Why You Should Consider Getting a Company Vehicle for Your Business

Company vehicles are an important part of many businesses. If you’re looking to start a business, one of the things you might think about is whether or not you’ll need a company vehicle. But how do you decide if it’s right for your business? Find out if it’s worthwhile to pursue your business idea with the help of this article.

You Can Write off Vehicle Expenses

Having a company vehicle allows you to deduct a portion of your monthly payment as a business expense, which is one of the biggest perks. This means that if you’re in business, you can write off the cost of your car on your taxes. For example, Forbes reports that people spend an average of 100% more when using a credit card rather than cash. Even if you don’t get reimbursed by the company for gas and other expenses, you can still take advantage of this deduction.

Vehicle expenses are one of business owners’ most common and lucrative deductions. Depreciation and lease payments, as well as the costs of gas, oil, insurance, maintenance, repairs, and even tolls, can all be written off as legitimate business expenses. All of these costs can be deducted as an adjustment to income on your taxes if you are a sole proprietor or a partner in a partnership. You can also write off your vehicle costs as a business expense if you’re an S Corporation shareholder or employee-owner.

A Company Vehicle Improves Employee Morale

Company vehicles can help improve employee morale and keep your employees safe. More than half of workers want access to a company vehicle for use in the course of their employment. And if there’s one thing we know about employee satisfaction, it’s that it leads to happier workers who are more productive and have higher retention rates.

Additionally, weather conditions contribute to approximately 21% of all car accidents in the US. With a vehicle for your business, employees can get to work safely and reliably no matter what the weather is like outside.

Durable and Capable of Delivering Performance

Company vehicles are not as likely to break down on the road or require maintenance as often as consumer cars do because they are built with stronger parts that are less prone to wear and tear over time. This can save you money on repairs or even replacement parts in the long run.

For example, driveshafts are essentially the axle of your car, and they’re built from metal or carbon fiber, which is why they can be expensive to replace if something goes wrong. Driveshafts don’t have a definitive lifespan, but mechanics usually recommend replacing them every 75,000 miles as a safe estimate. However, having a company vehicle means you won’t have to worry about replacing them as often because they’ll last longer than everyday drivers.

A Company Vehicle Increases Brand Recognition

A company vehicle is a great way to increase brand recognition because it builds credibility in the eyes of your customers. People associate your company with the vehicle and its appearance when you have a branded car or truck. If you have a big enough budget, you can even get custom graphics designed for your vehicle, making it stand out from other vehicles on the road and giving you an edge over competitors who don’t have their own branded vehicles.

If you have a business, it is important to ensure you have the proper tools and resources to succeed. A company vehicle can be a great way to ensure your business is successful. Additionally, it is important to consider the benefits of having a company vehicle before purchasing one for your business.

Why You Shouldn’t Underestimate the Power of Business Signage

Signage is often viewed as an outdated form of marketing in today’s digital world. Many businesses focus on modern marketing trends, like social media marketing. However, this leads to businesses missing out on key advantages that signs provide. For example, signage offers a high customer acquisition rate without spending much money. This blog will tell why you shouldn’t underestimate the power of business signage.

Increase Customers

Signage is a wonderful way to communicate with customers walking or driving past a business. Businesses can use signs to tell customers about sales, low prices, or promotions, such as giving free samples. Once customers read the sign, they’re more likely to come into the business. Almost half of the customers that enter a business they are walking past do that because they see a sign.

Create a Great First Impression

The first thing that many customers will see is the sign outside of your business, giving you a critical opportunity to make a wonderful first impression. Businesses with a modern sign let customers know they have a modern, hip establishment. Cozy coffee shops with chalkboard signs tell customers that it’s a great place to go for a relaxing environment. When you have a high-quality sign in front of your business, it tells customers that you offer high-quality products. 70% of consumers claim that a sign’s quality reflects the business’s quality.

Save Money on Advertising

Businesses always seek to cut costs to increase their profit margin. One way that businesses do this is by working with a managed print service, which can save up to 30% on printing costs. Another cost-effective advertising idea is signage. Businesses have to pay the initial cost of the sign, and that’s about it. After that, changing the sign requires a few minutes. Digital signs won’t make the electricity bill astronomically high, either.

Create a Positive Customer Experience

Signage is often used to increase customer acquisition because it’s a great way to save money on advertising. However, that’s far from the only thing signage can be used for! Signs in businesses help customers locate specific areas in a business or find restrooms. They communicate sales and tell customers which items are on sale. This helps customers have a more positive experience in the business, making them more likely to return.

