Home Authors Posts by Clyde K. Valle

Clyde K. Valle

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Clyde is a business graduate interested in writing about latest news in politics and business. He enjoys writing and is about to publish his first book. He’s a pet lover and likes to spend time with family. When the time allows he likes to go fishing waiting for the muse to come.

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Image by Annette Persinger from Pixabay

As 2021 comes to a close, we’ve all had to deal with a multitude of changes within our communities. Ever since March of 2020, people around the globe have had to navigate local regulations, nationwide mandates, and wave after wave of COVID-19 case spikes. But while certain parts of our lives saw little growth, others saw a surge in popularity.

For example, the home gym equipment space reported record earnings during the onset of the pandemic and for the entire year of 2020. And this was mirrored all throughout the home health space.

But one recreational activity that saw a huge spike in popularity was fishing. Reasonably so, many people who were stuck at home for months on end were dying to get out of the house. And fishing offers this opportunity in wide-open spaces.

Here, we’ll explore why fishing has seen a continuous uptick in popularity over the last couple of years.

Getting Outside

Across the nation during the month of March, just about every federal, state, and local park, golf courses, and the like were all taped off, locked up, or shut down entirely due to fear of COVID-19 spreading. And many states and local communities kept these outdoor areas closed for a considerable amount of time.

But one thing that local community leaders couldn’t do was close down open spaces, public lands, or our favorite fishing holes.

While some bodies of water were restricted during the shutdown, many remained open. And this is where outdoor enthusiasts and people from all walks of life found sanctuary.

Fishing became a great way to get out of the house and deal with the shutdown and mandated quarantines. And with great sites like tailoredtackle.com, you could order fishing tackle from home and keep from going bonkers in the house for days on end.

Grocery Prices

Not only is fishing a sport and a pastime, but it’s also a great way to provide food for the family. And with recent hikes in prices in grocery stores across the country, fishing is a perfect alternative to buying costly groceries.

For example, the price of beef alone is up between 16 and 17 percent by some calculations in 2021. And the price of fish and shellfish has risen up over 18 percent. This means that you’re getting less for more money, and nobody wants to spend extra money during hard economic times.

The price of a fishing license ranges from 5 to 20 dollars on average, depending on what state you live in. And with this very affordable price, you can go out and fish every single day and have a meal ready at the end of your trip. But only if you have solid fishing skills.

Relaxation

With all of the undue stress the pandemic has caused around the world, you’ve probably noticed that many people are on edge, and far more people have reported issues with anxiety and depression in the last couple of years.

The stress that COVID-19 has caused doesn’t help matters when a recovery is underway. As such, finding a stress-free activity has been a goal of many people across the country and the world.

Fishing offers one the ability to get out in the natural world and release stress. And there are many scientific studies that can back up this claim.

For example, moving water causes a release of negative ions. And being around moving water with this ion discharge has been shown to create a sense of calm within the human body. Additionally, you’re also out in the sunshine getting plenty of Vitamin D and breathing in large amounts of fresh air.

Arguably, fishing is everything the doctor ordered to help reduce stress.

As we all continue dealing with COVID-19, it’s only through being creative and finding new ways to cope that we’ll be able to move forward with our lives and with our sanity. And fishing has proven to be one of these activities.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai has not been seen in public since posting an allegation about former Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli on Chinese social media site Weibo on November 2.

The former number one-ranked doubles player alleged she was “forced” into sexual relations with Zhang Gaoli – who served as China’s vice-premier between 2013 and 2018.

The post was taken down minutes later, along with other recent posts from the account, which has more than 500,000 followers.

More and more leading voices from the world of tennis have spoken out about Peng Shuai since.

The US says it is “deeply concerned” about Peng Shuai with the White House urging China to “provide independent, verifiable proof” of the tennis player’s whereabouts and safety.

The 35-year-old doubles Grand Slam winner accused China’s ex-vice-premier of sexual assault two weeks ago.

The Women’s Tennis Association has threatened to pull events out of China.

The WTA has been told Peng Shuai is safe, and in Beijing, by the Chinese Tennis Association.

In a separate development on November 19, three photos of Peng Shuai were posted on a WeChat account under her name with the caption “Happy Weekend”.

Earlier this week, Chinese state media released an email attributed to Peng Shuai.

More and more leading voices from the world of tennis have spoken out about the Chinese player since.

Peng Shuai is a prominent figure in Chinese tennis. She has won two women’s doubles Grand Slams at Wimbledon in 2013 and the 2014 French Open, both alongside Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei.

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When purchasing a bike, you have to put a few key features of the model you desire in mind. For instance, the bicycle tyres are imperative, and the model you choose should stand out. The correct tyres will guarantee optimal performance when using your bike for different purposes. 

Tyres provide the suspension and traction your bike needs to move on different surfaces. They also affect how a bike handles and feels. The best bike tyres will help determine the amount of force you exert on the pedals, the brakes you apply, and when to change direction when riding. 

The tyres you choose will affect many aspects of riding a bike. Therefore, you should go for quality tyres to rest assured of different feels for your safety and riding experience. Whether you own an electric mountain bike or like commuting on an e-bike, you need to pick the best tyres. 

You will come across different types of tyres in the market, and you should purchase a design that will satisfy your needs. Common types of tyres to pick from your favorite shop include:

  • Light road tyres great on solid and flat surfaces like asphalt and concrete
  • MTB tyres that are aggressive with tread patterns for maximum traction to ride in uneven terrains
  • Off-rod tyres that are designed for riding on gravel without steep slopes

Choosing the best electric bike tyres is a personal choice, and you have to consider your own needs. Here are tips to help pick the best bicycle tyres in the market. 

Size of the Tyres Matters

You have to consider the options you have when it comes to the size of the tyres. It’s advisable to choose between wide and thin tyres. Wide tyres are types that exceed the factory recommended width, and external diameter will be greater than 2.5 inches. They function at lower pressure and offer more puncture and traction protection, meaning you can use them on different terrains.

On the other hand, narrow or thin tyres allow your bike to cover more distance. They also have low rolling resistance, which will impact the speed of the bike positively. Thin tyres are easy to handle and quite efficient, especially if you pick designs that smooth roads. They guarantee lower rolling resistance, higher pressure, and lower traction for maximum agility and speed.

Consider the Terrain You Want to Ride On

If you regularly ride in snow or soft sand, you will need fat or widest tires. They offer the best traction by digging to the loose surface. Narrow tyres are a great choice if you ride on the road or street. 

Valves on Your Tyres

Bike valves come in two types, and Presta and Schrader are the widely-used models. Presta valves are a common choice in most commute bike tires as they are slimmer, lighter, and built to prevent air from exiting. The locking nut holds the valve in place against the bike’s rim.

Schrader valves are a common choice on high-end mountain bikes. They are heavier, sturdy, and feature an easy-to-remove core. As you compare the bike tyre valves, pick a design that will offer more benefits.

Cost of the Tyres

It’s advisable to compare the prices of different bike tyres at your disposal and pick a model that will satisfy your needs. The quality of your tyres will determine their cost, and it’s wise to select a model that will fit into your budget.

Final Thoughts

If you are ready to conquer different routes, you need to invest in the best tyres. The bicycle tyres you choose should come in high quality and meet all your requirements. And once you get the best tyres, you have to keep them in good shape by always checking the pressure, inspecting and cleaning them regularly. 

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Technology has impacted almost every area of our lives, from the way we cook our food to the cars we drive. So it makes sense that it would also have a significant impact on the hiring process.

For the most part, you don’t even have to leave your desk to find out a ton of information about your applicant. Over 70% of potential employers use social media accounts to filter out potential employees.

A good thing about technology is how it’s changed the employee recruitment process. In the last decade, these technological advances have made it so recruiters no longer have to have job postings on many different sites and hope for the best. Once they have a candidate profile, they can put it on multiple platforms with a push of a button.

This may leave you wondering how exactly has technology changed the way people are applying for jobs. One of the significant changes is there is a good chance you won’t even see the applicant. If it’s a remote job, there’s a good chance you’ll never even know what they look like.

Recruitment Marketing Technology: Impact on Hiring

Recruitment marketing companies not only post on different social media sites but also build your company a career page. The career page is a crucial way to answer the question of “why?” for potential candidates. Not only do they help find the right type of applicants, but they also help weed out applicants that aren’t a good fit.

Social media is now one of the best ways to get people interested in your jobs. You can use targeted ads to gain their interest, then include a link that will take them to your career page. With over 3.5 million people using social media, it makes sense that companies should utilize its potential.  

