Tips to Boost Your Commercial Real Estate Career

When you start work in commercial real estate sales or leasing, there is a real temptation to do what everyone else does. That is a real danger in that most salespeople in the industry are not good role models. In fact some agents are really ordinary and they do not share information effectively for new people.

So to improve your chances of being a top agent, you can start to focus on the right things and those things that will build your market share and business. Here are some ways to do that:

  • Find out just who dominates the local property market as a top salesperson in your office and then watch what they do. Review their listings and market share. Drive around their listings and see what makes their listings and marketing different. Do they have more exclusive listings than open listings? How do they market property in this economic environment? What has their sales record been like over the last 12 months? How does their market share compare to other agents?
  • They are likely to have a solid database of local contacts. You will need to start this process for yourself anyway, so ask them what database software they use and if they could show you how they build their prospect list. How do they interact with their clients?
  • They may have been operating in the local property market for some time and this will have bearing on the activities that they undertake every day. They should however still be prospecting to maintain their position as a top agent. Ask if you can sit in on their cold calling time one day to see how they do it and what they say. Perhaps you could replicate their script to words that suit you and your area or property type.
  • Get to know your area really well, and that will mean property owners, business owners, vacant land, property developers, and professionals like solicitors and accountants.
  • Identify the top property locations in your area and inspect the properties for a real understanding of why those areas are favoured. Survey the factors that impact location such as transport, services, amenities, highways, roads, ports, and infrastructure.
  • Get to know the top property owners in the area. Whilst they will be dealing with many agents, you can connect with them now and start to build a level of trust for the time that you will have some property solution that you can offer them.

To rise to the top of your market, you simply need to watch the right people and practice what they do. Build your database from deliberate and directed effort; the property market awaits your involvement.

Discount Car Rental Deals – Tips For Finding The Best Rates Online

The start of the season has already been an excellent start for any search regarding discount car rental deals. As it would be simple to end up being stressed by the whole set of offer within the web-based business, follow this advice intended for simpler look up amongst providers.

For starters, you have to be aware of that you can find a couple of types of providers which are supplying discount car hire deals. In order to save you valuable time, it’s not a secret to expert renters the fact that major worldwide businesses cost more whereas broker agents that team up with them are certainly more low-priced and simpler to acquire large bargains from suppliers.

Therefore the broker agents have the ability to offer the equivalent vehicle class at a lower price. Focus on broker agents in search for the purpose of best offers. Next, there are particular nations which are normally less costly than others. Greece, Cyprus, Slovenia, Malta, Spain, Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hungary, Italy, Germany, Austria, Switzerland as well as Turkey are among the most cost-effective rental car marketplaces throughout Europe.

At the same time Scandinavian regions tend to be famous for much higher starting fees in European union in default in comparison with previously discussed nations Renting a car in Norway, Sweden, Finland or Iceland will never be as cheep as renting a vehicle in Greece. Arranging beforehand is by no means too early.The second the holiday, business travel schedules are identified to you, reserve a vehicle straight away.

Using this method you will enjoy a couple of critical goals: find discount car rental deals effortlessly as last-minute booking and even you will have much more choices to select from in terms of vehicle class diversity.

Finest discount car rental deals in this year are incredibly excellent valued furthermore in Middle East locations together with several European popular area favored by British and Russian as well as German travelers. In order to find out more which places tend to be this year car rental deals supreme destinations check out car rental deals web page and check the rates.

In addition, iPhone and android phone owners can download an application developed to help you find the best car rental deals online. By having an application on your phone you have ability to check out the prices just when you need to without using computer and having an internet connection.

Health Savings Accounts – An American Innovation in Health Insurance

INTRODUCTON – The term “health insurance” is commonly used in the United States to describe any program that helps pay for medical expenses, whether through privately purchased insurance, social insurance or a non-insurance social welfare program funded by the government. Synonyms for this usage include “health coverage,” “health care coverage” and “health benefits” and “medical insurance.” In a more technical sense, the term is used to describe any form of insurance that provides protection against injury or illness.

In America, the health insurance industry has changed rapidly during the last few decades. In the 1970’s most people who had health insurance had indemnity insurance. Indemnity insurance is often called fee-forservice. It is the traditional health insurance in which the medical provider (usually a doctor or hospital) is paid a fee for each service provided to the patient covered under the policy. An important category associated with the indemnity plans is that of consumer driven health care (CDHC). Consumer-directed health plans allow individuals and families to have greater control over their health care, including when and how they access care, what types of care they receive and how much they spend on health care services.

These plans are however associated with higher deductibles that the insured have to pay from their pocket before they can claim insurance money. Consumer driven health care plans include Health Reimbursement Plans (HRAs), Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs), high deductible health plans (HDHps), Archer Medical Savings Accounts (MSAs) and Health Savings Accounts (HSAs). Of these, the Health Savings Accounts are the most recent and they have witnessed rapid growth during the last decade.

WHAT IS A HEALTH SAVINGS ACCOUNT?

A Health Savings Account (HSA) is a tax-advantaged medical savings account available to taxpayers in the United States. The funds contributed to the account are not subject to federal income tax at the time of deposit. These may be used to pay for qualified medical expenses at any time without federal tax liability.

