Desirable Home Furniture

Making do with desirable home furniture

The people that buy a piece of the timeless versions of oak dressers that have graced homes in all styles will find that they also have something that is durable. The durability of this type of furniture is one of its most compelling selling points and it is the reason that the public is enamored with it. We are constantly looking for things that can last us a very long time. When we decide to buy this item we know that it can meet this need. You can expect staying power with a piece of the timeless versions of oak dressers that have graced homes in all styles. Of course some people live transient lives that need change.

There are homes where the changing of furniture is just a matter of course. They will not hesitate to dump the items that they consider to be dull. If a piece of the timeless versions of oak dressers that have graced homes in all styles seems to fit the bill then they will get rid of it. This is just one of the ways that people manage their homes. We are in no position to criticize unless we are responsible for managing their budgets. The work that goes into the items is limited. You will be set up when you buy a piece of the timeless versions of oak dressers that have graced homes in all styles. They just quietly do their job and you do not have to replace them.

It is also one of the styles that are very versatile. You can have both the modern and ancient versions of your home using a piece of the timeless versions of oak dressers that have graced homes in all styles. The furniture is able to fit in with most of the decorative decisions that you make. In fact even the most eccentric homes will find that they are able to enjoy the benefits of this type of thing. You do not have to change the decor in your home before you introduce a piece of the timeless versions of oak dressers that have graced homes in all styles. It will just fit in to whatever scheme that you have prepared.

One has to think about the connotations that come with the purchase of a piece of the timeless versions of oak dressers that have graced homes in all styles. This is something that signifies timeless elegance and therefore the other furniture in the room has to be up to scratch. That is why we take the time to examine the different merits of new furniture so that we do not cause a contrast in styles within our home. The purchase of a piece of the timeless versions of oak dressers that have graced homes in all styles will achieve this aim. People with taste can experiment with different types of things but if you have a plain taste then you need to go for the standard fare that is not going to raise eyebrows.

Home Loans to Get the Best of Your Property

At least once in life everyone thinks about moving. Either to a bigger home if the family is growing; or to a smaller one, if the kids are leaving and the actual home is going to be too big for you. Whatever your reason may be, selling a house is always an opportunity.

Home loans, if well used may help you to make a good deal from your property’s sell. There are many suitable options, depending on your situation and what you are looking for. Even with bad credit, and also if you are still repaying your home mortgage.

Types Of Home Loans

There are many options to be evaluated within home loans, you should start evaluating first what is that you want to do. If you want to switch to a bigger home, to a smaller one, and how would you like to invest the extra benefit obtained from the selling, if any.

There are two important home loan categories that you should look at when thinking about moving. Those are, home purchasing loans and home improvement loans.

Home improvement loans point to, as their name says, improve your current home. Either if there are any reparations to be done, or if you would like to make your home look better before selling it, these kinds of loans may be a good help. If you do the right modifications, your home value could be increased by the time you find a buyer. Financial companies will also approve loans for landscape improvements, such as constructing a swimming pool, if that is favorable to increase the property’s value.

Home purchasing loans, in the other hand, are meant to help you on your new home’s purchasing.

Different Options

You will find a wide range of loans within both, home improvement and home purchasing loans.

Home purchasing loans will vary according to what do you intend to do. In example, if you had purchased your actual home whit a home loan which you are still repaying, and the home you are willing to move to will also need extra finance, you could get a home conversion loan. These kinds of loans, place your actual loan into the new home, including the extra amount you need. If you do not have any previous home loan, you can have a mortgage loan or a home equity loan, just over the extra amount you need to buy your new home.

You will also find many options on home improvement loans, the most common are unsecured personal loans for home improvements, home mortgage refinancing, first mortgage loans and second loans.

Unsecured personal loans may be a little more expensive than secured loans since they represent more risk for the lender, but you will not need to have equity in your property or any other collateral to apply. Credit score may be a limitation for the borrowed amount, but you are still eligible even if you have bad credit.

Home mortgage refinancing and first mortgage loans, are good options to evaluate if you have purchased your home with a mortgage loan. First mortgage loans are offered by your current lender, to finance your home improvements over your existent mortgage. With home mortgage refinancing your actual mortgage loan will be refinanced. You will not be borrowing more money, but refinancing will lower your home mortgage monthly payments leaving you extra money to invest on improving your home.

Second loans are suitable if you have an equity in your property to justify the loan.

All these options, if well used may help you to obtain the best of your property’s sell. Try to search and compare as many lenders as you can before you decide to apply for any loan.

Why Travel Solo?

