American Sales Down In May

Statistics suggest that US auto sales dipped in May by about .4% over the same month last year and by more than 5% over April. Sales on the retail market were down by about 50,000 vehicles over the previous month, suggesting continued softness in the economy and supply chain woes continue to take their toll.

According to the latest seasonally adjusted annualized rate (SAAR) published by Edmunds.com, the overall annualized rate has declined by a million vehicles compared to April’s SAAR. For retail sales, the SAAR for 2011 is now below 10 million cars, trucks and vans.

At least some of the decline in sales may be attributed to a reduction in manufacturer incentive programs which have ramped down by about 5% month-over-month and by more than a quarter since the previous May.

The natural disasters in Japan, compounded by the disaster at one of that nation’s nuclear plants proved to be hurdles for Toyota, an automobile manufacturer that has already been struggling, especially in the US market.

Other automotive companies have also experienced supply line disruptions from the problems in Japan, suggesting the decline in sales may partially stem from inventory problems that have slowed the flow of new autos to the market.

According to a top economist at Edmunds, production problems from Japan are being resolved and soon the industry should return to normal. As far as Toyota is concerned, its top models should be back in full production mode sometime in June. This means people who want to buy the company’s Corolla and Camry models will soon be able to, suggesting that June may be a better month at least for Toyota.

Toyota isn’t the only Japanese manufacturer to see better times ahead. Honda has been hardest hit of all the Japanese car makers, but is also expecting sales to ramp up in the coming months as that company’s suppliers and facilities are quickly coming back online.

The other major Japanese automotive player, Nisan, has reported that it has had success in recovering from the disaster It has brought a motor plant back online that will help that company resume production at normal levels in the coming months.

Calendar problems may also have contributed to May’s decline in auto sales, especially compared to last year when May had 26 selling days. This year, May lost two of those days which means that there was less for sales.

Finding the right auto insurance company that offers the most competitive rate of insurance for your vehicle can be difficult if you go through the conventional route of calling each insurance company individually. Nowadays, people use quote comparison websites such as Kanetix.ca to compare the quotes of multiple insurance companies and get the cheapest rate.

Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

Although the famous personal development book Think and Grow Rich was written more than 7 decades ago, the principles have remained true to this day.  Whether they know it or not, people who are financially successful exhibit many of the principles that were discussed in the book.  Let’s take a look at some of the examples and how this holds true.

One of the first principles that Napoleon Hill talks about in his book is desire.  This is one of the things that many personal development books are missing.  While it is simple, too many people focus on strategies such as affirmations and other exercises.  The one thing that all successful people have in common is that they had a strong desire to succeed.

Another principle that is discussed is imagination.  The power of imagination is not only the ability to create a solution where a problem once was, it’s also the ability to imagine yourself being successful and having what you want in life.  This is a topic that is discussed in depth in the famous book “The Secret.”

One of the main exercises in the book is when you imagine yourself having what you want repeatedly in order to strengthen your desire and your belief that you can have it.  Many people have used this simple exercise consciously or even subconsciously to get what they want in their life.

Napoleon Hill also talks about the Master Mind.  When you look at all successful industry leaders, you will notice that they have a master mind – a group of likeminded people that share ideas, help each other grow, and hold each other accountable.  All financially successful people have a group that they consult with if they need advice.  Many budding entrepreneurs also know the strength of the master mind as it forces them to grow, gain new information and experiences.

Organized planning is also necessary when it comes to becoming successful.  The way you turn a dream into reality is to break it down and come up with a plan.  By setting up a plan, your goals and dreams become achievable and it will draw you to take action since you have a road map to where you want to be.

The final principle that I want to talk about is decision.  Many people plan build an intricate plan but never go ahead and take action.  Procrastination is one of the biggest enemies to success and you’ll notice that successful people do not procrastinate much.  They are quick to make decisions and take the necessary action to move forward.

As you can see, the qualities that make up a financially successful person have not changed in over 7 decades.  The principles that were discussed in Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich still hold true today.  There are many other principles in the book that discuss the characteristics of successful people.  If you want to learn what makes successful people successful, you should study the book carefully and apply the valuable information.

Please visit The Personal Development Company if you would like to learn more about Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

How to Save Money During Tax Season

After the excitement and good cheer of the holidays are over, people find themselves facing another busy season – the dreaded tax season. Generally, by the end of January or the first of February, you will have received your W9s, 1099s and other income documents from your employer(s). Although your employers are in charge of sending you documentation of the income you’ve earned from them, you will still have some work to do. This is especially true if you are self-employed and/or want to save money on your taxes. If you are interested in saving money on your taxes, then you need to keep reading and following the tips listed below.

