The Urban Prepper’s Complete Home Defense Checklist

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If you live in a big city, then you should prepare for many kinds of potential disasters, from floods to plagues to organized attacks. Today, it is easier to become an urban prepper who is ready for anything. Here are some of the ways to prepare for any type of disaster.

Have Nonperishable Food Stored In Your Home

During a disaster, you won’t have ready access to a supermarket or a restaurant. It’s likely that you won’t have the power to run a refrigerator, either. What you can have, if you prepare ahead of time, is an assortment of non-perishable foods available. Everyday Cheapskate explains how “Ideally, you need enough [food storage] to feed your family for six months but start with shorter goals, like one week, then two weeks, and then a month…” In addition to canned foods, you can have freeze-dried foods that are easy to open and to eat immediately or that only require minimal cooking. Remember that at the very least, you should have three days of food available for each member of your family, but the more the better. If you have the room and the funds to store three month’s worth of food (or more) for your family, use it.

Do You Have a Bug Out Bag?

A bug out bag is typically a backpack that you can use to hold the items required for daily survival. The goal of this type of bag is to carry enough things for your survival for approximately a week. Water is one of the main items required for a bug out bag, but you will also need food, matches and a sleeping bag. If you have a serious medical condition, then make sure to add medications to your bug out bag supply list.

Do You Have a Weapon’s Permit?

You may want to have weapons for defense or to hunt for food, but you must follow local government regulations concerning rifles and guns. When you want to have weapons, make sure to learn how to use the items safely; this means taking the appropriate classes and practicing regularly with your weapons (once a month or more, if possible).  When weapons are not in use, you should keep them protected in locked boxes or gun cabinets to prevent accidents.

Update Home Security Systems

According to ADT, “A home is supposed to be a safe place. However, with the possibility of home invasions, fires, hurricanes and other emergencies, a state-of-the-art security system is required.” If you want to protect your family from the dangers of home invasions, then you should update your home’s security systems. You can visit a home improvement store to find new locks for a home’s doors or windows along with security bars. It is also easy to install modern surveillance cameras that look like doorbells and other everyday objects. With a smartphone or computer, you can monitor your home when there is an emergency situation.

Learn First-aid Procedures

In addition to having a bug out bag and other items for protection during a disaster, make sure to enroll in a first-aid class to learn how to perform CPR, how to save yourself and others from choking, how to treat shock, and other important skills that may save lives in an emergency. Have emergency first aid supplies packed in the bug-out bag of every family member in the event that you are separated. Make sure those supplies are not expired.
Overall, being prepared for unexpected situations such as loss of access to food, water, and/or electricity should be a consideration every person should be concerned about. Follow some of these tips, and you’ll be well on your way to being a well-prepared citizen. For more tips on how to prepare for and deal with the best and worst in life, check out our life hacks page.

5 Benefits of Learning a Foreign Language

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Many counselors in both high school and college urge countless students each year to enrich their educational experiences by studying a foreign language. In addition to looking great on college and work applications, the process of learning a foreign language brings with it a list of positive benefits. Here are five incredible benefits of learning a foreign language.

1. A Boost in Brain Power

Learning a foreign language has been linked to increased performance in other academic areas and to improved memory and cognitive ability. People who speak two languages have demonstrated better problem-solving skills, increased memory, critical thinking, and other impressive qualities.

An interesting fact is that bilingual individuals have shown the ability to hold their attention on a subject for 20 percent more time than people who speak one language language alone. The brain benefits greatly from the challenge of communicating with two different languages. The improvement to the bilingual person’s cognitive abilities will be clear in all aspects of their life moving forward.

Related: https://www.newyorker.com/science/maria-konnikova/bilingual-advantage-aging-brain

2. More Career Opportunities

The global nature of today’s world means that the ability to speak a second language fluently is a valuable skill. Many job opportunities in America and other countries are better suited for employees who can communicate with clients and customers in multiple languages.

A study performed by MIT shows that bilingual individuals earn a significant amount more over their lifetimes than unilingual individuals. The job seeker that can list a second language on their resumes gives themselves a true advantage over otherwise equally qualified candidates who speak a single language.

