Archive for April, 2009

Swine Flu Reality Check

Thursday, April 30th, 2009

As a follow up to the articles I have been touching on from a business perspective on the Swine Flu epidemic and scare of a potential pandemic, here are some statistics:

1.  Did you know that in the Untited States of America that yearly around 30,000 plus people die from the flu?  A lot of them are elderly or infants. 

2.  As of this article, the peanut butter poisoning still is (or was) a greater death threat than the Swine Flu in terms of fatality.

3.   If this is so serious, how come the U.S. doesn’t close the borders to Mexico if only for a few days?  Sure people will still come through but you can at least play the percentages to cut down on traffic.  Other countries are tightening things to the point that they don’t want anybody at all from the United States visiting them for awhile. 

4.   Did you know that the best way for avoiding the flu is ducking from a sneeze and washing your hands?

5.   As Cousin Barry says, “If you have any pigs at home, kill them, cook them well and eat the bacon.”  He is joking of course but you get the idea.

6.  If things do get weird for awhile, make sure that you have enough food and water at home to handle things.  Keep anywhere from 3 days to at least a week’s worth of food ready and have cash to cover any emergencies.  You never know how nuts things might get for the short term.

Be safe and if we have moved into pandemic stages if you are reading this please keep your head, don’t use any anti-flu treatments until you are sick and have to otherwise they won’t work.

Also – here is a late breaking bit of news for people in Los Angeles:

Business Tax Penalty Amnesty is kicking in on Friday.  If you haven’t registered your small business (and that is for all of my Schedule C clients and readers out there in the Los Angeles area), you have a break for a little bit of time but you need to file.  You will still have to pay your taxes but there won’t be any penalties.   The glorious city of Los Angeles, for the second time in five years (and I suppose it is because they realize that we are in a Depression), is starting a three-month tax amnesty program on Friday, with the hopes of bringing in $10 -$15 million in extra revenue.

The program was authorized earlier this year by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the City Council as a way to recapture unpaid taxes for business, telephone, utility, commercial tenant occupancy, transient occupancy and parking.   I think it is a decent idea.  This way they can get people from under the radar to pay their taxes and people who have been balking won’t get penalties – but remember, you still need to pay your taxes.

Here are a few more of the particulars: 

Businesses with incomes of $100,000 or less do not pay any business taxes.   That affects most of the small businesses that I know of.

The city of LA  has begun advertising the program, which runs through July 31 and requires taxpayers to pay all unpaid taxes, without having to pay interest or penalties. City officials said those costs could be as much as a whopping 40 percent more than the tax bill.   Once the program expires,  the very same city officials said they will begin a range of enforcement programs that will include an additional 10 percent penatly, a whistleblower program, expanded audits — including on-site investigations — and possible revocation of permits.  I’ve done my part, gang.   You have been notified!   If you haven’t filed, you have been told that you could do so now without any penalties as long as you pay your taxes.

It doesn’t take much time to fill out the forms and for most of you who are making less than $100,000 a year in income, I don’t get why you are waiting.  Please take care of business so you can move forward without this hanging over your head.  Okay, I think I’ve beaten this horse to death, don’t you?  Or would the appropriate comment be “beaten this swine to death?”  Just kidding animal rights people.  I love my horses and pigs.  Wait.  That may not have come out right…

Be healthy and safe.

Apr 30 2009 Mid Day

 If you are looking for a day job, part time work, suggestions for saving money or investing, please check out my book, Practical Money Making, that is listed right after his paragraph in this very post.  There are some great suggestions and ways to survive the Depression we are in.

  Practical Money Making-Surviving Recession, Layoffs, Credit Problems, Generating Passive Income Streams, Working Full Time or Part Time and Retirement

Interested in any of my books?  You may want to make a stop over  here. Please click through to purchase my books and some other interesting items that actually ARE on sale.  

Have you read my book, “Bad Tax Idea, Good Tax Idea“?   Please order it today.  The tips inside can save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars!  Tax planning should be done year round and not just two weeks into January or later. 

Part of all the proceeds from the sales of that book  go  to Rett Syndrome research.  One girl is born with Rett Syndrome worldwide every fifteen minutes.   My daughter Arianna has Rett Syndrome and we are working to do all we can to make her life easier and find a cure in her lifetime.  Boys born with the Rett gene generally die at birth.