The wonderful thing about travel: it provides you with experiences that will remain locked forever in the scar tissue of your mind – Dave Barry.

Solo travel can be a daunting experience but well-worth the effort. When women travel alone, an entire world of new opportunities opens it’s doors! Unaccompanied women travelers have the gift of being able to focus on their travel needs instead of focusing on everyone else.

And solo travel also offers you the unique opportunity to strike up interesting conversations with people wherever your journeys may take you. Locals and fellow travelers will be impressed by and curious about your brave independence, which can lead to a great conversation and possibly a life-long friendship. So if you are without friends, spouse, family members or a co-worker to share in your travel experience, don’t fret — solo travel offers the opportunity for you to enjoy a trip on your own terms. And the hardest part just may be coming back home!

Women who take the plunge and travel the world alone can truly enjoy tasting the fruits of exotic places, shop for to-die-for fashions in the thick of the world’s most sophisticated cities and really take in ancient sites. The ability to visit the sites that interest you and only you, when and how you want to, allows you to find what truly satisfies you, mind, body and soul.

But how do you know about that out-of-the-way boutique with haute couture at wholesale prices, or how do you find that tasty trattoria in Florence when it’s off the beaten path? A travel agent, of course! A travel agent can not only direct a woman traveling alone to the best and the brightest travel spots to suit her needs, but the travel professional can also offer expert tips, advice and safety precautions. Your travel agent will help you determine the package that will be tailored to fit your needs, guaranteeing your happiness and safety.

A knowledgeable travel agent provides an added sense of security that will be necessary to help your trip run as smoothly as possible. Many women are skeptical of traveling alone due to safety concerns and a lack of time or savvy to plan the trip. A travel agent can schedule unique ways to fill your free time, develop a personalized itinerary, and, if necessary, organize a group tour at your destination. Whatever your travel needs, your agent will be a vital part of ensuring your enjoyment. Your travel agent will also help you understand your surroundings by providing trusted tour guides and helping you to navigate your destination to make sure you avoid potentially dangerous areas.

Safety is an essential part of any travel experience, and when women travel solo, it becomes even more important. Discuss your safety needs with your travel agent and she can offer pointers and tips that only a seasoned traveler would know, keeping you safe and sound as you explore the world. Your agent will offer advice on how to dress and observe cultural norms, helping you to blend in once you arrive at your destination, preventing you from being targeted for crimes or harassment.

A travel agent can also help you stay connected with your loved ones. In today’s high-tech world, your contacts are only a phone call, text message, or email away. Your travel agent can provide a list of cybercaf├ęs, phone services and other communications access points that will help you stay in touch with your family and friends back home, putting your mind and theirs at ease.

If you work closely with your travel agent and use good judgment, you will be equipped with the necessary tools to travel solo and enjoy yourself immensely. The new sights, sounds, locales, museums, restaurants and the possibility of new friends will combine to produce the most memorable experience of your lifetime. The wonders of the world await. So stop waiting for a companion to tag along. Contact your travel agent to create a travel package that you will remember forever!

ENTREPRENEURIAL CHALLENGES – The Case of Royal Bank Zimbabwe Ltd

Industry Shake-up

In December 2003 Mzwimbi went on a well deserved family vacation to the United States, satisfied with the progress and confident that his sprawling empire was on a solid footing. However a call from a business magnate in January 2004 alerted him to what was termed a looming shake- up in the financial services sector. It appears that the incoming governor had confided in a few close colleagues and acquaintances about his plans. This confirmed to Mzwimbi the fears that were arising as RBZ refused to accommodate banks which had liquidity challenges.

The last two months of 2003 saw interest rates soar close to 900% p.a., with the RBZ watching helplessly. The RBZ had the tools and capacity to control these rates but nothing was done to ease the situation. This hiking of interest rates wiped out nearly all the bank’s income made within the year. Bankers normally rely on treasury bills (TBs) since they are easily tradable. Their yield had been good until the interest rates skyrocketed. Consequently bankers were now borrowing at higher interest rates than the treasury bills could cover. Bankers were put in the uncomfortable position of borrowing expensive money and on-lending it cheaply. An example at Royal Bank was an entrepreneur who borrowed $120 million in December 2003, which by March 2004 had ballooned to $500 million due to the excessive rates. Although the cost of funds was now at 900% p.a., Royal Bank had just increased its interest rates to only 400% p.a, meaning that it was funding the client’s shortfall. However this client could not pay it and just returned the $120 million and demonstrated that he had no capacity to pay back the $400 million interest charge. Most bankers accepted this anomaly because they thought it was a temporary dysfunction perpetuated by the inability of an acting governor to make bold decisions. Bankers believed that once a substantive governor was sworn in he would control the interest rates. Much to their dismay, on assuming the governorship Dr. Gono left the rates untamed and hence the situation worsened. This scenario continued up to August 2004, causing considerable strain on entrepreneurial bankers.

