It will likely come as no surprise to you that when workers were asked what is their biggest time waster at work – many said — meetings!You can’t avoid having meetings in your business – as they’re necessary for communication and team building – but you can avoid meetings that are viewed as a waste of time.Here’s howâ€¦One – Avoid a meeting if the information can be exchanged some other way such as through an email, memo or brief report.Two – Before planning the meeting – set an objective for the meeting – so you and you’re your participants know what you want to accomplish.Three – Provide an agenda to participants beforehand that includes the topics to be discussed, by whom and for how long. Be sure to stick to the agenda.Four – Set a time limit for the meeting and stick to it! If the meeting is scheduled from 8 -10 – then it needs to end at 10. Your participants will appreciate that you’re respecting their time.Five – Don’t finish any discussion without deciding how you will act on it, who will do it and when.And finallyâ€¦ provide snacksâ€¦ snacks are always good!
Make a list – Do you know who you owe? Make a list of your unsecured debt, including the name of the card, the total amount due, the interest rate, and the minimum balance. An accountant told me that paying the minimum payment is not a crime. That’s the contract. But it makes money for the credit card company because you are paying a lot to borrow that money. Develop your strategy – Pick which card’s faster repayment will benefit you most quickly. Pick either the card with the lowest balance for a quick bit of satisfaction or the card with the highest interest rate. Figure out how much more per month you can pay because of cutting back on spending elsewhere in your budget. Attack – Now pay more than the minimum on the card that you have focused on. Pay the minimum on the other debt. Focus your strategy! That will make the impact more obvious and satisfying. Keep on keeping on – As that card is paid off (SWEET!), focus your efforts on the next card and use all the money from the first card’s minimum and additional payment to target and attack the second card. When you have paid THAT one off, move all the money from the first AND second cards’ minimums and additional payments into the third card’s payment. And then the next one and the next. Have a party! Good job! Life is a journey. You may not be partying right now, but have a good goal and someday soon, you will get to the finish line! Marion R. Syversen, MBA – PresidentNorumbegaFinancial207.862.2952Marion@NorumbegaFinancial.com
If the beneficiary does NOT go to school: you can change the beneficiary’ to another college-bound child, or remove the money and pay a penalty, taxes, and forfeit the grants. First Step Grant – For Maine accounts for babies less than 1 year-old, a $50 gift, regardless of family income Harold Alfond College Challenge- For Maine babies with accounts opened prior to their 1st birthdays, $500 gift regardless of family income NextGen Initial Matching Grant- For Maine babies OR for Maine account owners with the owner’s federally adjusted gross income less than $75,000, eligible for $200 grant upon opening the account regardless of child’s age Annual Matching Grant- Account owner for baby/child must be a Maine resident and must make less than $75,000 on federally adjusted income: a 50% match is available for contributions of at least $50 with a maximum match of $200 See more information at FAMEMaine.com Marion R. Syversen, MBA – PresidentNorumbegaFinancial207.862.2952Marion@NorumbegaFinancial.com
A recent article in the Wall Street Journal had some ideas for teaching kids about money and I’m always interested in what’s available. 1.) The Millionaire Kids Club – This series of three books is about four friends with different money ‘personalities.” Sandy saves, Dennis donates, Stephanie spends and Isaiah invests. The series is for kids 3-12 years old. Garage Sale Riches, Putting the ‘Do’ in Donate and Home Sweet Home are available for $12.95 from Amazon, msgen.com and other sites. Home Sweet Home is about a family that losses their home in foreclosure, so I would probably not start off with that volume unless you are looking to help kids understand current events. 2.) Big Pay Day – This board game by Winning Moves, simulates ‘real world’ finances with bills in the mail, investments and getting paid. I am not a game person but this sounds like an easy way to give some financial instruction without pain! At just $14.98 it’s a good deal cheaper than Rich Dad, Poor Dad’s expensive game that I reviewed last year. You can see the game in action on YouTube,
