costello, Cyndi Lauper, Imogen Heap, Common, Elton John, and R.E.M., are taking the fight to Washington. Several of these artists helped launch the Fair Play, Fair Pay Act, bipartisan legislation that would pay musicians the same royalties no matter what kind of radio uses their work.

The National Association of Broadcasters claims that the Fair Play, Fair Pay Act is unnecessary, because artists are paid by the radio in "promotional value" or "exposure." But many artists disagree. Grammy-winning artist Rosanne Cash says, "Exposure is something you die of," and musicians deserve fair pay for their work.

Top U.S. Copyright official Maria Pallante also questions the decades-old justification for not compensating artists. "As consumer preferences shift away from music ownership, the potential for sales is becoming less relevant, and the promotional value of radio less apparent," she says.

Many artists believe the Fair Play, Fair Pay Act can and should become law.

"I support the Fair Play, Fair Pay Act because I love music and I think all musicians should be paid," says singer Cyndi Lauper.

"Every democratic country in the world pays musicians for radio play," says Cake's John McCrea. "We think the United States is a good enough country to do that as well."

To learn more, please visit www.musicfirstcoalition.org.

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(NewsUSA) - Congress and the Obama Administration, working in concert, may have produced monumental changes to SEC law and regulation that could stimulate the growth of small and medium-sized enterprises throughout the United States.

The changes are potentially significant, affecting millions nationwide. According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), small businesses in America account for 49 percent of all private sector employment. There are about 28 million small businesses and SMEs, making up about 46 percent of the nation's gross domestic product (GDP), with a total value reaching $7.7 trillion dollars.

Despite the fact that these smaller entities account for more than 99 percent of all U.S. businesses, the Federal regulatory climate has been tilted towards the challenge of controlling large-scale companies. The resulting body of complex law and regulation has created a challenging maze for SMEs to navigate. As a result, small businesses have had fewer options for raising capital, depressing job creation and employment opportunity.

"So much of our national focus has been on the excesses of big banks that we have forgotten that the real economic engine of the U.S. is small business," notes REGULUS CEO David Emery. "We need to give small businesses a means to reach their potential."

That is where the changes in SEC law and regulation come into play. In April 2012, President Obama signed a bipartisan bill nicknamed "The JOBS Act." The bill is intended to level the playing field by streamlining regulatory requirements, allowing small businesses and SMEs access to billions of dollars held by private investors.

Now, in theory, smaller business will be able to utilize the same mechanisms previously held by larger corporations to raise capital for growth and expansion.

The law is new and much has yet to be determined regarding its effectiveness and application. In addition, many tough and complicated safeguards remain to prevent fraud and abuse. SMEs hoping to use JOBS Act provisions may want to consider counsel from a qualified and experienced service provider.

One such provider is REGULUS. The entity was established to give advisory services to the SME community, with a specific focus on middle-sized businesses.

REGULUS is comprised of a team of hands-on experts who offer personalized resources, including due diligence review, drafting business plans and regulatory filings, and providing strategic business and management consulting.

As exciting changes take hold, these services may prove invaluable to affected businesses.

To learn more, visit REGULUS at www.reguluscorp.com.

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Back to the Basics for Investors and Public Companies

NewsUSA  |  2015-11-19

(NewsUSA) - In today's tumultuous and ever-changing marketplace, company owners and investors alike must return to financial fundamentals, says new insight from business analysts.

For company owners entering the market, statistics suggest that businesses must place equity as their primary strategy for sourcing capital. Equity capital will allow a company to better implement its business plan and develop its overall capital structure.

Implementing an equity-focused strategy is particularly important due to the two often-misunderstood but equally important product lines that a public company must support.

The first, a company's products and services, makes up the entity's core business. The second, the company's securities, demonstrates to financial markets why a given business is worth an investment. A lack of understanding of these equally-important product lines has resulted in a plethora of poorly-performing public companies.

"Public company management must engineer the business structure and operations to be successful with both product lines," says RYS & Co. Managing Partner Roy Salisbury. "No business can succeed in the long run without maintaining sound business fundamentals."

Unfortunately, the misunderstanding often affects investors. In today's micro and small-cap marketplace, a misguided belief exists that it is essential to drive share volume, or liquidity, to access capital from the market. However, when this occurs, the securities line is forgotten, and true stability is limited.

Today, hundreds of such public companies exist as so-called "shell companies." For investors, sifting through these broken public companies can be both confusing and deceiving.

The solution, experts suggest, is research. Business strategists recommend looking for a handful of simple but important "red flags" before investing in a company.

An easy place to start is by examining the history of stock shares. Potential warnings include a large number of unnecessary authorized shares, a sharp increase in number of outstanding shares, or issuance of preferred shares convertible into a large number of common shares to insiders.

In addition, investors should check if up-to-date reporting data exists and if any toxic financial commitments can be uncovered, including a lack of gross revenue. Management turnover and any involvement by an Investor Relations Campaign Company (IR) are equally important signs of instability.

In a market where business scams are plentiful, due diligence and common sense are essential. Many strong businesses exist, but finding them or becoming one requires a well-rounded business plan led by a committed, experienced management team.

To learn more, visit RYS & Co. at www.rysgp.com.

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Filing Extensions Without Penalties and Interest

NewsUSA  |  2015-11-19

(NewsUSA) - If Uncle Sam's generosity to offer extensions on filing your tax returns sounds too good to be true, it probably is. So, what's the catch?

When an extension is filed, it is just an extension on the time to file; it is not an extension on the time to pay. If a taxpayer owes $1,000 on a personal return and files an extension, he or she has until October 15 to file the return. But, if the $1,000 is still owed on April 15, interest and penalties start to accrue.

To avoid paying a penalty, make as accurate an estimate of your tax liability as possible, based on the information you have. If it appears you will have a balance due, make a payment before April 15. If your information changes between the extension and the actual filing of your return, at least you will have minimized your penalty.

"If filing your return by April 15 of this year just isn't going to happen, there are actually several ways you can request an automatic extension of time to file an individual return," says Betsey Buckingham, EA, an enrolled agent with David C. Murray and Company, Inc. of Troy, Ohio, and president of the National Association of Enrolled Agents.

"You can e-file the 'Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Tax Return,' which can be found on the IRS website (Form 4868), or you can print that application out and mail it to the IRS," she says. "All or part of your estimate of the income tax due can be paid with a credit or debit card, or by using the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System."

You can find a list of service providers on Form 4868 through which you can pay your tax debt by phone or Internet. Just make sure to hang onto the confirmation number, in case the IRS comes calling later.

If the IRS does come calling this year, get in touch with a licensed tax professional. Only enrolled agents (EAs), CPAs and attorneys have unlimited rights to represent you before the IRS. The term "enrolled agent" reflects that an EA can act as your agent before administrative levels of the IRS -- meaning he or she can talk to or meet with IRS in your stead.

To find an enrolled agent in your area, visit the searchable "Find an EA" directory at www.naea.org.

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