What You Need to Know About Setting Up an Office

All businesses of some sort end up needing an office. This can be as small as the corner of your den, an office in your home, or actual space that you lease to run your office out of. Why you need this office will depend on the nature of your business. Most offices are taking care of the administrative and financial aspect of your business. Before you decide to open an office, there are a few things you need to take into consideration.

What Size Do You Really Need?

Determining who is using the office is going to give you an indication of what size you need. If it’s just you so that you can handle your bookkeeping and emails at the end of a work day, then a simple home office will do. If you have human relations, accounting, IT, and marketing, they will indicate the leasing or purchase of your space. If you are going this large, make sure you have plenty of space for growth and stay well within your budget.

Shop for Internet

No matter what you are doing in your office, you will need internet. There are a slew of office internet providers and it takes some time to find the best ones. You are looking for a reliable service in all manner of weather. You also want a fast service so that you can get through your tasks with efficiency. It also helps to find fiber optic service rather than cable or DSL. Fiber optics are simply faster and ensure transfers of data over long distance without degrading the data. Fiber optics are not available everywhere and can be expensive to install. Be sure you can get fiber optics and that it’s within your budget.

Furnish It with Necessities

Shopping for office furniture can cause anyone to get caught up and swept away. Keep it simple and takes care of your needs. If you are leasing or purchasing a space, all of your furniture should match among the departments. For storage, get what you need plus one year’s worth of growth so that you are not constantly purchasing more filing cabinets. All chairs should be comfortable and provides support so that no matter how long you are seated, you are not straining your body too much. If your office space is carpeted, floor mats at the desks will allow for rolling chairs to move easily. If you have overhead lighting, you can avoid desk lamps.

Keep Office Equipment to a Minimum

Purchasing office equipment is yet another expense that is easy to get carried away with. Get exactly what you need to perform your duties. If you are in a home office and travel a lot, skip the desktop pc and opt for a laptop. If you are leasing/purchasing office space, desktops are more efficient for your employees. Sales teams of course would benefit from laptops rather than desktops. Printers for a home office should only include extras you use. No need to get a scanner option if you will never use it, unless the printer with the scanner is a less expensive option! Printers for a larger office space often need more bells and whistles but you can minimize how many printers you obtain. Many can be hooked into a network and folks can share the printer. One other option you can consider is leasing equipment, rather than purchasing it.

Office Supplies Are Your Friend

Office supplies can be your most costly expense in an office. Of course, you should buy exactly what you need and keep them plentiful in the supply closet. No matter what size office you have, getting a rewards card to your local office store will be greatly beneficial to help you save on your supplies. Look for those deals and watch how much waste you create. If you can avoid printing on paper, you should.

Hopefully, your endeavor into opening an office is an exciting time for you and your business. Take these extra steps to pay attention and make the most of your space without breaking your budget!

What to Do if You Owe the IRS Money

Let’s start with this: the IRS is the biggest, best resourced, and more powerful collection agency in the world. So, while I’m not suggesting that you’d otherwise try and avoid a debt to any person or organization, if you’re typically the procrastinating type that needs things to get serious and urgent before you’re motivated to take action, then please allow me to be your wake-up call: this is serious and urgent. The letters and calls won’t stop, and when the IRS threatens wage garnishment, tax levies and other collection action, they mean it. It’s not an empty threat.

With that being said, you shouldn’t feel as though your (financial) world is coming to an end, and that it’s only a matter of time before black tie and sunglass-wearing IRS Special Agents show up at your door and haul you to debtor’s prison.

According to Jeff Kahn, principal of the Tax Law Offices of Jeffrey B. Kahn and host of a weekly ESPN radio show that covers tax law and audit-related issues, here are two things to do if you owe the IRS money:

  1. Confirm that the IRS’s math adds up.

This just in: the IRS makes mistakes (and in other breaking news, water is wet, the sun is hot, and sarcasm never goes out of style). As such, start by confirming that the amount that you allegedly owe is indeed correct. Keep in mind that a single missed checkbox on a tax form can result in a deduction being denied.

  1. Minimize penalties and interest.

If you confirm that you do, in fact, owe Uncle Sam some money, and presuming that you cannot pay the full amount by the due date, your next step is to minimize penalties and interest. There are a few options here that may be applicable to your situation, including: asking for an abatement, seeing if you qualify for an installment plan, and seeing if you qualify for an offer-in-compromise (this is basically asking the IRS to settle for less then the amount owed because full payment is unlikely). Keep in mind that the paperwork required for each of these options — especially the offer-in-compromise — is complex, and most people who try the do-it-yourself route get things wrong and have their application or petition rejected.

