Why Do Currency Rates Fluctuate?

Currency rates can change from one day to the next, rising to an all-time high one day and plunging to a new low the next. If you have some experience with investing, you may have a good understanding of what makes a stock rise and fall, but what exactly causes a currency to shift?

Currencies are bought and sold on flexible exchange rates, which means their prices fluctuate based on supply and demand in the market. High demand for a currency and a shortage of supply will lead to a price increase. But there are other factors that affect supply and demand. These include:

Monetary Policy

A country’s monetary policy can have a major impact on its currency’s exchange rate. In fact, central banks may use monetary policy as a way to stimulate the economy and drive demand for the currency. This is achieved by increasing or decreasing benchmark interest rates and/or decreasing the money supply.

When a country’s money supply increases, more of the currency is available and the cost of borrowing decreases.

The benchmark interest rate is the cost of borrowing money. Low interest rates encourage people and businesses to take out loans. Spending this borrowed money helps the economy grow. But if there’s too much money in circulation and the supply of goods and services does not increase, prices may start inflating.

Economic and Political Conditions

Ask any forex broker and they’ll tell you that the region’s political landscape and economic state greatly affect a currency’s exchange rate. Currencies from countries with stable political climates and economies generally have higher demand, which leads to higher exchange rates. Investors would rather put their money into a predictable investment. That’s what stable political and economic conditions offer – predictability.

Unstable political and economic conditions can hamper demand for a currency and lower exchange rates.

Economic indicators, like trade balance, gross domestic product, housing starts and unemployment rates help investors gauge the health of a country’s economy. Similarly, political unrest and global tensions can destabilize a country’s political climate. On the other hand, a new government that suggests strong economic growth and stability can help boost exchange rates due to higher demand.

Rate of Inflation

Understanding the newest monetary trends – security tokens and their role

The era of security token has already begun, and if you don’t already know at least the basics of the subject, starting your research should be done immediately. Whether your professional activities revolve around the financial market or not, being aware of the latest and most interesting monetary trends is still necessary, the information obtained being valuable in various scenarios. Venture capital funding has certainly been exceeded in 2017 by ICO’s investment volume. Initial Coin Offerings are now more popular than ever. While some time ago, crowd funding initiatives were improperly regulated, now investors as well as startups have become more aware of the legal and regulatory landscape of ICOs. Among the numerous details that should be known on the topic, the following info remains most crucial in regards to token regulations/ security tokens:

What exactly is a token?

First, you should get a clear perspective on what a token is and what it can be used for. A clear definition cannot, however, be provided, considering these can  have different function and take various forms. Tokens can represent filecoins, bitcoin (internal currency systems and their balance), US dollar deposits and the list can go on. A token will usually have one or several of the following roles: digital assets, currencies, company stakes, payments on systems, products or services, rewards. Recently, the term token has been most widely used in regards to cryptocurrencies, this being the FinTech trend that has changed the way we see our financial future.

Legal perspective

With the increase of digital assets, and new altcoins emerging on the market with regularity, investors as well as creators are often faced with the question of how their asset will be treated by regulatory authorities. When the cryptocurrency trend has first exploded, lack of regulations was a worrying issue, but things seem to go in another direction now, more precaution measures being taken constantly. Consider the mufti-facet reality of token, classifying them through a legal stand can be challenging, so governments across the globe are still searching for viable ways of taxing cryptocurrencies by the book. It might still take a while until a clear regulatory system will be built. Therefore, the classic, traditional legal and regulatory classifications cannot be used when it comes to cryptocurrencies and their industry reach. The lack of a clear regulatory system means that investors need to choose carefully their approach, in order to not be faced with challenges or scams.

