Don’t pay full price – Great AARP travel discounts.

As an AARP member, you receive more than a discounted rate on your auto insurance, and other insurance premiums. You can great great AARP travel deals as well, simply by using your membership card when booking your travel, hotel, and other travel accommodations online. You’re busy managing your business, so any discount advice is helpful.

Constant discount options available
Whether you are planning the perfect Caribbean getaway, or simply want to rent a car and drive out of town for the weekend, there are always new destinations popping up, and discounts available for AARP travel members. Recently, we booked a trip to Florida to visit the family. Using my membership card, we were able to book an all inclusive trip, for three travelers, saving several hundred dollars. Not only did we receive discounted airfare, we also received a discount rate for a hotel (nice hotel packages at Hilton properties), along with a rental car for the weekend.

Drive to your destination
If you don’t want to fly, or would like to visit a local destination, rental car discounts are also available to members. 30% off Budget car rentals, and other major rental agencies are always promoting specials for AARP members. Whether you need a sedan, a mini van, or want a sports car for a weekend trip to Vegas there are several great deals and discounts to be found, as an AARP member.  If you get sick, they even have an AARP long-term care insurance premium discount.

Book through other sites 
Other sites also promote savings available to members. We book travel destinations through Expedia, Travelocity, and other travel sites. At checkout, we can enter our AARP membership card number, and receive discounted rates for flights. Currently, on Expedia, we found a $100 discount for new members to the AARP family, who were booking through the site for the first time. This, and other discounts are always being promoted for members, allowing us to travel more, for far lower prices.

Being an AARP member is a great way to save on all kinds of items, and find the best AARP travel discounts, for flight, hotel, car rentals, and all inclusive package deals. Not only can we travel locally, we can find great luxurious destinations, spa visits, and trips to international destinations, for a far lower price than the rates being charged for non members. No matter where we travel or when we are planning a trip, we always visit the AARP site, to find out about current travel deals. We always save, and always book with top airlines, rental agencies, and hotels, for all our travels.

The Tax Man Cometh: Tax Management for Entrepreneurs

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There are only two things that are certain in life: death and taxes. How many times have you heard that saying before? Chances are, you’ve heard that statement at least twice in your life. The reason people repeat it so often is because it is absolutely truth. Death and taxes are unavoidable. You have to deal with them. The good news is that taxes don’t have to surprise you or pack a massive and crippling punch. If you own a business, you can manage your business in such a way that you not only minimize your taxes but you also increase your business’ ability to to make more money. By pursuing a clear and focused strategy, you can run your business in a way that minimizes the taxman’s take while taking your company to a whole new other level. Keep the following in mind.

Begin the Year with Tax Management in Mind

If you want to save on taxes come tax time while working to take your business to a higher level, don’t expect this to happen automatically. Don’t expect this to happen all of a sudden. Least of all, don’t expect to get lucky. It takes serious planning to pull this off. Saving money on taxes doesn’t just happen. Left to themselves, tax authorities will try to saddle you with as much taxes as possible. Don’t be surprised. That is their job. There is, however, a lot you can do about this situation. You can plan your fiscal year with tax reduction in mind. At the start of the year, start with a solid plan. Read the points raised below and add them to your business operations and management plan for the coming year.

Aggressive Spending means substantial tax write-offs

The tax code is structured in such a way that the government only taxes what’s left after a company deducts its expenses from its revenues. So, the more expenses you have, the less adjusted income your company has. Your company is taxed based on what is left over. If you are serious about saving money on taxes, it is very important that you increase your expenses. This is the core of saving money on taxes while positioning your business for further revenue growth. The less left over, the less taxes you pay because tax authorities follow a graduated system. There is a minimal income level that doesn’t get taxed at all. There’s a higher income level that gets taxed and the rate goes up as your company’s income goes up. This keeps going up until you hit the maximum tax rate. The key to saving money on taxes is to make sure you have very little left over. After all, 32% of nothing is, you guessed it, nothing. Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean you don’t make any money. You still make money but you don’t make enough taxable income to get slapped with a high tax rate.

Aggressive Spending can mean greater returns

The upside to aggressive spending is that it can open the door to greater revenues for your business. You are, after all, spending money to invest in key areas of your business. If you invest in the right areas of production, management, or marketing, this can result in higher capacity, higher productivity, or higher sales. All these developments lead to higher revenue. Saving money on taxes by spending aggressively means you can lay the groundwork for higher revenue in the very near future. Of course, you shouldn’t just pick up a pen and your checkbook and start spending away. There is more to saving money on taxes through spending boosts than the realization that you can spend a lot to save a lot of taxes. You have to focus on ROI.

Focus on ROI

ROI or return on investment is all about spending as little money to get as much return as possible. Successful businesses have good ROI rates. Weak or dying companies have very low ROI rates. Since you’re thinking of saving money on taxes by increasing spending that can boost your company’s performance, you have to factor in ROI. There are certain spending decisions that pack better results than others. If you end up spending money on items that have very little impact on your business’ ability to generate revenue, you are basically just saving money on taxes and achieving little else. You are, essentially, wasting money. You have to focus on ROI so you can size up the many different spending and capital outlay options in front of you. Some options are simply much better than others.

