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Americans have limited financial knowledge, survey says

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A new survey authorized by the Fifth Third Bank and performed by Research Now, reveals that Americans have limited financial knowledge and stability, based on The Corliss Group online magazine( http://corlissonlinegroup.com/ ) report.

The survey was conducted from March 5 to 17 and had 1,068 respondents.

Ninety percent of Americans didn't know that individuals under the age of 50 can make contributions up to $18,000 a year to a 401(k) plan.

57.9% of those surveyed said they were financially knowledgeable and 38.5% understood the annual percentage rate (APR) on their primary credit card.

In addition, 60% did not have sufficient savings to survive for at least 6 months.

A certified financial planner Eric Meermann, who is based in Scarsdale, N.Y., said that financial literacy is truly a big concern and based on the survey, it is not focused on nearly enough.

55.8% of those surveyed knew what a credit score measures. Meermann says that you should have a focus on getting a good credit score if you wish to be able to accomplish many things that a lot of Americans consider important. Simply because the better credit you have, the better terms and fees you can get on your debt.

Strikingly, only 13.3% of the younger generation knew the maximum amount they could put into a 401(k) plan for the year. This indicates that the gaps in finances and knowledge among Millennials were also surprising.

Stacie Haas, a spokeswoman for Fifth Third Bank says that when she was younger, she would see her parents balancing their checkbook and actually going to the bank to make a payment.

She thinks that you don't see that anymore, and she also thinks that kids these days don't grow up witnessing the daily management of money. It just happens around them or inside the cellphone or laptop.

"They do not understand there's a real management level to this. You don't just make it and spend it."

The Fifth Third Bank's senior vice president of community and economic development, Camino Smith says that younger people are not going to understand financial issues in school if they don't achieve it in home, because schools usually doesn't have a lot of financial literacy courses or themes provided within the curriculum.

Fifth Third Bank provides different type of financial literacy program such as the "young bankers club" that has educated thousands of fifth-graders about the benefits of maintaining a budget and other guidelines regarding money.

Another program instructs adults how to pay for a home, as well as retirement and higher education.

Smith added that there many Baby Boomers retiring who are not prepared for retirement, and somehow they're going to have to be supported or reduce their standard of living. And that's not good for the economy or the country as a whole.

He also thinks that if individuals make financial literacy more of a priority in the education system, it could truly help the next generation, and generations to come.

For more information and updates check our Corliss Group Online Financial Mag Blogspot( http://corlissonlinefinancialmag.blogspot.co.uk/ ) or you can follow us on Twitter @CorlissGroupMag( https://twitter.com/CorlissGroupMag ).
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Corliss Online Financial Mag: Japan, Australia May Join China-Led Bank

Japan signaled that it could join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) after all if certain conditions were met satisfactorily. 

This is despite the United States already expressing concerns regarding AIIB and its capability to pass social and environmental standards and China's already growing diplomatic influence in the region. Still, about 30 nations, including major EU members, participated in this economic project. 

Now, even the notable allies of the US -- South Korea, Australia and Japan -- are reportedly reconsidering.

Japan's Finance Minister Taro Aso announced that they are considering joining the AIIB if they can confirm that it has a "credible mechanism for providing loans". However, other Japanese senior officials remain doubtful if participating in a China-led bank could be truly advantageous.

"We have been asking to ensure debt sustainability taking into account its impact on environment and society. We could (consider) if these issues are guaranteed. We'll give it careful consideration from diplomatic and economics viewpoints. There could be a chance that we would go inside and discuss. But so far we have not heard any responses," commented Aso.

AIIB is also seen as a competitor of ADB (Asian Development Bank) which is a regional financial institution based in the Philippines. It is basically dominated by the US and Japan, with its leader customarily coming from the latter's finance ministry or the Bank of Japan.

The former president of ADB and current BOJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda cautiously said, "There are huge needs, demands for infrastructure investment in Asia. On the other hand, the World Bank and ADB have been helping countries in Asia to improve infrastructure for the last 50 years."

Despite being a China-led financial institution that the US is warning against, AIIB got Tokyo concerned of missing out on opportunity for more regional participation, reports Corliss Online Financial Mag.

Meanwhile, Australia's Treasurer Joe Hockey said participating in AIIB has the potential to benefit local companies and should not adversely affect their relationship with the US. At any rate, he added that a final decision has yet to be made, although Corliss Online Financial Mag got reports that Australia could decide to formally join this week with as much as USD 2.3 billion in investment.

