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How Do Businesses Use the Art of Storytelling?



Storytelling is an essential part of human communication and is a powerful marketing tool. It sways shoppers by increasing brand awareness and attracting new customers. The story you tell controls how customers remember your company.

Creating a unique brand story on social media involves sharing it on multiple social platforms. If you create a story that connects with potential consumers, they will read and engage with the information you provide. This often results in readers recommending your products and services via clicks, tweets, likes, and follows.

Know Your Customers

To create engaging stories think about who is reading the story, not who is telling it. First, understand who your followers are before developing a story. Building customer personas will help you know your audience. Create these personas by gathering data about your audience through social media, Google Analytics, and interviews.

Matching your audience’s desires, needs, wants, and dreams to your business story, will help you build rapport. Talk about things your followers can relate to or emphasize with; this will enable you to build trust with your audience.

Tell Your Story Many Times

Growing your business, using storytelling will take time. Tell your business story and its related versions on multiple platforms every chance you get. You’ll also want to incorporate elements of your story in podcast interviews, public speaking, and in press interviews.

Be honest and open. This builds trust and creates an actively engaged, customer base, which wants to hear more. Telling your story is more about sharing about the highs and lows of your brand’s journey, which is valuable to your audience.

Tell Your Own Story

Storytelling boosts your brand personality, and it cements a stronger brand perception with potential clients. Telling a unique business story will attract clients. Use a friendly and conversational tone to narrate your story. Prospect followers and clients will feel like they know your product if your story resonates with them. This will help foster long-term relationships with your community.

Many companies sell similar products and services to yours. What sets you apart from your competitors? Consumers want to see what you believe in, who you are, and what your story is. In today’s world, transparency is essential. Consumers not only want to purchase products, but they also want to interact with companies that align with their values.

Develop Your Story

Your story will change as your business grows. Don’t be afraid to change your story! As time passes, you’ll not be in the same place as when you started, and this makes a good story. Your followers will love to see how your brand is developing, and new followers will like to know how you started and how far you’ve come.

As your brand grows, you may launch new products or services; this provides a great time to tell a new story. Tell your followers the process you went through to develop the new product.

Always tell your brand’s story in a way that involves your followers to make them feel like they are part of the story and to keep them connected.

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Love Astrology – When Will You Find Love? The Most Important Aspects To Look For




Timing is everything. Astrology holds the key to timing.

Love and astrology has it’s own special timing, and there are indications within your progressed chart that will help you hone into those special years when someone new will be coming into your life or it’s an indication of a marriage year.

First you have to have your natal chart in order to compare your progressed chart to it. There are three progressed charts to work with. There’s your forwarded directed chart, converse directed chart, and your solar arc progressed chart.

When you get your progressed charts, you can begin to compare them to your natal chart (a three wheel chart is recommended). Each planet progresses at a different rate, and when one of your love planets progresses to make an aspect to one of your natal – or another progressed – love planet you have a love year, bringing you either a new love relationship or possibly a marriage year !

Aspects that are formed by the progressed planet to the natal planet are the strongest, but you will also see them making aspects to the other progressed planets. I’ve seen love connections when converse to converse were seen, and progressed to converse, but most importantly progressed to natal. In many cases you’ll find up to 3 of these indicators from all or any of these combinations.

Here’s a list of what to look for, the planet in bold is the progressed planet, the other planets can be natal or progressed. And numero uno love planet is Venus of course!

  • Venus – Sun, Moon, Mars, Ascendant, Descendant, MC, IC, Chiron, Jupiter, and any planet in your 7th house or your 7th house ruler.
  • Mars – Sun, Venus, Angles, 7th house planets and rulers.
  • Sun – Venus, Moon, Mars, Angles (especially the Descendant) and Chiron.
  • Moon – Venus, Sun, Mars, 7th house planet or ruler.
  • Progressed Ascendant/Descendant – Venus, Moon, Sun, Jupiter, 7th house planets and rulers.
  • Progressed MC/IC Angle – Venus, Moon, Mars, 7th house planet Or 7th house ruler.

The aspects seen most frequently are conjunction, trine, and the sextile. However, squares and oppositions are noted as well.

The most frequently seen aspects for love in astrology are between these planets in order:

  • Venus/Mars
  • Sun/Venus
  • Sun/Mars
  • Sun/Moon
  • Moon/Venus and Moon/Mars
  • Any of the love planets to the Angles and 7th house ruler

And one more to look at is your Arabic Part of Marriage and love planets making an aspect to this point.

