Monthly Archives: June 2016

Tax Levy and Garnishment

Often, you are faced with a situation wherein your assets are forcibly seized on account of you not paying the taxes (or some other similar reason). Creditors can impose a tax levy if you owe them money and have not paid it even after the stipulated time has expired. On the other hand, a wage garnishment is something like a wage deduction. The two terms are often confused with each other since they are believed to perform the same function, but it is not so. The tax levy vs. garnishment comparison in the paragraphs to follow will give you an idea of the difference between the two.

Tax Levy

According to the Federal Law of the United States, when the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) takes an authorized action to seize a property under debt, without going to court, the action is termed ‘tax levy’.
This is done in order to satisfy the liabilities of tax.
This can be levied upon insurance proceeds, account receivables, property payments, social security payments, wages, etc.
The IRS also has the powers to levy upon the assets possessed by a third party.
Even though this procedure does not include directly going to court, it includes a hearing, and if the taxpayer is unhappy with the decision, he can take the matter to the United States Tax Court.

Garnishment

A garnishment is a legal order which says that the property of a third party can be seized in order to satisfy the debt of a person.
The term is mostly called ‘wage garnishment’, because generally, the wages of an employee are deducted by court orders for debt pay off.
This is done mostly as apart of the payroll process. And it continues until the debt is completely paid off.
The common types of debt include student loans, taxes, child support, etc.

Factors of Differentiation

Tax LevyGarnishment           Financial operations

You cannot perform any financial operations once a levy has been imposed on you. Your account is frozen and you no longer have access to it. Even if you deposit a check, it will be frozen. This will continue until the creditor is paid with the entire debt.

You can carry on financial operations, certainly, though a percentage of your income will be paid to the creditor. You will never see this money, because the creditor has garnished your wages. This amount is withdrawn before it is deposited or before you receive it.

Finance Targets

Your financial accounts are targeted.

Your wages/salary is targeted.

Sources

It is commonly used by the IRS and other Federal agencies, and sometimes, private creditors.

It is mostly used by private creditors.

Court Orders

The IRS or the Department of Education do not require a court order to impose a levy. In other words, a court order may not always be mandatory here.

A court order is required to garnish your wages. Even if the IRS need not have a legal notice, private creditors most certainly require a legal order to impose garnishment proceedings on you.

Timeline

It is a one-time event.

It takes a considerably longer time.

Things to Remember

Whether you have a levy imposed on you or a garnishment, talk to a tax professional or an attorney to evaluate alternative solutions.
Garnishment is also a kind of tax levy, for it is a legal way for th IRS to collect your tax liabilities.
Before enforcing either of the above, you will be sent the required notices and given a 30-day notice period.
Even though the necessity of a court order has been stated as a differentiation point between the two, the truth is that, both cannot be done without legal notices, except may be, in case of child support.
Wage garnishment is a nasty collection strategy, however, there are certain settlements using which you can negotiate and compromise.

There are plenty of formalities and other legal conditions involved with both the above terms. An easy way to escape from a tax levy would be to pay back your creditors on time. You can also create a payment plan for debt replacement, if you anticipate such problems in future. For resolving these issues easily, catch hold of a good attorney who will guide you through the complicated legal cornucopia and make the procedure simpler.

How to Start a Successful Karaoke Business

Try to buy an existing karaoke business or become a part of a franchise, instead of opting for a start-up. This will not only give you an established customer base but will also be far less riskier than a start-up.

If you can sing, are an extrovert, and can entertain others, you will surely make a good karaoke business owner. However, this business will prove to be a disaster for introverted and shy individuals as they will have to deal with many people every day. It is recommended that you work for a karaoke business before plunging in it yourself. This will give you hands-on experience, and you will be able to network and market your business in a better way. If you do not have the funds for investing in a rental or permanent space, karaoke business is ideal for you. You can conduct this business by hosting shows at bars, cafés, restaurants, private parties, etc. However, remember that you will need to source some investment capital for buying all the equipment and paying your employees, if any. It is advisable to buy a digital karaoke system as it will save you a lot of money, effort, and storage space. If you want to know about a few more essential tips to start a karaoke business, read further.

