Latest Posts

The 3 Must-Know Employee Benefits Trends of 2016 (Thus Far)

With the first half of 2016 under our belt, more and more employers are looking ahead to the beginning of 2017 and the possible changes they will have to make to their group employee benefits plan. Likewise, since it is an election year, the uncertainty (and dare I say it, anxiety) is great. The four trends I'll discuss today are areas that are driven largely by changes related to employee's response to social demands in the workforce and the ever-increasing cost of health care delivery....Read more

The Ballad of Tudor Jones

Do you remember the famous “Ballad of John Henry?” According to folklore, John Henry, the greatest steel driving man alive in the late 1880’s, took on the new steam steel drilling machine to show that no machine could beat a man. Unfortunately, John Henry lost and died. The ballad was an allegory to the rise of machines and perhaps the descent of man. It was a pretty sad day when John Henry keeled over, and to me, it’s a pretty sad day to see that Paul Tudor Jones, the proverbial Babe Ruth of...Read more

How to Choose the Right Path for Strategic Growth

Okay, the economy has picked up and your organization has capital to deploy for better returns. Strategically, what do you do? Do you try to grow organically or through acquisition?  Both offer sunny skies and trapdoors to deep, dark places, so it’s critical that you choose your steps wisely! Read more

6 Tips to Streamline Your Open Enrollment Process

For business owners and human resources professionals, open enrollment is often a stressful and hectic time, complete with deadlines and disinterested employees. While we can't take away all the pain involved in open enrollment, we have some tips to minimize problems, maximize efficiency, and make the process flow much more smoothly. Read more

5 Hazards that Could Make Your New Home a Riskier Investment

When purchasing a new home or property, there are many things to consider beyond price, location, and square footage, particularly if it’s a vacation home near a flood zone or the coastline. These picturesque homes that check all your “want boxes” have more considerations to be appreciated. Read more

It's Not Nice to Fool Mother Nature

One topic of discussion in this presidential election season is what to do about the tremendous burden student loans are putting on our millennial generation and their parents as they grapple with the soaring costs of college education. This debt is a growing problem and is beginning to put a serious drag on our economy. The current narrative being used to explain the problem is frighteningly similar to the subprime home lending market from the 2000s. Read more

Effectively Communicate with Indirect Borrowers

Indirect loans are becoming increasingly popular in the modern lending landscape. While these products can be great for borrowers seeking the best rates and financial institutions hoping to expand their business, indirect lending also creates a unique set of challenges. Borrowers may never visit the institution they loan from—and oftentimes they don’t even speak to a lender at the institution before signing papers! Even if you never meet your borrowers face-to-face, it is important to maintain...Read more

The Top 8 Questions You Should Ask Your Potential Payroll Provider

When it comes to running your business, there are many key factors that play a huge roll in keeping it well oiled, especially when it comes to expenses. One of the most critical, time consuming, and important components when it comes to employees is payroll. They want to be paid, and they want to be paid on time. Other than the act of paying out employees, businesses also have to ensure they fully understand and comply with all applicable tax and employment laws. When it comes to the IRS and...Read more

The What, When, and Why of Home Equity Loans

You’ve probably heard the phrase “home equity,” likely during a commercial asking you to pull the equity out of your home through a home equity loan or home equity line of credit (HELOC). So, what is home equity? Read more

Waist Deep in the Big Muddy

Today’s title comes from the old Pete Seeger song of the same name. He originally wrote the song about an experience he had in the army when his platoon leader was leading them perilously through a swamp. The most famous line from the song was: “We were waist deep in the Big Muddy and the big fool said to push on.” Mr. Seeger, many thought, was using the song as an allegory to President Johnson and the war in Vietnam. The gist being, a fool marches himself into an impossible situation but...Read more

