New Tax Code: Business Mileage Deduction Goes Down

Driving IRS

The IRS Is Dissing Your Ride

If you use your vehicle for work — and take a tax deduction for mileage — prepare to get less love from the Federal Government in 2014.

Workforce mobility specialist Runzheimer International points out that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has released a 2014 national optional business mileage deduction rate of 56 cents for U.S. business drivers.

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Georgia Hidden Jobs: Finding Jobs in Georgia BEFORE they are Advertised

Hidden Jobs in GeorgiaFind the Hidden Jobs in Georgia

California currently leads the nation in “hidden” job leads, according to a free app that tracks hiring announcements before they are advertised. The app, called the Hidden Jobs App, is a free service from hiring firm CareerCloud. It tracks company announcements of upcoming hiring as they appear in news articles, blog posts and press releases. Apparently, you can use this app to find out about jobs before they are advertised, and get your resume in ahead of the herd. Continue Reading…

Holiday Gift Giving: Smart Gift Giving or Just Cheapskate?

Holiday Gift GivingThe Fine Line Between “Financially Smart Gift Giving” and “Cheapskate”

Two-thirds of Americans surveyed recently by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards say they plan to budget the same – or less – than they did last year for holiday gift-giving.

As you might expect, the CFP Board is hailing this as a move toward “financially smart gifting.” (They are, after all, financial planners by trade). But could we be at risk of trying to brand Ebenezer Scrooge cheapskate behavior as a virtue?

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Credit 101: Part 4 – How to Read Your Credit Report

Credit History

Reading Your Credit Report

Once you have obtained your credit report, the first section to review is your personal information.  Be sure your name, address (past and present) and social security number are correct.  If there is an error, contact the credit reporting agency that is reporting your information incorrectly.

The next section of your credit report that you should review contains your credit score (if you ordered a report from a credit bureau) and the factors of your credit score.  There are several factors credit reporting agencies consider when determining your score.  Some of the more common factors include:

  • Serious delinquency and Public Records Filed – This would appear if you have collections, charge-offs, bankruptcies or judgments.
  • Ratio of balance to limit on revolving accounts too high – This appears when your credit card balances are close to the limit.  There are not many factors that can affect your score in the short-term other than this one, especially if you have more than one card near the limit.  Keeping your credit card balances at 20% or less of the limit every month is your best bet if you want to ensure this factor doesn’t affect your score. Continue Reading…

Road Rage: Increase in Road Rage During Holiday Season

Road RageHoliday Road Rage

A new survey finds that the majority of U.S. drivers experience acts of aggression on the roads during winter. Worse yet, more than a third admit that their own propensity for aggressive driving increases during the winter holiday season.

The study, from insurer State Farm and KRC Research, questioned 1,000 U.S drivers over-18 years old. A full 64% of respondents said they experienced at least six acts of aggressive driving during the past three months.

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New Jobs: Toyo to add 650 New Jobs in Georgia

New Toyo Jobs

Toyo Tire Expands in Georgia; Adding 650 Jobs

Japanese tire maker Toyo Tire said it has broken ground on an expansion of its manufacturing facility in Georgia. The company said that the move will add 650 new jobs.

The Osaka-based company currently has a two million square foot plant in White, Georgia. The expansion will add another 700,000 square feet, and add capabilities that Toyo said are needed to meet growing demand for its Toyo Tires and Nitto brand light truck and passenger car tires in the U.S.

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Atlanta Jobs: Tech Jobs Increasing in Atlanta

Atlanta Jobs

Atlanta IT Job Opportunities Up

Atlanta-area chief information officers (CIOs) plan to do more hiring in 2013 than they did over the past six months, according to a new survey.

Robert Half Technology – a firm that places information technology (IT) professionals with companies – recently conducted a survey of Atlanta-area CIOs, and found that 18% of them plan to expand their IT teams in the first half of 2014.

That’s up a full nine points versus the projections they made in the last survey, which forecast the previous six-month period of June-to-December 2013.

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Credit 101: Part 3 – Understanding Credit Score Ranges

Credit 101 part 3 credit score

The Differences in Credit Score Ranges

As we previously mentioned in Part 1 and Part 2 of our Credit 101 series, not all credit scores are created equal.  What does that mean?  The credit score you receive from Equifax will be different than the one you receive from Experian or TransUnion.  Then there is your FICO (Fair Isaac Corporation) score.  This is the most commonly used credit report by lenders and since they have their own “scoring system,” it will be different from the other three.

Just as your score will be different in each credit report, the agencies each have different score ranges:

Credit Report Score Range How to Obtain Notes
FICO 300-850 www.myfico.com
  • Must pay fee to obtain score
  • Since most lenders use this score, it is recommended to obtain this report
  • Keeping and maintaining a FICO score of 725 or better is a good goal to set for yourself
Experian 330-830 www.experian.com
  • Must pay fee to obtain score
Equifax 280-850 www.equifax.com
Transunion 300-850 www.transunion.com
Vantage 501-990 www.experian.com/consumer-products/vantage-score
  • Created by the three major bureaus to compete with FICO
  • You may have heard Clark Howard refer to this as a FAKO (fake-o) score, since it will lead you to believe your true score is higher than it really is.

 

For more information or to reach a Peach State loan specialist please contact us.

Corporate Gift Giving – Highest in 4 Years!

Corporate Gifts

Corporate Gift Giving Highest in Four Years

In another sign that the economy has improved somewhat, a new survey finds that corporate holiday spending on employees and clients is at its highest level since 2008.

Companies surveyed by industry group the Advertising Specialty Institute said they plan to spend an average of $33.92 on clients this year, and $44.98 for employees. This is up from last year’s client/employee averages of $26.48 and $41.70, respectively.

ASI said that the most popular gift choices for companies surveyed were gift cards (42.4%), cash bonuses (29.2%), food and beverages (27.5%) and apparel (11.2%).

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New Car Prices: New Cars Get More Expensive in November

New_Car_Prices

New Car Prices Increase in November

The average price paid for a new car was up by $946 in November according to estimates from Kelley Blue Book. Price gains generally varied from one auto maker to another, but electric vehicle prices were down across the board.

Kelley Blue Book said that light vehicle transactions were up by an average of 3% in November versus October, to $32,769. That’s an increase of $352 versus November 2012.

Among auto makers, Toyota enjoyed the largest gains in transaction prices during the month. Transaction prices on the Japanese company’s cars and trucks increased by around 5%. Honda was also a winner, benefitting from strong demand for its new models.

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