Related: http://www.connectionsacademy.com/homeschool-curriculum

3. A Portal to Another Culture

Studying a second language exposes an individual to many of the cultural traditions of the people whose language they’re studying. The awareness of another culture opens the door to establishing rich new relationships. The discovery of interesting traditions and histories of other cultures are also made possible through language learning.

An added benefit for bilingual individuals is the ability to immerse themselves immediately into other cultures when traveling to a country where the language is spoken.

Related: https://www.thnk.org/blog/language-and-empathy/

4. Improvement in General Language Use

The process of learning a second language requires individuals to pay close attention to the tenses, grammar, and structures presented by the new language. The study of these mechanics in the second language will help individuals become more aware of these issues in their primary language. In effect, learning a new language causes an individual to become a better speaker and writer of every language they know.

5. Enhanced Networking Abilities

Making oneself open to new cultures encourages an individual to be more appreciative of the opinions and actions of other people. Bilingual individuals are able to view world issues from a second viewpoint and develop an enhanced ability to communicate with a greater amount of people.

Related: https://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/18/opinion/sunday/the-benefits-of-bilingualism.html

Final Thoughts

Students are sometimes reluctant to study a new language due to a lack of understanding regarding the possible benefits to them. A quick peek at the benefits detailed above makes it obvious that learning a new language is well worth the effort.

Here’s a great article talking about learning we think you’ll enjoy! For more great articles like these, check out our blog!

 

How to Prevent Heat Loss in Your Home

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Winter is coming. You can start preparing your home now for the winter. One of the keys to keeping your home comfortable all winter long is to prevent heat loss. There are several ways that heat loss can be prevented.

Use Thick Curtains

Curtains are key for managing window heat loss or gain. The thicker your curtains are, the more effective they will be for keeping the heat inside of your home. You can keep your curtains open during the day in order to allow the natural sunlight to warm your home. However, you want to make sure that you keep them closed after the sun goes down.

Insulate Your Home

Insulating your home will help you keep it comfortable. It will also help you save money on your energy bill. Warm air can easily escape through the doors, windows, floor, and walls. That is why you want to make sure that your home is well-insulated.

Shut Unused Rooms

If there are rooms in your home that you are not using, then you will need to keep them closed. This will prevent cold air from moving through the rest of your house. You will also be able to prevent the heat from escaping.

Use a Chimney Balloon

If you have a chimney, then heat can easily escape from it. You should use a chimney balloon when you do not have a fire going. If you never use your chimney, then you should have a professional come in and cap it.

Cover Bare Floorboards

It is estimated that 10 percent of the heat that is lost in a home comes from the floor. One of the main reasons that homes have carpet is to prevent heat loss. However, if you do not have any carpet, then you will need to use blankets and rugs. Not only will this prevent heat loss, but it will also help you keep your feet warm.

If you have gaps and cracks in your flooring, then you will need to add some filler to your floor. It is important to choose a filler that can withstand the expansion and contraction of the floor.

Make Sure Your Attic Is Ventilated Properly

Hot air has a tendency to rise. It is estimated that attics and roofs account for 25 percent of the heat loss in a home. If you have cracks and holes in your attic, then you will need to have them filled. You also need to make sure that your attic is properly ventilated.

Watch Out for the Mini-Drafts

Heat can be lost through your dog or cat flap, and keyhole. This may not seem like a big deal because those areas are small. However, a small draft can make your home feel a lot cooler. You should put a blanket or insulation around the dog or cat flap. You can also put a cover over the keyhole.

Make Sure Your HVAC System Is Working Properly

Your home may lose heat if the heating system is inefficient. You may also have higher bills if your heating system isn’t working properly. Additionally, if your heater is ineffective, then it may not heat your home evenly. There may be some parts of your home that are cold while other parts are warm.

That is why it is important to make sure that your heating system receives maintenance. Professional maintenance will not only prevent heat loss, but it will also help you stay comfortable all winter long.

Add Secondary Glazing

You can reduce heat loss from your windows by adding a secondary glazing. This involves adding a second sheet of acrylic or glass to the windows. There are other benefits that can be reaped by adding a secondary glazing, such as helping to filter out the outside noise. The glazing can also prevent dust from getting in.