Reach the Audience

Many forms of advertising are too pushy or ineffective. For example, ads on television shows or streaming services are shoved into the customer’s face. When businesses pay to run ads online, they aren’t always effective because internet users have become numb to ads. They’re so used to them that they sometimes don’t even stop to read them. A sign, however, hits the sweet spot. It tells customers several things about your business, communicates effectively, and it isn’t pushy. If a customer wants to stop and read the sign, they can. However, no one is trying to make them. That’s another reason why signage is so effective.

Brand Awareness

Signage is a great way to drastically increase brand awareness without spending much money. Think about what your brand represents. Is it fun and happy? Are you a technology company that is modern and innovative? Using the right font and language on your sign instantly tells potential customers what they need to know about your brand. Then, as they see your logo on signs throughout the store, they’ll remember it in the future.

Signage isn’t an outdated form of market. It still holds a key place in today’s digital world. Consumers are bombarded with flashing banner ads or pushy commercials daily, making it more difficult to see high customer acquisition. Signage provides the perfect balance. It lets businesses reach out to customers politely and requires less money. Then it communicates need-to-know information to customers. Browse the rest of the website for more tips and tricks, including how to save money!

Why Is Digital Marketing Important for Small Businesses Who Want to Recruit New Employees?

There’s no question about the important role played by digital marketing for small businesses. This is in terms of all different aspects of the business, from helping build your brand to finding new customers and making more money. Digital marketing also helps small businesses when they need to recruit new employees, and here’s how.

It’s Easier to Reach a Wider Group of Applicants

When a small business uses digital marketing to recruit new employees, it becomes easier to reach a wider group of applicants. This is because every single second, there are more than 77,000 Google searches. You can bet that a good number of these are made in a search for a job. As such, your small businesses’ online presence is the easiest place to start from if you want to reach a large group of potential applicants.

It’s Easy to Track the Success Rate of the Process

You can track the success rate of your recruitment process if you do the process digitally. This is because there are metrics that you can check to see the progress and success rate of your hiring process. If you enlist the help of a good digital marketing company for this process, you’re going to have a good chance of tracking the rate of success to detail and with accuracy. This way, you’ll know what to adjust, if anything, and how to do it to get the outcome that you want.

It Helps You Reach More Qualified Employees

Going the digital marketing route for your job recruitment is a great way to reach a wider base of qualified individuals. With job seekers spending an average of 11 hours every week in a bid to find the perfect job, you can be sure that a good number of them are qualified for the positions they’re applying for. This is because they’re confident enough in their training and skill set to know just what they can do comfortably as far as a job goes. You’ll have an easier time interviewing people who are qualified for the position you’ve advertised.

It’s Cost-Effective

Taking your job recruitment online is an amazing way for you to save money in the process. This is because you don’t need to print flyers and put up billboards. You could still print physical materials if you choose in order to widen the net you’ve cast even more. You still have a good chance of finding the team that you want with a fully digital approach. This will also make the process more sustainable for the environment. You can be sure that you’ll improve your reputation in the industry and play a role in maintaining the environment.

It Improves Professionality

Last but not least, using digital marketing for your small businesses’ recruitment process is going to help you appear professional. With around 900,000 domains registered on a weekly basis, you can be sure that there are more than a fair share of poorly-designed websites. You have the chance to make sure that yours looks good and is friendly, and you’ll capture the attention of job seekers easily and keep it. Make sure that there’s nothing on your website that leaves a question on the minds of people who visit it and you can make conversions better. Potential employees would like to work with a professional small business that takes pride in its website. This is an important detail that lets the people interacting with your business online get a glimpse of your standards.

The reasons outlined above make it clear that digital marketing is crucial for you as a small business. You need to make sure that you’ve hired a professional team that can deliver good results. They’ll also guide you on the process and help you get the exact outcome that you want so that next time it may be easier for you.

Signs from America’s Biggest Companies about the Future Economy

Signs from America's Biggest Companies about the Future Economy

Since the pandemic began, financial analysts and economists alike have been discussing the poorly performing markets and an impending recession. Although people are still debating the semantics of it, the economic signs don’t look good. We are feeling the impacts of decreased production and trade. The war in Ukraine and other global factors have also contributed to disruptions in the supply chain and the current inflation rates. And now, companies are cutting job production and enacting layoffs. In uncertain times like these, many people look to the largest and most successful corporations to gauge the markets. So if you are searching for them, here are signs from America’s biggest companies about the future economy.

Signs about the Future Economy from 7 of America’s Biggest Companies

First of all, let’s be clear that it is impossible to predict the future or know how the markets will respond. However, some trends and indications offer insights into what lies ahead. In times of turmoil, many investors look to the most successful companies to help decipher the financial status of the economy. Although they aren’t all headline news, here are a few signs about the future economy from 7 of America’s biggest companies.


