Financial Engineering for Small Businesses?

Written by Wall Street News on May 15th, 2018. Posted in Uncategorized

Large companies continually change the composition of their balance sheets to use their capital as efficiently as possible and to maximize their profitability.  While small business owners can’t issue billion dollar bonds at 2% interest, there are a few things that small businesses can structure their assets.

Sale or Lease
Often times, a business owner acquire over time, large, capital intensive goods – real estate, machinery, software systems.  Often times owning these assets ties up large sums of money, and may require you to staff manage them – for example having a property manager, or being responsible for mechanical maintenance on machinery.  In many cases, owning these assets can become almost another business – or a distraction from your core business.  As such, in many situations, but not always it makes sense to lease instead of own.  This frees up the capital required to own the assets to be redeployed into other areas that may be more profitable for the business.

Borrowing Money
Debt is not the enemy for large, established businesses.  Many small business owners have a desire not to have any debt, but borrowing costs are currently very low.  A business which is well capitalized can often borrow some money, hopefully from a bank, and reinvest those assets into the business – into hiring, into acquisitions, or into expanding production.  The return on investments for these uses of the money can often be higher than the interest on the debt, and spark a growth in the long term value of the business.  At the same time, while debt can be useful, it is important not to be too aggressive in taking on debt.

Acquiring businesses can always help you increase your value.  However, there are a number of ways acquirers get into trouble with acquisitions.  When you are looking into acquiring another business, make sure you understand, and understand well what their underlying business model and risks are.  Make sure you can run their business, or you have someone in place who can – many acquirers will acquire a business thinking their success as a manager or management team qualify them to run the new business and get into trouble when they uncover that the actual day-to-day operations of the firm they’re acquiring are actually different from those of the firm they currently manage.  As always, working with an experienced M&A advisor or team will help you avoid pitfalls.

Are Futures In Your Future?

Written by Wall Street News on April 27th, 2018. Posted in Uncategorized

The idea seems simple enough at first: anyone can become a member of the merchant class, without ever having to physically even see their product.

Commodity futures originally developed as a way of making the market more stable, guaranteeing future prices (hence the name) for staples like wheat, corn and cattle.

Every futures contract required three pieces of information: the agreed upon type and grade of the product (corn, dried, off the cob), a quantity offered per contract (5000 bushels), and a delivery date (November 15th). At first, this contract would be retained, and on the designated date, the product would actually be sent to you from Chicago.

By the start of the last century, however, futures became an investment product in their own right, with a majority of futures trades taking place between speculators who only intended to profit from the commodity market, and never even wanted to take delivery.

There are currently 37 true commodities traded in Chicago and New York. These can be split into three categories: agricultural, energy, and trade metals. The price of gold or oil in the news? That’s a commodity. Steak suddenly costs much more than it should? Cattle futures are probably up.

Commodities, especially the precious metals, generally move opposite the stock market, for a variety of reasons including hedge funds managing risk, and investors seeking products that retain value and utility in unstable or inflationary economic conditions.

However, buying futures contracts themselves is NOT a viable long term investment. As we mentioned before, futures do expire, and have a delivery date. On that date, if you still have that position, you will have found that your entire investment has been spent on tons of, for example, perishable pork bellies, that you will need to find a way to deal with. Or worse yet, if you were short in a futures market, you will find the exchange coming after you to supply them with all that pork!

Of course, as we mentioned most modern futures investors are speculators, and never wanted all that bacon to begin with, so there is another way to resolve a futures contract: consummation.

Consummation requires making the opposite move than you initially made, ideally for a better price; i.e. if you bought the contract, selling it for a higher price, or if you sold short, buying to cover at a lower price. (Or, if the contract is about to expire, at any price. Remember the delivery date is final…)

For most individual investors, however, the short term nature of futures, combined with prohibitive share prices, with many contracts running over $100,000 per unit, make commodity funds a much better investment. In exchange for losing the close control afforded by direct participation in the commodity exchange, you can gain the peace of mind that your retirement fund won’t show up at your door in a line of cattle cars!

