How will going into business affect family?

At some point in everyone’s career, this thought comes up: “Am I ready to follow my dreams and start my own business?”

You may have dotted your i’s and crossed your t’s in terms of being financially and mentally ready to start your own business. However, have you thought about the effects on your family? Too often this oversight can lead to a crisis at home, as well as in your business.

“It’s easy to forget that changing careers will affect your family, too. Be 100 percent certain that you and your loved ones understand the implications of running a startup,” notes Inc.com.

The good and the bad
Fully prepare them for the good and the bad of starting your own business. Do not hold back on the bad things that could happen.

Explain the hours you’re going to have to commit to your endeavor. This includes you being not able to be at as many family events.

If the family’s budget will need to be reduced, tell them. Go over your business plans with your family, giving them as many details as possible. You want their support, and you don’t want them to be surprised by any of the things that could go wrong.

“When one person goes into business, everyone in the family unit is affected,” author Pamela Slim told Entrepreneur. “If your partner and other members of your support network are reluctant to back your idea, you may want to rethink quitting your current job.”

However, this is a personal choice. From a startup owner quoted in Inc.com:

“Ultimately, I realized if I didn’t start my own company, I would always regret it, both for myself and as a role model for my children.”

Regulatory authority actions could impact small business loans

One of the chief ways small business owners raise money is through loans.

One of the chief complaints of small business owners is regulations.

The two issues have hit in a head-on collision.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) was set up to protect people from falling for scams in the financial industry, and to keep a watch on companies that operate in the space. It has been so mired in controversy over its authority that it now faces dismantling by the new administration.

As the wheels turn in that effort, the controversial government agency has set its sights on small business loans, collecting information and statistics about the loans.

Banks and lenders smell trouble, according to Bloomberg BNA. Is the bureau ramping up for a new round of fair lending lawsuits? Or a whole new range of lending regulations? If it wanted to, the unelected CFPB could enact regulations with the force of law, just as if it were Congress.

The CFPB came from the Dodd-Frank Act that has been in the news lately, as calls for its repeal have run rampant.

The problem with the CFPB’s targeting how small businesses get loans is twofold.

First, there are concerns about the scope of the information the CFPB wants to collect.

The CFPB wants to use a section of an existing law that requires it to collect information about access to credit for small businesses, women-owned businesses, and minority-owned businesses. The CFPB also wants to collect new data on the state of small business lending. It applies to online lenders, as well as bank lenders.

Proponents say this is an effort to save small business owners from unfair lending practices. However, a Pandora’s box is opened whenever a government bureaucracy attempts to expand its so-called collection data efforts.

Lenders, including non-banks and online lenders, could simply curtail making loans to small business owners. They might fear unequal lending lawsuits if their numbers of loans to women-owned and minority-owned businesses are not high enough. Some might make bad loans just to get their numbers up, something that contributed to the housing crisis of 2008.

Some companies may find that dealing with government disclosure is timely and costly. They may find it’s not worth the hassle.

For small business owners, available lenders would be curtailed.

The second problem deals with the many complaints about the CFPB concerning its abuse of power.

The controversial bureau has been under fire for its overreach. Critics also say the CFPB’s data collection efforts may go further than what is allowed by the actual law.

The points that can make your home sell fast.

The points that can make your home sell fast.
Remember that when you bought your house, you went that extra mile to get the right house in the right school district and right neighborhood.
Now when you want to sell, all those considerations will help to make a quick sale.
In fact, the keys to your deal to sell your house today will still be the things that make your house attractive to buy:

Popular neighborhood
School district
Your home’s condition
The price you set
And flexibility

It’s a lucky homeowner who has all those elements on the plus side and, in fact, at least three of those key elements are in your control.

Your home’s condition is crucial, of course. You’ll want to fix up the outside for maximum curb appeal. Curb appeal is nothing more than the bringing out the pretty in your home: Making your landscape, entrance and outside condition look great from the street. But it is critical to get buyers in.

Once you get buyers in, you’ll want to make sure the bones of the house stand out and not the photo of Uncle Ed. So clear out the personal items and make your home a canvass for a new buyer’s imagination.

You can’t do much about the popularity of the school district and neighborhood. But, both hold their attraction over a period of many years. So it is likely that you are still situated in a popular environment.

What remains are price and flexibility, and the two go hand-in-hand.

Good pricing is crucial. Your real estate agent will help you come up with a price that is in line with comparable homes in the neighborhood. Online tools can give you an idea of what your home is worth, but no instant price can tell you the true value.

Some of the price will be determined by how brisk the local real estate market is. In an area with few houses on the market and many buyers, sellers have an advantage in price. In an area with many houses on the market but few buyers, then buyers will certainly have an advantage in price.