Token categories

The most important detail you should be aware of, when looking into the whole token subject is that there are two clear categories in which these tokens are separated. The first are named utility tokens, and what these stand for is the means of accessing a specific product or service. To fully understand the role of utility token you could correlate them to a software license, or a gift card. The second category, and the more important one, considering the current position of cryptocurrencies in the financial industry, is the security token. These are considered as an investment opportunity, a contract that provides you with potential future gains, coming from price appreciation, dividends or revenue share. The potential gains are the use-case that determine investors to take an interest in a specific security token. Token offerings are extremely versatile, the number of possibilities available for investors in 2018 being larger than ever,, some of which are even structured as a form of donation, with gains being directed towards charities. However, legal protection isn’t something you will be gaining as an investor, considering the fluctuating structure of this concept.

Security vs. utility tokens

To be able to differentiate a security token from an utility one. While there are many nuances that need to be addressed in order for a token to truly be considered a security one, two questions remain the most important ones for a first classification. In order for the said token to be classified into the security range, the answers to the following 2 questions need to be “yes. The first one and the most important is if the said token is being sold as an investment, and the second if there’s a person you will rely on as an investor. Who will be creating the value of the token? Is the token desirable among investments? What kind of use-value does it provide? Future profits potential needs to be researched as well as the reliability behind the person or the network developing the said security token concept. What you should also know is that a token can change their position, and switch from security to utility, and the other way around, especially when the use-value is still in development process.

Proper security token structure and its benefits

Security tokens that are being issued under certain regulative frameworks, such as regulation crowdfunding or regulation A+ benefit from a more affordable and rapid implementation process than a public offering that comes as a utility token. Legal risks are also reduced this way, this is why, the majority of startups interesting in ICOs development usually go towards the security token direction. Security tokens will soon benefit from far more legal support, various buyer rights, expectations and precautions being developed that are meant to ensure a more effective investment protection. So, as a potential investment, you should first analyze the structure of the security token you have taken an interest in and asses the benefits you might be granted with (dividends or profit share for example).  

With FinTech trends merging and cryptocurrency movements taking a leading stand in the financial industry, it seems that things have been revolutionize tremendously in how people see and handle their finances and investments. Security tokens have become a “hot” topic of discussion lately, bringing new opportunities to the table to investors and organizations. Now that you know a bit more on the topic, and have some basic understanding of this monetary trend, perhaps you’ll start using the opportunities available to your own personal advantage.  

4 Programs That Help Seniors Afford Home Repairs

Many seniors in Canada struggle to afford home repairs and adaptations. Nearly 7% of the country’s 250,000 seniors are living in poverty and 19% are living just above the poverty line. Many service providers such as Affordable Air & Heat offer financing for repairs, but not all do. Even when financing is offered, many seniors still do not qualify.

Fortunately, there are several grants available that can help seniors pay for necessary home repairs and adaptations.

1. Home Adaptations for Seniors’ Independence

For home adaptations, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation provides grants to low-income seniors through its Home Adaptations for Seniors’ Independence program. These grants can be used for adaptations and minor repairs that will help seniors “perform daily activities in their home independently and safely.”

Seniors may qualify for grants up to $3,500.

Seniors must be considered low-income, aged 65 or older and have experienced an age-related loss of ability. All adaptations and repairs must be permanent, improve physical safety and improve access to the home’s facilities.

2. Senior Citizens Assistance Program

Seniors living in the province of Nova Scotia may qualify for the Senior Citizens Assistance Program, which offers grants up to $6,500.

The program helps seniors aged 65 or older make repairs that will allow them to stay in their homes. The funding covers repairs that are vital to health and safety, including: plumbing, roofing and heating. Cosmetic home repairs are not covered by the grant.

To be eligible, seniors must be aged 65 or older, have owned and lived in their homes for at least a year, and have a total household income that is below the established income limit. The income limit depends on the size of the household and where the senior lives.

3. Provincial Home Repair Program

The Newfoundland and Labrador Housing Corporation (NLHC) offers the Provincial Home Repair Program (PHRP) that helps low-income homeowners make repairs and bring their homes up to fire and life safety standards. Repairs can include plumbing, heating, electrical, foundations, doors, windows, siding and roofing.

This particular program does not cover accessibility changes, but the NLHC does help with this through their Home Modification Program (HMP).

