Category Archives: Taxes

Obamacare News

Are you keeping up with the Obamacare News?

If not, you may be soon – or, should we say you may want to.

The Impact of Obamacare pamphlet
REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi/Files

As you may already know, 2015 marks the beginning of the enforcement of Obamacare… tax penalties and all.  Oh, there were plenty of people who screamed, hollered, and stomped their feet when Obamacare (aka the Affordable Healthcare Act) was in the planning and lobbying stages.  How do you suppose those same people are gonna to feel when they see the hit they may take on their taxes to be filed between now and April 15th for not having the very healthcare we were told Obamacare was supposed to provide for those who were unable to afford it, either through their employer or on their own, as an independent, private consumer??

I don’t know about you, but I already know people who are starting to file their 2014 tax returns – only to find out that penalty can be fairly hefty.  Some of these people actually TRIED to be diligent.  They tried to work enough hours at their job to qualify for the employer’s group plan.  They investigated the costs of the government-provided health insurance at the “Healthcare Marketplace”.  Heck, they even sought out the devil (aka insurance companies) to see what was available for individual, private consumers.  Bottom line:  Some of them couldn’t afford any of those options!  But wasn’t this supposed to be the “Affordable” Healthcare Act???

Just yesterday I got a text from a friend of mine.  It read,

“Holy sh*t!  Looks like I owe almost a grand in taxes this year.  WTF?”

Now, that isn’t all due to Obamacare, but a chunk of it is.  He didn’t have health insurance at his place of employment last year because he flat didn’t qualify.  It was fairly new employment, and, although he was full-time, he’d not crossed the threshold to participate in the employer-provided group health insurance plan.  I remember at the time, he’d checked the Healthcare Marketplace.  All those options were too expensive, too.  (Isn’t that an oxy-moron?  The health insurance provided by the “Affordable” Healthcare Act were too expensive??)

Do you suppose he’s the only one gonna have a fit when their tax returns are calculated and they see the end result of a forced healthcare system tied to a penalty from the IRS?  I doubt it.  While the actual results are obviously yet to be “seen”, I’d venture to say that those who will be hit hardest are gonna to be those in the socio-economic class(es) that were screaming loudest in favor of the Act when it was first in the making.  (It’s funny sometimes how such drastic short-sightedness can be brought into clear focus when the enforcement of such things begins to happen.)

SIDENOTE:  By the way, how is it even LEGAL that citizens be assessed a tax penalty for something totally unrelated to the payment and/or collection of their taxes???  And do you realize that the IRS isn’t even a part of the United States government?  Nope.  They’re a stand-alone organization.  WTF, indeed!

I was never a fan of this legislation, although I’m a HUGE fan of the IDEA behind the legislation; I just believe such legislation doesn’t really suit the purpose or the very citizens it’s said to help.

In my opinion, it’s like banks:  You erroneously (Hey, work with me, here; we’re giving people the benefit of the doubt.) over-draw your checking account and because you did that, the bank’s “courtesy” overdraft protection plan kicks in.  This is to prevent your check from being returned to the retailer/creditor and, presumably, incurring their fees for returned checks (usually $30, right?).  However, because you had to “ask” the bank to cover your IOU (aka check), the bank now assesses you an additional fee (usually between $15 and $30) per day, until you not only pay the overage amount, but all fees assessed up to that point.  Now, here’s where it gets good.  You already didn’t have enough money, right?  (Again, work with me.)  So let’s charge you more money (like, substantially more money) per day until you return your money back to our bank, along with self-directed fees being assessed against your account.

Where’s the logic in that?

Oh, and if you wonder what happens if you don’t rush right in to try to rectify (pay) the situation (fees):  They’re just taken from any and all future deposits until the “debt” is taken care of.  “Have a nice day!  We thank you for doing business with us.”

Will anybody ever be smart or courageous enough to repeal Obamacare?  Not likely at this point.  Or, should I just say how sorry I feel for the next person who’s our esteemed President?  That person may win the election, but, boy, are they ever inheriting some of the worst legislation and governmental acts in history.  “We the people” will fully expect them to whip things back in shape in, oh, what would you say?  A few months should be enough time, right?  Again, I’m unsure that a few terms would be enough.

I’d love to know, as we head into the 2015 tax season…

What’s your Obamacare news?

The Top 5 Benefits of Network Marketing

If you’re contemplating applying to become involved in a network marketing company as your home-based business, you may be wondering whether or not it’s worth it. As a person has been and is working within the direct sales industry, I’d give you a resounding, “YES!”

Before I jump right into what I believe to be the top five benefits of network marketing, though, I’d like to make a point: There are people of both genders, many ethnicities, and all socio-economic statuses and walks of life who have found their way to network marketing. Initially, I believe we all come “here” for very personal reasons… to meet a self-defined need in our own lives.

For instance, my first introduction to the direct sales industry was with a very well-known cosmetic company. Many people (especially women) have heard of them. Anyway, I was in my early twenties then. I was also working full-time and going to college full-time, with a dual-major of Pre-Law and Business. Now, I worked for a company where I was actually making pretty darn good money for being that age. The challenge? I had NO time. No time to study. No time to be involved in hobby-like or outside interests. No time for a social life to speak of… not that I’ve really ever been too much of a social butterfly. I still knew I was trading time for money, and I’d already identified a strong entrepreneurial drive from within (at about the age of 19, when I made my first attempt at being self-employed with a non-direct sales business – just me, by myself).

