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The Advantages Of Motor Trade Insurance

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Those of you in the motor trade and still wondering as to why you should go for motor trade insurance will do well to look at some of the reasons as to why they must take it so that there is clarity in thought and the expenditure on its premium is not seen as a burden. It is well known that when you are in business, every penny counts and you would not want to spend money on something superfluous. At the same time, it is necessary to make expenditure on something that is going to offer you peace of mind, protection against unforeseen events and so on. This would enable you to concentrate on your core business and give it the time and attention it needs rather than get caught up in legal tangles, which are not only a drain on your time but can also impact you severely on expense.

So what do people usually fall back on as an alternative to this insurance?

Some in the trade feel that they can make do with the existing car insurance and that would be enough to bail them out in the event of any incident. Remember that though the transport mean can be changed on this one, you would have to make that payment every year and any increase in those charges is going to impact you. The premiums may just go up and you would end up paying for something that is cosmetic. Moreover, in the event that your insurance service provider becomes aware that you are already engaged in another business making use of this vehicle and you have not kept them posted about it to make the requisite changes in the policy, they would be justified in terminating the contract, which would be a setback for you, not to mention the consequent loss of credibility as well.

Some others are under the impression that merely getting a “Driving Other Cars Extension” addition to their current policy would be enough. This would only enable you to make use of another vehicle with Third Party Only protection. So while you would be fine with regard to the legal requirement should any police officer decide to check your insurance status, in the event of an accident, you would not get any compensation from the service provider. It would not be business prudence paying money just to keep on the right side of the law when you are in the motor trade industry and susceptible to losses due to a variety of factors not entirely in your control.

On the other hand the motor trade insurance policy is not necessarily an expense that you would not be able to afford or an expense that is without any value. The fact that you can cover many of your trade vehicles under one policy and also cover your personal car under the same one at no extra cost should be enough incentive for you to seriously think of taking this one.

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Seven Rules For Generating Wealth From The Book "The Richest Man in Babylon"

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From ancient times, man had the desire and ambition to acquire wealth and maintain it. It has been observed that those who became successful in earning money developed certain sound financial principles with their experience. These principles are universal and unchanging. Still we have very few rich people. The majority of population in most of the countries is either poor or middle class. The reason is simple. People who understand these financial principles are very few and out of these who actually apply these principles in their real life are even fewer.

Today we are going to discuss Seven Rules that are a sure key to a fatter purse, larger bank balances and gratifying financial progress from the modern inspirational classic book “The Richest Man In Babylon” by George S Classon.

Babylon was one of the most glorious cities of ancient times. It was famous for its wealth and splendour. Its treasures of gold and jewels were fabulous. This city had no forests, no mines – not even stone for building. It was not even located upon a natural trade-route. The rainfall was insufficient to raise crops.

Babylon is an outstanding example of man’s ability to achieve great objectives using whatever means he has at his disposal. All of the resources supporting this large city were man-developed. All of its riches were man-made. Babylon possessed just two natural resources – a fertile soil and water in the river.

So let’s move on to understand to understand Seven Rules of Financial Wisdom that people living in this glorious city followed for ages and that made them rich and prosperous.

Rule one: Start the purse to fattening

We all possess different means to earn our living. Some of us opt for a job for living, others prefer charging for their professional services and lot of us start businesses either big or small to earn money. All these are great streams to earn money.

But money can be accumulated only when we save sufficient money out of money earned. Suppose an auto driver earns Rs. 500 per day. If he starts saving Rs. 100 per day after spending Rs. 400 on his daily needs, he would have saved Rs. 3,000/- by the end of first month itself.

You will be thinking, what’s so unique about this rule. Everybody knows it. Agreed but my friend truth is always simple. Now tell me how many of us actually follow it. If we were following this rule, then what is the role of credit cards and loans for purchasing costly mobiles, luxury cars, gadgets, and luxury villas in our life?

Is it not correct that as our income increases, knowingly unknowingly our standard of living increases automatically? And then we always have an excuse, that we are hardly able to cope up with expenses that are necessities of life and we are left with very little to save.

Rule two: Control the expenditures

It’s a common perception that when the money earned is not even sufficient to pay the necessary expenditure, then how can one control expenditure.

You will be surprised to know that though different people have different earnings, still they all face a common problem of empty purse. If earnings are different and they all are spending only on necessary expenditures, then the accumulated savings should be different for all of them. But it is not so because definition of necessary expenditure changes from person to person.

