Category Archives: Business

Daily Business and ecomonic news from around the world. Tips on sales and business opportunities

Is Social Media Still Growing?

 

Is Social Media Still Growing?

by Amy Lignor

 

It was in 1999, Bill Gates wrote a book titled, “Business @ the Speed of Thought.” Within these pages, the man who became the computer world’s wizard made massively bold predictions that, at the time, sounded ridiculous and outrageous to those who read them. But when you look at how the social media realm has grown over the past few decades, it is important to take note that not only did his predictions from 1999 come true, but they are also responsible for seeing social media continue to grow by leaps and bounds to this day.

Business @ the Speed of Thought, social media, entrepreneurs, Chatbots, social messaging platforms, OTT apps, smart advertising

“Automated price comparison services will be developed, allowing people to see prices across multiple websites, making it effortless to find the cheapest product for all industries.” This was one prediction that was scoffed at by many who, of course, had their own ‘reasons’ for why this would not occur. Now, of course, you can easily search for a product on Google, Amazon, and a slew of others to get different prices for the same product. More and more sites are coming about in 2017, allowing comparison shopping across all industries, adding to the growth of social media.

 

Gates also stated: “People will carry around small devices that allow them to constantly stay in touch and do electronic business from wherever they are. They will be able to check the news, see flights they have booked, get information from financial markets, and do just about anything else on these devices.”

 

What should be a shock to anyone out there is that any ‘professional’ came out of the woodwork back in 1999 to say Gates was foolish about this prediction. However, experts did. What do we see this day? The list is long. From Smartphones to smartwatches to actual headphones you can wear while driving to check your news, email and more – technology and social media joined together and exploded.

 

From constant video feeds that are now installed in homes that actually inform the owner of who visited while they were away; to the inventions of Facebook, Snapchat, and a million more, Gates hit the nail on the head with all of his “bold” predictions back in 1999. And each and every one of these products and services that were created made social media a ‘must have’ for consumers and businesses.

 

If you are a seller of products or services, social media is a must. From having websites to setting up businesses on Facebook, to social advertising across all networks so your product or service will most likely end up on Pinterest – and other avenues where consumers are speaking to each other – social media is a winding road that the businessperson must learn and utilize in order to grow their company.

 

It is a fact that Facebook, Messenger, Instagram and tons more have already called out to two billion people across the globe, with even more signing up on a daily basis. They are even searching for smaller social networks where they can become members. What’s behind all this is ‘smart advertising.’ With smart advertising in 2017, businesses view purchasing trends to create advertisements tailored to the consumer’s preferences. Advertisers are utilizing all of this new technology to target users based on everything from click history to personal interests to purchasing patterns.

 

Social media is not only still growing in 2017, however, it remains to be one of the fastest changing industries out there. The social media trends that have dominated 2017, thus far, include the world of social messaging. Over-the-top messaging (OTT) and SMS messaging are what millennials prefer when it comes to communication. Over 60% are more loyal to brands that engage them via social media channels and it has been estimated that two billion users will be messaging through OTT apps by 2018.

 

Another social media area that is growing bigger this year comes from businesses taking advantage of the huge audience base found on social messaging platforms. As more brands start to realize the value of social messaging compared to regular social networks, they are making more and more effort to make sure their presence is known by all consumers.

 

Social media is also changing in 2017 with the explosion of live video. YouTube was built on this premise, but now social media is taking it to the next level by offering content in real-time. Social videos have been responsible for a lot of growth on Facebook this year, and even news sources are citing Facebook Live videos when covering major events.

 

Chatbots are also becoming the next ‘big craze’. Artificial intelligence that allows people to have a conversation with someone else, Facebook integrated Chatbots within Facebook Messenger, and businesses are now using them to communicate with customers. Because of the latter, these Chatbots are already helping businesses improve customer service by being able to quickly respond to all comments and questions. Fast, efficient and brief, the popularity of Chatbots in 2017 is growing exponentially.

 

With each day bringing new inventions and entrepreneurs to the marketplace, social media shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon.