AAPL has long been one of the hottest stocks and a safe investment option. And with the latest iPhone release, Apple is stronger than ever. In fact, it reported record-breaking profits for Q2, netting more than $83 billion in revenue. While many fear a recession, Apple’s CFO assures that they will effectively manage their business, even in a challenging operating environment.

Beyond a doubt, Apple is a company that has weathered many economic booms and downturns. But the fact that the CFO even refers to a challenging environment is worrisome. And although they aren’t showing any signs of slowing down, Apple is still planning to cut costs and slow hiring for 2023.


Based on their reported earnings, the multinational technology conglomerate and parent company of Google hasn’t felt any of the financial impacts of current market conditions. When you look at a side-by-side comparison, the revenue for Q2 is up 13% from the same time last year. And, these gains are in addition to the 62% growth it experienced last year as well.

Those in the tech industry can breathe a little knowing that Alphabet and the Google CEO have not announced any plans for staff layoffs. However, there is still cause for concern since they have established an “efficiency program” to ensure employees increase their productivity. Some employees fear this is paving the way for future layoffs and that their jobs could be eliminated if these goals are not met.


Mark Zuckerberg has taken a very public and cynical stance on the global economy. He has even gone as far as to say this could be “one of the worst downturns that we’ve seen in recent history” during a town hall meeting in July.

So, it should come as no surprise that Meta is preparing for the worst. They are currently looking for ways to trim the budget (reducing costs and staff) to hedge against an uncertain future. Instead of hiring 10,000 additional engineers as planned, they’ve cut these roles by 30%. Furthermore, they are raising productivity goals and laying off anyone who fails to meet them. Although it may be an effective way to control the budget, this strategy could cause other corporations to enact the same measures and start a domino effect across industries.

J.P. Morgan

Amid all the financial chaos of the pandemic, J.P. Morgan still reported over $48 billion in revenue in 2021. However, 2022 is turning out to be a different story. When it failed to meet its profit goals last quarter, it temporarily suspended its buyback shares. Although it isn’t a telltale sign, decisions like this often precede a recession.

But, it is crucial to note that people are not defaulting on their debts. Since people are still able to work and earn income, it’s a good indication that the job market will hold steady. As long as people can continue repaying their debts, it offers some hope that we can still avoid a full-blown recession.


With fewer people going to brick-and-mortar locations and shopping online, Amazon has seen exponential growth during the pandemic. It became the default supplier for nearly everything from groceries and clothing to electronics and household appliances. By the middle of 2021, its profits rose more than 200%. Furthermore, inflation didn’t balloon as much as expected, leaving Amazon with a 7% sales increase by the end of Q2 in 2022.

However, demands are slowing and many large retailers, including Amazon, have experienced setbacks this fiscal year. Amazon got ahead of its losses, reducing its workforce by 6% and cutting 100,000 jobs globally. This has been the largest quarterly cut in the company’s history. While its corporate practices and policies have been highly criticized, these cuts indicate that it is taking a more conservative stance on future performance.


Issues with the supply chain have left many retailers like Walmart in a predicament. During the early days of the pandemic, they had issues keeping items on the shelves. But now that inflation has risen and consumers have stopped purchasing non-essential items, they are overstocked. Due to the backlog, Walmart lowered its expected profits which in turn caused its stock price to drop back in July. It has also laid off 200 corporate positions.

But, it’s important to note that the layoffs didn’t affect employees in non-corporate positions. And, recent statements show that sales started to pick up as children went back to school and will build momentum as we enter the holiday sales season. It seems that even though Walmart’s revenue growth slowed during the last few quarters, Walmart will remain relatively unscathed through these market fluctuations.

Best Buy

Despite the consumer slowdown, Best Buy’s sales are higher than they were before the pandemic started. You would think these are good signs about the future economy. However, they still reported significant losses for the second quarter. And, its stock has fallen by 30% this year.

The company is blaming it on inflation and less consumer confidence. To curb the impact, it implemented nationwide layoffs in August to recover some of the financial loss. But, Best Buy is looking for ways to re-energize growth and create more jobs as the holidays approach.

Outlook for the Future

For many people, the outlook is bleak since there are many negative signs about the future economy. Companies missing revenue goals, reducing costs, and slowing/stopping hiring all indicate that we are heading toward a recession. However, there are more factors at play that are affecting the markets.

Moreover, there are also several positive indications that the markets could rebound. For example, many companies are still showing growth. Although inflation has been high, it didn’t balloon as much as expected. And despite all the negative financial news, the U.S. job market has remained relatively stable. Even in uncertain times, we are still finding ways to make money that will help businesses and individuals survive, even if we enter a recession.