All men are burdened with more desires than they can gratify. The moment they have surplus money, their desire lures them to spend money giving mind the logic that money is being spent on necessities of life.

We need to have a check on our desires. The first step after earning money should be to keep aside pre decided proportion of money as savings. Only money left after saving should be spent on necessary expenditures and partial fulfilment of our desires and enjoyments.

Rule three: Make the gold multiply

The habit of savings will fatten the purse. Gold in a purse is gratifying to own and satisfy a miserly soul but earns nothing. So the next step is to consider means to put the treasure to labour and earn. The gold we retain from our earnings is but the start. The earnings it will make shall build our fortunes.

We have various asset classes to invest in through which we can earn income on our accumulated wealth. Some of these investment options are fixed deposits in banks and corporate, mutual funds, tax free bonds, investment in equity markets, rental income from residential and commercial properties etc.

I am sure many of you would be having lacs of rupees in your savings bank account which are lying idle for months and you will be earning only 4-5 percent interest on the same. We may not be checking our bank balances resulting in the same. Had we invested this money in a fixed deposit in the same bank for a year, we could be earning interest in the range of 8-9 percent. It’s just one example of our casual approach to our finances for your reference.

Rule four: Guard the treasures from loss

“It’s important to prevent the purse from being emptied once it has become well filled. Guard the treasure from loss by investing only where principal is safe, where it may be reclaimed if desirable, and where you will not fail to collect a fair rental. Consult with wise men. Secure the advice of those experienced in the profitable handling of gold. Let their wisdom protect the treasure from unsafe investments.”

This reminds me of the losses my father suffered by losing his retirement income by investing in fixed deposits of a company. In 1998, interest rates were as high as 15 percent and you could earn another 4-5 percent as pass back from sub broker. High return means high risk. Everything was fine for couple of years. Suddenly the company’s repayment of principal and interest cheques bounced. We were shocked. There was news about liquidity crises in company. But later the cheques got cleared. We were relieved. But the temptation to earn higher income made us again invest in fixed deposits in same company. But this time when the fixed deposits matured, the company didn’t pay the principal and interest. And my father lost his hard earned money.

Rule five: Make of the dwelling a profitable investment

Owning a house to live in is everybody’s big dream. Still majority of us spend a major part of life living in rented apartments. Payment of rentals forms a major portion of monthly expenditure for many households.

It is advisable to take home loan, pay EMI (Equated monthly instalment) and purchase own house than to pay monthly rentals where ever possible. Hence one should purchase a house to live in at a young age.

This will help him create an asset in the form of house property out of his essential monthly expenditure itself. It will also greatly reduce his cost of living, making available more of his earnings for pleasures and the gratification of his desires.

Rule six: Insure a future income

We all need to make preparation for a suitable income in the days to come, when we are no longer young, and to make preparations for our family should we be no longer with them to comfort and support them.

One should take the help of financial planners to opt for suitable life insurance policies (term plans), family floater health insurance policies and pension plans to handle tough times intelligently.

One needs to invest in assets where safety of principal is ensured and which generate income at regular intervals. This will help in meeting monthly expenses in your old age and also be of help to family members after your death.

Rule seven: Increase the ability to earn

The last principle for a fat purse is “to cultivate the own powers, to study and become wiser, to become more skilful, to so act to respect yourself.”

“Preceding accomplishments must be a desire. The desires must be strong and definite. General desires are but weak longings. For a man to wish to be rich is of little purpose. For a man to desire five pieces of gold is a tangible desire which he can press to fulfilment. Desires must be simple and definite. They defeat their own purpose should they be too many, too confusing, or beyond a man’s training to accomplish.”

One should keep increasing his skill sets throughout his life. Those who are intelligent and skilful will always remain in demand. Hence whosoever keeps following this principle will always have the capability to earn wealth.

I hope these simple rules for accumulating wealth and keeping it safely will help us in living a successful, happy and fulfilling life.

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Finance

Comparing Health Insurance Plans Before Choosing Health Insurance

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Comparing health insurance plans is a very important aspect of the due diligence which should be undertaken prior to choosing health insurance. In comparing plans close attention should be paid to the differences and the similarities between the plans, and priorities should be established as to which variables are most important in the decision-making process. The most common considerations are costs benefits, and healthcare flexibility.

