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Tainted Joe - Thu Nov 08, 2012 @ 08:25AM
Comments: 14

If you are an employee for a business, be it a sole proprietorship, a partnership, an LLC, a corporation, a non-profit agency or what have you, it is bad enough your wages are low and your health plan has way too many copays, and your 401k hasn't been matched for years now. So, don't ever make things worse for yourself by signing a personal guaranty on behalf of your employer. They simply don't pay you enough, and they know it.

First, let's talk about what a personal guaranty is all about. Essentially it is a document that says the person signing is individually responsible for whatever debt or obligation is being incurred. This means that should a vendor, supplier, service supplier or whomever hand you a personal guaranty to sign before they can either do work for you or ship you something, what they are really doing is asking the person signing the personal guaranty to be responsible for their own company's debts or obligations. This means that if you sign the personal guaranty and your company doesn't pay its bills, they can come after you, sue you and take your money. It is totally ironic, but it is possible that if you had to pay on a personal guaranty you signed on behalf of your company, and you were sued and couldn't pay the judgment, then your wages could be garnished. Your employer would be taking money out of your check to pay its own darn debts! Crazy huh? So what is the point you need to leave this article with? Never sign a personal guaranty! It is your company's responsibility, not yours! Remember, the slave drivers don't pay you enough.

Second, let's assume you know everything we've already discussed. You know not to sign a personal guaranty. You aren't that out of touch with the reality of how most financial transactions work. Here is what you need to keep in mind, even if you know exactly what a trap a personal guaranty can be. Too often, at work we just sign away at forms without reading them. There is just too much paperwork and too little time. So, beware, always at least scan any document your read to make sure you aren't personally obligating or guaranteeing a debt just by putting your signature somewhere. Often, personal guarantees are hiding, and quite often they are found in Credit Applications. Credit Applications are where a bulk of the personal guarantees you need to be watching out for are hiding.

Comments: 14
Tainted Joe - Thu Sep 20, 2012 @ 12:20PM
Comments: 34

I know. I'm a lttle backwards. Not too long ago I finally gave up my VCR, and I still miss 8 Track Tapes. But, I also remember the days when to hook up your computer monitor and speakers you had to use two separate connections. One was a cable or line to your speakers from your computer, and the other went to your monitor. It was only recently I traded in my old PC with the VGA monitor. Actuall I threw it in a dumpster, and not even the recycle bin. Then I went to Best Buy and bought a computer and an LCD monitor. The speakers were built into the thing! Anyway, I only had one cable that said HDMI on it, so I figured it went to the monitor. But, I couldn't find the cables that connected the audio. In fact, there wasn't anywhere to plug in the audio on the computer or the monitor with the built in speakers. Dang it, I thought, so I just decided to see how the thing worked without any sound. Boy was I amazed when the sound came on! Then I learned the days of dual connections were over. HDMI audio and video now go through the same cables.

Apparently, this all has something to do with all the newest electronics using digital data to transfer both audio and visual media. It all travels through the same channels, or the same HDMI cable cord now, be it sound or images. I must say setup is easier than ever!

Comments: 34
Tainted Joe - Thu Sep 20, 2012 @ 04:17AM
Comments: 15

A lot of people suffer wage garnishment. They have a judgment against them for taxes, child support, alimony, debts they just couldn't pay, or even for contract or business disputes. The day comes when they just didn't have enough money to pay on the judgment against them, no matter how much they wanted to make things right. The money just wasn't there. It is a down economy, a lot of people are out of work, and a lot of people that have jobs just aren't earning the kind of money they once did. The good news is you don't have to take a wage garnishment lying down. When your employer is served with wage garnishment papers, you don't have to just stand there silent and allow 25% to 50% of your money to come right out of your check before it lands in your hands. You have a right to file for a hearing and go ask the judge or hearing officer to reduce your proposed garnishment.

In most jurisdictions, you are dealing with a traditional garnishment which takes between 50% to 25% of your paycheck straight from your employer. You can fight this by asking for a hearing or court date. Then, usually you can argue Economic Hardship. This is essentially you arguing to the judge or the hearing officer that you or you and your family just won't be able to survive if you are garnished for the full amount. For instance maybe you won't be able to feed your kids, or you'll lose your car or your house if your garnishment isn't reduced. Perhaps you have medical expenses or the cost of a medicine you are taking hardships you. If the judge or hearing officer buys your argument, there is a good case she has the authority to lower your garnishment down to 10%-20% of your wages. It isn't a perfect solution, but it is better than the alternative.

