Negative Credit Card Reports Show More Predatory Practices Than Cash Advances

Upon getting information about an upcoming school science fair and the need to consider a topic of interest, many students will typically have no idea where to get started. While the science fair is typically a common occurrence in any school at any grade level, there are different types of topics that should be taken a look at depending on the age of the student. After first taking a look at the many different categories of science projects, you will be able to locate a suitable choice of topic to take to the next level.There is a wide variety of categories that fall under the types of science projects that can be chosen for a school science fair. These include biology, chemistry, physics, microbiology, biochemistry, medicine, environmental, mathematics, engineering, and earth science. While you may not have yet learned very much in any of these categories, don’t be afraid to see what each one entails. Taking a good look at your interests will allow you to focus on the right direction to take.Many resources are also available for those who are unsure as to the topic they are wanting to use to create their science projects. If you take a look at the topics that fall under the biology category, you will likely notice that there are topics that deal with plants, animals, and humans. For those who are in 2nd grade or 3rd grade, an interesting topic may be to determine if ants are picky over what type of food they eat. While this topic might not be of interest to an 8th grader, it is certainly something in the biology category that an elementary school student would enjoy.Along with the biology category, a high school student may want to take a look at diffusion and osmosis in animal cells as this would be a more appropriate topic for the grade level. A student in 6th grade would be more advanced than an elementary school student, but not as advanced as a high school student. At this middle school grade level, a topic of how pH levels effect the lifespan of a tadpole may be of interest.Whichever resource is used to locate a topic for science projects, it is always a good idea to consider the grade level of the student prior to making a selection. It is always assumed to be best to have a project at an appropriate level in order to keep the attention of the student and provide a fun and enjoyable learning experience.

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Making Money With An E-Commerce Website

Everyone has ideas, however it’s focusing those ideas correctly that will make or break your online business.Most Common E-Commerce Websites;
Store / Dropship
Review Site / Affiliate
Store / Dropship WebsitesUnfortunately Web Stores are by far the most popular type of website Newbies choose, they are also the hardest type of website to support & be successful with. Unless you are offering something totally unique, or your web store is an extension of an existing brick & mortar store, please think again when considering an online store as your e-commerce website.Reasons to reconsider;1/ Website Costs – As a store you need either e-commerce shopping cart software or an e-commerce provider plus a https:// Domain to accept credit card payments. 2/ Product Sourcing – Obtaining products at low wholesale pricing may require “Company Incorporation”. Even then your volume will be so low when starting, it is unlikely you will have a very large profit margin, especially if you are competing in competitive markets.3/ Time – If you are considering an E-Commerce website as a second source of income, then the time you are prepared to commit to the website is a major deciding factor as to the type of site you should build. Stores require daily accounting, telephone support, email support & shipping & receiving. If you don’t have the time consider a  different type of site.Review Site / AffiliateIf you have just been put off building a web store then this is the type of e-commerce website for you.Affiliate sites have all the advantages of a web store without the hassle.Affiliate marketing is very simple, Vendors offer a percentage of their sale price to the person that sent them the customer. Without going into the technical aspects vendors provide you with a unique link which you place on your site, if your visitor follows your link & buys a product  you get a commission.You are not limited to promoting only one vendor so Review sites are a great idea. Join the affiliate programs of several vendors offering similar products. Create a site that compares these products with your affiliate links tagged as “More Info” or “Buy Now” If your visitor buys any of the products after visiting your site you make money.There is no support, & no requirement for secure domains or payment providers. You will be paid by check or directly into a PayPal account.NOTE: The one disadvantage of affiliate marketing is that you don’t generate a customer list. List building is very important so offer your visitors an incentive to leave their personal information.AdSenseBy far the easiest type of  e-commerce website to build.Articles, RSS feeds, even automated content providers make AdSense sites simple to build & maintain with original & updating free content.Once you have decided on a general topic & a relevant domain name, simply build pages using freely available Articles, RSS feeds or write your own. Insert your AdSense code (Google Adverts) in and around the articles & promote the site. Google will pay you for anyone that visits your site & clicks on an ad.There are many different  ways of making money with an e-commerce website, however these are the most popular.

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Know About Some of the Exclusive Computer Games

Being a computer lover, you will be fond of playing and searching for new computer games. Online search is the best medium to search for exclusive computer games. But would you like to take our help in exploring the great computer games you have not played yet? Reading out this article can save your time in the sense that you will not unnecessarily search the websites. You simply can put up the name of the game in the search box, and get to play a new game.Some of the great computer games that you have not played yet may be Snowboard Challenge, Space Dude, Bistro Stars and others. These games are very much appropriate for children as they are free from fast track stages and aggressive music. While Snowboard Challenge is about climbing a snowy mountain peak in a limited number of attempts, Space Dude deals with the space journey where a player gets only two chances to survive. These games have very soft color contrasts and a child can play it quite easily.Similarly, if you are a female, there are various great computer games that you have not played ever, like Nicole running on the beach. This is a very soft game in which the computer user plays as Nicole (a famous Hollywood actress) and she has to chase all computer players. This is just like other racing computer games with the difference that in this game there are only female players and they have to run barefooted on the sands of the beach. This feature makes it glamorous and popular as well.For boys there are a number of great computer games that they have not played yet. For example, there are a number of car and bike racing games. However, these are old games but new games keep developing with new set and background in which a player has to fight against the villain while racing against other players. These games are more preferable in the computer games parlor where there are all devices attached to the computers.Youngsters will also love to play games like love Line and Trijinx that are some kind of mind games where everything depends on clever strategies. These games do not require much equipment. Just a keyboard and normal mouse will be enough to play the games. But in other games, there need to be additional devices like console and pedals. You can also purchase them as second hand for small amounts.If you are really interested in any of the above mentioned games, you can search them on your Internet or simply go to a computer game parlor. If you like them, you can download them in your system. Internet is packed with information about other great computer games that you have not played yet. Search for them and enjoy the spare time that you occasionally get.