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Keeping Your Commercial Drivers Safe Will Save Your Business Money in the Long Term

As a business owner, you most likely already know that one way of growing your business is lowering your overhead costs. One area in which you can lower costs and save money is with commercial drivers. Read on to see how you can make savings by keeping your commercial drivers safe whenever they’re out and about.

Fewer Accidents Mean Fewer Garage Costs

Apart from the more serious case of having a driver getting injured or suffering a fatality while on the road, damage to your vehicles is also a concern if an accident occurs. It goes without saying that if your commercial drivers know how to stay safe while on the road, there’s a lower chance of winding up with auto garage expenses.

One of the easiest ways to ensure that your drivers are able to stay alert and drive safely is to give them enough time to rest well. Hire enough drivers so that they can split shifts and get enough time to rest and come back to duty fresh and ready to get behind the wheel. After all, 30% of all commercial vehicle accidents are due to driver fatigue.

There’s a Lower Chance of Damaging Property

When your commercial drivers strive to stay safe on the road and succeed in doing it, they have a lower chance of damaging other people’s vehicles and property in an accident. This saves you from having to spend money on paying people who have had their property damaged by an accident involving one of your drivers. This includes vehicles and more that may not be covered by your insurance coverage, whose premiums may go up if your commercial vehicles are labeled as prone to accidents.

You Avoid Costly Lawsuits

Road accidents often result in lawsuits, which, apart from being very time-consuming, can also cost a lot to see through to the end. It, therefore, goes without saying that you will make considerable savings by staying out of court. If you put your drivers’ lives at risk, a lawsuit could also come from them and this won’t make things any better. Prevention is better than cure, so training your drivers regularly and ensuring that they are operating under safe conditions is well worth the time and money you spend on it.

Throughout the transportation network, almost 12 million trucks, vessels, rail cars, and locomotives are used to move goods. With so many vehicles operating on the network at any given time, it’s all too easy to have accidents and incidents that range from moderate to serious. Minimize the chances of any of them involving your drivers and you may not have to suffer through a lawsuit.

You Improve the Reputation of Your Business

Finally, when you have a low accident rate and your commercial drivers don’t make the headlines for negative reasons, this is a plus for the reputation of your business. Remember that it’s not always a driver’s fault when an accident occurs, but this detail may not matter much to third parties who hear about your drivers getting involved in car accidents.

For example, according to a study by Knott Laboratory on commercial vehicle towing accidents, a 35-mph crosswind can put a whopping 3,440 pounds of force that pushes against the side of a large trailer. This is enough to make a capable driver lose control of the vehicle. To avoid scenarios like these, you should desist from putting your drivers on the roads in severe weather. With a lower accident score, your business may enjoy a stellar reputation that sees more people eager to do business with you.

In these ways, keeping your commercial drivers safe can help you save a lot of money in your business. This should motivate you to do your part to make sure that your drivers are safe from the moment they set out to when they get back and call it a day.

50+ Items You Can Quickly Resell for Profit

Items You Can Quickly Resell for Profit

I spend a lot of time looking through items listed in local online marketplaces. There are some great deals out there. Sometimes I come across things that are practically being given away because they need repairs. I have often thought, “That’s an easy fix,” or “I could make money off that.” As it turns out, I’m not the only one. Reselling, or flipping, items for a profit has become a popular side hustle in the gig economy. If you know where to find items you can quickly resell, here’s how you could turn them into supplemental income.

Why Reselling Is Profitable

Anytime you find a low-cost supplier for high-demand goods, there is potential for a huge profit margin. Depending on the products you sell, it doesn’t necessarily require a ton of startup capital either. So, if you find your niche market, you could begin seeing profits right away.

However, not everyone is successful when choosing items you can quickly resell. You must be in tune with consumer trends to know what people are buying. Furthermore, you need to know which products offer the biggest return on your investment.

50+ Items You Can Quickly Resell for a Profit

The truth is that you can sell just about anything if you know how to market it. Believe it or not, people are literally turning trash into treasure by selling empty toilet paper rolls online.

So, if you are looking to get into the flipping game, here are 50+ items that are bringing resellers good returns.

Tech and Gadgets

Living in the digital age means that high-tech gadgets and products are in high demand. And, by association, so are the accessories that go with them. With a growing market, these are some of the easiest items you can quickly resell for a profit.

  • phone cases
  • phone tripods
  • wireless charging stations
  • screen protectors
  • wearable devices
  • microphones
  • Bluetooth earphones
  • TWS earphones
  • drones
  • watches (smart and vintage)
  • website domains
  • ink cartridges

Car Accessories

Since we spend so much time in transit, many people want to have comfort and convenience in their vehicles as well. Therefore, people buy accessories to equip them with the necessary functions and compatible tech. With the right supplier and quality merchandise, car accessories could be very good for your bank account.