Speeds Up The Screening Process

Going through all of the applications and resumes that flooded in from job applicants used to take hours and sometimes even days. With new technology such as the applicant tracking system, it helps companies sort through potential employees, ranging them and then keeping them for future positions if any become available.

When using artificial intelligence to help screen applicants, you can set up what you are looking for as well as what you don’t want in an applicant. This helps to filter out individuals who don’t meet your minimum requirements, and you don’t have to waste valuable time interviewing them. Another considerable benefit of using this type of approach is it can eliminate potential bias during the recruitment process.

Online Interviewing

Depending on how you look at it, this can be either good or bad. Some people find the interview process extremely stressful and it causes them anxiety, and not being able to see the other party may make things worse. On the other hand, using the phone or online meeting software can cut down on having to travel, and you won’t have to waste both your and your applicant’s time. Not that long ago, people had to sit in offices sometimes for hours waiting for their turn, now they just have to pick up the phone.

Fast Response Times

If you remember, about a decade ago, you had to place ads in the local newspaper to get job applicants. Not only would it take a while for people to know you were hiring, but it also took a long time for the entire process. They would then either come to your office or call to find out if there was still an opening. Then they have to fill out the application, bring it back, and wait to see if you call. All of that was pretty stressful.

Only placing ads in local papers limited your search area, and you likely missed out on many qualified candidates. With technology, potential employees can now search for a job, look at their career profile, apply, and then get screened in a matter of days. Long gone are the weeks and possibly months of waiting to hire someone. Technology has also made it so companies can search all over for qualified applicants.

There is no question that the more advanced we become, the more we have to adapt to the changes in technology. You can do this by becoming more familiar with artificial technology and keeping up with changes on the horizon. The more information you have, the better. But on the flip side, sometimes more data leads to more confusion.

There’s no doubt finding jobs has become much easier in the last 10 years, thanks to advances in technology. These changes are helping human resource teams function easier so that they can find the right candidates for available positions. The future is clear on one thing for sure: as time continues, the way we do things will keep changing.

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Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay

Grabbing an opportunity to earn free money is not something new. People save in banks to earn interest and always go for sign-up bonuses. Similarly, the cryptocurrency sector has several options for people to earn. According to Dave Abner, who is the global development head at the Gemini cryptocurrency exchange, the first 6 months of 2021 have seen a breakthrough in crypto innovations.

Currently, joint efforts are in place in Washington DC and all over the world to develop laws and regulations to increase safety for crypto investors, according to an article by NextAdvisor magazine.

Undoubtedly, cryptocurrency has become the trendiest way to make money these days. Advertisements about how to make money with crypto are all over the news and even tech and finance websites. Whichever page you open or whoever you talk to, whether friends or family, this is the topic. The attention on crypto is great, and because of this demand, obtaining digital currencies is expensive.

With this widespread interest comes many ways crypto investors can use to get free crypto. Unbelievable, right? Well, if you don’t believe it, try one of these six options to earn free crypto.

Crypto Credit Card Rewards

For the past few years, the crypto and fintech worlds have begun to merge. Every other month, we see an innovative startup that offers a debit or credit card that gives cashback rewards in the form of crypto. These crypto rewards are free. Isn’t that what we all want to hear?

With a more traditional bank credit card, you would get, for example, 2% back on purchases using a credit card. Crypto rewards work the same way; all you need is to use a crypto credit card to charge for your purchases, and they will give you cashback rewards in the form of a percentage. For instance, crypto. com gives 10% back on Airbnb. Furthermore, you may get other benefits including no annual fee and zero ATM withdrawal fees, according to the same website.

Sign-up Bonuses

Many crypto exchanges give sign-up bonuses for using their services. This is purely to entice potential clients and beat the tough competition. If this sounds appealing to you, it is advisable to pay attention to all the terms and conditions because sometimes you might be asked to give personal information to get the bonuses, which can be risky. Experts encourage caution because even fraudsters and insecure websites will attempt to lure you with very attractive sign-up bonuses.

According to Hustler Money Blog, almost every crypto platform has a sign-up bonus for new clients. Lolli has a $10 sign-up bonus on any coin, while crypto. com gives a $50 welcome offer. BlockFi offers $10 for joining, and Celsius has a $20 welcome offer in Bitcoin, to mention a few. New investors who are eager to join reputable platforms get the best sign-up bonuses.

Crypto Staking

Staking is the process through which different kinds of cryptocurrencies are put to work. The investors in staking are rewarded in return. Crypto investors stake applicable coins like ETH, Cosmos, and Tezos on the new ETH2 upgrade.

According to the article ‘’What Is Staking?’’ on coinbase.com, the crypto earns rewards for investors once the blockchain puts it to work through a process called proof of stake, which is a “consensus mechanism.” Simply put, this is a method for verification without the involvement of a payment processor or a bank as a broker.

The proof of work is only available with some cryptos such as Ethereum. However, there are many additional coins that qualify, so investors need to check if their coin qualifies for a staking program.

Saving Crypto to Earn Interest

Yield farming is becoming a lucrative option to earn cryptocurrency passively. From a crypto professional’s point of view, the crypto savings platforms are competing to give a high annual percentage yield (APY) to attract more investors. For instance, YouHodler gives up to 12% APY on Bitcoin, altcoins, and stablecoins, while BlockFi, Gemini, and Binance also have competitive rates as well.

Investors are required to open an account with a crypto savings platform of their choice, deposit the crypto they would like to save, and start earning immediately. As seen on different websites, the payouts are done differently. Some pay anytime, while others pay weekly or monthly. According to experts, these are some of the considerations to make on top of the APY rate.

Airdrop Projects

Airdrops offer a very attractive way to earn crypto. You will regularly hear about them on different cryptocurrency websites. So, how does it work? According to many airdrop websites, the method involves giving away the website’s native crypto to help in forming a community of users to boost awareness and adoption.

There are many ways to earn big money with airdrops according to the Airdrop Alert website. These methods include joining as many airdrop projects as possible, participating in holder airdrops, and doing airdrop referrals among others. Experts strongly believe that airdrop projects will grow in the coming years due to their effectiveness in promoting upcoming cryptos and increasing the availability of willing participants.

Receive Crypto Donations

Sometimes, it is good to be creative especially when you are dealing with cryptocurrency. Creating something like an innovative donation page or maybe a facility on your blog or website will entice people to donate a few USDs worth of Bitcoin, Ethereum, or USDC among other cryptos.

If you have a good reason such as creating helpful text and video content on crypto, big platforms can help you set up a donation checkout page. Coinbase, for instance, lets you create a donation checkout page that you can share with friends, relatives, clients, and crypto enthusiasts to receive donations.

Conclusion

Many crypto enthusiasts have earned good money through these crypto-earning opportunities, and undoubtedly, you can too. Everyone would like to get free cryptocurrency. It does not take much to get crypto using these methods; this is why they are being referred to as free. Use options like airdrops, credit card rewards, staking, and more, and watch as your cryptocurrency grows.

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In this quick Q&A session the Head of Sales for Enness Global, Toby Johncox, talks to Jordan Williams of Artorius about some of the advice he gives High Net Worth individuals (HNW) in terms of understanding and managing their wealth.

How does someone begin to organise their financial affairs?

The key thing is actually to ascertain and understand what it is you’ve got within your estate. So first of all, understanding what assets you have, where they’re held, and who’s actually in charge of those assets. When we’re working with families who come to us and ask exactly that same question, the first thing that we do is understand what their asset position looks like today, and what their objectives are for the future. And we then build a consolidated report whereby all the information relating to their estate can be captured. And by having that understanding of what you’ve got today, one can then analyse and assess concentration of risk, look at whether the mandates that you’ve got within your investment portfolios are appropriate to your circumstances, whether they’re actually going to achieve your stated objectives. So, first and foremost, it’s about understanding what you’ve got and what you want to achieve.

There is no one size fits all solution for this. Every family is different, every family is going to have a different objective as to what they want to achieve with their wealth. And so certainly, when families come to us, it’s our role to probe, in a nice way, to understand what it is they’re trying to achieve with their wealth, and understanding whether the measures they’ve got in place, are appropriate. Absolutely key to that is working with their existing advisors. And what we find is that with our involvement we work in collaboration and bring the team of advisors together. Because, so often, someone might have their tax advisor, their accountant, lawyer, and trusted mortgage brokers, but very rarely do they talk to each other. And so they have separate conversations with each of these advisors. But the key about how to start and organise their affairs, it’s about bringing all their advisors together to help devise a plan for the future.

What should I be investing in and where should I invest?