Source:  Baret News

 

Add Value with Summer Home Renovation Projects

 

Add Value with Summer Home Renovation Projects

by Amy Lignor

 

There are a whole list of summer activities for you and the kids planned. Most of them, of course, you want to be nothing but fun, such as grilling outside on the patio or swimming in the pool. However, having the backyard pool and patio are two things you really need in place before either of those activities could be enjoyed. And building this area could be a great summer project in order to not only get the house you really want, but add value to the home for a future sale.

smart technology, The National Association of Home Builders, highest ranking projects, costs recovered, financial tax credits,

Whether you’ve been dreaming of updating, customizing or integrating more “smart technology” into the design of your current home, there are certain projects that provide a way for you to create that “high-value” The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) has compiled a list of the highest ranking projects being done, as well as the high percentages of cash that homeowners are recouping from these various renovations.

 

The largest and most popular project in the U.S. is remodeling the kitchen. According to the NAHB, the number of remodelers working on kitchens is over 81%, with the average cost being spent on the remodel of $20,000. These minor kitchen remodels have homeowners recouping over 80% of the cost at the time of sale. (Major remodels of the kitchen have raised to an average of $62,000 in price, with a lower recoup of 65%).

 

It is important to take note with the kitchen area that before diving into the renovation project, have a plan in place. Interior designers have stated to look at this area like a ‘work triangle’ between sink, refrigerator and range. Creating that safe and enjoyable triangle that offers easy functionality includes taking into account lighting fixtures, storage and work surfaces, as well as the heavy traffic areas of those who run through each and every day.

 

The second project that has homeowners recovering almost 65% of costs spent comes in the form of remodeling the bathroom. When upgrading the bath, adding to the trends and great design pattern would mean making the room more accessible (widening doorways, adding grab bars to the tub, enlarging cabinets, and replacing lighting fixtures). In addition, creating a decorative space that offers the perfect vinyl wallpaper surrounding new tile work, updated shower controls, and more.

 

Another project comes in the form of room additions. Adding extra rooms to the house, such as a family room or a master suite, can range in cost from minor to major considering the plan you have in mind. However, up to 71% of these costs can also be recovered at sale time, depending on the design. Staying “on trend” is a good thing when it comes to the latest in technology, lighting and heating fixtures, and music systems, yet buying into all color and design trends on the market the minute you’re doing your renovation can be a mistake for resale value. After all, trends come and go, but the classic colors remain the same.

 

Lastly, if you’re looking for a project that will raise the value of your home even higher, replacing windows, doors, and insulation are good things. Starting with the front door of the dwelling, replacing this has earned the second-highest return on investment when compared to other remodeling projects, with homeowners who spent an average of $1,413 recouping 90.7% of the cost. (Remodeling’s 2017 Cost vs Value Report). And when it comes to garage door replacements, as well as upscale window replacements, not only do homeowners recoup a great percentage of costs, but they also improve curb appeal and make the home more energy-efficient. You can also receive financial tax credits from various local, state or federal tax credit programs in the U.S.

 

So, as you plan your summer renovation project, just know that money can be made whether adding a room or even converting the basement into a multi-functional living space for the whole family. Of course, if youngsters are present, you can add a little added extra home improvement by sound-proofing the walls.

 

Source:  Baret News

 

Your Investment Adviser Has New Rules

 

Your Investment Adviser Has New Rules

by Amy Lignor

 

So, what is a fiduciary? It’s quite simple, really. A fiduciary is any person whose recommendations for buying or selling allocations are in the client’s best interest. They are the people out there who give you that ultimate advice when it comes to contributions, distributions, IRA’s, annuities, insurance policies, and so much more. They are also the people who take compensation for giving you all this spectacular advice. However, at one time the people who doled out this data were not all certified fiduciaries.

fiduciary rule, investment professionals, finance, CFP, tax-advantages, retirement

Now, let’s be honest, there are millions (okay, thousands) of investment professionals, advisers, etc., who are down to earth and as honest as honest can be. They want to sit down with you and your family to figure out the best investment plan possible. They want to set your finances up so that you will be able to pay for that home you want so badly, pay for the children’s college educations, and still (somehow) end up with enough money to retire on where you will be able to enjoy that fancy sports car and not just have enough money to pay for your own funeral expenses. After all, isn’t that what those “smart, educated” children are for?

 

But more and more people are becoming cynical when it comes to simply handing someone their money and saying: “Go invest this. Heck, I trust you.” There have been too many “schemes” and too many “evil ones” to make you step away from your cash and just hope the person you hired to invest it is one of the “best.”