Prepare in Advance: While many look for last minute ways to save money on their taxes at the end of every year, the best way you can save money during tax season is to begin preparing for it in advance. Well in advance – like January. January is the time when you need to begin getting things in order for the next year’s tax season. For example, organizing your home office and creating folders for various types of documents such as receipts, credit card statements, utility bills and any other tax related documents will help save you time and money as next year’s tax season approaches.

Keep Track of Business Expenses: This is crucial for those people who are self-employed. So many people miss out on thousands of dollars in tax refunds because they are poor record keepers. Business expenses are any kind of expenses that are work related. For example, it may be the purchase of a new suit to meet a new client in, hotel bills, computer repairs made to your business computer, ink for your printer, pens, paper, etc. Also, don’t forget to include cell phone, electric and internet bills if you have a home office as a percentage of these are tax deductible too.

Make Contributions: Many people understand that making yearly contributions to their retirement funds (IRA or 401k) is a great way to increase their tax refund. However, these are not the only types of contributions that will save you money come tax time. You can contribute money to your children’s college funds, donate money or items to charity or give a monetary gift to a friend or family member. If you are thinking big, you could donate a car to kars4kids or if you choose to give a monetary gift then you will need to speak to your accountant first to ensure you don’t exceed the amount of your state’s non-taxable gift laws.

Don’t stop at your car, though. Larger contributions, like a boat donation, can also be made in the name of charity. Whether you have a boat that has been occupying space in your garage or you’re in a bind and need to figure out a way to lessen your tax burden, it is a good call. Additionally, you’re able to give back to a charity of your choosing whenever you donate a car or boat. So give donation a serious consideration the next time you decide to sell one of your old vehicles.

Do it Yourself: What?! File your own taxes? It’s understandable that you may be a little nervous about filing your own taxes, but it’s not hard and you will save money doing this. There are many programs available that will help you file your own taxes and these programs are reasonably priced as well. However, to save even more money, you can easily find turbotax coupons or free services online.

Tax season is stressful for everyone, especially those caught unprepared. However, with the tips above you will not only reduce your stress during this dreaded season, but you will also save money. So, get to work!

Tips On Working Smarter, Not Harder In Your Business

Tips On Working Smarter, Not Harder In Your Business

In this day and age, with all the hustle and bustle of the workaday world, it is important to work smarter and not harder to get the job done. There are things you can implement right away to make your job less stressful and free up some much needed time.

There are a lot of skills that we take for granted when we look at getting a job done. One of the most overlooked skills is time management. Becoming more effective on the job with time and project skills will allow you to work smarter and not harder.

Getting your business organized

Here are some useful tips to help you get started and make more of your time. Putting these in place will make a dramatic difference in both the output of products and the overall quality of them.

1. Stay on task

Don’t jump from one cycle to another until one has been completely finished. This is going to scatter papers on your desk and clutter up your mind with all the unfinished projects rumbling around. Start something, complete it and then move on to the next thing on your list.

If you find you are having trouble staying on course with one project take a look at the distractions in your area. Perhaps it is a phone ringing or some outside noise that is causing you to lose focus on the task at hand and making you feel like you should be moving onto the next one. Try removing the distractions and see if that helps.

2. Don’t try to be perfect

Some people allow perfectionism to be their downfall. If you are taking too long on a project and you know that it is good enough, stop it there. Look at your priorities and figure out if your need for perfection is affecting other areas of your work.

3. Get some help

Leverage your time by hiring someone to help you with the mundane things that you really don’t have time for. If you need a bookkeeper or just somebody in the office that can arrange for paperwork once a week, you can easily find someone that can step in to help.

It will take some time to train them but this is time well spent in the long run. If it takes five hours to completely train someone on a new task and it saves you 10 hours a week on an ongoing basis, this is an investment in your time.

4. Clear up the clutter

The clutter is also going to be a distraction. It is very hard to function properly in an unorganized surrounding. Clear off your desk, make piles of paper and make the place look neat.

When you start clearing the clutter away you are going to be tempted to start organizing as well. This is something that needs to be done later and it’s not part of this cycle. Remember you need to work on one thing, complete it, and then go on to the next task. The first thing you need to do is make your area nice and neat and then organization can follow.

5. Organize your stuff

The first thing you need to do when you are organizing is have a designated place to put things. A big reason why people get so disorganized that they don’t really have a place set up to keep the stuff they have.

If you find that you cannot get organized effectively there are services you can call in to help you with it. You’ll find your productivity levels increase dramatically once everything is put into place properly and you know where everything goes.