There is no one size fits all and everyone is different. What might be right and suitable for one client is not going to be right and suitable for another. So it’s about understanding what it is the client is trying to achieve, what they’re worth, what their investment horizon and what their risk profile is, what their return objectives are. Once we’ve ascertained that, then we can actually go about devising what the right investment strategy is.

What is the best way to monitor your wealth?

There are certainly the benefits that families have derived from having consolidated reporting across their affairs. Typically wealthy families will get portfolio evaluations and statements from their banks and other traditional wealth managers. But they’re in isolation, they’re just in relation to that particular relationship. But by having a consolidated report, that brings in all their different investment portfolios, and not just investment assets, but their property holdings and their holdings in yachts, and jets, and art and fine wine, and their depositions and other liabilities. Bringing all of that together into a consolidated report is a great way of actually understanding what the client’s overall wealth is on a month-to-month or quarter-to-quarter basis:

  • understanding their movements
  • understanding how different investments are performing
  • how investments are performing according to specific benchmarks that have been created
  • understanding the fees that the clients are paying

Having that oversight over your wealth leads to better decision making. And makes other key family members more informed about their wealth position.

There’s the monitoring side, which is having everything in one place in an easy-to-read format. But equally, taking the time to monitor. Ultra high net worth global citizens don’t have the time to go through bank statements, look through portfolios even if their different advisors are sharing those monthly with them. So it’s critical to have someone that can look after everything in one place.

It’s about optimising the positions that you have. And by identifying what savings can be made, identifying an investment strategy that might work better for you. So are you in the right investment strategy for what you’re trying to achieve. And by moving into something that’s more appropriate, hopefully, will enhance returns. So, again, you can’t do that if you’re not looking at things as a whole. If you’re doing it piecemeal it’s not going to be as effective.

What is the situation regarding London property?

It’s a really interesting time to buy real estate, but it’s still about buying the right property, the right real estate. The London residential market still has huge appeal to many. London still is, obviously, a global city, which has many attractions, and we’re still seeing people moving to the UK to send their kids to school here, wanting to start up businesses here. And I think the London property market has shown over many, many years to be resilient.

There have been undoubted challenges to the market, and numerous tax changes that have taken place; uncertainty over Brexit, uncertainty over changing government risk, but it has shown to be resilient. But it all goes back to buying quality. And if you’re buying the right property in the right location, and you can understand what the correct price is, there are still opportunities out there. I think things are changing in terms of what people want, undoubtedly people are going to want more outside space or access to local parks and other amenities. But I definitely think there are opportunities out there. And there are places in London which are still incredibly popular whereas some of the areas which had significant new build, they’re shown to be less popular now.

There are still very good value mortgage rates available to international clients, the dollar versus the pound still remains a good exchange so that makes it a really interesting time for people to buy real estate. But it’s buying quality that’s going to see good appreciation in the longer term.

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investment

In the modern world, many people resort to investing to ensure a comfortable future for themselves without worries about income. In difficult financial situations, an alternative solution may also be loans, such as those from Payday Depot.

Nevertheless, investments are salvation in case of unforeseen circumstances, as they give passive income. However, there is a huge number of ways to invest today. How can a novice find a suitable one? What can a specialist do to bring their income from investments to a new level? Read on to find out!

Top-5 Ways of Investment

The success of an investment portfolio depends on the degree of its diversification. That is why it is so important to balance your portfolio and correctly allocate assets to minimize risks. Here are some relatively safe investment options for you to consider.

High Yield Savings Accounts

This investment type gives an income approximately 20 times greater than a regular savings account. It is considered the safest since banks with such offers are protected by the FDIC. The risk of such investments is almost zero – you can lose only if the inflation percentage is higher than the percentage of the account rate.

Government Bond Funds

It is the most legal and the least risky investment option since it is under the total influence of internal state movements. GBFs provide the investors with more income than high-yield savings accounts and certificates of deposit, yet are subject to the risks of inflation and rate fluctuations.

Short-Term Corporate Bond Funds

In many cases, when it comes to private enterprises, we can talk about big money circulating there. A lot of companies issue securities, the income for which sometimes exceeds the benefits from those of state-owned companies. However, there is also a greater risk associated with the former. All the factors that threaten a company may affect the investors’ capital. Therefore, this option requires more experience, but if successful, it shall bring more income.

Dividend Funds

As practice shows, with dividend stocks, you can make both long-term and short-term profits. The income from dividends is associated with a somewhat greater risk since such investments require an understanding of the organizations’ activities and mission. Therefore, this investment method is suitable for more experienced investors.

Nasdaq-100 Index Funds

Investments in index funds provide access to the most technologically advanced companies globally. Therefore, with investments in this field, your portfolio is automatically diversified. Nasdaq-100 represents the top organizations that have proven themselves to be the most successful on the market. This is a great option for experienced investors who can analyze the market masterfully.

Start Diversifying Your Portfolio for High Returns

In this article, we have highlighted the main areas of secure investments suitable for both novice and experienced investors. The main success criteria of an investment portfolio is a high degree of diversification, so go ahead and start improving yours now!

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Image source: Workforce BluePrint

Local governments are tasked with finding, evaluating, and solving problems within their communities. Largely, these problems require outside grants from state or federal government, and sometimes private organizations, to address the problems in a timely and effective manner.

Local governments are also sometimes grantors as well, offering funds to organizations within the community to address problems that impact everyone. Managing both kinds of grants is a uniquely complex process that requires a great deal of attention and organization.

Here is how local governments manage their grants and a few ways that they could potentially improve their process.

1.  Trust

Whether awarding or being awarded a grant to address issues within their municipality, governments are obligated to prioritize compliance when it comes to the allocation of grant funds.

That means that those put in charge of the funds must embody a great deal of trust, transparency, and accountability when it comes to managing and reporting the use of funds. They need to be able to track the flow of grant money, while also being experts in the terms and conditions of the grant to avoid violations.

2.  Observation

Observing the date and implementation of the grant is largely related to the above, but the important difference in this discussion is the idea of investing in management tools, like a grants management system that can streamline the process of monitoring grant revenue and providing immediate, accessible information.

Grant management software is not only efficient and saves time, but allows for an ideal level of transparency, in that different team members have access to the same information and can coordinate in a synchronous way.

3.  Budgeting

If the local government was the grantor of the grant in question, chances whoever received the grant included a structured budget plan within their application materials. If the local government was the grantee, then they provided a budgetary plan to the grantor as well.

This budget becomes a contract between the two parties, and adherence to its structure and stipulations is crucial to the management process.

4.  Reporting

A team of people will be assigned and responsible for the ins and outs of managing the grant, and this requires regular meetings to discuss the implementation and management of the funds.

Once again, transparency and specificity are crucial elements of addressing the status of the grant.

5.  Consistency

Local governments receive grants for harrowing circumstances, often related to disaster and emergency management after destructive weather or things like chemical leaks and poor water quality that negatively impact residents on a large scale. Because these events happen more often than we would like them to, grants are not as uncommon as one might think, given that it takes a large sum of money to address disaster relief on the local level.

Consistency comes into play because disorganization and mismanagement of grant funds put regions at risk for losing additional funding, or being subject to additional oversight at the state or federal level that results in a headache for local officials who know their towns and constituents better. Being consistent with the management of grants is crucial to the assurance of aid in the future for local cities and towns.

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Image source: citi.com

The Citi Custom Card, by an affiliated company, is a great rewards card for customers with excellent to good credit. Its unique feature is it enables you to earn 5% cash back on your top eligible shopping category each billing year and 1% cash back on all other shopping purchases made in that category. This means you can earn cash back on every single purchase you make in the categories Citi recommends, which usually includes airline tickets, hotel stays, groceries, gas, and entertainment expenses. And since Citi offers their own credit card application, you do not have to pay any additional fees to apply. Once approved, you will receive your cash rewards immediately. Here are Citi custom card benefits that help you in many matters.

Several Cash-Back Categories:

First, there are several special cash back categories that you can choose from such as: business gifts, travel, leisure, department store, automotive, dining, airline tickets, car rentals/spare rentals and home purchases among others. You can use your credit card to pay for these categories straight off your card without paying any processing or interest fees. With this, you will be able to start earning rewards immediately! Once you make your first purchase, you will also be given a special pre-paid rebate check with your chosen category.

Citi’s Cash Card Program Is Very Flexible:

This means you can determine which purchases you want to make using your credit card. If you are buying a major item that requires a membership such as airline tickets, a hotel stay, a car rental or leisure trip, Citi allows you to choose a membership fee payment plan that fits your needs. In most cases, you can use your Citi credit card and get instant cash back up to $200! That means if you shop at least two online merchants you will be able to receive instant cash back.