On reflection, some bankers feel that the central bank deliberately hiked the interest rates, as this would allow it to restructure the financial services sector. They argue that during the cash crisis of the last half of 2003, bank CEOs would meet often with the RBZ in an effort to find solutions to the crisis. Retrospectively they claim that there is evidence indicating that the current governor though not appointed yet was already in control of the RBZ operations during that time period and was thus responsible for the untenable interest rate regime.

In January 2004, after his vacation, Mzwimbi was informed by the RBZ that Royal had been accommodated for $2 billion on the 28th of December 2003. The Central Bank wanted to know whether this accommodation should be formalized and placed into the newly created Troubled Bank Fund. However, this was expensive money both in terms of the interest rates and also in terms of the conditions and terms of the loan. At Trust Bank, access to this facility had already given the Central Bank the right to force out the top executives, restructure the Board and virtually take over the management of the bank.

Royal Bank turned down the offer and used deposits to pay off the money. However the interest rates did not come down.

During the first quarter of 2004 Trust Bank, Barbican bank and Inter-market Bank were identified as distressed and put under severe corrective orders by the Central Bank.

Royal Assault

Royal Bank remained stable until March 2004. People who had their funds locked up in Inter-market Bank withdrew huge sums of funds from Royal Bank while others were moving to foreign owned banks as the perception created by Central Bank was read by the market to mean that entrepreneurial bankers were fraudsters.

Others withdrew their money on the basis that if financial behemoths like Intermarket can sink, then it could happen to any other indigenous controlled bank. Royal Bank had an advantage that in the smaller towns it was the only bank, so people had no choice. However even in this scenario there were no stable deposits as people kept their funds moving to avoid being caught unawares. For example in one week Royal Bank had withdrawals of over $40 billion but weathered the storm without recourse to Central Bank accommodation.

At this time, newspaper reports indicating some leakage of confidential information started appearing. When confronted, one public paper reporter confided that the information was being supplied to them by the Central Bank. These reports were aimed at causing panic withdrawals and hence exposing banks to depositor flight.

Statutory Reserves

In March 2004, at the point of significant vulnerability, Royal Bank received a letter from RBZ cancelling the exemption from statutory reserve requirements. Statutory reserves are funds, (making up a certain percentage of their total deposits), banks are required to deposit with the Central Bank, at no interest.

When Royal Bank began operations, Mzwimbi applied to the Central Bank – then under Dr Tsumba, for foreign currency to pay for supplies, software and technology infrastructure. No foreign currency could be availed but instead Royal Bank was exempted from paying statutory reserves for one year, thus releasing funds which Royal could use to acquire foreign currency and purchase the needed resources. This was a normal procedure and practice of the Central Bank, which had been made available to other banking institutions as well. This would also enhance the bank’s liquidity position.

Even investors are sometimes offered tax exemptions to encourage and promote investments in any industry. This exemption was delayed due to bungling in the Banking Supervision and Surveillance Department of the RBZ and was thus only implemented a year later, consequently it would run from May 2003 until May 2004. The premature cancellation of this exemption caught Royal Bank by surprise as its cash flow projections had been based on these commencing in May 2004.

When the RBZ insisted, Royal Bank calculated the statutory reserves and noted that, due to a decline in its deposits, it was not eligible for the payment of statutory reserves at that time. When the bank submitted its returns with zero statutory reserves, the Central Bank claimed that the bank was now due for the whole statutory reserve since inception. In effect this was not being treated as a statutory reserve exemption but more as a penalty for evading statutory reserves. Royal Bank appealed. There were conflicting opinions between the Bank Supervision and Capital Markets divisions on the issue as Bank Supervision conceded to the validity of Royal’s position. However Capital Markets insisted that it had instructions from the top to recall the full amount of $23 billion. This was forced onto Royal Bank and transferred without consent to the Troubled Banks Fund at exorbitant rates of 450% p. a.

FML Saga

When FML was demutualising, the executives were concerned about the possibility of being swallowed by its huge strategic partner, Trust Holdings. FML approached Royal Bank and other banks to act as buffers. The agreement was that FML would fund the deal by placing funds with Royal Bank so that Royal would not fund it from its balance sheet.