 

Now you must throw into the mix the new “fiduciary rule” which was implemented just last week on June 9. It was probably difficult to even know about the rule considering all eyes were focused on this ‘FBI vs. Trump’ yapping. But, beginning now and rolling out in what the business world calls a graduated process that runs through Jan. 1, 2018, rules are being put into place as to how all investment professionals out there can now dole out advice to you, the consumer. This covers a menu of retirement funds, such as, IRAs, Roths, Health Savings Accounts and Coverdell Education Accounts.

 

This will not really touch anyone already using a CFP (Certified Financial Planner) for their financial needs. A CFP receives a standard fee, and has a one-on-one relationship with you. However, if you do not have a personal relationship with an adviser, but use a call-in center instead to allocate your IRA contributions, buy or sell stocks or make other changes to your investments, you should know that from here on out even though the people who answer the phone can still process your transaction, they can no longer help you decide what to do. They cannot dole out advice. Under the new rule, they can do what YOU want, but if you need or want advice or help to swim the shark-ridden business waters, you will need to search for your own personal adviser who gets paid a standard fee.

 

The second area that will be affected is if you are rolling over a 401(k) plan into an IRA. While this rule will not affect retirement plans already set up at your current job, if you change jobs and need a rollover, anyone who is going to advise you about moving those funds into an IRA will have to be a fiduciary.

 

This also comes into play when you are considering purchasing an annuity or life insurance plan. If you are using funds from a retirement plan, the person advising you about the transaction has to be a certified fiduciary. There are fee-only insurance advisers who are fiduciaries, if you want to make sure you are getting an independent take on such a major purchase. IRAs are being focused on the most, but there are other tax-advantaged retirement accounts that are covered by the new rule.

 

In the end, if you are unsure which accounts are changing and which advisers are supposed to be certified, ask questions, get information from independent consulting firms if need be, and always remember that there will be no government agency, such as the IRS that will be looking out for you, the consumer.

 

You have to make sure that your money is being properly taken care of – and by a person who is legally able to do just that – so that when retirement day arrives, you still have enough in the coffers to enjoy life.

 

fiduciary rule, investment professionals, finance, CFP, tax-advantages, retirement

Original Source:  Baret News

The Hottest Locales for Small Business in the U.S.

 
The Hottest Locales for Small Business in the U.S.

by Amy Lignor

 

No, Silicon Valley is not being replaced. However, with the Kauffman Foundation releasing its annual Startup Activity Index last week showing, in detail, trends in U.S. business startups for 2017, it was revealed that California has been booted out of first place. The top spot for new businesses to be built and thrive in the United States has been taken over by the big, sunny city of Miami, Florida.

Kauffman Foundation, Knight Foundation, South Florida, StartupBootCamp, small business startups, Miami

For those out there looking to not only land five minutes on “Shark Tank,” but also want to know where small businesses are thriving as opposed to hanging up For Sale signs in windows, they should most definitely read up on Kauffman’s latest data. Not only did Miami come in first overall but they also tied with L.A. for having the highest rate of new entrepreneurs – 0.56 percent. What that means is that in a given month 560 out of 100,000 adults living in Miami actually started a business in 2017, and there are nearly 108 startups for every thousand employer businesses currently operating in Miami.

 

Now this may not mean, of course, that all new businesses beginning in South Florida in 2017 will end up being venture-backed startups that succeed brilliantly. But when it comes to California losing the top spot, the major blow for that state comes in the form of San Francisco and San Jose dropping significantly where new business openings were concerned. The rate of new entrepreneurs giving it a go, so to speak, has declined dramatically in both areas; whereas the Miami startup scene grew by leaps and bounds when the Knight Foundation made 200+ investments totaling $25 million in entrepreneurs and their initiatives in South Florida. But they weren’t alone in doing so. StartupBootCamp, the largest helper of entrepreneurs stemming from Europe, began helping fund startups in the U.S. in 2015. Beginning in Miami in the digital health field, StartupBootCamp has truly helped Miami’s small business activity grow exponentially.

 

If looking at small business success on a slightly smaller-town angle, more data was released (WalletHub) in regards to where small businesses are doing the best in 2017, when it comes to opening in non-cities. Bigger is not always better when you’re talking about where to open up “a shop.” By comparing various locations using factors like, available workforce, cost of labor, office space, and growth potential, there are five specific smaller towns that rated extremely high for small business startups. Not only are they business friendly, but they are also worth making the move to live in.

 

If your particular business is something that would be more successful in a smaller pond, the locations of Holland, MI; Carbondale, IL; Springville, UT; East Chicago, IN; and Jefferson City, MO, come in as being the top five U.S. locations for producing successful new small businesses.