There is a show produced out of Canada that I really like. Gail Vaz-Oxlade has a balanced, common-sense approach to budgeting and life, and on her show, “Til Debt Do Us Part,” she helps couples get their debt and savings under control. The website has shows that you can watch online as well as some of her articles and materials that will be on the WABI.TV site. Here is Gail’s suggested budget: 25% – Life – entertainment, food, medical expenses, bank fees, kids’ allowances15% – Max debt repayment – except for brief (less than 2 years) of paying off debt15%- Transportation – car payments, repairs, tolls, gas10% – Savings – retirement and emergencies35% – Housing – and this includes mortgage and taxes, electricity and other utilities such as water, insurance, and house maintenance. If you watch her videos you’ll see that when she meets folks for the first time she reconnoiters the budget around to make debt repayment a very high priority even though she still makes savings part of every couples’ budget. Work this around so you can see generally where things might fit and strive for the goal. The journey might not be completed for years. Just keep on keeping on! Helpful web site:Gail Vaz-Oxlade’s “Til Debt Do Us Part:”
Depending on the source of business leads, social networking may be a helpful part of your business.What is Social Media or Social Networking? It is interaction with people that, instead of being face to face or speaking by phone, generally means the networking done online, through the computer.It is done through web sites – called social networking sites – that allow you to type and send photos to people. This could be helpful for you and your business because this style of networking is similar to, but not exactly like, when you visit with people at a business event.Some of the sites are:LinkedIn – This is a business and professional networking site where you can make ‘connections.’ These connections are friends or coworkers who also have connections. You can see their connections and can ask to be introduced to others. There are professional groups and associations that you can also join on LinkedIn.Facebook – This is popular, though less professional site. The largest growing population of new users are those aged 35- 60. Relatives and friends ‘friend’ you– that is, they add you to their lists of friends. For communication, you need to confirm the friendship. You don’t have to: you can ignore the request. I recently attended a Social Media conference and heard some good advice by one of the presenters, Elizabeth Sutherland of Sutherland Weston Marketing Communication. Elizabeth uses Facebook for her close friends and when asked by a professional acquaintance to become friends, she declines but invites them to connect with her on her professional Social networking site, LinkedIn. That has worked very well for her.Twitter – Twitter is different than the other sites because it only allows 140 characters to be typed in or broadcast per time you ‘speak.’ There are many businesses that ‘tweet,” or communicate through Twitter. WABI-TV5 tweets.These sites are free but cost you time. There are many other sites, these are just a few. If you’d like to learn more about these sites simply do a search for any of the sites, such as ‘what is Twitter?’ And you can learn step by step how to start using these sites by doing a similar search, “How do I use Facebook?” These sites may be a very good compliment to your marketing plan – but really only work well if you have a marketing plan, so get one!LinkedIn http://press.linkedin.com/aboutFacebook http://www.facebook.com/facebookTwitter http://twitter.comDisclaimer:Only securities and advisory services offered through Wall Street Financial Group, Inc. Registered Investment Advisor. Member FINRA/SIPC. Norumbega Financial and Wall Street Financial Group, Inc., are separate entities, independently owned and operated.
