30Jul
0

Affluent individuals who have been schooled in investment techniques are already knowledgeable of the various investment opportunities available in the public market, but the trend toward online commodity trading services has made investment a common individual method of building wealth. Most workers have a 401(K) retirement plan of some type, but many still invest in the market in other ways.

Commodity futures is one of the basic alternatives for even small investors because of the opportunity for quick high-yielding returns in certain sectors of the economy. It is no coincidence that the New York Stock Exchange is on its way to record highs. The future investment planning of the basic wage earner is helping fuel the growth, and much of that growth is in commodity futures trading. So, how does a beginner find their way through the myriad of commodity traders?

Why Choose a Commodity Trading Adviser?

Trading in commodities is not like trading stocks. When buying and selling stocks, the investor is focused on the stability and future growth of a unit of corporate stock. Investing in commodities is done on the price of specific products. Oil and corn are prime examples that also exhibit the wide range of investment possibilities. In addition, beginning investors will find that investment is essentially like operating a small business. Consistent growth is crucial during the first five years of any business, and the same is true of commodity investment. Having an experienced professional commodity trader adviser means that trends in the market will not go unnoticed by the novice investor, which in turn maximizes investment return.

Full Service vs. Self Service

Many commodity trader investment houses use both platforms on some level, usually offering a suite of significant tools for the self-manager. Beginners will usually opt for some form of manager or training before investing fully. The best method is always starting slowly and making prudent investments before moving upwards in terms of investment levels and high-risk options. Good balance is always recommended within the portfolio, and even having a part-time investment coach from a trading house can be a real advantage. This can also help control investment fees, which is also a serious consideration when choosing the right investment service. The company track record on volume and return is always a good indicator of overall sound investment judgment. Having a full-service trading adviser controlling your portfolio is clearly the simplest and easiest strategy when you have the right broker.

Investing Education

Regardless of the strategy chosen by the investor, any beginning stock market entrepreneur should educate themselves on the terminology and underlying theories associated with using money to make money. It is clearly a unique industry that includes high risk in many situations along with high reward when investing in the right product or company. There is a seemingly endless number of online investment courses and information available for anyone who is beginning the process of developing an investment strategy for the future.

Whether choosing to hire a full-service manager or taking a chance on investing alone, any money spent in training or for investment fees should be viewed as an investment in your future as well. There are always some types of service fees included, but they are just necessary costs of doing business that may create much more income than the amount of fee expense.

30Jul
0

pregnant

Remember that experiment where they told kids they could either eat the cookie in front of them right now, or wait different periods of time and then they were promised two cookies? It turns out, those who waited ended up being more successful and more intelligent than the ones who opted for instant gratification. Waiting to find out your baby’s gender until the birth may not mean you’ll be a more successful parent, but it can certainly lead to a more rewarding experience during the birth.

More and more people are choosing to wait in order to enjoy the biggest and best surprise of their life. While shopping for unisex clothes and getting creative at baby showers can be a challenge, for many it’s well worth it. If you’re expecting or TTC, consider the upsides to waiting.

1. Get the joy of choosing two names

Nothing is as fun as thinking about baby names while you’re expecting, but if you wait you can roll two names over your tongue or even think of unisex names. This lends to the element of surprise on the day of the birth.

2. Save money

It’s natural for parents to be (and grandparents to be) to overspend on clothes and accessories that will only be used once if at all. You see a frilly pink dress or adorable overalls and just have to buy it. However, shopping in gender neutral zones only or waiting to find out your baby’s gender can save a lot of waste. You’ll need it once you find out just how costly babies really are.

3. Opt into the greatest surprise of your life

It’s no secret that labor and delivery is tough, painful and arguably the worst part of being pregnant. However, when you have the best surprise of your life waiting at the other end, it can make it a little more bearable.

4. Prevent yourself from pink or blue overload

Parents to be can get a little nutty when it comes to decorating the baby’s room. An explosion of pink or blue can just happen, and you may regret it during the millionth diaper change when your eyes are being blasted with the same hue. Neutral tones for baby’s room is much more soothing and classic.

Whether you choose to wait or not is up to you, but there’s something special about that surprise element. Are you up for holding out for another metaphorical cookie?