Some Final Words of Warning

Before wrapping up: be very, very careful when speaking to IRS agents. Once again, I’m not trying to freak anyone out. But facts are facts, and you need to know that speaking with an IRS agent to get more information on your tax situation isn’t the ordinary call center “how can I help you today?” conversation that you’re used to. While you aren’t under oath or giving a deposition, anything you say — including the questions you ask — can and will be used to trigger a deeper examination of your filings (the IRS can go back much further than three years if they suspect fraud or tax evasion). And in extreme cases, your matter might be referred to the IRS’s Criminal Investigation division for potential prosecution.

 

So yes, it’s fine to simply ask ordinary questions (e.g. “where can I find this form?”), but anything else should be handled by your tax attorney — not by your accountant, whose conversations with you and work product isn’t protected by attorney-client privilege.

Things You Should Shop Around For

Every little bit counts when it comes to money. It is so important to save when you can because that money you are saving can eventually add up to something. Besides cutting  back on spending or analyzing your monthly budget, there are some big ticket items that can be shopped around for to help you save.

Insurance

Insurance is needed for many things. There are many brokers who offer these products. To save money, it is best to shop around to find the best possible price so you can get cheaper car insurance . The trick I have used is to take your current policy and just provide it to multiple agents and ask them if they can beat it. Send it around and you will be sure to get your current policy for cheaper. Unfortunately this business is just like many others and the agents are just trying to make the most they can. If they know they can win your business they will be happy to offer you a competitive price.

Credit Cards

Credit Cards are definitely a product that should be compared for optimal benefit. Do not settle on just any one. Often times offers can be sent in the mail or you can simply google the type of credit card you are looking for and look for the best offer to meet your needs. The Best ones, depending on your needs, may offer good reward incentives, low interest rates, free balance transfers, etc. Many cards out there offer great rewards from travel, to cash back that you could benefit from. Be sure to shop around.

Cars

The car industry is known for their negotiations. People can experience both extremes of the business, they can either get themselves a really good deal or totally be worked by a dealership. Car salesmen are good at their jobs and will do anything to meet their sales numbers. The most important tip for buying a car is to be able to walk away. They do not like to lose deals so you are at an advantage if you simply walk away and shop around. I have literally had agents follow me out to my car and almost chase me out of the parking lot trying to get me back in the showroom. You can’t shop with your heart, you need to shop with you head. If you do this you will be able to save some major cash.

Furniture

Most people may not think of furniture as a negotiable item but it is. Any time I have bought furniture I have negotiated. Similar to cars, it is best if you are able to walk away. They do not want to lose your business and rather make the sale with less profit. I have even been to a showroom that said they didn’t negotiate their pricing but they ended up doing it for me. If you want to purchase a piece of furniture from a furniture chain, it is best to call around to different locations to see what their prices are. Each location has a different price and you will certainly get the best deal that way.

 

Hopefully these tips can help you save some and lead to further savings for your family.

Thinking of Buying a New Car? 3 Tips to Keep it in Great Shape

So you’ve decided it’s time to buy a new car? It’s kind of exciting making a big purchase but also a little overwhelming too. Making the decision to spend this much money is not something anyone does lightly. You want to be sure you are doing so sensibly and that you get the most for your money now and over the long term.

You can visit Cars.com to review cars and autos you are thinking about, to help decide which one is best for you and your family. They have a great Reviews section, where you can actually read what real car owners and leased car drivers think about the specific car models that you are considering getting. It’s kind of like talking to a friend or neighbor who has the car you like, before you go to the dealership to take a test drive. Cars.com also has a Videos section so you can see everything about the car right from the comfort of your home.

One of the first things you can do is to find an auto mechanic that you can trust. While you are going through the car shopping process, start to ask family and friends for recommendations to get a great auto mechanic. Remember that you want someone who isn’t too far from you, so that if the car has something wrong with it you don’t have to drive too for long.

When you get the car, actually sit down and read the car manual. Get to know how the features work. Most cars need an oil change every 3,000 miles but what should you know about other maintenance for your car? Avoid mishaps and confusion by learning as much about your car as possible. If you need to, bring your car and the manual to your mechanic to ask questions – before any problem arises. Because this will save an awful lot of time and hassle.