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A Comprehensive Guide on Fashion Trend Forecasting

What is Fashion Trend Forecasting?Fashion trend forecasting also known as fashion forecasting is the study that focuses on current fashion and predicts the future and upcoming trends. A forecaster focuses on certain key elements like color, fabric, texture, print, graphics, etc. to predict future trends relating to the industry. It applies to all fields of the fashion industry, be it street clothes, ready-to-wear clothes or of any other type. Trend forecasters focus not only on this industry, but also takes into account the viability of other important industries like – automobile, food, literature and home furnishings, etc. to predict the future trend in fashion.Factors determining the trends:Popular fashion also called pop fashion, is a volatile market and depends on several external factors. Some of the factors which heavily influence the future trends are-

Color and Fabric – These are the two most important factors affecting the industry. The forecasters heavily use these two factors to predict the future of fashion.

Celebrities – This is probably the most influential factor determining the future trends. The Red Carpet is the place to look upon for future trends in fashion.

The economy of a country – The economy of a country and how much profit the fashion industry incurs in a particular fiscal year also helps in forecasting future trends about fashion design.

These are the most influential factors that determine the future of fashion. Apart from these factors, there are several other socioeconomic reasons that influence the fashion world in a positive or negative way.Long term forecasting VS Short term Forecasting:Long term forecasting evaluates certain trends and looks into the past for sources of information. The fashion forecasting in case of long term forecasting lasts over 2 years. Several factors like demographics, climate, major international incidents, consumer expectations, etc heavily influence long term fashion trend forecasting. Long term forecasting is generally carried out by specialized marketing consultants who have certain experience in the field.Short term forecasting, also known as fad forecasting specializes mainly in predicting near about changes in the future of fashion design. Short term forecasting relies heavily on pop culture and celebrity wear. Certain events like art events, major sports events, some scientific changes also help in short term fashion trend forecasting.Importance -Fashion trend forecasting is very important in the modern world of internet connectivity and accessibility. Without correct and certain forecasts about the fashion world, the production of dresses can be hampered and thus the economy of certain companies can dwindle. Fashion trend forecasting is also very important from a company’s perspective. Not only the forecast helps in mass production but also they affect the overall image of the organization. In this fast era, mistakes in fashion can be very dangerous and harmful.Responsibility of trend forecasting for a company-As earlier said, fashion trends heavily influence the economy of a certain organization. Also, the prediction of future trends is a very important role. Women’s fashion is very volatile and changes every few days, unlike men’s fashion which changes only due to a certain specific event. Major companies have their dedicated fashion team that is responsible for forecasting the future possible trends. Marketing experts also play an important role in forecasting future trends. They set up customized advertisements that set up a stronger foothold for a certain type of fashion.ion.

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Why They Want You to Have Bad Credit