To be eligible, homeowners must be considered low-income and have owned and lived in the home for at least five years.

The funding is available in the form of a forgivable and repayable loan. Forgivable loan funding limits are $5,000 and $6,500 in Labrador. Repairs exceeding this amount can be covered under a repayable loan up to $12,500 and $15,000 in Labrador.

4. Emergency Repair Program

The Emergency Repair Program (ERP) is available through the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) for low-income, on-reserve households to make emergency repairs.

To qualify, the homeowner must be a First Nation member living on-reserve and have a household income that is within or below the established range for household size and region.

The program covers a wide range of emergency repairs, which can include heating systems, foundations, exterior walls, roofing, flooring, electrical and wiring systems, and plumbing problems. Grants of up to $20,000 are available for repairs.

Scam alert danger sign A black and white danger sign with text Scam Alert and theft icon on a keyboard 3D Illustration

5 Signs of Investment Fraud

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Most of us know and swear by this saying, but when it comes to financial investments, we toss the sentiment out the window. When money is involved, we tend to throw caution to the wind and sometimes forget to use common sense.

It’s easy to fall victim to investment scams, especially those that sound legitimate and offer attractive returns. How can you tell if you’re being played? Be on the lookout for these five signs.

1. They’re Unregistered

Before making any type of investment, check the Canadian Securities Administrators’ (CSA) National Registration Search to see if they’re registered.

While you’re at it, check the CSA’s Disciplined Persons List to see if they’ve been in trouble with a securities regulator.

Anyone offering investment advice or selling securities must be registered with their provincial securities regulator.

2. You Feel Pressured to Make an Investment

According to the Meyer Wilson law firm, one of the earliest signs of investment fraud is an aggressive promoter who says the investment is only available for a limited time. It’s common for scammers to use high-pressure sales tactics to get their victims to take the bait and hand over their money.

If you’re being pressured to make a decision right away or you’re presented with a “limited time offer,” the promoter is probably not acting in your best interests.

Scammers know that they’ll be caught if you have time to look into their offer.

3. It’s a No Risk, High Reward Investment

High-risk investments have the potential to offer higher returns, and low-risk investments have the potential to offer lower returns. A low-risk, high-reward investment is rare – and there are never any guarantees.

In fact, it’s impossible to guarantee a return when it comes to investing.

If you’re being told that you’ll see tremendous returns with little-to-no risk, run the other way.

4. You’re Told to Keep it a Secret

If someone presents an investment opportunity they claim is a secret, think twice about moving forward. Scam artists know that if they ask you to keep the opportunity to yourself, your friends, family and financial advisers cannot see through the scam.

This is a common tactic used in offshore investing scams that are touted as being tax-free. Remember that you may be able to defer taxes, but you can never avoid them. And if you send your money overseas, there is no guarantee that you will get it back.

5. All of Your Friends are Doing It

Scam artists will commonly target tight-knit groups of people, like religious and ethnic groups. They work their way into the group and befriend members in order to defraud them.

The tactic plays on our instincts to trust our friends and family, and taps into our fear of missing out on an opportunity. With these types of scams, victims are often introduced to the investment through friends and family members – people they trust.

Anyone can become a victim of investment fraud. Look for these five red flags if you’re being introduced to a new investment, and always check to make sure the person or organization is registered before investing.

 

Marketing Tips For Property Management Companies

Property management marketing techniques have rapidly changed in the past ten years.  Newspapers, radio spots, TV commercials, and telemarketing techniques have been rendered nearly obsolete by digital media.  

Today’s successful marketing campaigns operate on a different wavelength; the digital highway of the internet.  Here is a brief look at some of the most effective digital marketing tips for property management companies today.  

Learn the basics of keyword marketing

The keywords and phrases you work into your digital content should be strategically formatted to help Google identify what your content is all about.  The goal is to find a way to determine the words most searched by web users seeking services/products similar to what your business offers.

The best tool for keyword research is Google Keyword Planner.  Get your marketing content to the next level of effectiveness with this fabulous textual tool.  The right keywords can mean the difference between 500 and 5,000 views per day.  

