The Research Design Associates Blog


7 Steps To Start Teaching Your Kids About Money Now

When a child is born, no parent ever thinks to themselves, “I sure hope he/she grows up with no sense of personal financial responsibility.” Few parents teach their children about money actively. Here’s the problem: Whether or not you actively teach your kids about money, they’re learning from the world around them. Want to take the reins and teach them proactively, or let your actions and the world’s examples concerning money be their teacher? Here are 7 straightforward tips for teaching your children about money (as early as they can read).

Read more …


Don’t Write Off or Write Down That Excess Inventory This Year End!

Many businesses face difficult decisions at the end of every year to write off excess or aged inventory in an effort to have the financial statements accurately reflect the financial position of that inventory. Don’t take that financial hit this year! You have alternatives that will not impact your balance sheet or income statement at all. You have the opportunity to take those assets that have been a balance sheet headache and trade or barter them for prepaid assets such as media. There are many corporate barter exchanges that make trades like these every day and it is an absolute win-win for all parties involved.

Read more …


7 Reasons To Barter In This Or Any Economy!

Barter is simply the trading of goods or services for other goods or services with no cash involvement. To promote bartering and make it easier for companies to interact, barter exchanges were established. These systems enable bartering to be taken to a new level by offering "barter credits" which are used like cash within that specific network. When you "sell" something you get paid in barter credits which you can then use to "pay" for something from another vendor if necessary or bank until needed at a future time.

Read more …


My bank went bust

Much to my chagrin I found out that MY small local bank failed last Friday. was interested in a bank serving the local community and accountable to it in preference to multinational investors. I’m a bit stuck on real estate loans backed by land and not multiply sold paper. I remain troubled by the creation of the image of wealth or security in the absence of that value during the housing bubble. No I’m not harking back to the gold standard. We do need new financial vehicles. However I want my checking account, credit card and debit card fees to reflect the cost of those transaction, not to be building a pool of money to drive risky Wall Street commoditized investments.

Read more …


The Nitty-Gritty of PCI Compliance - credit card data security

I get calls often about PCI DSS (also called PCI Compliance) which boils down to the regulations that all merchants who accept credit card transactions follow to be sure they’re best protecting their customer’s credit card data. While these standards have been in place since 2005, my sharing of this information with business owners often comes as a surprise. Apart from the cost to merchants and roll-out efforts, it will take continued education and open-mindedness by business owners to recognize the gravity of credit card security as well as the large possible infractions for breaches (maximums around $250,000/breach/month) which can be paralyzing to most businesses.

Read more …


What Do the New Debit Card Laws Mean for You?

With the passage of the Durbin Amendment new debit rates became effective on October 1. The amendment lowered the interchange rate (wholesale costs) for debit transactions all the way down to the .05% and $.21 per transaction fees. The new law was meant to save some businesses money, so be sure to contact your merchant service provider to see if these savings apply to you and to insure that they are being passed on to you. There are plenty of business and consumer choices.

Read more …


No Fees, Please - We're Credit Unions!

Millions of Americans were able to relax when a certain behemoth financial institution announced this week it would begin to charge five dollars a month for customers to use debit cards for non-ATM transactions. Why? Because as much as the profit-driven banks like to ignore them, credit unions with their 91 million members will never follow that model. Since 1909, credit unions have provided service based financial safe havens for their members.

Read more …


Getting your small business loan

When meeting with your banker about you loan, be prepared. Go ahead and play out your scenarios- best case, most likely, and worst case. Everyone loves to do this part of the exercise… at least the first part. Best case scenario, “If everything goes just like I hope and my plans all go right, I’ll …”, you know the game. We all do it, that is what keeps us going. Now let’s finish the exercise. Be positive about your project. Happiness is contagious and it will often yield more positive results. Don’t, however, be foolish enough to ask for too much. As little as 6 years ago, borrowers and bankers alike would “jokingly?” hint that you should ask for as much as you wanted because leverage was good since it was someone else’s money.

Read more …


Finding your way in the new banking environment

Getting to know the new sheriff. Whether you are an established bank customer or seeking a new relationship after the recession, everyone has to get to know the new regulatory sheriff and banking reality. Be prepared for the reality that your collateral will be discounted substantially in value to cover your loan. Bankers always believe the market for your collateral is headed south so they want to stay ahead of the curve. And they have to include the cost of asset sale. New lending guidelines make some assets seem worthless. Bankers, while often accused of being simple minded, can no longer afford to be mesmerized by dog and pony shows where borrowers attempt to “hide the ball”. Either the ball is there, or it is not. If it is not there, don’t pretend it is because you will look stupid when they find it is not. Conversely, if the ball is a stinker, don’t try to hide it because they will be mad when the turd surfaces.

Read more …