HOW MUCH DOES DAMAGED CREDIT COST YOU?Example 1. $25,000 Auto Loan 5 Years (60 Months)Perfect Credit- Rate=10% Payment = $531.18 Cost of Bad Credit= $0.00
Fair Credit- Rate=14% Payment = $581.71 Cost of Bad Credit= $3031.18
Poor Credit- Rate=20% Payment = $662.35 Cost of Bad Credit= $7870.82BAD CREDIT AUTO LOANS ARE NOTHING COMPARED TO MORTGAGE LOANSExample 2. Mortgage Loan $100,000 30 Years (360 Months)Perfect Credit- Rate 6% Payment $599.66 Cost of Bad Credit $0.00
Fair Credit- Rate 9% Payment $804.83 Cost of Bad Credit $73,861.12
Poor Credit- Rate 14% Payment $1028.62 Cost of Bad Credit $154,425.60HOW LONG IT TAKES TO REPAY A LOANExample 3. $500 Credit card balance at minimum payment of $10 per monthInterest rate 16% Number of months to payoff debt 83. Interest you will pay over time $329.42
Interest rate 19% Number of months to payoff debt 94. Interest you will pay over time $431.08
Interest rate 21% Number of months to payoff debt 120. Interest you will pay over time $698.50
Interest rate 23% Number of months to payoff debt 168. Interest you will pay over time $1,174.36WHY THE CREDIT REPORTING AGENCIES WANT YOU TO HAVE BAD CREDITThe Credit Reporting Agencies (CRA’s) want you to have negative and derogatory items on your credit report because the worse your credit is, the more money they make.Credit scores called FICO scores (FICO stands for Fair Isaac Company, the company that developed the credit scoring model) are between 300 and 850. There is no credit score below 300.Let’s say that you are applying for a car loan and you have a FICO score of 825. This is considered to be excellent credit that presents no risk to the lender. The lender will pull one credit report from each of the CRA’s for about $4 each. Each credit reporting agency, Equifax, Experian and Trans Union will send your credit information to the lender and each CRA will make four dollars. You will get your car loan immediately.Now let’s say that your credit score is only 525. The dealer will start looking for lenders who will make a loan to someone with a risky, low credit score. The lower the FICO score, the riskier the loan becomes and the harder it is to get. The dealer may have to try as many as 20 lenders to find one who will make the loan. Each of the 20 lenders will pull your credit reports and pay $4 each, so each of the Credit Reporting Agencies will now make $80. They make $4 if you have good credit and they can make as much as $80 if you have bad credit. Do they want you to have bad credit? You bet they do.They gather and report information about everyone they can and sell that information to potential creditors. They get their information from creditors, public records, criminal records, hearsay and anywhere else they can. The worse it is for you, the better it is for them. It is in their best interest for you to have bad credit.Experts estimate that 79% of the adult public has at least one false, misleading, inaccurate, negative item on their credit report.Information Supplied by CreditorsCreditors can inadvertently transpose a social security number or account number on your file and send false information to one or more CRA’s. The CRA’s computer database will simply list it under your name and payment history. There are no checks or safeguards in place to verify the accuracy of the information being recorded and distributed about you.Information Supplied by Criminal RecordsCriminal records stay on your credit report for life. There is no expiration time limit as there is for bankruptcy, foreclosure, late pays, charge-off’s etc. The reason criminal records are permanently kept in credit reports, is because they expose mistakes you have made and speak about your judgment and character and whether you are a responsible individual.Information Supplied by Public Records.Public records can cause misinformation to appear on your credit report. If the house you live in has ever been in foreclosure, even if you were not the owner at the time of the action, your name may be associated with the foreclosure. Will the Credit Reporting Agencies volunteer to remove this false information from your credit report? Absolutely not.You have to prove to them that it was not you. It is in the Credit Reporting Agencies’ best interest for negative and derogatory information to be on your credit report. It is up to YOU to monitor the information that they sell and distribute about you.If you have a fairly common name, it is quite likely that someone else’s credit information is mixed with yours. You could be paying increased payments and higher interest for someone else’s mistakes. If your name is Smith and you live on Main Street, you had better be keeping an eye on your credit reports.Mistakes on tax records and false information supplied by public officials can show up on your credit report.For example: If you go to the public bankruptcy records on the PACER website and search for the last name “Smith” in the state of Utah, you will find over 5,500 listings and many of those names will be exactly the same. Some will be in or near the same geographical area. This can result in bad credit for these people whether they actually have justifiable derogatory credit, criminal or public information. They will be cross linked with someone else and the victims will never know until they are denied credit.They may have you listed as having lived at an address you never occupied. That incorrect address may have a name listed which is similar to yours. Nevertheless, someone else’s bad credit information can show up on your credit report.Again, if you have a common name, the CRA may have listed false information about you. It is a good idea to look up your name in the telephone book, on Google, and similar people search websites to see just how common your name is in your state, county city, town and zip code. The more names you find which are similar to yours, the closer you need to look at your credit report.The CRA’s often ignore a middle initial. For example: If you are John J. Smith in Capitol Heights, MD. 20743 and there is a John A, Smith in the same 20743 zip code, you may be subject to someone else’s bad credit.COMMON MISTAKES MADE BY CRA’sAccount you didn’t open, showing identity theft
Debt(s) discharged in bankruptcy, but still showing a balance
Wrong name, wrong address(es) or wrong account numbers, wrong Social Security (SSID)#
Never late, but shown as late
Paid and closed account shown as open and unpaid
Re-aged account
Unauthorized inquiries with no permissible purposeThe “Big Three” CRA’s have victimized many consumers with false credit reports. These cases include mixed credit files, identity theft cases, re-aged collections, public records mixed, and numerous other reporting ills.Staggering StatisticsOne-quarter of all credit reports contain errors serious enough to result in people being denied credit, access to favorable loan rates, and-in some cases-jobs, according to a report issued Thursday by a consumer group.The group, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG), criticized “the big credit bureaus and big business” for tolerating “big mistakes in credit reports.”"Those mistakes ruin the financial reputations of hardworking Americans,” said Ed Mierzwinski, PIRG’s consumer program director.• Credit files are updated 4.5 billion times each month by the Credit Reporting Agencies and mistakes happen• Twenty-five percent (25%) of the credit reports contained errors serious enough to result in the denial of credit• Seventy-nine percent (79%) of the credit reports contained mistakes of some kind• Fifty-four percent (54%) of the credit reports contained personal demographic identifying information that was misspelled, long-outdated, belonged to a stranger, or was otherwise incorrect• Thirty percent (30%) of the credit reports contained credit accounts that had been closed by the consumer but incorrectly remained listed as open and unpaid.Where to get your free credit reports[]Beware of many of the advertised “free credit reports” with a catchy tune that you hear on the radio and TV. In many cases all you get is a “Tri-Merge” report that is almost useless. You will get tons of email spam soon after.Will Pulling My Own Credit Report Lower My Credit Score?No, getting your own report is considered a “soft” inquiry because you are not applying for credit. Applying for an auto loan, credit card or mortgage is a “hard” inquiry and becomes part of your credit history.Look at your reports very closely and check for wrong addresses, wrong Social Security Number (SSID) wrong account numbers, closed accounts that are showing as open and any other mistakes. Verify that all accounts listed are yours. Look for unauthorized inquiries into your credit that have no permissible purpose. Those need to be removed from your credit report.If you find errors, do not use their “convenient online dispute” process. This speeds up the debt verification process for them. Any disputes