Nonfarm payroll employment rose by 204,000 in October

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The October jobs report was surprisingly strong in light of the government shutdown inflicted on the American economy.

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 204,000 in October, and the unemployment rate was little changed at 7.3 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment increased in leisure and hospitality, retail trade, professional and technical services, manufacturing, and health care.

The key issue with these numbers remains the size of the workforce. It remains to be seen how accurately these government surveys are in light of new trends where people work at home. Look at these numbers:

While the economy has been miserable for small business, and many larger ones as well, the ranks of the self-employed have been growing. According to research by Economic Modeling Specialists International, the number of people who primarily work on their own has swelled by 1.3 million since 2001 to 10.6 million, a 14% increase.

How does this factor into the unemployment trends? Nobody seems to be talking about this when the jobs numbers come out.

College presidents rake in the big bucks

Is the college game rigged against you? No, we’re not talking about fixing college football games. We’re talking about the problem of college costs and runaway student debt. With that in mind, this article about salaries and expenses for college presidents will probably get your blood boiling.

E. Gordon Gee makes millions as president of Ohio State University, but a Dayton Daily News investigation found the university spends almost as much for Gee to travel the globe, throw parties, wine and dine donors, woo prospective faculty, hang out with students and staff and maintain a 9,600-square-foot mansion on 1.3 acres.

Since returning to Columbus as the university’s president in October 2007, the 68-year-old Gee has pulled in $8.6 million in salary and compensation, making him the highest paid CEO of a public university in the country.

But his expenses — hidden among hard-to-get records that the university took nearly a year to release — tally nearly as much: $7.7 million.

Gee’s spending is kept out of the public eye because it can be tallied only by examining multiple reports, including the quarterly discretionary expense reports delivered to the trustees and not easily obtainable by others. The Daily News first requested records documenting Gee’s work day, housing, American Express statements, travel expenses, discretionary spending reports and other data in September 2011. The university did not fully respond to the request until August 2012.

Those records show Gee stays in luxury hotels, dines at country clubs and swank restaurants, throws lavish parties, flies on private jets and hands out thousands of gifts — all at public expense.

The Daily News investigation found the university spent more than $895,000 for gatherings at the Pizzuti House, the president’s mansion, between April 2008 and June 2011.

Yes, Gee raises a ton of money, bet when if ever will tuition-paying students see any of the benefits beyond new construction on campus? Things have to change.

Dealing with Debt Collectors

Debt comes in all shapes and sizes and while there may be good debt, such as financing your mortgage or taking out a loan to fund your small business, there is also a great deal of bad debt. This debt can add up and before you know it, you’re getting those collection calls asking for the money you borrowed. In this article, you’ll learn a little about how to handle those calls and what you should do to minimize the damage to your pocketbook.

Know the Laws

Assuming your debt was sold to a third-party collector, you’re not in for the easiest time of your life. Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, a debt collector cannot lie about legal documents, make up a document to look legal when it isn’t, and they certainly can’t say you’ve committed a crime. They also can’t impersonate a government official or an attorney. If you feel harassed by their phone calls, tell them so. Under no circumstance are they allowed to harass you.

Under the FDCPA, threats and dishonesty such as the following are not allowed:

● Threats of a lawsuit without actually having the intention of doing so.
● Claims of garnishing your wages if this is not legal.
● Lying about the amount you owe.
● Saying you will be physically harmed.
● Telling you that you will be arrested if you don’t pay.

Handle Your Debt and Don’t Panic

Hanging up the phone, missing collector calls, or just “waiting it out” are bad ideas. If a debt collector calls to inform you that there will be a lawsuit against you, you should consider getting an attorney. You’ll want someone who has a proven track record of success and extensive knowledge of the FDCPA. Once you have proper legal representation, it’s a smart move to direct debt collectors to your lawyer instead of handling them yourself.

Take the time to ask your collector for a breakdown of the amount you owe such as the principal, the interest accrued, and any sort of fees you may have been charged. After you discover the exact amount you owe and why you owe it, you can face the music and pay it immediately, or you can wait. It’s not recommended that you wait due to the possibility that a debt collector could take legal action, though there is a statute of limitations.