When you are comparing your progressed love planets to

natal/ progressed planets, look for an orb within 1 degree.

Look for Venus to work her magic from the time the aspect is exact to 1 degree after. Mars works a bit faster, look for an orb 1 degree before to exact. All the others are in the works anytime the orb is within one degree – before or after.

To fine tune the timing of when a new love or a marriage will take place look to the transits that set off the progressions.

If you are already in a love relationship and you are looking for a marriage year this works too!

That gives you an overview of love – astrology style.

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When Is It Time to Switch Your Limo Hire Company?




Whether you are booking a limousine for the first time, or you have already had the honour of using such service, you must know that choosing the right company can be a bit bothersome. Yet, there is one thing sure: knowing when your limo hire company is no good is rather easy to determine. There are obvious problems, which are indicative of a bad company. If you are not satisfied with the service you get, it is probably because of one (or more) of these reasons:

Price issues – one of the most common problems people run into regarding limo companies is hidden fees. What you consider to be the perfect deal, most affordable and easy to book, may well end up to be the most expensive service you have ever hired. A lot of companies use such strategies to draw new clients, only to present them with a ton of hidden costs after the service has been booked. That is usually the case with very low pricing, which you should be aware of. If your current limo company has done this, you must immediately look for another one. Companies should be upfront with you about the cost. Only then can you budget adequately and know that the company is not a suspicious one.

You have problems with the vehicle – all decent limo companies invest in keeping their fleet in top shape at all times. After all, the last thing you want to discover on your limo ride is messy interior, damage to upholstery and other signs of wear and tear. All of this is an indication that the company lacks dedication to customer experience. Every reputable limo hire company should be giving their vehicles thorough cleans after every use to ensure they are ready for the next customer. Of course, cleaning is just part of the picture. Limousine also needs to fare great on the mechanical chart. There must be no trace of mechanical malfunction. Any such issues will significantly impact your experience and indicate that you should change companies the next time. You need a limo service provider that keeps vehicles up to standard.

Chauffeur attitude – even if the limousine is in excellent condition, it is the attitude of the driver that will affect your final opinion on the matter. If they don’t make you feel welcome, then you will hardly have a good time, unfortunately. You need well-trained professionals, who will interact with you respectfully and contribute to your wellbeing with such service.

Punctuality – another great aspect of limo hire service is the punctuality of the driver. What use is such service if you are late for an important event? Delays contribute to a lot of stress, which can quickly ruin your fun. A limo hire company whose vehicle runs late is hardly good option for you.

If you ever see any of these signs in your limo hire company, you need to start looking for a new one.

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Should Traditional Upholsterers Use Tacks Or Staples When Re-Upholstering Antique Furniture?




The question of whether traditional upholsterers should use tacks or staples when re-upholstering antique furniture is frequently and, often, fiercely debated. So what are the two sides of this argument?

Those who are solidly in the Tack Camp argue that all re-upholstery should be authentic and true to the history of the piece of furniture. They argue that staples are a modern invention and should not be used on old pieces of furniture, as to do so results in an unhappy blend of different eras. Some even maintain that using staples will ruin the furniture. To them staples are seen at best as unthinkable, at worst as almost sacrilegious.

Those upholsterers who are in the Staple Camp maintain that one of the foremost reasons for using staples is to protect the wooden frames of the furniture, as staples cause much less damage to the frames. Without a doubt tacks create a much larger hole in the wood than do staples. Staples make two little holes. The pro staplers also maintain that putting in a staple is one hit to the furniture and the staple is home, where a tack require several hammer hits to knock it home. For fragile pieces of furniture the less hitting the better. It is also claimed that because the staple gun is placed in position before the staple is fired, there is no damage to the show wood.

I think that both sides of this argument have merit and that the ideal situation is a happy blending of both tacks and staples. In my work I do use both; though not always on the same piece of furniture.

Staples are in fact not all that modern. The first patent for a stapler was granted on August 7, 1866 for a device called the Novelty Paper Fastner. This device allowed a single staple to be loaded and it was used mainly to bind papers or books, but was also used on carpet, furniture and boxes. However, the earliest record of staples is from France in the 18th century. They were developed for the use of King Louis XIV of France and each staple bore his name!

Staples were not originally created specifically for use in upholstery, but the upholstery trade has a tradition of ‘borrowing’ materials from other trades. For example Calico, which is a bleached cloth used frequently in upholstery. Originally this was a fabric brought to the UK from Calicut, India by the East India Trading Company for use in the clothing trade. Very quickly upholsterers saw the benefit of this cloth to their trade and so Calico became a fundamental part of upholstery.