Your flexibility could also affect the price. If you must sell now, you might not be able to wait for the best offer. If you can afford to wait, you can review a number of offers before you make your decision.

Your house pays you back at tax time

When you do your taxes this year, it probably won’t be much of a comfort to know that in February 1913, the personal income tax was born.
Bravo.

But the good news is that if you will be writing out a check this year, you might want to ask yourself if a nice, fat mortgage interest deduction would come in handy next year.

For many people, it certainly will. Mortgage interest is tax deductible. This means it is one of the expenses that reduces the amount of income on which you pay taxes.

Many, if not most, people who do not own houses, also do not itemize their deductions. That makes sense because if they added up all their potential deductions, the deductions would not be greater than the standard deduction. For 2016 the standard deduction for heads of household will also rise to $9,300 (up from $9,250 in 2015) but the other standard deduction amounts will remain the same: $6,300 for singles and $12,600 for married couples filing jointly. Personal exemptions will be $4,050 in 2016, up from $4,000 in 2015.

The beauty of the mortgage interest deduction is that it allows you to deduct all the interest you pay on your home loan. During the first years you pay on a home loan, nearly everything you pay is interest — up to 75 percent of your payment.

That nice deduction can reduce the taxes you owe, while allowing you to live in the house you want.

Owning a home also offers you some subtle protection from inflation. Inflation is an increase in the general level of prices for goods and services over time. So you notice that your grocery bill is going up and your dollars buy less, that is inflation, according to investopedia.com.

According to inflationdata.com, in 2016 inflation was about 1.7 percent. For 2017, Kiplinger’s predicts inflation to head to 2.5 percent.

Meanwhile, mortgage rates are ranging from 4.2 percent to 5.2 percent on 30-year fixed rate. That is an increase of at least 2 point from 2015 and 2016 but still very low.

If you buy a home this year, and inflation continues to increase, you’ll soon be paying off your home with cheaper dollars. Your food will cost more; your luxuries will cost more; rent will cost more. But your mortgage is going to stay the same.

Meanwhile, inflation will also have some effect on home prices, forcing prices up. Right now, in most parts of the country, home prices are low because there are a lot of houses on the market and fewer buyers than five years ago. That means, right now you can get a lot of house for fewer dollars. In coming years, however, as the supply of houses for sale decreases, the pressure of inflation plus a reduced supply of houses, will force home prices up. In 10 years, your home purchase today will be a bargain and you will be living in a home you love while paying prices locked in the past! It’s like being a financial time travel!

Banks stop banking on mortgages, report says

Fearful of regulations and expensive penalties, banking is backing away from traditional mortgages.

According to Inside Mortgage Finance, banks loaned less than half of all mortgage dollars in the third quarter of 2016. This is the first time in 30 years that banks and credit unions have not taken the lead in mortgage lending.

Traditional banks have shied away from making mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration. This follows a series of costly lawsuits brought by the federal government surrounding these loans in the last few years, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Non-bank lenders, such as Quicken Loans, have stepped into the market snapping up borrowers with less than pristine credit.

Meanwhile, banks have concentrated on jumbo loans (those more than $417,000 in most parts of the country) because they are considered less risky both financially and legally, according to The Wall Street Journal.

What to do if you are laid off

That moment when the boss says you are laid off actually can be good for you if you handle it right.

First, take a breath immediately and get control, according to SalaryTutor.com. Two things are true: The person telling you this doesn’t like to do it. You don’t like to hear it. Neither can be avoided. Reacting badly results in security being called. Reacting gracefully helps both of you and, in some ways, makes your boss your ally.

Second, listen for the plan. The decision has already been made so no negotiating will help you. But the company has already considered how they want you to leave: Immediately (look for the security guard) or a soft exit where you wrap up projects and maybe even train your replacement. If you can, get the terms in writing.

If you have private information on your computer, explain what it is that you wish to copy.

Third, if you are going to remain a few days or more, control the message. Send an email to friends and valued co-workers. Never talk poorly about your boss or the company. Never blame anyone. State the facts (job eliminated or laid off or ‘leaving the company’). Be upbeat about your plans. Tell people when you will be out of the office and invite them to visit you in the meantime. Invites eliminate some more awkward silences.

Robots versus humans

Convenience will abound. Accuracy will increase. And, jobs will change.

As humanity hurtles into the future of Artificial Intelligence, the most frightening notion of robots doing our work is that we won’t be doing it. Or will we?

Futurists, businesspeople, scientists disagree and they are just guessing about how smart machines will change the world, but agree robots will make a tremendous change. We can even see this in the recent past.