 

Flipping the coin over, whether you wish to live and open your new business in a big city or a smaller community, a multitude of data has been compiled and is out there waiting for you to research. But to narrow down that search even further, it is important to note ahead of time which five states scored the worst when it came to producing successful 2017 business startups.

 

For Hawaii, it is the state’s high cost of living that is the top challenge small business owners have to face, causing the state to come in dead last as being the worst for startups. Maine also comes in on the negative side of things. The state’s low density of startups is debatable, but the state also puts up extremely low productivity numbers, with $37,958 GDP per capita being the seventh lowest in the country. Along those same lines, Vermont has too many unemployed residents and only about 3,000 jobs open. On top of that, the costs are far too high for the small business to incur. Wisconsin and Arkansas round out the five states that new startups should most definitely stay away from in 2017.

 

So as you move forward researching the future of your business, know that the sunny world of Miami is, thus far, the right place to start.

Original Source:  Baret News

The Best Car Investments of 2017…So Far

 

The Best Car Investments of 2017…So Far

by Amy Lignor

 

When the automobile industry ushered in its ‘best’ with the New Year, the rankings were released by U.S. News & World Reports, as well as other critics out there. And some have most definitely lived up to the hype. As we get ready to place the first half of 2017 behind us, and more and more buyers are looking to invest in a new automobile, it’s time to review what can arguably be called the most efficient autos with the safest technology features ever produced.

Honda Accord, Malibu, Maxima, Mazda3, Volkswagen GTI, Honda Fit, Kia Forte, Buick LaCrosse, Hyundai’s Sonata

Beginning in the most popular category – midsize automobiles – the 2017 Honda Accord is among one of the best. For decades this car has held a high-quality reputation among other sedans out there. Now, a Sport SE trim has added to the visual appeal, as well as advanced updates that make this a comfortable ride and allows the owner to save money on fuel because of its excellent CVT transmission. Add in a dual-screen information/entertainment system that supports both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and you have a wonderful investment.

 

Staying in the midsize category, Chevy has done well with the Malibu. A nine-speed auto transmission and a choice of engines that include the 1.5 liter (36 mpg on the highway/27 mpg in the city) and the 250-horsepower 2.0 liter gives buyers a great line-up. Not to mention, a spacious interior, comfortable, roomy seats and the Chevrolet MyLink information/entertainment system is provided.

 

But it is Hyundai’s Sonata that earned the No.1 ranking from U.S. News at the beginning of the New Year and has yet to let anyone down. Cabin and trunk space is huge when it comes to this comfortable ride that offers a slew of features. Among these are smart tech for accessing all that space, like the hands-free power trunk, and upfront tech that includes the BlueLink system.

 

If you’re looking at purchasing a large vehicle, the 2017 Maxima has kept its high ranking among them all. The interior is pure luxury, the entertainment system is top-of-the-line, and the 300 horsepower V6 engine provides the owner with 30 mpg when it comes to heading out on the highway.

 

Buick can also claim a hit in the large car arena with the 2017 LaCrosse. This is one of those rides that was completely altered. The old, tired look is gone (which all the commercials tell you.) This car is now sleek, stream-lined and modern, with a 310-horsepower V6 engine giving 31 mpg on the highway, while also providing the driver with intuitive safety features and customized screens in the interior.

 

For those searching for a compact vehicle, the Kia Forte has also received a ‘face-lift’ for 2017 and people are enjoying the new look. Kia also adapted the car with safety features like autonomous braking and adaptive cruise control – two things that are normally found in larger automobiles. Buyers and critics have been admiring the interior that gives the ‘look’ of a European luxury car with easy-to-use touch-screen systems for information and entertainment purposes.

 

Also proving to be a fantastic compact car of 2017 is the Volkswagen GTI. A lot of fun, this Sport model has a turbocharged engine that brings up to 220-horsepower. Because of the hatchback layout, there is cargo room and comfortable rear seat space, with the driver and passenger also getting extremely well-crafted seating to enjoy the ride.

 

Jumping into the high-ranked compact car arena is Mazda with the Mazda3. Extremely fun to drive, the handling of this car is perfect and offers excitement and adventure with great fuel economy that comes in at 37 mpg on the highway. Ergonomic, a floating center stack screen is just one part of the upscale interior.

