Category Archives: Insurance

Zillow Says Rising Sea Levels Threaten to Put 2 Million Homes Underwater

Sea level expected to rise six feet by 2100 endangering 2% of housing stock 

By Jeff Sorg, OnlineEd Blog

canstockphoto14640424 house floating(August 3, 2016) – Nearly 2 million U.S. homes would be lost if the oceans rise by six feet as scientists expect by the year 2100, according to a new Zillow® analysis. The endangered homes represent just under two percent of the national housing stock, and are worth a cumulative $882 billion.

New research published in the scientific journal Nature found that sea levels could rise six feet by the year 2100, mostly due to melting Antarctic ice sheets. This new estimate nearly doubles previous expectations for rising oceans.

Using data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Zillow identified which homes would be affected by the predicted six-foot rise in ocean levels.

More than half of all homes that would be lost are in Florida, and they account for nearly half of the lost housing value as well. In all, one in eight Florida homes would be lost. More than 9 percent of homes in Hawaii would be underwater; 81 percent of those are in the capital city of Honolulu. Thirty-six coastal cities would be entirely underwater, and nearly 300 cities would lose at least half their homes.

The at-risk homes along the waterfront are 58 percent more valuable than the average U.S. home. The biggest difference in home values is in Maine, where homes at the water’s edge are worth $436,798, more than three times the statewide median home value of $138,900. By contrast, homes at risk of rising oceans are less valuable than the typical home in Hawaii, Maryland, Washington, and Oregon.

“As we move through this century, homeowners will have to consider another factor when it comes to their homes – whether rising sea levels have any impact on them,” said Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Svenja Gudell. “It’s easy to think about how the ocean levels can affect the coasts in an abstract sense, but this analysis shows the real impact it will have on nearly two million homeowners – and most likely more by the time we reach 2100 – who could lose their homes.”

Among coastal states, Pennsylvania, Oregon and California have the lowest share of homes at risk of being underwater. Just 0.1 percent of homes in Pennsylvania would be lost if the ocean level rises six feet.

State  Number of Homes at Risk of Being Underwater Percent of Homes at Risk of Being Underwater  Total Value of Homes at Risk of Being Underwater  Median Value of Home at Risk of Being Underwater
United States 1,867,801 1.9%  $882 billion $296,296
California 42,353 0.4%  $49.2 billion $891,269
Texas 46,804 0.6%  $12 billion $195,029
New York 96,708 2.1%  $71 billion $495,712
Florida 934,411 12.6%  $412.6 billion $262,626
Pennsylvania 2,661 0.1%  $730 million $188,505
Georgia 24,379 0.7%  $10.2 billion $291,409
North Carolina 57,259 1.6%  $20.6 billion $266,693
New Jersey 190,429 7.3%  $93.1 billion $365,233
Virginia 46,287 1.8%  $14.4 billion $252,985
Washington 31,235 1.3%  $13.8 billion $291,965
Massachusetts 62,069 3.1%  $51.2 billion $551,866
Maryland 64,299 3.1%  $19.6 billion $233,937
Alabama 12,735 0.8%  $3.8 billion $234,987
South Carolina 83,833 4.4%  $45 billion $369,047
Louisiana 80,080 5.9%  $13.2 billion $139,042
Oregon 4,959 0.4%  $1 billion $179,424
Connecticut 18,173 1.6%  $13.2 billion $414,616
Mississippi 5,572 0.7%  $1 billion $148,161
Hawaii 37,556 9.1%  $25.3 billion $475,345
Maine 5,412 1.0%  $3.1 billion $436,798
New Hampshire 4,064 0.7%  $1.7 billion $337,320
Rhode Island 4,853 1.5%  $2.9 billion $454,559
Delaware 11,670 3.1%  $3.6 billion $261,802

Source: Zillow

 

###

For more information about Zillow® please visit their website. Zillow® is a registered Trademark.

For more information about OnlineEd and their education for real estate brokers, principal brokers, property managers, and mortgage brokers, visit www.OnlineEd.com.

All information contained in this posting is deemed correct as of the date of publication, but is not guaranteed by the author and may have been obtained from third-party sources. Due to the fluid nature of the subject matter, regulations, requirements and laws, prices and all other information may or may not be correct in the future and should be verified if cited, shared or otherwise republished.