In practical terms often a long-nosed staple gun will successfully place a staple in a very tight area where a tack and hammer just won’t work. Recently I was asked to re-upholster a Victorian chair whose tacking rail was in such poor condition that the only answer was to use staples or else have the tacking rail rebuilt.

One drawback of staples is that they tend to be a nuisance to remove when stripping off a piece of furniture. They often snap leaving a small piece of staple left in the furniture. This though can be hammered flat which will cause no ill effect. Usually the staples can be removed by hand with a staple remover and a pair of pliers. This is beneficial to the frame since there is no banging as there is when using a ripping chisel and mallet to remove old tacks. If you are careful about the placement of the staples then is possible to remove them without causing any damage to the show wood.

Tacks still have a very worthwhile place in the upholstery trade. I think that it is right to try to use tacks on very old and / significant pieces of furniture.

From a commercial point of view though staples greatly speed up an upholsterer’s job and at the end of the day we are running a business. If it came down to making a choice, I would rather use staples than reduce the quality of my stuffing or webbing.

One final point to consider is that when re-upholstering any piece of furniture we should not try to hide the fact that the work has been done in the 21st century. After all this is another phase of the furniture’s life and in time it will also become part of its history.

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When We Fight My Husband Acts Like A Child – What Can I Do?




I sometimes hear from people who wish that their spouse would just grow up when it comes to conflict within their marriage. Often, one spouse is very willing to sit down and work through their issues like an adult while the other seemingly is not.

I heard from a wife who said: “my husband and I handle our fights very differently. I never want to go to bed angry. I hate conflict. I immediately want to sit down and work through whatever it is that is going on. I don’t like to know that there is tension between us. But he doesn’t seem to care if we are becoming more and more distant from one another. When my husband and I were dating, I used to hate to go over to his house because his parents always fought quite openly. There was always a lot of door slamming and yelling. It made me very uncomfortable because that is not the way that I was raised. My parents rarely raise their voice. But my husband has no problem yelling and losing his cool. And lately when I try to get him to sit down and talk about our problems, he tells me that talking won’t fix everything and he sulks. When I do something that he doesn’t like, he withdraws his affection and he seems to shut me out in order to punish me. He pretty much just clams up and this drives me crazy. Sometimes, it is almost like I am looking at a toddler throwing a tantrum. I want him to grow up. I want him to sit down and talk to me like a mature adult. This is our marriage and the rest of our lives that we are talking about. But my husband just won’t see this. Instead, he seems perfectly happy to keep right on communicating in this very childish way. What can I do?”

I felt that this wife was right to be very concerned about this issue. Many experts say that the way that a couple fights and handles conflict is a very good indicator if that same couple will eventually end up divorced. The couples who remain married and who stay closely bonded are the couples who have learned to argue in a constructive way. It’s fine to fight. In fact, it’s important to clear the air from time to time. But it’s also vital that the fighting doesn’t become personal. It’s OK to attack the issue. It’s not OK to attack your spouse. It’s not OK to make it personal. You can hate the habit or the behavior but you can not insinuate that you hate your spouse, at least if you want for your marriage to be a healthy one.

And it’s very damaging and hurtful when one spouse withholds affection or attempts to punish the other during or after a disagreement. Because things only tend to escalate and deteriorate from there. So I agreed that it was vital for this couple to learn to work through their problems in a constructive manner. The wife was more than willing to do this, so now it was time for the husband to get on board.

Making Your Husband Understand The Need To Fight Fairly: The wife had been trying to shame or guilt her husband into changing the way he related to her in conflict. In short, they had developed a sort of child and parent relationship. She would take the high road and insinuate that he was being immature and childish. And although all of those things may have been somewhat accurate, bringing his attention to this probably isn’t going to inspire him to change. Instead, it is just going to make him more angry and more motivated to ramp up his behavior.

I believe the best way to start is to have a calm and thoughtful discussion when things begin to escalate. The next time the husband drifted back into this destructive way of dealing with conflict, the wife might say something like: “I need to stop you, honey. Because this is starting to go to a destructive place and I don’t want for this to keep happening to us. The whole point of us discussing this is to work through it and to stop the conflict. But right now we are arguing about something that isn’t even part of the original issue. This is only making things work. I know that this is how you are used to dealing with conflict, but it’s very hurtful to me and I don’t feel like it’s doing us any good. Why don’t we regroup and talk about the real issues at hand. I’ll go first.”