Consequently FML would leave the deposits with Royal Bank for the tenor of the loan. The deal was consummated through Regal Asset Managers and was to mature in December 2004, at which time it was anticipated that the share price of First Mutual would have blossomed, allowing Royal Bank to harvest its investment and exit profitably. The deal resulted in Regal Asset Managers owning 57 million FML shares. Royal Bank gave FML some securities in the form of treasury bills as collateral for the deposit.

The Reserve Bank and the curator wrote off this investment because at that time FML was suspended at the ZSE. However the fact that it was suspended did not invalidate its value. Recent events have shown that this investment has generated huge capital value for Regal Asset Managers as the ZSE rebounded. Yet the curator valued this investment negatively. Around March 2004 there had been a contagion effect at FML due to the challenges at Trust Bank. This resulted in the forced departure of the FML CEO and chairman. FML was suspended from the local bourse as investigations into the financing structure of Capital Alliance’s acquisition were carried out. Because of the pressure brought to bear on FML, it wanted to withdraw the deposits held by Royal Bank, contrary to the agreement. FML could not locate and return the treasury bills that had been provided as collateral by Royal. Royal Bank suspected that these had been placed with ENG, another asset management company which collapsed in December 2003. A public row broke out. Royal Bank executives sought counsel from Renaissance Merchant Bank, which had brokered the deal, and the Chairman of the ZSE, who both agreed with Royal that the deal was legitimate and FML had to honour the agreement. At this stage FML sought court intervention in an attempt to force Royal Bank into liquidation. Even the curator contested the FML position resulting in his taking it for arbitration. Royal’s position remained that if FML fails to return the securities then it will not get the funds.

Royal bank directors claimed political interference on the issue. The Royal Bank executives believe that the governor, against his better judgment, decided to act against Royal Bank under the pretext of the political pressure. In retrospect, the political support for cracking the whip at Royal gave credence to the rumour that the governor had an underlying agenda in taking Royal and merging it into ZABG because of its strong branch network.

Royal Bank had been warned by friendly RBZ insiders that if it ever accessed the Troubled Bank Fund it would be in trouble, so it sought to avoid this at all costs.

However on 4th August 2004, Royal was served with papers that effectively placed it under the curator. Interestingly, the curator’s contract was signed two days earlier. Until this time no depositor had ever failed to withdraw his deposits from Royal Bank.

The lack of credibility of the Reserve Bank in handling this case is exposed when one considers that some banks were given more than eight months to stabilize under curators, e.g. Intermarket and CFX Banks, and were able to recover. But Royal and Trust Bank were under the curator for less than two months before being amalgamated. The press raised concerns about the curators assuming the role of undertaker rather than nurse, and hence burying these banks.This seemed to confirm the possibility of a hidden agenda on the part of the Central Bank.

Victor Chando

Chando was an excellent financial engineer who set up Victory Financial Services after a stint with MBCA. He had been the brains behind the setting up of the predecessor of Century Discount House which he later sold to Century Holdings. Royal Bank initially had an interest in discount houses and so at inception had included Victor as a significant shareholder. He later acquired Barnfords Securities which Royal intended to bring in-house.

Victory Financial Services was involved in foreign currency dealings, using offshore companies that bought free funds from Zimbabweans abroad and purchased raw materials for Zimbabwean corporations. One such deal with National Foods went sour and the MD reported it to the Central Bank. On investigations the deal was found to be clean but the RBZ went ahead to publish that he was involved in illegal foreign currency transactions and linked this to Royal Bank. However this was a transaction done by a shareholder as an account holder, in which the bank had no interest. What confused matters, was that Victory Financial Services was housed in the same building as Royal Bank.

After failing to nail Chando to any criminal charges, the Central Bank issued an order for Royal Bank to force him out as a shareholder and board member. It is ridiculous that the Central Bank would vet who is a shareholder or not in banks – particularly when the people had no criminal records.

Negotiations with OPEC were underway for it to take over Chando’s shareholding. The Reserve Bank was aware of these developments. OPEC would then help in the recapitalization as well as open up lines of credit for the bank.

The Arrest

In September 2004 the executive directors of Royal Bank, Mzwimbi and Durajadi, were arrested on five allegations of fraudulently prejudicing the bank. One of the charges was that they fraudulently used depositors’ funds to recapitalize the bank.