OnlineEd® is a registered Trademark

A Dozen Deductions for Your Small Business

Small-business tax rule No. 1: Don’t mess with the IRS

By Jeff Sorg, OnlineEd Blog

canstockphoto4831350tax perparation

 

 

(March 9, 2016) – Bankrate.com is sharing their list of 12 tax deductions taken by “savvy small business owners and entrepreneurs.”  This list includes such items as:

  1. Home office
  2. Office supplies
  3. Furniture
  4. Other equipment
  5. Software and subscriptions
  6. Mileage
  7. Travel, meals, entertainment and gifts
  8. Insurance premiums
  9. Retirement contribution
  10. Social Security
  11. Telephone charges
  12. Child labor

Read more about these and other deductions at:  http://www.bankrate.com/finance/taxes/dozen-small-business-deductions-1.aspx#ixzz42QNuyMAy

###

For more about Bankrate.com, please visit their website, www.bankrate.com

For more information about OnlineEd and their education for real estate brokers, principal brokers, property managers, and mortgage brokers, visit www.OnlineEd.com.

 All information contained in this posting is deemed correct as of the date of publication, but is not guaranteed by the author and may have been obtained by third-party sources. Due to the fluid nature of the subject matter, regulations, requirements and laws, prices and all other information may or may not be correct in the future and should be verified if cited, shared or otherwise republished.

REPOST: IRS Announces Simplified Option for Claiming Home Office Deduction Starting This Year; Eligible Home-Based Businesses

Since it’s tax time again, we wanted to repost this IRS Common Sense Home Office Deduction announcement originally posted on January 15, 2013:

(Washingtion, D.C.)  The Internal Revenue Service today announced a simplified option that many owners of home-based businesses and some home-based workers may use to figure their deductions for the business use of their homes.

In tax year 2010, the most recent year for which figures are available, nearly 3.4 million taxpayers claimed deductions for business use of a home (commonly referred to as the home office deduction).

The new optional deduction, capped at $1,500 per year based on $5 a square foot for up to 300 square feet, will reduce the paperwork and recordkeeping burden on small businesses by an estimated 1.6 million hours annually.

“This is a common-sense rule to provide taxpayers an easier way to calculate and claim the home office deduction,” said Acting IRS Commissioner Steven T. Miller. “The IRS continues to look for similar ways to combat complexity and encourages people to look at this option as they consider tax planning in 2013.”

The new option provides eligible taxpayers an easier path to claiming the home office deduction. Currently, they are generally required to fill out a 43-line form (Form 8829) often with complex calculations of allocated expenses, depreciation and carryovers of unused deductions. Taxpayers claiming the optional deduction will complete a significantly simplified form.

Though homeowners using the new option cannot depreciate the portion of their home used in a trade or business, they can claim allowable mortgage interest, real estate taxes and casualty losses on the home as itemized deductions on Schedule A. These deductions need not be allocated between personal and business use, as is required under the regular method.

Business expenses unrelated to the home, such as advertising, supplies and wages paid to employees are still fully deductible.

Current restrictions on the home office deduction, such as the requirement that a home office must be used regularly and exclusively for business and the limit tied to the income derived from the particular business, still apply under the new option.

The new simplified option is available starting with the 2013 return most taxpayers file early in 2014. Further details on the new option can be found in Revenue Procedure 2013-13, posted today on IRS.gov. Revenue Procedure 2013-13 is effective for taxable years beginning on or after Jan. 1, 2013, and the IRS welcomes public comment on this new option to improve it for tax year 2014 and later years. There are three ways to submit comments.

The OnlineEd ® Guide to Study Tips and Test Taking

Guide to Study Tips and Test Taking

www.OnlineEd.com

Study Tips

Students with better study methods and strategies score higher on their exams. Everyone is different and different methods work for different people. The following are some suggestions on improving studying techniques.