Medicaid and Your Estate: What Can Be Saved?

Written by Wall Street News on April 19th, 2018. Posted in Uncategorized

While Medicaid pays for 59% of long-term elder care in the US (its largest category of spending by far), when the program was created it was intended as a “payer of last resort” — a form of insurance that takes over for poor seniors or, as is often the case, senior citizens made poor by their long-term care. With the average cost of a nursing home in New York reaching $128,000 per year, twice the cost of college, Medicaid is an inevitable fact of life for even successful retirees with what seemed like perfect estate planning.

Due to its need-based mandate, Medicaid has notoriously stringent criteria for eligibility, including hard limits on income (zero – any incoming payments must go directly to Medicaid), assets (no more than $14,200 in cash or investments), and gifts, both given and received. These rules became stricter after the Deficit Reduction Act of 2006 (which also made bankruptcy a more difficult, painful process) and will likely be tightened again in the next few years through the currently proposed health care reform.

One major change that caused losses of billions of dollars thought to be safe was the restriction on annuities to the lifetime of the annuitant (the originator of the asset), preventing them from being a way to safeguard an estate, since any remaining balance would now go directly to the government. Even more vexing are the rules surrounding the newly expanded lookback period, a span of up to five years before applying for Medicaid where all spending is scrutinized with the theory that any unnecessary spending in those years should have been directed toward future nursing-home care.

Plan Ahead

It’s never too early to think about Medicaid. It may be possible to “pre-execute” a substantial portion of the estate at a much earlier age than you might expect — possibly as soon as 61. Using trusts and annuities, you can move assets into your children’s names, where Medicaid can’t look for them. The downside here is that these “gifts” are taxable at a rate even higher than ordinary income… and are taxable twice if they need to give you back some of it for additional expenses you didn’t foresee. Also, you take the risk that your family members will spend the money as if it were an inheritance, and it won’t be available if or when you need it. And if you end up in long-term care sooner than expected, they will be obligated to pay back more than they received — the entire pre-tax value of the gift.


Another way to maximize the remaining estate is to move, counterintuitively, to a more expensive property. While many seniors downsize with the intention of saving money, upsizing has its advantages too. Medicaid allows you to keep your residence up to a set limit of $543,000 ($814,000 in and near some major cities) as long as you owned the home for at least five years, and it is the final place you live before the assisted-living facility. And as long as you don’t sell the house, it, or the proceeds from its sale, becomes part of the estate.


If you are married, assets for the exclusive benefit of your spouse are also exempt. This one won’t help your heirs, but it will ensure that your spouse is taken care of during and after your illness. Assets are generally considered to be shared between married couples, and count against your eligibility, however, it’s possible to create a special type of “Medicaid annuity” and protect assets that otherwise would have had to go toward your own care. These annuities are restricted to the actuarial life expectancy of the spouse not in the nursing home, and in case of an early death do NOT become part of the estate, but rather are forfeited to the Medicaid.

While these options become more and more restrictive the longer you wait, it’s possible to save more than one might initially expect. Make sure you start planning early, and consult a financial advisor specializing in Medicaid and long-term care to protect the funds for your care and your inheritance!

3 Reasons to Work With a Self Storage Facility

Written by Wall Street News on November 8th, 2017. Posted in Uncategorized

moving truck rentalIf you’re in the process of moving into a new home, you’re probably very excited about the future. That’s fine because you should be, but it’s important that you are taking your move seriously. If you aren’t careful, your move could be a disaster and result in plenty of problems in the days and weeks ahead. If you lose valuable items, for example, you could end up having to shell out a lot of cash that could have otherwise been spent on new stuff for your home.

The best way to ensure that your move is a success is to work with a self storage facility. Here are a few reasons why you should work with storage moving services.

