Making plans for the holidays is probably the furthest thing from your mind right now, but now is the time to take advantage of all the Royal Caribbean promotions and rack-up up to $250 in onboard credits!
Royal Caribbean is running 2 special promotions for the month of September. We've highlighted the eligible holiday cruises below. Onboard credit amounts vary based on the length of the cruise and the cabin type.
You can lock in this special by putting the minimum deposit amount down, and take the next 12 months to pay off the balance! Deposits for 4 & 5-day cruises are $100 per person, and deposits for 6 & 7-day cruises are $250 per person.
Deck the Holidays Deals
· Offer Period: Sept 1-30, 2017
· Onboard Credits:
Ø Sailings 5 days and less:
· Interior & oceanview cabins: $25 OBC per cabin
· Balconies & suites: $50 OBC per cabin
o Sailings 6 days and more:
· Interior & oceanview cabins: $50 OBC per cabin
· Balcony cabins: $100 OBC per cabin
· Suites: $150 OBC per cabin
Early Booking Incentive
· Sailing Window: departing 6 months in advance
· Onboard Credits:
Ø Sailings 5 days and less:
· Interior & oceanview cabins: $25 OBC per cabin
· Balconies & suites: $50 OBC per cabin
o Sailings 6 days and more:
· Interior & oceanview cabins: $50 OBC per cabin
· Balconies & suites: $100 OBC per cabin
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Are you currently in search for a good house in Australia? Phil Devin Real Consultants could guide you to your dream home. People are often satisfied with its service, thus it gained a lot of loyal clients over the years. It is personally described by Phil as a small-boutique type agency environment that has the main purpose of giving better real estate service and results.
Phil Devin is a real estate professional who possesses brilliant knowledge on real estate with his years of giving service to different clients. He has the skills needed to provide the service you deserve. He will also make sure of a positive outcome to your real estate concern.
You could see a list of different beautiful homes on its official site, and some of which will be discussed in this article to give you a brief description of each. One property is located in Loganholme, which is a perfect investment opportunity because of its long-term tenant already in place, thus you can be sure of an investment return.
The other is located in Daisy Hill and it is a two-storey house that boasts its cool and refreshing paint and is placed in a good spot. You and your family will definitely appreciate its size and other features. In addition, its good distance to good schools is also convenient to your children and it will only take you a short drive to reach the freeway.
Are you interested in a property that has a tranquil environment and a good space? You can find one in Holland Park that is ideal for any family needs, or are you looking forward to the idea of high ceilings and a glass fenced pool? Such property is available on Hope Island.
Living in Holland Park West is also possible with the available residence that has a similar look to newly built homes since it was recently renovated. It also has a low ongoing maintenance and low body corporate fees.
You can find all the properties for sale or for auction, as well as those properties that have been sold, strictly organized on the official website of Phil Devin Real Estate. Phil aims to give clients utmost convenience with its simple yet effective site.
You can also request for an appraisal through the website of Phil Devin Consultants, along with searching for an available residence for rent, requesting maintenance, and submitting a tenancy application. But it would be nicer to discuss your concerns with Phil personally to clarify all your needs and watch him finish the job with a good result.
Speak to anyone who has experienced the PROCESS of buying or selling Real Estate and often their findings are a combination of stress, disappointment and ultimately compromise! One of my many goals is to ensure your next move is a positive one.
I started Phil Devin Real Estate with one simple mission: "To deliver RESULTS that exceed our clients EXPECTATIONS".
What does this mean for you?
-I know you're busy and I respect your time. When we set an appointment and I’ll be there.
-When I say something can be done…you can count on it.
-I don't try to snow people or hide information. I'm all about disclosure.
-I’m not in it for any one transaction - I’m in it for the long haul…the lifelong relationships.
-That means I’ll work to get the result you deserve.
Ultimately when you buy or sell with me, it comes down to your decision, what's right for you. My goal is to make sure you have enough information to make a decision you can be happy with down the track. When you choose me to help you buy or sell your home you can count on responsive, quality, comprehensive and personalized service.