Billing Cycle:

Citi’s rewards card is also offered with a 10-day billing cycle. That means you can make five purchases each of the five available billing cycles using your credit card. This can easily save you hundreds of dollars in the same amount of time it would take you to accumulate that amount of cash on your actual credit card. Citi’s rewards card is also good for opening new accounts!

Great Incentives:

Citi’s rewards program has a great incentives. And it has some other benefits as well. Citi offers an attractive cash back rate that will help you save money each month. Citi will match your eligible purchases up to a certain amount depending on the type of card you have. When you apply for your Citi cash card and make your first purchase, Citi will instantly credit your account with that amount and up to double that amount in bonus points.

Citi cash back card will help you save money with ease. But before you apply, make sure you know what you want. Do you need a card to get cash back rebates? Are you looking for a card with airline miles program? Or would you like a card that gives you cash back? Once you know what you want, you will be able to search for the right one.

Photo Getty Images

The number of jobs added by the US economy in August was very disappointing, with only 235,000 positions vs. expectations of 720,000.

The figure was well down on the 1.05 million jobs created in July, adding to fears that the recovery from the pandemic may be running out of steam.

Despite the disappointing hiring levels, the unemployment rate fell to 5.2% in August from 5.4% in July.

Economists say rising infections caused by the Delta variant have hit spending on travel, tourism and hospitality.

They also note that the Labor Department’s data was collected in the second week of August, so does not reflect the impact of hurricanes Ida and Henri in the second half of the month.

President Joe Biden said he was disappointed but defended his record on the economy, saying it was growing consistently.

“Total job creation in the first seven months of my administration is nearly double, double any prior first-year president,” he said.

“While I know some wanted to see a larger number today, and so did I, what we’ve seen this year is a continued growth, month after month in job creation.”

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were notable job gains in August in professional and business services, transportation and warehousing, private education and manufacturing.

However, employment declined in retail and was flat in leisure and hospitality, after increasing by an average of 350,000 per month over the previous six months.

While the number of people unemployed edged down to 8.4 million, it remains well above the pre-pandemic level of 5.7 million seen in February 2020.

CBO: US Economy Could Take 10 Years to Catch Up After Coronavirus Pandemic

Average earnings also jumped in August, suggesting that employers are trying to lure workers back amid labor shortages in some industries.

The US economy contracted sharply in 2020 during lockdown but has rebounded strongly in 2021.

House prices are rising and corporate results remain strong. However, like most economies, the US is facing supply chain issues that have dragged on manufacturing growth.

Inflation has also jumped as the economy reopens, although the Federal Reserve believes the rise will be transitory.

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Image by Zahid Hasan from Pixabay

Selling a home, whether it is for the first or subsequent time, can be an uphill task. There is more pressure if you need to sell your house fast and for the best market price. Unfortunately, there is overwhelming advice coming from left, right, and center, and this can be confusing during the process.

Since it is not typically an easy process, you can opt to use an agent or sell the house directly to companies that buy houses on an as-is basis. They will make the process a lot faster.

So, why do people need to sell a house fast? We have prepared a list of reasons to help you know if it is a good direction to take or if you should stick to the old and slow process that can take months or more.

You Need to Sell Your House Fast to Reduce the Stress and Hassle

Selling a house fast, especially through an agent or to a home-buying company, reduces the stress and hassle of the long process of looking for potential buyers, taking them through house showings, negotiating, processing the paperwork, and even risking getting defrauded.

So, if you are trying to sell your house to relocate or buy a new one, you probably need to sell your house fast through ways that make this process possible.

You Need to Sell Your House Fast to Avoid Market Changes

The real estate market is volatile, and prices can change very fast. If you do not want to risk being on the losing end, you need to sell the house fast when the price is still high. Again, it is highly recommended to use agents who will sell your property within a very short time.

Let the agent advise you on what to do to home stage your property, set the right price, and market it on all possible listing platforms to find a buyer fast.

No Need for Repairs

You need to sell your house fast to home-buying companies if you do not want to repair it. Most, if not all, buy on an as-is basis, which eliminates strain on the homeowners. Repairs could take a toll on your budget, and sometimes, you may not have the finances. This is a big reason why most people sell their homes to these investors.

You Need to Sell Your House Fast to Save Time

When you want to relocate or finance another home purchase, you need to sell your house fast. There is no need to waste a lot of time trying to look for buyers through the traditional methods of listing, home showings, and so forth.

Fortunately, the home-buying companies we have talked about will facilitate this. However, you can still list your house for sale if it is the only way, but make sure you advertise the house sale thoroughly on all available platforms, prepare it well for sale, and use a professional agent when possible. It will also yield positive results if these steps are taken.

Conclusion

There are many reasons why you need to sell your house fast; some are personal while others are necessitated by external forces. Weigh your options carefully to make the right decisions. It is highly recommended that you talk to real estate professionals for more advice.

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Everyone invests in stock to make a profit – the vast majority of traders do, in any case. However, for many people just getting started in stocks and shares, it is not always easy to tell which options are likely to do better than others. Of course, one of the best ways to prepare for buying stock is to look carefully at precedents and past performance. However, there are still going to be a few indicators that give you some idea about what to expect.

No one is clairvoyant when it comes to which stocks and shares are likely to make their portfolio boom. Many people make investments in green stocks and socially responsible shares a priority, for example, as society is moving in such a direction. AskTraders certainly has plenty for you to dive into in that respect. However, looking at what society ‘prefers’ is only a very small piece of the bigger puzzle. Let’s take a look at a few tell-tale signs that your prospective investments are likely to do well for you.

Growth stocks are fairly expensive

The best growth stocks available, of course, are those that spike high, and spike fast. This isn’t to say that they are unlikely to be volatile the other way around. However, it is likely to be obvious to many that a firm growth stock will be making big strides in very short spaces of time.

Alongside this trait, of course, is the price. It’s very rare that you will come across a ‘hidden gem’ – in the sense that you happen to find a solid growth stock that’s extremely cheap. The more lucrative and better-performing growth stock, by and large, will be more expensive to buy than your average.

This sounds like a fairly simple point to make, but it’s one of the most important indicators to keep in mind. All investors should be keeping close tabs on their cash flows in general. However, if you notice that a particular stock is spiking in price much higher than its peers, and at a fast pace, then it’s likely that it will be growing significantly in the short term. Long and short – more than a few shrewd investors already know what they are getting into!

Growth rates are pretty broad

One of the first things that all investors should look into when buying new stock is the growth rates and averages. While it’s pretty safe to place money into a stock that has a growth rate of 5%, lowest, year on year, stocks that grow at around 10% (or even as low as 8%) are likely to be going places, fast.

Of course, this is likely to be a secondary factor to the above. Once you have found the price of a potential growth stock, you will probably want to consider its current rate and/or pace of growth. 10% is pretty impressive – and it does indicate that this is an investment that’s going to continue skyrocketing at its current trajectory.

Check the dividends

Yes, dividends can be very useful, and many investors look for their availability – but a stock with little to no dividend payouts will likely keep on growing. Therefore, if you are interested in growth stocks, it is worth considering whether or not you are going to be willing to sacrifice your dividend potential on route.

High growth stocks will likely do away with dividends altogether for a very simple reason. Instead of eschewing cash regularly to shareholders, they can simply keep pumping money into their growth. This occurs with the understanding of shareholders that, in time, they can expect even bigger wins if they are willing to hold off on dividends.

This is where many traders will likely part ways. Some will prefer to hold onto their dividend-friendly approach to maximize the small wins, while others will risk it all and see a stock through on its growth under this proviso.

Share prices are historically higher – in correlation – than most

Another simple figure to consider when identifying growth stocks is, of course, share pricing. Share price correlations will generally tell you how a stock or company is performing over the long term. However, it’s also a key indicator for spotting stocks that are likely to grow exponentially for years to come.

Looking at the past performance of a share price, if you notice considerable spikes or a long route upwards, then you are very likely to be getting involved in a high growth stock. Keep in mind that the longer the upward run, the more likely this is to be the case.

Of course, it does not always follow. There are some growth stocks that can and will plateau, and others that will hit a downslide depending on a variety of different factors.

Is it worth hunting down growth stocks?

On paper, it might seem as though all investors will likely want to get behind growth stocks. However, as with all market purchases, there are risks involved. Even if a stock has all the hallmarks of the above, there’s no guarantee that it won’t avoid volatility and start plummeting in future. There is, regrettably, no such thing as a ‘sure’ scenario here.