So, a then-friend of mine convinced me to get involved. This venture didn’t work for me… but there was absolute value in it and the experience for me. Obviously! I mean, I later became involved in a network marketing company where I was fairly successful and recognized for over six years. Then with another that was really just one where the timing was good and the people and environment was what I needed at the time to move me forward and teach me some skills that I continue to utilize in my business today. (In fact, although I no longer consider that company to be “my” company, I remain associated, stay plugged-in to some of their training and with some of their top earners, and even refer people in their direction when I feel there’s a benefit there in terms of what that person is wanting to learn or may need as a person at that time.)

So, although I wholly support and acknowledge the existence of those more personal benefits, those aren’t the benefits I’m talking about today. The benefits I’m going to outline now are from a more mature, adult perspective – in terms of actual business… with the key personal elements being met.

1. Flexibility and the perceived freedom

Freedom created by a home-based businessYou’re technically classified as an independent contractor. (Funny how we accept that label in other companies and professions, but when it’s attached to network marketing, so many scoff.) This means you get to set your own hours. You work as much or as little as you like. Throughout the longer network marketing stint of my career life, I was a single parent. This flexibility allowed me to work around any schedule I needed so my child never had to go to daycare, was raised by me, and I didn’t miss out on all those “firsts” in his life that I wanted to be present for.

2. Earnings based upon merit and effort

This is good and bad for some people – which is also a very good reason why it’s NOT the best business option for some. Let’s be honest, some people just don’t want to work “that” hard. They’re “comfortable”, and they want to show up, punch a clock, and collect a paycheck. There’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, I’m super glad those kinds of people exist because society, as a whole, needs them in order to function properly. I, however, always No glass ceilings with a home-based businessfound it frustrating to have

(a) my pay based upon somebody else’s perception of my efforts and worth and

(b) an earnings ceiling that basically dictated that I could never rise above it unless somebody died or retired.

In network marketing, if you learn, grow, become who you need to become in your business of choice, you will, indeed, get paid in accordance with your efforts and growth as a person. If you fail to learn, grow, and implement, you’ll earn little to no income – and there are plenty who fall into this category, believe me.

3. Reduction in expenses and wasted time

Think about it, there’s no commuting… anywhere, really. Well, okay, depending upon the network marketing company you’ve chosen to become Expense reductions with a home-based businessinvolved with. Using today’s technology, however, I can truthfully tell you that I personally have no need to leave my house if I don’t want to – not for selling or interviewing those who are interested in working with me. I have no “home meetings”… or meetings anywhere else, for that matter. My interviews are conducted via telephone and video chat. The customers I serve have the ability to place orders directly with the company – online or by  phone, which means I don’t have to see them, handle product or inventory, deliver or ship anything, etc. Now, am I suggesting that I have to do nothing? Not at all. I’m saying that:

(a) I have a company that supports me and my customers very well (If a customer wants or needs to contact me with questions or concerns, they’re free and welcome to do so, and I’m happy to help them however I can.) and

(b) I have a vision for my business, so I’m also very selective about who I invite to work with me (Not “just anybody” will do, so leveraging technology reduces my wasted time with “no-shows”, whiners, complainers, tire-kickers, and so on – essentially, people who really aren’t “here” to win. I want to WIN!)

4. Low start-up cost

Other than real estate investing, I personally know of no other business or business opportunity that’s affordable for average people besides those available in network marketing. (Even zero-down real estate investing – for me, anyway, when I started – had expenses like gas, office supplies, postage, phone, and so on.) In contrast, direct sales business opportunities come in all levels of financial opt-ins. I’ve personally seen everything from as little as $20 to upwards of $3,000-$5,000. Still, in the scope of things, the high-end is a mere pittance in comparison to start-up capital for a traditional new business. Franchises are astronomical, and a stand-alone “mom ‘n pop” business usually requires so much that loans are needed just to get the doors open!

5. Tax advantages*

For me, this is HUGE! Wealthy people will tell you… It really doesn’t take you having a whole lot of money to position yourself well in life (depending on the variables when you figure it out, right – like the number of years before you’d like to retire, eliminating bad debt, etc.). Plainly put:

It’s not so much about how much you make as it is about how much you’re able to keep.

A home-based business allows you to legitimately qualify for an array of tax deductions and such that are always out of reach as an employee.

Please understand… I’m a supporter of network marketing, entrepreneurship, and a free and capitalistic society that affords people the opportunity to do and become whatever and whomever they want and choose to be. These are just five of the top benefits that drew me into (and back into) network marketing. That said, I’d also be the first to tell you that although you’ll find all these benefits available in pretty much every network marketing opportunity, not all of these companies are created equal. You must be very real and honest with yourself about what it is you want to get out of your involvement… then do your due diligence in researching that company’s ability to deliver on whatever that is for you. If it’s not a good match for you, that’s okay. Again, all kinds of people fulfill all kinds of very valuable functions in society. If so, though, YOU may find yourself on the track to winning! So be honest…

Is network marketing for you?

Your partner in success,
Crystal Schwindt

*I’m not a CPA or financial advisor. These are my experiences and are not meant to serve as advice. Please consult an appropriate professional with questions you may have in this respect.