Kim Isaac Greenblatt

Swine Flu Reality Check

Your One Thing

Thursday, April 30th, 2009

Question from a reader:,”I don’t know what to do with my life in terms of a career.  I am 23, in college but feeling lost and apathetic.  Any thoughts?”

My answer is that you are going through normal Spring fever and that applies to people in college, high school and in the business world.  You are hitting a wall where you start to think, what the heck am I doing here when I can be outside, doing something else or even doing nothing?

The answer is that you need to make a living but I do have a counter question that you can answer to yourself.  What is the one thing that you you really want to do with your life?

Is it something that even if you can’t do it now or make money at it, what steps can you take to materialize it?  If you are already doing it – say you are studying geology because you love rocks- you just need to decide if it is worth the remaining haul of however many years of schooling you need to do.

My other suggestion is to relax and not make a decision when you are feeling like chucking everything.  You don’t want to make a bad choice that you will regret later on.  For now, work on your “one thing” list and see what it will take and that might renew the passion for whatever it is you are studying and also help you get a deeper insight into yourself.

If you are feeling apathetic – are you working way too hard?  You need to relax and recharge your batteries – emotionally, physically and spiritually.  Trust me as a person who burns the candle at both ends and the middle, sooner or later no matter what you are doing, you will get a moment or two of exhaustion and you will need to step away before getting back into the thick of things.  Maybe a couple of nights of good sleep are called for as well, don’t you think?

If you are pursuing a college career and are thinking of changing directions to another major, take the couple of nights off to relax and think it over.  Sometimes it is easy to switch directions and for other degree programs you may need to go back to get some other prerequisites or training.

Also don’t colleges have counselors anymore or is the quality of the advisor not what it use to be?   Try finding one you can trust and ask him or her as well about what you want to do but remember the choice and the final decision is ultimately yours, my friend.

Hope things work out for you and may your Spring Fever pass quickly!

April 30 2009

If you are looking for a day job, part time work, suggestions for saving money or investing, please check out my book, Practical Money Making, that is listed right after his paragraph in this very post.  There are some great suggestions and ways to survive the Depression we are in.

  Practical Money Making-Surviving Recession, Layoffs, Credit Problems, Generating Passive Income Streams, Working Full Time or Part Time and Retirement

Interested in any of my books?  You may want to make a stop over  here. Please click through to purchase my books and some other interesting items that actually ARE on sale.  

Have you read my book, “Bad Tax Idea, Good Tax Idea“?   Please order it today.  The tips inside can save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars!  Tax planning should be done year round and not just two weeks into January or later. 

Part of all the proceeds from the sales of that book  go  to Rett Syndrome research.  One girl is born with Rett Syndrome worldwide every fifteen minutes.   My daughter Arianna has Rett Syndrome and we are working to do all we can to make her life easier and find a cure in her lifetime.  Boys born with the Rett gene generally die at birth.

Kim Isaac Greenblatt

Your One Thing

No Negative Rate Raise and More On SARS I mean Swine Flu

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

The market pretty much went the way I thought it would because the Fed went the way that everybody thought it would.  It decided to leave everything alone and say that things, even though bleak, are starting to level off.  Where though, huh?  Even though our descent has slowed what exactly are we hitting a level at?  Employment isn’t happening or if it is, it is very slow.  Too many people are out of work and we need to get them jobs.

Local civic leaders – what are you doing to get people working?  Come on guys and gals!  We are hungry and cold out here..We are in a Serious Awful Recession, Surely.

Speaking of SARS, I mean Swine Flu, expect things to get weird over the next few days as WHO and the world governments try to decide what to do to try and contain or mitigate the problems with this yuck strain of the flu.

Stay healthy (I always say that though, right?).  Like the experts and Mom use to say, wash your hands, don’t touch your face with dirty fingers and stay away from sick people.  If you are sick, please stay home and don’t infect your friends, loved ones and especially me..

If you are caring for special needs be especially congnizant of the classmates, the teachers and of course, your loved one.  In some cases the people can’t tell you if they are sick or not until they are well infected.  My thoughts and prayers with all of us.