Cater everything towards mobile media

Mobile access to the web is  more prominent than ever before, and your digital content should take factors such as those into account.  Optimize everything you post online to fit the display format of the smaller screen of a mobile device.

The easiest way to take a step towards mobile optimization is to integrate media queries into your design coding.  Media queries will automatically detect and augment your content to fit the screen of the mobile device currently viewing your organization’s digital information.  

Work social media into your marketing plan

Social media should always be a part of your marketing plans.  Your business website should be the hub of your social media push, second only to your actual social media profiles.  

Work all of the most popular social media networks, and use social media sharing icons throughout your business website design.  Take a look at this property management website.  The placement of their social media sharing icons is ideal.  Web users need the ability to share on a whim.

Check out what the competition is doing

Before you lay out your digital marketing plan, it’s beneficial to do a bit of research on what the competition has to offer.  This is not to say that you should copy exactly what others are doing to grab the attention of consumers.

Use the information you find during your research to formulate your own well-rounded marketing plan centered around the benefits of property management services.  

Learn the ins and outs of SEO

Search engine optimization is a collection of concepts which will help you form more directly focused and effective digital content.  Learn how to get your digital creations at the top of the results list when web users search relevant terms to your organization.

The Best Time To Apply for a Business Loan

Any kind of new startup starts with the same basics:  Background research and market testing to see if the product or service has a sustainable potential customer base; how much the startup can qualify for in seed money; where that money might be coming from; and, most importantly, the best time to be applying for loans and seed money from either the private sector or from government funding agencies. Timing is an essential ingredient in the financial success of every initial startup. Experienced entrepreneurs insist that this is the only way a successful startup can begin.

In North America, specifically in Canada, a new business owner needs to have been operating for a minimum of six months in order to be able to seek for either a Merchant Cash Advance or the government Small Business Loan, but the timing of the application can make that particular prerequisite of less than significant importance. A transaction history that indicates even a month or two of timely financial responsibility with both customers and vendors will be of great worth to even the greenest of business owners. What lenders look for more than anything else in a brand new operation is transparent financial operations and a constant stability that indicates monetary maturity, no matter how small the operating capital initially may be.

The importance of a good credit history

Never walk into a lender’s office without a spotless credit history to display. While a personal credit history may be less than stellar and still allow borrowers to obtain seed money and credit, any business hoping for a sizable loan must had an absolutely spotless credit record going back at least two years, or since the inception of the corporation or limited liability partnership. Financial officers today are willing to overlook a bit of youthful indiscretion when it comes to personal finances, but they remain intolerant of professional business credit failures and will not offer a single penny to any business that does not possess a sterling credit history. In Canada, a free credit history is available at Credit Canada.

Remember seasonality

A seasonal business, one that is tied into a holiday such as Christmas or a season such as summer, needs to be aware, of course , of when peak consumer purchasing is likely to occur, and to time their applications for loans accordingly. This is what the Merchant Cash Advance lending program was specifically set up for. This allows for much more flexibility in making up an annual business budget. During slow sales months, repayments can be lowered or even dispensed with altogether.

Application timing

Applying for a loan when business is in a seasonal or cyclic slump is not a good idea. Lenders traditionally look for strong performance before they open their purses. So the smart business owner plans to apply for loans when their business experiences a sudden surge in sales or when the peak sales season starts. That’s smart timing.

Once a business has established a relationship with a lender and show that it can pay back loans on a timely basis, a business owner may then feel more confident in going to see their lender for unexpected downturns and emergencies.

 

 

Top Payment Processors for Collecting Online Credit Card Transactions

You need to have a payment gateway in place if you plan of accepting credit card payments on your website, and today, it’s absolutely necessary. There are a few common names in the industry, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to use them.

Below, we have input from several business owners who are explaining why the use who they use and provide honest feedback regarding their experiences. Use their feedback and recommendations to explore new payment processor opportunities, whether you are looking for your first one or are looking for companies to rate shop against.