Comparing health insurance plans can be best achieved via a health insurance exchange, whether it is one of the government exchanges, also known as marketplaces, or a private exchange. With a few clicks of a mouse and strokes of a keyboard most of the information for comparing plans before choosing health insurance can be obtained with a minimum expenditure of time. The process is not only fast and efficient, but is also educational. With the correct entry of your zip code, age, smoking status, desired plan type and desired plan features it is possible to obtain instant information including the monthly premium, deductible, copayment, if applicable, and other details of any plan(s) with a side-by-side comparison of multiple plans.

The monthly premium is only one aspect of the cost of coverage. Depending on the plan chosen, additional costs include copayments, deductibles and coinsurance which can all be compared between various plans. In addition to these individual out-of-pocket expenses, the private health-insurance-exchange platform will also allow you to compare the maximum annual out-of-pocket expenses between different plans and will indicate whether or not the annual deductible is applied toward meeting those maximum expenses.

Benefits that can be compared include lifetime benefits stated as a dollar amount or unlimited, out of network coverage, out of country coverage, cost savings for a major, midsize or minor event compared to not having insurance coverage, preventive care coverage, emergency and urgent care, prescription drug coverage, inpatient coverage, outpatient coverage, pediatric services, maternity coverage, mental health coverage, substance abuse treatment, and additional coverage for things such as chiropractic treatment, skilled care and nursing home services, home healthcare, durable medical equipment, dental services, vision services and hospice services.

Healthcare flexibility details which can be compared between plans via the private exchange platform or the government marketplace include the plan type (PPO versus HMO), if a primary care physician (gatekeeper) must be selected, whether or not specialist referrals are required, and whether or not authorization is required for accessing out of network benefits. Additionally, plans can be compared on the basis of their A.M. best rating.

Choosing plans to compare prior to the actual comparison process, can also be efficiently accomplished with the health-insurance exchange platform by sorting plans based on insurance company, monthly premium, plan type, deductible, metal level, coinsurance, health savings account eligibility, and the additional benefits of prescription drug coverage or dental coverage.

If obtaining healthcare from a particular physician(s), at a particular hospital(s), or at a particular outpatient center(s) is extremely important, the exchange platform will enable you to determine whether or not a physician(s), hospital(s), or outpatient center(s) is a preferred provider, prior to choosing healthcare insurance, if the plan under consideration is an HMO or PPO network plan.

Choosing health insurance plans to compare and making the actual comparisons, not only helps you to determine the differences and similarities between various products, but is an educational process which most likely will expand your knowledge of medical insurance in general. Additionally, this choose, compare, then choose approach increases your likelihood of choosing health insurance that is most suitable for your needs and goals.

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Web Strategies For Small Business Owners In 2007

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The year 2007 is round the corner and companies are getting ready to implement new strategies for their businesses. If your website is not working to support your business in terms of its sales, lead generation, brand building efforts etc, it’s still not too late to create a strategy that supports and facilitates your short, medium and long-term business objectives.

1. Redefine your web strategy

A web-strategy should be simple and focused. For example, if you are a small service based organization, your website should be able to generate leads, provide online tools, and promote you as an expert in your industry. If you are a retailer, you should be able to sell your products online or at least make a deep and active connection with your regular customers.

2. Stand out as an Expert

In spite of limited budgets you can still make your company / brand the most admirable one. Standing out as a customer-centric company requires you to provide your customers with content / information which will help them with their problems related to your product. Such content and information will go a long way in building loyalty towards your company. Good, relevant, and focused content is information in the form of articles, whitepapers, research reports and web-based tools, which is built closely around the information-requirements of your customers.

Here is an example to further clarify the concept; Let’s assume that you are an insurance agent, what would be expert content for your website? Content educating your customers and potential customers about how insurance policies work, tools and self assessment calculators, an expert blog etc. It’s important to understand that once you start providing such content regularly, you will see a large number of people coming back to your site, and also referring your company to others.

3. Open up communications

Customer Centric companies are good listeners. The web being a very interactive medium makes it easier for you and the customers to communicate. You should provide your customers the tools to communicate with you by giving contact forms, feedback forms, forums (moderated) etc. Also you can start a corporate blog, an e-newsletter, or a moderated forum to create a two-way communication with your customer base.

4. Apply the power of Search Engine Optimization

If you are still not doing it, you are missing out big time! Search engine optimization, popularly known as SEO, is about optimizing your website in a way so that it appears in the top search results when people make search queries in popular search engines like Google, Yahoo and MSN etc. Anyone can learn search engine optimization but if the lack of time and interest are what’s holding you back, hire a consultant or a SEO company with a successful track record.