Another feature is that the funds contributed to Health Savings Account roll over and accumulate year over year if not spent. These can be withdrawn by the employees at the time of retirement without any tax liabilities. Withdrawals for qualified expenses and interest earned are also not subject to federal income taxes. According to the U.S. Treasury Office, ‘A Health Savings Account is an alternative to traditional health insurance; it is a savings product that offers a different way for consumers to pay for their health care.

HSA’s enable you to pay for current health expenses and save for future qualified medical and retiree health expenses on a tax-free basis.’ Thus the Health Savings Account is an effort to increase the efficiency of the American health care system and to encourage people to be more responsible and prudent towards their health care needs. It falls in the category of consumer driven health care plans.

Origin of Health Savings Account

The Health Savings Account was established under the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act passed by the U.S. Congress in June 2003, by the Senate in July 2003 and signed by President Bush on December 8, 2003.

Eligibility –

The following individuals are eligible to open a Health Savings Account –

– Those who are covered by a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP).
– Those not covered by other health insurance plans.
– Those not enrolled in Medicare4.

Also there are no income limits on who may contribute to an HAS and there is no requirement of having earned income to contribute to an HAS. However HAS’s can’t be set up by those who are dependent on someone else’s tax return. Also HSA’s cannot be set up independently by children.

What is a High Deductible Health plan (HDHP)?

Enrollment in a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) is a necessary qualification for anyone wishing to open a Health Savings Account. In fact the HDHPs got a boost by the Medicare Modernization Act which introduced the HSAs. A High Deductible Health Plan is a health insurance plan which has a certain deductible threshold. This limit must be crossed before the insured person can claim insurance money. It does not cover first dollar medical expenses. So an individual has to himself pay the initial expenses that are called out-of-pocket costs.

In a number of HDHPs costs of immunization and preventive health care are excluded from the deductible which means that the individual is reimbursed for them. HDHPs can be taken both by individuals (self employed as well as employed) and employers. In 2008, HDHPs are being offered by insurance companies in America with deductibles ranging from a minimum of $1,100 for Self and $2,200 for Self and Family coverage. The maximum amount out-of-pocket limits for HDHPs is $5,600 for self and $11,200 for Self and Family enrollment. These deductible limits are called IRS limits as they are set by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). In HDHPs the relation between the deductibles and the premium paid by the insured is inversely propotional i.e. higher the deductible, lower the premium and vice versa. The major purported advantages of HDHPs are that they will a) lower health care costs by causing patients to be more cost-conscious, and b) make insurance premiums more affordable for the uninsured. The logic is that when the patients are fully covered (i.e. have health plans with low deductibles), they tend to be less health conscious and also less cost conscious when going for treatment.

Opening a Health Savings Account

An individual can sign up for HSAs with banks, credit unions, insurance companies and other approved companies. However not all insurance companies offer HSAqualified health insurance plans so it is important to use an insurance company that offers this type of qualified insurance plan. The employer may also set up a plan for the employees. However, the account is always owned by the individual. Direct online enrollment in HSA-qualified health insurance is available in all states except Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.

Contributions to the Health Savings Account

Contributions to HSAs can be made by an individual who owns the account, by an employer or by any other person. When made by the employer, the contribution is not included in the income of the employee. When made by an employee, it is treated as exempted from federal tax. For 2008, the maximum amount that can be contributed (and deducted) to an HSA from all sources is:
$2,900 (self-only coverage)
$5,800 (family coverage)

These limits are set by the U.S. Congress through statutes and they are indexed annually for inflation. For individuals above 55 years of age, there is a special catch up provision that allows them to deposit additional $800 for 2008 and $900 for 2009. The actual maximum amount an individual can contribute also depends on the number of months he is covered by an HDHP (pro-rated basis) as of the first day of a month. For eg If you have family HDHP coverage from January 1,2008 until June 30, 2008, then cease having HDHP coverage, you are allowed an HSA contribution of 6/12 of $5,800, or $2,900 for 2008. If you have family HDHP coverage from January 1,2008 until June 30, 2008, and have self-only HDHP coverage from July 1, 2008 to December 31, 2008, you are allowed an HSA contribution of 6/12 x $5,800 plus 6/12 of $2,900, or $4,350 for 2008. If an individual opens an HDHP on the first day of a month, then he can contribute to HSA on the first day itself. However, if he/she opens an account on any other day than the first, then he can contribute to the HSA from the next month onwards. Contributions can be made as late as April 15 of the following year. Contributions to the HSA in excess of the contribution limits must be withdrawn by the individual or be subject to an excise tax. The individual must pay income tax on the excess withdrawn amount.

Contributions by the Employer

The employer can make contributions to the employee’s HAS account under a salary reduction plan known as Section 125 plan. It is also called a cafeteria plan. The contributions made under the cafeteria plan are made on a pre-tax basis i.e. they are excluded from the employee’s income. The employer must make the contribution on a comparable basis. Comparable contributions are contributions to all HSAs of an employer which are 1) the same amount or 2) the same percentage of the annual deductible. However, part time employees who work for less than 30 hours a week can be treated separately. The employer can also categorize employees into those who opt for self coverage only and those who opt for a family coverage. The employer can automatically make contributions to the HSAs on the behalf of the employee unless the employee specifically chooses not to have such contributions by the employer.