QuickBooks

“We use QuickBooks to process our payments. We love the fact that our clients can click right on the invoice and pay, we don’t like the high interest rates they charge for absolutely no reason other than to gouge us.” — Ben Walker, Founder of Transcription Outsourcing, LLC

Payza

“Payza is used by many, and there are two reasons why it’s hard to beat. Consumers trust it and they like knowing it’s secure and reliable, and second, it integrates with everything. Businesses that aren’t using it are missing opportunities.” — Ari Evans of AAA Handbags

Local

“We go through out local bank and the reason we do is because the rate we receive is very competitive and based on how long we have been their customer. Everything is integrated smoothly so it makes everything easier on our accounting department. For what we need, it’s a great partnership.” — Christopher Dziak, CEO of Pure Nootropics

Rotessa

“We use Stripe and Rotessa, they are both great because it is a set it and forget it cost effective automated process, together with an integration to collect which provides notifications when issues arise. I appreciate it is secure and I am comfortable with storing my client’s personal data there.” — Shawn Freeman, Founder and CEO of TWT Group

CMS

“CMS. They are brutally expensive. Also not the most fun to deal with. The onboarding process was probably the only thing to date that has been above average.  This is probably why the costs are so high with them.” — Marc Webb, Founder of Real PDL Help

2CheckOut

“2Checkout is one of the easiest in terms of getting set up and as far as integrations go. There isn’t any application we have found that didn’t just plug in with 2CheckOut. It’s an industry leader and their payout speeds are very fast, which as a business owner is very important. We love them.” — Jim Epton of Dom Huga Ltd

Payment Cloud

“Payment Cloud is one that we have been looking at. It has some nice features and it’s always a good idea to look at other available options. There is a lot of competition these days and companies are often slashing fees to move over, which can be huge savings for some.” — Matt Herron, CEO of AnswerFirst

Authorize.net

“Authorize.net is one of the oldest and most trustworthy payment gateways available. They have great rates and their customer service is top notch. They are also one of the big 3 (I would say Stripe and PayPal are up there with them) that integrate with almost all invoicing tools and shopping carts.” — Tom Munroe, CEO of RugStudio

Recurly

“We have used a number of different processors. Authorize.net was originally used and we customized the connection with a custom shopping cart. Since then, we have used Recurly and even PayPal buttons for easy integration.” — Shawn Schulze of HomeArea.com

Stripe

“We use Stripe, primarily because of the modern technology and security features. There’s peace of mind that comes from not having to process or store sensitive financial information ourselves. The only complaint is that it can be hard to negotiate rates until you’re processing significant volume.“ — Sean Christman, Founder of Slamdot

Square

“Square is a good option that many online businesses can use to not only handle payments, but also build their online store on, using their website builder. The entire platform has come a long way and evolved into a complete e-commerce tool. Their portable reader is also great for in person charges.” — Andrew Tran, Founder of Therapy

Bank’s Provider

“Our payment processor is set up directly with our bank’s merchant account who we’ve had a relationship with for decades. Anytime we’ve had issues or questions about fees, we’re able to get those issues resolved quickly and efficiently instead of having to wait for overseas support.” — Joseph W. Belluck of Belluck & Fox, LLP

PayPal

“We chose PayPal because they have a full-featured product and are easy to set up. An easy setup was required because credit card payments are not the major revenue source for our business so keeping setup costs down was a priority.” — Matthew Kolb of All High Schools

Driverless Cars – All you Need to Know

Not too long ago, the concept of driverless cars was only a dream, or the sort of thing movies are made of. But in the past few years, this dream has been getting closer to reality.

 

Driverless cars are not exactly a new concept; they have been long in the making and were spearheaded by General Motor’s 1939 exhibit called ‘Futurama’ which was showcased at New York World’s Fair, effectively laying the groundwork for what would be today’s autonomous vehicles.

Since then, many driverless car concepts have been tried out various times, but they all happen to fall short of technical expectations. It is only recently, due to advancements in technology, that self-driving cars have been able to overcome their three main engineering challenges: sensing the immediate environment, processing the information, and reacting accordingly.