Growth stocks can, on occasion, fall harder than average stocks depending on what is causing the drop. Major reputation damage or political concerns, for example, are likely to cause growth stocks to fall from grace fairly hard. That’s because it may be hard for shareholders to justify the expensive prices they normally retail at on the markets.

Smaller stocks and those with steadier growth credentials are likely to recover or plateau quicker, simply because they have less distance to fall. Ultimately, it is all about investing in a stock that is going to weather storms, not just keep growing and then crash and burn when things go slightly awry.

As with all stocks, growth options can be lucrative – but you need to be very careful about where you put your money. Can you really afford to follow a growth stock right to the peak – and then prepare for the fall?

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There are many different types of mortgages and many are better than others based on the age and needs of an individual homeowner. Specifically, a reverse mortgage is a mortgage loan for the elderly through which a financial institution (usually banks or insurance companies) makes a lump sum of money available to the client. They usually offer a cash sum that is a maximum of 20% of the appraisal of the institution’s appraiser.

According to many experts, reverse mortgages seem to have many important advantages. This is why an elderly person may opt for this type of mortgage to supplement their Social Security or other retirement income. It is important to understand the benefits and features that go along with reverse mortgages. This is why 31,274 reverse mortgages were issued in 2019 alone.

You can see the benefits of reverse mortgages by using the calculator shown here: https://reversemortgagereviews.org/reverse-mortgage-calculator. It will help you see how much you could receive with one.

The Basic Premise of Reverse Mortgages

A reverse mortgage is a loan that offers in a cash sum that is capped at a maximum dependent on the value of the home. With a reverse mortgage, the client has a limit on the amount to be received and an agreed amount is available each month.

Francis Fernández, an expert on reverse mortgages, explains that, in this way, the property belongs to the owner and if he or she decides to sell it at some point, the capital drawn down and the interest generated by it are liquidated. With a reverse mortgage, if the owner dies, the heirs, upon receiving the property, must also pay off what has been drawn down like any other financing before they can receive the rest of the estate.

Reverse mortgage requirements

To qualify for this type of mortgage, it is normally necessary to be over 65 years of age, although it may vary depending on the entity in which it is negotiated and the particular conditions of the applicant.

The policies of reverse mortgages may differ across jurisdictions. The federal government has its own policies on reverse mortgages, because these loans are insured under the FDIC. However, states also create their own rules for reverse mortgages.

Understanding the benefits and characteristics of reverse mortgages

In order to qualify for a reverse mortgage, you must obviously be a property owner and preferably if should be your habitual residence. Eduardo Molet, real estate consultant, informed us that this type of mortgage is for great homes worth at least $250,000.

The credit ends when the person who takes out the reverse mortgage dies or when the client freely decides to give up the property. At this point, the interest on the loan will accumulate and added to the principal of the loan, which generates a debt that is amortized at death or before if the client freely decides.

Financial experts have remarked that an elderly person has no obligation to return the money if they don’t relinquish ownership before they die. It is the heirs who are in charge of settling the debt with the bank at the death of the elderly person and they have 12 months to pay back the money.

Then they can sell the house, pay off the debt and keep the surplus. They can take out a new mortgage and pay off the debt or pay off the debt with their own money and keep the house.

Here is a practical example of a reverse mortgage in practice. An 80-year-old person with a $500,000 home receives a monthly stipend from the bank of $1,000 per month for as long as they live, provided that they don’t receive any initial amount.

What are the benefits of reverse mortgages?

According to many financial experts, housing is undoubtedly the most valuable asset for most people and it is not very coherent that when we retire we have economic hardship due to a tight pension, having an asset as valuable as housing, and fully paid for. Making the experience owning the current home compatible and obtaining additional monthly liquidity is what this type of mortgage offers.

It is important to emphasize that the property could be leased if the client decides to relocate. In this case, they would have two incomes. If you wanted to move in with your kids without paying rent or move to a place where rent was cheaper than what you were receiving from the lease, then this could be a huge benefit.

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Sometimes in life, there are moments when you cannot pay off your debts on your own, no matter what you do. Fortunately, modern Debt Stop services help people deal with overwhelming duties and offer convenient plans and strategies. If you are ready to seek help from such specialists, study what consequences it may have on your credit history.

Debt Relief Plans

There is no one-size-fits-all solution that suits every client. That is why companies develop plans to alleviate the financial burden on a case-by-case basis. Among these methods are the following:

  • Debt settlement. In the course of negotiations, lending institutions usually agree to forgive the borrower for the debt part.
  • Debt management provides a review of the payment plan and terms to help you better control your finances.
  • Debt consolidation. As part of this strategy, all existing debts are combined into one. In the long run, you will be able to save on interest.
  • Bankruptcy. If your debt situation is complicated, you can declare yourself bankrupt through court. As a result, this procedure can reduce or completely save you from part of the debts.

The professionals who deal with your issue should carefully check your documents and history to find a solution that does not harm you even more in the future.

Debt Relief Consequences

Do not think that by using a debt relief program, you will irreversibly ruin your credit history. Typically, when you can’t pay off your debts, your score isn’t perfect anymore. Choosing the right plan that will ease your financial burden will be the best decision. However, each of the listed strategies has its pros and cons.

Debt settlement

Usually, debt settlement is ranked one of the first in terms of the potential harm to your credit history. Typically, payments are suspended when negotiations are underway between the lender and the firm settling your debts. It means your credit score goes down when you miss one or more scheduled payments.

Debt management

This option is a much softer solution to the debt issue. In this case, you do not refuse payments but only revise the conditions. The debt management program will not negatively affect your score as long as you make the agreed payments on time.

Debt consolidation

The impact of this strategy directly depends on your actions. If you request another loan to pay off after combining all debts into a single payment, it will trigger an in-depth investigation by the new lender. Also, you should not skip regular payments and not take on new debts until you resolve the issue with those that already exist.

Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy has a long-term impact on your credit score (over 7-10 years, depending on the case). It can lower your chances of getting new credit, holding certain jobs, renting an apartment, or increase car insurance in the future.

Choose Reliable Debt Relief Company

The inability to pay off debts is a difficult situation both from a financial and psychological point of view. Choose a reliable company that will carefully analyze your history and pick the optimal action plan to minimize possible consequences.

Photo by Stephen Phillips – Hostreviews.co.uk on Unsplash

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Anybody who has ever experienced bad customer service understands just how important good customer service is to the success of a company. It doesn’t matter how good the company’s product or service is if their customers don’t trust or feel respected by the company.

This is why CarGuard Administration places such a high value on providing quality customer service for each and every one of their clients. They take immense pride in offering some of the best customer service in the entire industry.

CarGuard Administration offers customer-friendly contracts, first-day rentals, the industry’s best-limited liability plans, two protection plans in one, and other perks. They are also proud Silver Partners in the PACE Association, a professional association that promotes better customer engagement.

Customer Friendly Contracts

CarGuard Administration is famous for writing protection plans that are easy for customers to read and understand. Most companies write contracts with dense legal terminology that needs to be deciphered by a team of attorneys.

Every plan that CarGuard Administration writes is informed by their years of experience in the Vehicle Service Contract industry, which allows them to create the best plans for the consumer on the market.

Their mission is to provide peace of mind with vehicle service contracts that their customers can trust.

CarGuard Administration offers plans for first day rentals

Normally, protection plans won’t let you get a rental car unless repairs take longer than 4-8 hours. But with CarGuard Administration, you can get a rental car on the very first day of repairs. This means that you can get a rental car with no interruptions in assistance, even if your repairs only take a couple of hours.

Other CarGuard Administration Perks

Other perks of a protection plan with CarGuard Administration include free towing, trip interruption service, and more. CarGuard Assistance offers roadside assistance if you run out of gas, need a jumpstart, lose your keys, or face another crisis on the road.

CarGuard Administration offers these services 24/7, every day of the year.

Industry’s best-limited liability

CarGuard Administration offers the best-limited liability coverage in the entire industry. They will cover up to the value of your vehicle at the time you need repair, or up to $12,500, depending on which value is more.

This means that if your vehicle is worth $40,000 when it needs repair, they will cover you for up to $40,000. But if your vehicle is only worth $2,000, then they will cover you for up to $12,500! This is a great deal and the best coverage that the industry has to offer.

CarGuard Administration offers two protection plans in one

One of the reasons why CarGuard Administration stands out is because their Platinum Plan and their Gold Plan are two protection plans rolled into one. Their competitors typically offer ‘platinum plans’ that protect you for up to one hundred thousand miles. After this, you have to take out more coverage.