Be a safe driver at all times. Don’t speed and treat your car with extra TLC. Treating your car properly is part of good care and maintenance. You’ll be glad that you don’t overwork or overstress your car, as this can lead to damage or unnecessary repairs. Driving too fast can also make you use gas quicker and run the risk of causing a car accident, which is dangerous.

Remember that it is a lot easier to catch a repair while it is small than to ignore something and take care of it when it becomes bigger. So taking your car in if you notice something is not typical may take up a bit of time, but likely will save you time, money and a lot of hassle in the end.

Buying a car is an exciting time and you should be proud that you have made this major purchase. In a young adult’s life this is certainly a milestone event. Be safe and enjoy driving your new car!

Filing for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy: Some Pros and Cons

The phrase “filing for bankruptcy” might be the most terrifying in the financial vocabulary (perhaps next to “Great Recession” and “bank run”). However, if you’re contemplating this serious decision, then be assured if you move ahead that you won’t be alone. Each year, hundreds of thousands of people across the country file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy for a variety of reasons, such as excessive medical bills, job loss, divorce, over-investing in the stock market, the list goes on.

Naturally, this isn’t a decision that you can afford (figuratively and literally) to make based on raw emotion or overwhelming anxiety. Yes, being in serious is debt is scary. Actually, it’s terrifying; especially when creditors start closing in, and threats of wage garnishment and asset repossession start flying fast and furious. However, the essential thing to remember throughout this challenging time is that “filing for bankruptcy” is not a subjective condemnation, or an expression of financial failure. Indeed, some of the world’s most successful and important people have filed for bankruptcy, including Walt Disney and Abraham Lincoln.

Rather, bankruptcy it’s a form of legal protection that’s designed to protect you (that’s right, you), so that you can restructure and reorganize your debts and, eventually, regain your financial footing. While it’s obviously not a list of anyone’s favourite things, there’s no shame in filing for bankruptcy. It happens thousands of times a day.

The best — and frankly, the only — thing you can do right now is equip yourself with hard facts. To get you started in the right direction, here’s a rundown of some pros and cons of filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy based on the advice of experienced bankruptcy attorney Charles Huber:

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy: PROS

  • Unlike Chapter 13, Chapter 7 doesn’t involve a detailed repayment plan. Instead, a trustee sells non-exempt assets and uses the proceeds to pay creditors per the Bankruptcy Code.
  • The process is faster than most people believe, and is usually over within 3-6 months.
  • Most states have exceptions that prevent certain assets from being liquidated.
  • Some filers may be allowed to keep more of their property than they need.
  • Filers will be able to keep their salary and assets the purchase after filing for Chapter 7.
  • Creditors must stop calling, email or communicating with debtors immediately after a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing.
  • Filers who’ve had wages garnished by creditors within 90 days immediately preceding a Chapter 7 filing may be allowed to get that money bank.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy: CONS

  • A Chapter 7 filing stays on a credit report for 10 years, and will doubtlessly make it tougher and more expensive to borrow funds, get a mortgage, or even get a job.
  • Filers lose all of their credit cards, and any property that isn’t except from sale (including luxury items).
  • Contrary to what many people believe, filing for Chapter 7 doesn’t except filers from child support payments, alimony obligations, or student loan payments.

The Bottom Line

Deciding to file for Chapter 7 isn’t easy — and that’s a good thing, because it’s something that should only be (possibly) done after careful research, which includes consulting with an experienced bankruptcy attorney.

However, regardless of how difficult things are right now or what has happened in the past, if starting now you do the right things, the right way, and at the right time, be assured that you’ll emerge financially stronger than ever — and will look back on this as a bump in the road vs. the end of the line.

How Much Has California And Colorado Achieved In Sales In The Past Year?

Since nearly anyone over the age of 21 can buy marijuana now in California and Colorado, sales are expected to skyrocket. We’ve already seen indications of widespread pot acceptance in 2016, with huge sales numbers in both states, despite California still mostly selling to medical marijuana ID card buyers (which will likely continue until recreational legalization is in sweeping effect in late 2017).

To get an idea of California and Colorado cannabis benefits to the marijuana industry as a whole – growers, distributors, consumers and the state governments – let’s take a look at some 2016 sales numbers.

California 2016 Sales

Californians have to go through a lot of bureaucracy to get a medical marijuana card, but even so, sales in the state are far beyond the more permissive state of Colorado. Arcview Group, a cannabis market research agency, states that California makes up greater than one-fourth of legal pot sales in the United States and Canada combined.