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29Jul
0

overtime

Many employees are unaware what the laws regulating overtime payment in Illinois say. Many employees believe that they are entitled to payment of one-and-one-half times their salary if they work any hours over their regular schedule. In addition, many believe their employer is required to pay them time and one half, or even double, their salary if they work a holiday or Sunday. However, in the state of Illinois, these two beliefs are not necessarily true.

Overtime Pay

In Illinois, an employer must pay time and one half an employee’s regular rate of pay if the employee works more than 40 hours in one work week. A work week consists of seven consecutive 24-hour periods, but an employer may choose any day to determine when the work week starts for their employees. In addition, an employer may have different work weeks for different departments, employees or divisions. However, once the work week is established, it must remain fixed. An employer may not change the work week to avoid paying overtime. Hours worked in a work week determine whether an employee is eligible for overtime. If an employee’s regular hours are less than 40 hours per week, the employer is only required to pay overtime on hours worked over 40. In other words, if the regular work hours for an employee total 35 hours per week, the employee would receive no overtime until they have accumulated over five hours more than their regular working hours.

Exemptions to Overtime

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) lists some employee categories that may be exempt from overtime. Each exemption has its own requirements that must be met in in order for an employer not to pay the employee overtime. These include:

• Salesmen and mechanics who sell or service vehicles or farm equipment at dealerships

• Agricultural employees

• Some executive, administrative or professional employees

• Select radio or television employees in cities with a population less than 100,000

• Commissioned employees

• Certain educational and childcare employees

Holidays and Sundays

There is no regulation in Illinois or in the FLSA that requires an employer to pay overtime to an employee who works on Sunday or a holiday unless working those days causes the employee to work more than 40 hours in the work week. Employers may include a policy that offers employees time-and-a-half or double time pay on Sundays and holidays. If such a policy exists, the employer is required to pay overtime to an employee working those days.

Presidential Memorandum

In March 2014, President Barack Obama signed a Presidential Memorandum instructing the Secretary of Labor to update regulations regarding employees who are eligible for overtime. This could mean changes to employee categories who are exempt from overtime as well as to the hours an employee is required to work before overtime must be paid. In addition, the Secretary has been ordered to simplify overtime rules to make them easier for both employees and employers to understand.

Because many employees misunderstand the regulations related to overtime, a company may face a complaint from an employee who believes they were eligible for overtime that was not paid. When these situations arise, a business litigation attorney can provide advice and guidance on how best to proceed with an employee’s complaint regarding overtime.

28Jul
0

prescriptiondrugs

If you’ve ever thought that you’re paying too much for your prescription medications, you’re probably right according to this Consumer Reports article. Even those who have a standard medical insurance program that covers prescription drugs are paying higher prices than ever. Fortunately, there are many ways you can cut down your prescription drug costs without sacrificing your health and well-being.

Asking Your Doctor for Samples

Communicating with your doctor can help get the point across that you’re having trouble paying for your medications. Your doctor may offer you a month or two of free samples of medication or coupons to cut down on your out of pocket expenses. According to this article from the FDA, you can also ask your doctor about alternatives to pricey products. Show your physician your Medicare Part D prescription savings drug plan information to see if the medications you need are part of the plan.

Using Mail Order Services

Shopping through mail order pharmacy services can save big bucks on your prescription drugs, explains this Huffington Post article. Ask your doctor to write a 90-day supply with refills for your medication. You can send in your prescription by fax, mail or electronically to an online or mail-order service that participates in your Medicare Part D plan. Mail-order pharmacies don’t have as much overhead, so they can charge less money for the same medications. You can also enjoy the convenience of having your medication show up at your doorstep instead of having to head out to wait in line at a retail pharmacy.

Requesting Generic or Formulary Drugs

One way to cut down your out-of-pocket expenses for prescription drugs is to request generic medications instead of name brand. According to this feature from WebMD, choosing generic over name brand medications could save as much as 80 percent when it comes time to pay. Another way to save on your medication costs is to check with your insurance benefit program about its prescription drug formulary. A formulary is a listing of medicines that the insurer has contracted to provide at a discount. Choosing these medications over non-formulary drugs may also result in a significant savings. Combine generics or formulary drugs with a Medicare Part D prescription savings plan for the best level of savings.