Withdrawals from the HSAs

The HSA is owned by the employee and he/she can make qualified expenses from it whenever required. He/She also decides how much to contribute to it, how much to withdraw for qualified expenses, which company will hold the account and what type of investments will be made to grow the account. Another feature is that the funds remain in the account and role over from year to year. There are no use it or lose it rules. The HSA participants do not have to obtain advance approval from their HSA trustee or their medical insurer to withdraw funds, and the funds are not subject to income taxation if made for ‘qualified medical expenses’. Qualified medical expenses include costs for services and items covered by the health plan but subject to cost sharing such as a deductible and coinsurance, or co-payments, as well as many other expenses not covered under medical plans, such as dental, vision and chiropractic care; durable medical equipment such as eyeglasses and hearing aids; and transportation expenses related to medical care. Nonprescription, over-the-counter medications are also eligible. However, qualified medical expense must be incurred on or after the HSA was established.

Tax free distributions can be taken from the HSA for the qualified medical expenses of the person covered by the HDHP, the spouse (even if not covered) of the individual and any dependent (even if not covered) of the individual.12 The HSA account can also be used to pay previous year’s qualified expenses subject to the condition that those expenses were incurred after the HSA was set up. The individual must preserve the receipts for expenses met from the HSA as they may be needed to prove that the withdrawals from the HSA were made for qualified medical expenses and not otherwise used. Also the individual may have to produce the receipts before the insurance company to prove that the deductible limit was met. If a withdrawal is made for unqualified medical expenses, then the amount withdrawn is considered taxable (it is added to the individuals income) and is also subject to an additional 10 percent penalty. Normally the money also cannot be used for paying medical insurance premiums. However, in certain circumstances, exceptions are allowed.

These are –

1) to pay for any health plan coverage while receiving federal or state unemployment benefits.
2) COBRA continuation coverage after leaving employment with a company that offers health insurance coverage.
3) Qualified long-term care insurance.
4) Medicare premiums and out-of-pocket expenses, including deductibles, co-pays, and coinsurance for: Part A (hospital and inpatient services), Part B (physician and outpatient services), Part C (Medicare HMO and PPO plans) and Part D (prescription drugs).

However, if an individual dies, becomes disabled or reaches the age of 65, then withdrawals from the Health Savings Account are considered exempted from income tax and additional 10 percent penalty irrespective of the purpose for which those withdrawals are made. There are different methods through which funds can be withdrawn from the HSAs. Some HSAs provide account holders with debit cards, some with cheques and some have options for a reimbursement process similar to medical insurance.

Growth of HSAs

Ever since the Health Savings Accounts came into being in January 2004, there has been a phenomenal growth in their numbers. From around 1 million enrollees in March 2005, the number has grown to 6.1 million enrollees in January 2008.14 This represents an increase of 1.6 million since January 2007, 2.9 million since January 2006 and 5.1 million since March 2005. This growth has been visible across all segments. However, the growth in large groups and small groups has been much higher than in the individual category. According to the projections made by the U.S. Treasury Department, the number of HSA policy holders will increase to 14 million by 2010. These 14 million policies will provide cover to 25 to 30 million U.S. citizens.

In the Individual Market, 1.5 million people were covered by HSA/HDHPs purchased as on January 2008. Based on the number of covered lives, 27 percent of newly purchased individual policies (defined as those purchased during the most recent full month or quarter) were enrolled in HSA/HDHP coverage. In the small group market, enrollment stood at 1.8 million as of January 2008. In this group 31 percent of all new enrollments were in the HSA/HDHP category. The large group category had the largest enrollment with 2.8 million enrollees as of January 2008. In this category, six percent of all new enrollments were in the HSA/HDHP category.

Benefits of HSAs

The proponents of HSAs envisage a number of benefits from them. First and foremost it is believed that as they have a high deductible threshold, the insured will be more health conscious. Also they will be more cost conscious. The high deductibles will encourage people to be more careful about their health and health care expenses and will make them shop for bargains and be more vigilant against excesses in the health care industry. This, it is believed, will reduce the growing cost of health care and increase the efficiency of the health care system in the United States. HSA-eligible plans typically provide enrollee decision support tools that include, to some extent, information on the cost of health care services and the quality of health care providers. Experts suggest that reliable information about the cost of particular health care services and the quality of specific health care providers would help enrollees become more actively engaged in making health care purchasing decisions. These tools may be provided by health insurance carriers to all health insurance plan enrollees, but are likely to be more important to enrollees of HSA-eligible plans who have a greater financial incentive to make informed decisions about the quality and costs of health care providers and services.

It is believed that lower premiums associated with HSAs/HDHPs will enable more people to enroll for medical insurance. This will mean that lower income groups who do not have access to medicare will be able to open HSAs. No doubt higher deductibles are associated with HSA eligible HDHPs, but it is estimated that tax savings under HSAs and lower premiums will make them less expensive than other insurance plans. The funds put in the HSA can be rolled over from year to year. There are no use it or lose it rules. This leads to a growth in savings of the account holder. The funds can be accumulated tax free for future medical expenses if the holder so desires. Also the savings in the HSA can be grown through investments.

The nature of such investments is decided by the insured. The earnings on savings in the HSA are also exempt from income tax. The holder can withdraw his savings in the HSA after turning 65 years old without paying any taxes or penalties. The account holder has complete control over his/her account. He/She is the owner of the account right from its inception. A person can withdraw money as and when required without any gatekeeper. Also the owner decides how much to put in his/her account, how much to spend and how much to save for the future. The HSAs are portable in nature. This means that if the holder changes his/her job, becomes unemployed or moves to another location, he/she can still retain the account.