Comments: 15
Tainted Joe - Thu Jun 21, 2012 @ 12:22PM
Comments: 14

Entering and winning sweepstakes can mean extra cash for you. The Top 5 Ways To Make Money With Online Sweepstakes explains how to do this easily online. Just a little time filling out forms and entering contests can result in you winning lots of free stuff. This stuff can then be converted into cash using the tips and tactics supplied by the Thrifty Mom over at Nifty Nack.

Thrifty Mom makes many easy to do suggestions including one that involves the family. Not only does this provide families with extra revenue, it also is fun! It sounds like if you follow her advise you will be standing by your mailbox in the evenings waiting for the postman to make his rounds so you can  see what cool prizes and free stuff they bring you. Every little bit helps now days, and this is definitely a way to help boost your finances.

Comments: 14
Tainted Joe - Mon Jun 11, 2012 @ 05:08PM
Comments: 17

Do you think employees should be able to use Facebook at work? Opinions are across the board. Draconian managers say no. Liberal managers say why not? Ultimately it comes down to productivity. Does Facebook decrease or increase productivity? On its face, we might agree with the Draconian managers. Employees are most productive when all they do is work. To the extent they are goofing off, they are not getting any real work done. The liberal managers might say not so fast. People are not machines. They need breaks, distractions, and a little play. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, right? If all he does is work, work, work, he becomes lethargic and his wheels start spinning slowly. It takes him 10 hours to do 5 hours of work. If only he could play a little on Facebook, say an hour per day, he'd get 9 hours of work done in 10 hours! A 4 hour boost in productivity in return for one hour of play!

However, does it really work that way? We don't know for sure, but one way to handle the problem is not to assume that Facebook time is the issue. If employees are not producing, and you think Facebook is the culprit, why not just set work quotas? In other words, tell employees they have to make X number of widgets per hour. That is their job. If they get it done, good. If they don't then maybe they need to be fired. Maybe they will Facebook a little less if they have to hit goals or say bye bye?

Comments: 17
Tainted Joe - Thu May 31, 2012 @ 03:32PM
Comments: 19

We really enjoy what a lawyer has to say, for once. This is why we are regular reader's of Pat Dickson's Blog. Here's a lawyer that skips all the crap about court cases and legalese speak and just gets down to business. He tells it how it is without pulling any punches or throwing a bunch of Latin you don't understand at you. Sometimes he does write legal articles, but they are in plain English and you can understand what he's saying. Sometimes he teaches you how to handle legal issues by telling stories. They read like good fiction and they keep you going, but you learn something too. What we like most is he almost always gives away a few secrets about how to keep from spending too much money on lawyers. He focuses on quick solutions that don't cost his clients an arm and a leg.

Lately, Pat's been writing a bunch of Negotiation Tips we find totally instructive and amusing. He has a common theme, which is don't do anything until you have to. Listen, be silent, be friendly, get your enemy talking, and if you can find someone to fight your fight for you, do it. It will cost you a hell of a lot less in the long run. Take Negotiation Tip # 6. We really liked this one. Pat gave an example of how his client had to chose whether to fight the contractor he worked for or join him. In the end, the smart thing to do was side with the contractor. Why? That's where all the business came from. Plus, the contractor paid all the lawyer bills. At least we have one honest lawyer out there. If not charging his client is the right thing to do, that's what he does. Well, at least if he walks his talk. Anyway, we enjoy the blog.

Comments: 19
Tainted Joe - Sun May 06, 2012 @ 06:36PM
Comments: 10

Workers' compensation covers workers whenever they are made sick, injured, or disabled on the job. They usually receive a portion of their salary plus medical costs until they are either able to return to work to their former position, or they are retrained for a new line of work, or they are moved horozontally into another line of work. Workers' compensation is no fault, meaning by claiming benefits, the injured, sick, or disabled worker holds his employer harmless in return for his workers' compensation benefits payout. The employer likewise holds the employee harmless and is not allowed to fire him or subject him to any wage offsets. One of the immediate benefits is that each party avoids court. The payment of workers' compensation benefits and receipt thereof are essentially a deal to stay out of court.

So, what is the catch? What is workers' compensation, really? It is definitely a bargain for the employer, right? In most cases an employee on workers' compensation is not getting paid his full salary as benefits. He's usually getting something like 50% of his salary while he rests up and gets better, rehabilitates or trains. By receiving benefits, the employee is basically giving up his right to recover 100% of his wages in return for something less than 100%. By staying out of court, he is being given a guarantee he gets something, because going to court could get him something between 0% and 100% recovery. He's entitled to 100%, but in some cases, it may be worth it to take a guaranteed 50%. You just never know. There are many variables. Plus, in some cases, the worker may be the cause of his own work related injuries, in which case, taking a workers' compensation payout of 50% in return for his employer guaranteeing not to sue him and letting him keep his job is a good thing. But, say the employer is at fault and the employee loses a limb. In this case, taking workers' compensation is probably not the route to a full recovery. So is workers' compensation a scam? Every work related illness or injury is different. In some cases yes, in some cases no.