Equipment

You will require a good karaoke digital system for your business where the files will be played from a laptop and the words will be displayed on the screen. If you think that you do not have the amount to invest in one, you can get CD+G discs which can be connected to a CD+G player, television, monitor, or screen for playing music and displaying words. You can buy karaoke CDs or download music from online websites. You can also buy karaoke music books or make them on your own. However, you need to make copies of these books so that people will select their songs and write them on the slips provided by you. Whatever you do, ensure that you will be able to play your customer’s choice of song in absolutely no time. You will also need good quality speakers, mixers, cables, extension cords, microphone stands, RF converter, and amplifiers. You will also need three wireless microphones. It is advisable that you get one extra as backup. Getting a wireless microphone is recommended because people tend to step on the cables and spoil them. It’s essential that you also carry spare cables, duct tapes, and a tool kit for a quick fix.

Conduct Research

Before jumping in this business, there are certain things which you should know. For example, you will need to know how many competitors you have, how much to charge your clients, which songs to play, dealing with difficult clients, etc. It is advisable that you speak to someone from the same business who operates from a different area. You need to keep abreast with the latest chartbuster songs as well as the classic ‘must-haves’ of a karaoke. Ensure that you have music which caters to all genres as people will like to sing different songs. You will need to have a business plan in place to organize the overheads and income of this venture. Ensure that you find a business mentor who will be able to guide you to go about setting this business.

Business Expansion

If you do not want to own a karaoke bar of your own, you can always request hotels, cafés, restaurants, nightclubs, bars, etc., to allow you to host a karaoke night every week. You can also ask them to host open Mic sessions that will rake in business for both the parties. Other than this, you should also network with wedding and event planners who can recommend you for karaoke nights. This is one business that will prosper through word-of-mouth publicity. Host theme nights which will play a particular type of music; this will give you a lot of customers. Ensure that you have many satisfied customers who will recommend your business to their family and friends. Slowly, your schedule will be packed with offers for karaoke gigs.

Charges

Before you start this business, know about the prevalent rates for karaoke gigs in your area. If you are a new player, you may have to charge lesser to survive the competition. Many bar owners may not pay you well even if your show is a crowd-puller. Hence, decide and mention your payment terms in the contract itself. Also, ensure that it is mentioned in the contract about show cancellation or refund policies. Also, predetermine the amount of payment, time of the show, etc., during a private party. If you are to play a special dedication to a bride or a song while a person is proposing to his girlfriend, you can definitely go ahead and charge more fees. Ensure you include your travel and logistics charges in your final figure.

Wrapping Up

Always ensure that you are personally present for the wrapping up of equipment. Don’t put this duty on your employees as they may not check if everything is in place, before leaving for home late in the night. It is best to make a checklist of all the smallest to largest equipment and load them properly in their boxes before carrying it to your vehicle. Making a checklist will tell you immediately if a certain equipment is missing.

Hosting the Karaoke Night

If you have to travel to some other venue, like a bar, café, bachelor or hen parties, birthday parties, etc., make sure you interact with the audience keeping in mind what they anticipate from this show. Wear clean and striking clothes; however, remember that you are only there to host the show. So, do not keep speaking, and encourage the other people to take over the Mic. Avoid passing negative comments about the singers as not all of them will sing with the finesse of the professionals. Have a professional attitude, and ensure that people are enjoying their karaoke time. If there is a ‘once more’ for a song, go ahead and play it again. If they request you for having a recording of their song, burn the CD of their performance and hand it to them. You can charge separately for this. If there is a time limitation for the show, ensure that you stop on time.

Promote Your Business

It is important that you take promotion of your business very seriously. Apart from meeting people who can get you more business, you must have a website or blog giving details about your business. This will allow customers to get in touch with you. Don’t forget to add pictures of the karaoke gigs you have hosted where people are enjoying themselves. You will have to get a written permission from your customers to display their images. You will also have to keep updating the latest schedule of your shows on your website so that people who want to visit can join you at the decided venue. Most of the younger crowd will get in touch with you through Internet, so ensure that you have posted ads on the Internet and websites that give information about the gigs, concerts, plays, etc. Get your website keyword optimized for reflecting in the top searches. Do not forget to connect with customers through social networking websites.