Business owners work hard to grow revenues, promote their visions, and bring jobs and prosperity to themselves and theirÂ community. Wow, that takes a lot of strength. If you, or someone you know,Â own a business, here are some groups and organizations that can provide various kinds of support.Â Â State of Maine – The state web site has info ranging from forms and licensing to free guides from federal, state, and regional resources.Â EMDC -Eastern Maine Development Corporation is a non-profitÂ founded by area business people to help fellow businesses succeed. Under the auspices of EMDC there are other entities to assist your business with procurement, financing, and marketing, as well as business planning and training. These services are provided at no cost. Â KVCOG- Kennebec Valley Council of Governments works with small and medium sized manufacturing firms to assist them in becoming globally competitive.Â Coastal Enterprises Institute (CEI) and the Women’s Business CenterÂ - Â CEI is a private, non-profit Community Development Corporation, while the Women’s Business Center is a joint venture of CEI and the SBA (Small Business Administration). The Women’s Center holds special events for women business owners and has an online directory.Â NAWBO – This non-profit, dues-based organization, with chapters all over the U.S., has only one chapter in Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire, and that chapter is in Bangor. Putting emphasis on business support, networking,Â and encouragement, this groupÂ offers programs and opportunities only for business owners, aiding them in getting involved nationally and internationally.Â Chamber of Commerce- Every region has a Chamber of Commerce whoseÂ goal is to advance the interest of businesses in the community. Non-profit as well as for- profit businesses may join and benefit from the networking. In addition, educational andÂ legislative opportunities exist.Â Â NFIB- The NFIB is the National Federation of Independent Business, a group that represents small businesses. While it has the role of managing both small and large, for- profit and non-profit interests, NFIBÂ works for business owners and offers discounts to members on products and services.Â Â Next week we’ll share social networking ideas for your business.Â For WABI-TV5 web siteÂ Â Â State of Maine web site [ http://www.maine.gov/portal/business/ ]http://www.maine.gov/portal/business/Â Â Â KVCOG [ http://www.kvcog.org/otherbusiness.htm ]http://www.kvcog.org/otherbusiness.htmÂ Â Â EMDC web siteÂ [ http://www.emdc.org/ ]http://www.emdc.org/Â Â Â Coastal Enterprises Institute [ http://www.ceimaine.org/ ]http://www.ceimaine.org/
Initially, compound interest pays you interest on the principal amount of money. Then when it’s time to pay interest again, you are paid on the principal AND on the previously earned interest. The interest you earn adds to – and becomes part of – the principal that accrues interest in the next period. (Here’s an example: a $100 deposit earning 5%, compounded annually. In the first year you will earn $5, $5.25 in year 2, $5.51 in year 3, $5.79 in year 4, $6.08 in year 5, and so on. Simple interest would only accrue on the principal and is usually used for periods of less than one year.) Compounding is what makes seemingly small amounts of money grow to millions over time.APY and APRThese are also interest rates: APR (Annual Percentage Rate)- This is the annual rate of interest without taking into account the compounding of the interest. APR is often quoted for loans and credit cards: it appears LOWER because it does NOT take compounding into account. APY (Annual Percentage Yield)- This takes into account the effects of compounding. When you deposit money this is the rate typically quoted, as it appears higher. These rates attempt to highlight high figures to investors and low figures to borrowers. A credit card company might quote an APR of 12% (for interest compounded monthly of 1% per month) which is APY of 12.68% Here’s an example:A credit card company charges 2% interest. Since this interest is charged each month the APR would be 24% (1% x 12 months = 24%). The APY rate includes compound interest and a 2% rate of interest compounded monthly would equal [(1 + 0.01)^12 - 1= 26.82%] 26.82% annually. If instead of paying off your bill each month you are among the many who carry a balance on your credit card for only one month you will be charged the APR rate of 24%. But if you carry a balance for the entire year, you will pay 26.82 because of interest compounding every month. Marion R. Syversen, MBA – PresidentNorumbegaFinancial207.862.2952Marion@NorumbegaFinancial.com