"Disappointment is the difference between what a client EXPECTS and what the Agent DELIVERS"
I know that my clients are craving to deal with a 'professional' who can 'listen' to their individual wants and needs and provide solutions for them!
Phil Devin is that professional!
Spring has officially sprung, presenting a splendiferous time to round up the family for some fun and adventurous April events on historic Galveston Island!
The cold weather has all but gone, replaced by balmy skies and the relaxing Gulf Coast trade winds. It’s a perfect time to bask in the sun while checking out these exciting Family Fun events in Galveston:
El Galéon Tours
From April 6-9, Galveston will welcome El Galéon, a replica of a majestic Spanish galleon that traversed the world’s oceans in the 16th century. Converted into a floating museum, the vessel offers a unique and up-close- look at life aboard the historic galleon.
Step aboard the170-foot sailing vessel, which harks back to the golden age of Western expansion into the Americas. The crew of El Galéon lives aboard the ship 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and will conduct tours.
Once aboard, be sure to roam above and below the decks (5 total), talk to the crew members and absorb dozens of interactive exhibits, videos, historical documents and displays. There is no time limit for your tour, and photos are welcome
Dwayne Jones, executive director of the Galveston Historical Foundation, said El Galéon’s visit is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for kids young and old.
“GHF is excited to welcome the El Galéon to our Pier 22 as a companion to our historic vessel ELISSA,” he said. “This is a rare opportunity to see this amazing Spanish ship and meet its crew. This visits sets the stage for our inaugural Tall Ship extravaganza planned for April 2018. Join us as we explore and learn about our maritime heritage.”
Tickets may be purchased online and at the Texas Seaport Museum, 2100 Harborside. For more information, call 409-763-1877. Tour tickets are $10 for ages 13 and over, $5 for ages 5-12, and free for ages 4 and under. Tickets to tour the 1877 Tall Ship ELISSA are also available.
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What is investing all about? How do you start?
If you have decided to enter the world of investing, learning how to invest must now dominate your time and focus. Two steps will help you on your way.
In essence, investing involves spending your time, effort and resources to attain a higher objective. For instance, you spend weekends with a social group to do charitable work, use your talent in the arts to create works of beauty and value or apply your profession in your job or your business to earn a living. In the same way that you do these things hoping to gain valuable rewards, you likewise invest your money in a bond, mutual fund or stock, just be careful of investment scams online, but with the goal of achieving material benefits in the future.
Eradicate your debts now
Now that you are eager to go ahead and start investing once you learn how to, you certainly would want to know the next step. But rein in your enthusiasm for a while. Hold your horses while you check if you are really ready to take the ride of your life in investing. Now that you see the possibilities opened to you through the magic of compounded returns, you have to protect yourself from the same trap which you could be unwittingly locked in. Do away with high-interest debts that you may have at the present.
Reward yourself first of all
To succeed as an investor, you must make investing an integral part of every day. That may sound difficult or tedious; but not really. You must realize that the act of buying something, say a cappuccino, will influence your daily finances as much as acquiring a home-equity loan to cover your credit-card payments.
Active and passive methods of investing
There are two primary methods of stock investing: active and passive management; and they differ on how stocks are chosen, not on how you choose your verbs. Active investing involves selecting stocks yourself or you can ask your brokers or fund managers to pick the stocks, bonds, and other forms of investments. Passive investing requires you to let your holdings follow an index which a third party makes.
Speculating versus investing
Perhaps, you may have heard of a close friend who struck it rich with options. Or you may have had moments of lucky streaks in the past where you won a sizeable amount of cash from a raffle or lottery. Why should you then enter into a long and slow process of investing your money which can only bring you a double-digit gain and not bundles of cash right away? Investing demands years of patience before you can finally reap the good harvest. What if you cannot wait that long?
