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Business

Should you wait to claim Social Security?

CharlesSimsJr-160Many people file for Social Security as soon as they stop working and/or become eligible for benefits. Full retirement age is 66 for most baby boomers and 67 for those born in 1960 or later, but Americans can claim early worker benefits starting at age 62.

The monthly benefit increases with claiming age by up to 8 percent a year, so filing early could cause you to lose out on thousands of dollars in benefits, especially if you enjoy a long life.
Consider this hypothetical example:

Paul could receive an annual benefit of about $15,400 if he files at age 62, $20,500 if he files at age 66 (full retirement age), or $27,100 if he waits until age 70.

ON OUR WAY TO WEALTHY: The business of romance

lovebusiness 600Romance should not be placed on the shelf until Valentine's Day. At times, relationships need spice and many are lost on where to begin the process. HiHeelz Concierge Service provides ideas and direction for those in need. Customers need only to bring their sweetheart and have the confidence to pull off the evening.

Part 2 of our look at the Business of Romance continues with the completion of our conversation with Dennette Smith-Ross, the founder and owner of HiHeelz Concierge Service.

Carlee McCullough: What is the greatest reward in running your own business?
Dennette Smith-Ross: I control my own destiny and work/life balance. I am doing what I am passionate about. I feel pride in building something of my own, but most of all I connect with my clients.

The business of romance – a ‘HiHeelz’ approach Part 1

CarleeMcCullough-160There are many excuses for why the sizzle has dwindled in a relationship, such as:

"I'm too busy working and I'm tired!"

"We have kids now!"

"I have gained too much weight to be sexy!"

"We have been married for 20 years, they know how I feel!"

"I gave them some money to go shopping!"

No matter the excuse, the solution is Dennette Smith-Ross of HiHeelz Concierge Service.

Cash for Cars

cashforcars 600What do you do with a car or van that is old, paid for and does not work? One option is to call the self-proclaimed No. 1 junkman in the South, Patrick Boone. A fireman, Boone has carved out his own slice of the cash-for-cars niche. In this economy the business model could not have been more timely and he has it down to a science. Ready to jump into action with the receipt of a phone call, Boone has groomed a talented team that is responsive and eager to trade cash for vehicles.

A financial map for your family

CharlesSimsJr-160Your financial life is probably more complicated than you realize. You may have multiple bank, retirement and investment accounts; insurance policies; a safe-deposit box; and more.

You have bills to pay and perhaps a mortgage and other outstanding loans. And then there are the people you might depend on for financial matters: your attorney, financial advisor, insurance agent, and accountant, just to name a few.

Now, think for a moment about how your family would navigate this financial sea if you were gone.

Be a job magnet

hudson 600Would you believe me if I said I thought you could be a "magnet?" As human beings, I believe we all have the capacity to draw to ourselves those things we give the most thought and energy, those things we are passionate about. In other words, each of us is in many ways potentially a magnet. We attract things to ourselves that may include prosperity.

In pursuit of my hypothesis, I did a Google search of "job magnet" and found over 53 million results! I did the same thing for "success magnet," finding over 300,000 hits. My point is this: In order for us to survive what Grace Lee Boggs calls "The Next American Revolution," we are going to have to become magnets that draw goodness and prosperity into our communities and our homes and our schools, or we will soon not have them at all.

Boggs is a 96-year-old activist that has been in the struggle for freedom and human dignity for most of her life. She lives in Detroit and has been part of that city's starting of its comeback. She has seen people at the grassroots level realize that their future is in their own hands and that the days of the factory job, which provided a job for you and your children and their children until retirement, is no more.

Building on New Year’s resolutions

CarleeMcCullough-160No matter what happened in the previous year, most of us step into the New Year with optimism that it will be bigger, better and more prosperous than the last one. And whether you adopted a resolution on January 1 or not, it is never too late to do something positive.

In the quest to adopt a resolution, reflection on the previous year is advised. Evaluate what was positive about the year and what was negative. Think about what you had too much of and what you had too little of last year.

If the resolution is about self-improvement, analyze what could be done to improve you. If it is community oriented, find what you can do for others.

What can we expect in 2014?

CharlesSimsJr-160Although economic forecasts can change due to unforeseen circumstances, the outlook for 2014 is generally positive, with a return to solid growth and the possibility of even stronger economic performance, depending on several key factors that should become clearer over the next few months.

GDP, unemployment, and inflation

As of late December 2013, year-over-year growth of real gross domestic product (GDP) was expected to range from 1.7 percent to 2.3 percent, higher than was expected earlier in the year but lower than the 2.8 percent rate in 2012. The economy is projected to bounce back in 2014, with growth of around 2.7 percent to 3.2 percent, near the 50-year average of 3.06 percent.