"There is a lot of merit in it, but we want to make sure there are proper governance procedures. That there's transparency, that no one country is able to control the entity. And because it's operating in our region, in our neighbourhood, it is important that Australia fully understand and look at participating in this Bank," said Hockey.

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Corliss Online Financial Mag: P&G to Sell 100 Brands.

Consumer goods manufacturer Procter & Gamble confirmed last week that they plan to sell off a total of 100 brands, suggesting deeper cuts than originally reported. 

P&G confirmed they have finalized deals for 35 brands out of 100 that they are expecting to sell by 2016. The troubled company is also expecting to sell those brands that have collected a total sales in the USD 10 billion mark, contrary to the USD 8 billion it has previously announced. 

According to Jon Moeller, P&G's Chief Financial Officer, the brand divestitures could reduce their annual sales by as much as 14% -- a pretty big difference from the original 10% estimate loss in total revenue. 

Meanwhile, other officials of the company confirmed that those decisions are already the 'refined' version of their original plans and that they are only trying to consolidate their brand portfolio. 

Most of the brands shortlisted in its divestiture plans have already been sold on account of their low performance. But Moeller is quick to point out though that the brands they are selling are not necessarily weak ones -- they are just underperforming in the eyes of the management.

P&G has previously sold its pet food brands along with a handful of laundry and beauty brands. According to experts, Wella salon and Braun appliances are next on the list. According to Corliss Online Financial Mag, the largest potential divestiture yet is the Duracell batteries to Berkshire Hathaway, owned by billionaire Warren Buffett. The battery maker reportedly generates USD 2.6 billion in revenue per year.

Procter & Gamble's CEO Alan Lafley said in a conference that they expect selloff to be completed in 5 months. He added, "We have had a lot of interest in the assets we want to dispose."

Corliss Online Financial Mag (http://www.corlissonlinegroup.com/) has previously reported Lafley announcing last year that P&G plans to concentrate on around 70 brands as a core group of the company.

Read for more related articles by visiting our blog @ http://corlissonlinegroup.com/blog/

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Financial Review Corliss Group Online Magazine: WealthyU – Keeping You And Your Money Safe This Holiday Season

Every two seconds someone has their identity stolen. The holiday shopping season is in full swing and the scammers, crooks and identity thieves are on the prowl.

Financial guru Deborah Owens joined Roland Martin on “NewsOne Now” to discuss what you can do to avoid becoming the next victim of fraud and how to keep you, your identity and your money safe from would be thieves this holiday season.

One thing people can do to avoid being taken advantage of online is to be aware of phising schemes. These schemes present fake web sites that look like real web sites of retailers, banks and other financial institutions.

Owens told Martin people can protect themselves by looking  at the URL and making sure that there is an “http” and an “s” in the address.

America’s wealth coach advises people to not “click on anything. Go to the actual website” of the online retailer you wish to purchase merchandise from.

“The reason why this is so important at this time of year is because our guards are down.” Owens added, when we’re on a mission “to get that perfect gift what you need to understand is that [you] don’t [want to] make yourself somebody else’s  gift.”

Part of protecting yourself from potential thieves involves “being aware of your surroundings” and being conscious of what you are carrying on your person when you go out shopping.

Owens cautioned us to not take all of our credit cards with us when we go shopping. She said, “one credit card and some cash is probably what you want to do so in the event, if something does happen” everything is not stolen and you don’t have to try to create all that information again.

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Financial Review Corliss Group Online Magazine: The five best money moves you can make in December

We all tend to get excited and go over budget amid holiday festivities but make a few smart moves now, and you won't get caught off guard by monetary misfortune this holiday season. 

Your halls are decked with tinsel and ornaments and your fridge is stocked with eggnog — and amid the holiday excitement, you haven’t looked at your bank account balance in weeks.

You’re not alone. It’s easy to get caught up in festivities and forget about budgeting. But make a few smart moves now, and you won’t be caught off guard by monetary misfortune.

Here are five money moves to add to your holiday to-do list.

1.) Invest in your future self: Contribute to your 401(k).

In 2013, 42% of middle-class Americans said that it was impossible for them to pay their bills and still save for retirement, according to a Wells Fargo study. But even if you can’t get anywhere near the annual 401(k) contribution limit of $17,500, try to put aside as much money as you can, says Ken Stanley, a NerdWallet advisor from Harper Stanley Financial Services.