Participating in a Prescription Drugs Saving Plan

If you enjoy the interaction with your pharmacist as well as the personalized services that you’ve come to expect at your favorite pharmacy, Medicare Part D plans are a good option to help cut down on your medication costs. Many independent and national chain pharmacies participate in these savings plans. You’ll likely find that most or all of the medications you need are discounted by these benefit programs. In addition to the savings you enjoy from your Medicare Part D program, you may get additional benefits or discounts from the pharmacy by using a customer loyalty card when you pay for your prescriptions.

26Jul
0

beautyjunkie

Everyone has their passions that border on obsessions, and when it comes down to it there are much worse things than being a beauty junkie. As long as you stick within a budget and only indulge in the really good stuff every now and thing, this is one of the safer hobbies to have. However, life can be tough for a beauty junkie when there are just so many choices and so little time.

Think you’re a beauty junkie? If you have a suspicion, you’re probably right, but there are still some red flags to watch out for. Remember that just because you stick with all natural products like organic oils or “only” wear makeup on weekends doesn’t mean you’re exempt. Beauty junkies come with all kind of quirks and kinks, just like makeup, and it’s what makes you unique.

1. The beauty aisle is your motherland

You can sniff out the beauty aisle at any super store and the idea of getting caught in a Rite Aid, CVS or Walgreens is sheer paradise. You know that a high price doesn’t equate to a great product, and you consider yourself the ruler of drugstore finds. There are treasures in there, and you can hone in on them instantly.

2. You use a tacklebox as an organizer

No matter how messy you are in other parts of your life, there comes a time for any beauty junkie that organization is key. However, not just any makeup bag will do. Maybe you have a tacklebox (or a few) for your goodies or a custom designed bathroom vanity.

3. Forget the fashion on the runways

You watch Fashion Week or soak up the photos for the inspiring makeup. You know that no outfit is complete without the right face, and that’s where your creativity begins. For you, the clothes are just an adornment to show off the makeup.

4. You live for makeovers

When your friends ask you to do their makeup, that’s where you really shine. It’s why you pick up shades that you love but just don’t work for your complexion. Plus, you really like trying to translate what they say they want into the end result. You take pride in listening to their desires then amping it up.

5. But you also have a few secrets you’ll take to your grave

Like any great artist, you can’t give all your secrets away. Whether it’s the faux eyelash shadow from an eyeliner flare on your lower eyelid or just the right mix of cream and reds for a pouty lip, some things are just for you (and your gorgeous face).

 

25Jul
0

bottleservice

Everyone deserves to live like JayBey every now and then, however bottle service (of course) comes at a premium price. Don’t get lulled into thinking you’ve found a one of a kind bargain bottle service. That’s a huge red flag that either that particular club is no longer on anyone’s radar or you’re going to get stuck paying a prime price for bottom shelf liquor. Hold yourself (and your part) to a higher standard and splurge when it matters.

While it’s tempting to live the A-list lifestyle every weekend, bottle service is best kept for the choicest of occasions. This is especially true in areas like LA or New York. Bottle service in smaller cities is a shadow of the real deal (who needs bottle service in Denver?), so choose your splurges wisely. Here are a few instances when bottle service isn’t a luxury, but nearly a requirement.

1. Bachelor/bachelorette parties

Hopefully the betrothed will only get hitched once in their lifetime, so this is worth celebrating. Skip the shady strip clubs and instead treat the future newlyweds to a night out they’ll truly remember. Anything that happens just once is worth going all out.

2. Divorce parties

On the other end of the spectrum, if someone does get divorced this is really something that should only happen once. Help them remember how fantastic the single life can be by showing them what a night out can drum up. Re-entering the single life can be a tough transition, but not when you’re at the helm.

3. Milestone birthdays

This can include the big 2-1 as well as entering any new decade. These handfuls of milestones don’t happen on the regular, which means you can certainly spend a little extra to ring in another 10 years. Once you’re an adult, birthdays don’t often matter as much, so be sure to celebrate the ones that do.

4. Bon voyage parties

If someone is leaving town for good (or just settled in a new metro), it’s time to bring out the big guns. However, bon voyage parties are getting a little overplayed. This isn’t for someone who just took a six-month gig abroad. Save it for the ones that are more permanent.