5. Earn Revenues from Your Website

You would be pleasantly surprised to know that everyone with a website can earn revenues from it. You can become a contextual publisher (AdSense, YPN etc), become an affiliate, or simply set up your own store and sell online. With e-commerce revenues totaling up to billions of dollars; why not take a small meaningful share of the chunk? If you have a service or product you can sell online, don’t stay back.

6. Design and Visual Appeal – It Counts!

Your website needs to look visually appealing and there are no two opinions on that universally. Visually appealing however can be a matter of personal tastes, however following are some industry standard best practices.

o Avoid Splash pages. Splash pages are actually a hindrance and increase the number of clicks and time to reach your homepage.

o With a large number of internet population now switching to Mozilla browsers (FireFox), make sure your website is cross-browser compatible.

o With the various screen resolutions available, (600 x 800, 1024 x 768 etc) always check if your website looks acceptable in all popular screen resolutions. Also check how your website appears in hand held devices such as mobile phones, PDA’s etc.

o Use flash and other rich media sparingly as users with low speed internet connections may have difficulty viewing them.

o Meticulously focus on the design consistency. The colors, layout, and buttons, should be consistent across the site.

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Six Things You Didn’t Know Your Freight Forwarder Could Do

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Get your freight forwarder in on the ground floor of your importing operations and you may be surprised at how much time and money you save, not to mention the number of headaches you can avoid.

Here are six things that we bet you didn’t know your international logistics provider could do for you:

1. Monitor Vendor Performance: Technology allows you to keep accurate, accessible tabs on your vendors and business partners. Using a dashboard application that tracks all imports and exports, orders, shipping times and other critical metrics, cutting-edge logistics providers like Transmodal Corporation provide next-generation visibility that puts all your shipment data in one place in a user-friendly interface. With this information, you’ll be able to benchmark vendor performance and make the best possible procurement decisions.

2. Import and Export Compliance: Over the last decade, literally every corner of the transportation industry has been impacted by increased regulation and oversight. Your freight forwarder works in the trenches day-in and day-out, and is well equipped to help you navigate the new laws, and ensure that your company and its shipments comply with all of the rules. Importers and exporters alike can tap into this valuable resource, and avoid the hefty penalties and fines associated with non-compliance. Export civil and criminal penalties are currently capped at $1 million (there are no caps on import penalties), but will increase to a maximum of $10 million (or 10 times the value of the export) when the new Export Administration Act is passed. Exporters like Silicon Graphics, Inc. (hit with $1.18 million in fines for illegally exporting high performance computers to a Russian nuclear laboratory) and Kaiser Aluminum & Chemical Corporation (smacked with a $210,00 civil penalty for a similar violation), learned the hard way. Keep your company’s nose clean by working with your freight forwarder to stay on the right side of the law.

3. Provide “Pay As You Go” Insurance: Maybe you don’t need an annualized insurance policy that covers the 20 percent of your business that ships globally, or maybe you only import goods during certain times of the year. Whatever the challenge, your international logistics provider can help by providing marine or air cargo insurance on a pay as you go basis. This can help fill the gaps left by another policy, or by your self-insurance strategy, and give you peace of mind with little extra effort. Your international logistics provider will also tell you what your policy does, and doesn’t, cover. Let’s say you just purchased $500,000 in consumer electronics with the intention of selling the goods for $2 million. Unfortunately, the computers were damaged during shipping and are unsalable, leaving your company out $1 million in lost profits (if your policy covered replacement costs). If you are insured for product replacement and associated fees, you will get $500,000, plus a $75,000 refund on duties paid and $50,000 for freight and warehousing expenses. That leaves you with $625,000, compared to $1.5 million if you had been able to sell the computers. Avoid this problem by knowing in advance what your insurance policy does and doesn’t cover, and by filling the gaps with a pay as you go policy from your international logistics provider.

4. Assist With Duty Refunds: When your shipment arrives in the U.S. soaking wet and damaged beyond repair, you not only lose the original product costs, sales value, export duties and freight fees, but you also lose the import duties that you paid out to get it into the country. Your freight forwarder can help with the latter by filing for a duty refund and helping you recover your costs. You’ll have to prove that the shipment is unsalvageable, and that you won’t be able to use it as intended, in order to get your money back. If your merchandise gets exported, companies like Transmodal Corporation can help you file for a duty drawback, which is the refund of customs duties and fees paid on imported merchandise that is either re-exported from the U.S. or destroyed by customs. Statistics show that several billion dollars of drawback claims go uncollected each year, even though claimants are entitled to a refund of 99 percent of the applicable duties, fees or taxes paid. Don’t leave this money on the table.