 

Last, but not least, the subcompact car category has seen the Honda Fit become the hands-down winner. Giving the owner extremely good fuel economy with 40 mpg on the highway, this small car has an intricate, versatile interior that provides multiple seating configurations and ample cargo space with the rear seat folded.

 

So no matter what category you are looking into, make sure to research these great names before spending that hard-earned cash. And always make sure to drive safe.

 

Original Source:  Baret News

The Brotherhood of Politics and the Economy Drop Mortgage Rates

 

The Brotherhood of Politics and the Economy Drop Mortgage Rates

by Amy Lignor

 

The political arena and the financial arena always walk hand-in-hand. As it is with the healthcare field being up in the air right now and people rushing to their doctors in order to get their “free” health services before they are, perhaps, all taken away again – the real estate world is seeing a rush to buy attitude because of lower mortgage rates.

international tensions, weak economic data, Treasury securities, 2017 mortgage rates, Trump’s decisions, find the best lenderWhen it comes to the 30-year mortgage rate, numbers fell 11 basis points to 3.97 percent, dropping below the 4 percent level for the first time since November of 2016. This comes from the combination of weak economic data and the ever-growing international tensions between Trump and others that are driving investors to jump aboard the much safer world of Treasury securities and taking their money out of the “risky” arenas. With this shift in investment, based on politics, mortgage rates have won – with rates moving lower than they have in a good long time. (It was more than a year ago that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged only 3.59 percent.) When it comes to the 15-year FRM, the average is 3.23 percent. (A year ago, the 15-year FRM averaged 2.85 percent.)

With these numbers, thus far, 2017 has made home ownership far more attainable for families out there.

Now, this is an extremely difficult ‘world’ to view, seeing as that all of the so-called ‘experts’ out there across America have far different opinions on where 2017 mortgage rates could eventually go. They talk consistently about Trump’s decisions eventually forcing mortgage rates to turn and go up throughout the latter part of 2017; some even stating that by the end of the year – worst-case scenario – 30-year FMR’s could knock on the door of 5 percent.

 

So…who can you believe? It is a fact that with each new political day, mortgage rates will remain unbalanced because of all these new policies and problems America is experiencing with the international community. But if searching for a home, what you need to do before diving in is to learn about the mortgage rates in your state. From there, you must truly use that Internet search to find the best lender with the best rates that will actually care about you and your family coming out ahead. This process is necessary for those who are purchasing for the first time or even refinancing in order to do renovations that will better the home and increase re-sale value.

 

After comparing rates, the next step in the process should be to polish your credit score. Make sure to keep your credit in tip-top shape. The higher your score the better your interest rate and the more loan choices you’ll have to choose from.

 

Then, attempt to increase your down payment. Paying more up front will also help you to grab that better interest rate and save you money as you pay down your loan. Many lenders out there will charge you higher costs when it comes to mortgage insurance if you come in with a lower down payment.

 

Last, but not least, before diving into the purchase of a house, take more than a few minutes to consider how long you’ll actually be living there. If you already know that you will sell in a short amount of time, put your focus on the adjustable-rate mortgages. This way, you can take advantage of the lower initial interest rates of the ARM’s and then sell before the rates can reset. If ARM’s seem too risky, there are also the shorter-term fixed rate mortgages that will cause larger monthly payments, but bring a much lower interest rate at the same time. With this path, you’ll pay less over the life of the loan and build equity much faster.

 

In the end, the brotherhood of politics and the economy in 2017 will cause the mortgage rates to waver. It all depends on what the ‘men in charge’ think of next.

 

Source:  Baret News

Buying & Selling: Learning the Art of the Tag Sale

 

Buying & Selling: Learning the Art of the Tag Sale

by Amy Lignor

 

When people speak about making a few extra bucks, there is more than one way to skin a cat these days. Perhaps you’re trying to save up for a vacation for the family to take this summer. Perhaps you are looking for collectibles to invest in. Oddly enough, many people do not realize what, exactly, was in Great Grandma’s house when she passed on to a happier collectible books, Art of the Tag Sale, knickknacks, true investment, timing, things to consider, important tipsplace. There are even those who will put her things on a table, mark them twenty-five cents, and declare them to be old knickknacks (AKA: things you need to dust every five seconds.) Trouble is, a lot of those knickknacks can actually be worth hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Heck, there have even been things found at tag sales that have been resold in the millions. No. Not kidding. Are the chances immense that you’ll find such a buy? No. But, there have been those that have proven this particular once-in-a-lifetime-event can happen.