Planning and setting objectives
Investing is a long-term process, like planning a long vacation. Ask yourself these questions before you embark on this endeavor:
• What is your destination? (What financial goals do you have?)
• How long is your vacation? (What is your time frame in investing?)
• What should you bring along? (What investments forms will you choose?)
• How much gas do you need to use? (How much will you invest to achieve your goals? How much can you invest a regular plan?)
• Do you have stopovers on the way? (What short-term financial expenses do you have?)
• How long is your vacation? (Will you have to retire using your investment?)
• If you run out of gas because you frequently stop to rest and drive through the night, you are bound to spoil your vacation. So it is if you do not save enough money, if you invest haphazardly or fail to invest at all.
How stock trading works
Now that you have set your finances in order and you have also established definite financial objectives, you are now ready to learn how to begin investing. With mutual funds, the procedure is quite easy: Call the fund company and request them to open an account for you. Dealing with stocks can be a more challenging endeavor.
The dangers of margin
Through a brokerage account, you can choose between a cash account or a margin account. A cash account allows you trade using available money you are willing to invest. A margin account allows you to buy stocks using other people’s money – which you borrow. Margin accounts can be attractive for obvious reasons; however, the risks can be significant.
Now that you have gained enough background information on how to start investing in stocks, as well as what your financial goals are, how much money you will need to invest, how long it will take to recover your investment, the next move is to begin considering where to invest and the kind of potential gain you hope to make.
You can get more info from our newsletter services which we offer free for one month. Our contributors may have diverse views on many issues; but this fact helps to provide you with a wide selection of insights and perspectives on how to succeed in investing. We have a disclosure policy which allows us to be fully transparent in all transactions.
Planning a cookout for Memorial Day? That’s a great idea: Grilling is a naturally healthy way to prepare food, says Jessica Palumbo, RD, a dietitian at Glen Cove Hospital -- as long as you take a few simple precautions and make smart choices about the menu.
For summer celebrations that are safe, nutritious, and, of course, delicious, take these easy steps when you fire up your grill.
1. Marinate your meats.
Marinating steaks and poultry for at least 30 minutes before grilling has several pay-offs: First, it adds flavor and helps tenderize meat, so you can choose a leaner cut. And second, it seems to act as a barrier against the grill’s high heat. That’s important, because the char that can form on well-done meat, poultry, or seafood contains chemicals that have been linked to cancer. (A chemical reaction between animal proteins and high heat seems to be to blame.) “Just be sure to discard any marinade that was in contact with raw meat,” says Palumbo. “Don’t use it to baste your food while it cooks.”
2. Give your grill the brush-off.
Give your grill grates a good scrubbing before every use. Not only will this remove grease that could start a fire; it will also help remove potentially harmful bacteria that can breed in leftover food particles. Just be sure to inspect the grill if you’ve used a wire brush -- every year, a few people end up in the emergency department after swallowing bits of wire bristle that are left behind and stick to food like hamburgers. Another smart move: Check the brush before you use it, and toss it out if the bristles are loose.
3. Bring out the fruits and veggies.
“People forget that you can grill fruit,” says Palumbo. “The natural sugar in peaches and pineapples can caramelize and make them even sweeter, so they’re really delicious fresh off the grill.” Also extra-tasty: veggie kebabs, made with onions, peppers, zucchini, mushroom and tomato. Brush with a little olive oil and sprinkle with seasoning to bring the flavor out.
4. Cook it just right.
Undercooking meat can put you at risk for a food-borne illness, but you don’t want to overcook it, either—remember those dangerous chemicals formed when meat gets charred. Flip meat every minute to reduce the chance of burning it, and check it with a thermometer before taking it off the grill. Cook chicken to 165 degrees, ground beef or pork to 160, and steaks, chops or fish to 145.
5. Store leftovers promptly.
Don’t let perishables like burgers, hot dogs and dips sit out for more than two hours, says Palumbo, and if it’s 90 degrees or hotter, put food away within an hour. This protects against bacteria that can cause food poisoning, so you can enjoy your leftovers—if you have any, that is!