5. Tariff Engineering and Duty Minimization: Involve your customs broker in your shipping activities early and you’ll be able to tap its vast material classifications knowledge bank. These classifications dictate the amount of duties charged on shipments, and are often left hanging until after the shipment arrives in the U.S. By empowering your customs broker to assist with this aspect of your importing operations (by providing suggestions on the raw materials used in the products, for example) you may be able to significantly reduce your duties and increase your company’s bottom line. Your broker may be able to advise in other creative (and legal) ways of minimizing duty payments, such as the use of Free Trade Agreements, reporting of US Content, or the use of Foreign Trade Zones.

6. Ensure Social Responsibility Among Business Partners: Keeping tabs on issues like child labor, forced labor, health and safety, and discrimination isn’t easy from thousands of miles away. Many companies send their own teams to validate their overseas factories, and to make sure those companies are upholding the exporter’s own code of conduct. Handling this process internally is expensive and time consuming. Your international logistics provider can help by validating transparency, consistency and integrity across your operations and ensuring that none of your partners are violating your firm’s own commitment to social responsibility.

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Business Protection With General Liability Insurance

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Starting or investing in a business is a big step – both emotionally and financially, which is why most business owners chose to protect their future with general liability insurance. One of the most costly mistakes made in business is not investing in general liability insurance, which can be purchased along with property insurance to insure all business insurance needs are met both at the location of your business, as well as at other addresses where business is conducted.

General liability insurance typically addresses and covers any claims involving property or bodily damage, along with personal injury (such as slander and libel), as well as advertising injury. Without GL insurance coverage to protect profits, business owners run the risk of financial loss, whether from payout due to legitimate or fraudulent claims. With the range of options offered in GL insurance policies, including defense and medical costs, as well as premises and tenant’s liability, there are many customization options for every individual business.

However, with as many benefits that GL insurance allows for, there are certain circumstances when liability is not covered. Such is the case with some professional liability situations, which exist when business owners or their employees make professional recommendations during the course of doing business. In this case, a business owner may want to add a professional liability policy to an existing general liability policy.

As a rule, general and property liability insurance is one of the most basic types of insurance a business should invest in, as it will provide peace of mind with a variety of claims up to a specific amount, including theft or destruction of property. In this ever-changing economy, at least knowing your coverage is there for you can be the calm in the storm that every business owner needs.

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The Hike To Hidden Pond Songbird Trail

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Hidden Pond Songbird Tail is one of the short hikes that was established by the Corps of Engineers. It takes less than a mile to trek this short trail with little elevation. The site is situated in the Reregulation Dam Recreation Area right on the west section of Carters Lake. Carters Lake is also a known recreation spot for individuals who want to take a break from some frequented areas on this trail. Along the way you will pass Georgia Road’s remnant that was built back in 1804 during the Treaty of Telico. After Andre Jackson and his battalion did some work on this road in 1819, this had then been called the old Federal Highway.

The Cherokee and farmers in the past have also used some trees along this trail as path markers. On the Trail of Tears, the Cherokee left this area and by 1977 a dam was created which then created a reregulation form near the Coosawattee River and Carters Lake. The trail moves along hugging the dam for at the reregulation pool.

From the south parking lot pace towards the marked trailhead found at the entrance of Carters Lake Dam. Just beyond this marker the trail splits into two paths. Take the right trail across the bridge as the treadway ascends to a moderately steep hill. From here the path returns to the original trail and then you will cross a longer bridge that takes you a closer view of the marsh. Along this path you will see several bird species including an osprey, wild turkey, and a hawk. Other wildlife such as raccoon, turtles, opossum, and white-tailed deer can be spotted here. Move past this and then turn right at the end of the bridge as the footpath swerves back to the original trail.

The end of the saddleback that formed Carters Lake can be seen at your left. Continue along this path reaching the beaver pond which was built by the Corps of Engineers with multiple viewing blinds for bird watching. This lake is home to many species of bird that inhabited the area for several centuries. There are great spots in this South Regulation Dam Park that is best for fishing and picnics. However, if you opt for a longer trek, there are other trails nearby such as the Big Acorn Nature Trail and the Rock Nature Trail which are both accessible at the Carters Lake Visitor Center.

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