you make are to be done only by certified mail.WHAT CAN BAD CREDIT AFFECT?A poor credit rating can affect auto loans, mortgage loans, credit card rates, automobile and other forms of insurance rates, your employment and other aspects of daily life.BEWARE OF JUNK DEBT BUYERSJunk Debt Buyers (or JDB’s) will buy an old debt from many years ago for pennies on the dollar and attempt to collect the full amount of the debt from you. They will buy debt from a creditor that was charged off as many as 20 years ago or longer, that is no longer even listed on your credit report. Junk Debt Buyers are scavengers and bottom feeders. They will call and try to intimidate, harass and embarrass you in an attempt to collect that debt. They will send you threatening letters known in the industry as “dunning letters.”There are several important points to remember concerning Junk Debt Buyers.1. In most cases, if the Statute of Limitations has passed and you cannot be sued for the debt, no matter what the collection agent tells you on the phone or in a letter. If you are sued, an expired Statute of Limitations is the best defense.2. Debt reporting and the Statute of Limitations are based on the Date of Last Activity (DOLA). If you make a payment toward this debt, the Statute of Limitations is violated and this debt can be placed on your credit report, where it will remain for seven years, and you can be sued for this debt. Never make any payments on an old debt that is outside the Statute of Limitations.3. Junk Debt Buyers will deliberately re-age your debt, falsely reporting to the CRA’s that
there has been activity on the account, thus re-setting the date of last activity. Make them prove it.Statute of Limitations on DebtsThe Statute of Limitations for credit purposes limits the amount of time that you can be sued for a debt. There are two important locations for the Statute of Limitations. The first is the state you live in and the second is the state where the creditor is located. The application you signed to apply for the credit may have a Choice of Law clause which names the state where the creditor is located as the state where the Statute of Limitation applies. If there is no such clause or your state law does not allow such clauses, then the Statute of Limitations applies in your state.Oral Contract: You agree to pay money loaned to you by someone, but this contract or agreement is verbal (i.e., no written contract, “handshake agreement”). Remember a verbal contract is legal, but much more difficult to prove in court. Unless an oral debt was recorded or made in front of witnesses who are able and willing to testify, I wouldn’t worry about being sued.Written Contract: You agree to pay on a loan under the terms written in a document, which you and your debtor have signed.Promissory Note: You agree to pay on a loan by way of a written contract, just like the written contract. The big difference between a promissory note and a regular written contract is that the scheduled payments and interest on the loan also is spelled out in the promissory note. A mortgage is a good example of a promissory note.Open-ended Accounts: Are revolving lines of credit with varying balances. The best example is a credit card account. Note: a credit card is ALWAYS an open account. This was established under the Truth-in-Lending Act:When does the Statute of Limitations begin?It begins six months after you made the last payment or the DOLA (Date of Last Activity) on the account.Many people will be intimidated by collection agents threatening legal action and make payments even after the Statute of Limitations has expired. This is the worst thing they could do.• The date of the payment updates the DOLA, violates the Statute of Limitations and will reset the clock at the Credit Reporting Agencies. Items can stay on your credit report for 7 years. If it is year 6 and you make a payment, this late account will now stay on your credit report for another 7 years!• Do not agree to pay for items which have been discharged in bankruptcy, regardless of what a collection agent may say.Know the Statute of Limitations for YOUR state and keep a copy of your credit application so you know what the creditors rights are. Do not be intimidated by collection agents. Here is what the Federal Trade Commission says about Time Barred Debts IF THE STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS HAS NOT EXPIRED?If you are in danger of being sued and collection agents are calling, you may still have options.1. Dispute the debt. Make them prove that the debt exists. If they cannot prove it exists within 30 days, the tables have turned in your favor.2. Try to work only with THE ORIGINAL CREDITOR. If you decide to make payments, ask the original creditor to pull the debt from the collection agency and pay the original creditor directly. This does not always work but sometimes it does.3. Whether you work with the collection agency or the original creditor, do not pay anything unless you get any agreements you have made in writing.4. Pay nothing to anyone, unless you get in writing, that the collection agency or original creditor will update the Credit Reporting Agencies to show payment on the account. In many cases you can pay them in full and they will not report that fact to the CRA’s and the account will remain listed as open and unpaid for the next 7 years even though you paid the debt in full. It is up to you to make sure it is reported correctly.DEALING WITH COLLECTION AGENCIESFirst, if they call you, DO NOT ACKNOWLEDGE THE DEBT or even admit there is any debt. Tell them that you don’t have a clue as to what they are talking about.Second, tell the caller that you do not discuss your personal financial information with strangers over the phone and that if they have anything to say to you, it must be by U.S. Mail. Then, hang up. Do not give them you current address or address of a relative or friend.If and when you get a letter from the collection agency, immediately return a letter to them telling them to:1. Cease and Desist any and all telephone communications with you.2. Cease and Desist any and all attempts to collect this unknown debt, and that3. This letter serves as notice that any and all future phone calls made to you by them will be recorded and that no further notice will be given. This letter is to be sent CMRRR (Certified Mail Return Receipt Requested)4. Make a copy of this letter and keep the CMRRR slips for your records. A CERTIFIED MAIL TRICKMany collection agencies will refuse to sign for certified mail in an attempt to get around the law. Here is a trick I use to get my clients free from the phone and mail harassment.Send the Cease and Desist letter in a box and send it by Fed Ex, signature required. They will not suspect that there is a letter inside the box, especially if you put something in the box to give it some weight. Once they sign for the package, the legal requirements to be considered as delivered and in their possession, have been met.If their harassment continues once you are in possession of the signed delivery receipt, you can sue them under The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.CAN I REPAIR MY OWN CREDIT?”Credit Repair” is a relative term. There is no magic wand that anyone can wave over your credit report and take you from a 500 credit score to an 850. You can have untrue, out-dated information, incorrect addresses, wrong account numbers, closed accounts shown as open, etc. removed from your credit reports if you are persistent, methodical and have the time to do it. It will take you a good amount of time and effort and the Credit Reporting Agencies are quite reluctant to remove negative and derogatory information. They will present you with many road blocks so you must be persistent.If you choose to have a company which specializes in credit services work on your credit, be careful of their claims. If they want you to apply for different identification or tax ID numbers, be advised that you can be prosecuted for this activity.Any company which guarantees that all negative items will be removed are not being truthful. Some companies will dispute all negative items listed on your credit report and your credit will go up until the items are verified, usually within 30 days and then your credit will go right back to where it was before you started. Bankruptcy and foreclosure can sometimes be removed if they cannot be verified but they usually are verified rather quickly.A good credit services company will closely examine your credit reports from all three major credit bureaus and begin the process of using the existing federal laws to force the credit reporting agencies to remove items which do not belong there.If you do not have the time or if you do not wish to confront the agencies, then hire a professional to go to bat for you. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain as long as the company you hire is reputable.