Some things you can easily neglect or forget without causing any harm, such as what the last two answers are in the crossword puzzle today; but you cannot do that to a debt. Debt stays like a recurring nightmare in the night, haunting us and chasing us like Mr. Anderson in a Matrix world, charging compounded annual rates of 20% or more of monthly interests. We are stuck in that world’s system – with no escape in sight. But there is a way out of debt, using our free debt-crushing strategies -- and with the help of some of your rich friends and wealthy relatives (see tip No. 5). The nine ways to escape this enslaving system follow:
1. Exceed your monthly dues
The first step toward freedom from debt is to pay above the demanded minimum monthly payment. Do not extend your burden of paying the usual 2% to 3% of the outstanding balance for the required payment term. Moreover, banks would enjoy such subservience, even wishing you would pay for longer terms to increase their profits. Tell yourself now that it is time your own happiness is your priority, not the bank’s.
The strategy is to pay as much as you can afford regularly for every month. For instance, if your minimum amortization is $200, make it $150 or 200 even more. Try to look into your daily or monthly expenses to see where you can get the extra money. (To find some tips on how to do this, read our Living Below Your Means discussion forum.) For example, minimize or eliminate dining out and cook at home. Desserts are things we can do without, if you think about it. Happy hours would not be so happy if you think you have a debt to pay off. "Luxuries", in short, are things you can do without and are rich sources of hard cash.
The operative word (as in, you need to get it out of your system through some form of mental surgery) is “sacrifice”. Then, you will find a way to drastically up your debt amortizations and avoid getting scammed. It is the best way to save valuable money that would go into paying interests. Moreover, you will have a faster way of escaping your “debtly” situation. There is no joy in that kind financial crisis, having to live in constant penury and fear.
2. Snowball your debt payments
If you have credit cards, think seriously of how you can win some more points. Which one gives the lowest rate of interest? If you have not gone beyond the highest amount allowed on that card, try moving your higher-interest bill to it. This is allowable in most cases. Why pay 18% if you can pay only 12%?
In case your total credit balance does not fit on your low-interest card, pay at least the minimum amounts required for all cards except for one. You can then transfer most of your debt repayments into that one credit card, and do it as fast as you can. Once the balance on that card is zero, transfer the next by applying the same rapid repayment scheme.
This is what “snowballing” means – one small step at a time until you accomplish more. While the debt is decreasing, the money you will need to undo your debt will increase. The money you use to pay off “snowballs” until your debt disappears. You see how easy it is?
One alternative means of moving higher-interest debt to a lower-interest card involves the use of promotional offers from banks which provide credit card facilities. Note such ads offering to "Transfer all your credit card balances” to them at only “5.9%" for a period of a year. Why not? 5.9% is far beneficial to you than 18% interest. It would be unwise not save all that money in interest which could be funneled to reduce the principal every month, effectively decreasing the outstanding debt balance even more.
But think before you bite into any offer. Check properly the details for any possible catches. For instance, find out whether the interest rate will remain at the offered rate after the introductory period expires or revert to what you pay now. This would mean changing again and other possible surprises along the way. Banks have become wary of credit card holders who jump from one card to another to avail of the low introductory interest rates. Many such offers now stipulate that once you move outstanding debts from the new card within a year, the regular interest rate will revert retroactively to all outstanding balances. That stipulation might come as a big burden to bear for cash-strapped individuals, giving no relief whatsoever. The fine print tells it all – if you can read patiently.
3. Withdraw your savings account
You can decide to withdraw your savings and investments and slowly pay off your debt using the proceeds. It might appear unwise; yet, sometimes one has to play the fool to survive. Even at 12% rate, your investments would need to bring in above 18% before paying all taxes to match the dollars flowing out. Besides, the money in your savings account will not earn you close to that rate of interest. Terminating the debt this way, amounts to achieving that 18% gain, minus any risks involved otherwise. The greater the interest rate you pay, the more desirable repayment becomes against any existing investment.