These advances have made the reality of driverless cars even more real and closer than ever.

There is almost daily news of new developments in the search for the perfect driverless car. Virtually every self-respecting car manufacturer, car sharing service and even tech companies such as Apple and Google have caught the self-driving car bug. In fact, Google has plans to see their self-driving car sharing service on the road before the end of 2018, while Apple’s self-driving car can be seen on several occasions driving down the road carrying self-driving equipment. Even top car sharing company Uber has revealed that it is in talks with Google to see about adding Google’s self-driving car (Waymo) to their fleet of car sharing, self-driving vehicles.

Even though the development of self-driving vehicles is still plagued by challenges, the future appears bright, and it is expected that 2035 will see fully functional self-driving cars on the road, creating an industry that will be worth billions.

What are driverless cars?

Driverless cars, also known as autonomous cars or self-driving cars, are cars that are capable of driving to a destination, avoiding obstacles and parking successfully without the aid of a driver.

Simply put, this car must have the capability to perform every function related to everyday driving including commuting and parking. To accomplish this, a driverless car makes use of artificial intelligence (AI) to sense its immediate surroundings, process information from what it senses that allows it to avoid collision, use GPS to determine the car’s current location and where it is supposed to go to and perform driving-related activities such as steering and braking when needed.

Even though the concept of driverless cars has been talked about for quite some time, the idea of sitting in a car and being driven by a computer is sure to make a lot of people nervous, but, for what it’s worth, some level of this technology already exists in today’s more modern cars – such as adaptive cruise control, self adjusting speed control, blind spot warnings, lane management systems, self parking assist and much more.

So, while we are not exactly using driverless cars now, it is safe to say that a huge part of today’s driving experience is actually controlled by an onboard computer.

It is important to point out that even though the terms driverless cars and autonomous cars are currently used interchangeably, there is a subtle difference in their technical meanings. An autonomous car is one that has enough technology to allow it drive on the highway without human assistance, whereas a driverless car is one that does not even need a steering wheel suitable for human drivers.

How does a driverless car work?

A complete driverless car has to have the capacity to obey road rules, respond in a timely manner to road situations and drive safely all the time. To accomplish this, driverless cars make use of a series of built-in systems that are tasked with constantly analyzing the immediate surroundings and interpreting the results to determine the next course of action. The exact technology differs by manufacturer, but the key components are basically the same.

  • GPS – GPS is already a common technology. The GPS technology in driverless cars is no different from the ones available in phone apps; only better developed; and they essentially serve the same purpose – to tell the car where you want to go so the car can drive you there.
  • Detection system – In order for the car to plot its destination and prepare for road situations, a self-driving car works with a very advanced detection system. This is usually made up of LIDAR (light detection radar) used to measure the distance between any surrounding objects and the car, radar, and cameras. So far, only Elon Musk’s Tesla Model 3 makes use of only radar and camera, no LIDAR. This may be due in part to the first ever driverless car fatality caused by a LIDAR error in a Tesla Model S, where the device misidentified a parked white truck as part of the grey environment and so didn’t hit the brakes.
  • Onboard computers – Cars have had onboard computers for quite a while now but the ones on driverless cars are of a more sophisticated variety. Such a computer is needed to analyze and interpret the data gathered from the car’s detection system and determining the correct course of action, as well as controlling other aspects of the car not connected to the detection system.

How safe are driverless cars?

First of all, the technology behind driverless cars is still undergoing a lot of development. This means that there are still a lot of issues to be sorted out. Already, there have been several accidents during testing, including one that resulted in a fatality, but some of these accidents were a result of driver error.

That being said, several driverless car makers, including Google, are programming their cars not to take any form of action such as accelerating, braking or changing lanes unless there is a hundred percent certainty that the action is safe and will not result in an accident.