5. When you’ve made a huge accomplishment

Maybe your novel just got picked up by a publisher or you actually placed in a marathon. You know when the big stuff matters, so celebrate it in style.

23Jul
0

onlinemarketing

With so many companies turning to online marketing to reach new customers, it seems like many businesses forgot about the importance of offline marketing. While many people now shop and search for information while on the go from their smartphones, tablets and laptop computers, there are still offline marketing techniques that can help you gain more business. Before letting yourself focus solely on online marketing, think about how offline marketing can help you.

Guerrilla Marketing

Guerrilla marketing includes some off the wall, unique and unusual forms of marketing. The rock band Nine Inch Nails skipped online marketing for one of its recent albums in favor of leaving small drives with the album attached in various locations for fans to find. The Duct Tape Marketing blog recommends leaving sticky notes behind, using chalk on sidewalks and placing business cards in random locations. According to this site, you can use banner stands of different sizes and leave those banners placed around your city to get more traffic.

Use Your Car

According to marketing blogger Brian Carey, vehicle wraps can work just as effectively as direct mail campaigns, launching a social networking page or creating an email newsletter. Carey points out that while a vehicle wrap can cost up to $3,000 upfront, once installed on your car, those wraps can last for up to five years. You can add your logo, company name, address or phone number to the wrap, and some companies will even let you completely design the wrap based on a design of your choosing. Everywhere you go, people will see your company name on display. If you run your own business, you can even write off a portion of the cost of your vehicle wrap on your taxes.

Combine Online and Offline Marketing

In today’s modern world, it’s nearly impossible for a business to succeed without some form of online marketing. Blogger Mark Krenn recommends combing online and offline marketing to drive more business to your company. Offering mobile check-in is one of the easiest ways to reach new customers. Those customers can use their smartphones to check in when they stop into your business, write a review on Yelp and even share a status update on Facebook. Krenn also suggests offering digital rewards and using hashtags.

Hashtags are small identifying comments that you place at the end of Facebook updates, tweets on Twitter and other social networking posts. When users search for that same hashtag, your post comes up in the search results. Digital rewards let you thank customers for shopping with you. You can give customers a digital coupon when they check in or treat them to an email discount for registering an email account with your company.

It sometimes seems like online marketing might take over the world. You see email newsletter offers, digital coupons and store apps everywhere you turn, but online marketing alone won’t help your business succeed. Using some simple offline marketing techniques and using some techniques that work with your online marketing will help you reach more customers.

22Jul
0

skincare

If you’re interested in being proactive against wrinkles and blemishes, it’s time to reassess you daily skin care regimen. Too much sun and years of neglect can cause your face to look older. You might begin to feel like your appearance does not accurately reflect your age. Here are five ways to combat the signs of aging skin.

Cleanse

Our faces accumulate oil and dirt throughout the day, which can eventually lead to blemishes. If these areas become severe enough, they can lead to slight scarring. You can prevent blemishes by using a daily cleanser on your face. Try to find a product that won’t make your face feel dry afterward. Cleaners can reduce the amount of oil and germs on your face, cutting down on the amount of blemishes that form.

Tone

Toners improve the overall smoothness of your skin by removing oil and tightening your pores. This beauty product has the added benefit of preventing blackhead buildup. Like cleaners, it’s important for you to find a toner that won’t result in dry skin or irritation. Apply the toner to a cotton ball and dab it across your face for the best results.

Moisturize

If your skin gets too dry, your skin and lose its elasticity. This can result in wrinkles, cracking, and peeling. Use a daily moisturizer to prevent your skin from drying out. If you will be spending significant time in the sun, then try to find a moisturizer and sunscreen combo. This can protect your face from the harmful UV rays of the sun. Sun damage can lead to significant skin damage, resulting in wrinkles and increasing your risk of skin cancer.

Exfoliate

Exfoliate once or twice a week to give your pores a deep clean and remove impurities from your skin. This process helps you remove dead skin cells on your face, which can clog pores and lead to blemishes.

Skin Tightening

This procedure can leave your skin wrinkle free and smooth. As we age, our skin gets looser and less elastic. This can lead to the formation of wrinkles around our eyes and skin. Consult a skin care professional to learn more about laser skin procedures.