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Forestry Investments – Past Performance and Investment Options

Investors looking to diversify their portfolios and insure their wealth against the ravages of volatility in traditional markets, will most likely have come across a range forestry investments, promising to generate superior inflation-adjusted and risk-adjusted returns for the long-term investor.But how have timber investments performed? And how does the smaller investor participate in this interesting alternative investment asset class?Firstly let’s look at the past performance of forestry investments, as measured by one of the main timber investment indices, the NCREIF Timberland Index; according to this basic measure of investment returns in the sector, this asset class outperformed the S&P500 by some 37 per cent in the 20 years between 1987 and 2007. When stocks delivered average annual returns of 11.5 per cent, forestry investments returned 15.8 per cent.At the same time, returns from investing in timberland and woodlands have been proven to display a much lower volatility, an attractive characteristic for today’s investor.Previously, the majority of investment returns from forestry investments have been mopped up by larger, institutional investors such as pension funds, insurance companies and university endowments, who have collectively placed over $40 billion into timber investments in the past decade.So on to the second question; how do smaller investors participate in this kind of alternative investment?According to a study by Professor John Caulfield of the University of Georgia, returns from forestry investments are three-fold;
An increase in timber volume (biological growth of trees), which accounts for some 61 per cent of return on investment.
Land price appreciation, accounting for only 6 per cent of future returns.
Increase in timber prices per unit, delivering the final 33 per cent of investment returns for timber land owners.So the best way to harness the performance of timber investments is to take ownership of trees, either directly, or through one of the array of forestry investment funds or other structures.Timber REITsOne way for smaller investor to participate in timber investments is through a Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT). These investment structures are like funds, in that investors can buy and sell shares in the trust on an exchange, the REIT acquires and manages timber investment properties, but unlike normal companies must pay out 90 per cent of their earnings to investors through dividends.Some examples of Timber REITs are:Plum Creek Timber is the largest private owner of timberland in the U.S. and the largest timber REIT with a market cap of about $5.6 billion, many investors have chosen this as their route into forestry investments.Potlatch is also a timber investment REIT whileRayonier generates about a 30 per cent of its REIT earnings from timber.Weyerhaeuser has disposed of its paper and packaging businesses and will convert to a REIT by year end.The Wells Timberland REIT is not publicly listed but may be available for purchase through Wells Real Estate Funds.Another way for smaller investors to add forestry investments to their portfolios is to buy Exchange Traded Funds that attempt to track the performance of timber returns. This is less direct than owing timberland, or investing in a timber REIT, as the ETF may also invest in shares in companies involved in the timber supply chain including processors and distributors. This means that investing in forestry through ETFs exposes the investor to some of the volatility of equity markets.The Guggenheim Timber ETF owns about 25 stocks and REITs involved in the global timber and paper products industry with a 30% weighting to U.S. companies.The S&P Global Timber & Forestry Index Fund holds 23 securities and is 47 per cent invested in the U.S.Timber Investment Management Organisations (TIMO)Those with more capital to spare can participate in forestry investments through TIMOs, although the majority of these investment specialists require a minimum investment of $1 million to $5 million and a commitment to tie up funds for up to 15 years. TIMOs essentially trade timber land assets, acquiring suitable properties, managing them to maximise returns for investors, the disposing of them and distributing profits to shareholders.Many experts believe that the active management style of TIMOs ensures that they can be more reactive to market conditions than REITs, and therefore don’t tend to fall and rise in line with the market quite as much.Direct Forestry InvestmentsThose with access to sufficient capital and the appropriate expert advice can invest in physical properties. Commercial timber plantations are complex operations that require skill, knowledge and expertise to manage effectively and maximise returns whilst lowering risk.For armchair investors, or those with less capital to spare, many companies offer investors the opportunity to purchase or lease a small portion or plot within a larger, professionally managed timber plantation. Investors normally take ownership of their plot and trees via leasehold, whilst the timber investment company plants, manages and often harvest the trees on behalf of the investor.Options for investors range from species to species and region to region, with current opportunities in Brazil, Panama, Costa Rica, Germany, Nicaragua and other, more exotic locations like Fiji.Investors should be wary as many of these direct forestry investments are frontloaded with enormous commissions for salesmen and promoters, with many offering ‘agents’ up to 30 per cent commission for the sale of plots to investors, and in many cases, no due diligence even exits.In some cases, the Author has seen forestry investment plots in Brazil packaged and sold to investors for over £100,000 per hectare. Investor should seek advice from an independent consultant with experience of this alternative investment asset class, and who is able to present a complete suite of due diligence material, including an independent valuation of the forestry investment property on offer.SummaryInvestors choose forestry investments due to their effect as an inflation hedge, and their ability to generate non-correlated return on investment in the long-term.Performance of the asset class is driven by demand for timber, weighed against global supplies, and in the long-term we are using timber at a faster pace than we can grow it, making timber investments an attractive asset class for the investor seeking stable, long-term capital appreciation within their investment portfolio.Investors looking into which type of forestry investment is right for them should consult an adviser that can demonstrate experience and expertise within the sector.