According to The Arcview Group, California accounted for 27% of the legal marijuana market in all of North America in 2016. Colorado followed in second place with 20%. This is before California’s approval of recreational marijuana too. The report puts legal cannabis sales in total at roughly $6.7 billion for 2016.

Colorado 2016 Sales

Colorado’s cannabis sales for 2016 hit about the $1.3 billion mark, which is an upward trend that’s likely going to continue into 2017. This number, released by the Colorado Department of Revenue through tax data, includes medical and recreational marijuana sales.

Miles Light, who is a Marijuana Policy Group economist, says that Colorado’s benefits from pot sales may be eroded as other states begin to legalize. He also notes that in 2017, none of the 8 states that recently voted for legalized marijuana will have put their regulations into place.

Green Door West is ready for the explosion in demand and sales that will surely come from California’s legalization of recreational marijuana. We’re standing by with Santa Monica marijuana delivery and delivery service throughout the Los Angeles area. If you’re looking for “marijuana delivery near me,” we have you covered.

Stock Investing Don’ts: learning from others’ mistakes

Stock investing is a good thing: you get a say in a company you believe is bound to success. You earn dividends from the company’s earnings. You sell a part of your share when the price goes high, and so on and so forth. So, you could assume it’s a pretty advantageous way to invest your money with the expectation to get profitable returns. But if you are a rookie in this just wanting to start out, there are a few things to should keep an eye on. Stock investing is an interesting sphere. You have to have, what’s best called, a special sense of feeling when to make certain actions. If the prices go up, down, or somewhere unknown, or if you are hyped about investing all of your money in one place, there are a few DON’Ts you will have to know about in order to eliminate risks and invest smart.

DON’T N1: Do not make emotional investments

Emotions are not acceptable in this tricky world of stock investments. I mean, if you love investing, that’s a good thing, means you are enjoying the process. But, do not let your emotions have control over your investment decisions. Under all circumstances you have to remember to take a “sober look” at the situation and remain rational. Do not panic and withdraw your money right away when you see the stock market going down the road, like many people did during the Great Recession back in 2008. Do not give in to emotional outburst of anger or fear to keep you from taking a step up into a bigger opportunity. In a similar manner, do not get too attached to the ownership of a share to the point of not willing to sell it when it needs to be sold. The examples are numerous, the moral is one: stock market is a place where emotions should not be allowed. All of your actions and decisions should be made solely based on research, data and your senses, which are way rational than your emotional feelings towards a certain asset or share.

DON’T N2: Do not overinvest. Just. Don’t.

Investing in stock market is a good place to put your money in. However, you should do it wisely, because too much of everything can harm. Investing all your money once and for all is not the smartest decision ever. You should be able to invest some at a time. Everyone knows that in stock market you should buy shares when they cost low and sell them when they reach their peak. Investing all of your hard-earned money at once will defeat the purpose of investing and trading wisely. So, make sure you make the investments periodically in order to make the most profit out of it. If you are struggling with how to start investing in stocks, investment newsletters are a great place to start with. They will guide you through your first steps into a successful investing pro who reaps returns like no other.

DON’T N3: Do not try to put the stock market into time frames, you’ll fail

Don’t get me wrong, you can, in fact, make good assumptions and predictions about when the market is more likely to hit the downroad or the opposite. But do not try to underestimate the abilities of the market to surprise you and hit you right back. Putting time limits and frames on how the market will perform in a month can be done only based on years’ of experience topping with good research, valid data and understanding of the spectrum in the first place. But other than that, you shouldn’t be timing the stock market, it will find a way to make you pay for it, literally.

DON’T N4: Conformity is not a smart thing in stock investing

You know there are people with no guts of their own, willing to make money  through stock investing without actually having their own ideas, motives, understanding and readiness to, actually, invest. Believe it or not, but people do lose their “individuality”, as investors, while trying to follow the crowd when the market is at its worst or the opposite. 2008 is a great evidence to that. Funny thing is, no one knows how and when the market will perform as expected, so conforming to the decisions of a few investors is not a good idea. Investing in the stock market is an individual thing as well. One might get away with investing all of his money into one company, whereas you might lose a big portion of yours if you went with the ‘all or nothing’ motto. Do your own research and study, collect your own data and, most importantly, make your own decisions while investing.
Do not rush the stock market and do not expect it to fulfill your expectations, because it won’t, and that is, frankly, the intriguing character of stock investing.