 

It’s not all old clothes and junk jewelry. There are collectible books that show everything from old signage to objects that you can invest your money in that are constantly found in the nooks and crannies of garages all across the land. Baseball cards, figurines, porcelain vases that just happen to be expensive (all you need to do is look at the markings to find out if it’s a true addition to your own personal income.) Keep an eye out for emblems, as well. Everything from the Disney to Harley Davidson products can be found in your neighbor’s front yard on a sunny Saturday morning if you just pay attention.

 

So what is something worth? Whatever someone else is willing to pay for it. The greatest finds come in all shapes and sizes. A British man visits a garage sale in Las Vegas and picks up 5 old paintings for five dollars. Turns out, when he took the time to reframe them, he actually found a sketch inside one that was created by THE Andy Warhol when the master was only ten years old. The man’s five dollars turned into a whopping $2 million. Good margins, if you ask me.

 

But what do you need to know if you’re on the other side of the Tag Sale fence? If selling instead of buying there are very important tips you need to know that will bring buyers in by the droves.

 

The first and most important is location. There are many roads out there that aren’t exactly well-traveled streets. Which means, ask a family member or a friend living in a high-traffic area if you can hold your tag sale there. And if you can combine your tag sale with them or even the entire neighborhood, it is important to remember that many people will head straight to a “multi-family” yard sale, as well as an “estate sale,” no matter where it’s being held.

 

Picking the right dates to hold the tag sale is also important. Now, yes, the weekend is still the best considering that is the normal available time for most people to be able to travel the roads because they’re not having to go to work. Best way of doing it? Add Friday in there. Retirees, collectors – Friday is a great day for them and you will make more money. All you need is the stamina to turn a two-day sale into a three-day.

 

Another thing to watch is the weather report so that Mother Nature doesn’t hinder your sale. And when it comes to timing, even though 8 a.m. seems “really early” to some, 7 a.m. is the best time to begin. Even when you state “no early birds” those birds will most definitely swoop in early. They want to begin by 7 a.m. so they can complete their tag sale day by 2 p.m., especially in a hot state, such as New Mexico. They want to be out in the cooler air, so if you start at 7 a.m., you will sell a whole lot more.

 

Above all, please remember that the newspaper ad doesn’t work nearly as well without the signs on the roads. In fact, many people don’t read the newspaper at all; they head down the road and look for those signs that are large, listing the date, time, location and address. To get even more customers, remember to use a bright sign (electric blue, pink, green) that stands out along the roadside so the driver can’t miss it. And use a black magic marker so that everything can be read clearly.

 

Learn the Art of the Tag Sale – both buying and selling – and you will most definitely be able to save up for that vacation, find that knickknack that turns out to be a true investment, and even get rid of those things in the home that you no longer want to dust!

Source:  GIG News

Auto Sales Have Not Soared As First Predicted

 

Auto Sales Have Not Soared As First Predicted

by Amy Lignor

 

When 2017 first began, it was stated by financial and industry “experts” that the auto realm would continue to have yet another amazing year. 2016 was a thrill ride when it came to auto sales, yet now that sales figures have been released, there are many people surprised that figures are far less than first expected. The only one fact that has remained is that everyone – from sea to shining sea – still seems to love cars. They all want the ‘best of the best’ sitting in their own driveways, even if they have no shot at actually paying for them.

Auto Sales Have Not Soared As First Predicted

When it comes to consumer debt, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York has stated that outstanding auto loans now total $1.16 trillion – their highest point in 18 years (this is an increase of $93 billion that occurred in 2016 alone.) That would make sense, considering that auto sales were huge last year. The problem comes in the form of delinquency rates. The number of people not paying back their auto loans has risen – with 3.8 percent of payments more than 90 days late, placing these loans in the “seriously delinquent” category.

 

According to Bloomberg, “U.S. drivers with credit scores of less than 620 borrowed $244 billion to buy cars in 2016, a tally not matched since 2006 and 2007 when the same strata of buyers rolled off with $254 billion in auto loans.”

 

It was suggested back in 2016, when auto sales increased by leaps and bounds that lenders might be allowing car buyers to borrow more than they can afford. Standards have been lowered and repayment times have even been stretched past the norm, which has allowed people without enough cash to invest in bigger trucks and SUVs that were far out of their budget ranges.

