How to Make Money Investing in 401K Plans in 2015-2016 and Beyond

Torie, like millions of other people, knows that she needs to make money investing in 401k plans in 2015-2106 and beyond (she has a couple) in order to retire comfortably. What she also needs to know: 401k asset allocation, how to pick and manage her best 401k investment options, and the outlook for 2015 and 2016. Let's take a look at how she and you can make money in 2015, 2016 and beyond (or at least make the best of it) if you're in the same boat.

Although it's been easy to make money investing in 401k plans in recent years, this is not always the case. The first thing Torie and you need to do is to set a goal (Torie's is to retire in about the year 2040). Second, be honest about your personal risk tolerance. Torie's is "moderate" – but definitely not aggressive! Third, review your present 401k asset allocation to determine whether the investment options you hold are in line with your risk tolerance. Are you in the best 401k investment options, and in the right proportion?

Finally, you need to understand that 2015 and 2016 could be a difficult time to make money investing in 401k plans. The reason: weak economic forecasts make yesteryear's best 401k investment options vulnerable to losses. Stocks are pricey and so are bonds. Assuming your risk profile is similar to Torie's (she would like to make money but wants to avoid heavy losses) what can you do now to stay on track, make money, and avoid heavy losses if 2015 and beyond turns ugly? We'll use Torie as our example.

A number of years ago Torie decided that she wanted to make money investing in 401k plans, but wanted to keep things simple. She had changed jobs once and was planning on another change in the future. With both employers she had set her plan up with 50% going to a safe stable account and 50% to a Target 2040 fund. She was busy and pretty much ignored her statements over the years. After all, her goal was to make money investing, and she could see at a glance that her portfolio balance was growing. Now, she needs to take a closer look at her 401k asset allocation to see what percent is invested in each of her two 401k investment options.

In early 2015, a closer look revealed that both plans had a portfolio asset allocation far riskier than she had expected. The target fund represented almost 80% of her assets in her first plan and 75% in her current plan. What happened, and what action should she take to get back on track and still keep things simple? What happened was that her target 2040 funds turned out to be one of the best 401k investment options in her plans and they far outperformed her safe stable accounts.

The other best 401k investment options had been stock funds, but Torie considered them to be too risky. With the target fund most of her money was actually invested in stock funds, with the rest in bond funds; and both fund types had performed well heading into 2015. Her plan was to continue to make money investing in her 401k by holding her target fund and a safe investment. That way she was invested in stocks and some bonds as well to give here her portfolio some balance.

What she now needs to do is to REBALANCE her 401k asset allocation so that 50% of her portfolio assets are again equally invested in each of her two chosen investment options. That cuts her risk considerably and it fits her comfort level. Now, can you or Torie make money investing in 401k plans in 2015-2016 with a 401k asset allocation that is allocated half to safe investment options (money market funds or stable accounts) and half to stock funds or target funds? Yes, unless the stock market falls and bonds also take a hit.

How can you make money investing in 401k plans in 2015 and beyond if both stocks and bonds get hit hard? You would need to move the vast majority of your money to the safe havens available. In other words, your best 401k investment options would be the stable account that pays interest (if one is available) or the money market fund (which your plan should have, but currently pays very little in dividends). For the average investor who needs long term growth (like you and Torie) this is an extreme measure.

Remember, your real objective is to make money investing in 401k plans, so you can have a secure retirement. Moderate risk is part of the program. I use Torie as an example because her situation is typical. Her 401k asset allocation fits her (and likely your) risk tolerance and should produce growth over the long term. She has chosen the best 401k investment options to reach her goal of retirement in 2040 (if you plan to retire in 2030 go with the 2030 target fund, and so on). Half of her money is safe and the other half has growth potential.

Plus, she has a plan to manage her 401k investment options. If the markets get ugly in 2015 and 2016 she will not make money investing in 401k plans, she will lose money. But she has money going into her target fund every pay period buying shares at cheaper and cheaper prices, and money going into and accumulating in her safe investment. Anytime her 401k asset allocation shows that 60% or more is in the safe account she will REBALANCE back to 50%, which means taking money from the safe account and adding it to the target fund. Then, when the markets turn, she's well positioned to make money investing in 401k plans for a secure future.

Source by James Leitz

Unit Rates and Thai House Plans To Estimate the Cost of Building a House in Thailand

This article is based on my recent experience of actually going through the process of obtaining estimates of the cost of building a house in Thailand including getting quotations from builders in Thailand and also using unit build rates (how much square meter) to build a retirement house in Thailand.

It will be useful to anyone retiring in Thailand or planning to retire to Thailand and build a retirement house.

The Two Main Two Ways To Estimate the Cost of Building a House in Thailand

There are basically two ways of pricing a building project in Thailand.

1. Using Unit Build Rates To Estimate The Cost Of Building A House

The first and simplest method is by using Unit Build Rates, ie how much per square meter it costs to build the house in Baht / m2. There are a range of Unit Build Rates for houses in Thailand and these vary according to the standard of the building and the location in the country.

There are other factors that affect the price of building a house in Thailand and these are not normally allowed for in unit build rates.

Just one example is that the cost of building depends greatly upon the particular builder chosen as quotations for the same property from different builders varies greatly.

Unit rates for use in estimating the cost of house construction are readily available where I live in the United Kingdom (UK). There are many websites that list these unit rates and also there are pricing books that give rate per square metre for a range of building types and sizes. This method is commonly used in Great Britain, and other Western countries to work out a budget cost for building a house.

However, in Thailand the situation is different. I have not seen any 'official' Unit Build Rates for Thailand but several websites, notably those Forums catering for expats living in Thailand, give some rough figures from people who have built their own retirement house in Thailand.

But that's all they are – a guide – and really barely worth using even for budgeting purpose.

Two Examples from Thai Websites of Unit Rates for House Build Cost in Thailand

From A1Real.com

Bangkok: "As of March 2006, buyers had to pay 81,975 baht / m2 in average to acquire a condominium unit in central area of ​​Bangkok compared to 72,596 baht / m2 in the last twelve months".

From Thai-AirPark.com

Chiang Mai, Northern Thailand: "A house built to western standard will cost between 160 to 300 Euros / m2" (At 45 Euros / Baht (Jan 2010) that works out at 7,200 to 13,500 Thai Baht per m2).

