Cheat Sheet Q & A:
Topic: The cost of Federal regulation to small businesses
Bottom Line: A local business owner who has been struggling with the cost of increased Federal Regulation in recent years wanted me to cover the other showdown in Washington yesterday… The
The NFIB testified yesterday that the cost of Federal compliance across all small businesses (defined as those with fewer than 500 employees) is a staggering $10,585 per employee based on their research. It’s 36% higher than the cost of compliance for larger companies. As they point out more than 99% of businesses have fewer than 500 employees and the large cost of Federal compliance is a huge inhibitor to hiring, investing in expansion of businesses and issuing raises. The NFIB is asking for regulations to be eased on smaller businesses to at least allow them to be cost competitive with their larger counterparts. For more information about the NFIB’s efforts: http://www.nfib.com/
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Evaluate but don't commit to heath exchange plans:
Bottom Line: Today is day one for the health care exchanges. Here is a recap of the relevant information for you if you want / need to evaluate the insurance options that are available to Floridians:
It’s wise to begin to educate yourself about available options if you do intend to obtain coverage through the Federal exchange but it doesn’t make any sense to commit to a plan at this time. Keep in mind that even if you lock in coverage today it won’t begin until January of 2014. You have until December to lock in your coverage for 2014. With so much uncertainty over the future of ACA and many exchanges reporting issues already it doesn’t make sense for you to commit to a plan so soon. Additionally if you have particular physicians that you want to continue to see, you should also check with them with regard to the insurance policies. As the doctor in yesterday’s Q & A indicated there are many answered questions regarding many of these policies from their perspective.
Time to lock in your interest rates:
Bottom Line: A little over two weeks ago I mentioned that we were in store for a bit of a quite period with regard to interest rates for a few weeks. After a summer of rising rates, especially mortgage rates, that’s news. Well it hasn’t quite been three weeks but indeed there is a deal for you today on interest rates. It’s the partial Government shutdown special.
With the Federal Government in partial shutdown mode the financial markets are reflecting concern over negative economic impact. That means slightly lower interest rates today. 30 year fixed mortgages have dropped a touch to 4.3% today with good credit. That’s better than the 4.7% average mortgage over the course of the summer. My expectation is that this budget battle to shall pass and the financial markets will see a bit of a snap back. If that occurs expect slightly higher mortgage and interest rates generally. So if you’ve been waiting to originate a long duration loan, this may be a good time.
The world's most valuable brands for 2013 (and there's a new #1):
Bottom Line: There are three themes in this year’s brand value index.
So Apple has done it. Within the last week I’d indicated that Apple’s brand had never been stronger based upon adaptation to iOS7 and record sales of the new iPhones. Indeed that is the case. Not only Apple but Google passed the long time top brand, Coke, in world value. Here is the Interbrand complete list of the top 100: http://www.interbrand.com/en/best-global-brands/2013/Best-Global-Brands-2013.aspx
Because of the iBeacon tech being an Apple product there is no word on when or if this may be available for Droid or Windows based smart phones.
New debt collection battleground - text messages:
Bottom Line: Recently many debt collection agencies have become aggressive in texting notices to people they are trying to collect from or even friends and family. While one company was recently found guilty of improper text practices (the use of threats, misrepresentation, etc.) being used, the practice of debt collectors texting isn’t illegal. The same standards apply as phone calls. Here are the guidelines from the FTC: http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0149-debt-collection
Did you get fries with that? Fast food becoming slower and less accurate:
Bottom Line: The QSR annual study found that our fast food has never been slower and less accurate. The better question isn’t “do you want fries with that?”, its did you get your fries with that. Here are the findings:
Do your homework before staying with or switching to a new bank:
Bottom Line: The number of banks offering free checking is continuing to decline. At the same time fees that banks are charging for non-free checking account, overdrafts and ATM’s have reached new record levels according to Bankrate.com’s annual study.
In 2009 76% of all banks offered free checking. That’s down to just 38% today. Additionally the average overdraft fee is now $32 and the average ATM fee is more than $4. The bottom line is your bottom line. Do your homework or you’re likely to pay.