Slowly and steadily, you can recruit and train a good employee to become the host of your karaoke gigs, while you can look after the management of these gigs, collection of money, marketing, networking, and getting new business. Also, keep extra song books as people tend to steal some of them away. Make sure you have a professional approach all the time, and do not give a chance for people to complain. Remember that people may constantly force you to play their favorite songs and keep hogging the limelight. You will also have to learn to say ‘no’. Whatever you do, make sure that the people enjoy their karaoke time thoroughly, if you want to survive in this business.

Financial Problems in a Marriage and Solutions

It is said that marriage is the best thing that can happen to two people in love. It is true, provided the spouses understand each other and are aware of the responsibilities that come with marriage. However, married life can suffer a setback, if there are financial issues in a relationship and the partners do not work it out properly to solve these problems. In studies conducted by experts, financial issues have been included as one of the top reasons for a divorce. So, it is always better to be aware of financial problems, if any, and find effective ways to deal with them.

Monetary Issues and Their Solutions

Handling Finance

This is one of the basic issues that married couples face. They are not clear about whose salary should be used for household expenses and whose should go in for savings. Lack of planning leads to confusion, ultimately resulting in differences between a couple.

Solution: Couples should try different ways to handle their finances and check which one works the best for them. According to surveys, around 64% of couples have joint accounts, 14% of them have separate accounts, and 18% of couples have both joint as well as separate accounts. There is no particular method to handle finances; it depends on a couple as to how much they want to spend and how much they want to save. So, sit down to decide among yourselves, and make the best call for your future.

Excessive Spending

Among the various money-related problems affecting a marriage, spending habit is a contentious issue. Many a time, one of the partners is inclined to shop and spend more than the total earnings with the help of loans and credit cards. Mounting bills and high interest rates can really make things difficult for the family.

In certain cases, among the two partners, the wife mostly has the habit of presenting her family with goodies every now and then. The expenditure made, might irritate the other partner and ultimately give rise to arguments.
Solution: Couples should fix a budget for the month and keep a check so that the expenditure does not exceed the limit. As far as possible, use of multiple cards should be avoided. When going through tough financial times, couples need to cut down on entertainment and leisure expenses. Wives and even husbands, if either is into the habit of buying unwanted gifts, should keep away from doing so. This is because, occasional exchange of gifts does not affect, as much as the usual ones do.

Mounting Debts

Sometimes while making hasty decisions, it might happen that married couples tend to apply for house loans or car loans without figuring out their repayment capacity. Apart from that, some are even in a habit of using credit cards in excess. This negligence in handling money leads to rising debts which becomes difficult to repay in future.

Solution: Taking loans only as per one’s need and repayment capacity, is the first solution to avoid the problem of mounting debts. One should have realistic aspirations and dreams, and think twice before applying for loans and pledging assets with the lenders. And, if both the spouses are working, they should contribute equally to pay off the EMIs.

Improper Investments

In order to lead a settled life, couples have to think about their future and secure it. Investment done inappropriately is one of the prime factors to be looked into, especially when you have a family to take care of. For this, couples have to make precise investments and while doing so, they have to be careful as it might be a risky affair.
Solution: Couples should figure out the investment goal and time frame, and make sure to review their investments at least once a year.

Unnecessary Expenses

Love is blind and people in love know no boundaries when it comes to spending for each other. They tend to buy expensive stuff in order to please their respective partners. This act of unwanted splurging causes problems later on, and couples start blaming each other for mismanagement of money.
Solution: In order to avoid financial hassles, couples should refrain themselves from buying expensive gifts and going for lavish holidays. As is rightly said “cut your coat according to your cloth” couples should spend according to their capacity.

Crisis
An unstable monetary situation arises due to the lack of savings for your future use. An accident, a major illness or an unexpected pink slip, or any other emergency – all situations which require you to dole out a large sum of money – can land you in peril.

Solution: Problems are unavoidable and can never be predicted. So, instead of waiting for the problem to arise, couples should keep themselves prepared for the bad times. They should make sure that they have an emergency savings account. They should plan their monthly savings together along with a target amount to be saved every month, so that they have enough in hand when a sudden need arises.