Kim Isaac Greenblatt

Negative Interest Rates Doubtful

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

With the Fed meeting today there is a very remote chance that there could be negative interest rates.  That would mean that we are going from zero percent interest to something like minus .25.  That is not likely to happen because of a myriad of factors the least being that there still has to be some incentive for banks to make money unless things get completely nationalized.   I doubt that everything will get nationalized despite what some over-the-top pundits are saying.  A lot of the steps that the Obama Administration are taking now (and the Federal Reserve) are trying to make an atmosphere that is conducive to business.  Low interest rates should at a point spur more business development.

The bigger problem and elephant standing in the room despite the reports of more consumer spending is that we have way too many people out of work.  If you want more consumer spending, you need consumers working to make money so they will have money to spend.  It doesn’t matter how low interest rates are if people can’t get to them or if it doesn’t impact their ability to put bread on their plate.

Mr. President, Governor and members of state and national Congressional seats – please get more business programs going like restoration of roads, buildings, job creation at a fundamental level.  Just saying that “things will get worse before they will get better” isn’t going to help everybody who is out of work, losing their home and hungry or sick.
April 29 2009  Mid Day

Kim Isaac Greenblatt

Negative Interest Rates Doubtful

Cash Value of Traded Services

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

Question from a reader:”How do I report cash value for traded services at tax time?  I know that I have a responsibility for taxes but I am not clear on how to value the transaction.  Thanks, Kim.”

 

My answers are that you need to report what the actual value of what you would be normally charging an hour for what you did.  It is similar to situations when you do work in lieu of rent for a room or transactions like that.  Let us say that you are a painter.  You paint a person’s house and the normal rate for painting the house was $2000.  For your troubles, the client gives you a 2005 car worth $3000.  You would show the income that you received as $3000 for your services.

You will be taxed on it as if it were cash that you received and you need to show it in your financial records accordingly.  If the person gave you a car worth only $1500 you would show that you received $1500 as income for your painting.

You may or may not be able to show a loss because if the agreement was to take the car for the services you will have to and I repeat “have to” show the income as $2000 even though you might be losing $500 on the deal – at least on paper.  Hopefully in situations like that you are thinking ahead and know what you are getting in terms of trading services or goods.

If you are bartering straight across, there again may or may not be a taxable situation.  If no money is changing hands, you can be considered doing a favor for somebody – and friends do favors for one another, right?- but generally bartering can be taxed because of the inequities in the transactions.  If you are giving $10,000 worth of gold for two apples for example, they better darn well be delicious apples and they better be sprouting into trees right before your eyes for that price.  Or you must really like apples.

Don’t forget to factor in any other taxes that you might have to account for such as sales tax for items that you resell to your client if applicable.

Same rules of the road apply as well if you are self-employed.  You are taxed on both sides of social security and half of self-employment.

Hope that answers your question and thanks for asking (and to answer your thanks, you are very welcome)!

April 29 2009

If you are looking for a day job, part time work, suggestions for saving money or investing, please check out my book, Practical Money Making, that is listed right after his paragraph in this very post.  There are some great suggestions and ways to survive the Depression we are in.

  Practical Money Making-Surviving Recession, Layoffs, Credit Problems, Generating Passive Income Streams, Working Full Time or Part Time and Retirement

Interested in any of my books?  You may want to make a stop over  here. Please click through to purchase my books and some other interesting items that actually ARE on sale.  

Have you read my book, “Bad Tax Idea, Good Tax Idea“?   Please order it today.  The tips inside can save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars!  Tax planning should be done year round and not just two weeks into January or later. 

Part of all the proceeds from the sales of that book  go  to Rett Syndrome research.  One girl is born with Rett Syndrome worldwide every fifteen minutes.   My daughter Arianna has Rett Syndrome and we are working to do all we can to make her life easier and find a cure in her lifetime.  Boys born with the Rett gene generally die at birth.

Kim Isaac Greenblatt

Cash Value of Traded Services

Difference Between Beer Wine and Liquor License

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

Question from a reader:”I live in a city and state where there is separate license requirements for selling beer and wine versus liquor.  Can you go into detail or touch on the reason for this?  Thinking of opening a restaurant.”

My answer is that there are possible Federal licensing issues down the line and there  is a lot more money to be made in mark-up for profit in liquor than in beer and wine.  Beer and wine you can price yourself at the local supermarkets and compare the prices of that to other alcoholic beverages and you can get an idea of the mark-up that is involved.  Check out the prices local bars have for sports events as well to see what is discounted.  It generally isn’t the bottles of whiskey, is it?