“If you have the opportunity to contribute to a 401(k), especially if your employer is matching the contribution, please don’t leave any money on the table,” he says.

Jonathan DeYoe, NerdWallet advisor and principal at DeYoe Wealth Management, adds that it’s important to re-evaluate spending at the end of the year and see if you can afford to contribute more.

“Your future self is really going to appreciate your current self’s savings,” he says.

2. Protect your identity online.

About 28% of shoppers say they prefer doing holiday shopping online rather than in a store to avoid crowds, according to a 2013 study by global information firm Accenture. If you’re planning to skip the long lines this month, do your best to keep your online information safe.

Avoid looking at your online bank profile or making online purchases on public Wi-Fi. If you have lots of weak or duplicate passwords, now is a good time to change those. Monitor your credit card statements closely and report fraudulent transactions as soon as possible.

3. Give to charity – the smart way.

If you have some excess income at the end of the year and you want to give back, donating before Dec. 31 can help you benefit from tax incentives.

When donating, make sure your money is going to a worthy cause. Two-thirds of Americans don’t research the organizations they contribute to, according to a 2011 study by Hope Consulting. Check the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance to find out more about where your money is going.

4. Start thinking about taxes.

Don’t wait until April to start thinking about taxes. For new parents or recently married couples, filing a W-4 before the holiday season could mean less tax withheld from each paycheck. That could make a big difference during the holidays, says Harry Krampf, a NerdWallet advisor and a tax expert at TaxVigilante.net.

“It’s one of those things that people have direct control over,” he says.

If you’ve seen some big changes this year, ask your employer about filling out a W-4.

5. Accidents can happen at any time – get covered.

If you don’t have health insurance through your employer, now’s the time to enroll in coverage through the Affordable Care Act. Enroll by Dec. 15 for coverage that begins Jan. 1, 2015. If you choose to forgo health insurance this year, remember that you’ll have to pay a penalty, and in 2015, that will be more costly.

What’s important

Getting your financial life in order can be stressful, but once you’re done, you’ll be able to focus on what really matters. That makes all the budgeting, planning and investment worth it.

“It’s really about family coming together,” DeYoe says. “It’s about thankfulness, gratitude and really appreciating what we have.”

More tips or any economic issue that will help you? Corliss Group Online Financial Mag ( http://corlissonlinegroup.com/blog ) is here to help you. Corliss Group Online Financial Mag ( http://corlissonlinegroup.com ) is a stock-market education website designed to teach beginners how to trade shares. You can also visit our blog site @ http://corlissonlinefinancialmag.blogspot.co.uk for more update.

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Financial Review Corliss Group Online Magazine: The Golden Rule of Startup Capital

The Golden Rule of Startup Capital: Don't Waste Money

Golden rule of business: Increase shareholder value.

Golden rule of investing: Buy low, sell high.

Most entrepreneurs know these golden rules( See: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/238365 
 ). To a great extent, they are (or should be) obvious and self evident. They are "rules" because they set the foundation for business mission statements, goals and decisions.

There is another important golden rule that many entrepreneurs overlook, specifically startup entrepreneurs. It was recently driven home to me in an email from Mike Schroll, the founder of Startup.SC, a South Carolina business incubator with which I am currently working to develop my own startup idea. Working late one evening last week, my computer inbox "pinged" with his single-sentence message:

"I challenge you to achieve what you are doing with less capital."

Granted, my first reaction was that this was obvious. Of course, all businesses should try to do more with less. But as I started to consider my proposal in its current iteration, I did notice that I had built a "perfect-world" scenario for my capital-raise ask, which was significantly high. I have an ambitious goal, or BHAG, but I was treading dangerously close to a trap that many entrepreneurs fall into.

I estimated exactly how much money I needed to succeed.

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The problem with this is that the "perfect" amount of money is a fallacy. Indeed, if you have a unique, revolutionary and proprietary idea, combined with the right amount of money it stands a significantly better chance of becoming a success. But most of us do not have this type of idea -- we just have an idea -- and investors have many investment choices and typically want to spread their risk around to many startups.

Ultimately, what investors want to see and what you need to consider is the amount of money needed to achieve two goals:

1. Getting your idea to market.

2. Growing your customer base as quickly as possible.

Because capital is scarce, startup capital that goes to anything else will be considered wasteful. For instance:

Personnel 

About the only thing that is critical for success is personnel needed to get the startup launched. Engineers and programmers are expensive, and they are well worth the money in terms of developing the right minimum viable product or prototype. What should not be considered is a founders’ lucrative salary.