  • It is best to review the material several times.
  • Don’t try to do all of your studying the night before the test. Instead, space out your studying, review materials at least several times a week, focusing on one topic at a time.
  • Find a comfortable and quiet place to study with good lighting and little distractions (try avoiding your own bed, it is very tempting to just lie down and take a nap).
  • Learn the general concepts first, don’t worry about learning the details until you have learned the main ideas.
  • Take notes and write down a summary of the important ideas as you read your study material.
  • Take short breaks frequently. Your memory retains the information that you study at the beginning and the end better than what you study in the middle.
  • Space out your studying, you’ll learn more by studying a little every day instead of waiting to cram at the last minute. By studying every day, the material will stay in your long-term memory. When you try to study at the last moment, the material will only reside in your short-term memory and you’ll easily forget.
  • Make sure that you understand the material well, don’t just read through it and try to memorize everything.
  • If you choose to study in a group, only study with others who are serious about studying.
  • Test yourself or have someone test you on the material to find out your weak and strong areas. You can take the practice tests at the end of each section or use the flash cards for review.
  • Listening to relaxing music can relieve some of the boredom of studying.
  • Don’t study later than the time you usually go to sleep or you might fall asleep or be tempted to go to sleep. Instead, try studying in the afternoon or early evening. If you are a morning person, make time to study in the morning.

Tips for Better Test Taking

Prepare:

  • Arrive early for tests.  Good preparation helps you focus when the time comes.
  • Be comfortable but alert. Maintain comfortable posture in your seat, but don’t slouch.
  • Stay relaxed and confident. Keep a good attitude and remind yourself that you are well-prepared and are going to do well. If you find yourself anxious, take several slow, deep breaths to relax.
  • Don’t talk about the test to others just before entering the room: their anxiety can be contagious.

Test Taking:

  • Read the directions carefully. This may be obvious, but it will help you avoid careless errors.
  • If there is time, quickly look through the test for an overview. Note key terms, jot down brief notes.
  • Answer questions in a strategic order:
    • Answer easy questions first to build confidence, score points, and mentally orient yourself to vocabulary, concepts, and your studies. It may also help you make associations with more difficult questions.
    • Then difficult questions or those with the most point value.
    • With objective tests, first eliminate those answers you know to be wrong, or are likely to be wrong, don’t seem to fit, or where two options are so similar as to be both incorrect.
  • Review: Resist the urge to leave as soon as you have completed all the items Review your test to make sure that you:
    • have answered all questions;
    • did not mis-mark answers; and
    • did not make simple mistakes.
  • Change answers to questions if you made a mistake, or misread the question or if you find information elsewhere in the test that indicates your first choice is incorrect.
  • Decide on and adopt study strategies that work best for you.
  • Review your test preparation and identify those habits that worked well and replace those that don’t!

OnlineEd® Course Download Instructions for Amazon Kindle

This guide will help you download course material to your Apple iPod or iPad. Many OnlineEd® courses include mobile-ready versions of the course, which provide extra opportunities to study while at the gym, on the bus, and anywhere else you take your mobile device.

Step 1

From your OnlineEd® Course Management page, click on the course you would like to download.

Course Management Page

Your OnlineEd® Course Management Page

 Step 2

Near the top of the page, you will find links to download PDF or MP3 audio files. Right click on the format you would like to download, and click “Save As.” Make a note of the location you save the file.

Save As

Right Click > "Save Target As..." or "Save Link As..."

Step 3

Once the download is complete, navigate to the folder where you saved the file.

Downloads Folder

The default location is usually the "Downloads" folder on your computer.

Step 4

4a

If you downloaded audio files, they must be copied to the “music” folder on your Kindle

Kindle Music

Drag and drop to the "music" folder of your Kindle.

4b

If you downloaded PDF text files, they must be copied to the “documents” folder of your Kindle.

Kindle PDF

Drag and Drop to the Documents Folder

 Step 5

Unplug your Kindle and enjoy your course!

Kindle

Enjoy your course anywhere!

 

OnlineEd Course Download Instructions for iPod/iPad

This guide will help you download course material to your Apple iPod or iPad. Many OnlineEd® courses include mobile-ready versions of the course, which provide extra opportunities to study while at the gym, on the bus, and anywhere else you take your mobile device.

Step 1

From your OnlineEd® Course Management page, click on the course you would like to download.

Course Management Page

Your OnlineEd® Course Management Page

 Step 2

Near the top of the page, you will find links to download PDF or MP3 audio files. Right click on the format you would like to download, and click “Save As.” Make a note of the location you save the file.

Save As

Right Click > "Save Target As..." or "Save Link As..."

Step 3

Once the download is complete, navigate to the folder where you saved the file.

Downloads Folder

The default location is usually the "Downloads" folder on your computer.