For example, the invention of the ATM, a robot, put an automated bank teller on every corner, creating convenience for people. It also created jobs since humans had to create the ATM, tend it, and install it. Meanwhile, there were fewer human bank tellers needed to dispense cash. Even with the new convenience of ATMs, use of that robot declined. Why? The debit card has made cash nearly obsolete. The widespread use of debit cards changed the use of robots. There are fewer robot ATMs on the corner and more of them in tiny little boxes on the retail counter. Again, the technology created convenience and people’s demand for ATMs changed.

Technology and the convenience or usefulness that it creates changes needs in the labor market, but it also creates a need for labor. At the same time, robots could lower prices of goods, according to the Los Angeles Times, making it possible for humans to live comfortably on less money.

Many observers contend that robots won’t take jobs, but they will change them.

“Technology will dramatically change the nature of our jobs, but it won’t take them. Rather, it will free up individuals to focus on higher value challenges that can only be tackled by a human mind.” writes Information Age editorial director Ben Rossi.

The CEO of a robotic company, David Lang, says, “Robots aren’t taking the jobs. Technology is changing the spectrum of possibility. The real risk in the next economy is not being replaced, it’s missing the opportunity.”

Steven Rosenbaum, writing for Forbes, says one of the dangers of robots is that, without the human element, one loses the elements of surprise, engagement, and fun.

“The danger of allowing robots to do the work of humans is that they are getting close enough that people will start to accept almost ‘good enough’ content created by robots,” Rosenbaum writes.

Rosenbaum proposes that a new rule of robotics should be that robots should never impersonate people.

“For the foreseeable future – the question of where humans and robots share joint custody of the future remains unclear. But until then, having robots not impersonate people seems like a reasonable place to draw the line,” he writes.

Show appreciation to all who help or perform well

“Bonuses get spent, titles get old, but a thank you lingers”

Larry Page has his own “Reasons to work at Google.” It says things like, “We love our employees and we want them to know it,” and “Appreciation is the best motivation.”

Janice Kaplan, author of a new book called The Gratitude Diaries, says companies are setting a thank-you trend, mainly because expressions of gratitude in the workplace are scarce.

In just one survey, 80 percent of people said that receiving gratitude or appreciation for their work makes them want to work harder.

An analysis of 50 studies by the London School of Economics shows that people give their best effort if they are interested or excited about their work, but especially if others appreciate what they are doing.

At the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, Professor Adam Grant divides people into three categories: Takers do something if they will get something in return.

Matchers are always playing the corporate game.

Givers contribute to others without looking for a reward. They offer help, advice and knowledge. While many workplaces have a competitive atmosphere, givers can also end up on top. Those who combine giving to others with awareness of their own needs can be the most successful of all, Dr. Grant says.

It’s not just managers who should show appreciation. Co-workers can make a difference with a simple “I appreciate that,” when dealing with others.

Forklift Hazards

On a forklift, stability is the key to safety and the most important step is knowing your lift’s capacity, according to ehstoday.com.

Always be aware of the load capacity of a forklift. Review the data plate on the truck. Data plates should be readable and not tampered with in any way. If a data plate has been altered, check with the employer.

Know your route. In busy environments, be familiar with possible obstacles or traffic that can cause problems. Narrow passages or areas with foot traffic can make your passage dangerous. Don’t hesitate to stop and wait for traffic or hazards to clear.

Of course, this can only be done if you are driving at a speed suitable for the situation. Driving too fast on a forklift is a common cause of accidents in the workplace. Be aware of speed bumps and workplace speed limits.

Honoring personal time

Today the boss and your colleagues can reach you 24-7, at night, on vacation, at your kid’s soccer game.

Technology has been seeping into off work hours for years and the problem is worldwide. Volkswagen AG recently passed a corporate-wide rule banning business emails between 6:15 am and 7 p.m. German employees love it.

In the U.S. the issue has resulted in overtime lawsuits.

Managers can solve the problem.

* Build in predictability. Nancy Rothbard, a Wharton School management professor recommends spending part of Friday afternoon scheduling time to complete mandatory projects for the next week so you won’t end up doing them at night.

* Schedule a 4 p.m. triage. Decide what your team should finish by the next day. Laura Vanderkam, author of What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast, asks “If an evil villain cut the power, what would you still do?”

* Use lunchtime for check-ins. Make social and brainstorming rounds while grabbing some food. That way you get interaction, but can still deal with anything that comes up before quitting time, Vanderkam says.

Other experts, quoted in Bloomberg Businessweek, say the open configuration of offices is partly to blame because no one gets to concentrate.