Unless you are a well known and sought-after founder (most of you are not), investors do not want valuable startup capital going to line your pocket. Be prepared to put in time and sweat to show your commitment, for which you will be rewarded with an investment.

Marketing and advertising

Customer acquisition cost is a key consideration for investors. If your strategy is just to spend money on advertising for the sake of spending money, then revisit your strategy. Approximating your return on marketing budget is critical, and though there is no way to be exact, demonstrating your critical thinking and understanding of its importance will make you appear much more credible.

Overhead

Precious startup capital should not be wasted on things such as offices, furniture, foosball tables and coffee bars, unless these things are critical for retaining key talent. Unless you are a sought-after founder with existing partnership with established venture capitalists, however, be prepared to bootstrap your way through development and launch.

Everything else 

Everything else needed to get started, from legal to accounting to utilities to janitorial, needs to be kept at an absolute minimum. No founder is beyond sitting in a hot office or taking Clorox to the toilet bowl. If your dollars are not going to build your product and gain customers, then they are being wasted.

While this concept may be obvious, I personally have spoken to countless entrepreneurs who visualize the launch of their idea with a complete misunderstanding. Many mistakenly believe that they need a Google-esque office, unlimited vacation days and full benefits, when in reality a cinder block desk, Internet access and the unwavering commitment of an ambitious entrepreneur is really all you need.

For more Financial Reviews from Corliss Group Online Magazine( http://corlissonlinegroup.com/blog/ ), visit our facebook page( https://www.facebook.com/corlissonlinefinancialmag ) and follow us on twitter @CorlissGroupMag( https://twitter.com/CorlissGroupMag ). 

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Financial Review Corliss Group Online Magazine - Q&A: Foreign correspondence in China and Asia

Tracy Dahlby, former Tokyo bureau chief, National Geographic contributor and author of the new memoir Into the Field: A Foreign Correspondent’s Notebook, looks back on a life of reporting on Asia

You got your start as a reporter for a financial newswire in Japan during the 70s, back when it was still big on heavy industry, but had begun shifting toward a consumer economy. China stories often echo that narrative these days, but was Tokyo ever so polluted?

I’d say “not as” but it could be pretty grim. I remember being profoundly disappointed when, in 1976, I climbed Mount Fuji for the first time only to stumble upon slopes strewn with trash. I wondered how the Japanese, who had a reputation, in poetry and prose, as world-champion lovers of nature could let their iconic mountain go to hell like that. So Fuji was my reigning metaphor. And it’s true that Tokyo often choked under a blanket of industrial smog. I don’t think it ever reached what China is coping with today. But it pays to remember that Japan got its pollution problems under control and, with the right policies, China has a shot at doing so too. How China does that while maintaining economic growth and meeting rising popular expectations is, of course, the compelling mystery.

Much is still made of the apparent economic similarities between China now and Japan during the boom years. You write in your book about covering both during your career -- what comparisons hold up, and which strike you as misguided?

During my brief time at the financial news wire in Tokyo, I took the stock market closings in my shaky Japanese and wasn’t always sure I’d got the decimal point in the right place. Frankly, I’m still a little amazed that the global economy survived. In writing about those times today, however, I very much feel China looking over my shoulder because there are the obvious similarities between Japan then and China now—the active, pointed pioneering of overseas markets and the gobbling up of vast sources of raw materials, the frenetic building of roads, dams, bridges and airports and, above all, the psychological transformation that comes to a country with rapidly rising consumer expectations. The big difference, of course, is a matter of scale and scope. What China has undertaken dwarfs other models and that’s what makes it such a wonderful, wrenching, gripping story to behold. 

When and why did you first come to China as a journalist?

I made my first trip to China in January of 1978, about 14 months after the death of Mao Zedong. Beijing was a city of bicycles, Mao suits and, for foreigners, a Friendship Store that was not exactly consumer-friendly. It wasn’t easy for an American to get a visa back then. But a friend of a friend in Hong Kong, a wonderful local businesswoman, insisted that I apply and that I turn over my passport to her. It turns out she had been at school with a man who worked the other side of the fence for China travel and presided over the tourist visa stamp. So I found myself headed over the border by train to Guangzhou and then Beijing with a group of Japanese, American and Australian tourists. I somehow managed to report a story for The New York Times travel section on that jaunt at a time when China had become an alluring ticket for American travelers. So I guess you could say I started my China watching as half tourist, half hustling hack, and that’s pretty much the way I proceeded in my career, as a friend recently put it, letting myself “wander and wonder.”