Additionally, this is a cost-effective solution. A secondary glazing can reduce heat loss by up to 63 percent. Keep in mind that you can have the glazing removed during the summer months if you like. If you live in a rented property, then you may have to get permission from the owner before adding the secondary glazing.

Heat loss can make it difficult for you to keep your home comfortable. Fortunately, there are ways that you can prevent this from happening. You can use thick curtains, insulation, and secondary glazing to prevent heat loss. You will also need to make sure that your attic is properly ventilated. Furthermore, you will need to watch out for drafts and make sure that your HVAC system is working correctly.

If you enjoyed this article on preparing your house for colder temperatures, here are more articles you might enjoy:

References:

What Should You Include in Your Home Security Package?

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More than 60 percent of all break-ins are residential. And if your home doesn’t have a security system, you could be up to 300 percent more likely to experience a burglary. If you’ve decided that it’s time to invest in a home security package, you’ll have several important choices to make when choosing what to include. While there is no one-size-fits-all home security system, there are some features and products you’ll want to consider including.

Smart Doorbells

An increasingly popular feature with home security systems is doorbells that have a small camera included. When someone presses the button, you’ll receive an alert that activates the camera on your phone, so you can see who’s at your door, even if you’re not at home at the time. Smart doorbells often include motion sensing capabilities, high-resolution video, and two-way audio so you can communicate with the person at the door to see who they are and what they want without having to open your door.

Easy-to-Use Panels

The control panel is the heart of any home security package. It’s where you can set up things like your surveillance range and how you prefer to get alerted if there’s an issue. Since many members of your family will likely need to access the control panel at one time or another, look for a system that includes a panel with a simple interface anyone can use.

Biometric-Based Systems

Usually, when a home security system is set up, you’re still able to access your home with locks and keys. Some newer home access control systems have adopted biometric technology that allows for entrance to your home with fingerprint-activated locks. Because access is based on each person’s unique fingerprints, it’s more difficult for your home’s locks to be compromised. You can still have an excellent home security system without this feature, but it’s worth considering if you don’t want to risk losing track of copies of your home keys that may be found by potential intruders.

Wireless Cameras

At one time, having a security system meant drilling holes into walls or finding ways to hide unsightly wires. Today, many systems use wireless cameras that incorporate Wi-Fi connections. Cameras that work without cables are also appealing because you’ll have more location possibilities since you don’t have to worry about finding room for a bunch of wires, although you’ll still need one cable for power. Receivers on cameras without wires can also be placed several hundred feet away from the main camera, allowing for even more placement options in and around your home. For instance, some homeowners prefer to put some of their cameras indoors near entryways so they can see when their children come home from school.

Motion-Activated Detection

With cameras placed outdoors, you don’t always want them to continuously record footage. In some situations, non-stop recording may be a violation of a neighbor’s privacy rights. One solution is to use cameras that only record when movements are detected. With some motion-activated cameras, detection ranges can be set to avoid activation issues when neighbors are on their own properties. Cameras with motion detection can also be wireless, which means not having tell-tale wires showing that possible intruders could attempt to cut.

Smart Thermostats

Another common feature in home security systems is thermostats that can be controlled remotely. As is the case with other home security features, smart thermostats can be linked to your home’s WiFi and accessed remotely via an app. You’ll be able to instantly see what the temperature is in each room of your house, which can help you make adjustments to save energy. Some of smart thermostats are capable of “learning” your preferences with temperature settings. Some apps linked to thermostats also send out alerts if your home suddenly becomes unusually hot or cold, which could suggest burst pipes or a fire. Some security systems also include options to remotely control and access lights and smoke detectors.

Price is a common concern with home security packages. However, advances in technology have made many of the components typically needed to provide sufficient peace of mind more affordable and accessible. And if you opt for wireless cameras, you can also avoid the expense of having to make extensive adjustments to your home’s existing wiring. You could even enjoy added savings with your homeowner’s insurance if you make your home more secure.