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A Hotel Near Sprint Center Draws a Varied Crowd

If you were going to book a room at a hotel near Sprint Center in downtown Kansas City what would you expect? Of course you would expect to be staying at a great hotel with terrific accommodations since this is a busy area of town where hotels are in strict competition with one another. That is a given. But you could also expect something a little bit more interesting from your stay – diversity. A lot of different types of people come to stay near the Sprint Center. If you love to stay in hotels that provide you with the opportunity to meet people from all walks of life, as well as to encounter more than a few people who share your own interests, then there is a good chance that any hotel near Sprint Center will more than meet your travel needs.The main reason that a hotel near Sprint Center is going to draw such a diverse group of visitors is because of the fact that the Sprint Center itself brings in so many different people. The arena hosts huge concerts with performers from different music genres, several different types of sporting events and a number of different events that are designed to appeal to the whole family. On any given week the guests of a one of these hotels may include a young adult couple who are there to see a concert, a group of professional guys letting loose together by enjoying a trip to see a major sports game and several young families attending a specific event at the Sprint Center. Take a look at the Sprint Center calendar for the week that you are planning to be in Kansas City and you will get a good idea of the types of people who might be staying at a hotel near Sprint Center with you.Notably it is not just the Sprint Center itself that entices people to stay in these hotels. This arena is located on one end of the Power and Light District. This is the hip area of town where you can find live music, dance clubs, entertainment, outdoor shopping, restaurants and bars. This area also isn’t all that far from several museums, amusement parks and historic sights, so even the average Kansas City tourist might want to stay in this location. Since these places all draw in their own crowds of people, a hotel near Sprint Center will inevitably also include those visitors who are coming to enjoy the broader range of delights offered by this city. Even if the majority of the guests at the hotel are there to see a basketball game, you will find a few people here and there who are coming to check out the area’s nightlife or other attractions.What is really great about one of these hotels is that it offers precisely this balance between diversity and sameness. Staying at a hotel in this area is going to expose you to a lot of different types of tourists. If you are the kind of person who loves getting to experience the chance to mingle with people who have varied backgrounds and interests, then you will enjoy the opportunity to do so at your hotel. However, there will also be a lot of people at the hotel who are there to see the same event that you have come to enjoy. This means that it will be easy to find people who share your interests and with whom you automatically have something in common. If you prefer to stick to your own, so to speak, then you can do that at a hotel near Sprint Center as well. A hotel in this area gives you the opportunity to enjoy whatever hotel experience is most comfortable for you.

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5 Ways Marketing Departments Help Salespeople Catch Butterflies