Some statutes can be as short as 3 years and others as long as 10. Until then, you run the risk of being sued and will continue to have debt on your credit report.

Am I Being Scammed?

Don’t automatically assume someone is an actual debt collector and give them your personal information. Remember that they are required to tell you who they are. Scammers often ask for your bank account number, social security number, or credit card number in an attempt to plague off your fears and trick you into paying a nonexistent debt. These criminals are known to pose as law enforcement agents and threaten their victims with jail time if they don’t pay.

What Other Steps Can I Take?

Debt collectors can only contact you between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. If you still find yourself annoyed by their constant calls, send them a proper letter describing your wishes. You can reduce how often they call or eliminate communication entirely. There are also letters available for you to request official documentation of what you owe on your debt. Also, be sure you purchase delivery confirmation and only send the letter through certified mail.

Don’t ever admit you owe the debt in any capacity. Should you come to an agreement to pay the debt, ask them to send written acknowledgement of your payment terms. Don’t pay without getting this confirmation to avoid any future issues involving misunderstandings or missed payments.

Conclusion

Keep your cool, choose your course of action, and stick to it. Remember to do continuous research if you plan to settle the matter on your own and understand how the system works to achieve the best possible outcome.

Courtesy of CashNetUSA.

6 Financial Advantages for College Students

College Graduation.

For many people, the knowledge that you gain while in school is more than enough incentive to pursue higher education. For some, however, the little extras that come along with going to college make it that much better. When considering the option of college, think about the other financial advantages that you will have.

Health Insurance

There are a few different options with health insurance. One of the most beneficial to students is the ability to stay on a parent’s health insurance plan for a longer period of time. This can save a lot of money in the long run. Keep in mind the restrictions to this; for example, if you are married, you will not qualify.

Car Insurance

Many auto insurance companies offer discounts for students. You can find the discounts available by calling your insurance provider or checking out websites like 21st.com. Sometimes, you may be able to get larger discounts if you have good grades. 

Cell Phone Plans

Have you looked at the price of cell phone plans recently? It can get a little overwhelming. Luckily, if you are a student, many cell phone providers are willing to give you a break. Talk to your cell phone provider and find out if they offer a discount for students. You’ll never know unless you ask!

Checking and Savings Accounts

Many banks today are offering great deals for students. With a copy of your transcripts or student ID, you may be able to get highly reduced, or even free, bank accounts. Many of these accounts come with both checking and savings options, which is a great benefit for students. Having the ability to start putting money away into a savings account now will greatly benefit you in the future.

Local Businesses

Have you ever seen an advertised student discount at the places you shop, eat, or otherwise frequent? If so, you may already know the best places to find a great financial advantage. Many restaurants and other service-based industries offer a discount with a student ID. This is a great way to save a little money on the things you do regularly.

Tax Benefits

As a student, you may be able to get great tax benefits. Whether you do your taxes yourself, or you have someone do them for you, make sure to look into the options you have as a student. Each year these benefits differ, so don’t forget to check every year.
There are many benefits to being a student. Some of the benefits may seem small in the short run, but when you look at the overall savings that you will come across as a student, you start to see the bigger picture. Carry your student ID, you never know what discounts you may come across.

How to Work Smarter Not Harder

A lot of people have developed the silly philosophy that to get ahead a person has to work as hard as they can. Now there’s nothing at all wrong with working hard, but working with some intelligence and a plan can do wonders for your success. You can do less physical work, less repetitive work and take up less of your day while you make more money if you plan effectively. You can also make use of systems that will make your work easier, and some systems will even do much of your repetitive work for you.

Making it Smarter

The first step in working smarter is to figure out the point of your work. What are you going to do with a particular day? A lot of people are so stuck on the dogma of doing a bunch of rote tasks in a particular order that they forget why they’re doing them. If you can’t figure out why you do something, try cutting it out entirely for awhile. The important tasks will show their importance if they’re absent for awhile because your work will be hurt without them. Useless tasks and busy work are expendable, and you won’t miss them after awhile.

