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Painful financial screw-ups can be fixed

You goofed! You just found a credit card bill stuck in your car's sun visor and it's due today. You forgot to file your tax return, and you're afraid to "fess up" to Uncle Sam. You got nailed for running that tail-end yellow to red light, and you're worried that you'll get your rates raised when your insurance company learns of the ticket.

May 09, 2008 | By Dr. Maureen Stephenson | Business Columns


Supreme Court looks at punitive damage awards

Punitive damages are damages imposed to punish certain defendants for malicious conduct, fraud or other despicable conduct. Such damages have nothing to do with compensating the victim of such conduct. They are imposed, in addition to compensatory damages, to punish the defendant for egregious wrongdoing. Imposition of such damages used to be relatively rare, but the frequency and amount of punitive damage awards - especially on business defendants - has increased dramatically in recent years.

May 08, 2008 | By Signal Staff | Business Columns


Patience pays with your investments

When it comes to investing, patience can have its rewards. In fact, for the 10 years ended December 31,2006, a hypothetical $10,000 investment in Standard & Poor's 500 Index would have almost doubled to $19,147. However, if during this time frame, the investment would have missed:

May 08, 2008 | By Signal Staff | Business Columns


Residential Real Estate Prices May Not Have Hit Bottom

Residential real estate prices may still have a ways to go before reaching a bottom.

May 07, 2008 | By D. Frank Norton | Business Columns


What Are Your Civil Rights After Receiving a Bad Check?

First, it is a crime to pass a bad check. It is a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than one year, or in the state prison.

May 01, 2008 | By Kevin Yeam | Business Columns


Four Steps to Building a Stronger Foundation for Your Organization

If the press is correct, and the economy is contracting, now is the time to take stock of your business.

April 28, 2008 | By Kenneth W. Keller | Business Columns


Protecting Yourself Against Identity Theft

Identity theft is a serious crime that every year claims victims from every walk of life. It has many sources and skilled identity thieves use a variety of methods to steal your information without your knowledge to commit fraud.

April 25, 2008 | By Dr. Maureen Stephenson | Business Columns


Consider In-Service Distribution to an IRA

If you are a participant in a company sponsored 401(k) plan, there may be some benefit for you to consider an in-service distribution to an IRA. While it is important to save as much as possible for your retirement, it is also important to make your retirement dollars work as hard as possible; so an in-service withdrawal might make sense for you.

April 24, 2008 | By Jim Lentini | Business Columns


Who's Minding Your Brand or Trademark?

These days, it is virtually impossible to watch a television commercial or read a print advertisement and not run across a ® or . More and more, companies are promoting the branding of their goods and services and seeking to protect their brand with these little markings. The markings refer to trademarks claimed by the advertiser.

April 24, 2008 | By Chris Steven Jacobsen | Business Columns


Is Uncle Sam a Beneficiary of Your Life Insurance?

Life insurance is an excellent way of providing financial support for a surviving spouse or children upon the death of the family breadwinner or if both parents die. In certain cases, however, the IRS may take as much as 45 percent of the insurance death benefit.

April 23, 2008 | Randall D. Amour | Business Columns


Look Out Donald Trump, We’re Gaining on You!

In 1992, according to Census Bureau statistics, women owned 6.4 million firms, or a third of all businesses in this country. They brought in 10 percent of all small business revenue and only employed 15 percent of the nation's workforce.

April 11, 2008 | Dr. Maureen Stephenson | Business Columns


Family Responsibilities Can Conflict in Workplace

There is no federal law called the "Family Responsibilities Discrimination Act" or the "Caregiver Discrimination Act." Nonetheless, there has been an increase in claims brought under a variety of federal statutes on behalf of job applicants or workers who assert discrimination by an employer on the basis of family-related decisions. Relevant federal statutes include the Americans with Disabilities Act, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Family and Medical Leave Act. If the employer is a government entity, the claim may be couched in terms of a violation of constitutional rights.

April 10, 2008 | By John H. Shaffrey | Business Columns


To Rollover or Not to Rollover

When you leave a company where you have money invested in a tax-deferred retirement plan, such as a 401(k), you will be faced with a decision: What to do with the money accumulated in your account. While you may have the option to leave the money in your former employer's plan or withdraw it as cash, it often is more advantageous for you to "roll over" those funds into a Rollover IRA (Individual Retirement Account).

While this may sound like a simple decision, it could have far-reaching implications for your financial future. It is advised that you discuss ...