  • LED lights
  • USB chargers
  • rear cameras
  • car phone holders
  • seat covers
  • interior organizers
  • air fresheners
  • wireless vacuums

Home Goods

Over the last two years, more people are working remotely and spending time at home. So, it makes sense that they want to improve the spaces around them. From home decor items to smart home appliances, finding a source for low-cost home goods to flip is a great way to supplement your income.

  • smart home items (plugs, temperature sensors, bulbs, wall switches, wireless chargers)
  • kitchen utensils and appliances
  • furniture
  • area rugs
  • vintage picture frames
  • vintage electronics
  • collectibles
  • vintage cabinet knobs
  • shower heads
  • hands-free soap dispensers
  • toothbrush holders
  • toilet brushes
  • candles
  • yard equipment
  • power tools

Health and Beauty Products

No matter how markets fluctuate, there will always be a steady demand for health and beauty products. And since many of these items are small and lightweight, it saves the reseller on shipping costs which is great for your bottom line.

  • reusable water bottles
  • yoga mats
  • resistance bands
  • bicycles
  • kerchiefs
  • hair pins and clips
  • high-end hair products
  • nail decor
  • makeup jewels
  • jewelry


If you have an eye for fashion and a nose for sniffing out good deals, clothing could be the perfect product for you. Whether you are a new designer or a thrifter with a head for numbers, reselling clothing is currently one of the hottest online trends.

  • second-hand items from name brands
  • snow gear
  • vintage jerseys
  • sports caps and hats
  • vintage trucker hats
  • concert tees
  • fashion with puffy sleeves or classic blue items
  • strapless bras
  • baby items
  • vintage swimwear
  • vintage sewing patterns

Entertainment Items

Those who held on to their childhood toys or have accumulated lots of equipment from their hobbies could be in for a big payday. With fewer public entertainment options, people are looking for hobbies, games, and collectibles that bring back the nostalgia of simpler times. And, they are willing to pay good money for it.

  • baseball cards
  • video games and consoles
  • books
  • Legos
  • board games
  • plush toys
  • vintage toys
  • vinyl records
  • cameras and lenses
  • sporting goods

Where Do You Find Items You Can Quickly Resell?

Once you have an idea, the next step is to find items to sell. You can start with unwanted items around your house or hand-me-downs from your family and friends. If you still need more inventory, be sure to check out yard sales and estate sales for cheap merchandise. Thrift stores and flea markets can also produce quality items.

The other option is to find good deals online. You can scour clearance sales from retailers, wholesale venders, and online outlet stores for deep discounts.

How Much Can You Expect to Make Reselling?

When it comes to reselling for profit, your earning potential is only limited by your own ambition. Therefore, you need to determine how much time, effort, and capital you want to invest in the venture. And, you should also know what kind of returns you expect from it.

Although most people only see it as a side hustle, others have turned it into a primary source of income. In fact, some resellers claim to make six-figure salaries. However, you have to be realistic. If you are putting in part-time hours, you can probably expect to bring home between $500 and $2,000 each month. But, it’s not unreasonable to double this figure if you find the right product and audience.

What Are the Best Places for Reselling?

The first place people start posting items for resale is local marketplaces like Facebook and Craigslist. However, auction sites like eBay can help you reach a larger audience if you don’t mind shipping the products.

For those who want to earn more than just supplemental income, it’s a good idea to set up your own online shop. Depending on the products you sell, you could host a shop on Amazon, Etsy, Depop, Poshmark, or any other of the popular online marketplaces. Having your own dedicated store will attract more customers and get more eyes on your products.

Tips for Getting Started

As with any new business venture, do your research and know the value and profit margins for the items you are selling. Also, make sure you are up-to-date with the latest tax codes as well.

There is bound to be some trial and error. But, it could prove profitable with the right product and marketing strategy. You’ll need to set clear financial goals you hope to achieve with items that you can quickly resell for a profit. But, as any decent writer will tell you, stick to what you know. And when in doubt, seek expert advice to help you turn your ideas into cold, hard cash.

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What Russian Oil Really Means for Global Energy

The Effects of a Russian Oil Embargo

After more than two weeks, Russian troops continue their assault on Kyiv and the Ukrainian people. And, international leaders and organizations continue to lay sanctions against them. Some have gone as far as banning Russian ships from their ports and ostracizing them from the global community. However, many people fear this will send the economy into a tailspin. No one can be certain what lies ahead or how the markets will react to unforeseen political events. But, here are the facts on Russian oil and energy production, and what it really means for the entire sector.

