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Legal Resources

Business Advice: Every Impression Matters

With competition abounding for virtually every product or service, businesses need to hone every advantage available to them. One of the ways you can set your business apart from the pack is to create an awesome customer experience starting with the first interaction that continues through the entirety of the relationship. How does one foster this level of customer service? Here are four steps to help you get there: Make a great first impression. The first

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No Excuses. Time to Lower Your Tax Bill

It’s easy to push tax planning to the sidelines when tax laws are ever-changing and hard to understand. Here are some common (but often unfounded) reasons for avoiding tax situations, plus tips to help get past them and start paying less tax this year: It doesn’t make a difference. This point of view is especially problematic in years with unique situations.Even in uneventful years, external forces like new tax laws can be managed if planned for

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Cash Flow Concepts That Can Save Your Business

A sad and oft-repeated truth is that half of all new businesses fail within the first five years. Although many factors contribute to business failure, a common culprit is poor cash management. All businesses, large and small, must deal with the uncertainty of fluctuating sales, inventories and expenses. Follow these practices to moderate the ebb and flow of cash in your business: Analyze cash flow. If you don’t know it’s broken, you can’t fix it. The

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Smart Tactics to Manage Student Debt

According to the Federal Reserve, U.S. student loan debt is now $1.5 trillion with more than 44 million borrowers. Only mortgage debt currently has bigger numbers among types of consumer debt. Even worse, more than 10 percent of these loans are past due. Here are some tactics to help make student debt easier to manage: Know the loan terms. Not all student debt is created equal. Understanding the terms of all your student loans is important.

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Headed to the Fair? Avoid These Spending Traps

If you’ve ever attended a state or county fair, you know it’s really easy to spend a lot of money, and fast. The best way to avoid overspending is to know the problem areas and be prepared. Here are five typical fair spending traps (and tips to avoid them): Paying full price for admission. In 2019, the price of admission for a state fair can cost a family of four well over $50. Most fairs offer

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I Owe Tax on That?

5 Surprising Taxable Items Wages and self-employment earnings are taxable, but what about the random cash or financial benefits you receive through other means? If something of value changes hands, you can bet the IRS considers a way to tax it. Here are five taxable items that might surprise you: Scholarships and financial aid. Applying for scholarships and financial aid are top priorities for parents of college-bound children. But be careful – if any part of

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Landlords sued and fined for housing discrimination

A New York landlord must pay a $15,000 settlement after refusing to let a mentally ill tenant keep her emotional support dog in her apartment, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has announced. This is an important issue for all landlords and homeowners across the country to keep on their radar. HUD regularly takes enforcement actions in situations involving discrimination against tenants. For example, earlier last year, the agency filed charges of housing discrimination

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Rise in home prices slowing down

The most recent data on home prices in 20 U.S. cities showed the slowest rise in four years, according to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller index of property values. The data for the 20 cities covers eight months in row as of November 2018. The index increased 4.7 percent year over year. In the prior month, the rise in prices over the prior 12-month period was 5 percent. Despite the slowdown in the rise, all 20 cities

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When your neighbor’s vacation rental becomes a problem

Your neighbors are using their home as a vacation rental. That means you “enjoy” a steady stream of rotating people moving in and out next door. These short-term guests like to stay up late, party in the backyard, and play loud music. What can you do? Talk it over As with any dispute, begin by having a conversation with the property owner. They may not be aware their guests are regularly being disruptive. Offer to help monitor guest

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Where one-third of millennials get the money for a down payment

It’s no secret that the housing market is competitive, especially in big metropolitan areas. Winning a bidding war for the home you want can mean making a bid above the asking price, too. Where do young, millennial homeowners find the money for a down payment? According to a recent Bank of the West survey of more than 600 adults ages 21-34, one-third of homeowners either withdrew from or took a loan against their retirement savings. The

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