You must take a holistic approach to skincare to maintain a youthful appearance. A daily regimen of cleansing, toning, and moisturizing, followed by periodic exfoliation can help your skin stay healthy. Laser procedures can also make a significant different within a short period of time.

22Jul
0

You’ve probably heard “kids” as young as college freshmen complain about “getting old” but the reality is that it’s not all gloom and doom like in the old days. In fact, with advances in technology, people are living longer (and healthier) than ever. Plus, even when the aches and pains of true old age do inevitably show up, there are a number of gadgets to make them a minor inconvenience at worst. The simple truth is that getting old isn’t all that bad, no matter how old you are.

Consider all the options for mobility whether you prefer a rollator built for the great outdoors or a cool walking stick handcrafted from Amish country. Wheelchairs, walkers of all types and other mobility aids make getting around a breeze. Add segues into the mix and you have a smorgasbord of options that make “mall walking” a lot more enjoyable than it used to be.

Multiple careers

Gone are the days when you were stuck with one career until you retired at the golden age of 65 with gold watch in hand. These days, people are choosing a variety of career choices and it’s fairly common to start a new career mid-life, go back to school or finally start that business. The idea of retirement has shifted with more people choosing to keep working in some capacity out of desire, not necessarily necessity.

Pursuing an advanced degree or a “degree for fun” in your golden years is also becoming more common. Who doesn’t want to be the eccentric “old guy” or gal in class teaching the young ones a thing or two? Maybe you missed out on your passion degree when you were 18, so why not go back for a do-over now? You’re older, wiser, and hopefully have better study habits than you did the first time around.

Going abroad

As a more nomadic generation than previous ones, there are also more people embracing the ex-pat lifestyle in retirement. Another option is service-oriented projects such as Peace Corps in middle age and beyond. Unfortunately, most young people don’t have the financial resources to travel abroad extensively, but that changes after working for a few years (or decades). Your later years might be the perfect time for international travel.

There are no rules that say you have to be dull and boring in retirement. Make the most of it with the resources and technology to help.

21Jul
0

Most of 2014 has been kind to Houston real estate: Prices for residential homes in Houston hit an all-time high in April. This is partially due to the fact that there are fewer numbers of homes available, and bidding wars are constantly being played out.

The average price for a single-family home as of April stood at $270,505. The median price point has seen an increase by around 5.4 percent from last year to stand at $195,00. Single-family home sales are also on the rise. The current home supply stands at around 2.6 months, which is the lowest it has been since April of 2013.

Because of the dip in housing inventory, Houston is now facing the beginnings of a sales slowdown. That being said, the sales activity for premium homes, in the category of $500,00 and more, is on the rise. This has driven average sales prices to an all-time high.

If you are planning to invest in Houston’s real estate, here are four good reasons to do so:

1. Increase in apartment development: With a constant demand for residential homes, several builders are going on a binge-building spree. Multifamily apartment projects are going up across the city. Besides development downtown, there are several projects coming up in the suburbs as well. Because of the current high prices of homes, there is a lot of demand for rental properties, especially among young professionals.

2. Boost in retail development: Retail has long since taken a back seat in Houston. Now with realty development on the rise, retail seems to be taking off in a big way. With several new rooftops being added to the real estate scenario, retail development is at an all-time high. Commercial rentals are seeing an increase this year. The fear that online sales will relegate the retail store to the background has long since proven false.

3. Increase in hotel construction: With citywide hotel occupancy rising on a monthly basis, there has been a spate of hotel projects taking off. More hotels encourage more visitors. More hotels also mean more convention spaces, encouraging commerce in the city. Large names like JW Marriott and Hyatt Regency will soon open their doors in the city. This will enhance the economy of the region and put prices in a good place.

4. Ideal single-family market: This year will see a 10 percent increase in residential construction in the city. New players are poised to enter Houston, and residential land is seeing a massive demand. A little-known fact about Houston real estate is that it has the best home building market in the country; it has more single-family building permits than any other city in the nation. This trend is sure to continue in the next two years.

Real estate in Houston has gone through several ups and downs over the past few years. It is finally reaching a stage where it seems to have stabilized, and a sense of balance is being achieved between demand and supply. Now is perhaps the best time to invest in real estate here.

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