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Explaining Investing to Kids – Stocks, Proxy Statements

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For my nephew’s 13th birthday, I transferred some shares of stock into a UTMA account for him under a dividend reinvestment plan (DRIP), and I’ve been using the investment as a teaching opportunity. Every time I get a statement or other correspondence about the investment, I forward it to him with a brief note explaining what it is and what it means to him and his investment. As I was crafting my latest email to him about the proxy statement we received, I realized that others trying to teach children about investing might appreciate reading my notes, too. So I lightly editted it to make a bit more cohesive for people without a knowledge of the background, and I offer it to you…

I got a message from Fortune Brands (Ticker: FO) and since you’re an owner, too, I wanted to share it with you.

In a small corporation like mine (I own an IT consultancy), I’m the sole owner, president, and most of the workforce. However, public companies like Fortune Brands are owned by thousands or even millions of individual investors like you and me. As owners, we get to control the company, but there are too many of us for everyone to be involved in the day-to-day operations – that would be crazy. Instead, we exercise our control by electing a board of directors to provide direction and guidance for the company. The board of directors hires a CEO for the company, and some of the other top officers, and those officers handle the day-to-day operations of the business.

You and I don’t participate in decisions about manufacturing, sales, shipping/receiving, hiring/firing of employees, payroll & benefits, business hours, or office locations – we leave that to the company’s officers, who are selected by the board of directors you and I elect. Since we don’t get involved in the daily grind, the company produces annual and quarterly status reports for us about its activities, successes, and failures. An annual Proxy Statement asks for our votes for the board of directors and for our input on a limited few additional important issues. We can submit our votes by mail or over the Internet, or we may attend the meeting in person in Illinois at the end of April.

I’ve attached the company’s 2010 Proxy Statement (omitted from this article), containing information about their upcoming shareholders’ meeting. It’s going to seem very confusing, but don’t worry – I don’t need you to read the whole thing – I just wanted to show you something on one page of it…

Board members have a limited term, so we’re voting to replace the ones who are expiring this year. Knowing who to vote for can sometimes be a difficult matter. Different people approach this different ways. All of the candidates being offered to us have been selected by our existing board of directors, so they are people that our board thinks we’ll like and will be a good fit with the other board members. For many owners, that’s good enough, and they just go with the board’s recommendation, especially if they’re happy with the way the company has been running. Other owners may do some research into the resumes and past experiences of the various candidates before deciding.

I approach it a different way: I want the board members to have my interest at heart, and that is that I want my investment to increase in value. To be sure that they have the same interest, I look for candidates who, themselves, have large investments in the company’s stock. If you open the attached PDF file and flip to page 60 (sorry, readers – just imagine it), you’ll find a table entitled “Certain Information Regarding Security Holdings” that reveals this information. The table shows the number of shares owned by each officer and director of the company, and by multiplying these numbers by the share price, I know how much money each of them has invested in the company. I only vote for those with sizable investments. Today, it was all of them, but I always check because I’ve occasionally seen candidates who own few or even no shares of the company.

Besides the election of directors, the proxy statement goes on to ask for our votes on several other items, such as approving an auditor, approving a change in voting requirements, and approving a plan to pay directors with additional stock. I like the way the board has been handling things, so I voted in favor of all of their requests.

There’s one last special item on the list, too. As owners of the company, you and I have a right to propose our own issues to be put forth to vote upon by the other shareholders. The last item on the list is one such proposal from another shareholder. He wants us to make a rule that anytime 10% of the shareholders feel strongly about something they may call a “special meeting” of all of the shareholders, rather than wait for this once-a-year regular meeting to discuss and vote on the matter. It’s the sort of thing you’d like to be able to do yourself, but it could start to get expensive and disruptive for the company to have to send out announcements, reserve auditoriums, and arrange flights and lodging for executives every time a vocal minority wanted to talk about an insignificant issue. I voted against it.

As the custodian for your shares, they sent me a single proxy statement for the total of both your and my shares, so I’ve already voted for both of us. In the future, when you’re old enough to control your own investments, the responsibility of voting on these issues will rest with you. If you have questions, I’m always happy to help.

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Benefits of Bing and Yahoo Pay Per Click

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With today’s very competitive online marketing, it is important that a business creates a strong marketing effort to build qualified traffic to their website. Pay per click marketing is one great way of advertising on the Internet. It can bring a steady flow of traffic that can result to potential leads and new sales. Over the years, it has been proven profitable, especially if the business is targeting a segment of audience. Adding Bing and Yahoo to your Google pay per click marketing is worth considering.

