Category Archives: General Articles

Divorce in a Difficult Economy

Couples that are contemplating divorce may be hesitant to begin the process while the economy is uncertain. They may worry about overwhelming debt; child and spousal support; keeping their jobs; the health of their stocks and bonds; and especially the housing market.

Much of Illinois has been hard hit by the economic downturn. While Illinois couples who wish to divorce do not have to postpone their plans, they should take the economy into consideration when they craft the terms of their divorces. Some divorce attorneys have adapted to the present circumstances, taking a more comprehensive approach.

The Need for Creative Solutions

The emotional aspects of divorce are challenging, but the economic side can be just as troublesome. The unpredictable economy has changed certain assets into burdens. Houses that were once rising in value have come to be worth less than their mortgages. Stock portfolios that were a source of comfort have dropped farther than anyone could have imagined. Even employment that seemed likely to last until retirement is no longer reliable.

It is possible to go through a divorce without financial devastation, but the fundamentals of divorce – child support, child custody, spousal support and division of assets and debts – must be revisited to accommodate the realities of the economy. An attorney who provides proactive analysis and creative drafting will offer invaluable support.

Renegotiating Debt

When couples that have debt divorce, typically the debt is divided between them – sometimes equally, sometimes not. Factors that affect the division of debt include the earning power of each spouse, the assets of each and when the debt was incurred. The division of debt can have a pronounced effect on the tax liabilities and financial health of both parties.

It is not unusual for couples to have a significant amount of credit card debt. Often it is feasible for an attorney to renegotiate that debt with creditors, securing lower interest rates and other favorable terms.

It is important to remember that, once the debt is divided, each partner should attempt to remove his or her name from the debt of the other. This will prevent, for instance, a former spouse from having a lien placed on the home while only the other former spouse is living there.

Avoiding Foreclosure

Financial institutions are well aware of the problems that many homeowners are experiencing with paying their mortgages. With this reality, some institutions are willing to renegotiate the terms of loans in order to better accommodate customers and avoid foreclosure.

Further, a divorcing couple whose home is already in foreclosure may not realize that the foreclosure process does not happen quickly. There may be time to negotiate with the bank or at least stay in the home as the foreclosure process continues.

Tax Implications

It is wise to understand how divorce and the resulting financial decisions will affect taxation. This is one reason an attorney’s advice is so valuable.

A house that is sold in a short sale (for less money than the couple owes on the mortgage) could bring up unanticipated tax consequences.

In addition, spousal support, also known as alimony in Oklahoma, is tax deductible for the person who pays it and taxable for the person who receives it. On the other hand, child support is neither tax deductible for the payor nor taxable for the recipient. This may be an important consideration when one of the spouses is the primary wage earner.

Finally, the transfer of a home to just one former spouse upon divorce usually does not incur taxes for that spouse, but consulting an Oklahoma attorney for alimony is best because the law may vary according to the specific situation and location

Extending the Time Frame for Division of Portfolios

A couple that owns stocks, bonds, and other investments traditionally divides those assets at the time of divorce. With the significant changes in the markets, however, most of these assets are not worth what they once were.

Rather than making a final disposition upon divorce, the former spouses may decide to share in the gains and losses associated with the investments for an extended period of time. This requires an analytical approach as to the nature of the assets, the long-term goals of the divorcing parties and their willingness to potentially participate in what could best be described as a “joint venture.”

Divorce Is Not Unattainable

Couples for whom divorce is the right option should not have to remain together merely because of the economy. With smart planning, some creativity and the assistance of diligent attorneys, they can find their way through this complex process.

Boosting Profit Can Be Done with Simple Inventory Management

Inventory is a prime part of any business venture. Whether it is retail, food service, health care, or even contracted work inventory plays a vital role. For some businesses it is all about moving inventory out, for others it is about keeping inventory stocked. A universal concept that connects these businesses is the need for inventory management. An aspect many sources say most employees do not regularly do. What makes this claim even more frustrating is the wealth of inventory management software currently available across the market.