All of the protection plans offered by CarGuard Administration add five years and an extra one hundred thousand miles to your coverage. This means that you can get the maximum coverage possible without having to pay extra for your protection plan.

What’s the PACE Convention?

The PACE (Professional Association for Customer Engagement) Association is a non-profit professional association that promotes companies improving their customer engagement with their contact center.

The annual PACE Convention is an opportunity for hundreds of customer service professionals to come together to share insights that give them a competitive edge and help them become industry leaders in their fields.

The convention consists of parties and receptions that allow industry peers and session leaders to reconnect and learn from each other with stories, ideas, inspirations, and ways to improve their businesses.

PACE Membership

There are three tiers of membership in the PACE Association: Platinum, Gold, and Silver. Each tier provides members with free access to virtual and in-person events, forums, listing in directories, and free training through the PACE Partner Benchmark Portal.

In addition to these benefits, Silver Partners receive three free training sessions through the portal, and discounted registration fees at premier PACE events.

Gold Partners receive the above benefits as well as five free training sessions, free registration at either PACE ACX or the PACE Washington Summit, as well as 50% off of CECP (Certified Customer Experience Professional) training.

Platinum Partners of the PACE Association receive the above membership perks, as well as seven free training sessions through the portal, discounts on CECP, one free registration at PACE ACX, and two free registrations at the PACE Washington Summit.

These conventions give businesses the tools and opportunities that they need to provide excellent service and build awesome networking opportunities with their customers.

CarGuard Administration and the PACE Convention

Because of their commitment to providing the best possible customer service to their clients, CarGuard Administration are proud supporters of the PACE Convention, as well as regular attendees. They proudly sponsor the convention every year, and they are “Silver Partners”, along with a number of other nationally recognized companies.

Lionel Messi is leaving FC Barcelona “because of financial and structural obstacles” the soccer club says.

The 34-year-old has been a free agent since July 1 when his contract expired.

Lionel Messi agreed a new deal on reduced wages with the club two weeks later, but it was dependent on Barca selling players to afford his salary.

“Both parties deeply regret that the wishes of the player and the club will ultimately not be fulfilled,” the club said.

FC Barcelona had said Lionel Messi was poised to extend his 21-year association with the club by signing the new deal on August 5, and blame La Liga for the failure to do so.

The Argentine forward had reached an agreement to stay with the Catalan side until 2026 – but La Liga said the club must reduce wages before he and any new players can be registered.

“Despite FC Barcelona and Lionel Messi having reached an agreement and the clear intention of both parties to sign a new contract today, this cannot happen because of financial and structural obstacles [Spanish La Liga regulations],” the club said.

“FC Barcelona wholeheartedly expresses its gratitude to the player for his contribution to the aggrandizement of the club and wishes him all the very best for the future in his personal and professional life.”

Lionel Messi is Barcelona’s record scorer with 672 goals and has won 10 La Liga titles, four Champions Leagues and seven Copa del Reys, as well as claiming the Ballon d’Or on a record six occasions.

Keeping him at the Nou Camp had been president Joan Laporta’s top priority this summer.

The Barca future of a player who is widely regarded as being one of the world’s greatest of all time, however, has been severely complicated by the club’s financial problems.

The presidential election earlier this year was held against the backdrop of Barca being on on the verge of bankruptcy.

Lionel Messi and Antonela Roccuzzo’s Wedding of the Century Held in Rosario

Lionel Messi to Testify over Spain Tax Fraud

Lionel Messi becomes Champions League’s all-time top scorer

Lionel Messi arguably now becomes the most in-demand player in world football.

He has long been linked with a move to either Paris St-Germain or Manchester City, where he would be reunited with his former Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola.

America’s Major League Soccer, which Lionel Messi has previously considered experiencing, is another option.

Aged 13, Lionel Messi joined Barca’s famed La Masia academy in 2000 from Argentine side Newell’s Old Boys and made his senior debut aged 16 in 2004.

He has gone on to make 778 appearances for the club, scoring 672 goals, including 120 Champions League goals (second behind Cristiano Ronaldo), and a record 474 La Liga goals.

Lionel Messi has collected the European Golden Shoe award for the continent’s top scorer on six occasions.

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Press release

Companies owned by Austin-area car dealer Bryan Hardeman received a $10 million taxpayer bailout in April 2020. However, secret court documents Dolcefino Consulting now possesses show that just a few weeks later, two of those same companies invested more than $7 million in a controversial Austin real estate deal involving the iconic downtown restaurant, Capital Grille.

The Austin real estate fight between Hardeman and Austin real estate magnate Nate Paul of World Class Holdings is already making headlines.

Dolcefino Consulting’s discovery raises serious questions about whether Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) bailout funds—designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll—were improperly used.

A number of lawsuits relating to the foreclosure sales on some of the Austin properties that make up Paul’s vast real estate empire are already riddled with allegations of fraud and what Dolcefino Consulting has uncovered may make the situation even more interesting.

Here is what we know:

Government records show that on April 14, 2020, three of Bryan Hardeman’s companies received PPP funds.

Austin Infiniti, Inc. received $3,719,500 in PPP funds.

Continental Cars, Inc. received $2,665,400 in PPP funds.

Continental Imports, Inc. received $3,962,400 in PPP funds.

Texas Secretary of State records show that on the very same day that the Hardeman companies got their PPP money, a company called Colorado Third Street, LLC, was formed by Austin real estate developer Justin Bayne.

Just two weeks later, Colorado Third Street LLC bought the debt owed by Nate Paul’s company on the Capital Grille property. The property was foreclosed on earlier this month despite Paul’s attempts to pay the debt in full and stop the foreclosure.

These attempts to pay the debt in full were captured on video. Colorado Third Street LLC purchased the $25 million property at the foreclosure sale for just $8,760,000.

Colorado Third Street LLC manager Justin Bayne is a business partner of Bryan Hardeman’s son Will and the nephew of Houston Attorney Mark Riley. Riley served as trustee at the foreclosure sale on the Capital Grille property. What a small world.

Records from a federal bankruptcy case were delivered to Dolcefino Consulting with a return address of Austin Infiniti, Inc.—one of Hardeman’s car dealerships. The documents detail how Bayne was able to buy the debt on the Capital Grille property.

The records show most of the funding for Colorado Third Street, LLC came from Austin Infiniti, Inc. and Continental Cars, Inc. Both companies loaned Colorado Third Street, LLC more than $3.8 million on May 1, 2020—just two weeks after both companies received their PPP bailout money.

Dolcefino Consulting’s expanding real estate investigations began with scrutiny of multiple allegations of fraud involving embattled Houston real estate developer Ali Choudhri. One of Choudhri’s companies has now filed suit in Austin claiming that a May auction handled by Riley and involving another one of Nate Paul’s properties—4811 South Congress Avenue—was rigged.

Maybe Ali Choudhri is just the tip of the Texas real estate iceberg.

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In plain dollar for dollar terms, Bitcoin moved more in terms of price in 2021 alone than its entire history before it. The cryptocurrency closed the year in 2020 with a new high over $20,000, but from the start of 2021 to the high of the year, Bitcoin grew another $45,000 per coin.

It has since dropped more than 50% of that all-time high price, leaving crypto market participants wondering why the crash happened, and if the bull run is over. But before that can be understood, we have to first understand what caused the spike in Bitcoin price in the first place.

Getting an in-depth look at all the factors that prompted the uptrend can help shed light on if the rally is over for good and a new bear market here, of it this is merely a pause before another leg up and more all-time highs.

Why People Invest In Bitcoin And Cryptocurrencies

Time and time again, it has been proven that Bitcoin can be a worthwhile investment and a great, uncorrelated addition to a savvy investor’s portfolio. In fact, it is among the best performing investments in history, despite still being considered a dangerous and sometimes risky asset class. The risk is associated with the cryptocurrency’s volatility which is amplified by being a speculative asset. Speculative assets are highly susceptible to changes in sentiment, making the resulting changes in price action that much more powerful.

It has gone from virtually worthless and of interest only to hobbyist cypherpunks to being a highly sought and scarce asset that everyone in the world wants to own a piece of. The ROI is in the hundreds of thousands, if not more, but the cryptocurrency keeps on climbing.

Knowing the asset’s potential is one of the main reasons the price spiked in 2021. Any financial market prices in all available data, including news, and even the expected future results of an asset. In fact, most assets trade at the prices they will be worth in the future, and not at their actual valuation. Crypto is no different, and possibly even more departed from its value – because no one truly knows what the value should be.

Future Price Predictions Fuel Rally

But Bitcoin is one of the few cryptocurrencies with enough price history to predict future outcomes, and almost all analysts who have looked at a Bitcoin price chart see big things in the cryptocurrency’s future.