Pay per click campaign is based on keyword selection specifically designed to revolve around search terms that are relevant for the site. They are normally the ads that show up at the top and right corner of a search page. Generally, search engines do not charge when displaying these ads, but when a visitor clicks on the ad or the link which lands back to the business’ site, only then, is the advertiser charged.

All throughout the pay per click marketing world, Google is leading all other search engines with their 67% market share. However, what most advertisers do not realize is that with the growing amount of traffic on Google, also comes a number of competitors, still making it hard to hit on search result targets.

So, what is the alternative? Over the last couple of years, Bing and Yahoo pay per click have emerged as Google’s number one competitor. Although, Yahoo’s market share only comes up to 11.6% and Bing’s to 16.7%. When combined, they total of over 30% and this can still make a dent with Google’s share. And for any advertisers who overlooks these numbers could be ignoring a large population of potential customers.

Other advantages of Bing and Yahoo pay per click, include:

  • Pay per click with Bing and Yahoo does not cost as much as with Google. – Many advertisers say that taking Google as their host for paid search is a complete campaign suicide, mainly because of their high costs. Relevant keywords being bid with Bing and Yahoo do not cost as much as $2 to $5 per click as with Google. For instance, one of the most expensive keywords in Google includes “insurance,” “loans,” “mortgage,” “trading,” which usually ranges from $30 to $50 per click. So, if you run a business about loans and need to bid on “house loans” keyword, a business can pay as much as $3500 a month for that particular keyword alone with Google. However, Bing and Yahoo give much more reasonable prices. They have the lowest cost per click, even with the most expensive keywords in AdWords that normally ranges from $0.10 to $2, but still lands in the first pages. More so, they offer long-tail keywords of four or more words, but still at a very reasonable price bid.
  • Bing and Yahoo have demographic advantages. – Although recently, Bing removed their feature to target ads by gender and age as they say they improve it to become more accurate. Bing and Yahoo still have a statistical advantage because 58% of their users are women, and their audiences are from an age group of 35-45 and 55-64, which are definite age groups that can afford to buy as much in the Internet. Furthermore, this is probably because Bing is owned by Microsoft, and they normally put default web browsers that come with the computer a user has bought, not unless of course, if they are tech savvy and knows how to change web search engines in their computers.
  • Bing and Yahoo allow their users to import campaigns from Google – most advertisers admit that they are always having a hard time running separate campaigns in Google, and with Bing and Yahoo as they do their best to update each. Now, AdCenter with Bing and Yahoo allows users to import their campaign from AdWords with Google, without even exporting a single file. This is perfect for advertisers who do not want to spend time editing, exporting, and re-uploading spreadsheets from one account to another.
  • Bing and Yahoo pay per click does not run on Internet Explorer alone – Recently, many adCenter users of Bing and Yahoo requested to expand their service outside Internet Explorer. Now, pay per click may also be run through Mac and Chrome users, including all other web browsers.
  • Bing and Yahoo for mobile – paid search through Bing and Yahoo is made easy as they launched Bing on mobile devices through WAP or GPRS connections. Not only will users enjoy “Find My Location,” applications, as well as driving directions and maps, but they will also be able to search for new information through their smart phones, and this means that pay per click campaigns will reach a much wider audience.
  • Bing and Yahoo have representatives to talk to for free, 24/7. – Microsoft has dedicated customer representatives who are specifically assigned to help Bing and Yahoo AdCenter users, even those that are starting with their Bing and Yahoo ads. They have a range of topics that they can help with, from starting up, to billing, managing campaigns, editorial questions, and campaign reports. In fact, they are even open to suggestions and comments, which is the main reason why Microsoft brought about the freedom for users to use their Bing pay per click campaign on other web browsers. More so, these representatives are always active in social media, so it could be easy to reach them in Twitter or Facebook.
  • Cross-Platform Analytic Reports – With Bing and Yahoo’s adCenter report, it becomes easy for users to compare keyword performance for their pay per click campaign with other search engines, so that they can make the most of their budget.
  • Potentially Better Return of Investments – any pay per click campaign is useless if it does not get positive results. Numerous advertisers have vouched that adCenter pay per click campaigns through Bing and Yahoo drove more traffic than keywords run with AdWords of Google, which significantly gives a better return on investment.

