Author: Janet Behm (152 articles found) - Clear Search

The Pitfalls of Buy Now Pay Later



“It’s amazing how fast later comes when you buy now.” - Milton Berle 

Everybody loves a bargain. And passing one up because the funds aren’t available can sometimes mean missing out on something good (needed or not). I’m sure most of you can relate. In the past, this might have meant putting the purchase on the old credit card or stuffing it away on a layaway program.

But recently, a new way to buy stuff (sort of) and pay for it later has popped up, which some folks are seeing as a good deal (sort of). The programs are called “buy now pay later” (BNPL) – a self-explained moniker. 

Now, BNPLs are growing in popularity and do have upsides – mostly convenient shopping with interest-easy financing and no strict approval requirements. 

However, they also make it effortless to over-shop, overspend, and get in over your head with credit problems. 

Are BNPLs dangerous or good deals? Well, a little bit of both. So, here’s what to beware of and how to utilize one of these pro

Make Sure Your Business Partners Get Paid Properly



"A wise person should have money in their head, but not in their heart." – Jonathan Swift

Your dreams of being the boss aside, your business isn’t going to last long if you don’t handle your money right. If your business is a partnership, you have special considerations – such as how your business is structured and (much, much more importantly) how everybody gets paid in business partnerships.

It’s key to set up your company so everyone knows how the money flows. 

Basics of the money roadmap

First, let’s pin down what kind of partnership you have. The type of partnership can influence how the money flows within the company. Bear this in mind whether you’re an established company or just considering your first business partnership. 

Three common arrangements for business partnerships are: 

General Partnership: All partners share equal rights and responsibilities. This is the easiest partnership to form with re

What to Know Before Opening the Door to Investors



“The secret of creating riches for oneself is to create them for others.” - John Templeton

Everybody loves money. In your small business, you’ll take all you can get, right?

Investments in your company may seem like a can’t-be-beat gift. But taking on investors in small business means a lot more than skipping to the bank to cash a check – it means facing some hard realities about your business. 

Your plan, their fine print

After a few down years, venture capital (VC) is booming again, especially for tech and large companies – but don’t mistake “VC” for other kinds of financing that your small business might attract. Get your terms straight from the get-go – and get your financial and legal professionals involved, too. 

The other thing to get together as completely and clearly as possible is your bu

Tax Consequences of NFTs and Crypto



“The only difference between reality and fiction is that fiction needs to be credible.” - Mark Twain 

You’ve probably got that friend who talks non-stop about the world of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and all the wacky-named cryptocurrency out there. 

And of course, they’re dying to tell you over and over any time you hang out how you can make a fortune overnight (too bad your friend isn’t virtual) … 

Still, it’s hard not to wonder what it’s all about. 

Can you actually make a fortune? Maybe. Others seem to have done it. But what they’ve also made is a heap of tax complications for themselves with (so far) little official guidance on how to report some of these big payoffs.

Well, here’s what we know so far from the IRS.

Significant ether


A Case for Teens Having Credit Cards



“To contract new debts is not the way to pay old ones.” - George Washington

In the age of virtual currency, rising inflation, and online shopping, helping your teenager get their feet under them when it comes to money seems like an absolute necessity. 

So, wouldn’t it be great if you could pry your teen from perma-scrolling TikTok and Snapchat long enough to teach them a few things about money? However, you might be surprised to find that one great money education tool for them (or anyone) is having a credit card.

Yep, you heard that right. Giving your teen a credit card could really help them learn a few things about money and managing it.

Think about it: You have to handle paying the balance and watch your spending when it seems effortless (at least until the bill arrives). You learn the ins and outs of interest, credit scores, and paying off a tab over time. It’d be tough to find a better money teacher than that. 

Obviously, this is going to mean some hard work and lots of one-on-one time to keep them from going off the

Responding to Bad Online Reviews, Well



"Many a man's reputation would not know his character if they met on the street.” - Elbert Hubbard

Leaving a good lasting impression is something we all want in life. In business, it’s the key to keeping clients. But leaving a bad one… well that could mean a lot of lost business. 