Three of the charges after police investigations were dropped, as they were not true. The two remaining charges were:

a) a conflict of interest on loans that were made available to the directors. The RBZ alleges that they did not disclose their interests when companies controlled by them accessed loans at concessionary rates from the bank. However the enterprising bankers dispute these charges, as they claim the Board minutes prove that this interest was disclosed. Even the annual financial statements of the bank acknowledge that they accessed loans as part of their employment contract with the bank.

b) money was owed to Finsreal Asset Management. However Mzwimbi argues that Finsreal actually owes them money and not the other way round. Royal Bank shareholders needed to inject money for recapitalization of the bank and were requested to deposit their funds with Finsreal Asset Management. Since some had not paid their portion of the recapitalization by the due date, Royal Financial Holdings, which had an account with Finsreal, paid the money on behalf of the shareholders – who were then indebted to Royal Financial Holdings. Somehow the RBZ confused this transaction as the bank’s funds and therefore accused the

shareholders of using depositors’ funds to recapitalize.

By retrospectively analyzing the court case wherein the Royal Bank executive directors are accused of defrauding the bank it appears that the RBZ created a falsehood in order to frustrate the bankers. The curator who initially refused to take a stand before the RBZ appointed Independent Appeal, has in court clearly testified that no monies were stolen from the bank by the directors and that the curator did not (contrary to RBZ assertions) recommend charges against the bankers. In January 2007 the former executive directors of Royal Bank were acquitted by the High Court on the remaining criminal charges after the prosecution failed to present a convincing argument.

Royal Bank assets were sold by the curator to ZABG barely two months after being placed under the curator, without any audited financial statements. The speed at which an agreement of sale was reached is astonishing. The owners of Royal Bank went to court and, after a protracted legal struggle, the court ruled that the assets were sold illegally and hence the sale was “illegal and of no force or effect and therefore null and void”. The court then directed that the owners should appeal to the Central Bank for a determination of the actions of the curators. The Central Bank begrudgingly set up an “independent panel” to adjudicate the case. Strangely ZABG continued to trade on the illegal assets.

The panel advised that the appeal by Royal bank be rejected as it would be difficult to disentangle it from ZABG. They also cited the fact that ZABG had some contractual obligations with third parties who may not want to do business with Royal bank. This strange ruling fails to explain why these considerations were not made when the amalgamation was done. The ruling also redefined the agreements between the curator of Royal bank and ZABG as not being an “agreement of sale” even though the parties which entered into the agreement clearly intended it to be viewed as such. This was a way of circumventing the Supreme Court ruling that the agreement of sale was null and void.

But the panel did not explain how this disposal of the assets should be considered if it was not a sale.

Consequently the major shareholders of Royal appealed to the Minister of Finance who upheld the RBZ decision. Mzwimbi and his colleagues have therefore appealed to the courts. In the meanwhile there was a failed attempt to sell the disputed assets by ZABG despite the outstanding legal challenge. Just ice delayed is justice denied.

Mzwimbi and his team have been denied access to all bank records and yet are expected to defend themselves. As he characteristically puts it, “We are going into this fight blind folded and our hands bound, while fighting someone who has armour and a sword.”

Significant Home Furniture

Making the use of significant home furniture

You can push the boat out when it comes to significant home furniture. The size that you select will have a direct relationship to the needs that you have. Therefore the living room furniture can be a great addition to your purchasing choices. There are certain issues that you will need to look at in order to get the very best out of your purchase. If you do not look at these issues then it is likely that you are only going to have a brief encounter with your furniture for the home:

    1. The furniture for the home should only carry the weights that are within their class. Some people just assume that the equipment that they are using in the home is able to carry every single burden that they throw at it. This is a very short sighted move that can end up causing significant damage to the things that you are using. It is all about finding the right balance and sticking to it. You can ask the shop assistants for advice on the types of weight that the item can carry in the home. They might give you the insight that will save you from wasting your money. It is a fact of life that you make or break the furniture that you buy.
    1. The useful items for sale should only be used for the purposes for which they were bought. If you sue them as a food store or some other heavy duty tasks then you are setting them up for an early grave. There are reasons why you purchase the item and you should stick to those reasons when it comes to usage. There is no point in trying to turn the product into an all purpose item that you can do anything with. The manufacturers will have made it in such a way that you can enjoy the full benefits of the product. They will also ensure that there is no ambiguity in the way that the product can withstand the pressure expected of it.
    2. Try to handle the affordable home accessories with care. At its core you have a delicate item that will not take well to rough handling. You have to ensure that everyone in the home is aware of the dangers of handling the item so that they do not make silly mistakes. This is how you get the best results from the item. If you handle it badly then it is likely that it will break or need replacement in the short term.
  • You should put the television support equipment products out of the way of playing children. This is very important because children can become unruly. If they are given the chance then they will go for the kill and end up destroying your property. It is the responsibility of the parent to ensure that this does not happen in the long run or within the home.