The cryptocurrency is projected by many ranging from the likes of Max Keiser to Tim Draper and Cathie Wood to reach hundreds of thousands of dollars per coin in the next several years. With expectations like that, crypto investors are hard to break and it took a major 50% correction to get some long term holders to finally capitulate.

The spike was driven in large part by the expectation that the price of Bitcoin would rise in 2020, but the expectation itself was driven by a variety of other factors.

Digital Gold Narrative Floods Crypto Market With Trillions

The digital gold narrative was one of the primary factors in Bitcoin’s parabolic climb in 2020. The cryptocurrency was designed by the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto to share many of the same attributes as the precious metal, such as scarcity.

Gold has long been used as a monetary standard, however, Bitcoin is better than gold in every way. The cryptocurrency can be sent across communications channels due to having no physical footprint, and requires no space to store. It is even more scarce than gold, with a fixed supply that can never be increased.

The gold market is worth more than ten trillion dollars, and even just a small amount of it coming out of precious metals and flowing into the ultra scarce, low liquid crypto market sent speculative asset prices soaring. Bitcoin reached more than $1 trillion itself, with the crypto market reaching nearly $3 trillion in total value. But then a crash happened, and the entire crypto market is now less than $2 trillion with Bitcoin included.

The Bitcoin Halving Crushes Supply When Demand Is Highest

The cryptocurrency’s hard-coded halving in May of 2020 was another major factor in causing the spike. Demand for the cryptocurrency had been rising naturally after a long bear market. When demand was at the highest in years, the supply was slashed in half by the cryptocurrency’s underlying protocol.

With less BTC flowing into the market from miners, and no more holders willing to sell, the price per Bitcoin rose exponentially, and it carried the rest of the crypto market up with it. DeFi coins exploded, and Ethereum set a new peak also. The entire market was soaring.

Capital seemed to be flowing into crypto from every angle, and it was. Which leads us to another primary factor in the cryptocurrency’s epic rise to stardom in 2021.

Stimulus Money, The Fail of Fiat, And The Future Of Bitcoin

The rise began with Black Thursday, and the massive stimulus rolled out since to save the economy and keep markets afloat. Central banks and governments have collectively added trillions of dollars to the global money supply, all while the total supply of BTC has stayed the same, and the incoming supply has dropped.

The fall of fiat currencies could soon arrive, and inflation is already running wild and causing consumer prices to skyrocket across the board. If this happens, the true value of cryptocurrency scarcity could show its hand in the coming years.

With the economy still on thin ice and unprecedented money printing failing to hold up the stock market, another big crash is imminent. If and when central banks again try to prop things up, Bitcoin will spike yet again, and the bull market will continue. Buying Bitcoin in many ways, is an insurance policy against any potential outcomes where the US dollar fails, and a new currency prevails.

The rest of the year of 2021 is bound to be an exciting one as bulls and bears collide to decide the future fate of the crypto market.

Image source Flickr

MasterCard has been indefinitely barred from issuing new debit or credit cards to domestic customers in India.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has accused MasterCard of violating data storage laws.

India’s central bank said MasterCard had not complied with rules requiring foreign card networks to store data on Indian payments exclusively in India.

There has been no response from the global payments service provider.

The payments service provider will be prohibited from issuing debit, credit or prepaid cards to customers in India from July 22.

The RBI’s decision will not have any impact on MasterCard’s existing customers. 

The bank said MasterCard had violated a 2018 order directing payments data to be stored in India. This would allow the regulator “unfettered supervisory access” to payment details.

“Notwithstanding (the) lapse of considerable time and adequate opportunities being given, the entity (MasterCard) has been found to be non-compliant with the directions of Storage Payment System Data,” the RBI said in a notification.

MasterCard and Visa block credit card services to Russian bank customers

MasterCard Unveils Credit Card with Fingerprint Sensor

In 2020, MasterCard accounted for 33% of all card payments in India, according to London-based payments start-up PPRO quoted by AFP.

In 2019, MasterCard announced an investment of a billion dollars over the next five years as part of its expansion plans in India.

Earlier this year, American Express and Diners Club were blocked from issuing new cards due to similar violations.

US-based payment service providers have lobbied aggressively against the 2018 directive, saying such a move would increase their costs of doing business in India.

However, India’s central bank has not relented.

Image source; AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee

The science behind building construction has come a long way over the years, and today’s buildings tend to be much stronger and sturdier than those that have come before. However, there are still stories of recently-built buildings collapsing unexpectedly, such as the Champlain Towers condo building in Surfside, Florida.

In the wake of that collapse, scientists and engineers have suggested that attitudes towards infrastructure and construction may need to evolve drastically in the years to come in order to prevent similar tragedies from occurring. But this is far from a new phenomenon. Throughout history, mankind has consistently sought to find ways to make buildings better and stronger.

Different methods and materials have been used throughout the ages to protect buildings and safeguard their inhabitants, but it’s only recently, with the advent of modern technology, that big breakthroughs have started to be made. Thanks to these exciting advancements in engineering, the future looks bright for buildings worldwide. Here are some of the top technologies that can help to strengthen buildings and reduce the risk of collapse, earthquake damage, and other events.

Levitating Foundations

For many years, base isolation has been targeted by engineers as a key method to make buildings stronger. It’s all about isolating the substructure of a building from the superstructure above. Recently, Japanese engineers have built on this idea to give us the “levitating foundation”, in which the superstructure of the building is actually supported on a thin layer of air, effectively levitating above its base.

The concept is complex in theory, but relatively simple in action: the building’s base is fitted with a powerful air compressor and a series of sensors. If the sensors detect seismic activity, the air compressor activates, forcing air between the building and its base, lifting the mass of the structure to isolate it from the forces in the ground.

Shock Absorbers

Many people are familiar with the idea of shock absorbers. We often associate them with automobiles, where they are used to absorb the energy of impacts in crashes and collisions, thereby reducing the risk of injury to the people inside the car. Well, shock absorbers can also be used in building construction too, designed to absorb energy from seismic waves. They’re designed to essentially transform kinetic energy into heat energy, via a physical process known as damping.

Shock absorbers, or dampers, can be positioned on the different levels of multi-storey buildings, connected to cylinders filled with oil that can absorb the heat energy. If an earthquake or other seismic event occurs, the dampers push into the oil, transforming the energy of the quake into heat energy and thereby protecting the building.

Replaceable Fuses

Many people rely on fuses around the home in various devices and appliances. These little electrical components serve as a form of protection against electrical fires and overheating appliances; if the current in an electrical circuit gets too high, the fuse blows, breaking the flow of electricity to prevent any further damage or risk.

Well, scientists a Stanford University and the University of Illinois have been looking at ways in which fuses can actually be used to prevent buildings from falling down or getting damaged during earthquakes too. The fuses, made of steel, are positioned between the frames of the building or at the bases of columns of a specially designed, flexible structure. Then, if an earthquake occurs, the fuses are effectively able to absorb seismic energy, and even if they “blow”, they can be replaced quite easily and cheaply.

Carbon Fiber Wraps

In many cases, these new technologies are designed to be incorporated in the construction of brand new buildings, but what if there was a way to protect older buildings from future damages by providing them with some kind of shield or reinforcement against seismic waves and other effects? Well, scientists believe they might have the answer in the form of carbon-fiber wrap.

This special kind of wrap, known as FRP or fiber-reinforced plastic wrap, is made with different types of carbon fibers and binding polymers like epoxy and vinyl ester. It’s a very strong yet lightweight material that can be retrofitted around existing support columns of old buildings, giving them a new level of strength and durability.

Final Word

These are just some of the ways in which modern technologies are changing the game for construction engineering, helping to make current and future buildings safer, stronger, and more reliable than ever before, potentially saving lives and averting disasters in the process.

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President Joe Biden has signed an executive order aimed at cracking down on Big Tech and promoting competition.

The move points to President Biden’s desire for tougher scrutiny of Big Tech, which the administration has accused of “undermining competition”.

“Capitalism without competition isn’t capitalism. It’s exploitation,” he said at Friday’s signing event.

The order includes 72 actions and recommendations involving ten agencies.

It suggests that problems have arisen because of large tech firms collecting too much personal information, buying up potential competitors and competing unfairly with small businesses.

Several recommendations it sets out include:

  • Greater scrutiny of mergers in the tech sector
  • New rules to be set out by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on data collection
  • Barring unfair methods of competition on internet marketplaces.

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The Biden administration is also targeting a number of other sectors with the order.

