Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Offbeat Jobs at Startups


Offbeat Jobs at Startups
Does innovation and variety inspire you? Are you the type of person who thrives around driven, intelligent, creative, passionate people? Then a job at a startup just might be in your future. Be warned though. If you’re going to help build a business from the ground up, you’ll most likely be part of the team building the foundation. In other words, be prepared to get your hands dirty.

It’s not likely that you’ll be hired on as ‘Engineer #1’ and walk out of the office after your first day with a forklift injury, but when you sign on with a startup, be ready to tackle the ”other duties as assigned” part of the job. New companies, especially those with little to no capital, don’t have the means to hire multiple people right out of the gate. So, they rely on the sparse work group they can bring on board to come to work with their A-game every day. As the sayings go, you will have to wear many hats and become a jack-of-all-trades, but the tradeoff can be immeasurable.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Your Government vs. Your Bank: Estate Planning & Eminent Domain


 Eminent Domain
You’d think that banks might be happy for a solution to the mortgage crises. Especially in areas of the country where a majority of homes are underwater, mortgages are delinquent, and homeowners are abandoning their homes in droves. But one recent proposal to help with the problem has big banks up in arms. The solution involves the government obtaining underwater mortgages under its power of eminent domain.

A company called Mortgage Resolution Partners (MRP) developed this proposal, and is working to get county and city governments on board. The idea is that if banks fail to sell the loans to the government when offered fair market value, the government can force the sale under its power of eminent domain. Once the government owns the mortgages, MRP refinances the smaller (fair market value) loans, resulting in much more affordable payments for the homeowners.

Decreasing Labor Force & Increasing Disability Benefit Payments: Correlation?

decreasing labor force

“Jobs are down!”; “Benefit claims are up!” Alarmists can be heard shrieking and freaking- claiming this is sure evidence that lazy people are fleeing the workforce in order to sit on their butts collecting benefits! – But are they really?

A number of pundits have claimed a direct correlation between the recent upward trend in American’s Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) enrollment and the downturn in the number of people participating in the labor force. For example, according to the Wall Street Journal, the Chief US economist for J.P. Morgan, Michael Feroli, estimated that a quarter of all the people leaving the labor force are enrolling in SSDI. (The Wall Street Journal, 4/10/2013), Adding to the speculation, Fox & Friends commentators claimed the poor numbers shown in a recent jobs report were due to workers choosing to sit on the couch collecting benefits instead of going out to find a job and participating in the labor force. (http://mediamatters.org/research/2013/06/07/fox-rehashes-myth-that-unemployment-and-disabil/194385.)


Thursday, November 28, 2013

What the “Fiscal Cliff” Resolution Means for Personal Estate Planning

Fiscal Cliff

At the end of 2012 one of the most popular media and water cooler topics was the so-called "Fiscal Cliff."  The Fiscal Cliff was such a frequent topic of discussion and debate because it referred to the serious financial ramifications that the United States would face if the Budget Control Act of 2011 went into effect on December 31, 2012.  These financial changes would have meant an end to the temporary payroll tax cuts, resulting in a 2% tax increase for employees, the end to several tax breaks for businesses, a change to the alternative minimum tax, a rollback of the "Bush tax cuts", and the beginning of taxes related to the Affordable Care Act. However, mere hours before midnight on December 31st, a deal was struck to avoid a financial crisis, and President Obama signed the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (the "Act").  Among other things this resolution impacted taxes related testamentary and inter vivos gift-giving that may impact estate planning for some.  
  

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Injured on the Job: Can You Be Replaced by a Seasonal Employee?

Seasonal Employee


Janet works as a server and an assistant chef at a catering company. During a big event, she slipped on the wet tile floor in the kitchen while carrying a tray of dishes. When she fell, she hit her head on the corner of the sink and was immediately sent to the Emergency Room where she was diagnosed with a concussion. The neurologist told Janet that she should take a week off from work and discuss having a lighter work load and shortened shifts with her employer. Her employer, understanding that her injury was work related, agreed to shorten her shifts and make her work load lighter when she returned after a week. Before Janet was scheduled to return back to work, her concussion symptoms worsened and the neurologist told her she should return to work at a later date. Worried about her job and a pile of bills, Janet filed for workers’ compensation to cover her lost wages; her boss told her that a newly hired seasonal employee could pick up her shifts.

Monday, November 11, 2013

The Wage Gap - Only 13% of Food Workers Earn a Living Wage

Living Wage

Using the 5 most populous states (Illinois – 12,875,255; Florida – 19,317,568; New York – 19,570,261; Texas – 26,059,203; and California – 38,041,430) and comparing the living wage (as calculated by  MIT's Living Wage Calculator) to the minimum wage as reported by Minimum-Wage.org, it's easy to see the wage gap – only 13% of food workers earn a living wage.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Your Shrinking Social Security Check After the Government Shutdown

government shutdown

Millions of Americans, who have inadequate or no income, rely on monthly Social Security payments to pay for their basic living needs.  When the government faced a shutdown, earlier in October, new applicants faced the reality of a delayed process.  According to a Providence Social Security Disability Attorney, more than half of all Social Security cases are denied due to a tough application process.  With the government shutdown, many hopeful applicants, in desperate need of assistance, feared that they may never receive the assistance when they needed it.  However, prospective applicants were not the only ones worrying about the fate of Social Security.  Active recipients of government benefits worried that their assistance would be delayed while the government fought to come to an agreement on federal spending.  Fortunately, Americans who receive Social Security continued to receive their month checks on time.  With the shutdown over, many questions are still left unanswered, including the amount of next year’s Social Security.