Generally, beer and wine licenses can be issued without limit (check with your local laws and restrictions) where liquor licenses have to be bought from existing places or somewhere pre-existing.  It usually takes an Act of God to try and get local agencies to issue a brand new license but if you have money, sometimes anything is possible and even exceptions to laws can be made if you are doing something to help a community (or the people who are running it).

As part of your due diligence in researching the type of business you are going to open, you may want to also check the local market to see if in fact it is a hard drinking crowd or if beer and wine is enough.

Also, see if what you are offering in your menu will compliment your choice of drinks and if you have enough room for a separate bar area.   If you have the room, how much?  Enough to book parties, shoot darts, play video games or just enough to handle a few people till they get seated for dinner?

Good luck with your venture and let us know how things work out!

Apr 28 2009 Mid Day

If you are looking for a day job, part time work, suggestions for saving money or investing, please check out my book, Practical Money Making, that is listed right after his paragraph in this very post.  There are some great suggestions and ways to survive the Depression we are in.

  Practical Money Making-Surviving Recession, Layoffs, Credit Problems, Generating Passive Income Streams, Working Full Time or Part Time and Retirement

Interested in any of my books?  You may want to make a stop over  here. Please click through to purchase my books and some other interesting items that actually ARE on sale.  

Have you read my book, “Bad Tax Idea, Good Tax Idea“?   Please order it today.  The tips inside can save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars!  Tax planning should be done year round and not just two weeks into January or later. 

Part of all the proceeds from the sales of that book  go  to Rett Syndrome research.  One girl is born with Rett Syndrome worldwide every fifteen minutes.   My daughter Arianna has Rett Syndrome and we are working to do all we can to make her life easier and find a cure in her lifetime.  Boys born with the Rett gene generally die at birth.

Kim Isaac Greenblatt

Difference Between Beer Wine and Liquor License

More People Killed With Bad Peanut Butter Than Swine Flu

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

As of now, there are still more people who were killed with poisoned peanut butter than swine flu so far here in the United States of America. I think we had 3 peanut butter deaths. So far, no Swine Flu incidents that led to death. The numbers of course may change, but as of now, bad peanut butter is more dangerous than the flu from human and swine cells co-mingling. I point that out in fairness and open mindedness that it will be a rough time for business markets for the next week or two and if you are investing it may be too late to try and short stocks though indices may be okay if you are keeping a tight grip on the trigger to get out. As always, I am not a licensed broker, I don’t even play one on tv and you are on your own for whatever decisions you make in terms of investing. Be careful and take whatever steps you need to be healthy.

Peace and good health!

Kim Isaac Greenblatt

More People Killed With Bad Peanut Butter Than Swine Flu So Far In the US

Return To The Cash Only Economy

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

Question from a reader:”I am going only to a cash only form of business.  My bad debt losses from credit cards defaulting are killing me.  Any other way I could proceed with my business that I didn’t think of?”

My answer is that in your particular business it may make perfect sense for the time being to take cash only.  In situations where a customer can reverse the charges on a credit card or you find out that the payment bounces higher than a rubber ball it doesn’t make any business sense to take credit cards.  There is a huge drive in the economy to get cash only and I’ve stated before that in tough economic times like this, you can’t go wrong or make any enemies by paying with greenbacks.

The rub comes though when  you are selling something that people want and they actually have credit left on their cards and they want to buy it and they don’t have time to hit the ATM for cash.  The other question is, what about debit cards?  If a debit card goes through, you have a payment there don’t you?  Same rules of the game might apply though in terms of potential denial of payment.  If you are selling big ticket items, like washing machines or cars, some people may not have thousands of dollars in hundred dollar bills in their wallets or purses.

Ultimately the business decision is yours and you sound like you have made the correct choice in your particular situation.  For people in a gig that is not related to cash (for example people who sell clothes through a website) they may be limited to continuing taking things like paypal, credit or debit cards or even something archaic as (gasp) a check.

Before I forget, for those of you starting out your own business, make sure you have an allowance for doubtful accounts or at the very least some padding for bad checks, shrinkage (a fancy word for theft specifically shoplifting in the retail trade) and any other issues that may make a dent into your income stream from slightly nefarious activities.