4. Take out a loan using your life insurance policy
Does your life insurance policy provide a cash value? Then, make us of it by borrowing your own money. The interest rate is usually way below commercial rates avoid online fraud; and you can have longer terms to repay the loan. Be sure you pay it faithfully. In case you die prior to repaying the debt, the remaining loan balance and interest will be taken from policy’s face value due to the beneficiary. Indeed it is a small burden to carry now to try to remove a debt than allowing your loved ones to carry the burden, if you leave them permanently before paying it back.
5. Persuade family and friends for help
There must be a relative or friend who trusts you and cares enough to reach out to you with a helping hand. If so, you stand to get a loan at a bargain rate with less pressure on the payment schedule. In order to keep your relationship intact, frame up a formal agreement on paper to clarify expectations on either side as to interest and repayment scheme. This will do away with any hurt feelings or doubts in the future. And try to stick to the agreement if you want to remain welcome at family, office or school events.
6. Acquire a home equity loan
If you have a home whose equity has piled up over the years of paying the mortgage, why not get a home equity loan (HEL) credit facility at the highest allowable amount?
There are two ways that a HEL can help you save: first, applying the loan amount to your debt repayment, which allows you to exchange an 18% loan, for example, for a 6%-7% loan; second, itemizing deductions when you file your income tax credits HEL interest as a deductible item in most instances. A 25% marginal tax bracket will provide the 6% loan an effective rate of 4.5%, which is probably the best deal you can get on a personal debt.
Avoid, however, the common pitfall of getting an HEL, paying out your current debt and then ringing up credit card charges once again. That will give you two birds to shoot at with a single bullet, since you cannot afford another bullet to solve both challenges. Avail of HEL to erase your credit card debts, and then pay off HEL as well. Makes you appreciate your dire situation and the meaning of the saying, “There’s HEL to pay!”
7. Avail of a loan through your 401(k)
If you have a 401(k) retirement plan, yours may have a facility for loans up to 50% of your account's value, or $50,000, whichever is smaller. Usually, the rates are one or two points above prime, making them lower what credit cards charge. This makes 401(k) plan loans a way to pay off your debts. The best thing about this scheme is not just the lower interest but that you pay it back to your account as each dime paid on interest goes straight to the borrower's 401(k) account and not the lender's.
The downside on this plan includes the following: first, you repay the loan and interest with after-tax dollars, and the interest will be subject to tax again when you finally withdraw money from the 401(k) in the future. Moreover, the loan repayment period is five years. Leaving your work before repaying the whole loan will, therefore, require you to immediately pay off the loan. If not, that amount will be considered as a distribution to you and subject to tax at regular rates. And in case if you are below 59 and one-half years old, an additional 10% excise tax will be charged as penalty for cashing out your retirement funds early. Hence, make certain your 401(k) loan can be fully paid prior to leaving your job.
8. Restructure your loans
Are you at your rope’s end? No savings left. Friends and relatives cannot be of help. You do not own a home or a 401(k) account to loan against. In short, you are wiped out and you consider filing for bankruptcy. Wait! Hope always shines in the darkest places. Ironically, the prospects of bankruptcy can be of use to you.
If your creditors become aware of your situation and that you cannot renegotiate, your only recourse is to declare bankruptcy. You may seek a lower repayment term; ask for a lower interest rate; and satisfy their demand for payment. Creditors, more often than not, will choose to receive any deal where they get to recover some of their investment rather than nothing at all.
The transaction table is always open to a reasonable compromise where everyone wins and no one loses anything. It is worth a try and in time you will realize such recourses do work for the best. There are even organizations which will do it for you, in case you are not sure what you need to do.
9. Final option: Declare bankruptcy
If it comes down to the last option you have left, file for bankruptcy. As much as we all want to pay our debts, sometimes repaying is not at all possible. But be aware of the consequences.