Notice how the unit rate for these two examples are so different.

Another way to get unit rates for Thailand is to approach Thai builders and architects. Unit Build Rates recently sent to me by one of Thailand's leading Bangkok-based design-and-build companies are in the range of 15,000 to 20,000 Baht / m2.

The method of application of the Unit Build Rates is simple. You work out the total floor area of ​​the proposed building including all floors and multiply by the unit rate. There is no need to find or involve a builder for this method once you have decided on the the unit rate to use.

There are inherent inaccuracies in this approach because the mix of different types of usage will be different in different building.

For example, using my own proposed property in Pak Chong, Thailand, as an example, the house is a typical 'post' house and half of the ground floor is left 'open' to be made into usable rooms at a later date and the other half simply has blockwork walls to for a workshop.

Clearly the unit rate for these areas is different and different from the first floor that contains kitchen, bedrooms and other living area.

Another example of different type (and hence costs) of building usage using my Pak Chong house as an example is that on the first floor I have a very large (compared to the rest of the house) patio area and also another semi-open area both of which would be a much lower cost to construct than the living accommodation areas.

The fact is that new build houses in Thailand are very often of completely different style and layout to other houses. This is in comparison with the UK where new houses are often built in their hundreds all to the same design. Everyone knows what you will get in a '3 bed semi-detached house' in England. In this situation unit rates can be safely applied.

So what area is used in the cost calculation? Do you use the total area including the ground floor open area and workshop and the first floor patio and semi open area plus the living accommodation areas? Or do you use the unit rate just for the living accommodation and take a percentage of the unit rate for the lower cost areas?

The problem is that I do not know the basis for the unit rate in the first place. ie whether it was for a property similar to mine with the open areas included, or whether it was for a property with a greater percentage of actual living area.

In conclusion the Unit Build Rates method in Thailand can only be used to get a very rough idea of ​​the likely cost and is really not accurate enough for establishing a budget.

2. Obtaining A Quotation From A Thai Builder For Building A House In Thailand

This method depends upon finding a builder to prepare a quotation based (usually) a set of drawings (also called house plans) for the property in question. (The house you want to build to retire to in Thailand) Obviously, the more accurate and detailed the house plans, the more accurate the quotation can be.

Other documents may also be provided to supplement the house plans and these include a Scope Of Works describing the scope of the project (not normally produced in Thailand) and Schedules. The Schedules are typically a schedule of finishes, schedule of doors, ironmongery etc.

There are three major difficulties with this method.

1. Obtaining The House plans And Other Documents

I'm lucky in that I can use the Autocad Computer Aided Drawings (CAD) software package and am familiar with building design so I was able to produce my own CAD drawings and schedules for my planned retirement house in Thailand.

Also, I did not start with a blank sheet of paper, instead I downloaded some existing Thai house plans from the Thai Government website (Search for 'download Thai Government House Plans') and selected one to use as a starting point for my own Thai house design.

If you do not fancy this do-it-yourself approach you will have to find someone to make the house plans for you. Whilst this is easy in (if somewhat expensive) in the UK, if you try to find a Thai Architect to do this for you then you may have problems.

Firstly finding an Architect in Thailand is not easy although I did find an architectural and construction company in Bangkok and I subsequently appointed then to make the construction drawings for my own house – but that is another story.

Secondly, how do you explain to an Architect what you want? This is particularly difficult (impossible?) If you do not already have your own preliminary drawings as I did and if you are not in a position to sit down in the same room as the architect and pour over ideas and concepts.

Doing that by email from starting from scratch from outside of Thailand is next to impossible.

2. Translation Of The Documents Into The Thai Language

This is not so difficult if you are prepared to pay for a translator in Thailand.

A translator can easily translate the schedules but adding Thai to CAD drawings in not easy unless the translator also knows how to use the CAD software! My own house plans and schedules are in English only and I was able to get a quotation from a Thai builder.

You might try English only and just get the translator to translate the technical phrases that the builder does not understand. Again, much easier to do if you are in Thailand alongside the translator and builder.

3. Finding A Builder In Thailand

This can be one of the most difficult tasks you have to do.

My wife has contacted at least six builders from within Thailand and only one has produced a price. That price was based on the house plans and schedules that I produced but was about double what we expected, at 2.1 million Baht, which works out at 16,000 Baht / m2.

The answer we get from most of the builders is that they are too busy to work on providing a price for a small house build job. It seems that many builders are engaged on large projects in the coastal resorts of Thailand (eg Phucket) and that our tiny little project in Pakchong is not worth their while.

The method I used to find builders consisted of knocking on doors "You have a nice house, can you tell me who the builder was?" I find it easy to approach people and one day I was chatting with the Security Guard at our hotel, "The Mansion" at 8/8 Soi Tedsaban 8, Mittrapap Rd., Pakchong, Thailand, and he announced that he could get a price from at least two builders.

We took him up on that offer but never received the quotations. One was too busy and the other wanted 5,000 Baht up front before preparing a quotation in case we did not select him as our builder! By the way, the Security Guard said that his commission was 10 percent!

This short discussion with In on how the I Obtained budget estimates for a retirement home in Thailand the I have covered the two main methods ++, using unit The rates and house plans, to secure a budget price and the advantages and disadvantages of each method. Also I have explained the three difficulties you will face when trying to get a builder in Thailand to give you an estimate for building your retirement house in Thailand.

Source by Kanyah Brown

Types of Dealers in the Stock Exchange Market

If there is a way of making money, then it's stocks and bonds. There are people who are investing their hard earned money on various securities. Each day, thousands and millions of securities are sold and bought all over the world.

So, who is a speculator or an investor in stock exchange market? Well, a speculator buys and sells different types of securities with the ultimate purpose of making a quick capital gain as a result of price fluctuations in the stock market. On the other hand, an investor buys the securities with the ultimate purpose of generating regular income from the holding of securities. His ultimate purpose is coupled with safety investment.

Investors usually hold stocks and bonds for a long period of time. They earn dividends and interest as a reward.