Hopefully you won’t have to allow for them but it is just good sense to take them into account prior to getting started so you won’t have any nasty surprises later on (or at least minimal surprises).

Be healthy and safe!

April 28 2009

If you are looking for a day job, part time work, suggestions for saving money or investing, please check out my book, Practical Money Making, that is listed right after his paragraph in this very post.  There are some great suggestions and ways to survive the Depression we are in.

  Practical Money Making-Surviving Recession, Layoffs, Credit Problems, Generating Passive Income Streams, Working Full Time or Part Time and Retirement

Interested in any of my books?  You may want to make a stop over  here. Please click through to purchase my books and some other interesting items that actually ARE on sale.  

Have you read my book, “Bad Tax Idea, Good Tax Idea“?   Please order it today.  The tips inside can save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars!  Tax planning should be done year round and not just two weeks into January or later. 

Part of all the proceeds from the sales of that book  go  to Rett Syndrome research.  One girl is born with Rett Syndrome worldwide every fifteen minutes.   My daughter Arianna has Rett Syndrome and we are working to do all we can to make her life easier and find a cure in her lifetime.  Boys born with the Rett gene generally die at birth.

Kim Isaac Greenblatt

Return To The Cash Only Economy

Quick Follow Up Question On California Tax Refunds

Monday, April 27th, 2009

As a quick follow up to the California Tax Refund Questions?  Everybody who is entitled to their refund getting it?  From a lot of emails it looks like most of you have already gotten the refund and for the rest of the California population getting a refund that you are in the que, according to the California Franchise Tax Board website.

Let me know if there is something that isn’t coming through.

Just a reminder also that if you have filed for an extension and haven’t mailed in any payments that you owe that you are late.  Get that payment in to the FTB or Fed as fast as you can.

Kim Isaac Greenblatt

Quick Follow Up Question On California Tax Refunds

Swine Flu Stocks

Monday, April 27th, 2009

Question from a reader:”Anyway I can make money off of swine flu?”

My answer is sure.  You need to see what companies make the antibiotics that prevent flu, are part of flu shots, anything that has facial masks, things like that.  Can you catch the brief pop in the stocks, if at all, if the market reacts that there will be a problem?  You may be too late in trying to play the panic angle and my suggestion would be to do some due diligence and check out in depth what is a good investment because some of the pharma companies may have some other bad fundamentals for their other products or meds and overall they may not be making a lot of cash when they net out their books. 

If you are into the pop stock planning idea, you need to research a lot of different fields and have a decent broad idea of who or what is making different products so if it looks like there will be a trend (though it may be brief) you can research and see if it makes sense to purchase the stock though personally I don’t recommend it.  You might as well learn something like playing a speculative game if you are doing that and try going for the largest bang for your buck.  A better approach is to look for longer term investments if you have the money for it.  If you are trying to make ends meet, you are better off paying down your debt and saving saving and saving.

Hope that helps.  Just watch what you are doing and remember my favorite motto – “Pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered” in the business world.  You might add to that in some cases the slaughtered hogs get swine flu and people end up eating them but now we are just getting piggish with our joking…

April 27 2009 during the day

If you are looking for a day job, part time work, suggestions for saving money or investing, please check out my book, Practical Money Making, that is listed right after his paragraph in this very post.  There are some great suggestions and ways to survive the Depression we are in.

  Practical Money Making-Surviving Recession, Layoffs, Credit Problems, Generating Passive Income Streams, Working Full Time or Part Time and Retirement

Interested in any of my books?  You may want to make a stop over  here. Please click through to purchase my books and some other interesting items that actually ARE on sale.  

Have you read my book, “Bad Tax Idea, Good Tax Idea“?   Please order it today.  The tips inside can save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars!  Tax planning should be done year round and not just two weeks into January or later. 

Part of all the proceeds from the sales of that book  go  to Rett Syndrome research.  One girl is born with Rett Syndrome worldwide every fifteen minutes.   My daughter Arianna has Rett Syndrome and we are working to do all we can to make her life easier and find a cure in her lifetime.  Boys born with the Rett gene generally die at birth.

Kim Isaac Greenblatt

Swine Flu Stocks