I’m not an accountant but here are some of the changes in tax regulations for 2009: Mileage- For business purposes, up to 55 cents per mile, which is different from the 2008 rates (50.5 cents to 58.5 cents) First-time Homebuyer tax credit – As part of the Stimulus plan, up to $7500 for first time homebuyers or people who haven’t owned a home for three years. This credit is for homes bought from April 2008 to June 30th 2009. Income increases for IRA contributions- A slight increase in how much you may earn and still contribute to an IRA for individuals and couples. Please see the worksheet for filing your 1040 or speak with your attorney or tax preparer for details. The dollar amount that you may contribute to an IRA is unchanged for 2009. Generally, to save money on taxes, take advantage of pre-tax savings vehicles. If you haven’t filed yet, you may still have time to maximize your contributions. If you didn’t take advantage of tax savings for last year, commit to more pre-tax saving for next year by saving now. Keep good records and you may be better able to capture all the deductions that you are entitled to take. Marion R. Syversen, MBA – PresidentNorumbegaFinancial207.862.2952Marion@NorumbegaFinancial.com
Recessionary times frequently birth exciting new start-up firms. According to the SBA (Small Business Administration) there are more than 600k business start-ups each year. Each year, just as many businesses fail or go bankrupt. Failure happens because someone took a risk and there’s nothing to be ashamed of in the trying. But mistakes can be costly, so here are some questions to ask yourself before venturing out in your own business. (The first 5 questions were covered in last week’s segment. If you missed it and would like the list, email me.) Do you follow through? Can you implement your vision? Have you done what you wanted to do in the past? Have you led other efforts: were you class president or did you lead a project for work or church? Or do you dream on the couch as you munch chips? Are you well-spoken? Can you communicate well enough to sell you dream to others: employees and clients, and possibly bankers? If you can’t cold call, find other ways to get your name out there. Are you passionate? If you are starting this to make money, people will realize it and you may not have the success that you dream. It doesn’t matter what you do, just do it well and with integrity. Are you a self-starter? Do you have the energy to get things done? You’ve got to have the “gumption” to get work done even without punching a clock. It also helps if you believe that you are good at what you do and get back up when you are knocked down. Do you need a partner? If you lack some of these characteristics, you may want to partner with someone or to develop relationships with mentors or fellow business owners with whom you can confer. Many partnerships do not succeed, so think that through carefully. One study by the Harvard Business School found that the most successful businesses were partnerships where people had worked together previously and already knew what role each fit into best. The firm benefited from multiple talents and the relationships from earlier ventures made the partnership more stable. Good luck! Marion R. Syversen, MBA – PresidentNorumbegaFinancial207.862.2952Marion@NorumbegaFinancial.com
Fire investigators will be in Winthrop today…trying to figure out what sparked a fire at the local library.Fire fighters were called to the Charles M. Bailey library on Bowdoin Street at around 2 in the morning.A patrol officer first noticed the fire and called for help.Sergeant Ken Grimes with the Fire Marshal’s office tells T-V 5 the fire started inside the library and did minimal damage to one of the rooms..He’s not sure about the extent of water and smoke damage to the books inside.
THERE WILL BE A REUNION AT BLACK MOUNTAIN IN RUMFORD ON MARCH 14th. THE NCAA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS IN NORDIC SKIING ARE AT THE MOUNTAIN THIS YEAR. ATTENDING THE EVENT WILL BE SIX MEMBERS OF THE US TEAM FROM 1952.THE GROUP WENT TO THE OLYMPIC TRIALS THAT YEAR AND CHUMMY BROOMHALL WAS A TWO TIME OLYMPIAN.BROOMHALL LATER GAVE 300 ACRES OF LAND IN RUMFORD TO START A SKI FACILITY. IT LATER BECAME THE BLACK MOUNTAIN SKI AREA.HE AND FIVE OTHERS PLAN ON ATTENDING THE NCAA EVENT LATER THIS MONTH.ASHLEY AMES OF DEXTER HAS BEEN NAMED THE PLAYER OF THE YEAR IN THE SUNRISE CONFERENCE. AMES PLAYS FOR UMAINE FT. KENT AND JUST LEAD HER TEAM TO A THIRD CONFERENCE TITLE IN THE LAST FOUR YEARS. AMES AND UMAINE FT. KENT HEADING THIS WEEKEND TO IOWA TO PLAY IN THE FIRST ROUND OF THE NAIA NATIONAL TOURNAMENT.