 

So…is all that why 2017 has not shown the “huge increase in sales” that the market originally predicted? Seems so.

 

The numbers clearly show that sales fell in January, following that record year for automakers. But that announcement did not completely stifle the belief that the auto industry would continue to rise. The industry could still witness that “boom” in 2017, especially seeing as that pickups and SUVs are being sold in 2017 more than passenger vehicles, proving that auto manufacturers can maintain their profits.

 

It is also a fact that car makers have gotten more cautious, making less “fleet sales” that include cars being sold to auto rental businesses, government facilities, and large organizations that supply cars for their upper management, etc. These sales are far less profitable for the automakers than selling to consumers, so they have not been making those sales as often as they used to.

 

Even with the latest figures, showing yet another fall in February, the one thing car makers do continue to benefit from is the wide accessibility of credit that comes with low interest rates. The latest sales figures break down this way:

 

Nissan: 3.7% (-1.8% expected)

Ford: -4% (-4.3% expected)

GM: 4.2% (2.5% expected)

Fiat Chrysler: -10% (-8.4% expected)

Honda: 2.3% (2.4% expected)

Toyota: -7.2% (-4.8% expected)

Subaru of America: 8.3%

BMW: -2.5%

 

There are a great many problems arising in the business world, mostly because of government changes and, perhaps, from having too many egos in one place that are not seeing the full picture. Consumer debt is stretched, and may soon be stretched to the breaking point. If that ‘break’ occurs, the predictions that 2017 was going to be another fantastic year for automakers, yet again, may just end up to be the worst prediction ever made.

 

Source:  GIG News

Made in the U.S.A. Should be the #1 Path for Businesses

 

Made in the U.S.A. Should be the #1 Path for Businesses

by Amy Lignor

 

The popular show called “Shark Tank” offers investors that back up small businesses – businesses that then turn around and make millions and are able to hire more and more American workers each year, still mentions something that breaks the heart in almost every episode. The fact that overseas manufacturers could save the entrepreneur who’s speaking a The popular show called “Shark Tank” offers investors that back up small businesses – businesses that then turn around and make millions and are able to hire more and more American workers each year, still mentions something that breaks the heart in almost every episode. The fact that overseas manufacturers could save the entrepreneur who’s speaking a great deal of money and lower their costs. Is that particular fact true? Well…unfortunately it is. However, as business has been changing, and America has been attempting to get back on the horse, many big names have proven that you can succeed and manufacture your product line in America, all at the same time. They are not about to go out of business anytime soon, and they take a whole heck of a lot of pride in the fact that their products are “Made in the U.S.A.” Don’t believe? Keep reading.great deal of money and lower their costs. Is that particular fact true? Well…unfortunately it is. However, as business has been changing, and America has been attempting to get back on the horse, many big names have proven that you can succeed and manufacture your product line in America, all at the same time. They are not about to go out of business anytime soon, and they take a whole heck of a lot of pride in the fact that their products are “Made in the U.S.A.” Don’t believe? Keep reading.

Grado is a name that all audiophile’s relate to in a big way. You might too, although you just needed the product, perhaps, and had no idea what an actual audiophile was. Grado Labs creates headphones that are used by an army of professionals in the music industry. For 60+ years now, they have making this high-class product line in good, old…Brooklyn, New York.

Along the same lines, another big name in the technology world makes its home and produces its amazing products in…New Jersey. The high-performance computers that are used in gaming and media production comes from the minds, hearts and manufacturing facilities of MAINGEAR.

Strangely enough, also in the computer world, is a product by the one and only Apple that is only produced in the United States. Now, yes, Apple does outsource a large percent of its manufacturing to China, but when it comes to the Mac Pro desktop console, Apple keeps that creation close to home – with production only coming from their facility in…Texas.

 

When we go to the world of transportation, two names sit atop the “Made in the U.S.A.” list and should get a big round of applause for keeping their products in American hands. URB-E is the name behind the only foldable electric scooter produced in the States. A very popular creation, these scooters allow you to travel up to fifteen miles per hour, and then fold up so that you can carry them on subways or in elevators or any other cramped space you can think of. And all this ingenuity is found each and every day in…California.

 

Also in California, in the town of Fremont, is a factory that is all about electric-car production – the Tesla. Tesla cars are becoming an empire, just the way General Motors did long ago. If all other manufacturers of cars set up in the U.S., just think of how many American jobs could be had.