6. Use a day planner

Keep all your thoughts organized by using a day planner. This will also help keep your desk clear because you can put papers away knowing you’ll get back to them because that task is listed on your planner.

7. Develop a system

It may take some time to put a system in place but once it has been set up you will have so much time on your hands you won’t believe it. Systems are part of time management because once they have been developed everything runs like a well oiled machine. One of your top priorities to work smarter and not harder it is to have a system.

8. Make a schedule

It is best to take a look at your own life first before making a schedule. When do you find yourself to be the most productive? This is the time when you should schedule your tasks. If you find that you are not able to keep up with everything during certain hours you should not plan anything too thought-provoking or strenuous during this time.

Everyone has their good times and less productive times during the day. Your job is to isolate these times so that you can work around them and get the most work done in as little time as possible. Look at your own energy levels and your internal clock to schedule your day.

9. Work in a different space

If you find yourself getting bored or even falling asleep, try moving to a different room to do some work. You can also head out to a Internet coffee shop to see the real world again and do some tasks while enjoying an exotic cup of coffee.

10. Make your down time efficient as well

Do your shopping when the stores are less busy and you’ll be able to get a lot more done in a lot less time. You won’t have to wait in lineups or fight the crowds if you shop at strategic times of the day. This will give you even more down time to relax and enjoy your family. Isn’t that one of the reasons why you first decided to get into business for yourself?

This article was written by Timothy Ng. You can read more of his work at Credit Card Finder, where he has a number of comprehensive guides to all types of credit cards.

Mental hack to avoid critical bias

There is one bias which we are exposed to time and again. One trick which is played on us over and over.
At it’s simplest we can spot it easily but unfortunately there are many many occasions when it sneaks in under your guard and you have to be ready to recognize it for what it is.

Let’s start with the classical illustration and then we can go form there.

Imagine a boat full of pilgrims crossing a stormy sea. The weather worsens and the boat starts to flounder. In desperation the pilgrims gather on the deck and pray for salvation. The storm quietens and the ship arrives in port. When the story is told it is hailed as an act of God and proof of the power of prayer.

So where is the fault in this logic? What we are not seeing are all the cases where people prayed and were not saved. We are looking only at the winning ticket and not seeing the losers.

Let me now put this into a more up to date situation. Think of those bill boards or adverts which show the winner of the lottery. You see them holding their cheque and smiling. Don’t they look just like your neighbour or friends? And if they have won why can’t you? What you are not seeing are the million or more other people who also played the lottery and lost.

The hack is always asking yourself this question:

” If i am looking at a winner then where are all the losers?” That way you won’t be deceived into thinking how easy it will be to follow in their foot steps.

This article was written exclusively for Finance Wand by Mike Holly. Mike lives and works in Northumberland ( United Kingdom)

Hondas Continue to Lead in Reliability

Hondas Continue to Lead in Reliability

When you buy a new car, you have to take a lot of different things into consideration. You have to look at price, mileage, resale value, etc. One of the most important factors to consider though is reliability. To many consumers, reliability is second only to price, and sometimes it’s even more important than the price! Finding a car that won’t have you in and out of a mechanic shop can be difficult and will involve a bit of luck, but by doing enough research you should have a good idea as to which cars have a higher chance of being reliable than another car. After doing some research, you can see that one of the obvious choices is just about anything that comes from Honda.

After many studies, Honda keeps coming out on top of the reliability pile along with Ford and Toyota, despite Toyota’s massive recalls lately. In fact, all of the cars that Honda makes score an average or above average rating for reliability, and the Honda Insight has been rated the most reliable car on the market today.

That being said, it’s no surprise that Honda is among one of the most sought after cars. There are plenty of reasons to get one. The initial reliability brings enough to the table alone. Knowing that your car won’t bring you the stress and headaches of having to be without a vehicle because it’s in the shop is a huge weight off of your mind, let alone the money you’ll be saving by not going to the mechanic all the time.

Another great reason to consider reliability is that when the car becomes older, whether you’re buying or selling, you’re in a better position with a Honda. When you’re in the selling position, you get the joy of having a high resale value, making it easier to move on to the next car you want. As someone who’s buying a used car, you must be weary of the idea that you are buying someone else’s problems. By buying a Honda, you have a much better chance at getting a reliable car that won’t give you the problems that so many other used cars will.

Another great thing is that Honda is a very popular company, and they have places everywhere just in case something does happen. If you need to find a mechanic in San Diego for example, there are plenty of San Diego Honda repair shops to choose from, many rated very highly by the BBB.

So when you are looking for a new or used car, one sure bet will always be a Honda.

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