One of eight prime reasons for a business failing is the lack of inventory management. A simple example of this is a company reordering stock only to discover they already had said stock on hand. This is an unneeded expenditure, and it costs both coming and going. Not only was the expense not needed, but now the extra supply means there will not be a return of investment. In the case of retail, they will either never sale, or they will have to put them on discount. In the case of a manufacturing company, they will never use all the parts and the money will just sit there collecting dust. Inventory management software offers a streamlined way to keep track of all stock, allowing the company to only spend money on what it needs. Inventory management can also track trends so that companies know what is selling.


Most inventory software circles around tracking, organizing, and managing material purchases, product sales, and/or other process linked to production. These actions are carried out by individual applications within the software. The usage varied by the business using it. The software renders such processes paperless, using Wi-Fi to enable use of software from mobile devices. Most applications run off the scanning of barcodes to inventory product. Some companies use radio-frequency identification (RFID) when it comes to shipping. This allows them to track incoming and outgoing product. Universally the software saves companies money by optimizing their purchases. No longer do they have to worry about buying too much or missing the product they needed to restock.

Contractor services use inventory management for different purposes altogether. They use product to make other product, so a big part of their incoming stock is exclusively for them. Another part of this process is tool crib management software. This extra application focuses on actual tools. The tools are used for construction and it is important to know which ones are on hand and where they are.

There are many stories of jobs being put on hold because the tool to finish said job could not be found. Not to mention some industrial-grade tools carry quite the price tag and losing them carries added cost. It is good to have software on hand that can track tools whereabouts so that such incidents do not occur. Management software for tool cribs also focuses on their storage and usage throughout the day. This optimizes daily use and protects against extra cost.

The Needed Elements to Generate Leads

If you are running a business but you are having trouble generating leads, then you are probably missing a few key elements that are missing from your marketing efforts. One thing that people need to understand is that there is a process that goes into generating leads. If you are having trouble generating leads, then the best thing you can do is get some pointers from different sources so that you can improve your methods. There are a few ways that you can adjust your website or marketing campaigns so that you can get the desired results.

One thing you can do is add a call to action. The call to action can be something as simple as a button that says click here. However, if you want the best results, you are probably going to have to come up with something more creative. One thing that is effective is something that is specific to the product or the brand you are promoting. You can tell the customer that if he is interested in what is offered to click this button. This is just an example of the call to action. The key is to make this potential customer feel compelled to click.

Another thing to do is offer a free trial. This is a lot like a try before you buy situation. Often times, many customers know about the product, but they are on the fence about the product because they are not sure they can benefit much from it. With the free trial, people get an idea on how the product works for them. There are a couple of ways to do the free trial. One way is by offering the item for a set amount of time. The other way you can give a free trial is by offering a version of the product that does not have all of the features and getting the customer to pay for the extra features.

You can also give more information about your services. One thing customers need before they get involved with a business is knowledge. Imagine visiting a site that only has a business logo and a slogan that gives a hint of the business. If those were the only forms of information you had, you probably wouldn’t want to do business with that company. Transparency is important in business these days partially because of the information that is readily available on businesses.

Generating leads is something that needs to be mastered. One thing you don’t want to do is try to do the bare minimum. Entrepreneurs go above and beyond. For one thing, users can sense when just the bare minimum of work is being done. They are not going to trust someone who does not put his whole heart into his work. You can also find some tools that can help with your lead generation. There are also tons of other methods you can use. One thing you can do is experiment with different methods until you find an effective one for you.

The Future of Communications is Already Here

Many have heard of the term VoIP but are unaware of its capabilities. So exactly what is VoIP?

VoIP is the technology available in many modern telecommunications systems. It enables a firm to use their data network to carry voice traffic. The language that computers use to communicate over the Internet, is a term called VoIP. It stands for Voice Over Internet Protocol. Voice over IP is a technology used for converting voice communications into digital packets for delivery over a data network. Most commonly, that data network is the Internet, but it could be any data network running the Internet Protocol, such as a business’s private data network.

What makes VoIP different, is that it relies on the Internet Protocol for these tasks, rather than the proprietary phone company protocols. Since it is based on a widely available technology, it can be made available to the general public more cheaply. Also, the nationwide building of broadband networks has made internet access available almost everywhere. This enables businesses to connect their locations to the internet, rather than building expensive private data networks. All of these factors have converged during the last decade to make VoIP an inexpensive option for most businesses.