Deciding on a strategic spending strategy

It is one thing to think that you want to reduce your taxes by spending on the right items and it is another matter entirely to pull this off. You have to have a solid idea of what parts of your current business can benefit from saving money on taxes through increased spending. Not all areas of your business might be invested in for maximum ROI as far as tax reduction strategies are concerned. Some parts of your business’ operations or components don’t return much even after you pour cash into them. They have reached the point economists call the ‘point of diminishing returns.’ It would be foolish to invest more funds in these areas. You would be pouring money down a rabbit hole. Not a good idea. By focusing on ROI, you can create the following strategy: line up all your options and figure out the areas of your operations that haven’t reached the point of diminishing returns, next project potential revenue gains for each section. Figure out how much you need to spend. Eliminate low ROI elements. Focus on high ROI elements with low to decent outlays. These should be your targets. What follows is a more detailed discussion on the many different sections of your operations that you can examine in finer detail for additional investment.

Why not just dump money into high ROI sections?

If you spend on a categorical basis without breaking each category down into different parts, you might end up spending on areas within the category that don’t need additional investment. You might also end up overlooking areas that can produce solid gains or end up under-investing in them. By breaking each component of your business down into their smallest parts, you can identify opportunities where investments can yield better ROI. Saving money on taxes through increased spending requires tight analysis of your business’ many different sections and their sub-sections. This allows you to target your spending better. The more targeted your spending, the higher the chance your will achieve your income enhancement objectives.

Managing a Small Business and Uncle Sam

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Regardless of what type of business you run, there are two main ways you can boost capacity: you can hire more people or you can buy the right machinery or equipment. Spending more on people is pretty straightforward-you simply put out an ad (online or offline), interview people, and hire them on. All these steps require money and count as business expenses. Saving money on taxes through increased headcount and personnel costs is also helped by the training costs of additional staff. Also, you can buy machinery or equipment that supplements or enhances your staff’s production. Eventually, you might want to go the whole nine yards and automate your production and reassign your staff to quality control. Machinery expenditures is no different from software expenditures. Saving money on taxes through software or machinery expenditures aren’t as easy as you think though.

Quick note on equipment outlays

You might think you will be saving money on taxes if you dump money on new machinery. Not so. The write-off value of the equipment you buy is calculated using a schedule. This schedule is called a depreciation schedule. You can’t simply write off the full amount of the machinery or equipment you bought. Usually, the write-off schedule spans several years. Saving money on taxes by buying items that are on a depreciation schedule might not help you reach your tax savings goals.

Besides hiring more warm bodies and investing in machinery, your business can also boost capacity by spending money on process enhancement systems like Six Sigma. This, of course, requires consultants. Consultants can cost quite a bit of money. Consulting fees are completely legitimate business expenses.

The problem with spending money on consultants is that too many business owners think their business is already benefiting by simply having a consultant coach them on what to do. This is not the case. Your consultant might come up with an awesome report but that report isn’t going to do your business much good if you don’t implement it. Don’t waste money on consultants by hiring them and then never getting around to implementing their recommendations. You won’t be taking your business to a higher level this way. Indeed, you’re just burning money if you do this.

Boosting quality with QA-specific outlays

Another way you can take your business to higher revenue levels is to boost quality. For every bad or defective product your production system produces, you lose money. That is a product you can’t sell. By investing in Quality Assurance systems and processes, you decrease the amount of defective or bad items your system cranks out. This means you have more acceptable items that can be sold. The more of these items you have, the higher your revenue. You can spend money on consultants that can fix your current processes so they produce higher quality products or less defective products.

Basic marketing expenditures

While it is too easy to get excited about spending on marketing, don’t get carried away. Just like your operations, there are two sides to marketing: basic and targeted. Investing in the wrong marketing component will not only fail to produce significant sales improvements but you would essentially be burning precious capital. You need to separate your marketing between basic marketing and targeted marketing. Figure out the ROI of these components currently and see which is a better recipient of your business’ capital.

Basic marketing covers non-targeted, non-relationship-based marketing. This type of marketing covers product giveaways, event sponsorships, fliers, brochures, business cards, and similar marketing methods and techniques that don’t focus on building a relationship between your brand and your audience members.

Targeted marketing expenditures

The great thing about targeted marketing is that this type of marketing outreach tends to hit the people who are most likely to buy your products or services. The downside to targeted marketing is that it often takes a long time to develop the relationship enough for your customer to put money in your pocket. In some situations, relationship-based or targeted marketing might only be worth doing if you already have an established base of heavy spending loyal customers. In essence, you are increasing the amount of cash you generate from existing customers. Don’t overlook this important marketing segment. Marketing study after study consistently show that the cheapest source of new business is your collection of existing customers.

Another great area of targeted marketing you can invest in is further market research. Hire a consultant to study your target audiences and see if you can spot new opportunities. Doing this might just result in heavier revenues for your business because you expand into market segments. Also, you go a long way in protecting your business against future shocks. Why? You are diversifying your product or service offerings.

End goal: Boosting profits while maximizing tax savings

If you want to truly milk as much value from the hard-earned money you’re investing in your business operations while minimizing taxes, you have to really work both ends of the equation hard. Make sure you spend as much money on items that can be fully written off and can truly boost your company’s revenues. Not only do reduce taxes, but you are laying the groundwork for even greater sales and profits in the future.

Make no mistake about it, taxes can pack quite a punch. By operating your business in a strategic way, you can reduce your business’ tax liabilities while laying the groundwork for huge increases in output, productivity, and quality. The right spending decisions can lead to your business producing more products, producing lower-cost products, and gaining a key competitive advantage over other players in your industry. And you did all these while trying to reduce your taxes. It all boils down to solid planning.