It encourages other government agencies to take action to improve competition across healthcare, travel and agriculture.

Once fully implemented, it would allow hearing aids to be sold over the counter, for example, as well as the ban of early exit fees from internet contracts. It also intends to make it easier for consumers to claim refunds from airlines.

President Biden said that the order seeks to limit the use of “non-compete agreements” as a condition of getting a job, which he claimed can make it harder for people to change jobs and therefore limits wages.

The executive order alone, however, does not mean these recommendations will come into force immediately.

The government agencies responsible will need to implement the changes, while some elements could be subject to court challenges.

The US Chamber of Commerce criticized the order, saying it was “built on the flawed belief that our economy is over-concentrated, stagnant and fails to generate private investment needed to spur innovation”.

It comes weeks after the House Judiciary Committee also voted to approve a series anti-trust bills, which could eventually become law and force big tech firms to transform or even break up their businesses.

Morgan Stanley has reported an 87 percent jump in profits to $1.65 billion in Q3 2014

Morgan Stanley’s staff and clients will be barred from entering the investment bank’s New York offices if they are not fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

According to a person familiar with the matter, unvaccinated employees will need to work remotely.

The policy comes into effect next month, in a move aimed to allow the lifting of other Covid-related rules.

Last week, the Wall Street giant’s chief executive called on workers to return to the office.

An internal memo said: “Starting July 12 all employees, contingent workforce, clients and visitors will be required to attest to being fully vaccinated to access Morgan Stanley buildings in New York City and Westchester.”

The move will allow the company to remove restrictions in offices on face coverings and social distancing.

The policy currently operates on an honor system, but the bank may later decide to require proof of vaccination status.

Morgan Stanley had already implemented so-called “vaccine-only” workspaces in some departments, including institutional securities and wealth management.

Earlier this month, Morgan Stanley chief executive James Gorman said: “If you can go into a restaurant in New York City, you can come into the office.”

Speaking at a conference, James Gorman said he would be “very disappointed” if US-based workers had not returned by September.

It came as a number of banks are taking a tough position on home-working.

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Jamie Dimon, the boss of America’s biggest bank JP Morgan, recently said he wanted US staff back in the office from July.

Meanwhile, Goldman Sachs bankers were instructed to report their vaccine status ahead of returning to their desks earlier this month.

In December, the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a federal agency, gave the go-ahead for companies to bar unvaccinated staff from workplaces, subject to exceptions for religious and medical reasons.

Barclays’ chief executive Jes Staley, said in February that working from home was “not sustainable”. At a virtual meeting of the World Economic Forum, he said: “It will increasingly be a challenge to maintain the culture and collaboration that these large financial institutions seek to have and should have.”

China has intensified its clampdown on cryptocurrencies, telling banks and payments platforms to stop supporting digital currency transactions.

That follows an order on June 18 to shut down Bitcoin mining operations in Sichuan province.

The price of Bitcoin slumped by more 10% on June 21 but stabilized in Asian trading on June 22.

The value of the cryptocurrency has fallen by around 50% since hitting a record high above $63,000 in April.

On June 21, China’s central bank, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), said it had recently summoned several major banks and payments companies to call on them to take tougher action over the trading of cryptocurrencies.

In a statement, the PBOC asked banks not provide products or services such as trading, clearing and settlement for cryptocurrency transactions.

China’s third-largest lender by assets, the Agricultural Bank of China, said it was following the PBOC’s guidance and would conduct due diligence on clients to root out illegal activities involving cryptocurrency mining and transactions.

China’s Postal Savings Bank also said it would not facilitate any cryptocurrency transactions.

Mobile and online payments platform Alipay, which is owned by financial technology giant Ant Group, said it would set up a monitoring system to detect illegal cryptocurrency transactions.

The latest measure came after authorities in the southwest province of Sichuan on June 18 ordered Bitcoin mining operations to close down.

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In 2020, China accounted for around 65% of global Bitcoin production, with Sichuan rating as its second largest producer, according to research by the University of Cambridge.

Last month, China’s cabinet, the State Council, said it would crack down on cryptocurrency mining and trading as part of a campaign to control financial risks.

Some analysts have warned of potential further falls in the price of Bitcoin due to a price chart phenomenon known as a “death cross”, which occurs when a short-term average trendline crosses below a long-term average trendline.

Other cryptocurrencies also fell as investors worried about tougher regulation of digital currencies around the world.

Separately, the auction house Sotheby’s said that a rare pear-shaped diamond that is expected to sell for as much as $15 million can be bought at an auction next month using cryptocurrencies.

It is the first time that such a large diamond has been offered in a public sale with cryptocurrency.

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IKEA France has been fined €1 million ($1.2 million) after it was found guilty of spying on staff, a Versailles court has ruled.

Meanwhile, the former CEO of Ikea France, Jean-Louis Baillot, was given a two-year suspended jail term and €50,000 fine.

The French subsidiary of the Swedish furniture chain was found to have used private detectives and police officers to collect private data on staff. Evidence came to light in 2012.

Stung by the affair, Ikea fired four managers and got a new code of conduct.

The 15 people in the dock at the Versailles court included top executives and former store managers.

Four police officers were also on trial for handing over confidential information.

The mass surveillance system was used by store managers to vet job applicants, as well as checking up on their staff.

Ikea’s annual bill for private investigators ran to as much as €600,000, AFP reports, citing court documents.

In one case, AFP reports, Ikea’s former head of risk wanted to know how an employee could afford a new BMW convertible; he also inquired why a staff member in Bordeaux had “suddenly become a protester”.

That executive, Jean-François Paris, was given an 18-month suspended sentence and a €10,000 fine.

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The prosecution had called for a €2 million fine for Ikea and for Baillot to spend a year in prison, along with a further two years suspended.

The case centered on Ikea France’s surveillance of staff from 2009 to 2012. The scandal was exposed by journalists, then trade unions took legal action.

The illegal surveillance covered about 400 people, state prosecutor Pamela Tabardel said.

“What’s at stake is the protection of our private lives against the threat of mass surveillance,” she said when the trial opened in March.

Managers were found to have used a private security firm, Eirpace, which in turn collected personal data from the police. It included information about lifestyles and any previous criminal convictions.

The Eirpace boss, Jean-Pierre Fourès, was given a two-year suspended sentence and a €20,000 fine.

When the trial opened, Ikea France issued a statement saying it “strongly condemned” the privacy violations and it apologized for “this situation which does serious harm to the company’s values and ethical standards”.

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To fill vacancies, hiring managers generally have two options, hiring someone externally or promoting from within. While there are pros and cons of each, there are many benefits to filling that role with a current employee, including these.

Save Time and Money

The Society for Human Resource Management reports that the time to hire has been increasing significantly over the past decade or so. By promoting from within, you’ll get someone in the role much quicker and at a much lower price tag. The cost of filling a vacant position is tied to time – it increases every day it goes unfilled, not to mention there may be existing employees who have to cover the duties of that position, sacrificing their time and productivity too. The time it takes to onboard and train a brand new employee also adds to the overall cost.

While having an applicant tracking system (ATS) will help streamline the process, when you look within your organization to hire, you’ll save significantly on both time and money.

It Provides Motivation

When you promote from within, your employees will know that there are opportunities for career development which helps keep them motivated to work harder, encouraging them to do their best. It creates an atmosphere of optimism that tends to have a positive effect on the entire team, and, ultimately, the entire company. Hiring externally when there may be someone already there who is perfect for the role can have the opposite effect, sapping motivation.

Employee Retention

Not only does promoting from within help to create a more positive environment with employees motivated to work harder, but it can also improve employee retention. People will see that there are opportunities for career growth and will be less likely to look elsewhere. In fact, surveys have found that the most commonly cited reason for leaving a job other than pay is a lack of career growth.

You Already Know the Employee is a Good Cultural Fit

While skills and experience are important, a good cultural fit is also a key piece of the puzzle. When hiring a brand-new employee, their resume may be perfect, but it’s difficult to know whether or not they’ll fit in with the company’s culture. Perhaps they won’t be able to keep up with the fast pace, or worse, have anger issues that make them a loose cannon, creating tension that harms the work environment. When promoting from within, you’ll avoid the friction that comes with having to ramp up someone from the outside instead of bringing in an employee who already embodies the organization’s DNA.

You’ll Bolster Your Company’s Reputation

A great company image will attract the very best talent as the best applicants will do their research on companies before making any commitment. If your organization is known for rewarding employees for their long-term dedication, it not only improves morale, but it will bolster your reputation to keep you competitive in the job market when you’re truly in need of a new hire from the outside.