Travel Insurance for Canadians – Get The Right Policy

Canadians are well known for their unique sense of humor, their hospitality, their smiles, their generosity and of course, their habitual extravagance for travel. It is not unusual that some of the world’s most well traveled people are Canadians. These beautiful Canadians love the sun, culture and food. They are into so many activities that they long to search for new adventures both domestically and locally. Locally, they tend to travel to Canada’s most visited tourist destinations like the Montmorency Falls Park which has a beautiful frozen waterfall whose water plunges up to 83 meters to the river. Other favorite Canadian destinations include the Kananaskis Valley of Adventure and the Watipi Lodge, Campground and Teepee Village. These destinations appear to be always attractive all year round. They are Canada’s pride and the Canadians love them too.

Internationally, Canadians love to travel to places where they could find adventures. They seek countries which have an equal mix of ethnicity and exciting activities. They go to the United States, several parts of Europe and even Asia. Basically, they spend a certain percentage of their earnings in traveling. This is why travel agencies love Canadian clients so much. They are generous and they are always flexible. They can travel even as much as twice a year or they can always get a way to have an escapade from all their doubts and worries.

These travel agencies, however, have also thought of the security involved. Canadian travelers can be subject to several unexpected accidents while on travel. Thus, many travel agencies are now offering travel insurance for Canadians as part of the whole travel package.

Travel insurance for Canadians is something that is always kept an eye on. The government health insurance plans pay only a small part of the expenses incurred during a trip outside Canada or outside the province of residence. Health expenses when traveling are always very expensive with some hospitals charging up to one thousand dollars a day excluding the doctor’s professional fee and the diagnostic laboratory fee. All of these high costs will be charged directly to the patient and his family. These high costs are the least thing a traveler would want. The family will be in charge for the payment of the bills and so, without emergency travel insurance, the person will find it hard to survive.

Take for example, Blue Cross Member Plans, whose members operate on a ‘not-for-profit’ basis which are also independent Members of the Canadian Association of Blue Cross Plans. They are all into commitment of quality service and excellence all rolled into one. They assure that for every Canadian, there is always a suitable travel insurance that depends on his or her personal needs. They are aware that many Canadians are fond of traveling so they have carefully outlines several travel insurance for Canadians. These travel insurance are always a click away from their web site which is always accessible twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. Getting travel insurance for Canadians is the first step in ensuring the enjoyment and safety of the trip.

Pawn Shop Jewelry

It’s thrilling to get a “steal” at a vintage store, antique mall or consignment shop that you might not have bought elsewhere at full price. But what would you do if you found out that the half-price platinum watch encrusted with diamonds was a stolen good? Pawnshops have for decades been a place where people go to save some money (or get some money). In a time where a penny saved is a penny earned, discounted used items are flying off the shelves at places like the World Famous Gold & Silver Pawn Shop, whose day-to-day operations are dramatized on the History channel show Pawn Stars.

Some items, like tools and furniture, are straightforward to purchase, since their condition can usually be assessed with a thorough look-over. A Cartier bracelet or a De Beers ring is more complex than that. Pawnshop owners are jacks-of-all-trades, not specialists in jewelry. While the family-owned establishment on Pawn Stars will hire an appraiser to set a fair price, there is no guarantee that stores not appearing on national television will make that effort. Jewelry pricing goes beyond what the buyer simply thinks the item is worth to them, because so many factors are involved in the investment.

Pawnshops lack the in-depth knowledge that jewelry stores can provide about the actual face value of a piece. Scratches, clouds, and other flaws on a gemstone’s surface are detectable to a trained eye using a magnifier. Lacking these tools and a commitment to the jewelry profession, a pawnbroker could overlook such imperfections and pass a VVS1 diamond off as an FL one. (If you don’t know what that means, ask a jeweler.)

The very nature of a pawnshop can result in the transaction of illegal goods. Desperate people visit pawnbrokers to get easy money in hard times. If someone is behind on their rent, they can give up their jewelry to a pawnshop and be given a loan that they must pay off or forfeit the item. All too often, the original source of the piece is someone else who was robbed by the loan seeker. If this is the case, and it is discovered that the item has been stolen, investigators can demand it be returned to its rightful owner even after a customer of the store has purchased it.

Pawnshops are not the root of all evil; many are run as legitimate businesses. Like any industry, the stores vary depending on the owners and their dedication to serving their customers. If you’re searching for real quality jewelry that will last and can even give you a return on investment, taking your business to an actual jewelry store is the best option.

