News from the Reference Desk Category: Business

Get Help from the Small Business Administration

If you’re a small business owner or entrepreneur with a great idea, you may be looking for resources to help answer some of the many questions you most likely have. Well, the Mount Prospect Public library is here to help–with a little assistance from the Small Business Administration (SBA)! The SBA is the government agency tasked with providing information and programs dedicated to assisting small businesses, and one of the best is their yearly Small Business Resource Guide. Inside you’ll find info on everything from how to start a business and writing a business plan to programs designed to help veterans and native Americans, as well as funding sources. Just click above or HERE to get started, or grab a paper copy from the Business Resource Center behind the Research desk. And if you need help navigating this or other business resources available at the library, MPPL Business Reference Joe Collier is available for one-on-one reference appointments–just email or call the library to set one up!

Avoiding Bitcoin and Virtual Currency Fraud

Virtual currencies like Bitcoin are the newest buzzword for more and more investors–even if you can’t exactly explain what a Bitcoin “is,” you may still recognize the potential for return. However, as with all new technologies and financial endeavors, the fraudsters are keeping pace in their unrelenting mission to separate you from your money! One place to start before taking the Bitcoin plunge is at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. As Bitcoin and other virtual currencies are classified as commodities, the CFTC is the government agency tasked with regulating them. Subsequently, they provide a wealth of information on their website HERE for consumers to help avoid being defrauded and make safe investments in legitimate companies. If you’re considering getting into this financial area, cruise over and check it out!

Investing in Illinois

Did you know that the Illinois Treasurer serves as the state’s chief investment officer? It invests approximately $25 billion on behalf of the state, units of local government, and families saving for college. Illinois State Treasurer Michael W. Frerichs maintains, however, “that we must also invest in people. The best way to do that is to provide people the tools to invest in themselves.”

One way is to capitalize local banks and lending institutions. The Treasurer’s office provides money at below‑market rates in return for their commitment to loan that money to individuals and businesses trying to better themselves and, by extension, their community. Farmers are familiar with their popular Ag Invest program which has provided more than $1 billion in loans over the years. Some homeowners are familiar with the Finally Home program that helps homebuyers who barely miss qualifying for a conventional mortgage. This year, it has added a new program to the portfolio to help small businesses still wading through the ripple effects of the recession. The Community Uplift Program commits $500 million in new money to flow through local banking institutions to help individuals obtain loans at below-market rates to fund business growth or expansion. The program provides capital in a manner that supports community development while meeting primary investment objectives of safety, liquidity, and return on investment.

Currently, 300 lending institutions are qualified to participate. Growing the number of institutions willing to participate in just one of these loan programs will help strengthen Illinois. If you are a business owner, farmer, or potential homeowner, click here for more information. Bankers and other lending institutions can click here.

When Will Tax Cuts Start?

President Trump is poised to sign the recently passed tax bill, and the first question on many folks’ lips is: when will the tax cuts start? Because the legislation is complex, it’s hard to know exactly when it will effect taxpayers across the U.S. Some of the bill’s impact will begin at the start of 2018, though other elements won’t take effect until 2019 and beyond. For instance, when you file your 2017 taxes in April, you’ll already be getting some benefits like lower tax withholding, but other perks won’t show until you file your tax return in April 2019. Luckily for us, the experts at Fortune magazine have broken it all down quite nicely HERE.

NEFE Has Financial Education Resources for You!

The National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) is the leading private nonprofit 501(c)(3) national foundation dedicated to inspiring empowered financial decision making for individuals and families through every stage of life. With more than a quarter-century of dedication to the public good, NEFE continues its legacy of service with commitment to providing financial education and practical information to people at all financial levels, including high school and college students, folks planning for retirement, and overspenders. NEFE provides objective and credible information through its programs and partnerships. Their materials continually evolve with the changing financial climate, technological advancements, and societal trends to meet consumers’ shifting needs. All NEFE resources and teaching materials are provided at no cost: consumer and educational resources, current financial news, programs and initiatives and more–check it out at www.nefe.org today and find something to help your own financial literacy grow!

MPFD Fire Extinguisher Training Available for Local Businesses

We’ve all seen the fire extinguishers in our workplaces, but how many of us actually know how to use one in the case of a fire? Well, help is available–did you know that the Mount prospect Fire Dept (MPFD) offers free fire extinguisher training for businesses in Mount Prospect? Participants will learn how to prevent fires within the workplace, the different types of extinguishers and their correct usage, as well as get practical experience using one on a live fire! Classes are offered on site at no charge, limited to 20 participants per session, contact Cory Pikora the MPFD (847.818.5260 or cpikora@mountprospect.org) with questions or to schedule a session!

Financial Advisors and the Dept. of Labor’s New Fiduciary Rule

As of June 9, 2017, a new Fiduciary Rule put forth by the Department of Labor will go into effect, potentially changing the level of accountability for many financial advisors currently not officially considered a “fiduciary.” The new rule expands the “investment advice fiduciary” definition under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). Essentially, the Department of Labor’s definition of a fiduciary demands that advisors act in the best interests of their clients, and to put their clients’ interests above their own. It leaves no room for advisors to conceal any potential conflict of interest, and states that all fees and commissions must be clearly disclosed in dollar form to clients. The definition has been expanded to include any professional making a recommendation or solicitation — and not simply giving ongoing advice. Previously, only advisors who were charging a fee for service (either hourly or as a percentage of account holdings) on retirement plans were considered fiduciaries.

Read HERE for a more detailed explanation.

Two New Databases for Small Business Owners and Entrepreneurs

MPPL has recently added two new and exciting databases from Gale focused on resources ideal for entrepreneurs and small business owners: Business Insights: Global and Small Business Resource Center. Available as part of our Web Resources and accessible to anyone inside the library (and remotely at home for MPPL cardholders), these two powerful resources offer information and help around everything from writing a business plan, market research and industry reports to company information, funding sources and management strategies. If you’re someone working to start your own business or simply looking for ways to enhance your current one, take a moment to explore these rich and user-friendly tools!

Start your search with ReferenceUSA

ReferenceUSA provides fast online access to critical reference and research information. This quality data can help you:

  • Search for jobs by skills, location and industry
  • Find Business opportunities
  • Research executives and companies worldwide
  • Track down addresses and phone numbers
  • Locate out of town companies

 

Talk to Your Teens About Money

It’s the time of year when many of us make decisions about our employee benefits for the coming year–“open enrollment” season. The Office of Financial Education, a part of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, offers this sound advice:

You can guide your children in finding the financial help they need

The financial world of today isn’t the same world you grew up in. New services and choices are being offered all the time. For your children to navigate the new financial world they’ll face, they need to know when to seek out information and how to evaluate it. Your children need practice making money choices, and they could use your guidance. At this age they may be earning some money of their own. Now, as you make benefits choices for next year, think about including your teenager in your decision-making process. You can help your teenager think about how to use information to make a good decision. If you have benefits fact sheets or Web sites from your employer, sit with your teenager and go through them. Talk through the questions your child has, and ask a few questions of your own:

  • What is the most important thing to think about for the family’s health care? Why?

  • Have there been any changes in the family since last year that could make a difference to health care? To insurance? To flexible spending dollars?

  • What could be the advantages or disadvantages of having benefits deducted from your paycheck, compared to paying the costs on your own?

  • How trustworthy is the information you receive? How would you look for further information?

You don’t have to do anything you wouldn’t do normally, when you make your benefits choices. Just by showing your teens how you approach enrollment, you’re helping them practice the decision-making process before their own paychecks are at stake. For more ideas, visit www.consumerfinance.gov/parents.