Let’s Face It: The Market Is Much Different Than It Was 20 Years AgoIn this day and age, it’s important for businesses to stay competitive. To do so, they must understand what it takes to remain relevant, top-of-mind, and respected by their audience. Cold-calling and brochures alone won’t do the trick anymore. Whether you’re selling products, services, ideas, or technology, your company represents solutions to the problems of prospective customers and your brand can satisfy a want or a need, compelling them to make a purchase. Depending which industry you’re in, the length of a typical sales cycle may vary and, it’s up to your company to nurture prospects along that journey by fostering awareness, creating interest, building a case for why your brand meets their needs, presenting solutions, following up, and winning the customer.Enter Stage Right, MarketingToday’s sales people have many methods of closing deals, and for some it’s easier than others. A lot of it depends on the quality, price, and demand for your product or service, all of which can be amplified with the right tools. More companies than ever are turning to the continually evolving world of marketing to create resources for their sales teams and to generate or increase brand awareness. Marketing – and its parallel relationship to sales – are about so much more than creating fancy flyers about your latest product or promotion. Marketing does something that a sales team alone can’t do: create opportunities where there were none by increasing brand visibility on all fronts and then supporting the sales team with the resources necessary to enrich the selling process by speaking to the needs of the customer on a personal (or organizational) level. This requires insight, data, the ability to relate and identify with consumers, story-telling skills, and the creation of compelling content that will lead to conversions.And what many companies don’t understand about this process is that it often works as much (if not more) behind the scenes as it does outwardly and in-your-face. So much of the marketing world is measured by its effectiveness in capturing leads that convert to sales in an immediate way; however the unseen, intangible results (the part of the iceberg that is under the water) are just as crucial to a business’s success. For every opportunity captured there are multiples more being born, and the length of time it may take to nurture those opportunities into full-blown customers may depend on the prospect’s budget, company initiatives, workload, decision-making ability, and the effectiveness of your company’s sales team.The LifecycleSo think of marketing like the lifecycle of the butterfly. Most people would equate victory with only the emergence of the beautiful monarch, not recognizing that the butterfly wasn’t born looking so regal and enchanting. While the finished product or end result is what most companies focus on, the formative stages that often go unseen for weeks or months are what a marketing department is continually working to build.Many sales-focused organizations miss or fail to recognize the metamorphosis that is about to occur while the “butterfly” is in its caterpillar or chrysalis (cocoon) stage, equating ROI only to spikes in the sales forecast.This can make marketing impact and metrics a little more complicated to measure – it’s not always so black and white. Much of the transformation of opportunities to sales also depends on the relationship between sales and marketing and how well strategies are communicated and executed. A well-supported marketing program hands-down makes your sales team more effective and helps them catch more butterflies.Here’s How to Nourish, Preserve, and Grow Your Butterfly Population
Use original content – Always!An investment in a team member with a strong background in writing, an understanding of your industry and subject matter, and a creative spirit is one of the wisest and most profitable investments your company will ever make. Nothing will stunt your growth faster than failing to invest in the marketing of your company. Without a copy writer or a team of marketing professionals, some companies try to take the DIY approach to branding and communications and don’t understand the risks involved.No one would ever set out to deliberately plagiarize or steal another’s intellectual property, but many people intending to paraphrase or quote a supporting source don’t know how to properly do so. Whether the error is made in print or a digital format, anyone who picks up on it will immediately have a compromised opinion of your company. It can seriously damage your credibility and reputation and, furthermore, if it’s brought to the attention of the original author, you could be sued and fined for copyright infringement and intellectual property theft. There are laws and regulations governing the written words and creative efforts of artists and writers which transcend the print world and include digital works as well. So be sure to lean on someone with a strong writing and marketing background who can tell your story in a compelling way and give a nod to original sources when outside information is used.
Have your finger on the pulse of the industry and marketYour marketing team will keep market research and industry news on their radar screens by subscribing to various newsletters, scouring the internet, monitoring social media, and scoping out competitors and partners. Collecting data, stories and headlines that support your vision through other sources and creatively weaving that information into your communications will augment your authority, make you multi-dimensional, and increase your audience and your reach.
Give credit where credit is dueOf course, giving credit where credit is due is something that all professional marketers must learn and embrace. Point 1 emphasized the importance of accurately citing sources when using outside content as a point of reference, but this doesn’t just apply to written copy: it’s important to credit the creators of images, too. In many articles the image source is listed in order to give credit to the artist or photographer. Even when a company pays for the use of stock images, they will (and should) often indicate the image’s original source by naming the photographer or artist (which is provided in the stock image account subscription).
Start a conversationDon’t let your brand or your customers exist in a vacuum. An effective marketing team balances brand development with promotion and audience engagement. Marketers aren’t supposed to just be all about their efforts to market and promote their company: many marketers make waves for their company by becoming avid readers of other companies’ marketing material!That’s right – consuming other content styles, seeing what’s out there, and commenting on posts to correspond with other writers and audiences is one of the smartest ways to stay current and known. Not only is it a way to glean inspiration and ideas, but it shows the world that your company and brand is one that interfaces with others and is interested in being a part of the local market, instead of living on an island.If your company owns an island and the only inhabitants of the island are its company’s employees, then you will not do very well. Another way to facilitate engagement is to invite feedback and offer incentives for the sharing of your content. Interaction beyond your target customer base is a necessary part of getting your name out there and attracting people to build a bridge to your island.
Trusted partners and finding balanceIf your company outsources its marketing efforts, it’s important to know who you’re working with. You don’t have to pay the biggest and most expensive agency there is – quality marketing support exists for businesses of all sizes and at all levels on the price spectrum. But certain due diligence should be conducted before trusting your company and your reputation to a third party:a. Ask for examples of work done for other companies and make sure it doesn’t all look the same. You want a company who has demonstrated the ability to make its customers stand out, not give them all the same look and feel but in different colors.b. Opt for a company local to you so that their representatives are available for the occasional face-to-face concept meeting. So much can be lost in translation when business is only conducted over the phone or through email. Another benefit to choosing a local partner is that you’ll be more able to evaluate their work and reputation, whereas it may be more difficult to look into a company from another region.c. Look for a company who takes a consultative approach to marketing your brand. The right partner should be eager to work with you and take your vision into consideration, helping you develop your ideas while guiding you through industry standards and best practices with strategic advice.d. You want a partner with a plan. Much like a property design team could give you multiple options for how to maximize your home’s design and function within your renovation budget, a marketing partner should be able to do the same. If they really listen to your goals and needs, they will probably present you with a list of marketing strategies that they could employ at various levels within your budget, showing you the allocation percentage for each area. Ask for these combinations of strategies to be presented in packages, so that they can help you interpret the information and understand where you’ll get the most bang for your buck, short-term and long-term. This will help you achieve balance: hiring a company to build your website may not be a worthwhile investment if you have no one to regularly update your blog, do email marketing, and conduct outreach on your company’s behalf. Outbound needs to be tied to inbound, and vice versa.e. Last but not least, you want consistency. Marketing is a living, breathing entity that needs to be constantly fueled and energized. Ask your marketing partner to present their ongoing plans so that you can keep track of your progress. Things like content calendars, a publishing schedule, and monthly or quarterly development initiatives that align with your budget will all help you get the most out of your spend and capitalize big time. There should be a written agreement as to how many times per week or month this partner will be creating and promoting content on your behalf, as well as a calendar of scheduled updates to the website, with approximate ETAs in place for any larger campaigns or initiatives.
All of these points apply whether you’re outsourcing your company’s marketing or keeping it in-house. But having the right team in place and knowing what to ask for is crucial to marketing success, whether you’re in retail, financial services, the hospitality industry, or professional services. It’s true that B2B and B2C marketing are different, but in either case, originality, engagement, collaboration, and consistency will help you fill that butterfly net.