Using Your Time Well

When you plan, you tend to get more done. Even a simple to do list scribbled on a piece of paper is a great way to put proverbial rockets on your day. The more organized you are the better prepared you’ll be to get your day’s work done faster and easier. While it might be easy to fire up a game of Angry Birds, setting up the latest MetroFax app for the iPhone is a far more effective way to use your time. The new app just released, and will be a big help in working smarter. Considering how many apps are out there you can do a lot without even having to move. Even rush hour traffic can be time productively spent with nothing more than your smart phone.

Use Systems to Your Advantage

Smart phones are great for systematizing almost everything in your day. However, computers are even better about it. You can automate everything from your business expense payments all the way up to your to do list, and you can even automate ordering dinner for those long nights of working. As well, you can make sure your cash flow figures are correct through a site like Mint.com. By that point, you’re working a whole lot smarter and probably not as hard.

Proactive thought and the use of systems can do a lot to make your work day a lot easier. Naturally, these require some thinking, so you have to work smarter. When systems begin to do a lot of the rote work for you it becomes a lot easier to get through your important work. When you know what your important work is you can do it a lot more effectively. The less busy work that clutters your day the more effectively you can accomplish your to do list. It all comes down to doing what you’ve got to do by the end of the day.

4 Ways to Keep Your Job and Your Sanity

Losing your job is one of the most traumatic financial events you can go through. While it isn’t as bad as a serious illness, the amount of stress losing your job could cause could become a serious health concern. So while you continue struggling to keep your job along with everybody else, here are some great tips for keeping cool and staying in the saddle.

Stick to the Fundamentals

Your boss wants to make sure your business’s core operations remain intact. This is a time when you want to be very careful where and when you rock the boat. If you rock it too much, your boss may decide you’re more of a liability than an asset.

Be Seen and Appreciated

There are two things you need to ask yourself before you do anything work-related:
1. Will it be noticed?
2. Will it be immediately appreciated?
While business is all about toiling away on the inglorious preparatory work, you need to do plenty of sexy work as well. The more obviously useful what you’re doing is, the more likely you’ll be kept around and rewarded when rewards are possible. Make sure you are always as visible as possible when you’re doing something constructive.

Be Proactive

If your boss isn’t handing out assignments, find useful work to do. Make sure it will obviously help the company and make sure everyone knows you’re doing it. The more obviously you benefit the company, the more likely you’ll get praise and profit for your activities. The more effectively you plan and manage for yourself, the more likely you’ll get the next promotion to come down the pike.

Keep Hope Alive no Matter What

Sometimes every effort you put forward won’t be enough to keep your job. In a case like that you need to rely on your wits. First things first, keep your expenses on track. If you need quick cash to hold you over, visit plaingreenloans.com. Drop your unnecessary expenses and keep your necessary ones as tightly in check as you can. Secondly, use your proactivity to secure your next source of employment as soon as you can.

This isn’t the best environment for staying employed or staying sane. However, this is a great time to test your mettle and give it everything you’ve got. If you struggle to be seen and use every ounce of your creativity beneficially, you may be able to keep your job and avoid going insane.
 

Outsourced Jobs Regaining Popularity

Outsourcing is experiencing a resurgence in popularity, with many companies preferring to look externally for goods and services rather than internally.

There are many benefits associated with outsourcing:
-It allows a company with operations in a foreign company the opportunity to employ locals who hold knowledge of local cultural nuances.
-The company can make use of the local talent. This also allows a boost in the local economy.

It is because of these benefits that outsourcing has become popular again across many job fields in the USA.

What Kind of Outsourcing Jobs are Available?

Administration

Outsourcing administration means a company can employ the services of a home based administration assistant. This saves the company in many areas, such as office space and supplies.

Many companies also outsource their payroll administration. Leaving this in the hands of professionals is a lot easier and cost-effective for many businesses, especially if they are new and inexperienced.

Debt collection services are also a major area of administration based outsourcing. Bigger companies see the benefits of employing such services, as these professionals have a ton of experience and are more efficient at bringing in debts owed.

Employment Services

Many companies make use of employment agencies to do their hiring, instead of using internal human resources staff. Employment agencies offer specialized services to clients and can commit more time to it than an internal department may be able to.

This effectively saves the business money, as they only employ the services when they need to, rather than having several people permanently on the company’s payroll.