There were earlier motivations, too. I was a typically restless undergrad in Seattle, Washington, living at home and eager to trade a ho-hum life for the excitement and adventure of the wider world. I’d heard reports of the Cultural Revolution on a radio in my bedroom that was ridiculously large—the size of a shoebox. Today, we can dial up tons of information about China on our smart phones or e-tablets. In those days, China was a black box, information was scarce, and what there was required strenuous decoding. That of course meant that China was a tremendous mystery that fired your imagination. You really wanted to get out to Asia and take a crack at trying to figure it out.

It's rare to go a week lately without a dust-up between China and any of the countries that ring the South China Sea. Did the region always seem destined for conflict, or did most seem to buy into China's "peaceful rise" sales pitch? 

It’s remarkable to me how little has changed in the fundamental terms of that dispute over the last two decades, despite today’s frenetic foreign press coverage of China’s new harder line. I open “Into the Field” by recounting a nearly three-month reporting swing I took through the South China Sea immediately after Handover in Hong Kong in 1997. With the help of friends in Manila, I managed to talk my way out to the Spratlys with a transport plane full of rifle-toting Filipino military men. It was starkly beautiful out there but blessedly little was going on, at least on the surface. Then as now, the billion- or maybe trillion-dollar question was the extent of resources that might rest on the sea floor. Such visions, part analysis, part ambitious national dreaming, will, I’d wager, continue to ratchet up tensions as China continues to rise, peacefully or not.

China is the clear center of attention for the financial press in Asia, but reporting long-term can create something like tunnel vision. Where in the region, if anywhere, do you see untapped economic potential on the level of a China or Japan?

That’s a good, tough question and journalists have a lousy track record when it comes to accurate prognostication, at least this one. I’d venture to say, however, that once investment and infrastructure gain even more traction in a place like India, China’s neighborhood becomes an even more competitive place. Add to that improvements in intra-regional trade and marketing ties between and among the countries of Southeast Asia and, barring the unfortunate and unforeseen, you have a recipe for sustained growth that will include China, perhaps be dominated by China, but will by no means rely on China alone.

In the mid-80's you were brought in from Tokyo to eventually serve as managing editor for Newsweek International. How did the view of Asia from NYC differ from your own when you returned?

It reminds you just how much times have changed. Back then America was focused on what was generally perceived as a Japanese economic juggernaut and the challenges posed by Japan’s ballooning trade advantages vis-à-vis the United States. Japan’s economic advance had energized a group of formidable “Japan-bashers” in business, government and the media that made the Japanese seem ten feet tall. The economic challenge was real enough but there was something else at work, too. By the end of the decade, the Soviet Union was into its final fizzle, and imploding, and America needed a new focus for its ambitions and anxieties, and Japan was “it.”

As time went on, of course, Japan proved a disappointing bogeyman. Its economy had bottomed out by the early 90s and lapsed into a marathon, years-long recession. China began to emerge as a new focus of concern. The 9/11 attacks and the aftermath shifted America’s central preoccupation to the war on terror, which may have deflected an even more intense focus on China as America’s new rival for superpower status. Today, of course,  bilateral relations with China have today become an intensely observed gauge of how and to what extent America will be able to maintain its pride of place in world leadership.

What we tried to do at Newsweek, back in the day, was to help provide readers with the context they could use to develop a clearer understanding of complications of U.S.-Japan relations—the historical, political and, I dare say, some of the psychological factors that not infrequently contributed to one of the two sides not really hearing what the other side was trying to say. Fast-forward 30 years, and the U.S. media faces a similar challenge in preparing Americans for China’s rise and how it will affect the way we live our lives and do business in this country.      

Freelance, especially in China, is the name of the game for many aspiring foreign correspondents these days. How did you make the jump from part-time to full-time reporting, and to what extent is the path you took still open to would-be journalists here?

My advice on that score never varies. As I say in my book, “Pick a part of the world you can fall in love with and plant yourself there for at least two years. Try your hand at freelancing. Teach English, tend bar, or give body modification classes—whatever it takes to ward off starvation. Meanwhile suck the place into your bones. Absorb its language and politics, its loves, hates, and idiosyncrasies, the alarming as well as the charming…. The place doesn’t have to love you back, at least not right away. But if doing journalism is your goal, make sure it’s somewhere the rest of the world wants to know about too.”