Also if the account holder so desires he can transfer his Health Saving Account from one managing agency to another. Thus portability is an advantage of HSAs. Another advantage is that most HSA plans provide first-dollar coverage for preventive care. This is true of virtually all HSA plans offered by large employers and over 95% of the plans offered by small employers. It was also true of over half (59%) of the plans which were purchased by individuals.

All of the plans offering first-dollar preventive care benefits included annual physicals, immunizations, well-baby and wellchild care, mammograms and Pap tests; 90% included prostate cancer screenings and 80% included colon cancer screenings. Some analysts believe that HSAs are more beneficial for the young and healthy as they do not have to pay frequent out of pocket costs. On the other hand, they have to pay lower premiums for HDHPs which help them meet unforeseen contingencies.

Health Savings Accounts are also advantageous for the employers. The benefits of choosing a health Savings Account over a traditional health insurance plan can directly affect the bottom line of an employer’s benefit budget. For instance Health Savings Accounts are dependent on a high deductible insurance policy, which lowers the premiums of the employee’s plan. Also all contributions to the Health Savings Account are pre-tax, thus lowering the gross payroll and reducing the amount of taxes the employer must pay.

Criticism of HSAs

The opponents of Health Savings Accounts contend that they would do more harm than good to America’s health insurance system. Some consumer organizations, such as Consumers Union, and many medical organizations, such as the American Public Health Association, have rejected HSAs because, in their opinion, they benefit only healthy, younger people and make the health care system more expensive for everyone else. According to Stanford economist Victor Fuchs, “The main effect of putting more of it on the consumer is to reduce the social redistributive element of insurance.

Some others believe that HSAs remove healthy people from the insurance pool and it makes premiums rise for everyone left. HSAs encourage people to look out for themselves more and spread the risk around less. Another concern is that the money people save in HSAs will be inadequate. Some people believe that HSAs do not allow for enough savings to cover costs. Even the person who contributes the maximum and never takes any money out would not be able to cover health care costs in retirement if inflation continues in the health care industry.

Opponents of HSAs, also include distinguished figures like state Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi, who called them a “dangerous prescription” that will destabilize the health insurance marketplace and make things even worse for the uninsured. Another criticism is that they benefit the rich more than the poor. Those who earn more will be able to get bigger tax breaks than those who earn less. Critics point out that higher deductibles along with insurance premiums will take away a large share of the earnings of the low income groups. Also lower income groups will not benefit
substantially from tax breaks as they are already paying little or no taxes. On the other hand tax breaks on savings in HSAs and on further income from those HSA savings will cost billions of dollars of tax money to the exchequer.

The Treasury Department has estimated HSAs would cost the government $156 billion over a decade. Critics say that this could rise substantially. Several surveys have been conducted regarding the efficacy of the HSAs and some have found that the account holders are not particularly satisfied with the HSA scheme and many are even ignorant about the working of the HSAs. One such survey conducted in 2007 of American employees by the human resources consulting firm Towers Perrin showed satisfaction with account based health plans (ABHPs) was low. People were not happy with them in general compared with people with more traditional health care. Respondants said they were not comfortable with the risk and did not understand how it works.

According to the Commonwealth Fund, early experience with HAS eligible high-deductible health plans reveals low satisfaction, high out of- pocket costs, and cost-related access problems. Another survey conducted with the Employee Benefits Research Institute found that people enrolled in HSA-eligible high-deductible health plans were much less satisfied with many aspects of their health care than adults in more comprehensive plans People in these plans allocate substantial amounts of income to their health care, especially those who have poorer health or lower incomes. The survey also found that adults in high-deductible health plans are far more likely to delay or avoid getting needed care, or to skip medications, because of the cost. Problems are particularly pronounced among those with poorer health or lower incomes.

Political leaders have also been vocal about their criticism of the HSAs. Congressman John Conyers, Jr. issued the following statement criticizing the HSAs “The President’s health care plan is not about covering the uninsured, making health insurance affordable, or even driving down the cost of health care. Its real purpose is to make it easier for businesses to dump their health insurance burden onto workers, give tax breaks to the wealthy, and boost the profits of banks and financial brokers. The health care policies concocted at the behest of special interests do nothing to help the average American. In many cases, they can make health care even more inaccessible.” In fact a report of the U.S. governments Accountability office, published on April 1, 2008 says that the rate of enrollment in the HSAs is greater for higher income individuals than for lower income ones.

A study titled “Health Savings Accounts and High Deductible Health Plans: Are They an Option for Low-Income Families? By Catherine Hoffman and Jennifer Tolbert which was sponsored by the Kaiser Family Foundation reported the following key findings regarding the HSAs:

a) Premiums for HSA-qualified health plans may be lower than for traditional insurance, but these plans shift more of the financial risk to individuals and families through higher deductibles.
b) Premiums and out-of-pocket costs for HSA-qualified health plans would consume a substantial portion of a low-income family’s budget.
c) Most low-income individuals and families do not face high enough tax liability to benefit in a significant way from tax deductions associated with HSAs.
d) People with chronic conditions, disabilities, and others with high cost medical needs may face even greater out-of-pocket costs under HSA-qualified health plans.
e) Cost-sharing reduces the use of health care, especially primary and preventive services, and low-income individuals and those who are sicker are particularly sensitive to cost-sharing increases.
f) Health savings accounts and high deductible plans are unlikely to substantially increase health insurance coverage among the uninsured.