Ego Clashes

This is the age where women have caught up with men in every field and are the breadwinners. These days, in many households, we can find women earning more than men which hurts the male ego to a great extent, and if a man is jobless then the situation gets even worse. In such cases, it becomes really difficult to save the relation, as both the partners have their self-pride and none of them is ready to bow down.
Solution: Marriage is a union of two souls and bodies, so couples should treat each other as one. To avoid ego clashes, men should see situations in a broader perspective, and instead of getting offended by their respective wives’ earnings, they should encourage them to work. After all, whoever earns, eventually the income will be utilized for the family.

Keeping Financial Secrets
This is undoubtedly one of the biggest financial problems in a marriage. Many spouses are seen hiding their financial documents, bank account statements and information about their assets, which can be frustrating for the other spouse.

Solution: It is always better to speak the truth, and show all your financial details to your partner. By doing so, your better half would be able to suggest ways of dealing with finances, if need be.

Some Tips for Managing Family Finances

  • A family begins with ‘We’ and not ‘I’. So, while dealing with money matters, always remember that you should think for the well-being of your family.
  • If your problems are too big, take suggestions from a financial planner.
  • When you commit to managing finances, fulfill it at any cost, because the other person relies on you.
  • Think before you spend, because money should be used wisely.
  • Try to avoid interference from relatives in your family finances (if any).
  • Don’t be jealous of a higher-earning spouse. Instead, motivate your partner to do well in his/her career and earn even more.

Marriage is a lifetime commitment, so never ignore the petty issues. Financial issues can be resolved easily, so do not waste time crabbing about it. Your family’s betterment and future depends on the same.

Tips Personal Finance Budgeting

Your money is the lifeline of your home. The standard of living that you have is because you can afford it. Your money basically, is the heartbeat of your lifestyle. To continue living the same lifestyle and to reach higher standards, personal finance budgeting is very essential. Spending is inevitable, if you have money. However, money, or your resource is always limited and your needs are unlimited. Reconciling the two by prioritizing your demands will help in managing your personal finance budget. This practice of budgeting will help you save your money on inconsequential items and teach you the importance of prioritizing.

Need for Financial Budgeting
The need for budgeting arises because of the fact that you are responsible towards yourself. Responsibility towards oneself means, a constant struggle for the better. Thus, the need for personal financial planning is to fulfill the self-actualization need for improvement.

Monthly Financial Budgeting
Make a chart of income and expenditure, which you make all through the month. Based on this you will be able to make successive budgets. Here’s a chart that you can follow.
Net Income
Electricity
Water
Natural Gas and Oil
Fuel
Telephone
Groceries
Child Support
Health and Fitness
Other Loans
Entertainment
Rent/Mortgage
Insurance
Home Repairs
Home Improvements
Electricity
Expenses At Home
Balancing Figure (Difference of income and expenditure)

Once you fill in the details for this chart, you will get a complete picture of what you are earning and how much of it you are spending. Based on this chart, you can make the estimated budget and the actual details will follow as the month progresses.

Yearly Budgets
Now that you have the monthly assessment, of income and expenditure, multiply it by 12 and you will get the yearly account. Yearly budgets will give you targets of the income you need to earn to sustain the lifestyle of your choice. Getting into the habit of following the chart will give every detail of every penny spent.

What Personal Financial Budgeting Does?
Finance and budgeting go hand in hand. You may get ample of finances, but if you don’t have a budget, they will all go haywire. Budgeting will get you into the habit of saving your money for the rainy day. Living from paycheck-to-paycheck will consequently change to living with wise decisions. Budgeting will employ your each dollar for better returns. Most importantly, it will give you a breathing room in case you decide to take some time out from work.

Double Benefits
Summer is here and you want to take a vacation to an exotic destination. Of course, it isn’t possible with meager travel budget to vacation anywhere else other than your couch! Saving an amount will help you create a fund for both the rainy day and the happy days.

The habit of making personal finances budget, should be started early in life. Beginning to plan while you are at college will make you an expert at managing your own finances by the time you begin to earn your money. Financial planning will alleviate problems during the big days of your life, such as marriage. It will give you an edge over the others in planning the wedding budgets for the ceremony, the way you always wanted.