References:

https://www.alarms.org/burglary-statistics/

https://www.streetdirectory.com/travel_guide/

https://www.securitychoice.com/adt-prices.html

https://www.homeadvisor.com/r/home-security-alarms/  

10 Herbal Supplements To Improve Your Health

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Herbal supplements provide people with many healing benefits. They help alleviate an array of ailments that people suffer from every day. The therapeutic benefits include reducing inflammation, detoxing the body of dangerous free radicals and even help in the prevention of serious diseases. Understanding the benefits of herbal supplements can help improve health in a natural and healthy way. The following ten herbal supplements are some of the most beneficial ones to be acquainted with.

Turmeric

A member of the ginger family, turmeric not only gives curries their rich color and flavor but also has a lot of health benefits. Turmeric is most effective against inflammation. This detrimental health condition afflicts many people, especially people who suffer from arthritis. Turmeric, according to the Arthritis Foundation, is effective in reducing and preventing joint inflammation. People who suffer from arthritis, and related diseases like rheumatoid, osteoarthritis, and bursitis will benefit from the positive results of turmeric supplements.

Rhodiola Rosea

Native to Arctic regions of Europe and Alaska, the rhodiola plant is used to alleviate lethargy and weakness. This golden root has been used as a traditional medicine in Scandinavia for hundreds of years and helps increase energy and stamina. Also known as an adaptogen, the rhodiola herb works by stimulating the body’s ability to resist environmental stress. This type of stress causes the adrenal glands to be continually stressed which wears down the body. Strengthening the adrenal glands that are located on the top of kidneys will help fatigue sufferers boost their energy.

Echinacea

This wonder herb is native to the United States and Canada and helps fight all sorts of infections. Echinacea works by boosting the immune system, the body’s natural defense against germs and infections. Clinical trials have shown that echinacea reduces the chances of a common cold from developing. Studies also showed that it reduces the duration of a cold from four days to one. Because echinacea has antiviral and antioxidant effects, it is also used to treat urinary tract and ear infections. While the effectiveness of echinacea continues to be discovered, it should be known that it is most effective at the onset of symptoms and infections. Considering the multitude of infections that echinacea fights against, it has become one of the most popular herbal supplements.

Garlic

Garlic is perhaps the most popular natural herb and taken by people around the world. It aids the cardiovascular and blood systems. It does this by reducing high cholesterol and also by increasing blood flow. Garlic also prevents the hardening of arteries which in turn reduces the risk of cardiac arrest. Garlic is also proven to reduce the risk of cancer including colon, breast and stomach cancers. Garlic supplements are most effective when they dissolve in the intestine. Therefore, it is important to take supplements that are properly coated so they don’t prematurely dissolve in the stomach.

Milk Thistle

Also called silymarin, milk thistle is a powerful antioxidant that detoxes the liver. The liver is the organ that assists the body in removing harmful waste. It is also the organ that is greatly overworked because of unhealthy diets and excessive alcohol intake. Overconsumption of fatty foods and drinking too much alcohol degrade the vitality of the liver. Milk thistle works by rejuvenating damaged liver cells. The heap-protective properties of milk thistle make it a good supplement for people desiring to improve their liver function.

Mimosa Pudica

This perennial herb is widely used in Ayurveda, a branch of traditional Indian medicine. It plays a prominent role in Ayurveda because it is used to treat various ailments including gynecological disorders, excessive bleeding, bronchitis and hemorrhoids. The extract of mimosa pudica also heals wounds significantly. The tremendous health benefits of this potent herb has led pharmaceutical companies to acknowledge its effectiveness.

Ginger

The number of health benefits of ginger is quite extensive, primarily because it is an effective antioxidant. Closely related to turmeric, this supplement can be taken in a number of ways including capsules and oil. One of the main reasons why people take ginger is to remedy nausea. It is also effective in containing the spread of fungi which causes yeast infection. Ginger has also been shown to relieve menstrual pain.

Asian Ginseng

Chinese and Korean people have been using ginseng to treat health symptoms for thousands of years. In traditional Chinese medicine, ginseng is used to improve a person’s general well-being. This is attributed to ginsenosides, the natural pesticides that protect the ginseng from insects and bacteria. The Chinese also use it as an aphrodisiac and to promote physical vitality.