Fear of War and Market Turmoil

A trip to the local gas station will paint a pretty clear picture of how Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is affecting global markets. Crude oil prices are the highest they’ve been since 2008. On March 7, they reached almost $140 per barrel before closing at $123.70. As of today, it’s down slightly. But, the national average price for gas is $4.33 a gallon, and well above $5 in some areas of the country. And with no end in sight, the hike in energy prices will go even higher as the conflict continues.

Many conspiracy theorists say it’s just a ploy by the oil companies to drive up profits or to push the liberal agenda on climate change. While both may hold some truth, energy costs already were already elevated from Covid-19 shutdowns and disruptions in the supply chain. However, further sanctions and an embargo on Russian oil and gas imports could cause fuel prices to spike even higher. NATO has already revoked its trading status and international ports are refusing Russian ships entry. But, its members hope to avoid further escalation through an economic stranglehold.

However, if Putin is backed into a corner, he may cut the supply lines completely. This move would cause prices to skyrocket. A Russian economic blackout could wreak havoc on the global community, driving up the price of fuel, food, and other commodities. It also forces NATO members to reconsider their foreign policy with other oil-producing nations and lift sanctions to meet global energy demands.

European Dependence on Russian Oil

In recent years, many European countries have enacted plans to decrease dependence on Russian fossil fuels. But, many are still reliant on Russia for coal, oil, and natural gas. Once a major supplier, Europe now receives 41% of its natural gas from Russia. Due to their dependency, German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz, confirmed that Europe had deliberately exempted Russian fuel from sanctions until now.

Simply stated, there isn’t enough supply to fill the void left by cutting off trade with Russia. As Scholz said, there isn’t “any other way” to secure the country’s energy needs right now. If Germany enacts a trade embargo, he assured the “lights will go out.”

Boycotting Russian oil and gas could be a crushing economic both for both Russia and Europe. While the EU is transitioning to more renewable energy sources like wind, solar, and hydro, it will take time. Renewables only account for less than a fifth of Europe’s energy demands. The EU unveiled its plan for complete energy independence, but it is still a long way from its goal.

Current U.S. Energy Production

The other factor to consider is what’s going on across the Atlantic. The U.S. is one of the world’s leading oil producers. But, it’s also the largest consumer. What’s more, is that our energy consumption outpaces domestic production. While the U.S. does import a significant amount of fossil fuels from other countries, only 3% comes from Russia.

To keep up with current demands, the U.S. either needs to produce more, turn to alternative energy resources, or rely more heavily on other oil-rich countries like Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Venezuela. However, each of these options causes issues:

  1.  While President Biden’s climate policies have limited oil production, so have the big energy companies’ reluctance to produce more because they are seeing record-breaking profits.
  2. Many politicians have resisted legislation to explore and utilize alternative energy options.
  3. Finding more trading partners means lifting sanctions against Venezuela and Iran, overlooking important foreign policy issues including human rights violations and nuclear deals. There are also strained relations with Saudi Arabia right now over the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

While none of these are ideal, it will likely require a combination of all three solutions to help curb rising energy costs.

Global Demands for Energy

The world is more interconnected today than at any other time in human history. Therefore, the invasion of Ukraine has had rippling effects across the global economy and within the energy sector.

Although NATO and the western world hope it will stop Russian aggression, there is no doubt that an economic blackout will exacerbate supply shortages. Revenue from crude oil, natural gas, and petroleum products accounts for half of Russia’s federal budget. Blocking trade would cripple their economy, but also global supply.

The only way to completely eliminate foreign reliance is for each country to strive for energy independence. This is achieved when countries produce enough fuel to meet their own needs. Not only does it create a more sustainable economy, but also eliminates trade considerations with less-than-desirable partners during times of political upheaval. Having secure energy sources allows nations greater autonomy and a stronger bargaining position in global markets.

If we have learned nothing else over the last two years, it’s that crisis accelerates change. The pandemic unveiled deep flaws in our healthcare and economic systems. Now, we are seeing how tenuous our global supply chains are.

Although it will further delay any hopes for some return to normalcy, Russia’s military aggression has forced every government to assess its energy demands and policies. Some are deciding that energy independence is imperative to their national security and the highest priority. If more governments adopt this same stance, it will likely accelerate the energy revolution. Even with recent advancements, were are still years away from breaking our dependency on fossil fuels

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Did I Qualify for Self-Employment Tax Deductions?

Did I Qualify for Self-Employment Tax Deductions?

Although I have been working for myself, I still feel like a dunce when it comes to taxes. Everyone knows the American tax code is one of the most complex systems in the world. So, you can understand why it ratchets up my anxiety every year as I prepare to file. Now that I’m managing my business’ accounts as well, it’s even more panic-inducing. I have spent countless hours reading up on what the self-employed should know. However, I still continually ask myself “Did I qualify for other self-employment tax deductions?” or “Did I miss something important?”