Healthcare

Healthcare is something which will always have jobs available. Many corporations require medical checks for employees on health benefits. Most outsource this and employ the services of an independent physician to undertake physical examinations on employees.

Many healthcare providers are also taking advantage of outsourcing non-core services, such as housekeeping and security services. Some are even starting to outsource medical positions such as nurses and specialist physicians.

Hospitality

Larger companies that have a cafeteria set up for staff usually outsource the staffing to save on costs. Everyone needs to eat, and if you don’t mind hard work and a fast paced environment, there will always be lots of hospitality based jobs available for you.

Marketing and Technological Services

Services such as website design, website hosting, marketing and advertising have been outsourced by businesses for many years. Such services require a certain level of expertise, and hiring outside professionals can give you this expertise whilst remaining open to new ideas and presenting fresh perspectives.

There are many areas across a business in which duties can be outsourced. Do you have any experience with outsourcing? If so, what kind of services have you provided?

Debt Management Options

Debt settlement can be a useful option when a consumer has acquired too much debt that he or she cannot afford to pay in full. With debt settlement, the creditor agrees to settle with the debtor for an amount that’s less than the actual amount owed.

Much like most other debt management options, debt settlement has its advantages and disadvantages. Debt settlement can reduce the total amount that is owed to creditors and it can also reduce interest on your debt. Debt settlement can eliminate any future fees on your debt, it can consolidate all of your payments under one creditor, and it is possible to become debt-free in less than two years. And, unlike a debt consolidation loan, you are not creating new debt by borrowing to get out of debt. 

One of the disadvantages of debt settlement is the negative effect it may have on your credit report. Because you won’t be paying your creditors the usual monthly payments, this will be noted on your credit report. However, to some creditors this notation can also mean that the debtor did take responsibility in paying as much as he or she possibly could, which may help to offset the negatives. In addition, because your credit report will show that the debt is “paid” or “settled” rather than “outstanding,” this may have a positive effect on your credit history.  

Another disadvantage to debt settlement is that any cancelled amount exceeding $600 is considered taxable income. If the creditor reports the forgiven amount to the IRS, you will receive a 1099-C form. In some instances, however, the IRS will decide that the debtor is insolvent, meaning that the debtor will not owe any Federal taxes on the amount.

If you decide that debt settlement is the best option for you, there are several ways to accomplish it. You may negotiate your own debt settlement agreement or you can hire a consumer law attorney to assist you. It is highly recommend that you hire an attorney, especially if your debt is substantial. When negotiating a debt settlement agreement on your own it is important to get everything in writing. Debt collectors typically deal with hundreds of cases per day, so mistakes can happen. To protect yourself, make sure you have agreement in hand before making any kind of payment. The agreement should clearly state the following:

  • -Payment due date
  • -How much you have agreed to pay (total amount and each payment amount)
  • -Method of payment (i.e. cashier’s check, electronic bank transfer)
  • -The debt collector will report to the three major credit bureaus that the debt has been settled or (if applicable) “paid in full” 
  • -Any/all conditions of the agreement (consequences of late payments, consequences of breach)
  • -Any concessions that the debt collector has made

It is recommended that you contact a consumer law attorney to review the agreement to ensure that your interests are well protected. You can search for consumer law attorneys in your local area through the American Bar Association (ABA) website. Access to the ABA lawyer locator is free.

If you cannot afford a lawyer, but instead, you are considering a debt settlement agency beware. There are several things you can do to protect your personal information and to ensure a smooth and lawful process. Before you do business with a debt settlement agency check to make sure that the staff consists of IAPDA (International Association of Professional Debt Arbitrators) certified debt arbitrators, that they belong to an accredited U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and that they are a member of the Better Business Bureau.

4 Ways to Make a Good Impression at Your Company’s Theme Party

There are standards to approaching your traditional Company Theme Party, but first, recognize how awesome it is for your corporation to even have one. Typically, parties are of the holiday variety — a Christmas shindig or 4th of July get-together, and that’s it. If you’re lucky enough to have a type of party celebrating either the New Year, or maybe the anniversary of the company, by wearing ‘costumes,’ by all means, get creative with it.
 
