To develop a positive, powerful credit profile, qualify yourself in as many categories as you can based on the chart below.
THE “BIG 8″
ELEMENTS OF A POWERFUL CREDIT PROFILE
(In order of importance)
1. A positive, up-to-date credit report
2. A home with a mortgage
3. An American Express card and/or Diners Club card
4. A job you’ve held for a year or more
5. A current or paid-off bank loan
6. A MasterCard or Visa card
7. A department store credit card
8. A telephone in your name
The more categories under which you qualify, the easier it is to get credit when you need it.
Your credit profile, good or bad, will determine how easy or difficult it is to get bank loans, auto loans, personal loans, credit cards, or any other form of financing. Your profile can also determine what interest rates you pay, higher or lower, and in some cases will also be a determining factor in whether you get a certain job or even an applied-for larger life insurance policy. A positive, powerful credit profile does its own explaining so that you don’t have to. Your objective is to consciously and constantly upgrade your credit profile.
Acupuncture is the ancient Chinese healing art in which very thin needles are inserted under the skin in order to treat illness and restore good health. A practitioner of this art is an acupuncturist.
Acupuncture reportedly dates from 1600 to 1500 B.C. It attracted renewed attention and interest in the West after the opening of China in the early 1970s.
A key element in understanding acupuncture is an acceptance of the Eastern belief in the poles or extremes of yin and yang (roughly corresponding to our ideas of negative and positive, or female and male, forces) and the flow of a life force known as chi. Chinese medicine teaches that in order to remain healthy the yin and yang forces must be perfectly balanced and that it is necessary to have a flow of chi throughout the body. The chi flows along paths known as meridians (sets of invisible lines) and covers the body in set patterns. While meridians are not identical to the nervous system or circulatory system, they are thought to resemble them. Each meridian has its own pulse, and these pulses provide information about any meridians that need to have their energy balance restored.
When illness occurs, the acupuncturist examines the meridians and carefully selects acupuncture sites. It is at these sites that acupuncture treatment is given.
Extremely thin needles made from gold, silver, or copper are placed in carefully selected sites just below the skin by the acupuncturist. A gentle twisting of the needle helps to ensure that it is properly placed and will correct the flow of chi along the meridians.
Acupuncturists believe that currents, or impulses, begin to flow along the meridians where the needles are placed. This current travels through the nervous system and goes to the organ that is out of balance. Once the obstruction or hindrance is removed, the life forces are free to circulate once again, and balance is restored.
Reports from China indicate that major surgery has been performed while using acupuncture as the only anesthetic. Acupuncture also includes herbal medicine, disease-specific and preventive nutritional measures, relaxation skills, exercise, and specific advice on health behaviors.
Western medicine, with its foundations in the scientific method, has been slow to show interest in acupuncture, but some physicians now use it, and their numbers are growing.
A business, according to the IRS, is any activity conducted on a regular basis with the intent to make a profit. But you are not required to make a profit in order to claim tax deductions. In order to be a business you must have a product or service that you offer regularly to the public. For tax purposes, you are a business if you sell or attempt to sell a product or service whether you actually call yourself a business or not. Your business is born the day you first offer your product or service for sale.
Intent to make a profit is what differentiates a “business” from a “hobby.” A hobby is an activity that may produce income, but is operated primarily for pleasure without the intent of making a profit.
As a business, you may deduct all of your ordinary and necessary operating expenses, no matter how great or small your income from that business. If you have more income during the year than expenses, the difference is your taxable profit. If you have more expenses than income, the difference is your excess tax loss and can be used to reduce the taxes due on your other income.
If you are running your activity as a hobby, you may still deduct your expenses, but only up to the amount of your income. Therefore, with a hobby there can be no “loss” for tax purposes, but you can still take all of the same tax deductions as in a business as long as those deductions don’t exceed the income. Don’t believe those who tell you that you get no deductions if your activity is a hobby.
You can show your intent to operate as a business instead of a hobby by:
• Talking regularly to potential or actual customers and keeping a list
• Opening a separate bank account in your business name
• Having a telephone, even at home, in your business name
• Keeping good records of income and expenses
• Printing business cards, fliers, or brochures about your business
As you begin your small business and as it grows, you will need office furniture, business equipment, computers, telephone systems, and other expensive assets, even for a business run out of your home. You can buy them all at less than half price. Because so many big businesses file bankruptcy these days, there are sales and auctions of business furniture, assets, and equipment going on continually in almost every area of the country. Instead of shopping at the office supply or office furniture store and paying top retail dollar, shop the auctions and buy the same or even better furniture and equipment at a fraction of the cost.
Few business owners use this strategy, so sales and auctions often have surprisingly few bidders. Advertising for bankruptcy sales is severely limited and often written in difficult-to-decipher legal jargon, so few people are aware that the auctions are being held.
Begin your search by continually checking the legal notices in the classifieds of your daily newspaper. Most cities of any size also have a legal-notices paper, published weekly or daily. Check your phone book under Newspapers and visit the publishing office for a copy. Some magazine stands also sell the legal-notice paper. On pages 346-347 you will find a typical ad for a bankruptcy sale of office equipment. Some U.S. district bankruptcy courts will put you on a mailing list. Give your district court a call.
Auctions are either oral bid or sealed bid. With an oral bid, each item or group of items is auctioned off with all bidders bidding out loud and against each other. The high bidder wins. Don’t get carried away with your bid—there is always another sale another day.
Sealed-bid auctions require that you place your bid in a “sealed” envelope, often with a check for 10% to 50% of your bid, which is returnable if you lose. All bids are opened at one time, often publicly. High bid wins.