Comments: 10
Tainted Joe - Wed Apr 25, 2012 @ 11:42AM
Comments: 24

You may have just recieved your paycheck, and it is almost 50% short. You run directly to the Payroll Department to see what the problem might be, it had to, after all, be a terrible and gross error. It must be because they laid off the lady who knew what she was doing and replaced her with someone that didn't. The bad news is you discover your wages have been garnished. Your first question is what is a wage garnishment? What? Me? I had a lawsuit or judgment against me and now my company is involved? This is crazy! What has the world come to? Unfortunately, if you have a judgment against you, collection of it can turn into a garnishment of your wages, and in many cases there is absolutely nothing you can do. 

The only good news is that there are some Federal and state laws that protect you from too severe of wage garnishment. The bad news is that the protection isn't so great. The Consumer Credit Protection Act protects you from being garnished more than 25% for ordinary debts, unless you are making a ton of money, but you can be on the hook for more than 50% for things like tax bills, bankruptcy obligations, or child support. There is sometimes nothing you can do but try to live off a smaller paycheck, but in some cases you'll end up losing your house. In any event, there are three places to go for help in most cases. They are your HR department, your state Department of Labor, or an attorney. Sometimes you can appeal a garnishment based on how it was calculated, and sometimes you can be involved in the actual calculations. Depending on your jurisdiction, some courts may be willing to lower your garnishment obligation based on hardship. You basically argue to the court that your debt will never be paid because if you take such a cut in pay as a result of your garnishment you won't be able to afford living in your area and working your job.

Comments: 24
Tainted Joe - Fri Apr 13, 2012 @ 01:03PM
Comments: 24

Where do I start? I think I start back when I was happiest. Remember when you had to be home to receive a phone call? The phone was on a cord and because you had to stand there and talk, the conversation was usually short and sweet, you said what you had to say, and you hung up and went back to your orderly life.  If you were out and about, there were no distractions. No texts, no calls, no last minute changes in plans. There it goes, that BEEP BEEP! BUZZ BUZZ! Or maybe you have a ringtone of Johnny Cash's Ball and Chain. That would be an appropriate one for a cell phone. Isn't that the worst part of having an iPhone, or any mobile phone for that matter? You can never just escape being plugged in, run by the machine. Remember the movie The Matrix? I think that happened just a few years after HDMI on TV became the standard in households around the world. It is just too much trouble! I want to be my own man! I don't want to be run by a bunch of gagets! Whatever happened to a good old fashioned nature hike? Now if you go on a nature hike, a bunch of people are standing around talking on their cell phones, or they are so busy taking pictures of the nature around them that they don't even stop to enjoy the real, live nature around them until after they get home and look at the pictures they took with their iPhones. Then the real life nature experience is gone. What does this rant have to do with HDMI TV? Ok, let me explain.

Getting hooked into HDMI TV is like becoming one of the guys plugged into the Matrix and you are just dreaming you are having a life, but the reality is you are being run by a machine. First you have to buy the HDMI TV. That's what? $2500? Then the Blue Ray Player? $250? Then HDMI cable? $140 per month? That is a lot of money, plus, once you have it all up and running, you just sit there and watch the clear picture and hear the crystal clear sound. That's nice, but you are just sitting there, granted it is like you are really there but not really. Do you get my point? I know I'm scatter brained today. Hold on a second. My cell phone is buzzing. Gotta get this.

Comments: 24
Tainted Joe - Thu Apr 05, 2012 @ 07:51AM
Comments: 17

Before you sign an employment contract always check out the employee handbook because if there is anything not clearly set forth in your contract but it is in the employee handbook, you are stuck with what is in the employee handbook. You might think you naturally get a whole month paid vacation off every year because you are a manager or director and that's just expected. Not so fast. If you don't have vacation days in your contract and the employee handbook says you only get 10 paid days a year, you are not getting the month of vacation you are expecting. You are getting 10 days. And these days it seems no one in any company believes in work-life balance. It isn't productivity driven by an invigorated and happy employee that matters. They want to see sad faces pointed down in little cubicles. Not you! You are going to be happy because you made sure to get your Vacation included in your employment contract!

Comments: 17