I think China admirably fills that bill. It’s both a place of endless fascination, big and small, and somewhere people who aren’t in China want and need to know about. In my case, in Japan, I used my freelance assignments to try to hone basic skills (and I had precisely none to start with), while I worked at the art of becoming pleasantly annoying until sources would agree to talk to me and somebody finally gave me a regular job. 

You want more economical related topic? Just visit Corliss Online Financial Mag ( http://corlissonlinegroup.com/blog ). Our site is a stock-market education website ( http://corlissonlinegroup.com ) designed to teach beginners how to trade shares. Follow us on Twitter @ https://twitter.com/CorlissGroupMag for more update.

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Financial Tips Corliss Group Online Magazine on 4 Essential Money Mistakes Entrepreneurs Overlook

As I get rolling on a new startup with my partners at Startup.SC, a startup incubator in South Carolina, I am reminded of a few painful mistakes many entrepreneurs, myself included, make when starting a business.

Now, if you are starting a business, you probably have not put too much thought into how you are going to exit. There are, after all, countless considerations to make as you get started, from applying for business licenses, developing working prototypes to setting up your website. If you ever plan to sell your business or bring on investors to grow, how you run your business from the start is just as important. 

Fortunately, it is not difficult to get started properly. Simply consider these four tips( http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/237898 ), often overlooked by most startup entrepreneurs.

1. Prepare your general ledger.

Setting up your accounting books may seem bland and tedious, especially for entrepreneurs without experience. Many rely on off-the-shelf accounting software, which provides general guidelines and templates to get you started. These are fine and completely acceptable for most startups, but to fully understand the financials of your company and, in the future, provide the evidence of the value you have built, you should give your set up careful consideration. Although a little pricey, it would benefit you to hire a professional when getting started.

2. Keep business business. 

It is completely acceptable for entrepreneurs to pay for a variety of expenses with company funds, so long as those expenses meet the generally acceptable accounting standards (GAAP) for business expenses. Too many entrepreneurs, however, use company funds for personal use, trying to justify it with very liberal interpretations of GAAP or simply improperly reporting.

Not only could this get you in hot water with the IRS and open you up to a great deal of liability, it will be difficult in the future to separate these expenses when valuing your company. From the onset, it is best to just keep all personal expenses out of the business.

3. Report all revenues. 

It is not difficult, and definitely enticing, to skim money from the business at the start, especially if you do most of your business in cash. Again, not only could this ultimately get you in trouble with the IRS, but it undervalues your business in the long run. It is going to be difficult to prove value and growth if you are not reporting real numbers from your business.

4. Keep careful records and receipts. 

OK, excluding personal expenses and reporting all of your revenue just means giving more of your hard-earned money to Uncle Sam in terms of taxes. Not necessarily true. If you understand the extent of what you can expense and, more importantly, you keep copious records of your activity (both for audits and due diligence of potential buyers and investors), you can ultimately work down your taxable income without hurting the value of your company.

Grab yourself a good book or, better yet, find yourself a trusted professional advisor( http://corlissonlinegroup.com/ ) to learn how to best run your business this way.

I was part of a business team that looked at investing in businesses a number of years ago. It was not uncommon to meet an entrepreneur of a small business whose only proof of success and value was a shoebox full of cash. A few would emphasize that the company was paying for personal utilities, auto expenses and even groceries and that we should consider these expenses as part of the value.

The problem was that they often could not prove these claims satisfactorily because they had not accounted for them properly. In the end, it hurt the valuation of their company and gave us tremendous leverage during the negotiations.

Most entrepreneurs are not thinking about an exit when they are in the startup stages of a business. If you ever have a goal to divest or grow through investment, how you run your business before you start is just as important as after.

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Financial Tips Corliss Group Online Magazine: Trust Facebook for investing advice? Not Yet



Social media and financial advice aren’t such an easy match after all.

Sure, the initial attraction is obvious. With one stroke, advisers can woo clients with regular investment tips on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/corlissonlinefinancialmag) and Twitter(https://twitter.com/CorlissGroupMag), building an audience and drumming up business. Then, after establishing a rapport with their followers, they can follow up with one-on-one video conferencing to clients on Skype or FaceTime without leaving their screens.

But back up a minute.

Old-fashioned, face-to-face communication is still key, advisers say, even for those who use social media extensively. In-person meetings are a must to glean nuances about risk tolerance and financial needs that clients may not even realize about themselves, let alone be able to communicate. Worse, pat advice on Facebook and Twitter can run the risk of looking like a hot tip and other worthless advice littering some investment websites.