How VoIP Works

We’re going to now discuss how VoIP works to connect phones and carry on a conversation. VoIP requires a device at each end of the conversation called a VoIP modem. This device can be a standalone part of the phone or part of a phone system always part of the conversation. The VoIP modem is the device that converts the analog signal to digital and back again. During the conversation, the modem takes the voice signal from the phone that is sending and converts it to digital packets. It transmits these digital packets over the internet address to the second modem. The second modem converts those packets back into an analog voice signal and sends it to the receiving phone.

SIP Trunking

The most common way that businesses can take advantage of VoIP, is through a technology called SIP trunking. SIP trunking is the application of voice over IP technology to provide connectivity to your phone system. You can purchase SIP trunks individually, in packs, or your preferred quantities. Since these trunks are based on the VoIP technology, they offer the same benefits and suffer from the same issues as other products giving you the voice connectivity over the Internet. A SIP trunk is provided by a VoIP provider over the Internet and the primary purpose is to complete calls to the public switched telephone network.

Advantages and Disadvantages

There are advantages and disadvantages to VoIP technology in terms of the benefits. SIP trunks can offer a lower cost of operation than the traditional phone services, because they can ride on the installed data network. SIP trunks can also offer some of the advantages of more advanced telecommunication company services. Such as the ability to have multiple phone numbers over a single trunk line and the ability to have a single connection handle multiple simultaneous calls. Additionally, SIP trunks can offer features that weren’t previously available. For instance, you can have phone numbers from California ringing on lines in New York, or anywhere for that matter.

In this manner, you can have long-distance calls operate like local calls and at a very inexpensive rate. SIP trunks usually come with advanced features like caller ID, call waiting, voicemail to email, and effects. They can be managed via a simple web interface. As with VOiP, SIP trunks can unfortunately be slightly less reliable than traditional services. Older analog phone services were built with tremendous redundancy, so that phone service would always be available even under extremely adverse conditions. More modern data networks were built to operate at a much lower cost, but with a slightly higher risk of failure. SIP trunks carry that same risk. For some businesses, that risk is acceptable. But for others, they may choose differently. It depends on the role of the voice communication and how it works for that particular business.

How to Process Natural Human Language

Programming a chatbot is a challenging task to accomplish. The reason for this is because teaching artificial intelligence how to process natural human language requires that the system understand all the nuances of human communication. No matter how powerful a computer may be, it is still unable to process data in the same manner as a human brain.

The reason for this is that the neurons that process data in the human brain are entirely different from the circuits that process data in a computer. Furthermore, the full functioning of the human mind cannot be recreated in an interface. It is, therefore, necessary for the computer to attempt to behave in a way that indicates natural language processing

Therefore, you should be aware that the best the computer can do is to attempt to pretend to understand the conversation. A computerized system will never be able to follow a discussion in the same manner that a human can. Therefore, the programmer has to figure out a way to design a system that will behave in a manner that is convincingly human. Also, view this link for more data.

However, you should keep in mind that this is a somewhat difficult task to achieve as any human who is conversing with the chatbot will be able to pick up on any replies that sound unrealistic. Furthermore, a computer program will only have a limited number of responses to choose from to replay to any statement made by the human that they are conversing with. A human, on the other hand, will be able to come up with replies that are more creative and have no limit with regards to the variety of the responses. Also, view this link for more data.

Furthermore, a computer program may misunderstand the statement made by the human they are conversing with. Anyone who has tried to use Alexa, Siri or Cortana will understand that many times the computer program does not understand what the human means when they make a statement. Therefore, a piece of chatbot software will most likely not be able to understand things such as humor and sarcasm, to list some examples.

Also, a piece of chatbot software may misunderstand what a human is saying as the form of the sentence may be constructed unusually. Moreover, humans use a wide variety of alternative language, which may include slang and bizarre statements that the program may not have been programmed to understand. Every time the computer program does not recognize a statement made by the human that means that they betray their inability to process the human language naturally.

Furthermore, you should be aware that it only takes a single mistake for a chatbot program to shatter the illusion that the human is conversing with an intelligent entity. Therefore, one mistake and the human will immediately know that they are not chatting with someone who can reply organically to the statements made during the conversation. Consequently, if a chatbot wishes to behave convincingly, they have to be able to formulate a natural response to everything the human says.