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Property Investment on the French Riviera – South of France

Whether you dream of a romantic holiday retreat or look to invest in property in a safe and stable country close to home, property in France and especially property on the French Riviera and the south of France can be a good long term and secure option.With a chic, sophisticated lifestyle and a warm climate, the south of France remains a firm favourite amongst foreign property purchasers, especially the British and Scandinavians – this has indeed been the case for many years now.In particular properties for sale in the south of France have always been a popular choice amongst overseas property investors – quaint villages, award-winning beaches glamorous cities such as Cannes and Nice continue to draw property investors to the south of France, as do the top ski-resorts and more inland destinations such as Valbonne and Mougins, not to mention that prevailing sense of natural chic and sophistication that foreign visitors always find so alluring.The value of property in the south of France continues to remain stable and is now moving in a positive direction. Villas and apartments in the south of France boast a strong rental market due to the fact that the vast majority of French citizens rent their homes for fixed terms of 3 years, and this creates a healthy demand for rental property in most major cities and indeed villages further inland such as villas in Valbonne and Mougins. Meanwhile many holiday destinations such as Cannes, Nice, Antibes and these inland villages are still in need of tourist accommodation to satisfy an increasing number of annual tourist arrivals to the French Riviera and the south of France.With flying time of less than 2 hours from the UK and most European cities, the south of France offers property investors easy access via budget airlines plus, an excellent road and rail infrastructure. This naturally has an incredible appeal amongst those looking for a 2nd home or relocation in the south of France and not too far away from the rest of the family back home.France’s proximity to the UK and the rest of Europe is a major factor influencing the success of the property market on the French Riviera allowing homebuyers to visit regularly and cost-effectively, while taking advantage of the slower pace of life, lower crime rates and that certain ‘Jene sais pas’. These have been main ingredients to France’s recipe for success in the eyes of many investors. Property for sale on the French Riviera as an investment continues to be highly popular option amongst many worldwide investors and this remains so in 2011 – the French Riviera can offer you a safe investment within a well tested market.For investors who snap up French Riviera property for sale within its newly developing property markets, good returns can be expected over the medium to long term. The steady progress of France’s general property market and its booming tourist industry in the south of France, prices should continue to rise. Shrewd investors are acting now while prices remain relatively low but rising, and the best French Riviera property investment opportunities are still available.In fact, over the past number of years the quantity of British registered home owners who have taken up residence in France has risen sharply. A large percentage of these properties have been purchased as holiday homes by the British and Scandinavians, reflecting an undying interest in French property as a sought after property location.So, why invest in the south of France and the advantages of property investment:Historically, a strong and stable market in which to invest in property and all economic indications show this trend is should to continue
Favourable investment environment with some attractive tax breaks
Within a short distance of the main countries of Europe
Ever increasing inward and overseas investment
Varied climate, ideal for your chosen activity – sun, snow, sea or mountains
Good long term residential property growth potential.
Strong rental yields in the region of 5%+
Strong tourist market as France is one of the World’s most visited country
Excellent, modern transportation infrastructure and links with main land Europe
International mortgage providers actively lend on properties in France, making finance for a property in the south of France easily accessible.
Geographical diversity and many natural and cultural attractions, making the south of France a popular tourist location
Chic, cosmopolitan atmosphere with an abundance of culture
Beautiful rural villages with that unmistakable French charm, that continues to draw visitors and expatriates such as Valbonne and Mougins in the south of France
Safe place to buy property due to a strict buying process and legal systemIn summary:If you’re in the market for a second property or are looking to retire abroad or indeed simply looking for a new way of life the south of France and the French Riviera ticks every box. Your first step is to find a reputable estate agent actually based on the French Riviera. Buying from a distance is never easy, so you need someone with local experience to do all the leg work for you.You need to give them your budget, preferred location, time-lines and property requirements, (number of bedrooms, swimming pool, property size, size of garden etc) the real estate agent will supply you with a short list of properties on the French Riviera and you can then arrange a viewing visit to these short listed properties for sale in the south of France and on the French Riviera. The estate agent with their local knowledge will be there to help you every step of the way. So, what are you waiting for get searching for that dream property for sale in the south of France and the French Riviera.

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There is an excessive amount of traffic coming from your Region.


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