For ten years, you will have a credit record with this bankruptcy information, making it hard for you to acquire a loan for that long. Furthermore, it is ironic that filing for bankruptcy requires a lot of money. Hundreds of dollars of lawyer fees and court filing expenses have to be met to get the relief you seek. With tougher bankruptcy laws in the offing as well, you might end up not obtaining any relief at all.
Two kinds of personal bankruptcy relief are available: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Chapter 7, called straight bankruptcy, provides almost total relief from debts, not including such items as alimony, taxes, child support, loans acquired through filing false financial records, loans not included in the bankruptcy petition, student loans and legal decisions against the petitioner.
Although Chapter 7 frees you of the duty of paying back most creditors, you may need to give up a big part of your property to partially pay off the debt. Nevertheless, some states have different laws providing exemptions on particular types of property, for instance, a specific amount of home equity, an old or low-value vehicle, minimal worth of jewelry and other personal belongings, and tools used in the pursuit of one’s business or occupation. Although such exemptions are quite small, no one will need to start over from zero.
Chapter 13, also referred to as the "wage-earner plan," is quite different. You can hold on to your property but give up all financial control to the bankruptcy court. The court recommends a repayment scheme based on your financial capability for paying off all or part of your debt for period of 3 to 5 years, during which creditors cannot harass you for any payment. You are also free of any interest charges on your debts during that period. Once the requirements of the court-approved scheme have been satisfied, you come out debt-free from the bankruptcy
Ah, spring! Warm breezes, chirping birds, blooming trees – and sniffling, congestion and all-around misery. Spring allergies, AKA hay fever, AKA allergic rhinitis, can last for weeks or even months, says Sherry Farzan, MD, an allergist at Long Island Jewish Medical Center and North Shore University Hospital. But paying attention to a few critical numbers may help you find a little relief.
If you experience symptoms like sneezing, runny nose, and red, watery eyes for more than two weeks, it’s a good bet you have allergies, not a cold -- see your doctor. (On the other hand, a fever suggests that a cold is to blame.)
In the United States, nearly 20 million adults and more than 6 million children have hay fever. If you suffer in the springtime, you’re probably sensitive to pollen or mold spores. An allergist can do a skin or blood test to identify your individual triggers.
This past winter broke records in the United States, with temperatures averaging nearly 5 degrees above the 20th-century average. Warmer winters mean earlier, longer and more severe allergy seasons, experts say.
5 to 10 a.m.
Pollen levels are usually highest between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m., so try to stay indoors during those hours, with the windows closed. If you have to go out, wear a hat and sunglasses to shield yourself from pollen, Farzan says.
3 to 4 days
An over-the-counter nasal decongestant can relieve stuffiness in a pinch, but if you use it for more than three or four days in a row, it can cause a rebound effect that makes your nose even more congested. If you need longer-term relief, an allergist can prescribe you something that won’t backfire.
Allergy shots, also called immunotherapy, can reduce symptoms in 90 percent of people with seasonal allergies, Farzan says. You’ll need them weekly at first -- but eventually, once a month will do the trick.
Every few years, the federal government comes out with advice about one of the most important things you do every day—eating. The new recommendations came out last month in the form of an update to the official Dietary Guidelines, and they include some big changes that are meant to help Americans make smarter choices about the food they eat in order to lower their risk of obesity and chronic disease.
“People whose diets match these guidelines stay healthier than those whose diets don’t,” says Nancy Copperman, RD, assistant vice president of public health and community partnerships for Northwell Health (formerly North Shore-LIJ Health System). “And as our understanding of nutrition gets more sophisticated, those guidelines get tweaked based on the strongest and most recent science.”
While many of the government’s suggestions will seem familiar (yes, you still have to eat your veggies), you may be surprised by some of the other recommendations in the new guidelines. One of the most important changes: Limit added sugar.