Four Types of Speculators

1.) Bull

A bull is a speculator who anticipates a rise in prices. She buys securities at the current price with the aim of selling them at a future date when prices rise. She buys long and creates pressure on the prices so that they increase. If her speculations go wrong, she spreads rumors that the prices are going to increase (she does bull campaigns also called rigging the market.) A stock market dominated by bull speculators is termed as bullish market.

2.) Bear

A bear speculator anticipates a fall in prices. She enters into a contract to sell securities at the current price with the aim of buying them at a future date when their prices fall. She is a pessimist. If prices fall as per her speculations, she buys them back.

This is termed as selling short. Unlike a bull speculator who keeps her head upward, a bear speculator keeps her head down. She makes efforts of bringing prices down in the stock exchange market through selling pressure termed as bear raid. When her speculations go wrong, a bear squeeze occurs. If the bear speculators dominate the market, then it's termed as bearish.

3.) Lame Duck

A lame duck is a desperate bear speculator. She is desperate because she had committed herself in an agreement to sell securities to a buyer and the shares are unavailable in the stock market. The buyer is not willing to postpone the deal.

4.) A Slag

A slag speculator applies for securities with the aim that the prices of shares are going to be listed at a premium price on the stock exchange market. She eventually sells the securities when prices increase. She creates false demands by sending a number of applications under different names. A slag speculator is a premium hunter.

Source by Joshua Nyamache

An Expired Listing Letter Will Make Your Phone Ring

An Expired Listing Letter can help you generate more leads, get more listings and make more sales. It's a fact that many top producing agents can validate. However, do not expect an agent in your market to actually do it, because doing so could ruin their business.

On the other hand I have nothing to lose by sharing this commonly known but underutilized tool with you. Post why? Because chances are we're not in direct competition with one another. So, if you are not conducting a letter writing campaign you should think about it.

5 Reasons For Starting an Expired Listing Letter Campaign Today

1) Expired listing campaigns are effective lead generators and when using them you can expect to generate listings on a consistent basis. So, let me ask you a question. How many listings are you currently generating on a weekly basis? That's what I thought. Want more? Then target expired listings … and start today.

2) Every letter you mail is highly targeted and goes to someone known to be interested in selling their home; someone who may be more motivated to sell when they list with you than they were during previous listings. In fact, not only can you expect the owners of expired listings to price their homes competitively, you can insist on it.

3) Farming expired listings is easy to do and a good letter makes it even easier. Mail ten letters a day, which takes on average less than thirty minutes, and you'll quickly be on your way to a renewable source of leads.

4) When you place a "For Sale" Sign & Rider on an expired that you convert to a new listing it'll enhance your stature as a successful agent in your community. Every passerby, property owner, renter, visitor and investor in the neighborhood will potentially look to you as an agent to do business with – and that will generate even more leads, listings and sales.

5) Finally, an expired letter writing campaign can also generate investment opportunities. Sometimes owners are willing to sell in a hurry, thereby creating attractive investment opportunities. You can establish relationships with real estate investors to buy some of the homes you list, or potentially line up investors to finance your purchase of them.

The Sound of Success

So, do not procrastinate. Get yourself an Expired Listing Letter set and start mailing letters today. And when you do know that your phone will start ringing and when it does be assured that callers will be wanting to do business with you. Can you ask for anything better?

Source by Lanard Perry

Corporate Social Responsibility in India – An Empirical Research

Introduction:

India has become one of fast growing economies of the world. It is growing at the rate of 9 per cent pa As an emerging market all are looking at India from an international perspective. At the stage when India is set to acquire a global position, it is essential to gauge whether the economic growth is due to successful business operations. Organizations must realize that government alone will not be able to get success in its endeavor to uplift the downtrodden of society. The present societal marketing concept of companies is constantly evolving and has given rise to a new concept-Corporate Social Responsibility. Many of the leading corporations across the world had realized the importance of being associated with socially relevant causes as a means of promoting their brands. Cause-related marketing and corporate social responsibility has provided companies with a new tool to compete in the market. CSR refers to the corporation's obligation to all the stakeholders. It stems from the desire to do good and get self satisfaction in return as well as societal obligation of business. This could be a strategic marketing activity a way for a company to do well by doing good-distinct from sales promotion, corporate philanthropy, corporate sponsorship, corporate Samaritan acts and public relations. Now, it is assumed to be responsibility of the business houses too.

Nothing builds brand loyalty among today's increasingly hard to please consumers, like a company's proven commitment to a worthy cause. Other things being equal many consumers would do business with a company that stands for something beyond profits. In nutshell, CSR and cause related marketing results in increased sales, visibility, and consumer loyalty and enhanced company image along with positive media coverage.

Rural India has a population of 700 million people spread across 6,38,000 villages. Thus more than 60 per cent of India's total population is rural by nature. A report by National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) shows that rural consumers comprise more than 50% of consumers and are a prime market for consumer goods and essential services. Culture is the pillar of our country and if the pillar has strength, then it can raise our country to a top level. Organizations are helping to sustain as well as revive the rich culture of the country through their programs. Today, India's literacy rate stands around 65 per cent, up from 52 per cent in 1991. (NSSO Survey) Considering the rate of increase, it would take some 20 to 25 years to clear this problem. Hence, the CSR agenda of corporate consider rural development as one of the important dimension.

On the other hand, a nonprofit organization is an organization, which exists for providing some benefit or assistance or a sort of self-help group. Like the name suggests, the organization will have all the properties of a profit-making organization, ie a mission statement, a vision, offices, infrastructure etc., but the objective will not include making a profit out of its operations. However, to run any organization, funds are needed, and this has to come in to the non-profit in terms of financial ie grants, subsidies, donations etc or services in terms of staff support or infrastructure support .. The sources for these funds could be individuals, the government or other charitable institutions and finally companies. These business houses through their CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) initiatives contribute to the mission of social progress and growth of India.

Defining Corporate social responsibility

Definitional issues regarding "corporate social responsibility" (CSR) have been debated since many years. Early CSR models was initiated in the early 1960s.It showed the "social" aspect of CSR as referring directly to those responsibilities above and beyond economic and legal obligations (Carroll, 1979; Waddock, 2004; Matten and Crane, 2005). Many considered corporate social responsibility synonymous with voluntary and philanthropic acts by business organizations which are designed to alleviate social ills or in order to benefit a disadvantaged group chosen by the corporation's managers.