Berberine

Found in several plants including Oregon grape and European barberry, this chemical helps the body regulate blood sugar levels. There is clinical evidence that supports berberine lowering sugar levels in type 2 diabetes. It achieves this by reducing glucose production in the liver. Berberine is commonly taken by mouth during or after meals.

Valerian

Valerian is a perennial flowering plant, and a herbal supplement is derived from its root. Valerian is taken to improve sleep quality. The amount of time it takes to sleep, and quality of the actual sleep improve with this supplement. Valerian promotes relaxation by increasing GABA or gamma-aminobutyric acid in the brain. It also decreases anxiety and lowers body temperature. These effects on the brain not only induce drowsiness but also aid in better REM sleep. People who have difficulty falling asleep or remaining asleep throughout the night may benefit from this herbal supplement.

The benefits of herbal supplements continue to be discovered on a yearly basis as more studies are conducted. Many studies so far have shown that herbal supplements alleviate an array of ailments that affect people’s health. Among the many health benefits, they reduce dangerous inflammation, improve liver function, increase energy and even help prevent serious diseases. Herbal supplements are worth exploring, and the right one may very well improve your quality of life.

Did you enjoy this article? If so, you should check out the other articles in our Health column! You’re sure to find something entertaining.

References:

Dr. Lam

PennState Hershey

NIH

NCBI

Microbe Formulas

The Candida Diet

Mercola

Sleep Doctor

4 Reasons America’s Divorce System Is So Weird

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When you can’t seem to make a marriage work, it would make sense that you would go through a separation period before filing for your divorce. While this is how most people think about marital issues and the simplicity that should be the court system, there are a few reasons as to why America’s divorce system is so odd. If you plan on filing for divorce, make sure you know what you want because it’s often harder getting back together in the future than it is staying together in the first place.

One Year

In most states, you have to be separated from your spouse for one year before you can file for a divorce. This is where absolute divorces and limited divorces come into play. An absolute divorce is one that is finalized while one that is limited is simply a legal separation. If at any time during the year that you’re separated you share a bed together or have any form of intimate contact or try to reconcile the marriage, then you have to start the year over if you begin divorce proceedings in the future.

Against The Law

There are some states in the country where it’s against the law to marry someone again once your divorce is finalized. Kentucky is one of these states, although they only prohibit it once you’ve already been married three times. This means that you need to be sure that you want to proceed with ending the relationship because you might not have another chance to be together as husband and wife unless you move to a state where it’s not illegal to remarry someone.

Annulment

There are many reasons as to why you can have a marriage annulled. One reason in Delaware is if you were dared to marry someone else. If you actually follow through with a dare of this nature, then your marriage might appear to be legal because of the paperwork involved, but it won’t be valid and would be grounds for divorce.

Custody

Many couples who go through a divorce have children together. A visitation schedule is made so that each parent can see the children. However, there are regulations in place in some states that allow you to have visits with pets as well. Since pets are often considered a part of the family, they are taken into consideration during the divorce process.

Whether you’re tired of communicating or there are underlying issues in the relationship, filing for divorce can be stressful for everyone involved. Depending on where you live, you need to consider your decision carefully. You should also pay attention to the fine details of the divorce paperwork that is filed so that you receive any benefits or visitation rights that you have.

Looking for more information on divorce? Check out some of these articles.

Resources:

Coover Law Firm

Woman’s Day

Widener Law Blog

Animal Law

Ways to Help Your College Admission Chances

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Whether you’ve decided to pursue accounting or you want to teach geometry at the high school level, you at least know that you want to work in the mathematics field. With the serious competition for admission at many colleges, you’re likely wondering how you can improve your chances of acceptance.

Narrow Your Focus

Math is quite a broad subject. You could have many jobs with a degree in math, and determining what your preferred math area is can help you to get into the college of your choosing. When deciding, it would be wise to research and ask others for advice. You can ask your current math professors or career advisors about their own experiences or for recommendations on what they think you would enjoy. Also, plenty of college admission counselors are available to help, so should you be unhappy with the quality of advice that you get from your teachers and counselors you can always talk with them about your ideas and if they think their university would be right for you.

