Small business confidence continues at all-time high

Small business confidence continues at all-time high
Small business owners continue to be very optimistic about future economic growth, according to a recent industry survey.

The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) released its February Small Business Optimism Index in March. The reading was at its highest in 43 years.

The NFIB noted that evidence on the economy is mixed.

The New York Federal Reserve puts first quarter growth at 3.1 percent while the Atlanta Federal Reserve is looking for 1.8 percent. Both have access to the same data.
However, the gulf between liberals and conservatives is large. The University of Michigan/Reuters poll in February illustrated this, with the Expectations Index at 55 among Democrats, 120 for Republicans and 89 for Independents. The Democrats expect the worst, the Republicans the best. Spontaneous positive references to economic policy were made by a record 28 percent of consumers, 26 percent made negative references. Reality will resolve the gap.

Small businesses are optimistic that there will be a new health care law, tax reform, and relief from regulations.
It is clear from our data that optimism skyrocketed after the election because small business owners anticipated a change in policy, said NFIB President and CEO Juanita Duggan. “The sustainability of this surge and whether it will lead to actual economic growth depends on Washington’s ability to deliver on the agenda that small business voted for in November. If the health care and tax policy discussions continue without action, optimism will fade,” Duggan said.

The index fell in February, but still is considered very high. The NFIB noted that the slight decline follows the largest month-over-month increase in the survey’s history in December and another uptick in January.
Despite a small decrease, nearly half of owners expect better business conditions in the coming months.

The elephant in the room remains to be whether the Trump administration will be able to deliver on the many policies small business owners are counting on. The health care legislation stalled in March. Tax reform may not be dealt with until the end of the year. It remains to be seen what major regulations will be dismantled.

Balloon Mortgages Q&A

Balloon Mortgages Q&A

Question:
Home sales are brisk in my area and I have decided to buy a home even though I will only be in this location for a few years. My lender recommends a balloon mortgage. I have heard bad things about these loans, but the deal seems good. What do you think?

Answer:
A typical 7-year balloon mortgage can seem very good and, if you will absolutely be selling before the 7-year term is up, it might be good for you. But, it is a risk.
First, let’s talk about the benefits of a balloon mortgage.

Balloon mortgages usually have a much lower interest rate than a conventional mortgage. The overall cost of the loan will be lower and the payments will be lower. That makes it attractive. The assumption is that a buyer makes payments for a set period of time, five to seven years, for example. Then at the end of the period, the entire balance is due. The buyer then refinances at the end of the term or sells. In your case, you want to sell so this is probably why the lender recommended this type of loan.

The reason balloons are risky is that people never know what is going to happen in the future.

Buyers may think they can easily refinance at the end of the term. But this might not be possible. The buyer may lose a job or become an unqualified buyer because of bad credit. Then it might be impossible to refinance.

In the current market, property values are going up. But, if property values go down, you could be stuck with a home that is not worth the balloon payment. No lender will finance under those conditions. In your case, you might not be able to sell at the necessary price.

Finally, interest rates could be much higher in seven years. For someone who wants to refinance, this could make payments dramatically higher.

Some balloon mortgages have a reset option that will automatically recalculate the mortgage at the current interest rates. This might be good protection for most people.
If you know you will sell, a balloon mortgage might be acceptable.

The right time for life insurance

The right time for life insurance

Life insurance can be a tricky subject depending on what stage of life a person finds themselves in. Variables such as term limits, whole life policies, benefit amounts, and riders can all create a complicated mess capable of scaring someone away from getting coverage.

Because of this complexity and cost, U.S. News reports that about 30 percent of American households have no life insurance coverage at all. Even more worrisome is the fact that there are 11 million households without coverage that include children under the age of 18.

The purpose of life insurance
In simplest terms, life insurance provides a financial benefit at the time of death. A family’s breadwinner might want to provide for the family. A spouse might want to be sure the mortgage is paid off if he or she dies. Parents might want to be sure kids could go to college if one of the parents dies.

Life’s different stages can determine need
Kiplinger.com suggests that people look at life insurance through the perspective of what their current and future needs are and allow those circumstances to govern when and how much life insurance is required.

Single people without children
In this stage, of life single people are usually better off investing their money rather than buying life insurance. But some life insurance is probably necessary. For example, everyone will need burial expenses at the end of life and leaving that burden to family is irresponsible.
Of course, single people with children should carry enough life insurance to provide for their children and/or pay off the house.