Then state your version of the events in the most constructive way possible. When you’re finished, stop and ask him to state his side of things. If he begins to drift into his old patterns stop him again and redirect him.

Bringing his attention to this is the key. Since the husband grew up in a tumultuous household, he really didn’t know any other way. That’s why it’s important to have patience and to try to gently redirect him. You don’t want to tell him that he’s being childish or immature. Instead, you just want to show him how to do better. And when he does, vow to offer all kinds of positive reinforcement. Because the whole idea is to make him want to do better and to give him the tools to do so.

This might mean that sometimes you have to lead by example and this can seem to be unfair sometimes. It might feel as though you are the one taking all of the initiative. But as you keep at it, he should develop a new way of communicating that is vital to saving your marriage. Because if these two continued to fight in the destructive way that had become a habit, the future of their marriage may be in question. And I doubted that this is what either of them wanted.

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Divorce – When Child Access is Denied




Child access, sometimes referred to as visitation, can prove to be very challenging for divorced or separated parents. Children are always best served when both parents act reasonably and civilly toward each other and realize that, whatever they think of one another, their children benefit most by having two loving and concerned adults in their lives even after divorce. Cooperation by both parents is critical in making sure that each has enough quality time with the children to maintain a healthy relationship despite the divorce.

But what about when a divorce is so bitter that it causes one parent to have so much resentment towards the other that the best interests of the children take second place to inflicting pain on the other parent. How can the so-called “access parent” have his or her access rights enforced? The answer is not straightforward.

When separation agreements or divorce orders, give one parent the right to “liberal”, “reasonable”, or “generous” access is nearly impossible to get a court to enforce it when the “custodial” parent or parent with “primary care” refuses to cooperate. When the access parent takes such a complaint to court the result is almost always a change to more specific access, one based on a fixed schedule. The reason is obvious. Words such as “reasonable” are just too vague to be easily enforced. Such terms are ideal when they allow to reasonable parents all the flexibility they need to act in the best interests of their children. But they are worse than useless when one or both parents set about to exploit the intentional vagueness. Changing the access terms in the divorce order to a fixed schedule allows a divorce judge to have a better idea of whether there actually has been a breach of the terms or not.

Even when scheduled access is denied a court is more likely to reissue a slightly revised divorce order and give a stern warning than it is to penalize the custodial parent in some meaningful way. It is only once the denial of access becomes chronic that a divorce judge will be likely to resort to sterner measures.

This is unfortunate of course, because it means that the parent who has been denied access has to incur the financial and emotional costs of repeated trips to court before a judge will actually “do something” about the other parent’s refusal to abide by the terms of access. Also, repeated court appearances take time, and meanwhile the children are being denied the opportunities the access is supposed to provide to build and maintain a strong relationship with the access parent.

The reason judges are so reluctant to act quickly and decisively in response to complaints about denial of access is because the responses available are usually far from attractive. Finding the custodial parent in contempt of the divorce order, can result in a fine or even imprisonment. A fine simply deprives the family, most importantly the children, of some usually much-needed money. Imprisonment obviously denies them their primary caregiver and is likely to exacerbate the already tense relationship between the parents.

Tweaking the amount of child support paid is an unattractive option, because, presumably, the amount previously set was determined to be in the best interests of the children. Allowing the aggrieved access parent to pay less or withhold payment simply denies the children necessary financial resources.

Another option is to order some form of makeup access but this amply begs the question of how the makeup access can be enforced. Appointing someone to be an access facilitator can help. However, unless the parents can agree on someone who will act free of charge, it is likely to be fairly expensive. Also, disputes between a parent and the access facilitator are likely to end up back before the judge.

A stiff, but usually effective, response is for the court to reverse the roles of the parents so that the children go into the primary care of the person who had been the access parent. Now it becomes the access parent’s responsibility to ensure that the children are provided with appropriate access with the other parent. This places the respective shoes on the other feet. Sometimes the mere threat of this is sufficient to bring about a change in the access deniers attitude. But the threat must be real.

The problem with this last approach is that, presumably, the roles of custodial and access parents were originally made because that was what was in the best interests of the children. The court must determine that the denial of access is so severe that it warrants. The role reversal, despite the other factors, which had originally led the court, or the parties themselves, to make the original assignment of roles.

Sometimes, when the denial of access is significant, when the change of roles is inappropriate, and when the adverse effects of the ongoing dispute are taking a toll on the children, the divorce court has to seriously consider reducing or even canceling access altogether. Of course this is totally unfair to the aggrieved access parent, and unjustly rewards the parent guilty of denying access, these considerations are secondary to the best interests of the children. Therefore, in some situations, it is an option, a divorce court will seriously consider.