Boost Your Standardized Test Scores

While some colleges and universities have stopped looking at standardized test scores as a means of admitting students, plenty of them still do review this information. Taking a course to help bolster your standardized test scores, particularly in the mathematics-based areas, is essential. Find out when the next time is that you can take the test. Plan to work with a tutor until that time period. Most schools list their average standardized test scores on their websites, so you can set a goal that is above the average for the school.

Join Extracurricular Activities

It’s true that schools do want to admit students who excel in academics, but they also want to enroll individuals who are going to participate in the college experience at a broader level. In other words, joining extracurricular activities, particularly ones that are related to math, is important. For example, your school might have a math club or an organization dedicated to youths who want to go into your intended field. You may also discover an invitation to an honor society for math, and you could tutor students who are struggling with the skills.

Frame Your Essay

You shouldn’t assume that your numbers will speak for you just because you are looking to enter into a math-based field. Many schools note the importance of written communication, regardless of what your career plans are. In your essay, you can bring math to the forefront while still showcasing your strong writing skills. When you have a specific field of study in which you are interested, you can better shape your application materials to center around that topic. Also, you can include information about what is of particular interest to you about that program at that particular institution to which you are applying. Remember that it is important to be authentic in your essay and to discuss the specific school. You do not want to sound as though you just copied and pasted the same piece to dozens of different institutions.

Get a Job

Universities aren’t just interested in what you’ve done with school. They also want to see that you are well-rounded. Get a job can help you develop skills that will make it easier for you to succeed in college. Additionally, getting a job now means that you can start saving money for college. It’s not a cheap situation, so the earlier you start saving, the better.

Increasing your odds of getting into your desired college is important. After all, this decision is one that can significantly affect your future. So do your research both on the potential career path you want to take, and which school you think would be the best avenue to get you there. Once you know what you want, you can start working to achieve it.

 

5 Weight Loss Programs that Actually Work

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Modern life features an abundance of food with regular access. It can be hard to fight the urge to pull into the drive-through on your way home. TV commercials, billboards and radio ads bombard you with temptation. They keep chanting about sugary treats, salty snacks, and fatty foods. But you can buck your weight-gain trend for a healthier lifestyle with one of these proven weight loss programs.

Fasting

This program is called intermittent fasting (IF), alternate day fasting (ADF) or one meal a day (OMAD). The program is simple — don’t eat for a specified period of time. Eat for just eight hours per day on IF, every other day on ADF and once a day on OMAD.

Calorie Restriction

If longterm hunger isn’t your thing, then you can always fall back on traditional calorie restriction. You’ll just have to weigh your food and track calories. Research also suggests that your body lowers its metabolism in response to conventional calorie restriction to make it challenging to keep weight off. Just ask contestants on The Biggest Loser. Also, calorie restriction diets have also been proven to have some anti-aging results, which can be nice for those who are worried about looking older than they really are.

Xyngular

This program is a science-backed supplement program that can rev your engine. The supplements cleanse your body, reset your metabolism and allow you to burn fat quickly. According to reviews, you can choose from three different products that can all help you shed pounds and keep them off easily. There are separate systems to jumpstart your weight loss, burn fat and control hunger.

Keto

Eat mostly fat while avoiding carbs and reducing your protein intake to produce ketones. Your body then shifts its energy source to ketones which burns fat. Interestingly enough, Xyngular comes with a keto cookbook to accelerate weight loss. You can get two programs in one. However, there are many people who have done just keto and have had amazing results.

The Potato Diet

A famous example of this somewhat niche diet is Penn of Penn & Teller lost 100 pounds eating potatoes. He ate nothing but potatoes for two weeks to reset his taste buds. This allowed him to experience food naturally. Sugar was too sweet and burgers too fatty when he returned to normal eating. Unsalted corn now serves as Penn’s dessert because he thinks the vegetable is so sweet with reprogrammed tastes. There have been others who have tried this with similar results, so maybe it’d work for you!

Stick to any of these programs, and you’ll lose weight. It can be hard at first, but it’ll help you feel better about yourself, more confident, and you’ll actually be able to keep the weight off unlike some other programs.

Here are a couple articles about similar topics we think you might be interested in!

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What Are Free Radicals and Why Are They Bad News?