Choosing a Health Plan

Despite the advantages offered by the HSA, it may not be suitable for everyone. While choosing an insurance plan, an individual must consider the following factors:

1. The premiums to be paid.
2. Coverage/benefits available under the scheme.
3. Various exclusions and limitations.
4. Portability.
5. Out-of-pocket costs like coinsurance, co-pays, and deductibles.
6. Access to doctors, hospitals, and other providers.
7. How much and sometimes how one pays for care.
8. Any existing health issue or physical disability.
9. Type of tax savings available.

The plan you choose should according to your requirements and financial ability.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

1 Questions and Answers about Health Insurance- A Consumer Guide’ published jointly by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)and America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP)
2 http://www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Health_savings_account
3 2002 AHIP Survey of Health Insurance Plans
4 “How High Is Too High? Implications of High-Deductible Health Plans” Davis, Karen; Michelle Doty and Alice Ho. The Commonwealth Fund, April 2005
5 http://www.fdhc.state.fl.us/schs/pdf/hsa_tri-fold_brochure.pdf
6 HSA/HDHP CENSUS 2008 by Hannah Yoo, Center for Policy and Research, America’s Health Insurance Plans
7″HEALTH SAVINGS ACCOUNTS Early Enrollee Experiences with Accounts and Eligible Health Plans” John E. Dicken Director, Health Care.
8 Thomas Wilder and Hannah Yoo, “A Survey of Preventive Benefits in Health Savings Account (HSA)Plans, July 2007,” America’s Health Insurance Plans, November 2007
9 Gladwell, Malcolm, “The Moral Hazard Myth”, The New Yorker (29-08-2005)
10 2008 Benchmark Survey HAS Bank
11. Employer Health Benefits 2007 Annual Survey, Kaiser Family Foundation
12. Health Savings Accounts and High Deductible Health Plans: Are They An Option for Low-Income Families?Catherine Hoffman and Jennifer Tolbert for Kaiser Family Foundation, October 2006
13. Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003

Different Types of Car Wax

Having a car has been one of the essential means of transport from one place to another. The car will always come in handy and for most people the car is an extension of their personality and what better way to make your car match your personality than when cleaning it. When it comes to cleaning it depends with the frequency you use your car that will determine the number of times the car will be washed meaning that if the car is used on a daily basis and it goes to places that are dusty and muddy then every evening might be just the perfect time to be washing your car.

It is easier to use your own resources at home to wash the car instead of taking the car to a car wash where apart from the costs incurred to wash the car also in some cases the cleaning might not be up to your standard hence you will be forced to redo the work again. The best advice is washing the car at home which is cheaper and easier and also you can tell where the dirt is and can always do the work as many times as possible.

Once the cleaning is done then you will be required to wax the car. When it comes to waxing one of the reason your car will deserve this utmost care is because of the paint on the car. Every single day that you are using the car you will be exposing it to numerous version and types of weather from rain, snow to sun with each competing to destroy the paint done on it. All this at the end of the day will either change the painting or even in extreme cases the paint will start peeling off. This implies the wax is an important aspect for cleaning the car, and you will be assured of that polished finish on the car once the car has been waxed.

When it comes to waxing the car and the car wax, there are various types of the wax that you need to consider, for example we have the Uncategorized wax that is got from Uncategorized products be it honey or even plants. One of the characteristics of the Uncategorized wax is that it is expensive since they are the best in the market and provide long durability time for the car paint and therefore it will be money’s worth when bought. Another wax type is the synthetic wax which is manufactured without the Uncategorized products, this means that it is on a large scale market and hence cheaper than the Uncategorized one although in terms of durability it is not as comparable as Uncategorized one.

How To Spot Cocaine Addiction

There is no definitive way to spot if someone you know has an addiction to cocaine, but if you suspect that this may be the case, then there are some signs that you should be looking out for. Some are easier to spot than others.

If the individual in question seems to be getting a lot of nosebleeds, and this was never the case previously, then this should be a cause for concern. Nosebleeds are one of the classic signs that a person is using large amounts of cocaine on a regular basis, as the drug will begin to damage or even destroy the lining of the nasal passages. A runny or blocked nose can also occur with regular use of cocaine, and may actually present as symptoms before the nosebleeds begin.

The person in question may be undergoing a dramatic change in personality, losing interest in people that they would previously have seen on a regular basis, and giving up on activities that they used to enjoy. Cocaine has become the most important thing in the life of the addict, replacing everything else.

A common feature of people addicted to cocaine, and sometimes other drugs as well, is that they will stop going to work, school or college, and may end up losing their job if the situation becomes too bad. Linked to this may be financial problems, which are bound to become worse if they do lose their job. An addict will think nothing of spending all the money they have to obtain more cocaine, which may not be immediately obvious. However, if you notice that they are looking to borrow money or sell their possessions, then this should be a very big cause for concern.