So, how best to proceed on social media? Here are some things to consider:

1. Set the right tone

Being on social media is about “being where the people are. It’s about being engaged, sincere, genuine and contributing something of value. And over time, you build relationships,” said Will Britton, a financial adviser in Kingston.

For him, social media is a place to begin a conversation. For instance, he hopes to open dialogues with his regular roundup of stories from financial media, acting as a mini news service for people following him on Twitter. By linking to these stories and affixing his Twitter tag, he’s effectively handing out electronic business cards to the world.

“My presence [on social media] is enough for people to know what I do professionally. There’s certainly some professional content (http://corlissonlinegroup.com/blog/), whether it’s sharing links to worthwhile articles or videos or stuff that I come across.”

It’s a faux pas, though, to look like someone selling something, he said.

“I try to stay away from overt marketing, A) because we get into compliance issues from an industry point of view, and B) I just don’t think that that’s what the people on those platforms want anyway. They’re looking for connections and conversations and engagement. They’re not looking for spam and ads and ‘Come buy this from me,’” he said.


2. Differentiate between public and private

Investment professionals need to draw a clear line between public and private, a line that’s not always clear in social media, nor in real life.

Take this easy scenario: a conversation at a children’s hockey game. In the stands, parents inevitably get to talking. Often the topic will turn to money and, sooner or later, an investment pro such as Mr. Britton will have to mention that he’s a financial adviser.

That’s when another parent may get serious and ask a direct question about the family’s finances. That’s when the informal conversation needs to stop and continue in private. It’s best to think of social media as a giant referral service for investment advisers, he said.

“I think a lot of the time, people definitely aren’t going to the Yellow Pages [to find advisers], and I don’t even know if they’re going to Google any more,” he said. “They are crowdsourcing that information. They’re going to their community, wherever it is, whether it’s online or off, and saying, ‘Hey, does anyone know a good financial planner?’”


3. Social media still isn’t seen as a replacement for traditional financial news sources

There’s skepticism surrounding social media as an information source in the investment community.

Institutional investors remain particularly wary, according to a global poll by communications network AMO conducted in January this year. Their survey of 105 institutional investors in 12 countries found that 85 per cent feel that social media sites are generally not reliable for financial news.

Yet, at the same time, they also indicate a future for it, with 82 per cent saying that social media is growing in importance in financial communications. Thirty-nine per cent of these are prone to looking at investment forums for work regularly or occasionally, and 28 per cent consult them under exceptional circumstances. LinkedIn was the most popular of the social media sites, with 59 per cent consulting it at some point, although a large 41-per-cent segment reported never using it professionally. About 46 per cent reported ever consulting Twitter professionally.

Similarly for retail investors, an online survey in August of 2013 for BMO InvestorLine found that social media platforms, such as LinkedIn and Facebook, were still slow to be seen as reliable investment-news vehicles. Only a third of the 1,020 Canadian investors surveyed said they use social media for investment insights.

In comparison, 69 per cent of those investors surveyed said they found TV current events and business news trustworthy, and 55 per cent said the same for newspapers and magazines. So linking to more traditional news sources may still be a good habit for advisers online, rather than linking to blogs, forums or other social media.

All of this suggests that social media continues to make inroads, but it still has a way to go.


4. Organize online advising more effectively

Victor Godinho, a financial planner in Toronto and still in his early twenties, sees social media as perfectly suited to the 20- to 40-year-old crowd he caters to. Every Friday, he posts a financial tip on his social media sites, from Instagram and Facebook to Twitter and Pinterest. He has a client in Ottawa with whom he conferences on Skype.

Yet he adds that Skype and social media require a more effective use of time, rather than just chatting for an hour in his office. “You need to keep their attention [online], or you need to make sure they’re on the same page as you, considering you’re in two different locations.”

It’s a supplement to in-person meetings. “Every year when we do our annual review, we’ll meet in person,” he said, and “when you’re in-person, you’re inclined to talk more than just business.”

But for a video conference, advisers need to send clients documents ahead of time. Time onscreen needs to be managed more efficiently, and the meeting needs to move along at a faster speed. More pre-planning is required to make the meeting more effective. It requires a different communication skill, with a focus on not wasting time.

“If you can make that easier on your client, that’s the best thing you can do,” Mr. Godinho said.