The World Business Council for Sustainable Development in its publication "Making Good Business Sense" by Lord Holme and Richard Watts, used the following definition. "Corporate Social Responsibility is the continuing commitment by business to behave ethically and contribute to economic development while improving the quality of life of the workforce and their families as well as of the local community and society at large"

"CSR is about capacity building for sustainable livelihoods. It respects cultural differences and finds the business opportunities in building the skills of employees, the community and the government" "CSR is about business giving back to society.

Traditionally, CSR has been defined much more in terms of a philanthropic model. Companies make profits, unhindered except by fulfilling their duty to pay taxes. Then they donate a certain share of the profits to charitable causes. It is seen as tainting the act for the company to receive any benefit from the giving.

According to Philip Kotler, "Corporate Social Responsibility: Doing the Most Good for your Company and Cause" does a terrific job of describing the range of corporate social initiatives and suggests best practices for choosing, implementing and evaluating them.

Thus, corporate social responsibility has been a topic that has received a lot of attention in recent years (Sethi, 1995).

Need for study:

The basic aim of the study is to gain familiarity or formulating a problem or to achieve new insights into it. In this particular study, an attempt has been made to comprehend and gain insight into behavior or attitude of companies towards various aspects of social contribution. This study deals with the behavior of the corporates. It tries to identify complex behavior and set patterns in it. The present study relates to the attitude of 50 companies in India so as to predict the behavior.
Why will any company give funds or services to a non-profit? The government will provide for funds and or services as it is responsible for the social welfare of the people. Similarly a charitable institution will do the same as it is their objective to help the social cause. An individual may donate to a nonprofit due to reasons of philanthropy, or in memory of some person etc, but why does a commercial organization contribute for a social cause? The basic objective of a commercial organization is to make profits. Why will it divert substantial funds to a nonprofit if there is no return on that investment?

Objective of the study:

The objective of the study was to try and understand why an organization contributes to a social cause and what it expects to gain in the process. Is it philanthropy, is it a feeling of obligation to the society in general or is it for financial benefits in terms of tax exemptions, etc.

Research design process:

To understand the reason why an organization contributes to a social cause, it was necessary to get an insight into the organizations' view of the business, its views, its policies, the reasons why it contributes and its objectives and relationships with all its stakeholders ie employees, customers, suppliers, shareholders and society. The questionnaire was designed accordingly to get the relevant information from the respondents.

In this study the researchers have adopted convenience sampling. Population of study includes companies located in India.

Sources of Data Collection:

The research consists of the application of both primary and secondary data. Primary data was collected by administering questionnaire.

The secondary data was collected through websites and from various journals and magazines. Reasons for contribution to CSR by organizations were a sensitive issue. Hence the researchers had to gain the confidence of the management otherwise a study of this nature was impossible.

The questionnaire was administered to various companies. Anonymity of responses was promised. While it was sent to about 70 companies, only 50 companies responded. The responses were obtained through the human resource departments of the company or indirectly through the concerned department or official handling the area. The questionnaire was coded into SPSS and then the data from the questionnaire entered into the database. While frequency and cross tabulations were used for most of the data analysis, factorization was used to group attributes, which were important reasons for contributing to a social cause.

The Analysis and Findings:

Views towards business: 82.4% of the companies seem to strongly agree that business means maximizing benefits, making money and doing your work well. No company disagrees on this point. 17.6% more agree than disagree to the same. 76.5% says that business is making money. 88.2% strongly agree as well as agree that it is all about social responsibility while 17.8% more disagree than agree.

Place for ethics in business: 88.3% believe that there is place for ethics in business. However, a small majority, 11.8% strongly feel that there is no place for ethics in business.

Business & Economic attitude: 82.3% believe that business needs only an economic attitude while 17.7% respondents felt that business does not need an economic attitude, balance feel it is needed.

Social policies: 70.6% of the corporates connect to the community through social activities, and 23.5% through specific NGO. Only half (52.9%) have a clear-cut policy on social development. 64.7% feel that their social responsibility is towards both the community and their employees. 29.4% feel that their social responsibility is only towards their employees. 35.3% have not adopted any village or social organization. The participation of the company in various activities is mixed, with no clear-cut trend emerging.

Donations: 70.6% feel that giving a donation will not increase the image of the company. However, 29.4% give donation to benefit from tax.

However, cross tabulation of these two parameters revealed that only 71.4% respondents who said that donations do not improve its image while 28.6% respondents say that giving donations improves image building. About 50% contribute to a social cause, invest as a long-term investment. 70% responded that they do not donate for tax.

Credo of the organization:

Principal Component Factor Analysis methodology was used with varimax method to identify the relevant factors which has been consistently identified as primary by the respondents. The rotated component matrix was used, as it would be easier to determine which variables are loaded on which factor.

Factor analysis shows that 4 main factors used by organizations as their credo. The first factor 1 as company value: internal stakeholders which include humane approach, employee and customer satisfaction, quality of life.

Factor 2: Profit Maximization, which include team work and profit maximization.

Factor 3: Social Responsibility, which combines with hard working behavior.

Factor 4: Ethical Practices

CSR: Objectives and Relationships with stakeholders:

Customers: 47.1% have their objectives towards the customer as satisfying them by providing quality, and within this, 50% term their relationship as friendly. Another 29.4% objective is to give good value and satisfactory service.

Shareholders: 41.2% objectives are more towards good returns and 35.3% express the real picture of the company, while 23.5% assure profit to its shareholders.

Employees: 64.7% feel that their objective towards the employees is to motivate to achieve goals and rewards, 23.5% satisfy by fulfilling needs while 5.9% feel that their relationship is that of family feeling and another 5.9% provide them with an opportunity for self development .

Suppliers: 5.9% have their objective as mutual benefits, which also explain that it feels its relationship is that of a teammate (29.4%). Balance is equally divided in terms of relationships. Almost 47.1% company's objective vis-à-vis suppliers are quality and price of product related.