Changes in mood can also be a sign of cocaine use and addiction. When cocaine has been taken recently, a person will tend to be extremely happy and talkative, chatting regardless of whether anybody is paying attention or not. This is known as a cocaine high, and can last anywhere between fifteen and thirty minutes. Once the feeling of being high has worn off, the cocaine user will feel short of energy, possibly depressed, and a lack of mental clarity may set in. The only way to prevent this from happening is to take some more cocaine, and it will be apparent that this is the case if the person disappears to find some privacy. If cocaine has been used over a long period of time, in large amounts, then it is likely that the person will sleep excessively for several days.

If excessive amounts of cocaine have been used over an extended period of time, then it is possible that paranoia can begin to set in. Sometimes, panic attacks can occur, with symptoms of chest pains and heavy sweating. A normal social setting may also cause feelings of anxiety.

Another sign that may indicate a drug addiction, whether cocaine or something else, is if the person has largely replaced all of their friends with new people that you have not met before. This is because a drug addict will begin to spend time with other drug addicts, who will not ask questions or try to prevent drugs from being used. When a friend begins to take drugs and forms an addiction, this is always going to be a difficult situation.

If cocaine is used for a long period of time, then you will start to notice physical differences in the person. One of the most obvious will be weight loss. Cocaine reduces the appetite dramatically, so as the drug use increases, the amount of food being eaten will drop rapidly. Weight loss is a classic symptom of cocaine use and abuse.

Cheap Car Insurance and Car Safety – Young Drivers

The term young drivers, in an insurance context, tends to refer to drivers normally between the ages of 17 and 25 years old. This can sometimes be seen as a slightly patronising term, but in fact is simply a reflection of an age group that the insurance industry deems to be most at risk and therefore the most expensive group of car owners to insure.

Whilst any generalisation is to some extent unfair, there is a lot of statistical evidence that supports the fact that the majority of claims and the majority of expensive claims that the insurance industry has to pay out comes from this age range of drivers.

There are two main areas of concern to this age group. Firstly is the fairly obvious fact that because of their age they have not been able to build up a sufficient level of driving experience that give them the benefit of being able to drive more safely and securely than people of an older generation might be able to do. There is also a belief that people of this age group tend to be slightly more irresponsible and erratic in their driving habits than people who are in their late 20s, 30s etc. This may or may not be true, but nevertheless is a factor in the amount that insurance companies will charge.

Young drivers will inevitably pay a much higher insurance cost for their car insurance than people of an older age group. Whilst they are gaining a level of experience that allows them to drive safely they will be developing a level also of what is known as road awareness. It is this sense of being able to “read the road” that will significantly affect their ability to drive safely, and subsequently their safety record and amount they pay for their car insurance.

Reading the road is a term applied to people who drive, and tends to be a sense that people pick up of what is happening around them they pay particular attention to. This normally involves paying attention to what other cars, cyclists, lorries, pedestrians and other road users are doing around them and anticipating what actions they might take, and what the consequences of those actions might be. Reading the road is also about applying the correct level of speed to any given situation at a conscious level. This normally refers to driving slowly rather than driving fast, but reflects more generally a sense of appropriateness to the speed of driving in any particular situation.

The other level of concern often raised concerning this age group in relation to car insurance, is that as an age group they are easily distracted, or more easily distracted than people of a different age group might be. Traditionally this has always been seen as distraction in the sense of having friends of theirs of a similar age in the car, possibly showing off to them by driving too fast or recklessly. It has also raised concerns about driving at night when visibility and road conditions are much more difficult to manage.

Distraction amongst young drivers, as well as most other drivers, has become a major issue much more in recent times because of the advent of cellphones and ability of drivers to make calls and send and receive SMS messages at the same time. Research by the United States government shows that this is as dangerous potentially as that of drink-driving. Distraction is a major concern because it is in the split-second where people need to be aware of and focused of what is going on around them that decisions are made which profoundly affect the safety of the driver, the passengers and other road users who may be involved in any potential incident.

Do Addicts Really Recover?

In my line of work as addiction professional, I’m often asked “Do people with addiction get better?” The question may sound simple but it’s not really that simple. There are so many facets to addiction. The chemicals are but one aspect. There also are the addict’s personality attributes, attitudes, lifestyle, and values – all contributing and feeding the addiction syndrome. For most people, the obsession by the addict to consume chemicals is the most salient aspect of addiction. This becomes their focus of attention when asking the question, “Do addicts really recover?” Meaning can they give up drugs and become “normal” people again?

After a closer look at addiction, one begins to realize that the chemical abuse is intimately tied to the person’s mental health, lifestyle, and personal values. For example, it is hard to ignore an addict’s criminal activities related to supporting his drug habit or an alcoholic’s scheming and manipulating behavior to hide his alcoholism when the addicted or alcoholic is trying to pursue “recovery.” Can people “recover” from addiction and still carry on with these criminal or anti-social inclinations? What are the chances of a recovering person remaining abstinent while continuing to sell drugs or maintaining his connection with friends who are involved in criminal activities? Can a recovering alcoholic remain sober while bar-tending?

My point is that there is a “quality of life” a recovering addict or alcoholic must maintain to achieve a certain level of healthy living. For some this may mean pursuing counseling or following medication regime to control psychiatric symptoms. For others, a complete lifestyle change may be necessary to re-align personal priorities and internalize pro-social values. With addiction, old associations — people, places, and things – can easily trigger a relapse to old “bad habits.” There is a common belief among recovering persons that “picking-up” drugs or any substances is the last step in the relapse process. Long before the actual substance use, the person has already relapsed in his thinking – reflected in noticeable changes in attitude, values, and over-all behavior.