Even with the 67% market share of Google, if combined with costly prices for their pay per click campaign, and with their other seemingly flaws, Bing and Yahoo still strike as a better alternative to Google, and as they make a dent to Google’s ad campaign, soon more and more advertisers will realize the benefits and power of what Bing and Yahoo can offer with the increase of their sales and rapid growth of their business.

Additional Resources

  • Pay Per Click on Bing
  • Pay Per Click on Google
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Top Three Attributes of the Car Accident Lawyer You Should Retain

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Car accidents, including motorcycle and truck accidents, are serious business. They happen every day and, even if you’re the safest driver in the world, they can still happen to you. If you suffer serious injuries from a car, motorcycle, or truck accident, it is vital that you first speak to a car accident lawyer before you reach any settlement with the insurance company, which would like nothing more than to pay you the least amount possible. However, choosing the right lawyer is not as simple as the decision to consult with one. Here are the top three attributes that you should look for in a prospective car accident lawyer to retain.

Expert

One of the most critical attributes to look for in a prospective auto injury lawyer is whether he or she actually specializes in car, motorcycle, and truck accident law. As an injured accident victim, you will be relying on lawyer you retain to maximize your recovery from the insurance company. Do yourself a big favor and make sure you retain a lawyer who specializes exclusively in representing auto accident victims.

There are many attorneys in each state practicing personal injury law. However, personal injury law can cover a wide-range of injuries. You don’t want a personal injury lawyer that handles a wide variety of personal injury lawsuits. You want a lawyer that specializes exclusively in car, motorcycle and truck accident law; someone who day-to-day represents auto accident victims.

For example, if needed heart sugary, would you want a general surgeon operating on you or a heart surgeon? Retain a lawyer specializing in representing auto accident victims. This can make a significant difference in how much you recover from the insurance company. You do not have to worry about expert auto lawyers being too expensive for you, because they generally do not charge hourly fees but, rather, a contingency fee.

Experience

The second most critical attribute to look for in a prospective car injury lawyer is his or her experience level. It’s not just a matter of being an experienced lawyer, you want an attorney who is very experienced in representing auto accident injury victims.

Following a car accident, the injuries you sustain may change your life drastically. Now is not the time to put your life and the way you are able to lead it in the hands of a rookie. Try to find a car accident attorney with at least five years of experience, ideally someone with experience representing car accident victims against the same insurance company. Consult with a seasoned lawyer who has many years of experience going up against the insurance companies.

However, it’s not just a matter of experience in car accident law. You want an attorney with years of trial experience, because your case may require going to trial.

Success

Finally, when considering a prospective car accident lawyer, you want to make sure he or she has been successful in the past and in the present. There is no point selecting a specialized lawyer with years of experience if he or she has not been successful against the auto insurance companies. It should not be difficult finding out how successful your prospective car lawyer is in representing auto accident injury victims. Just ask! If he or she has a proven track record of success, they will tell you and give you examples. Ideally, they will have been successful for past clients with similar injuries that you have sustained in the car accident.

In the end, you want a car accident lawyer who is an expert, experienced, and successful with respect to auto accident law in your state. Do not settle for anything less. There is absolutely no reason why you would need to.

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Sales Force Automation Software: Business Need

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Sales Force Automation Software was a major challenge before some decades that is successfully superseded by our techno-giants. The entire business community was longing for a system that could control; and monitor the track of sales and marketing activities. Things were getting tougher for an executive or an entrepreneur to manually handle the entire sales process and organizational activities. Moreover, the interaction with the clients was worsened. The answer to all those worries came in the form of this Software.

Streamlines Sales tasks

Sales Force Automation Software basically is another name for Customer Relationship Management Software. Its prime motto is to provide one-to-one interaction of organization executives with their customers. The primitive form of this Software was just for maintaining contacts. But rapid advancement of technology and rigorous endeavors from the technocrats has made it capable of overpowering the entire sales stage.

Online Sales Software handles all the sales tasks easily and gives you accurate sales reports on time. It is easy to use software which fulfills all the needs of the organization. It saves the precious time of the sales team and sales managers.

Web Based Technology

Online CRM Software encompasses cloud computing technology to perform the sales force automation. From Cloud Computing, we basically mean data to be stored in servers that are remotely located and are connected through network. Cloud Computing uses the SaaS module to provide this technology. SaaS stands for Software-As-A-Service. That means, the software needs not to be installed at the client’s computer. It is hosted from a remote server and its complete package can be accessed from there itself.

This Software has sorted out most of the problems faced by the entrepreneurs handling small to big organizations. Its easy usability, portability and anywhere operable flexibility have proved its worth over the previously launched hosted application.