Ready to start your own business? Early mistakes can cost you money. Here are some tips recently featured in the Wall Street Journal that could help you get a solid footing. This week and next we will cover the ten questions to ask yourself before you begin your new enterprise. Are you willing and able to bear a financial risk? – Can you go without being paid for a while, or being paid less? You may end up far ahead, but it probably won’t be perfect in the beginning, and that’s a possible understatement. Are you willing to sacrifice your lifestyle for a time, possibly years? – Getting started could mean a lot of hours and evenings or weekends of work. It might not all be meetings, but could be paperwork to catch up on the day’s events. Is your partner on board? If earnings are erratic, it sure helps to have the person who loves you on your team. The WSJ article quoted a business coach who related that men frequently start businesses and don’t even tell their wives…! Do you like all (most) aspects of running a business? You probably have a particular skill, electrical or design, but you will also have to keep some records, market yourself, and have a general business plan. Early on, these jobs will be all yours. Can you make decisions on the “fly” – with no answer key? With this new business, all the decisions are new and made by you. In studies, researchers have found that successful entrepreneurs like decision making. If that’s not your style, this venture could be much harder for you. Don’t miss next week for the next five important tips that may save you money with your business start-up.Marion R. Syversen, MBA – PresidentNorumbegaFinancial207.862.2952Marion@NorumbegaFinancial.com
It’s unfortunate that he has insufficient assistance through work, but that’s the benefit of having your own advisor as you have someone with whom to consult. But how can you do this on your own Get to the web site of your company plan. You will have a number of allocation choices available. They will range from a money market account, which usually has an interest rate of about 1- 2 %, to mutual funds that feature U.S. stocks, U.S. bonds, and international choices. There may also be “sector funds” which may feature leisure companies, real estate or energy holdings.
I meet with folks who think that there is one rule for figuring out one’s investment allocation. I disagree with that notion. There are several factors that help determine your allocation choices.
What’s a mutual fund
A mutual fund is a portfolio, a mix of stocks aond/or bonds, that help you diversify your investment. Mutual funds allow you to spread your money around to different investments. If you only own stock in Bank of America or General Motors you might experience a significant loss to your investment if these stocks decreased in value. However, in a mutual fund you might hold 50 or even 100 different companies’ stock in just one fund, so if one stock within the fund drops in value it potentially has less of an impact on your total investment. Please note that a mutual fund maylose value and the price of a mutual fund share will fluctuate daily depending upon the performance of the underlying securities held by the fund
Adult Education programs throughout the state provide many inexpensive classes to help you. Adult education focuses on five areas: Literacy, high school completion, college preparation, business training and personal enrichment.
Augusta:Making the Most of Your money
Traditional IRAs, (whether invested in CDs, stocks and bonds or mutual funds) involve PRE-TAX savings that are taxed upon withdrawl. Roth IRAs do not have the pre-tax benefit, however the account will not be taxed when the money is taken at retirement.
Have Realistic Expectations – You are probably not Warren Buffet, meaning you don’t have a giant budget for gifts. So be reasonable in your expectations and don’t put undue pressure on yourself. Just because people ask for new trucks or $300 games for the holidays doesn’t mean anything to your real-life budget. Don’t feel guilty for being prudent!
Ignoring Your gut!
College Savings before retirement-
Beneficiaries are not updated on your HUSBAND’S accounts
You leave Finances to your Husband
Marion R. Syversen, MBA – President
– Get involved in this vital issue. Learn more every year in a way that suits your learning style, seek out info online or at the library. there are many great articles and books out there. Get serious about your financial future, ladies! - Make sure that the appropriate names are on your husband’s life insurance and IRA/ 401(k) accounts. Don’t leave things to others when you have a very dear interest in this issue. NO! You must get your retirement fund under control and it must take precedence over the kids. Please, take care of your future. Who’s going to take care of YOU Is that the way you’d want your daughter to proceed – Sometimes we second guess ourselves too much. Go with your instinct. Trust yourself.