The best course of action for a parent whose access is being denied by the other parent is to take the high road. This means making sure his or her own behavior is beyond reproach. It also means being reasonable, patient, and long-suffering and doing everything possible to minimize the adverse effects of the dispute on the children. However it does not mean to simply lie down and take it. But before you take an access dispute before a divorce court you need to think long and hard about what you are going to ask the divorce court to do to enforce it. It is up to you to convince the court that your remedy is in the best interests of the children.

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Who Should End The Conversation First When You Text Your Ex Back?




When you first start to text your ex after a breakup, your ex will respond in one of four ways:

1.) No response at all
2.) A neutral response
3.) A positive response
4.) A negative response

When you get a reply from your ex, the next question becomes how to properly handle their response in a way that won’t ruin your chances of getting back together. It sounds easy enough, but you need to have restraint here or you can really mess things up.

Why restraint?

You need restraint and self-control because when you haven’t spoken to your ex in a while and they suddenly reply to your text messages (especially if they do so in a positive way), your first instinct will be to get into a long drawn out conversation with them. You’ll be so happy to hear from them that you’ll want to keep texting them for as long as they’ll talk to you.

This seems logical, right? I mean they’re talking to you and seem happy about it so why would you want to end the conversation?

It may seem logical, but it’s not a good way to conjure up the feelings in your ex that will make them want you back. Whenever you’re attempting to text your ex back into your life, you always want to be the one to end the conversation first. Here’s 3 reasons why…

1.) By being the first to end the conversation and by ending it early (before it dies on its own), you make your ex miss and long for you more. They can’t quite get their “fill” of you which makes them look forward to the next chat.

2.) Ending the conversation first gives you the power to end things on a high note.

After you and your ex just shared a funny moment or positive memory, you can end the conversation and their mind will focus on those positive feelings toward you. If you wait too long or draw out the conversation, then you risk having it end in a fight or having it become boring and monotonous which then causes your ex’s mind to focus on those negative or neutral feelings toward you.

3.) It makes you come across as confident and not needy or desperate.

When you text your ex and end the conversation first, you come across as a confident individual who has places to be and people to see. It shows your ex that you’re not just sitting around being desperate and needy trying to eke out every last second you can with them or begging them to keep talking to you.

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How Many Vaccines at One Time Are Too Many?




In his 2002 article published in Pediatrics,Dr. Paul Offit (1) asserts an extrapolated mathematical formula demonstrated that children can be vaccinated with thousands of vaccines without harm. “Each infant would have the theoretical capacity to respond to about 10,000 vaccines at any one time.”(2)

It appears that Dr. Offit should undertake a review of human immunology. The idea that 10,000 doses of chemicals, viruses and bacterial bits could uneventfully be deposited into the blood stream of an infant or an adult without consequence defies medical logic. The direct injection of pathogens into the body bypasses the first four lines of immune defense: the skin, the mucous membranes, the intestinal lymphoid tissue and lymphatic neutralization. Unlike the claims of the pharmaceutical companies, the introduction of germs and chemicals into the blood stream does not “trick” the immune system, as claimed by doctors and researchers. It contaminates it.

In fact, children are contaminated with up to 51 vaccine antigens by the time they are six months of age. If they receive all doses of all recommended vaccines, including annual flu shots and boosters for MMR and chickenpox, that number skyrockets to 113 by the time that they enter school. And that number doesn’t take into account the measurable amounts of formaldehyde, aluminum, calf serum, gelatin and other chemical aliquots injected with each vaccine.

The potential for disaster looms as both live and attenuated (killed) viruses are injected through multiple vaccinations given on the same day. A study documenting these hazards are real was published in 1986 in Science Magazine, sounding the alarm more than twenty years ago.

The study consisted of injecting two different avirulent (benign) herpes viruses, Virus A and Virus B, into the footpads of mice. When a mouse received 100 particles of either Virus A or Virus B, none of the mice died. However, if a mouse received only one particle of both Virus A and Virus B, 62 percent of the mice died.(3) In addition eleven newly created viruses, called recombinants, were isolated from the dead mice. When these new viruses were injected into the next set of mice, three of these viruses were found to be deadly. This study demonstrates that the simultaneous injection of two benign viruses can recombine with deadly results.(4)

Offit claimed that 10,000 vaccines could be injected simultaneously without consequence. If only two different viruses can lead to death in mice, what would be potential result of injecting thousands? Children are routinely injected with four viruses are the same time when vaccinated with the MMR vaccine (measles, mumps and rubella) and Varivax® (the chickenpox vaccine) on the same day. Clearly the risk for health complications is more than a theoretical possibility.