Tips of Avoiding a Devious Tax Preparer

There are many taxpayers who have found themselves on the wrong side of the IRS because they used the services of unscrupulous tax preparers. There are also others who have had their refunds embezzled by preparers. It is therefore, important that you research a tax preparer before signing up for his or her services. Below are some tips that will help you spot a crooked preparer:

  • Rate Depends on Amount of Refund – Avoid preparers who base their consultation fees based on the amount of a tax refund that they are able to get you. This is because such preparers use dubious ways of increasing your refund, such as inflate figures or including non-existing dependents. Such deceptive ways of increasing your tax refund can easily lead to both civil and criminal charges and therefore, it is important that you avoid such people.
  • Preparers Who Promise Large Refund – Another red flag for dubious preparers is ones who promise to get you a very large refund check as a way of enticing you to hire his or her services. Once again, such preparers may use illegal ways of raising your refund amount and this may easily get you into trouble with the tax authorities.
  • PTIN Qualifications – When searching for a preparer to hire his or her services, it is important that you ensure that the preparer has a Preparer Tax Identity Number (PTIN). As from a policy started in 2012, the IRS is requiring all preparers to apply for the PTIN after meeting certain meticulous qualifications. Once the IRS authenticates the credibility of the preparer, they issue the preparer with the PTIN. Therefore, confirming that your preparer has a PTIN is an important precaution to avoiding shady tax preparers. Besides having the PTIN, the preparer also ought to sign the tax return form before submitting.
  • Deposit Refunds to Preparer Account – Tax preparers who request you to indicate their address for the tax refunds or deposit tax refunds into their bank account are another red flag sign. A tax preparer should always indicate the taxpayers account for the tax refund.
  • Signing Blank Form – Tax preparers that prepare tax returns and submit without you going through the returns is yet another red flag. Some tax preparers will request you to sign a blank tax return form. They will then tell you that they will prepare and submit the return on your behalf and you do not need to confirm the details. Such an arrangement can lead to the preparer giving false information for selfish gain. Even when a taxpayer uses the services of a preparer, he or she is still held responsible for all the information provided on the return. Therefore, ensure that you verify the information indicated on the return before signing the tax return form.
  • FHA Manufactured Home Loan – The Best Way to Finance Manufactured Homes!

    There are many types of FHA Home Loans and you can get many types of homes with them. Getting a home loan can come about for many reasons. Most of the reasons to get a home loan, or even a FHA Home Loan include one or more of the following. Often if you are a first time home-buyer you may need a mortgage loan. But if you are looking to buy a manufactured home you will have a hard time finding a loan program to finance it. There is a good loan program for financing the purchase of manufactured homes and it is the FHA Manufactured Home Loan.

    If you do not have a lot of money to put down on a manufactured home, you can often qualify for a FHA Manufactured Home Loan. The current FHA down payment amount is just 3.5% of the purchase price. While down payment for mortgage loans is 20% or more.

    It is very difficult to find a lender that will do a traditional conventional loan on a manufactured home. One of the reasons is that it much easier to move a manufactured home. This type of home will have a steel beam down the middle of the home making it easier to relocate. This increases the risk for the lender.

    If you are a new home buyer and you are looking at a manufactured home, you will want to keep your monthly payments as low as possible. This is the reason manufactured homes are popular, they are less expensive to buy. Now you have to find a loan program to finance the purchase. You may want to apply for a FHA Manufactured Mortgage Loan.

    If you do not have the best or perfect credit, or are worried about even qualifying for a mortgage, chances are now you can qualify for a FHA Manufactured Home Loan now. With the economy as it is now, although it is improving, some new home owners and buyers may often worry about what will happen to them or their homes if they fall behind on their payments on their homes.

    With a FHA Manufactured Home Loan many of the worries about falling behind on their payments, qualifying for a loan if they do not have the best credit, or any of the usual concerns for first time home buyers are gone. More and more people qualify for FHA Home Loans each day. Getting a mortgage for home is much easier, faster, and often you qualify much easier and faster with more protection than with other home loans.

    You will find that with FHA Home Loans there are lower rates. If you have less than perfect credit you can also still get a FHA loan. There are much more protections for your home with an FHA Manufactured Home Loan than you will find with other home loans.

    There are also many types of FHA Home Loans as well. You can get a fixed rate loan, adjustable rate home loans, and you can even get a FHA Loan to purchase a rehab home. This means that you have found a house you like, but it needs fixing up or repairs. There are even special FHA Loans for these types of homes as well.