To go back to the original question: “Do addicts really recover?” The answer is a relative yes. For some who consider their addiction as a disorder of the whole person and take a holistic view of recovery, they aspire more than giving up the chemicals to include a reinvention of themselves, psychologically, socially, and spiritually. Others are content with minimizing the harmful effects of illicit drug use but still resort to alcohol use. Still others give up drugs but continue to have dysfunctional patterns of coping or residual manifestations of personality disorders.

Do Addicts Really Recover?
Dr. Fernando B. Perfas

Which Is the Most Difficult Drug to Detox From?

The hardest drugs to detox from depend on your perspective. If by “difficult” you’re referring to the severity of dangerous medical symptoms that occur during withdrawal, then the obvious answer is alcohol and benzodiazepine. Both of these drugs could kill you during detox. But if you’re referring to the severity of emotional, mental and spiritual symptoms that affect a person during drug detox, then most addicts will agree that opiates are the most difficult; especially opiates like Methadone that are designed to help wean an addict from other opiates like heroin.

The Most Difficult Drugs to Withdraw/Detox From: Medical Reasons

The following substances prove especially challenging for many addicts to withdraw from considering the serious medical risks of doing so: Barbiturates, Benzodiazepines and Alcohol. The withdrawal process has been known to cause life-threatening complications in some people. This includes pulmonary and cardiovascular distress, respiratory depression, grand mal seizures, delirium tremens, hallucinations, coma and death.

Fortunately, death is rare but nevertheless the fact that it is possible creates a deterrent to treatment for some addicts. In most cases the risks of withdrawing from these substances can be mitigated by attending detox in a professional medical setting where healthcare practitioners and addiction experts can observe the detox process and respond immediately in case of any complications.

The Most Difficult Drugs to Withdraw/Detox From: Emotional Reasons

Thousands of years before the birth of Christ, the first annals of history were recorded by the ancient Sumerians. Translations of stone etchings show that these early peoples farmed and used opium extensively. In fact, their word for the plant can be translated to “Joy;” an apt description considering the widespread abuse of opium for the next several thousand years. By nearly all accounts, the euphoric high obtained by using opium is the highest feeling of joy most addicts have ever felt. But herein lays the problem.

When a person uses an opiate like heroin or Oxycontin to get high, they rapidly build up a tolerance not only to the drug, but also to euphoria. This means that it becomes more and more difficult to obtain the same euphoric effect with the same amount of opiates, so in nearly all cases users continually increase their dosages – some to the point of overdose and death. But in general the central nervous system becomes more and more desensitized to stimulus that would normally cause feeling of joy or euphoria. In fact, the opposite often occurs, resulting in a state known as Dysphoria; the opposite of euphoria.

Dysphoria is a severe problem for people who are detoxing/withdrawing from opiates because after the stop using the drug they often find it difficult or impossible to find joy or happiness in anything. This causes severe bouts of depression, anxiety, feelings of worthlessness and unexplained misery, terrible sadness and overwhelming inadequacy and loneliness; even in the presence of others. These emotional and spiritual symptoms drive many people in the early stages of recovery to return to drug use in order to self-medicate their general state of dysphoria.

Opiates Used to Treat Addiction to Other Opiates

Many addicts report and anecdotal evidence suggests that withdrawing and detoxing from opiates that are used to treat addiction to other opiates is a severe and extremely challenging process. The reasons for this are not understood, but it’s possible that because most opiate treatment drugs like methadone block the release of dopamine, addicts do not obtain a euphoric effect, even though they are spared the normal symptoms of withdrawal (essentially because methadone maintenance merely prolongs the addictive process.)

Support forums on group sharing often results in addicts advising each other NOT to go on an opiate maintenance program and to tough out the initial stages of a more “pure” withdrawal instead. Therefore, it could be argued that detoxing from opiate maintenance drugs is the most difficult type of detox to undergo.

The Kindling Effect

Regardless of the substance, the Kindling Effect can make detox and withdrawal an absolute nightmare; especially if the addict in question has relapsed repeatedly in their lifetime. The concept of Kindling is that with each progressive relapse and subsequent withdrawal, the brain and central nervous system become more highly sensitized (or highly desensitized) to drug abuse and the feelings it creates. As a result withdrawal symptoms are much more severe and potentially dangerous for these individuals than for others.

Ultimately, the most challenging detox is the one you’re about to go through. Taking that first step is extraordinarily difficult regardless of what drug you use and how long and hard you’ve been using it. But the reality of the situation is that left unabated the consequences of continued active addiction are in every instance more severe and potentially life-changing that the actual process of withdrawal and detox, which usually takes 10 days or less for most people.

If you or someone you love is fighting addiction, the most valuable weapon you can give them is action. Do it now; get help, get a free consultation, and take the first step before it’s too late to move forward at all.

Cookie Decorating and Cocktails: Themed Parties For the Holiday Season

The holidays are upon us, and one of the most timeless, beloved traditions is cookie decorating before Christmas time. Instead of setting aside an afternoon to bake batch after batch of Christmas cookies, why not plan a full-blown cookie decorating party to include friends and family?