Community: Over 52.9% of the companies have social welfare as the objective towards the community. 11.8% companies have stated that their relationship with the community is that of a family member so as to provide help to the target group who needs it and 17.6% have stated that their relationship is cordial and friendly. They are sensitive to the needs of the community and another 17.6% include community welfare in the objectives of the company

Attributes as important reasons for contributing to social causes:

The present study of the researchers is to study the reason of the company's corporate social responsibility. The variance chart and the scree plot show that 4 components explain 83.03% of the variance. The principal component analysis was used using varimax rotation method. The rotation converged in 5 iterations. The resultant rotated component matrix was analyzed. The constituents of the four factors are identified as

Factor 1: (Customer oriented)

Customer goodwill .966

Customer loyalty .966

Philanthropy .752

Factor 2: (Ethical oriented)

Projecting the company as one with explicit moral judgment .873

Projecting an upright character of the company .944

Contributing to a specific cause .637

Bottom-line benefits .618

Factor 3: (Community oriented)

Helping the community .894

Social responsibility .889

Factor 4: (Humane oriented)

To remove the image of the company as a faceless institution. .903

Bottom-line benefits – .542

Philanthropy in the first component and bottom-line benefits in the second component seem to be out of line of the components. Else the first component talks about customer relationships, the second on moral character of the company and the third on social responsibility. Bottom-line also plays an important role.

Conclusion:

The study was conducted to find out the company's reasons towards corporate social responsibility on cause related and its impact on the company's brand image and sales. The important factors that influence the company to contribute are: Customer oriented, Ethical oriented, Community oriented, Humane oriented.

Financial benefits in terms of tax benefits also are important, though the responses to this issue seem to be guarded.

Companies must generate awareness to the various stakeholders regarding its contribution to corporate social responsibility through its affiliation with social cause through event management (Mumbai marathon events) & company websites as it is directly related to increase in sales and brand loyalty. India being a developing country with over 250 million strong middle class families has a large potential for any marketer & at the same time it can support quiet a good number of causes which benefits the society at large. eg due to operation of CRY 'a NGO 89244 children lives were permanently transformed 1013 communities experienced 100% school enrollment, 159 primary health centers began functioning and long term rehabilitation program were initiated in almost 100 tsunami affected villages in Tamilnadu, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala and earth quake relief & rehabilitation programs were initiated in 11villages in Jammu & Kashmir. So we can conclude that corporate social responsibility and cause related marketing is beneficial both for company and the society.

Limitations:

While companies have responded, 25% of them (spokesman) have requested that the source should not be mentioned – ie the company should not be identified. The sample size being very small, the result of the study may not represent the whole population.

References:

Carroll, AB (1979), "A three-dimensional conceptual model of corporate performance", Academy of Management Review, Vol. 4 No. 4, pp. 497-505.

Matten, A. and Crane, D. (2005), "Corporate citizenship: toward an extended theoretical conceptualization", Academy of Management Review, Vol. 30 No. 1, pp. 166-79.

Sethi, SP (1995). "Introduction to AMR's special topic forum on shifting paradigms: Societal expectations and corporate performance." Academy of Management Re view, 20, pp.18- 21.

Waddock, S. (2004), "Parallel universes: companies, academics and the progress of corporate citizenship", Business and Society Review, Vol. 109 No. 1, pp. 5-42.

Source by Bernadette Dsilva

The Top 5 Key Benefits of Purchasing and Owning Investment Real Estate

So … You may ask yourself, why should you buy or invest in real estate in the First Place? Because it's the IDEAL investment! Let's take a moment to address the reasons why people should have investment real estate in the first place. The easiest answer is a well-known acronym that addresses the key benefits for all investment real estate. Put simply, Investment Real Estate is an IDEAL investment. The IDEAL stands for:

• I – Income
• D – Depreciation
• E – Expenses
• A – Appreciation
• L – Leverage

Real estate is the IDEAL investment compared to all others. I'll explain each benefit in depth.

The "I" in IDEAL stands for Income. (Aka positive cash flow) Does it even generate income? Your investment property should be generating income from rents received each month. Of course, there will be months where you may experience a vacancy, but for the most part your investment will be producing an income. Be careful because many times beginning investors exaggerate their assumptions and do not take into account all potential costs. The investor should know going into the purchase that the property will COST money each month (otherwise known as negative cash flow). This scenario, although not ideal, may be OK, only in specific instances that we will discuss later. It boils down to the risk tolerance and ability for the owner to fund and pay for a negative producing asset. In the boom years of real estate, prices were sky high and the rents did not increase proportionately with many residential real estate investment properties. Many naïve investors purchased properties with the assumption that the appreciation in prices would more than compensate for the fact that the high balance mortgage would be a significant negative impact on the funds each month. Be aware of this and do your best to forecast a positive cash flow scenario, so that you can actually realize the INCOME part of the IDEAL equation.

Often times, it may require a higher down payment (therefore lesser amount being mortgaged) so that your cash flow is acceptable each month. Ideally, you eventually pay off the mortgage so there is no question that cash flow will be coming in each month, and substantially so. This ought to be a vital component to one's retirement plan. Do this a few times and you will not have to worry about money later on down the road, which is the main goal as well as the reward for taking the risk in purchasing investment property in the first place.

The "D" in IDEAL Stands for Depreciation. With investment real estate, you are able to utilize its depreciation for your own tax benefit. What is depreciation anyway? It's a non-cost accounting method to take into account the overall financial burden incurred through real estate investment. Look at this another way, when you buy a brand new car, the minute you drive off the lot, that car has depreciated in value. When it comes to your investment real estate property, the IRS allows you to deduct this amount yearly against your taxes. Please note: I am not a tax professional, so this is not meant to be a lesson in taxation policy or to be construed as tax advice.

With that said, the depreciation of a real estate investment property is determined by the overall value of the structure of the property and the length of time (recovery period based on the property type-either residential or commercial). If you have ever gotten a property tax bill, they usually break your property's assessed value into two categories: one for the value of the land, and the other for the value of the structure. Both of these values ​​added up equals your total "basis" for property taxation. When it comes to depreciation, you can deduct against your taxes on the original base value of the structure only; the IRS does not allow you to depreciate land value (because land is typically only APPRECIATING). Just like your new car driving off the lot, it's the structure on the property that is getting less and less valuable every year as its effective age gets older and older. And you can use this to your tax advantage.