April 10, 2008 | By Jim Lentini | Business Columns


Thoughts about Success for the New Year Ahead

Smart business people know it's important to look for that extra "edge" that will develop new business, ensure you remain ahead of the competition, keep existing customers satisfied and basically make you and your business a success. Now that we've all had several weeks to attempt to keep our New Year's resolutions, let's take a look at what we can honestly do for a more successful year.

April 04, 2008 | By Dr. Maureen Stephenson | Business Columns


Men, Women Differ in 401(k) Habits

Even in 401(k)s, research has shown there is a difference between the genders when it comes to expectations and use of 401(k) plans. Women, according to a major financial company's research, are more likely to have a smaller account balance and to be more concerned about their ability to save enough for retirement than are men. And, women are more likely than men to highly value a 401(k) plan.

April 03, 2008 | By Jim Lentini | Business Columns


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Articles by Section - Business Columns


Nancy Starczyk: Beware of rip-off scams

A joint federal-state task force announced a sweep Wednesday to shut down foreclosure relief schemes that duped thousands of Southern California home owners who were already struggling to keep their homes.

July 30, 2014 | By Nancy Starczyk Real Estate Talk | Business Columns


Ken Keller: Too many wear crowns

One of the key research findings outlined in Keith McFarland's book "The Breakthrough Company" is that there should only be one crown worn in every organization.

July 27, 2014 | By Ken Keller Brain Food For Business Owners | Business Columns


Carl Kanowsky: Your prospects if you fail to plan

Star date: 55367 (I have no idea where they come up with that number), nearing the Galaxy LitigationRus, home to those much worse than the dreaded Romulans or the detestable Kardassians. This is the home of one of the most feared races in the Universe – the PlanNot-ians.

July 23, 2014 | By Carl Kanowsky It's the law | Business Columns


Quit fighting, move forward

The signals I pick up on the economy continue to show a mixed bag. One week I think things are getting better; the next week I see signs of impending doom.

July 19, 2014 | By Ken Keller | Business Columns


Nancy Starczyk: Home buyers add social media

More home buyers are turning to social media and the Internet in the home-buying process than ever, according to a recent survey.

July 16, 2014 | By Nancy Starczyk Business Matters | Business Columns


You are a leader, like it or not

Leadership is the primary responsibility of those who own businesses. It starts by leading from the front, not hiding in an office where you cannot be seen or heard.

July 14, 2014 | By Ken Keller Brain Food for the Business Owner | Business Columns


The 7 percent solution

One of the most interesting behavioral concepts discovered is the winning edge. This principle states that small differences in key action areas can translate into enormous differences in results.

July 13, 2014 | By Ken Keller Brain Food for Business Owners | Business Columns


Joe Klocko: Finding the ideal employee

Now that I have your interest, I'll try to let you down gently.

July 09, 2014 | By Joe Klocko Business Matters | Business Columns


Ken Keller: Advice for a better second half

Last week marked the end of the first half of the calendar year. It seems like January was just last week.

July 06, 2014 | By Ken Keller Brain Food For Business Owners | Business Columns


Janice France-Pettit: Tips for growing a family

Starting or growing a family can be an exciting milestone in one's life. But as most experienced parents will tell you, your priorities are likely to change, and along with these changes come new expenses and responsibilities,

June 25, 2014 | By Janice France-Pettit Union Bank | Business Columns


Ken Keller: Advice given, heard and ignored

Being a trusted advisor is a place of honor. When you reach a certain stage in life, you are compensated not for what you do but for what you know.

June 22, 2014 | By Ken Keller | Business Columns


Nancy Starczyk: Student debt hurts housing

With student loan debt nationwide at an estimated $1.2 trillion, homeownership for many recent and past graduates is a distant dream.

June 18, 2014 | By Nancy Starczyk Real Estate Talk | Business Columns


The conversation you really need to have

Throughout the years at the Advisory Board meetings I facilitate, I've heard a fair amount of laughter and grumbling from the business people who participate.

June 14, 2014 | By Ken Keller Brain Food For Business Owners | Business Columns


Carl Kanowsky: Employees moving could cost you

Jim, president of the top local IT company, came by the other day. He was not happy. He'd just been served with a complaint, alleging that he'd breached a new employee's contract, had wrongfully terminated her, and was guilty of breach of promissory estoppel (whatever that is?).

June 11, 2014 | By Carl Kanowsky It's the law | Business Columns


Profitability Matters, but Not To Everyone

The bottom line, the profitability of a company, should matter to every employee but many owners tend to keep this information private. Owners then complain when profits are thin.

June 09, 2014 | By Ken Keller | Business Columns


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