Some Benefits of Online CRM Software over the premise hosted software are:

1) Premise hosted need to be installed to a computer. Thus it gets system specific. You can’t avail the software once you change the software. It can be used anywhere and at anytime, you can access the software any time you required.

2) Online CRM Softwares are cost effective. Whereas premise hosted software are much costlier than that.

3) There is a lot of extra IT infrastructure needed to successfully run premise hosted application. Whereas online application provide all kinds of functional service on a remote access basis.

4) The entire data load in case of premise hosted is upon your system. So, any time, there are chances of data crash and hardware failure. While in case of cloud computing, entire data load is upon the server. So your system is always safe from the impending dangers.

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Addition To The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006 Proposed By HSE

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It was only in 1983 that Asbestos (Licencing) Regulations introduced the requirement for companies or individuals working with asbestos coating or asbestos insulation products to possess a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) licence.

Another twenty years elapsed before the 2003 Regulations instructed that the relevant authority must be notified of the details to any asbestos work which required a license, at least 14 days prior to the commencement of work. The Control of Asbestos Regulations, 2006 unified all previous prohibition and licencing regulations into one comprehensive reference document.

Following correspondence with the European Commission, the HSE is presently in consultation on plans to once again modify aspects of the 2006 Regulations. The aim is to more accurately reflect current levels of health risk concerns to companies and organisations who come into working contact with chrysotile white asbestos, estimated to be still present in a half a million premises around the UK.

Despite the continuing asbestos awareness campaigns of HSE, inconsistency of working knowledge and methods by construction firms and premises owners to the necessary actions required when first inspecting site building, encountering, containing and disposing of asbestos material.

Despite being banned from the 1980s onwards, white asbestos continued to be used in insulating materials such as wall board, wall coatings and cement products found in a wide variety of commercial and domestic building applications.

Currently, there are two existing categories of asbestos work:

1. Licensed asbestos work

2. Non-Licensed asbestos work

Currently, non-licensed work is exempt from requirements to:

– Notify work with asbestos to the relevant enforcing authority

– Carry out medical (respiratory) examinations

– Maintain registers of work (health records)

– Hold an asbestos licence

– Have arrangements to deal with accidents, incidents and emergencies

– Designate asbestos areas

While the licensed asbestos work category remains unchanged, HSE propose to modify non-licensed asbestos work by introducing additional measures for short duration exposure to ‘friable’ ( fragile and disintegrating) or ‘damaged or degraded’ asbestos. A new category of asbestos work is to be introduced in addition to the two existing categories.

3. Notifiable Non-Licensed Work (NNLW).

Work under this new category will be exempt from requirements to:

– Hold an asbestos licence.

– Have arrangements for accidents, incidents and emergencies.

– Designate asbestos areas.

However, work under the new category will require employers to:

– Notify their work with asbestos to the “relevant enforcing authority”.

– Carry out medical (respiratory) examinations.

– Maintain registers of work (health records).

HSE propose that requirements for notifying work with asbestos, health records and medical surveillance will not apply where:

a) Exposure of employees to asbestos is sporadic and of low intensity.

b) It is clear from the risk assessment that the exposure of any employee to asbestos will not exceed the control limitwhere the work involves –

(i) Short, non-continuous maintenance activities in which only non-friable materials are handled.

(ii) Removal without deterioration of non-degraded materials in which the asbestos fibres are firmly bonded in a matrix.

(iii) Encapsulation/sealing of asbestos-containing materials which are in good condition.

(iv) Air monitoring/control, and the collection /analysis of samples to confirm whether a material contains asbestos.

Existing regulations do not specifically require the asbestos to be ‘non-friable’ or ‘non-degraded’ and the European Commission also seems to require a respiratory examination of industry personnel every three years due to uncertainty of not will knowing if there has been an encounter with asbestos in ‘notifiable’ situations.

Throughout the twentieth century and right up until the present day, dangers of asbestos exposure were continually ignored by building trade personnel or building owners. As a result, joiners, plasterers, plumbers, electricians and other operatives would be constantly at fatal risk of inhaling deadly asbestos fibre dust, which remains permanently embedded within the linings of the lungs and would develop into asbestosis disease or the malignant incurable cancer, mesothelioma.

The first asbestosis symptoms would not appear until some 15 to 50 years later, often at an advanced stage when prognosis would be between 4 to 18 months.

In the UK, the number of deaths from mesothelioma has risen to 2, 250 in 2008 and over 2,000 diagnosed cases are recorded each year.