A recent survey showed that more than nine out of 10 consumers say a negative online review can turn them off from choosing a particular business. Other surveys have shown that often online shoppers won’t even go near a business that has fewer than three out of a possible five stars.

Wow. Losing new customers because of just one bad comment about your business? Unfortunately, that’s the reality. Even if the bad comment was slipped in by a “Karen” who just has it out for your business, figuring out how to deal with negative reviews should be a top priority.

There are a lot of platforms online where customers can bash you (or sing your praises). Google, Amazon, Yelp, Facebook, TripAdvisor – maybe even your own website hosts reviews. 


Big Reporting Change for CashApp, Venmo, Zelle, etc.



"You don't pay taxes – they take taxes." - Chris Rock

Up till now, whatever you made on eBay, Etsy, and the like might have seemed like tax-free cash. But now, the IRS will be in the know more and more regarding those sales… and that’s something you’ll want to keep in mind going forward.

Lowering the limit

Rules that were in effect until this month said that if you sold goods or services via platforms like eBay, Etsy, and Uber and if that platform used third-party transaction networks (think PayPal), you received a federal tax document called a 1099-K, and your income was reported to the IRS.

Thing is, you didn’t get that form unless you had at least 200 transactions worth a combined twenty grand or more.

Now, that limit’s been lowered.

Payment apps such as PayPal, Venmo, Zelle, CashApp, and other third-party e-payment

The Infrastructure Act and Your Business



“Americans: Time to gather up those receipts, get out those tax forms, sharpen up that pencil, and stab yourself in the aorta.” - Dave Barry

On November 15, 2021, President Biden signed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act into law. You’ve probably heard of it as the trillion-dollar-plus infrastructure bill. It has a lot to do with bridges, roads, drinking water, climate improvement, public transit, and internet broadband. It’s being called a “once-in-a-generation” law, and, yes, it is big news.

A few of the new law’s tax provisions are high-flying: extending some highway taxes, tinkering with taxes for superfund sites, and allowing bonds for some broadband projects and climate-friendly facilities.

There’s also a provision to extend relaxed funding requirements for employer-sponsored retirement plans. (We can tell you more about that one.)

But the Act also tweaks taxes you and your business might pay. Let’s take a look at some of the biggest changes.

Credit discard

The Infrastructure Act will have a big impact on small businesses that planned to take advantage of a popular pandemic-related tax break.

The Employee Retention Credit (ERC) was a real goody, a tax credit for a big chunk of the wages paid by companies that the pan

How Businesses Build a Quality Prospect List (And What To Do With It)


“Master the topic, the message and the delivery.” - Steve Jobs

Growing a prospect list starts with your current customers – and the ones you like working with most.

Look at them. What makes these folks special? What do they have in common when it comes to your business? Is there one service they use a lot or a product they always buy? Are they all in the same industry, or do they live in the same area?

Any prospect who has a lot in common with your best customers is going to be a hot prospect indeed.

Quick note: A “prospect” is not a “lead.” A lead is often little more than somebody’s contact info. A prospect is somebody who, for whatever reason, is a whisker more likely to want to do business with you.

Prospects also don’t even have to be interested in buying right now. They just have to fit the general characteristics of the folks who already buy from you.

Another way to find good prospects is to see what markets are doing well in your area. “Market” can mean a lot of things, from more people moving in-- to more businesses opening. Sometimes all it takes to spot an opportunity is taking the time to look.

And of course, what’s the competition up to? Probably most times you look at the other guy with envy that th

How To Invest in Real Estate and Not Lose Your Shirt



“Don’t wait to buy real estate. Buy real estate and wait.” -Will Rogers

Why is real estate always so popular? Well, ever heard of “alternative” investments? Usually, this means coins, gold, art, and so on. Real estate is a kind of alternative investment – and a good one, too.

For one, real estate isn’t hitched to the stock market. Wall Street’s one-off bad days (and boy are there a lot of those) often don’t faze real estate holdings.

You can also get a lot of tax breaks with real estate.

In short, real estate can be a good place to park your money. Let’s look at some options.

It’s your choice

RE investing is like the buffet at a rich cousin’s wedding: Everybody can find a favorite. It all depends on how much money and time you’ve got, your taste for risk, and how much you want to learn new w