    With lower down payment and lower credit requirements, the FHA Manufactured Loan is not only the best loan program but it may be your only choice to finance your home purchase. It is great loan program and you should contact a FHA lender now to get more information.

    Learning English Is Crucial to Your Success

    Learning the English language is truly a necessity for everyone in this day and age. The Internet has really created an interconnected global community, and its universal language is English. It is not uncommon for US, Canadian, Australian and UK businesses to have staff, partners and customers all over the world. The travel industry, international politics, Internet and media are predominantly English now and in order to keep up in today’s world, people are finding that they need to speak English more and more. No matter where you live or what you do, fluency in English is becoming a necessity to function in today’s society.

    As one of the most widely spoken languages, English is known as the international language. Even in countries where it is not the official language, it is becoming more commonly spoken every day. With the current global media influence, English is the most common second language in the world. More than 400 million people speak English as their mother tongue, and over 700 million have learned it as a second language.

    We now live in the “Information Age,” and if you think about it, the majority of that information is in English. Most websites, magazines, books, videos and research materials are in English. If you use the Internet at all in your business or personal affairs, I’m sure you have begun to realize this. In fact, the majority of software on the market today is in English as well, so even using your computer is becoming harder if you don’t speak English. The widespread use of the Internet and social media online has made English proficiency more and more sought after.

    If you are looking to do business globally, or even just in the US market, a solid grasp of the English language will be necessary for you to succeed. The opportunities for business growth or even gainful employment are much greater for English-speaking people. If you currently do business in a non-English speaking country, you can expect your profits to sky-rocket once you expand globally. The US has the highest concentration of consumers in the world and controls most of the market-share in many sectors worldwide. Breaking into that market can be extremely lucrative for overseas businesses that are able to do so, and naturally, you will have much more success if you are fluent in English.

    Career opportunities for people who are fluent in English are much more abundant than for those who are not. People who live in poorer areas of the world can easily get very high-paying jobs in the American market. Teleworking and working online is becoming commonplace in the business world today. American companies are outsourcing work to people in the Philippines, China, India and other countries very frequently now. The vast difference in the rates of pay and cost of living in these countries make it very lucrative for both the employer and the employee. An employee in the Philippines working for an American company, for example, can easily earn a day’s pay in an hour! Adding “Excellent written and spoken English” to your resume or CV will put you miles ahead of the other job applicants and will allow you to earn a higher salary. If you are considering immigrating to an English-speaking country, you will need to prove that you possess a good command of English. Most of these countries have language requirements that must be met in order to gain residency status.

    Those who do business online will be interested to know that over 565 million of Internet users are English. The majority of the websites are English as well. Needless to say, if you want to compete in the global market, English is a requirement, and by having your website available in English, you will increase your reach and readership by leaps and bounds. Expanding your business overseas is much easier these days in our interconnected world, and being able to serve your client base in a common language will allow you to do that.

    Even if you are not interested in doing business globally, you may have the opportunity to travel internationally at some point. While it would be impossible to learn every language of every country you want to visit, just knowing how to speak English will make your trip much more enjoyable. Business people all over the world are increasing their English-speaking staff. This means that if you can speak English, you will have an easier time ordering at restaurants, booking hotels, asking questions and getting directions, shopping and generally enjoying your trip to a foreign country. If you aren’t able to communicate with people in the country you are visiting, chances are you won’t have a very good vacation.

    Most of the top-rated universities in the world are in English-speaking countries – the US, UK, Australia and Canada. If you are considering studying abroad, you will need to be fluent in English not only to study in these institutions, but also to gain entry and obtain a study permit in that country. Books from all over the world are often translated into English, more often than any other language. Studying any subject will be much easier with access to the billions of books available in English. With a strong command of the English language you will be opening doors to so many top of the line educational facilities and thus allowing you to unlock your full potential with no linguistic barriers.

    Comparatively, English is much easier to learn than many other languages. The alphabet is simple, with only 26 characters and no accents; grammar rules are simpler than many other languages; verb tenses, pluralization and possessive pronouns are quite easy to learn. Depending on what your native language is, you will most likely find English to be quite straightforward and easy to comprehend. The effort involved in learning is well worth the multitude of benefits. If you put in the time and effort to learn English, you will truly be unlocking opportunities in your professional and personal life that will lead to a fuller and more satisfying future.

    Of course, it’s not necessary to become completely fluent right away. You can easily learn how to speak English well enough to land a great job or communicate effectively without perfecting every aspect of English grammar. There are numerous online English Language training tools that are very effective. These tools are the perfect way to learn to speak English very quickly.