This next one is definitely not a tough one. Everybody in the world knows the name Zippo, especially American soldiers which is the customer base that made Zippo a household name in the first place. What many may not know, however, is that since 1932 these iconic lighters have been produced out of their headquarters located in…Pennsylvania. Yet another big name in that state has its own “must-see” production company, that’s a lot like a giant carnival, in a city named after their actual brand: Hershey U.S.A.

 

One more name that is well-known in American households is MAGLITE. With this company you are talking about flashlights, lamps, and all different types of lighting products that are the “one and only choice” for people out there. Whether it be businesses, estates, empires, or individuals, MAGLITE has made sure to provide the best products to light up the world since 1979. And they do this all out of an 11-building facility based in Ontario…California.

 

There are many, many others out there who have brought their products back to the good, old U.S.A. in order to provide jobs and increase the wealth for this country. So when it comes to finding the “best manufacturer for your product” just make sure you consider America first. After all, it’s been good to some pretty popular names out there that have lasted a long time, and will continue to for decades to come.

 

Source:  GIG News

How Are Retail Sales in 2017?

 

How Are Retail Sales in 2017?

E-Commerce Reigns

by Amy Lignor

 

Despite consumer uncertainty, as well as a very sluggish beginning to 2017, the U.S. retail sales industry is projected to increase 4% this year.

National Retail Federation, economic forecast, online sales, e-commerce sales, Matthew Shay, Michael Kors, Taxes, TrumpHeadlines show that many retailers and companies posted “soft” holiday sales to end 2016, which caused some notable retailers to either cut jobs or close stores as a result. However, when it comes to 2017, the National Retail Federation (NFR) released an economic forecast projecting the retail industry (this excludes automobiles, gas stations, and restaurants) to grow and reach that 4% increase aim.

 

When looking at the reason why, it is no surprise to see that the online sales of retail stores, and other non-store online sales are what continue to bring in the most money and will be the one “pathway” to thank for retail sales’ overall success in 2017. Online sales are dominant; some companies are seeing their online sales override in-store as much as 12%. Taking Walmart as an example, this is a company that has seen its e-commerce sales revenue soar. Those who used to love heading to the store are now exceedingly happy to stay at home and shop without the crowds, get their packages delivered on time with low shipping costs paid, while still receiving the greatest prices, best deals, and having the added fun of doing all this while sitting in their p.j.’s enjoying their morning cup of coffee.

 

It was NFR President and CEO Matthew Shay that said just two short months ago: “The economy is on firm ground…expected to build on the momentum we saw late last year.” He further went on to state: “With jobs and income growing and debt relatively low, the fundamentals are in place and the consumer is in the driver’s seat. But this year is unlike any other – while consumers have strength they haven’t had in the past, they will remain hesitant to spend until they have more certainty about policy changes on taxes, trade and other issues being debated in Congress.”

The new President did bring uncertainty to many industries, and businesses are waiting to see what his impact will eventually be on the apparel and textile industry. Trump discussed plans to exit NAFTA and the TPP, which could have potentially harmful effects on prices and spending. This “discussion” did have the NFR adding that all lawmakers should, “take note and stand firm against any policies, rules or regulations that would increase the cost of everyday goods for American consumers.”

But even with various questions still outstanding, the NRF report also projected the economy to gain an average of 160,000 jobs per month, which is a decrease from 2016. It will still remain consistent with labor market growth, and unemployment is expected to fall to 4.6% by the end of the year

As with every quarter, there are some consumer goods companies that have thrived – including retail – and those that have struggled to resonate with investors but are actually positioned to bounce back over 2017. When it comes to the stock market and various reports that have been released, there are consumer stocks that should actually beat the market in 2017. This positive group, when it comes to the apparel and retail industry, has Michael Kors (NYSE:KORS) as one that will shine. This designer handbag company has fallen on hard times with flat sales growth, but has still managed to beat Wall Street’s profit targets in each of the past four quarters. This name of purses and accessories don’t come cheap for the consumer, but if Trump is actually successful in lowering tax rates, it should benefit luxury goods and take this particular stock along for the ride.

 

Therefore, whether looking at something as elite as Kors or as valuable to the general consumer as Walmart, the future for the retail industry in 2017, thus far, looks good. And when it comes to continued increases every fiscal quarter, look for the world of e-commerce to continue to grow and exceed even the largest expectations. It is definitely all about ‘easy’ buying in this hi-tech world.

 

Source:   GIG News