Whenever I have basic finance questions, I find it hard to ask my peers. So, I hold my tongue for fear of looking stupid. As much as I’d like to avoid the subject altogether, I know I can’t. Therefore, I turn to online resources and libraries to learn what I need to know. Then, I ask my financial advisor more questions after I have a basic grasp of things. Here’s what I’ve learned about self-employment taxes so far.

What is the Self-Employment Tax?

When I started my own business, I went straight to Investopedia to read up on all the tax codes and deductions that applied to me. Now that I was working for myself, my federal taxes would no longer be deducted from my paycheck. Although I expected to pay a decent amount of money in taxes, I wasn’t sure how much it would undercut my earnings.

As a freelancer, the IRS views me as both the company and the employee. Unfortunately, that means I am responsible for paying both portions of Medicaid and Social Security taxes. When combined, the self-employment tax is 15.3%. While this seems like a shocking number, I discovered that there were self-employment tax deductions that I qualified for.

However, there were also a few restrictions and rules about Covid relief measures that you should also know if you are self-employed:

  1. Anyone who earns more than $400 in earnings from self-employment must pay the tax.
  2. For the Social Security tax, this rate only applies to the first $142,800 of your net income. However, there is no income limit for the Medicare tax.
  3. Half the self-employment tax is deductible. Although the full 15.3% is charged on the business’ profits, the “employee” portion qualifies as a deductible expense.
  4. If you deferred paying the “employer” portion under the CAREs Act, 50% of those taxes were due December 31, 2021. The additional 50% must be paid by December 31, 2022.
  5. Even though you don’t have a withholding tax, you must schedule quarterly estimated payments. Otherwise, you’ll be facing a hefty bill when you file your tax return.

Do I Qualify for Self-Employment Tax Deductions?

The short answer is yes. However, it was up to me to find out exactly which deductions I could claim. What’s included in the list of “business expenses” is wide open to interpretation. While some things are clear, other expenses fall into gray areas.  So, I took some time to review the most common deductions and speak with people I know who are also self-employed.

Based on all my usual sources, I came up with a lengthy list of the most common deductions. They included:

  • the self-employment tax deduction
  • home office
  • office supplies
  • utilities, internet, and phone bills
  • health  and business insurance premiums
  • travel
  • vehicle use
  • meals
  • interest from your loans
  • subscriptions and publications
  • education
  • rent
  • start-up costs
  • advertising
  • retirement contributions

As you can see, some of these categories can lead to more questions. Differentiating your personal and business expenses could become quite complicated. However, I usually revert to the KISS method and keep it simple. Based on my initial assessment, these are the self-employment tax deductions I will qualify for this year.

My Self-Employment Tax Deductions for 2021

Social Security and Medicare Tax

The most common deduction is the “employer” portion of the self-employment tax that you must pay. Although I paid the full 15.3% of the business’ profits, I can claim half of it as a business expense. So, even though you pay a higher percentage in taxes if you work for yourself, this deduction means it will cost less than I initially thought. And, I won’t have to itemize to claim it either.

Office Supplies/Equipment

The next largest deduction would qualify under offices supplies or equipment. My beloved laptop finally gave up the ghost this year. After taking it to a computer repair shop and paying for the diagnostic, I broke down and finally bought myself a new one.

Since my laptop is the lifeline of my business, I knew I couldn’t skimp on this business expense. Fortunately, it happened just before Black Friday. I found some great deals and saved about $250. However, it still set me back about $750 with all the programs and licenses I needed to purchase as well. But you can be certain I saved all my receipts!

Home Office

Although I never claimed this deduction in the past, my living situation has changed. Rather than working as a digital nomad, I now have a home office. Not only do I regularly use this space for business purposes, but it is also my primary workspace. Since it qualifies under the IRS definition, I plan to include it on this year’s return.

However, I have to calculate the percentage of our house’s total square footage to determine how much I can deduct. Since it accounts for approximately 5% of the home’s total square footage, we can deduct 5% of housing expenses for the year.

Phone and Internet Bills

In the same line of thought, if you use your cell phone or internet connection for business, you can also claim it as a self-employment tax deduction. If the line is dedicated for business only, you can claim the full amount. Otherwise, you would need to calculate the percentage of usage that you use for business. In my case, it is split between my personal use as well. Only about 25% of my bill will qualify for the deduction.

Qualified Business Income (QBI)

This last deduction is new to me. So, I still plan to discuss it with my CPA to determine if I can claim the qualified business income deduction. It’s relatively new and set to expire in 2025, so I’d like to take advantage while I can. Under this deduction, single filers with total taxable income less than $164,900 and joint filers under $329,800 qualify for a 20% deduction on your taxable business income. Since most of my earnings are “pass-through income,” I should be eligible for this huge deduction.