In theory, this ensures a safe and secure drive as long as the onboard electronics, computer and sensors all work as intended, and also as long as there is no unpredictable action by other road users. This emphasizes, rather than negates, the position of adequate car insurance to cover for any liability, even though insurance premiums might drop significantly once these cars have been proven to be beyond any doubt safer than manned vehicles.

What are the advantages of driverless cars?

Safety –

The biggest and most obvious advantage of driverless cars is safety. This safety advantage is emphasized by the following points:

  • Faster reaction times: A driverless car has the advantage of being able to react faster than any human driver would. In less than it takes to blink an eye, a driverless car can identify a potential hazard and take action accordingly.
  • Smarter decisions making: A human driver may not be able to analyze and make a decision in the split second it takes an accident to occur. Driverless cars, on the other hand, make use of extremely fast computers to analyze road situations and decide on the best possible move.
  • More efficient drivers: A huge percentage of road accidents can be traced to driver error. Everything from fatigue to drunk driving and ignoring road rules can cause a fatal accident. Computers don’t have these problems. Not only do they obey traffic laws and warning signs, they are also not capable of the excitement and emotion associated with road rages, car races and other forms of bad driving that cause accidents.

Efficiency –

Another advantage of driverless cars is efficiency. Driverless cars will be able to provide better fuel efficiency, better road efficiency and better time management. The usual chaos that normally occurs as a result of hundreds of drivers on the same road, ignoring safety rules, not maintaining consistent speed and not allowing for the proper flow of traffic will be eliminated.

Better for disabled people –

Driverless cars bring a whole new opportunity for freedom to people who have movement-restricting disabilities such as the blind or those otherwise unable to drive. Because the car is essentially doing the driving, these individuals will be able to move about more freely without having to depend on someone all the time.

Driverless cars will also provide an advantage to the elderly who no longer have the speed and reflexes needed to drive safely on the crowded highways.

The advantages of driverless cars are too numerous to fully cover here but suffice it to say that it will change the landscape of the automobile industry the world over.

What are the disadvantages of driverless cars?

No matter how good a thing is, there is always a flipside, and the advent of driverless cars is no exception. First of all, any technological advancement is bound to have an economic impact and driverless cars will too. This is because most of the driving jobs done by humans such as truck driving, taxis and chauffeuring will be taken over by AI.

Here are some of the adverse effects driverless cars are bound to have:

  • Economic impact due to job losses
  • High cost of cars due to high tech features
  • Legal and ethical difficulties
  • Human error

As you can see, there is still a long way to go before driverless cars become available to the public. All we can do as we wait is simply envisage the feeling of moving about in a car that drives itself.

5 Licenses and Permits Needed to Open a Restaurant

If you’re thinking about opening your own restaurant, you will need to do some research before anything else. While running a restaurant can be a rewarding venture, there are some steps you need to take before embarking on your dream restaurant journey. Depending on the type of food service operation you want to open, you may have to apply for some additional permits. You will need to decide if you are going to allow liquor sales within your restaurant or have a live entertainment option, as these require additional permits aside from the standard issue licenses and permits you will need to acquire before opening. Here are some common permits and applications you might need to file if you’re interested in opening your very own restaurant.

Employer Identification Number

Since restaurants have many employees, you will need to apply for an employer identification number (EIN). This is the first step in identifying your business to the government in order to file appropriate taxes for your business and on behalf of your employees. While this is a free process, it may take several weeks for your application to be processed and approved. Therefore, you will need to plan your timeline accordingly as the EIN will be necessary in order to file many of the other required permits/licenses prior to opening.

Business License

A business license is a state regulated license required of anyone owning a business, especially a restaurant. While this license is state regulated, you may need to apply for the federal level business license if you plan on transporting animals, planting products, or selling alcohol. Be sure to double check with your individual state authorities as to which license you will need depending on the services your restaurant will offer.

Building Department Permit

Now that you have started the process of establishing your restaurant, you will need to find a location and bring it up to the required safety and operational codes for your region. This will require building inspections from the city or county health department, as it pertains to the safety of the brick and mortar building you plan to run your restaurant in. This can include a visit from the fire marshal to review fire prevention systems, capacity concerns, and egress routes in case of a fire. In addition, outdoor signage and building features may be limited by local authorities, so a visit to the building department to find out the rules for your region is a must.