How a Cookie Decorating Party Works

A cookie decorating party can work in one of two ways. You can ask all guests to bring their own favorite cookies, undecorated, to the party for a group decorating project. Or, you can ask guests to pitch in and make batches of cookies in your kitchen that you can all decorate together once they cool, fresh out of the oven.

For a smaller gathering with a few friends, baking cookies and decorating together will work well. For a larger party of five or more, it’s a better idea to ask guests to bring their own undecorated cookies so you don’t have to worry about squeezing a large group into a crowded, hot kitchen to bake cookies together.

To plan ahead, make sure that you have all of the necessary decorating supplies set up in advance in different stations throughout the room, including:

• Aprons or smocks
• Paper towels
• Tubes of icing in different colors
• Sprinkles and other assorted decorations
• Food coloring
• Small paintbrushes

From there, it’s time to get cracking! Guests can decorate plain cookies of their choice with different icings and assorted decorations, like sprinkles, chocolate chips, M&Ms, crushed peppermint, and more. You may also choose to splurge on fancy holiday cookie decorations like colored sugar, silver ball candies, and cinnamon hearts.

All of the decorations can be set up in individual bowls for use at each decorating station. Guests can also create their own colored icing with food coloring to paint different designs on each cookie using a small paintbrush.

Adult Beverages for Cookie Decorating

If this is an adults-only party, you have the perfect opportunity to pair holiday cookies with delicious seasonal cocktails to enjoy throughout the decorating process. Depending upon the type of cookies that you decorate, whether they’re plain sugar cookies, snickerdoodles, or even peanut butter cookies, you can pair your holiday drinks accordingly.

Decorated holiday sugar cookies will go well with a warm beverage like Irish Coffee or spiked cider. You can also make a large batch of alcoholic holiday punch with flavors of cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg, served chilled and topped with a splash of cranberry juice and sparkling wine.

For more flavorful cookies, like peanut butter or snickerdoodle, serve a refreshing holiday favorite like mulled wine, peppermint martinis, or rich yet satisfying alcoholic eggnog.

For an adult-themed cookie decorating holiday bash, make sure to provide guests with the convenience of arranging transportation to and from the venue with a limo rental or luxury town car. This will allow guests to ride safely to and from the party destination so that they can enjoy a few holiday cocktails without having to worry about driving home at the end of the evening. ‘Tis the season!

Top 7 Reasons to Start an Internet Based Business

Today’s economy is iffy at best. We keep hearing about the “Fiscal Cliff” and how companies are cutting thousands of jobs. Even the Government is starting to realize that they will have to cut jobs. Long gone is the one income household. In fact, I know of some people who work 50 to 60 hours a week, then have a part-time job to make ends meet. If you are not prepared, you could find yourself in financial trouble yourself.

Fortunately, there is an alternative to working part-time at McDonalds or Walmart. Cottage industries on the internet are springing up all over the place. People are selling items on eBay, selling their skills and even starting a full authority website!

Like any other type of business, starting an internet based business has its own benefits. It can be challenging, but the rewards are worth the effort!

Minimal Investment

Start-up costs are minimal, if done right. Compare the costs of starting your own business in the city, putting up an internet based business is amazingly easier and more affordable. Instead of renting out an office space and hiring tons of employees just to do one task or job per person, why not start an internet business, where you do not need a lot of people to work for you and you are not required to find an office to operate in. Believe it or not, but with this type of business, you can set up your very own virtual office in your own bedroom or attic or even at the beach!. As long as you have a fast and stable internet connection, then you are good to go.

Big Returns

The possibility of earning a lot is not far from your grasp. This means that you can choose to work and handle several clients in one go and earn big money; or you can be picky when it comes to working with clients. In fact, compared to working from 9am to 5pm, where you earn a fixed amount, an internet business gives you an opportunity to earn a lot without slaving countless of hours in front of your desk.

Flexible Work Hours

Your working hours are extremely flexible. You are the boss! You are in control of your own life. With your very own internet business, you will no longer worry about waking up really early in the morning just to cook breakfast, drive your kids to school and meet your office deadlines. Now, you will have all the time in the world to manage your business.

Time With Family

Working from home increases your time with the family. Starting a home based internet business can be the best way to stay focused on your job while having enough time to spend with the family. This is a luxury you can afford to have on a daily basis. How cool is it to see your watch your kids grow, know you are there for them and earn big bucks on the side?

Work at home… or wherever!

You do not need to leave home to work. Online or internet businesses do not require you to commute or drive to and from the office just to get some work done. No more gas, carpool and bus allowances, because you lie in bed and earn money. Also, you can take your business with you to the beach or coffee shop. Where there is a stable internet connection, you are at work!

Autopilot

Your business runs on autopilot, even when you want to sleep in. This means that you do not need to stay up late and watch over your website. All you need to do is to set up your website and retrieve all messages and other business related transactions when and where you want.

Easy to analyze growth

You can easily measure your personal growth, as well as that of your virtual company. Since you can personally monitor every deal that you close or every client that you lose, you know instantly how well your internet business is doing. Create a chart or a table where you can calculate your earnings, losses and potential gains. Need a raise? Add another website or a couple more clients.

Internet business can indeed turn your entrepreneur dreams into reality. With a lot of determination, a bucket of creativity and a box full of patience, you will be able to reap all these business benefits and more!