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Outsourcing Your Plastic Surgery Marketing

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As a plastic surgeon you set yourself apart from other doctors. Every day you prove your expertise and skill by sculpting and shaping clients into the people they want to be. That is why it is a good idea for you to do what you do best and let marketing experts do what they do best. Hire a professional plastic surgery marketing team and let them increase your client base.

What an SEO Professional Can Do For You

An internet marketer is skilled at optimizing your website for higher search engine ranking. The whole idea behind marketing is being seen and a professional knows how to get you seen better than anyone. He has spent years creating ways to grab the attention of the consumer. Just as you have spent years perfecting your skills.

It would take you just as long to learn how to successfully market your business. You didn’t learn how to be a plastic surgeon just by watching the techniques on television or by reading a few books. You learned hands on with the guidance of a professional. A marketing expert learned in much the same way.

Don’t Try to Do Everything

When you try to do everything on your own you end up stressing out and making mistakes. A few plastic surgery marketing mistakes can cost you quite a few clients. But, if your stress causes mistakes in your practice, then you are really in trouble. You could even lose your license. Outsourcing your marketing strategies takes away all of that stress.

A marketing expert can create a social media marketing campaign, an email campaign, create online videos and a slew of other effective promotional techniques to get your name out on the internet and a high search engine ranking. An SEO expert knows how reach a targeted audience that have already shown an interest in having plastic surgery.

Another good reason for hiring a professional is that the industry is constantly evolving. Once you think you know everything about plastic surgery marketing, things change. The techniques that worked yesterday may not work today. A professional marketer stays on top these changes and changes with them.

People like getting instant answers and that is what Google is all about. They just type in what they are looking for and in an instant they see over a hundred thousands results. If your website is down near the one hundred thousand mark, no will click on your link. If you are in the top five, you will have much more success. A marketing expert can get you into that top five.

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How to Stop Being Resigned to Living With an Alcoholic

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Alcoholism is an illness that can be much harder for those living with an alcoholic than it is for the alcoholic. Those with an alcoholic parent or spouse know the hardship of constantly worrying that their loved one will drive while intoxicated, sell personal valuables in order to finance their habit or go on a binge and disappear for days.

For many living with an alcoholic means constantly worrying about paying the bills, having to clean up after their alcoholic loved one, looking out for various signs of alcoholism, dealing with abuse, and even being unable to sleep from fear of what will happen next.

Instead of allowing or becoming resigned to the situation you must fight back. This is the only way to ensure better future! Use these top 5 tips to make a positive change to your live.

1. Take an honest look at the alcoholic: Recognizing the line between social drinking and alcohol abuse is not always easy to identify. Although an individual who only drinks a few glasses during the weekend might not be considered an alcoholic, anyone who drinks to the point that it affects their regular life can be considered to be abusing alcohol.

Talk to the alcoholic parent or spouse. Sit down and ask them why they drink. Discus worrying symptoms that indicate alcoholism such as drinking to the point of blacking out, needing to drink to feel better about their life and feeling ashamed over their drinking habits.

2. Let the alcoholic accept the consequences: To get out of resignation, let the alcoholic experience the negative consequences of drinking and do not let yourself take on responsibility for their actions. When living with an alcoholic do not call in for them if they miss work, never purchase alcohol for them, do not help them to bed or cleaning up the empty bottles after they have been drinking. To stay out of debt and get them to see how bad the situation has become do not buy alcohol for them or give them money to buy more.

3. Accept the reality: To change your life with an alcoholic parent or spouse, you need to accept the reality. Do not live in denial or make excuses for the signs of alcoholism being displayed. You should also not feel guilty or try to threaten or bribe them into giving up alcohol. Instead, deal with your own emotions, because this is the only thing you have power to control.

4. Do not engage: When living with an alcoholic, you are likely to notice that when heavily drinking they may start arguments, throw items around, or become verbally abusive. Do not allow yourself to be drawn into playing mind games or involved in fights! Make sure your spouse experiences being loved by you but detach yourself from the situation. If needed, leave the house for a few hours or go out with friends. By not accepting the outburst and bad behaviours they will see even faster that they need help.

5. Get Support: The road to recovery will not happen in just a few weeks or months. For some the process can take years! To get the emotional support needed to recognize and treat the signs of alcoholism therapists, support groups, online forums and even eBook systems can be accessed.

These treatment methods are enormously helpful for both the alcoholic and the individuals living with an alcoholic.

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