7 Case Studies of Businesses Who Turned It All Around

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Capitalism can be a hard game to play. One day a business can be thriving and the next it can make a costly blunder that puts it at the edge of insolvency. It can be unpredictable who goes from successful to barely hanging on. The plus side is that it is just as unpredictable who can go from the brink of collapse to a position of strength again. Listed below are seven businesses who approached the abyss of failure and still made it to victory.

Marvel

These days, it would be hard to find someone who isn’t at least aware of the cinematic juggernaut that is Marvel Studios. Yet, before movies like Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War was raking in planets worth of money, Marvel was not the most solid investment. In 1996, Marvel was still strictly publishing comics. In the early 90’s, the comics industry was experiencing a massive collectors’ bubble that popped in the mid-90’s. Marvel declared bankruptcy and was ready to completely fold. The company began to sell the movie rights of their prominent characters such as Spider-Man and the X-Men which helped them pull the company out of the red. Since then, the movie model has been Marvel’s primary source of income and has made them among Disney’s more lucrative acquisitions.

Apple

Despite a reputation as a tech powerhouse of the 1980s and 2000s, Apple nearly fell into nonexistence in the 1990s following Microsoft’s meteoric rise. In 1997, Apple edged toward bankruptcy after losing $1 billion in a single year. Ironically, its salvation came in part from Microsoft who sent a $150 million investment presumably to keep Apple in business and prevent the headaches that come with becoming a de facto monopoly. Founder Steve Jobs then returned to the fold to build the iMac and the iPhone, leaving the rest to history.

GM

Perhaps the most famous of the victims of the 2008 economic recession, General Motors stood on the edge of absolute collapse. The problems became so egregious that President Barack Obama had to commit to a controversial bailout package to save the auto industry. Since then, GM has paid back the bailout in full and enjoy better than expected success in recent years.

SpaceX/Tesla

Thanks to Elon Musk, this entry is a two for one. Just like General Motors, Musk’s dual projects, SpaceX and Tesla, suffered hard from the 2008 recession. At one point, it was believed that Musk would have to cut one to save the other. Rather, Musk pulled a risky venture by refusing to sell off either one and banked on SpaceX’s deal with NASA to keep the two companies afloat. The gambit paid off and both projects are now synonymous with innovative tech companies.

IBM

Like Apple, IBM suffered heavy losses in the 1990s and a massive fracturing of the company seemed inevitable. Under this heavy cloud, Lou Gerstner came in as CEO to rescue the famous computer company. Gerstner underwent the unenviable task of massive layouts and a total restructuring of the company’s assets. After a complete transformation in culture and marketing, IBM came out on the other end as soluble again.

Chrysler

The American auto maker has actually tipped close to the end more than once through its existence. Chrysler suffered from the instability of the oil market in the late 1970s. At that time, the government bailed them out with $1.5 billion and saved the company. Chrysler then moved back into the black with inexpensive cars in the 1980s. The company then risked insolvency again during 2008 before Fiat took over the company’s reins, bringing the company back to viability again.

Best Buy

In the wake of retail stores such as Circuit City falling to the specter of 2008, Best Buy found itself on the line. In 2010, revenue was dropping, excerbated two years later by a sex scandal cover up involving the CEO. The company then completely reorganized the business, integrating online services into the customer service apparatus as well as introducing new exclusive products like Apple and Samsung. After innovative restructurings and shuttering struggling locations, Best Buy pulled back from failure and maintains a strong presence in electronic retail today.

Conclusion

Some of America’s greatest business monoliths can be vulnerable to insolvency. Whether through macro-level financial circumstances such as the 2008 collapse or industry-specific volatility, no private institution in America is immune to chaos. However, these same business are capable of bringing themselves back to stability and greatness. Circumstances may influence decisions but perseverance is what makes the decision.