The best example of the benefit regarding this concept is through depreciation, you can actually turn a property that creates a positive cash flow into one that shows a loss (on paper) when dealing with taxes and the IRS. And by doing so, that (paper) loss is deductible against your income for tax purposes. Therefore, it's a great benefit for people that are specifically looking for a "tax-shelter" of sorts for their real estate investments.

For example, and without getting too technical, assume that you are able to depreciate $ 15,000 a year from a $ 500,000 residential investment property that you own. Let's say that you are cash-flowing $ 1,000 a month (meaning that after all expenses, you are net-positive $ 1000 each month), so you have $ 12,000 total annual income for the year from this property's rental income. Although you took in $ 12,000, you can show through your accountancy with the depreciation of the investment real estate that you actually lost $ 3,000 on paper, which is used against any income taxes that you may owe. From the standpoint of IRS, this property realized a loss of $ 3,000 after the "expense" of the $ 15,000 depreciation amount was taken into account. Not only are there no taxes due on that rental income, you can utilize the paper loss of $ 3,000 against your other regular taxable income from your day-job. Investment property at higher price points will have proportionally higher tax-shelter qualities. Investors use this to their benefit in being able to deduct as much against their taxable amount owed each year through the benefit of depreciation with their underlying real estate investment.

Although this is a vastly important benefit to owning investment real estate, the subject is not well understood. Because depreciation is a somewhat complicated tax subject, the above explanation was meant to be cursory in nature. When it comes to issues involving taxes and depreciation, make sure you have a tax professional that can advise you appropriately so you know where you stand.

The "E" in IDEAL is for Expenses – Generally, all expenses incurred relating to the property are deductible when it comes to your investment property. The cost for utilities, the cost for insurance, the mortgage, and the interest and property taxes you pay. If you use a property manager or if you're repairing or improving the property itself, all of this is deductible. Real estate investment comes with a lot of expenses, duties, and responsibilities to ensure the investment property itself performs to its highest capability. Because of this, contemporary tax law generally allows that all of these related expenses are deductible to the benefit of the investment real estate landowner. If you were to ever take a loss, or purposefully took a loss on a business investment or investment property, that loss (expense) can carry over for multiple years against your income taxes. For some people, this is an aggressive and technical strategy. Yet it's another potential benefit of investment real estate.

The "A" in IDEAL is for Appreciation – Appreciation means the growth of value of the underlying investment. It's one of the main reasons that we invest in the first place, and it's a powerful way to grow your net worth. Many homes in the city of San Francisco are several million dollars in today's market, but back in the 1960s, the same property was worth about the cost of the car you are currently driving (probably even less!). Throughout the years, the area became more popular and the demand that ensued caused the real estate prices in the city to grow exponentially compared to where they were a few decades ago. People that were lucky enough to recognize this, or who were just in the right place at the right time and continued to live in their home have realized an investment return in the 1000's of percent. Now that's what appreciation is all about. What other investment can make you this kind of return without drastically increased risk? The best part about investment real estate is that someone is paying you to live in your property, paying off your mortgage, and creating an income (positive cash flow) to you each month along the way throughout your course of ownership.

The "L" in IDEAL stands for Leverage – A lot of people refer to this as "OPM" (other people's money). This is when you are using a small amount of your money to control a much more expensive asset. You are essentially leveraging your down payment and gaining control of an asset that you would normally not be able to purchase without the loan itself. Leverage is much more acceptable in the real estate world and inherently less risky than leverage in the stock world (where this is done through means of options or buying "on Margin"). Leverage is common in real estate. Otherwise, people would only buy property when they had 100% of the cash to do so. Over a third of all purchase transactions are all-cash transactions as our recovery continues. Still, about 2/3 of all purchases are done with some level of financing, so the majority of buyers in the market enjoy the power that leverage can offer when it comes to investment real estate.

For example, if a real estate investor was to buy a house that costs $ 100,000 with 10% down payment, they are leveraging the remaining 90% through the use of the associated mortgage. Let's say the local market improves by 20% over the next year, and therefore the actual property is now worth $ 120,000. When it comes to leverage, from the standpoint of this property, its value increased by 20%. But compared to the investor's actual down payment (the "skin in the game") of $ 10,000- this increase in property value of 20% really means the investor doubled their return on the investment actually made-also known as the "cash on cash" return. In this case, that is 200% -because the $ 10,000 is now responsible and entitled to a $ 20,000 increase in overall value and the overall potential profit.

Although leverage is considered a benefit, like everything else, there can always be too much of a good thing. In 2007, when the real estate market took a turn for the worst, many investors were over-leveraged and fared the worst. They could not weather the storm of a correcting economy. Exercising caution with every investment made will help to ensure that you can purchase, retain, pay-off debt, and grow your wealth from the investment decisions made as opposed to being at the mercy and whim of the overall market fluctuations. Surely there will be future booms and busts as the past would dictate as we continue to move forward. More planning and preparing while building net worth will help prevent getting bruised and battered by the side effects of whatever market we find ourselves in.

Many people think that investment real estate is only about cash flow and appreciation, but it's so much more than that. As mentioned above, you can realize several benefits through each real estate investment property you purchase. The challenge is to maximize the benefits through every investment.

Furthermore, the IDEAL acronym is not just a reminder of the benefits of investment real estate; it's also here to serve as a guide for every investment property you will consider purchasing in the future. Any property you purchase should conform to all of the letters that represent the IDEAL acronym. The underlying property should have a good reason for not fitting all the guidelines. And in almost every case, if there is an investment you are considering that does not hit all the guidelines, by most accounts you should probably PASS on it!

Take for example a story of my own, regarding a property that I purchased early on in my real estate career. To this day, it's the biggest investment mistake that I've made, and it's precisely because I did not follow the IDEAL guidelines that you are reading and learning about now. I was naïve and my experience was not yet fully developed. The property I purchased was a vacant lot in a gated community development. The property already had an HOA (a monthly maintenance fee) because of the nice amenity facilities that were built for it, and in anticipation of would-be-built homes. There were high expectations for the future appreciation potential-but then the market turned for the worse as we headed into the great recession that lasted from 2007-2012. Can you see what parts of the IDEAL guidelines I missed on completely?