Offit’s study was espoused to be “ground breaking” and drew substantial media attention at the time of its release. His intent was to allay the fears of parents who are questioning vaccines and are challenging the need to inject so many vaccines at the same time. Using a mathematical formula to insist that infants have a large capacity to be repositories for a pharmaceutical product will not eliminate doubts by investigative parents. “Thinking doctors” should recognize this study for what it is: an opportunity to push the oft repeated mantra that “vaccines are safe and effective.”

However, “thinking parents” might conclude differently: “If the immune system is that strong, why do we need to vaccinate at all?”



(1) Dr. Offit is on the faculty in the Department of Pediatrics at the Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania.

(2) Offit P A et al. (2002). Addressing parents’ concerns: Do multiple vaccines overwhelm or weaken the infant’s immune system? Pediatrics 109 (1):124-9.

(3) Javier, RT, Two avirulent herpes simplex viruses generate lethal combinants in vivo. Science. 1986 Nov 7; 234(4777):746-8.

(4) Ibid. Javier RT.

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How Many Times Can You Retake the CPA Exam?




The CPA exam measures your knowledge of public accounting principles, and is made up of four parts: Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR), Auditing and Attestation (AUS), Regulation (REG), and Business Environment and Concepts (BEC). You must complete and pass all four sections to earn your license and become a CPA.

There are four two-month testing windows each year, and you may take any or all sections of the exam in a particular window. However, it’s important to allow yourself enough time to prepare for each section. Candidates who attempt to take on too much or spread their study time too thin may find it difficult to pass on their first attempt. Likewise, those who undertake the exam without the benefit of CPA exam courses may discover that they need formal exam prep in order to pass.

If you do not pass one or more sections of the exam, you’ll have the opportunity to retake those sections during a later testing window. The following outlines what you need to know about retaking – and ultimately passing – the CPA exam.

Scoring of CPA Exam Sections

Each section of the exam is scored on a scale of 0 to 99, with varying weights applied to specific types of exam questions. Through 2010, a minimum score of 75 was required to pass each section. However, the scoring and weights have changed with the introduction of the exam’s computer-based testing evolution (CBT-e) in January of 2011. The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) Board of Examiners will make a decision regarding the minimum passing score in the early months of 2011, after data from the first testing window of the new 2011 exam become available.

As for the CBT-e scoring weights, the FAR, AUD and REG sections all have the same structure – multiple choice questions account for 60% of the total grade, while task-based simulations are worth 40%. For the BEC section, multiple choice questions are worth 85% of the final score, while written communication tasks contribute 15% of the grade.

Release of CPA Exam Results

Exam testing windows run the first two months of each calendar quarter, and candidates typically receive their scores during the last month of the quarter. The results of the CPA exam are released in two waves; the first is approximately a week before the testing window ends, while the second is about two weeks after the test window closes.

However, the AICPA does not issue scores directly to candidates. It sends them to the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA). The individual boards are responsible for approving and releasing scores to candidates, and each board sets its own schedule for distributing the results. If you suspect you did poorly on a particular section, you do not have to wait for your CPA exam results before rescheduling a retake; however, you cannot retake the same section more than once in the same testing window.

Timeframe for Completing CPA Exam

To answer the question posed at the outset of this article, there is no limit to the number of times you may retake the CPA exam. However, you must pass all four sections of the exam within 18 consecutive months. The calendar begins when you take your first exam, assuming you pass at least one section in that window. If you do not pass all four sections within the 18 month timeframe, you will lose credit for any sections you passed at the beginning of the rolling window, and the calendar will restart on the date of the next exam section you passed.

If you exceed the initial 18 month window, not only will you have to retake the section(s) you did not pass, but also any section(s) that you may have previously passed but which have since expired. That’s why many candidates opt to invest in CPA exam courses to improve their chances of passing the exams the first time around, and avoid retakes.

Passing the CPA Exam

Whether you’re preparing to take your first section of the CPA exam or getting ready to retake a section, be sure to allow sufficient time for planning and preparation.

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How Much Liability Insurance Do You Need?




When most people consider their insurance needs, only certain types of coverage typically come to mind. Health insurance and life (or sometimes disability) insurance protect you and your loved ones; car and homeowner’s or renter’s insurance protect your major tangible assets.