References:

Thewrap.com

Digitaltrends.com

Businessnewsdaily.com

Yourstory.com

Gobankingrates.com

AntonyBatty.com

Which Countries are the Most Business-Friendly? You Might Be Surprised

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A great many people, at one time or another, have participated in, or at least have heard discussions about countries around the world, and how they fare economically in a business context. How their business climate and culture compares to others in the global market. Loyalists may always stand by their convictions that the U.S. consistently ranks at the top of business-friendly countries, what with our open trade policies, business relationships with other world economic powerhouses, and so on. But based on economic freedom data provided by Heritage Media, the U.S. doesn’t even rank in the Top 10 globally in 2018 (there are, after all, a lot of roadblocks and considerations  in starting a business in the U.S.). Some of the countries that do rank highly, who are exceptional in the listing’s metrics, may just come as a surprise to some people.

Economic Freedom equates to a Business-Friendly Culture

The more economically free a country’s overall climate is, the more prosperity residents and businesses within that climate and culture of that given nation can realize. The more freedom and flexibility businesses have in maintaining, developing, and consequently expanding their operations, the more “business-friendly” that nation emerges as a whole.

Heritage Media’s 2018 Index of Economic Freedom provides comprehensive data covering 12 freedoms citizens have in 186 countries. Readers can evaluate the very latest macroeconomic data and economic freedom scores of these nations individually, as well as detailed cross-country comparisons of two selected nations.

Looking Well Beyond Our Borders to See The World Leaders

Heritage based their rankings on a broad number of criteria, with countries scoring 0-100 overall. These countries were ranked by their total scores, placed into Free (100-80), Mostly Free (79-70), Moderately Free (69-60), Mostly Unfree (59-50), Repressed (49.9-40), and Not Rated classifications.

The top 6 nations, the only ones falling into the “Free” classification, are:

  1. Hong Kong (90.2)
  2. Singapore (88.8)
  3. New Zealand (84.2)
  4. Switzerland (81.7)
  5. Australia (80.9)
  6. Ireland (80.4)

Quite obviously, the metrics used to formulate these rankings are not skewed toward raw monetary earnings, size, or populations of world countries, among the seemingly countless variables and data that can be incorporated into a list. In this list of 2018 country rankings, the U.S. is ranked #18 (75.7).

When looking at the six nations in the Free category, the tiny country of Singapore really seems to stand out as perhaps the biggest surprise of them all. Here again, it’s clearly obvious this ranking list isn’t biased towards the biggest “players” in the world market. But in terms of Economic Freedom (again, equalling a business-friendly environment), the numbers simply don’t lie.

Singapore

There are many reasons why this tiny city, state, and island country in Southeast Asia is so prosperous on the world stage. At 277 square miles in size (roughly four times the size of Washington D.C.) and with a population of 5.6 million people (New York City alone has a population of over 8.7 million), it’s not the size that matters, but what the country does with what systems they have working for them that does.

With countries that struggle to lower unemployment rates to below 5% (the U.S. being one of them), their unemployment rate is at an astounding 1.8%. And while many of the (seemingly) most prosperous nations in the world take to many, many measures to curb their often spiraling, increasing inflation rates, their inflation (CPI) is at -0.5%.

Many people can relate to these numbers a little better when compared to U.S. figures. So regarding GDP (PPP) 5-year compound annual growth, they are at 3.3%, the U.S. at 2.1%. Singapore’s per capita – GDP (PPP) is $87,855. The U.S. is $57,436.

Why This Nation is Thriving Now

Their prudent monetary and fiscal policies, corruption-free and very open business environment, and a legal framework that is highly transparent lead to the country’s highly developed free-market economy. The government is proactive in implementing active industrial policies, which promote economic diversification and development. Business concerns are addressed through targeted fiscal incentives and significant public investments. Although keep in mind, if you register your business in Singapore, there is a law that demands you employ a Singapore company secretary.

Do Tax Rates and Government Spending Play Key Roles?

The nation’s top corporate tax rate is 17% (U.S.: 35%). Their overall tax burden equals 13.6% of total domestic income (U.S.: 26.4%). Their government spending has resulted in budgetary surpluses of 4.1% of GDP, whereas the U.S. has seen budget deficits averaging 4.0% of GDP.

Clearly, this little Asian powerhouse, with strong numbers in so many leading categories, indicate they are doing great things there to foster growth, development, and prosperity for their businesses, and in turn, their residents. Perhaps countries that are struggling with the economic and government problems they currently have should look to the course of action such prosperous nations take. When it comes to some things in life, bigger isn’t always better.