About Corliss Online Financial Mag

Corliss Group Online Financial Mag (http://corlissonlinegroup.com/) is a stock-market education website designed to teach beginners how to trade shares. Corliss Group Online Financial Mag does this in a manner easy to understand and uses only relevant and essential information required to trade shares on the stock market.

Corliss Group Online Financial Mag was formed because of the lack of stock-market-related websites that impart the steps required to begin trading safely; thus, our step-by-step guide to buying shares.

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#CorlissOnlineFinancialMag Investing in small business ventures

What can an individual who lives on a small salary do to invest and augment his income somehow? Here are some tips to follow:

1. Invest in something close to your heart

Whether it is in music or cooking, investing in a small venture will have a greater chance of surviving and even achieving reasonable success if it involves doing something close to your heart or within your experience as a person or as a worker. If you work as a waiter, why not learn as much as you can about some way of improving a recipe or a drink and come up with your own sideline you, or with a partner, can run during weekends or after work?

We hear this advice often and yet not many take it to heart or are brave enough to actually do it. Many feel it takes too much effort and money to start a business. This is not true, in general. Making a single unique jacket or fashion accessory and selling it can be the one step you need to encourage yourself to make more. Even a used item such as a broken sofa, if repaired and furbished to look attractive might bring you some income you never thought you could have from what you already have.

Oftentimes, all it takes is a lot of imagination and a dose of courage to jump right ahead on a new venture you never tried before.

2. Learn the basic math

Any business, small or big, will depend largely on good and proper basic accounting. Learning the fundamental methods of bookkeeping will go a long way to controlling the flow of resources and understanding the nature of your business finance. We all knew about the Chinese who, for many centuries, used the abacus to make sure they got the entire math figured out. With the calculator or the PC today, the job has become even easier and more efficient as we can keep records as well of our transactions.

Still, there are other tricks we can avail of to make the task easy and more enjoyable. Finger-Math can be a tool one can learn and use during those hectic moments when technology Is not around to your aid. Mental math is a trick we can also develop to enhance our acuity in this area. Whatever suits your personality and style, make sure the math is a primary focus in your business. Remember, math is but a tool to make your work easier; but loving the work can make a lot of difference in how you conduct the business.

3. Know you product

Knowing your product is as important as how much you price it eventually. You may have a good round figure for your product’s price; but if you have not truly known your product (what it directly provides, what value it adds to its user, how it can be enhanced beyond its basic use), you will not fathom its true worth for you and for your customer.

Knowing your product goes beyond appreciating its innate value. Peanut butter is not just for making bread taste better or eating by itself. It can also be used for adding flavour to other recipes or with other food (try it with banana). And unless you tell people it can be used as so, they will never discover its other uses. Advertising or showing it in your packaging can be the step you need to do to enhance your product’s value and appeal as well as its price.

4. Know your customers

Not all people will want to buy your product or service. How to change their mind is the challenge you must never give up on. Changing your approach may allow you to capture certain customers you know patronize other brands. Price reduction, although it is not always the best thing to do or other come-ons, such as giveaways or freebies, may help promote your product in certain market locations you wish to capture.

Talking to people and being sensitive to their needs will help you get a clearer picture of your prospective customers.

5. Know your competitors

Knowing your customers will teach you how to appreciate and know your competitors indirectly as well. If you feel your product is better than your competitors and yet you cannot break into the bigger share of the market , then there must be something wrong with your product or your marketing approach.

Companies who have been in the business for many years have a lot to teach you how to go about your own venture. Get as much information from them directly through visiting their stores and factories or indirectly through reading books, magazines and websites.

6. No matter how many competitors you have, you can still join in if you are unique

Unless every corner in your area has a small variety store, you can still put up your own as long as you provide a unique feature in your business. Delivering your product while others wait for buyers can be your advantage in these busy times. Or, you can have orders picked up at certain times to encourage people to buy fresh vegetables, fruits or meat, for instance. The trick is to make your customers feel special and given a personal touch. Adding something nobody else provides may be the advantage you need to keep the competitors behind.

7. Find out what works for you and your product

Eventually, you will have to experiment and make a lot of mistakes as to how you can improve your product, your price and your style of operation. But things will change as economic and social realities also change ad adapting creatively will allow you to stay afloat. Being prepared for such eventualities ahead of others will help you reduce risks and manage your business well.

In the end, running a business may take more and more of your time and may lead you to give up your day-job. If you feel the time is right, then go ahead. Most business-people started that way. Make up your mind at the very start that the option is always present. It is just a matter of time when you will take the brave jump.

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