Dietary experts have cautioned for years against eating too much of the sweet stuff, but for the first time they’ve singled out added sugar, meaning sugar that doesn’t occur naturally in whole foods like an apple or glass of milk (although milk doesn’t taste sweet, it naturally contains a sugar called lactose). Americans should consume less than 10 percent of their daily calories from added sugar, say the new guidelines; for someone who eats about 2,000 calories a day, that’s just 200 calories.
“That’s equal to about 12 teaspoons of sugar, total,” says Copperman. “Most of us currently consume about 22 teaspoons a day, so we need to basically cut that in half.” The easiest way to do that is to read labels, she says; choose foods with less than 5 grams of sugar per serving. If the label lists anything over that level, the item probably contains added sugar. “That should make you think twice about whether that snack is really worth it,” Copperman says.
Worry less about cholesterol
Research has shown that cholesterol in food isn’t a major factor in raising the cholesterol level in our body. Instead, the new guidelines suggest limiting saturated fat. How? Try reducing your intake of fatty cuts of meat, and increasing chicken, fish and plant-based proteins like beans and nuts.
Get pickier about protein
Dovetailing with the above, another of the new guidelines says that many of us—specifically, many teen boys and adult men—eat more than the recommended 26 ounces of protein from animal sources per week. The problem is, a body can process only so much protein at a time, says Copperman. Anything it doesn’t use is stored as fat.
And while the guidelines single out guys, Copperman says that most of us (of either gender) can benefit from eating less animal-based protein. “Choosing smaller portions and filling our plates with fruits, vegetables, and whole grains instead is never a bad thing,” she says. “That’s advice that has stood the test of time.”
The exponential surge in online fraud and cybercrime saw almost 6 million offences committed last year, meaning around one in 10 adults in the UK were victims
According to the latest findings from the Crime Survey for England and Wales, fraud has now become the most prevalent crime in the country with people 10 times more likely to become a fraud victim than they are to suffer a theft.
What is clear is that fraud is an insidious problem that challenges all businesses in the UK and around the globe.
For far too long, fraud has been viewed as a victimless crime. On the contrary, it is continually being used by criminals for monetary gain.
It is also used to fund a wide spectrum of illegal activities including drug dealing, human trafficking and even the funding of terrorism. Very often, the victims are oblivious to the risks of transacting online and are amongst more vulnerable members of society.
An evolving threat
Fraud has evolved from simple and opportunistic modus operandi to more complex scenarios.
Fraudsters are becoming increasingly sophisticated, making use of techniques ranging from social engineering such as phishing or vishing to cyber-enabled malware attacks.
They also often hide within complex networks where they employ ‘mules’ to do their bidding.
Those networks are often hard to detect as they combine fraudulent activity with legitimate and compliant transactions.
Also contributing to the rising velocity of fraud is the proliferation of online services and the anonymity those digital channels provide to consumers.
For example, when making insurance claims it’s easy to inflate the value of a damaged or stolen item or to add a few additional items to the claim, therefore resulting in what’s often referred to as ‘soft fraud’.
Adopt a constant state of readiness
Organisations must be in a constant state of readiness and need a multi-layered and pragmatic strategy to curb this threat.
It is critical that organisations adopt a holistic approach that encompasses data management, fraud detection, as well as robust policies and strict internal governance to ensure that their exposure to fraud is brought down to a minimum.
The ability to analyse high volumes of data quickly, in real time, is becoming more and more a ‘business critical’ requirement. Organisations must start with enhancing their data quality, as well as collating and linking different data types coming into the organisation.
The use of data analytics is often understated but could yield significant value for organisations wishing to adopt a superior approach to monitoring and detection.
Better fraud detection tools, better business
For businesses, fraud introduces additional costs that impinge on growth, performance and productivity. On a wider scale, it undermines sustained economic progress and the operation of free markets.
The onus is therefore on individuals and businesses alike to deter and report instances of fraud.