Take advantage of moving truck rentals
Roughly 31% of all self storage facilities offer moving truck rentals, so you’ll be able to throw all your furniture and home items inside the truck, making the move much easier. Rather than packing hundreds of boxes into multiple cars and risking losing a bunch of your stuff, throwing the majority of your items inside a moving truck rental is a much better option.

Keep all your nonessential items in storage units
Another major benefit of working with self storage facilities is the ability to actually store your items while you go through the moving process. Although there are plenty of items that you’ll need in your new home right away, there are also plenty of things that you really don’t need until you get settled in. All those items can pile up real quick if you bring them all to your new place in one day. Rather than overwhelming yourself in your new place, keep all the nonessential items in storage until you’re ready to spend some time going through everything.

Limit the stress of moving
Moving should be an exciting time for you and your family not a stressful one! Don’t let yourself lose track of your valuable items, run around all day as you move, or overwhelm yourself more than you should be. Work with a storage facility to get rid of all these stresses. Take a deep breathe, put the things you don’t need in storage, pack all your items in your moving truck, and enjoy your new home!

Contact Las Minas Self Storage if you want to learn more about Uhaul truck rentals and additional storage space today! 

An Interview with Jeremy Simpson of Suburban Marketing Co.

Written by Wall Street News on February 6th, 2014. Posted in Uncategorized

Over a decade ago, Jeremy Simpson began optimizing websites and content for natural search engine marketing. He started Suburban Marketing Co. two years ago, developing it from the ground up. Simpson is currently the marketing director at Suburban Marketing Co. Today, we sat down with him to discuss his motivations for starting the company.
Welcome, Mr. Simpson. Thank you for taking the time to answer some of our questions! Let’s get right into it. Tell us a little bit about your background. Why search engine marketing?
I started out as a freelance writer back in the late ’90s and quickly began writing content for websites. From there, I moved into the early days of natural SEO and never looked back.
What is your approach to natural SEO?
We do it all: web design, SEO, PPC, social media management, email marketing, and sales tracking. Our goal is to help small and medium-sized businesses succeed by expanding their online presence. Through content creation and PPC, we get people to the site, on the phone, and through the door.
Wow! It sounds like you’re busy. What are your personal responsibilities? Do you enjoy your role in the company?
These days, I operate mostly as an account manager making sure our clients’ needs our being met. However, I do still love to get in and get my hands dirty — writing content, creating landing pages, and improving user experience. My best days come when a client reads a new article, or sees a new site we’ve done, and just “gets it.” Seeing them truly appreciate the skill and effort, as well as understanding why they need to embrace search marketing, those are the good days.
How do you go above and beyond for your clients?
We go the extra mile on every project. Most recently, I actually went out and shadowed one of our electrician clients to get a real sense of the work he does. From there, I was able to make sure we created content true to his voice and the service he provides. From beginning to end, Suburban Marketing is about service. You’ll get nothing but friendly faces and a genuine desire to help you succeed. We see our clients as partners, because we don’t succeed if you don’t succeed.
Great approach. Tell us about some of your success so far.
One of our favorite success stories comes from a niche that has a rough time on the internet. An online gun store can’t use traditional paid search avenues, so we had to rely almost solely on content creation and natural search. Seeing a brand new site go head-to-head against some very well-established sites, and coming out on top, is a true achievement. It certainly didn’t happen overnight, but it did happen in a matter of weeks. And it’s still chugging right along.
Suburban Marketing Co. is located at 10480 Virginia Pine Lane in Alpharetta, GA. To learn more about Suburban Marketing Co., visit, call (770)810-5773, or email Mr. Simpson at

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Written by Wall Street News on January 19th, 2014. Posted in Uncategorized

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Written by Wall Street News on January 19th, 2014. Posted in Uncategorized


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Written by Wall Street News on January 11th, 2014. Posted in Uncategorized

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Written by Wall Street News on January 11th, 2014. Posted in Uncategorized

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Written by Wall Street News on January 10th, 2014. Posted in Uncategorized

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