Married couples without children
At this stage of life, people must have life insurance to pay off a mortgage or debts that could burden the surviving partner.

Families
Families with one income and young children are the classic high-need situation for life insurance. In this case, the financial payout would be vital for covering lost income if the breadwinner died prematurely. Special considerations should be paid to how much income would be necessary to cover the family for many years as well as expenses such as college tuition down the road.

Retirement
Once the kids are grown up, the mortgage is paid off, and the breadwinner is in the twilight of his/her career, life insurance could become less important. In this case, the financial benefit could be used to cover estate taxes to protect heirs.

Active shooter safety

Active shooter safety

As the number of active shooters in public spaces rises worldwide, government, industry and educational institutions have focused on training people to act immediately during a shooting.

Remember most active shooters do not have a specific target in mind. They will shoot at random.

The rules:
Run, escape if the path is accessible.
Hide, in less obvious places.
Fight. As resort of last hope, attempt to disrupt, distract or incapacitate an active shooter.
If you believe you have a chance to escape, don’t pause to urge others to follow you. Act immediately. Get out and do not stop of help injured people.

According to the Department of Homeland Security, if you can’t escape, then find either cover or concealment. Cover might protect you from gunfire. Concealment will hide you from the view of the shooter.

When law enforcement arrives, they will be focused on the shooter. They will not have time to help injured people until the threat is over. Officers might shout orders and everyone must be prepared to follow the orders immediately. Officers might push people to the ground to get them out of the line of fire or even out of the way of responders.

As officers arrive, you must put down any items in your hands, raise your hands, and prepare to follow instructions.

Recent Updates Concerning Commercial Insurance in Texas

With our busy schedules, it’s easy to overlook recent updates concerning business insurance. We, as business professionals and entrepreneurs, are working hard to achieve the bottom line- gaining profits, and to stay abreast of the competition. Having said all of this, the following includes recent updates concerning commercial insurance in the state of Texas:

1. Appropriate coverage of Uber and Lyft drivers– with the gaps discovered with transportation networking companies, insurance laws relatable to those gaps became effective on January 1, 2016.  

2. The increase in burial benefit insurance for worker’s compensation– increased from $6,000 to $10,000.

3.  Financial requirements of bail bond insurers– to continue effective bail bonds’ issuance, bail bond insurers must clarify the premium receipts/service fees’ taxability.

4. Debt cancellation agreements with certain retail installment leases and contracts for vehicles–  the amendment except stated in the Texas capital legislature that a retail seller may provide a retail buyer an agreement of debt cancellation which includes a waiver of guaranteed asset protection or a similar type of agreement.  And furthermore, if part of the retail buyer’s responsibility towards the holder in the form of insurance coverage is required as the retail installment transaction, the asset is guaranteed.  

Conclusion

These are just a few commercial related insurance updates. To know more concerning these and other relatable updates, InsureUS, located in Cypress, TX, is the proper place of contact. InsureUS has top notch customer service and agents who are highly trained and experienced, and they are anxiously awaiting to assist you. As stated before, they are located in Cypress, TX which is just outside Houston, Texas. They also can be contacted via email, phone, and fax. So, call them today. You’ll have a peace of mind knowing that your business is adequately covered.

Presentation tips to land a new client

Presentation tips to land a new client
Landing that new account or client can bring feelings of elation.

It’s likely that to land a client you’ll have to make a great presentation. Here are some tips:

First, steady your nerves. This seems like common sense, but ahead of the presentation, you’ll have a few butterflies.

As you start the presentation, make it clear that you are the owner of the business; not an employee.

Understand the client’s needs and what their goals are ahead of time. That way you can address them during your presentation.

Include graphics, images, and facts to make your presentation more memorable, according to Inc.

Consulting Success says you should offer an introductory rate for your fees. However, make it clear that it’s just that. Feel free to let them know your normal rates.

Inc. also says to give your presentation as a story. Let stories illustrate points to help people make an emotional connection to the message.

Work up a sell sheet, states Entrepreneur magazine. This sheet should clearly state how you plan to address the potential client’s problems and challenges. If you are presenting a product, explain its features and benefits and your product’s market. Also, explain the legal status of your invention, such any patents pending, copyright or trademark information.

Watch your time. You don’t want to start droning on and on. That bores people, and at some point they tune out.