According to SAS research with the Centre for Economic and Business Research, efficiencies from better fraud detection tools could total £290m from 2015 to 2020. Such tools include advanced analytics which will enable businesses to intervene and prevent fraud before it happens.
Lastly but crucially, people at the head of organisations should lead by example and nurture a culture of zero tolerance towards fraud and other forms of financial crime within their organisation.
There should not only be policies but enforcement of those policies in the way that day-to-day business is conducted, both internally and with external parties.
With increased government focus and regulatory scrutiny on financial crime, businesses found cutting corners will be exposed and be subject to potential fines.
For small to medium organisations, the associated reputational damage may undermine their very ability to exist in the future. Find out what it takes to develop effective fraud management to help identify suspicious transactions and networks before the money leaves your premises.
Below, you will find out about opportunities to improve your savings and results and receive a few of our tips to finance your innovation.
We wish you a pleasant reading!
Optimize your PIC claims!
Did you know that companies can combine for YA 2013 to YA 2015 the yearly cap for each qualifying activity at S$ 400k? Companies are allowed to claim up to S$ 1,2M of eligible expenses for each qualifying activity by combining the three Years of Assessment. For example, if you haven’t claimed R&D costs in YA 2013 and YA 2014, you can claim up to S$ 1,2M of R&D costs in YA 2015. Do not miss this opportunity to optimize your savings!
PIC Bonus: get it while you can
The PIC Bonus is a S$ 15,000 dollar-for-dollar matching cash bonus on top of the PIC cash payout and the enhanced tax deduction available for YA 2013 to 2015. The PIC scheme will remain active at least until 2018. It is still time to get the PIC Bonus by optimizing your PIC Claims for YA 2015.
PUBLIC FUNDING IN SINGAPORE
Innovation Capability Voucher (ICV)
ICV is a public financing tool for local SMEs helping them to purchase integrated IT solutions and to get access to consultancy services for innovation, productivity, HR and finance management. Local businesses can get up to S$ 40,000 with 8 different vouchers.
iSprint Funding for Intermediate Packaged Solutions
This funding program initiated by IDA for local SMEs reimburses up to 70% of the buying cost of numerous pre-approved packaged solutions up to S$ 20,000 as well as consultancy and training costs related to packaged solutions such as SaaS, PoS, Accounting Management Systems, etc.
Assistance to IRAS technical queries
More and more companies have seen their claims rejected or challenged by IRAS. It requires a specific expertise to claim technical staff salaries and outsourced R&D projects under the PIC scheme. We were expecting an increase of the controls, as it happened in other countries, with similar schemes. Make sure to secure your R&D tax credits by following all regulations and expectations from IRAS to avoid troubles and delays in the process.
R&D Tax Credits
From IRAS perspective, R&D includes the notion of innovation whereas it is excluded in OECD definition. Several countries use the OECD R&D definition for R&D tax credits, such as France, England or Canada. In Singapore, the definition of R&D is broader and therefore, the notion of eligible R&D activity of the PIC is larger than scientific research and is not limited to lab work and PhDs teams. Our consultants are R&D experts with either a MSc or a PhD who successfully claimed R&D projects in different fields such as Software Development, SaaS, Energy, E-commerce, Microsystem, Healthcare, Water, Big Data, Web technologies, etc.
Singapore is becoming a global IP hub
The government has been implementing effective tax measures to encourage the anchoring of intellectual property in Singapore for the past few years. By helping companies finance acquisition and registration of Intellectual Property Rights through the PIC scheme, among other initiatives, the objective of the Government is to help Singapore become a global IP hub in Asia.
Top 20 Hottest Startups
Released in the Singapore Business Review, the Singapore's Hottest Startups 2015 awards the most innovative startups in the country. Five of our clients are ranked in this top 20! This shows the strong links between GAC and the technology-oriented startups ecosystem of Singapore. We help innovative companies finance their technical projects by claiming the salaries of their technical teams through the PIC scheme.