Lead Generation Tips for Any Business

Lead generation is a big part of what your company does because you cannot have the right number of customers for your profit projections. You are hoping to grow your business in the way that is best for everyone, and you could use all these tips to make your business much stronger. You could try all these tips at once, or you might build your business based on these tips because they produce results.

1. You Need Daily Leads

Daily leads are important because you need traffic for your business. These people might not buy anything that day, but they must be present with your company. If they check your website, read your social media feeds, or share some of your articles, they are a lead. They are close to your company, and you have a potential sale.

2. Social Media

Social media will always be the best way for you to get the leads that you need because you can create many different social media accounts to attract as many customers as possible. You could create contests for your customers, and you might want to have your customers add you on social media platforms so that they can live something. These little things make your customers want to be a part of what your company does.

3. The Website

Your website must be an easy place to move around, and your customers must respond to you on the site. They could read about your staff, what you do, and the options that they have to shop with you. You must have informational articles on your site, and you will find that you might want to announce new products and projects on your site. This means that you could make your website into the information haven where everyone goes when they see your social media pages.

4. Videos

Videos that you are creating for your business act like commercials, and you could post them to YouTube or your social media pages. You might want to read more here to create short videos for a business of any size. You could convert one of your ads into a video, and you also need to remember that your ads have to cycle so that you are always reaching a new group of people.

5. Use Email

Email is the place that you send advertisements to your customers. They can respond to your emails, and you could start a conversation with those customers in this way. You might want to have the emails go out on a regular schedule, and you should see if there is an ad that you can create with a link that will go directly to your website.

6. Conclusion

You must create ads and social media pages that make your business look better. You must create as many leads as you can, and you should see what looks the best when your business wants to have new customers.

This One IRS Deduction Is Worth Thousands

Vehicles are well-known money eaters, and for many, it’s the second biggest expense. The good news is that vehicle expenses are deductible. Many freelancers sometimes find the tax rules a bit tricky, but well worth the effort.

Thousands Of Dollars Go Unclaimed

Accountants say most people fail to claim thousands of dollars in mileage and business expenses, but after pointing out how much this can boost refunds, taxpayers certainly want to learn more. One problem is that business expenses tend to be an audit magnet for the IRS. With that in mind, there are some basic rules to keep in mind.

Rule #1: Keep Excellent Documentation. You’ll need a trip or mileage log to record your vehicle use. This includes credit card statements, and gas and toll receipts. In order to use these business deductions, the IRS expects you to prove the numbers, just in case you’re ever audited. The IRS expects to see numbers like “72% business and 28% personal.” And you should be able to back up your data.

Individuals also have a choice of methods to write off vehicle expenses. Choose either the IRS standard mileage rate or the actual expenses. The actual method allows you to deduct all vehicle expenses according to your business use.

Rule #2: Allocated Your Business/Personal Usage. If you use your vehicle for both business and personal use, you’ll need to keep track of your personal use. And the IRS can be fanatical on this issue. For many people, it’s easier to track business miles, instead of personal miles. At tax time, simply subtracting the business miles from what shows on the speedometer is a easy workaround. However, even doing it this way can create chaos. One of the biggest advantages nowadays is using apps that can automate most of these tasks.

Standard Mileage Method

The absolute easiest method to deduct vehicle expenses is with the standard mileage method. At the end of the year, you simply add up all the business miles you’ve driven and multiply that number by the IRS mileage rate. This year, that rate is 54.5 cents per mile. You also get to deduct parking, tolls and other fees.

There are exceptions to using the standard mileage deduction. If you’ve used more than one vehicle for your business, or you depreciated the vehicle the year before. In these scenarios, it’s best to consult with an accountant.

Actual Expense Method

When using the actual expense method your record keeping must be detailed for all mileage and out-of-pocket expenses. You can deduct gas, insurance, maintenance, parking, tolls, and many more expenses, but you are also required to keep all receipts, as well as a log of all expenses.

No matter which method is used, it all comes down to accurate records, and this is the biggest problem people run into. One tip is to have the vehicle serviced at the beginning and ending of the year to prove total annual miles. It still will be necessary to keep car receipts and prove mileage, and even with a log book, it’s a lot of information, and a lot of writing. The best advice is to automate the record keeping and take advantage of today’s apps.