Personal liability insurance, frequently called an “umbrella” policy, seldom makes this list. But when a rainy day – or an expensive lawsuit – turns up, sometimes nothing but an umbrella will do.

As the name suggests, personal liability coverage mainly exists to protect against claims of liability. In most cases, that means finding yourself, and your assets, the target of a civil lawsuit. A personal liability policy may seem like overkill for individuals who already hold three or four insurance policies. It is true that not everyone needs such protection. But an umbrella policy effectively defends your assets and future income against damage claims that can arise from a wide variety of scenarios. Much like flood insurance for beachfront property, liability insurance is a product you hope you never need to use, but one which can create substantial peace of mind in the meantime.

Who Needs Liability Insurance?

Some level of personal liability coverage is built into homeowner’s (or renter’s) insurance and auto insurance. For many people, this may be sufficient. In part, this is because some types of assets are shielded by state and federal law. For instance, a court cannot force you to use qualified retirement accounts, such as 401(k)s, to pay a legal judgment, and most states have laws protecting traditional IRAs. Some states protect Roth IRAs and other retirement accounts, too. Many states also protect your primary residence, though the precise rules vary; Florida, for instance, offers very strong protections in this area, while other states may only shield a certain level of home equity.

You can also protect certain assets from lawsuits through estate planning tools, such as properly structured and funded irrevocable trusts. However, be wary of setting up such trusts directly after an incident you fear may trigger a lawsuit. If it looks as if you are simply trying to dodge future creditors, the courts could determine that the asset transfer is fraudulent, rendering these assets available to pay a judgment.

If you don’t have many assets outside your retirement savings and your primary residence, then your existing liability coverage may be sufficient. But second homes and nonretirement investment accounts are vulnerable. High income earners, and their spouses, may also want to consider their coverage options, since courts have been known to garnish wages to satisfy judgments.

While the amounts vary by geography and insurance policy, homeowner’s insurance usually includes up to $300,000 of personal liability coverage. Auto insurance typically covers up to $250,000 for each person and $500,000 per accident involving bodily harm, and less for incidents that involve property damage only. Yet lawsuits for serious accidents can sometimes result in judgments or settlements for millions of dollars. This is where umbrella policies kick in.

Most people think of car accidents as the main trigger for such lawsuits, and with good reason, since car accidents are relatively common and can cause a lot of damage. But there are a wide variety of situations in which you can find yourself liable for an accident. You may host a party at your home where one of the guests is seriously injured. Your dog may bite a stranger or acquaintance. If you employ household staff, such as a nanny or home health aide, the employee could sue not only because of physical harm, but also for wrongful termination or harassment.

There are other liability risks that may not spring to mind so easily. For instance, the hyperconnected world of social media creates many more opportunities to libel or defame someone, even without deliberately setting out to do so. Your teenage or preteen children could also create such problems; in a worst case scenario, they could end up involved with a cyberbullying incident or harassment that takes a tragic turn. Teenagers also increase your liability when they get behind the wheel. Even adult children can trigger “vicarious liability” statutes that may leave you personally liable in certain circumstances, such as if they borrow your car and are then involved in an accident.

Another area some people overlook is the risk of sitting on a board for a nonprofit organization. Many nonprofits are too small to offer much, if any, protection for board members’ personal assets in cases where the organization and its board of directors are sued. Board members may wish to consider directors and officers insurance specifically, as well as or in lieu of an umbrella policy. People whose charitable work – or whose professional activities – put them in the public eye may also want to consider increased liability coverage due to the potential damage a lawsuit could do to their reputations as well as their financial health.

When considering the need for personal liability insurance, it is also worth considering the common law concept of “joint and several” liability. In many jurisdictions, a plaintiff can recover all the damages from any of multiple defendants, regardless of fault. In other words, if four defendants are all found equally liable, the plaintiff can recover 100 percent of damages from one of them and nothing from the other three. Many lawyers thus concentrate on the defendant with the highest net worth in such cases, under the theory that this method is the most likely to secure the largest payout for their client.

How Much Liability Insurance Should You Carry?

As you can see, individuals with a high net worth, high income potential or both have reason to worry about their liability exposure. Once you have decided to purchase an umbrella policy, the next logical question is how much insurance you should buy.