The DOL's New Overtime Rule for Salaried Employees

Business owners deal with many tasks when it comes to running their business and making it successful. Typical days involve handling sales, setting growth plans, hiring new employees, complying with new labor laws, and administering payroll, just to name a few. The constant is that change is inevitable in the business world. As a business owner, it is prudent that you remain up-to-date with the latest labor laws published by the Department of Labor (DOL) and, more importantly, you act...Read more

Recovering from Flood Damage: A How-To Guide

Anywhere it rains, it can flood. In fact, 20% of flood claims come from places where flood risk is low [Click to Tweet!]. A flood can be caused by hurricanes, overflowing levees, outdated or clogged drain systems, and rapid accumulation of rainfall. Flooding is the most common natural disaster in the United States, causing $3.5 billion in losses between 2005 and 2014, according to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), a government-sponsored organization that provides flood...Read more

Protect Your Business With Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI)

As a business leader, it is important to protect your company. It is your livelihood. One important thing to safeguard your business from are employment lawsuits. In the past 20 years, employment lawsuits have risen nearly 400%. Most are filed against large corporations, but no company is immune. Whether large or small, employment practices liability insurance policy (EPLI) is one way to protect your business from the potential monetary damages that a lawsuit can bring. Read more

Homebuying 101: Home Inspection vs. Real Estate Appraisal

In a previous post, Homebuying 101: Prequalification versus Preapproval, we explained two commonly mistaken terms in the homebuying process. Now that you have a better understanding of prequalification and preapproval, we would like to familiarize you with two more commonly mistaken, but also closely related, terms involved with the homebuying process—home inspection versus real estate appraisal. Even though these two terms are both important in the homebuying process, they possess two...Read more

A Handy Guide to Successful Employment Screening

Finding a qualified candidate can sometimes feel like searching for a needle in a haystack. So, when you finally come across that perfect candidate, you want to get them all settled in ASAP. Unfortunately, that’s not exactly how it works. Hiring is a complex task with many moving parts—background checks, drug tests, information verification. Talk about exhausting! But luckily, for most of us, this long process pays off in the end, resulting with quality employees and a safer work environment. Read more

With a Term Life Policy, You CAN Afford Life Insurance Coverage

Time waits for no one, and now is the time to buy life insurance. No one likes talking about passing away, but your mind will be at ease if you know your family is protected in the event of your untimely death. At the average cost of $13 per month for a healthy 30-year-old male, term life insurance is far more affordable than you—or the majority of Americans, for that matter—may realize. Read more

Manage Your Money Like a Pro with 7 Financial Apps

When it comes to your money, it pays to be organized. Sometimes, literally. Why not put technology to work for you to make financial management easier? Here are some smartphone apps that make easy work of creating a budget, tracking your spending, and accumulating savings. Unless otherwise noted, the apps below are available for Apple iOS and Android phones. Read more

3 Companies with Kick-Butt Company Culture

A company’s culture commonly refers to employees’ shared beliefs and values and how they’re “brought to life” in the workplace, and it is a key component of employee retention. Company culture is defined and set from the top down, by the leaders of your organization. Leadership should take a proactive role and define the core company values, if not already established. Remember to be authentic because your company is unique, and the values and principles of the company should reflect this...Read more

Homebuying 101: Conventional Mortgage Loans Explained

When it comes to buying a home, particularly for the first-time homebuyer, it can be a bit overwhelming. Whether you're researching on your own or you meet with a REALTOR® or lender, you start hearing vernacular and jargon that might make your head spin. While you may want to focus on finding the perfect home with curb appeal in the right school district, your lender could be asking you questions about fixed rates, APRs, and LTVs, and suddenly you realize the homebuying process is a marathon,...Read more

Home Selling 101: How to Stage Your Home

Did you know that most buyers form an opinion about a home within the first 7–10 seconds of walking through the front door? When you are selling your home, first impressions are critical; from curb appeal to walking through the front door, your buyer needs to be impressed with how your house looks, and even more, they need to be able to envision themselves living there. However, this doesn't mean that you need to go out, break the bank, and buy brand new furniture and home decor in order to do...Read more