As a new business owner, I’ve realized why it’s important to review what qualifies for self-employment tax deductions to maximize your profits. You may find unexpected deductions that can help you keep more of your hard-earned money.

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The Biggest Lies About Growing Wealth


The Biggest Lies About Growing Wealth

From an early age, there are several myths and lies about growing wealth that are drilled into our memory. It can be difficult to break free from this way of thinking. However, some of these misconceptions are based on outdated ideas and limited perspectives. Here is a look at some of the most common lies still being circulated.

5 Common Lies About Growing Wealth

1. Businesses Break Even in the First Year.

There is a common misconception among new business owners that you will be an instant success. However, in reality, plans get delayed, unexpected expenses arise, and it takes time to create a market presence.  According to Forbes, the timeline to achieve profitability is closer to 18-24 months. Furthermore, 25% of new business ventures fail in their first year.

The truth is that instant success is very rare. While entrepreneurs are waiting for their breakthrough moment, you must be willing to wait it out, lose money, or even walk away from a failed venture. Many successful businessmen will tell you that had several failures before they finally prospered.

2. All You Need Is a Good Idea.

This mantra lies at the heart of the American Dream that anyone can get rich with the right idea. This is one of those lies about growing wealth that perpetuates itself because there is some truth in it. Unfortunately, not every great idea meets a market need or consumer demand. Not only must the idea be feasible and practical, but most importantly it must be profitable. If no one wants to buy your product, then it will never be successful.

The execution and timing of your business’s launch are also crucial. When you are first finding your legs, expect to invest a ton of man-hours to get it off the ground. You should also make sure you have enough savings to cover your bills and give yourself a cushion. This will allow you to breathe a little as you wait to gain a foothold and break even.

3. You Need High Returns and Savings to Grow Money.

Another myth about growing wealth is that you need high returns and savings to grow your wealth. However, most financial planners will tell you that making steady contributions is a more efficient strategy. Consistent savings is more important than stumbling upon a good investment opportunity. But, don’t ignore a good opportunity when it comes around.

This is also a great lesson to pass on to the next generation. Remember, it is never too early to begin saving and investing. Time is a valuable asset; the sooner you begin, the more money you earn from compounding interest. Even if you start small, you can let your money begin working for you.

4. You Need a Loan to Start a Business.

One of the greatest pitfalls for potential business ideas is the idea that you need a loan to start a business. While some entrepreneurs have a significant amount of startup capital, most just start where they are at and build from there. Instead of quitting your job and focusing solely on the new business, perhaps it is wiser to keep your day job. This will provide a safety net while you establish yourself. Once your business can sustain itself, then it may be time to consider making it your sole source of income.

5. You Can’t Get Rich Off Your Salary.

Another lie about growing wealth is that you will never get rich just off your salary. Although it may be difficult to build enough savings for retirement on your salary alone, you can begin using it for steady investments from an early age. If you invest small portions of your salary, over time it will grow exponentially. The key is to make consistent contributions at regular intervals to ensure steady, continued growth. Diversification will also protect your nest egg and mitigate long-term risks.

The Secret to Growing Wealth

The truth about growing wealth is that there are many roads that can lead you to the same goal. There is no carefully guarded secret among the wealthy about how to get rich. Yet, increasing your wealth begins with the same fundamental lessons. Unfortunately, most people are not willing to take the necessary steps to get there. Instead, they choose to ignore their finances and bad habits rather than take control of them. Growing your personal net worth doesn’t need to be complicated. But, it does require you to take action.

The first step is to determine what your financial situation is. Once you know where you are at, it makes it easier to determine where you want to go. You can start by tracking your spending and sticking to a budget. This basic exercise can help you identify areas for improvement. If you aren’t living below your means, you will never add to your net worth.

Although this is the first step in building wealth, it is not enough to merely break even. Once you learn to live below your means, the next step is to start saving and investing your money. Every extra dollar you have at the end of the month should be put to work for you. Budgeting apps and tools can help you determine how much you need to set aside each to achieve your financial goals.

The final and most critical key to financial success is consistency. It’s started by creating healthy spending and savings habits. Then, it requires you to continue prioritizing them over large, unnecessary expenditures. Making regular contributions to your savings account and investment portfolio will ensure steady and long-term financial growth.

Final Thought About Growing Wealth

When you are making important decisions about your finances, consider your sources. Advice is freely offered with the best of intentions. However, you should take time to do your research and learn to decipher fact from fiction. Identifying lies about growing wealth is a good place to start. And remember, when in doubt you can always seek out professional advice to find the best ways to grow your personal wealth.

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