We’re not talking about Halloween, though —  although that is an idea. Rather, skip the candy giving and make it a private party with your company by focusing on movie costumes. Nice theme, right? So, that’s what you get to work with — here’s a list of some of the best ways to make a good impression, using movie costumes.
 
 
• Dress Like James Bond
 
Being that Agent 007 has a certain flair for the dramatic and can also party respectfully, it matches well with some of the most important tips to good office partying. For one, he’s not going to drink himself to death and plaster himself to the wall (remember, this is an “office party”). All he needs is his dry martini — shaken, not stirred.
 
• Twin Costumes Are True Enjoyment
 
Typically, spouses are often ignored at the office party. Let’s change that. This is supposed to be about fun. If you’re going to a theme party handled by your business, go with your spouse in a dual costume getup. Hansel and Gretel, Neo and Trinity from “The Matrix,” Smokey and the Bandit, Rocky and Bullwinkle, or Tom and Jerry. You’ll involve your spouse more with your own office doing that.
 
• Don’t Go Overboard
 
This is still your office, so make sure you don’t make your costume such that everyone has to ask who you are. This means no dressing up as King Kong, Godzilla, the Predator, an Alien, or even Optimus Prime. Keep it simple — no masks, lay off the makeup, and go for clever and quaint such as Dirty Harry, Blondie from “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly,” or even Batman would suffice (letting the mask slide, of course).
 
• Pop Culture Works Well — Like John Dillinger
 
In other words, don a simple modern fedora and a black suit and tie, and you’re basically a historical gangster like Dillinger, or Lucky Luciano, or Bugsy Siegel. There’s a certain flair to this look, and it presents a quality style your whole office would probably enjoy. Not to mention, it’s attractive. However, keep it professional! A themed office party, while a lot more fun than most office parties, needs to avoid the personal as well as the alcohol (hence trying out a James Bond outfit).

Have fun with it! It’s about cinema. It’s about style. It’s about making a statement to your colleagues that you know how to have fun in a classy way, supporting your office environment and being the life of the party. Just remember — shaken, not stirred.

Fun Careers for the Creatives at Heart

For those who work with the left side of the brain, sitting at a desk and entering data just won’t cut it. If you’re looking for a career that is fun and uses your creativity, here is a list of some great careers that you should consider.

Graphic Artist

The great thing about being a graphic artist is you get to use your skills as an artist and get paid to do it! Graphic artists do everything from creating advertisements to inventing a company’s logo. Many run their own freelance businesses, which adds a lot of flexibility to the job. 

Web Designer

Along the lines of graphic artists, web designers combine the creativity of creating a beautiful web page with the technical aspect of web page coding. If you enjoy computers and art, this might be perfect for you. 

Animation

Animation is a huge component of movies, cartoons, and video games because many production companies use computers instead of the traditionally drawn cartoons. Whether you decide to be a movie or video game animator, a career in animation requires a lot of skills in art (especially figure modeling) as well as computers. 

Composer for Video Games

If music is your passion, becoming a composer for video games is a great way to use your music skills. Music in games could be as simple as background music (who could forget the ditty that plays during Super Mario Bros.) or songs that are played in cut scenes. 

Landscape Design

For those who enjoy the sunshine and fresh air, designing landscapes for residential homes and businesses is a great way to use your creative juices. Knowing the climate and what grows best is essential for this line of work, and could also include designing water features such as ponds and waterfalls. 

Music Teachers

If you have a love for music and for children, becoming a music teacher is a great way to combine the two. Students who are involved in the arts are less likely to get into trouble or drop out of school. Help your students gain a love for music and influence their lives for good. 

Copywriters

A career in copywriting is another great way to work for yourself. Copywriters generally write anything needed for advertisements, product descriptions, blog posts, product brochures, and so on. Successful copywriters use creativity to add personality and humor to their writing.

Book Editors

When it comes to publishing, book editors have a lot of influence on the final product from writers. They work with authors to polish books by cutting out extraneous scenes or requesting rewrites. It takes a lot of creativity to know what a successful book needs.

No matter what creative career you decide on, remember that education is important to your success. Whether you get a bachelor’s degree in art or go to a two-year art school, you’ll want to have the experience under your belt before you head out into the world to find a job in your chosen profession.

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