Let's start with "I". The vacant lot made no income! Sometimes this can be acceptable, if the deal is something that can not be missed. But for the most part this deal was nothing special. In all honesty, I've considered selling the trees that are currently on the vacant lot to the local wood mill for some actual income, or putting up a camping spot ad on the local Craigslist; but unfortunately the lumber is not worth enough and there are better spots to camp! My expectations and desire for price appreciation blocked the rational and logical questions that needed to be asked. So, when it came to the income aspect of the IDEAL guidelines for a real estate investment, I paid no attention to it. And I paid the price for my hubris. Furthermore, this investment failed to realize the benefit of depreciation as you can not depreciate land! So, we are zero for two so far, with the IDEAL guideline to real estate investing. All I can do is hope the land appreciates to a point where it can be sold one day. Let's call it an expensive learning lesson. You too will have these "learning lessons"; just try to have as few of them as possible and you will be better off.

When it comes to making the most of your real estate investments, ALWAYS keep the IDEAL guideline in mind to make certain you are making a good decision and a solid investment.

Source by Michael Justin Wolf

The Last Minute Baby Shower, How to Plan A Baby Shower In a Hurry

Perhaps you just found out that no one is throwing a baby shower for a friend. Perhaps things got left to the last minute. Or, perhaps there was an emergency that meant the shower had to be moved up. Whatever your reason for throwing a last minute baby shower is, you really can throw a low stress, fabulous baby shower in a short amount of time. Here's how.

First, you'll need to start thinking about invitations immediately. Generally you want to have invitations in your guests hands at least two weeks before the event. If you have two weeks or less, consider calling the guests to invite them. Let them know that the shower is coming together at the last minute and thus you do not have time to get invitations out, but you would really like them to attend. If you know a few of the guests well enough, ask them to help with the calls. If you have more than 2 weeks, you can get your invitations out. If you are pushing up on the 2 week mark, consider just doing a simple invitation printed on some pretty paper, and mailing that out. It will save time, and still make sure everyone knows about the shower. If you have 3 or more weeks until the shower date, you can safely order invitations and have them in time to send out for the shower. Order pre-printed shower invitations so that all you need to do is address the envelope and send it out. This will save you a lot of time and ensure that you can get them out on time.

Once the guests are invited, you'll need to think about food and tableware. You should order your cake right away, as many good bakers need at least a week, if not a couple of weeks notice. After the cake is ordered, you can begin thinking about what foods and beverages you will serve at the shower, and what you will serve them on. Since you are going to be very busy getting everything ready for the shower, plan foods and beverages that you can either purchase pre-made or that are fairly simple to make. Then, consider what you'd like to serve your guests on. If you have a few weeks, then you'll have time to get themed partyware in if you desire. If you have less time, consider purchasing some nice clear plastic plates from the grocery store. They are much more elegant than paper, yet disposable, so you will not have a ton of dishes left to wash. You can also serve on your own dishes, which can add a very elegant feel.

The rest of the shower planning will be fairly routine. Choose games that do not require a lot of work ahead of time. Prizes can easily be purchased at a local store. Lotion packs, soaps, and other little packs make great prizes and can easily be picked up while you are out at the story anyways.

The biggest key to planning a last minute baby shower is to enlist help. Do not try to do it all yourself. Enlist friends who also know the expectant mom to help get everything done. You may even have more fun planning the shower in a rush than you would have if you'd had more time! And remember, simple is beautiful.

Source by Charlene J Hertzberg

Trust Deed Investments – Mitigating the Risks Associated With Senior Encumbrances

There are 9 risk categories associated with investing in trust deeds or becoming a private lender and the one we will be discussing here is the risk associated with senior encumbrances.

A senior encumbrance is a claim against the property that has a higher priority than your investment in the property. Whenever you lend on a property that has a senior encumbrance you need to be concerned about some additional risks associated with those senior encumbrances.

Specifically, if a senior encumbrance is not paid as agreed by the borrower, to protect your investment as a junior lien holder and minimize the potential of loss, you must pay the amounts necessary to cure the default and keep the senior encumbrance in good standing. If you fail to do so, you could lose your entire investment if the senior lien holder forecloses.

So, how do we significantly reduce that risk as a private lender? Well, the first thing that comes to mind is to opt for investments where you are the senior encumbrance. Be cautious when you are presented with an opportunity to invest where you are not the most senior position. Can you be in first position as the most senior lien holder and have someone jump you in line? Usually no, but there are exceptions like property taxes. If your borrower fails to pay property taxes on the property than the county can put a lien on the property and that lien is a priority lien above mortgages. So, even in first position you need to be aware of what can happen and what you will need to do to protect your investment.

It is also important to review senior encumbrances before lending in a junior position since some can include clauses that forbid junior liens completely or insist that the senior encumbrance be paid off entirely if certain conditions are breached.

While there is definitely risk associated with senior encumbrances when investing in trust deeds, often the higher, fixed rate of return still makes these investments very attractive to investors.

Source by James Orr

Plumbing – What Does a Plumber Do?

Plumbing is a profession which will never go out of demand. It can never be hurt by the recession, because heating and cooling systems, gas, and water supply are commodities that people need on a daily basis, even in the worst of crises. The basic job description of a plumber includes installing and repairing items such as gas systems, drainage systems, water systems, and waste disposal systems in commercial, residential, and industrial buildings. Plumbing includes the ability to install basic fixtures, such as showers, bathtubs, sinks, toilets, water heaters and dishwashers, as well as laying the foundations of the piping system of the house.

Plumbers must have an idea of ​​what materials are appropriate for each setting that they work in. On a construction site for example, the professionals would have to map out where the pipes are to be laid and then installed. Once the structure is built around the pipes and the cement foundation is laid, then the rest of the internal plumbing is done and connected to the bathroom fixtures.

Plumbers must be able to read and follow blueprints, which are usually drawn up by architects or structural engineers. This can help them gauge the layout of pipes for the entire building, and then follow the same procedure, on each floor, for each individual apartment, or block, as is the case. Now, the aesthetics of the particular construction need to be considered, but, the plumber must also make sure he has an idea of ​​the codes and regulations of the city, county, and state that he is operating in, so that the homeowners do not need to worry.