Food Service Establishment Permit

This is sometimes referred to as a “food handler’s” permit. This permit proves that you, as the owner/operator, understand and will comply with all food storage, safety, preparation, and sanitation training. This permit also allows your local health department to inspect your facilities (especially the kitchen area) to make sure you are following all requirements for safe food handling. Employees who will be primarily working your kitchen staff will also need to be individually certified for safe food handling procedures. Prior to getting approval for this permit, you need to make sure your kitchen (and restaurant) are stocked with the necessary supplies. Restaurant supply stores like VegaDirect.ca have everything from cookware, flatware, and uniforms to get a restaurant up and running. These supplies will be necessary in order to pass the food handling inspection, as they will be part of the review.

Liquor and/or Music Licenses

If you plan to serve alcohol, a liquor license will be required for your location. There are several levels of licensing for liquor and these can vary by state. Many city or county governments also have specific liquor licensing requirements, as well. If you plan to play music in your restaurant (as many do), you will need a music license in order to play any copyrighted music. It doesn’t matter if it’s from a CD, karaoke night, or DJthis license would be required in all circumstances. However, if your restaurant is smaller than 3,750 square feet, a music license will not be required.

Failing to acquire the required permits/licenses could get you into trouble with various government and regulatory agencies, resulting in fines and even potential closure of your restaurant. So you want to make sure you have all your ducks in a row before embarking on this journey. Performing due diligence prior to opening your restaurant will help you save time and money in the long run and help you spend your time and energy on running your restaurant.

Career Tips To Help You Maximize Your Income

Nobody goes into their career thinking that they want to make the least amount of money possible making it nearly impossible to retire. The goal for many is to make it to retirement as fast as possible which will take proactive saving but also maximizing your income. A proactive approach is need to maximize income as nobody is simply going to give you a raise without asking for it or pay you to watch Netflix for hours upon hours. The following are career and personal tips that will help you maximize your income and get that much closer to retirement.

Ask For Those Extra Shifts

Taking on an extra shift or volunteering for overtime is going to make a difference over the course of months. Not only are you earning extra money but you are also avoiding spending money as you are at work. Asking for extra shifts then calling off is a recipe to never be offered an extra shift again. This does not mean to pick up multiple shifts and burn yourself out as professional burnout impacts a multitude of people yearly. The fact that you pick up a shift whenever needed will have management looking at you like a team player which could eventually lead to a promotion.

Get A Bump In Commission

Those people in sales know that an extra percent in commission is going to make a huge difference in yearly income. Asking for this might not be as easy as many think as you will have to present reasons why you deserve this bump up. This is when you bring out closing numbers as those people who close the highest number of leads deserve this bump. Those salespeople with low closing percentages cost the company more money as the marketing team has to get more leads to make up for lack of closing.

Freelance From Home

Freelancing from home during free time can make a huge difference in your income. Adding supplemental income weekly can increase your quality of life immensely. Those people with proficient writing or web design skills can start earning immediately on a freelancer platform. Working a few hours extra per day does not appeal to many people but those that enjoy writing or designing will not mind. At the very least instead of a Netflix binge write a blog post or product copy daily. The best thing about freelancing is that you can set your workload as well as deadlines. The Money Alert is a great financial resource that can help direct you on how to save the money you are earning from freelancing.

Entertain Offers From Other Companies

You should never stop looking for better opportunities as far as your career goes. Your dream job is not going to wait until you are laid off or decide to quit your job. Accept interviews at other companies as well to see what they offer you that is superior to your current job to entice you to leave it. At some point you might receive an offer that is much better than the compensation package you have at your current company. Allow your company to try to match the offer before making any permanent decisions. This tactic cannot be used very often so only do this when the offer you receive is incredible.

Maximize your income and allow yourself to live a lifestyle that you never thought was possible. Retirement can come years early if you follow the above tips.