Unfortunately, there is no specific formula to determine the correct amount of coverage. A good rule of thumb is to carry at least enough insurance to cover your net worth and the present value of your future income stream. A Certified Financial Planner™ or an insurance agent can help you with such calculations, and there are also a variety of tools online designed to help you calculate a figure. Bear in mind that tools and advice from insurance companies will tend to want to sell you more insurance than you may need, but it can still be useful to see what factors will affect your coverage. Some of these are intuitive, such as your current net worth and assets you own. Others are more immediately concerned with the potential for accidents; for instance, you might want more insurance if you own a trampoline or a pool, and you can expect slightly higher premiums as well.

As with any insurance decision, shopping around is a good idea. But there are real benefits to purchasing the majority or the entirety of your insurance products with one provider. Consolidating your coverage will not only ease the administrative burden, but it will also make it easier to spot potential gaps. For instance, if your homeowner’s insurance covers $300,000 in personal liability insurance but your umbrella policy does not kick in until $500,000, you will be responsible for the $200,000 in between. To avoid this, most companies that sell umbrella insurance require customers to increase their base liability coverage to eliminate such holes. Sticking to one company can also make the process simpler in the case of a lawsuit, since you will not have two separate companies handling two portions of your coverage. And bundling can secure discounts on premiums for your various policies.

The good news is that, in most cases, umbrella policies offer a good value. Since catastrophically large lawsuits are relatively rare, companies can afford to spread the risk widely among their customer pool. While the exact rates vary, $300 to $500 annually can often secure $1 million in coverage. This figure may rise or fall depending on the number of homes, cars and drivers in a policyholder’s household, as well as the part of the country in which he or she lives. However, it is almost always the case that whatever you pay for the first $1 million of coverage, the second million will cost less. If $1 million in coverage costs $500 per year, $5 million will almost certainly be less than $2,500.

For such relatively low premiums, personal liability insurance offers substantial peace of mind. In addition to the product’s basic function, some policies go above and beyond. Extras you may encounter include not counting legal defense costs against the coverage limit or offering reimbursement for public relations firm fees to manage the incident’s fallout. Depending on your needs and your lifestyle, it may be worth comparing features, as well as cost, when choosing a policy.

We in the United States live in a highly litigious society. Some of these lawsuits are frivolous; many are not. The reality is that civil suits can, and often do, result in judgments or settlements that run into the millions of dollars, and judges and juries have no obligation to limit awarded damages to an amount the party being sued can comfortably afford. Personal liability insurance protects you in such worst-case scenarios, even if the court finds you entirely liable.

So while adding one more insurance policy may seem unnecessary at first, for people with assets vulnerable to creditors’ claims, an umbrella policy is an economically sensible way to protect against a rainy day in court.

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How Many Men Does It Take . . . Top 12 Men’s Jokes




I get a kick out of men’s jokes. I think there is possibly a kernel of truth to each one, even though I know they don’t apply to me . . . well, not everyone, anyway.

Here are my top 12 Men’s Jokes:

  • How many men does it take to change a roll of toilet paper? Who knows? – Does it ever happen?
  • How can you tell soap operas are fictional? In real life, men aren’t affectionate out of bed.
  • How was Colonel Sanders a typical male? All he cared about were legs, breasts, and thighs.
  • How is being at a singles bar different from going to the circus? At the circus the clowns don’t talk.
  • Why are husbands like lawn mowers? They’re hard to get started, emit foul odors, and don’t work half of the time.
  • What’s the difference between a new husband and a new dog?

    A. A dog is always happy to see you

    B. A dog only takes a couple of months to train

  • What is the thinnest book in the world? What men know about women.
  • How can you tell if a man is aroused? He’s breathing.
  • What’s the difference between men and government bonds? Bonds mature.
  • How do you save a man from drowning? Take your foot off his head.
  • What is a man’s idea of doing housework? Lifting his feet so you can vacuum underneath.
  • Why do black widow spiders kill their males after mating? To stop the snoring before it starts.

    Babe Lehrer in her book, Men, They Just Don’t Get It!, which has some marvelous short stories from women, has a few men quotations that I really like, also. They are not really jokes. They are more like observations.

    Here are five quotations from Men, They Just Don’t Get It!

  • The trouble with some women is that they get all excited about nothing and then they marry him!
  • Women don’t make fools of men – most of them are the do-it-yourself types.
  • On birthdays, the wise husband forgets the past – but never the present.
  • What do you do when you boyfriend walks out? Close the door.
  • No husband has ever been shot while doing the dishes.

    Finally, I have one observation from my wife. I’ve been known to express myself vociferously after consuming caffeine. Peg stopped me cold one morning by saying, “You know, one more cup of coffee and I can legally kill you.”

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