Apart from this, sometimes, basic carpentry work might be required to access pipes inside walls or brace pipes to keep them in place. The fittings may need to be welded or soldered together to attach them. It can also be valuable for the professional to be familiar with electrical systems. The piping system is the main focus but installing fixtures is another important function.

Your plumber is also responsible for repairs to any of the systems that have been installed, if they should become clogged and need to be drained. Some homeowners may opt for their professional to do a routine maintenance check, so a time can be set up for when he could come to your home to check and make sure everything is okay with your plumbing systems. Many professionals are also on call in case of emergencies.

Source by Anna Woodward

5 Things to Sort Out Before Thinking About Raising Funding for Your Business

During my time as an early-stage investor, I would get super-frustrated every time a team of enthusiastic and energy-ridden entrepreneurs would come through the doors of our offices ill-prepared for our meeting. The idea they have may be great, the team may rock but it was a blow to the stomach to hear their lacklustre and uncertain responses to a basic stream of questions that they really should have anticipated and prepared for in advance of the meeting.

Putting in so much effort on the product or service, the team-build and the networking all gets compromised when poor planning is evident at a fundraising meeting. As such, I have outlined what I believe as being the 5 key areas entrepreneurs need to have a key grasp of before setting up meetings with investors.

1. Explain your team

One of the most important things any type of investor will be interested in will be knowing more about the team of guys that they are backing to deliver a return on their investment. It really is about the team more than your business idea or the fancy suit you wear to the meeting (!) That will help you clinch the funding you want. Ideally an investor needs to understand why the team is made up with who is in it and what contribution to the growth of the business each individual will have. Individually, all of you should be able to demonstrate why you want to be part of the journey of a start-up or small business and explain any relevant experience you have of the role you are being asked to carry out in the team, and / or previous experiences of working in start-ups and with investors.

As a team, you all should be able to explain how you work as a team and what team strengths are. A toolkit of complimentary and balanced skills is what an investor is keen to see rather than Lone Rangers who have yes-men around them to boost their ego! As a team you should be able to explain what you are looking to achieve through the business and what your personal aims are. Hint: do not say you want to be retired in two years and on the beach sipping Mai Tai's if the rest of your team is focused on the long-term. In fact, do not say you want to be sipping Mai Tai's any time soon, period. Saying you want to be gazillionaires is fine as long as that's not your only aim and motivation for being at the meeting. Show ambition. Show confidence. Show assurity that you have confidence in the product or service you are building and in its near-term market potential.

2. Know your service (or product)

Not knowing your service or product is a carnal sin as far as talking to anyone about your business is concerned. If you can not explain your business to your 4 year old niece or nephew and combat the barrage of "why's" that you get back after each response, you can safely assume that you need to think more about what you are doing and why. Remember, investors see ten or more businesses like yours every week, operating in the same sub-sector and trying to solve similar problems. Hence, they have already done their homework and have probably taken their thinking down avenues you have not even considered yet. It will be impossible to cover all eventualities of course, but you should have considered a lot of the basics such as what problem your company will solve, what the key differentiator about your business is that makes it special, why no-one else can replicate your model, how you will price and why people will be willing to pay, and the steps your foresee as being those that will help to take your business to the next level and deliver value to all. We discuss some of these themes now.

3. Know the market you operate in

Having an understanding of the market you operate in is essential to demonstrate your credibility to any investor about your understanding of the space you operate in. This not only shows preparedness, but also highlights your seriousness and passion for what you are building. Being aloof to any new regulations does not look well. Also, being unfamiliar with any key competitors in your market will not go down well with an investor either. Remember, they may well have spoken to many other teams who are building something similar to you or have built it and so will know those businesses very well and the challenges they have faced. Research them. Talk to people in the sector. Understand who is up to what. Rumour is important. Demonstrate to the investor that you know your competitor better than anyone else.

You need to have done at least some high-level calculations to size the market opportunity you are addressing. What is the $ £ or spend in your sub-sector? Is it a growing or a shrinking market? Is it a big enough market for you to continue growing your market-share of? Important questions that you should have naturally addressed earlier through your natural curiosity and interest when sizing up your business idea.

4. Know your key financials

Investors are money people and love to understand the numbers. That is the one tangible thing they can use to argue for or against at their investment committee (the group of guys in their company who will decide whether or not you get funding). Like it or not, you will have to prepare yourselves for presenting your story with numbers as well as words. If you do not have a penchant for the numbers amongst you then fear not. I believe in keeping things simple. In a later post we will talk about exactly the things you need to have pinned down and clear in your own heads. At a high-level the investor will be trying to gauge how much thought you have put into the commercials of building your business. It will help them size up whether or not the $ 1 billion valuation you have on your company at the end of Year 2 in the plan is plausible through the assumptions you are making now!

Largely at early-stage discussions many of the financials discussions focus on forward projections unless you have been fortunate enough to have had significant trading to date. Assuming you do not have much current trading, having projections that are built bottom-up and are based on sensible assumptions for sales growth and profit margins are a good start for you to have a sensible discussion with any investor. Be conservative. Do not be brash. Do not worry if you do not end up with Year 3 sales of $ 50m, but equally, if after 5 years you are still struggling to project sales of £ 100k then clearly there is something wrong with you business model.

5. Explain your strategy

A clear, simple strategy needs to be outlined during discussions to give comfort to the investor that you, at the very least, have an idea of ​​which way you are going. This strategy may well change as time goes by as things change but having an initial plan of how you want to progress things is no bad thing. This would typically include who the first group of customers you will approach are and why? Who you will approach next? What will be your pricing strategy? Geographical presence? Product development road map? Funding profile? Team development? Be sensible. Investors are not looking for a team who are looking to take over the world. They are looking for a genuine team that demonstrate inch-by-inch that the odds are the investor will make money by backing them and not lose money!

Having these areas prepared and discussed, as a team will advance you ahead of the queue as far as standing you out from the crowd is concerned. In an environment where supply of entrepreneurs seeking investment outstrips demand, being prepared in this way is essential for you to get it right.

Source by Tallat Mahmood