Step 4

Drag and drop the downloaded file to your iTunes window. To drag and drop, click an hold with the left mouse button on the file you would like to transfer, drag the file to iTunes, and then release the mouse button. The file will copy to your iTunes folder.

iTunes

iTunes

 Step 5

Click the “Sync” button in the lower, right-hand corner. When the sync finishes, unplug your device and enjoy your course!

 

New Consumer Finance Web Site Launched

OnlineEd

(OnlineEd – Portland, OR) Educate, Enforce, and Study are the three main objectives listed over at the new government web site, www.consumerfinance.gov.  The site, operated by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, has at its mission “to make markets for consumer financial products and services work for Americans – whether they are applying for a mortgage, choosing among credit cards, or using any number of other consumer financial products.”

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFB) was established by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 (Dodd-Frank). Many parts of the act are to be implemented on July 21, 2011.

In addition to policing abuses in consumer financial products, the CFPB will also be responsible for simplifying the disclosure forms that Americans get when they take out a mortgage. By simplifying complex mortgage forms, the CFPB can make it easier for a family to shop for a mortgage and avoid surprises after signing on the dotted line.

###

To learn more about the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, visit their Web site at:  http://www.consumerfinance.gov/

To learn more about Dodd-Frank, please visit the summary posted at:

http://banking.senate.gov/public/_files/070110_Dodd_Frank_Wall_Street_Reform_comprehensive_summary_Final.pdf

FREE Webinar: Business Taxes for the Self-Employed: The Basics

OnlineEd

The IRS is holding a FREE webinar on Tuesday, March 29 for small businesses, self-employed persons, and independent contractors.  The webinar will include such topics as reporting profit or loss from a business or profession, self-employment tax and estimated tax payments, deducting business expenses, husband and wife businesses, recordkeeping, Schedule C and C-EZ, plus more.

Click here for more information.

Electronic Fingerprints Required for Insurance Licensing

Electronic Fingerprints Now Required

(OnlineEd – Portland, OR) On January 1, 2011, the Insurance Division of Oregon began requiring all insurance license applicants to have their fingerprinting done electronically at certified testing centers. Previously, applicants were able to choose the location and provider, and whether or not they were electronic. By requiring fingerprinting to be done at the testing center, the Insurance Division is able to speed up the processing and validation of the fingerprints and decrease licensee wait-time.

All new licensees are advised to call their exam provider and set an appointment. The provider will digitally scan fingerprints and transmit them electronically to the Oregon State Police for processing.

FREE Class – How To Make 2011 A Great Year With An Effective Plan


OnlineEd

Everybody needs a plan. Plans help people succeed. An action plan is, without a doubt, the most valuable component in any business strategy. Consider it a road map full of stops before you reach the destination of success. The term “road map” is a poor descriptor, however. Think of it more like a location-aware GPS device with enabled turn-by-turn navigation and you’ll get a better idea of how important it is.

Road map’s are universal, which is great because it means anybody pick one up and use it relatively easily but, they are also static, or unchangeable. Those adjectives don’t look very good describing an action plan. A GPS is dynamic, like an action plan should be. An action plan should be personal to an individual or a business. It should contain specific tasks, a time frame for those tasks, and a budget. It is a good idea to refer back to the original plan every so often to analyze progress, make additions based on new information, or scrap the plan entirely and start fresh.

As you can see there is far too much information for a blog post, which is why we are bringing you a FREE class.

Join OnlineEd® December 9th, 2010 from 9-10 AM PST for a FREE online class “How to Make 2011 a GREAT Year with an Effective Plan,”by Carla Cross.  Carla will share with you her four simple steps to creating an effective, workable business plan that gets results, along with all the important components to put in the plan, and the critical systems and strategies you will need to put in place in order to succeed. This session includes a detailed handout AND you’ll receive a 9-point rock-solid Plan-of Action to get you started right away.

How to Make 2011 a GREAT Year with an Effective Plan

Presenters: Carla Cross and OnlineEd®

Date: December 9, 2010

Time: 9:00 am to 10:00 am Pacific Standard Time

Credit Hours: This is a non CE informational class

Cost: Free

TO REGISTER AND FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT CARLA AND THE SESSION, CLICK HERE

TO VIEW EXCERPTS FROM THE CLASS CLICK HERE