VA Home Improvement Loan

There are many varieties of loans offered to veterans and service personnel, and a home improvement loan is one of them. Repairing an existing house using ordinary home improvement loans could turn out to be quite costly compared to VA home improvement loans. Home improvement loans can be used for any repairing work carried on the house.Now veterans can borrow up to 90% of their home equity for home improvements. The $25,000 cap has been removed from the home improvement loan program. Loans of $3,000 or less can be secured with a guarantor instead of a mortgage. There are many advantages to a VA home improvement loan program such as increasing the equity; the value and comfort added to your home by making improvements; a rate of interest that will be fixed and will be starting as low as 5%; and terms of up 15 years. Additionally, qualified applicants may apply for more than one home improvement loan.There are many home improvement projects that you can opt for to make your home more comfortable and also add to its value as a property. For instance, installation and repair of clean water and waste disposal systems, including related plumbing and fixtures; or additions such as garage construction; repairs and remodeling (i.e., replace a roof, install new windows, a new furnace or a central air conditioning system); etc.You can obtain the home of your dreams without moving into a new house, simply by taking advantage of the VA home improvement loan program and making the necessary repairs and additions.

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Corporate Art – The Trend to Be With the Trend

Office Art – a growing trend for companies globally. Companies, whether large or small, use art as a means to enhance their corporate image and brand. Some buy art in order to furnish their offices for a trendy, contemporary look that is aligned with their corporate image and branding. Others however, go the full mile with Art foundations and programs as part of their corporate social responsibility. Where is the line?Some of the main reasons companies should look at investing in office art place is that art has been found to improve staff moral and enhance creativity, create a unique brand image for the company, as well as a PR and community relations tool. Companies start playing on the ego field with who has which collections, who owns the latest in art trends and who has paintings from the newest ‘it’ artist. Featured corporate collections and exhibitions are on the rise as companies aim to extend their own brand and marketing on a different level.These all play a role on the demand side of the scale for corporate art but the main driver is found in studies indicating that art in the work place increases creativity (obvious), efficiency and productivity. Creating an aesthetically appealing environment influences subconscious mood and behaviour patterns ( This would obviously also be related to visitors and clients visiting the office space. There are two areas in the subject of office art: art collections and art used for furnishing and decorating the office. These often overlap although many companies regularly change their office art to maintain a fresh and new look. Renting art for office space is becoming an increasingly popular way to keep the atmosphere innovative.Research into colours influences can help companies decide on colour schemes for furnishing their buildings with office art. Soft and warm colours versus bright and energetic colours. For example, grey is often seen as a professional colour, white as clean and fresh, green as energetic, blue makes people feel more comfortable. These all vary and influence will depend on the office set up and environment. Corporate culture is obviously also a main influencer and management will still be a major factor in staff creativity and productivity.Art has existed through the centuries and has developed and changed as our culture has shifted and grown. From buildings to houses, to cars and branding, art is an integral part of our lives. Keeping up with developing trends makes it vital for companies to integrate creativity and art into their corporate culture and into their offices. Whichever form, shape, colour and size, the legacy of Henry David Throeau should remind one of the need to create space for creative talent to flow (!What role do you think corporate art plays in the work place?

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Health Savings Accounts And High-Deductible Health Insurance Help Small Businesses

Across the nation, employers are either spending a lot more to cover employees with health insurance or dropping that as a company benefit completely. According to the nonprofit Commonwealth Fund, the average cost of providing employees with family coverage has reached a national average of $13,027. Yet, in more than half of the states (27, in fact), the average state-wide cost was even higher.Between 2003 and 2009, the average cost of family health insurance policies rose by a whopping 45 percent in Pennsylvania and by 50 percent in Maryland. The worst hit was Louisiana with a 59-percent hike.Almost a third of the people in the U.S. without health insurance work for companies with fewer than 100 employees, according to a March 2008 population survey. Another 2008 survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that while large companies have continued to provide health insurance at relatively unchanged levels, the percentage of small companies doing so fell to just 59 percent.Small Business Owners Lose When They Stop Covering EmployeesSmall businesses can be harmed in several ways when they drop coverage for employees. The better benefits offered by big firms can funnel high-quality employees away from small businesses in droves.Small companies are also at more of a disadvantage when employees are sick than larger firms are. That’s because small firms lack a reserve of employees with the knowledge and skills to replace workers who are out sick. That gap can cripple productivity, depress moral and give customers the impression that a business is no longer capable for servicing their needs all because critical personnel are missing.Another way that small businesses suffer more is that they often have to pay a lot more to cover employees because they lack the buying power of bigger employers. So, what can small business owners do to dig themselves out of this hole?Health Reimbursement Arrangements Work For Small Business OwnersWhile small businesses may not be able to pay for an employee’s individual health insurance plan, many times state laws let employers reimburse their employees tax-free via a Section 105 HRA Plan.A Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA) can include as much or as little coverage as an employer deems necessary. It’s simply an agreement as to which health care costs an employer will reimburse employees for and it can include health insurance premiums. It’s a business expense for company and a tax-free benefit for employees.Employers decide whether to keep all, part or none of the funds they contribute for employee health care expenses at year end. They also set whether former employees, such as retirees, may continue to access unused reimbursement amounts.Health Savings Accounts Offer Small Business Owners MoreAnother form of consumer-driven health care, health savings accounts are an easy-to-manage alternative for small business owners. HSA Plans reduce paperwork for the business by shifting control to the employees. With Health Savings Plans, employees determine which financial institutions will manage their health savings account (HSA) so the employer invests less time in setting up accounts.Both the employer and employee may contribute to an HSA Health Plan, and employee contributions can serve as tax deductions to reduce their income taxes. In the move toward high-deductible health insurance to keep premium costs down, more banks and other financial institutions are making it easier to set up Health Savings Plans. They are also increasing options that make an HSA more attractive to employees.Small Business Tax Credits Are A BonusMillions of small businesses were sent postcards last April to increase awareness of the new tax credits available to them. To be qualified, an employer must provide at least half of the expense for health insurance for some employees, and must have fewer than 25 full-time employees. That means businesses with less than 50 part-time employees may also qualify.There are also regulations regarding annual average wages. To qualify, an employer’s average annual wages must be below $50,000.As of 2010, this tax credit was worth up to 35 percent of the health insurance premium costs for small businesses, and up to 25 percent for organizations with tax-exempt status.

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