Monthly Archives: November 2013

Viwida Feature:- The Women’s Business Center at Community First Fund

The Women’s Business Center at Community First Fund provides training, customized business counseling, loan capital, and advocacy support to small business enterprises. The goal of the Center is to develop more knowledgeable, better prepared business owners through these services and outside resources.The Center focuses on the unique needs of existing business owners by providing one-on-one counseling sessions to discuss specific business issues and offering intensive classroom training on how to establish your new business and manage your growth.

The Women’s Business Center at Community First Fund also offers special topics seminars, covering a variety of business issues such as gaining access to capital, marketing, networking,  and certification as a Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE).

The Women’s Business Center offers loan capital through its Women’s Business Loan Fund and through programs offered by Community First Fund. This loan capital may be used to help start up your new business or expand your existing business.

Additional funding to assist small minority- and women-owned contractors, who do not have access to lines of credit or other small business loans from traditional sources, is available from The Pennsylvania Business Opportunities Fund (BOF).  Loans from the BOF are administered by Community First Fund which partnered with the Department of General Services and the Department of Community and Economic Development to create the program.

For more information, please contact Lydia Walker, Director of Women’s Business Center.

State Procurement classRecent State Procurement class, taught in conjunction with the U.S. Small Business Administration

Women’s Business Resources

DID YOU KNOW?     According to the Small Business Administration, of the 23 million non-farm businesses in 2002, women owned 6.5 million businesses. These firms generated $940.8 billion in revenues, employed 7.1 million workers, and had $173.7 billion in payroll.   To find out more..

Goldman Sachs – Capital Support and Business Education to Small Business Owners across the United States

http://www.goldmansachs.com/citizenship/10000-small-businesses/US/index.html

GOLDMAN SACHS 10,000 SMALL BUSINESSES  EXPANDSUPPORT                                               TO SMALL BUSINESS LENDERS

Announcement of initiative to select lenders to participate in the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program and to provide training to small business lenders in partnership with Opportunity Finance Network

NEW YORK, October 17, 2013 – Today, Goldman Sachs announced at the Opportunity Finance Network (OFN) Conference three initiatives to support small business lenders, in conjunction with the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program which provides capital and business education to small business owners across the United States. The first initiative, the 10,000 Small Businesses Financing Initiative, delivered by OFN, will provide national training opportunities for mission-driven small business lenders to increase their capacity to finance small businesses. The second initiative, the Small Business Leader Award, will recognize innovation and excellence by community development financial institutions (CDFIs) and other mission-driven small business lenders. The third initiative, the 10,000 Small Businesses Capital Opportunity Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEI), invites expressions of interest from mission-driven small business lenders who want to partner in the 10,000 Small Businesses program. Pending qualified demand, Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses will commit $40 million in loans accompanied by charitable support to approved small business lenders.

“Small businesses are an important driver of economic growth and job creation in this country,” said Esta Stecher, chief executive officer of Goldman Sachs Bank USA.  “We are proud to work with OFN and our community lending partners to provide entrepreneurs with access to financial capital.” 

Through a three year, $1.3 million partnership, the 10,000 Small Businesses Financing Initiative will provide national training opportunities for CDFIs and other mission-driven community lenders to scale their capacity to serve small businesses in underserved communities. As part of the program, OFN will design and implement a series of two-day workshops, supplemented by webinars and best practices guides, focused on growth models for more than 90 small business lenders, delivered across the country over a one year period. OFN and Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses will select a subset of 20 lenders, through a competitive application process, to receive training and intensive technical assistance over two years to develop and implement ambitious and customized growth plans. The program will include OFN-led training and peer-learning forums, quarterly webinars and conference calls, and 800 hours of one-on-one technical assistance. The focus will be on adoption of best-in-class policies and procedures that will enable growth, and promotion of common performance measurement and management standards that will increase availability of capital.

Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses, in partnership with OFN, will also launch the Small Business Leader Award to recognize innovation and excellence by small business lenders who demonstrate a strong commitment to growth. The new cash award will go to a different small business lender each year for three years, and will be given to a small business lender demonstrating outstanding leadership and commitment to serving small businesses. The awardee will be recognized at both the OFN Small Business Forum and the OFN Annual Conference.

“CDFIs lend to small-business owners—many in low-income areas—who can’t secure a traditional loan,” said Mark Pinsky, President & CEO of Opportunity Finance Network, the leading network of CDFIs. “In a time when small business credit is scarce, this new partnership with Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses will expand the ability of CDFIs to meet the credit needs of entrepreneurs, increase the financing available for small businesses, and help make loans that transform people’s lives.” 

The new 10,000 Small Businesses Financing Initiative builds off the success of Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses’ prior partnership with OFN that resulted in the creation of a peer learning network of CDFI lenders and helped CDFIs improve loan policies, improve collections on delinquent loans, expand capital deployment and increase underwriting and servicing efficiencies.

Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses also announced at the OFN Conference the launch of an RFEI aimed at identifying small business lenders across the country who want to become lending partners. Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses will commit up to $40 million in loans accompanied by charitable support to partners selected through the RFEI.  The RFEI follows the success of the firm’s 2011 RFEI to fund capital-led 10,000 Small Businesses sites, where 8 partners primarily in rural areas received $40 million in loans and $4 million in grants for loan loss reserves and general operating support.

Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses is a $500 million program that will unlock the growth and job-creation potential of 10,000 small businesses across the United States through greater access to business education, financial capital and business support services. The program is based on the broadly held view of leading experts that greater access to this combination of education, capital and support services best addresses barriers to growth for small businesses. The program is currently operating in both urban and rural communities across the United States including Chicago, Cleveland, Houston, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia and Salt Lake City as well as six capital only states— Kentucky, Montana, Oregon, Tennessee, Virginia and Washington.

Small business lenders across the country, particularly those in urban areas, can now apply for the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Capital Opportunity RFEI at gs.com/10ksb/capitalopportunity.  Proposals are due December 6th.

Small business lenders across the country can sign up to get more information on the OFN and Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Financing Initiative at  10KSB@opportunityfinance.net. Applications will launch in 1Q2014.

About Opportunity Finance Network

Opportunity Finance Network, the leading network of private financial institutions, creates

growth that is good for communities, investors, individuals, and the economy. Members of OFN are community development financial institutions (CDFIs) that deliver responsible lending to help low-wealth and low-income communities join the economic mainstream. Through 2011, OFN’s network originated more than $30 billion in financing in urban, rural, and Native communities, and financed 940,000 housing units, 83,000 business and microenterprises, and

9,000 community facilities. More information is available at: www.opportunityfinance.net

 

RISE for the Philippines – V-Fund Benefits Women & Men on the Ground Immediately

V-Day has set up a V-Fund to benefit women and men on the ground immediately. 100% of donations will go directly to these efforts via GABRIELA and Gabriela Women’s Party. Please read the below letters from One Billion Rising Director Monique Wilson and V-Day Founder/Artistic Director Eve Ensler, and consider donating whatever you can – every little bit helps.


From Monique in Manila:

As you can see from the news, the destruction from super storm Haiyan (local name Yolanda) was on such a massive scale – the likes of which our country has never seen before. Five million affected in the storms path, a million homeless, 10,000 dead in one city alone (we do not have yet the death toll from other cities and provinces), mass burials because there were not enough body bags, corpses still hanging from the trees or laying on the streets, entire towns wiped out and destroyed. Two thirds of the country was hit and as of today, several of our 7,000 islands have already gone missing from the map. And along with that, entire towns and communities. There is another big storm arriving on Wednesday, and reports of at least three more before Christmas.

The sad news is that so many of our GABRIELA communities – rural and peasant women, fisherfolk and farmers – especially those who lived on the coastal towns – have been affected. Women who led the incredible risings in these villages, towns and cities have lost families, loved ones and lost their homes. GABRIELA is the largest grassroots based womens alliance in the Philippines who provide direct services to women and advocate for their rights.

The country is still in desperate need for help and V-Day and One Billion Rising is calling on all of you, our Rising sisters and brothers, to please donate what you can. V-Day has set up a V-Fund to make donating easy and secure. 100% of the donations will go straight to the local GABRIELA and Gabriela Women’s Party chapters to directly benefit the people on the ground.

Funds raised will be used for a women’s mission in the most affected areas – to provide direct services – food, clothing, shelter, medical and health needs specific to women – as well as psycho-social support for the women survivors. In disasters, even in evacuation centers – we know that sexual violence heightens and we need to ensure the safety and protection of the women and girls.

Despite the horror, the immense sorrow and heartbreak – the Gabriela women from the poorest communities here who have been the worst affected – continue to inspire me. Despite having no homes, no food, no water and nothing at all except their spirit, their will and their hearts – they have been sending me messages to say THE RISING CONTINUES. NOTHING WILL STOP US. They told me “OUR RISING FOR JUSTICE WILL BE BIGGER AND STRONGER THAN THE STORM.”

Thank you my dearest sisters and brothers of my heart. There is much to do – but we are moving forward. We will Rise. And we will continue to Rise and dance in memory of everyone and everything that we have lost – and for the future we are all dreaming for.

Thank you for keeping my beloved country in your embrace. It has meant so much to us.

With love,
Monique


From Eve in Berlin:

Dear our most generous One Billion Rising and V-Day activists,

The Philippines was the site of one of the biggest risings for One Billion Rising 2013. We need to rise for our sisters and brothers in the Philippines now.

This huge crisis in the Philippines that comes as a result of climate change, and which is a natural and human-made disaster – connects us all. It connects us to people and to the land.

There are so many factors that contribute to a crisis. There is the storm – a natural phenomenon. There is climate change. And there are the things that we are doing to the land, like mining, that are done out of greed. We need to look at what our countries do in the name of profit, that affect the most vulnerable communities around the world in times like this. When the mountains are gone because of mining, what higher ground can people go to during a storm surge?

All of these factors make it even more evident why we need to Rise For Justice. Why we need to Rise right now. Why we need to Rise for the Philippines. And in any natural or environmental disaster, it is the women in the most marginalized, the most oppressed and impoverished communities, who suffer the most.

The need to wake up to what is happening in the Philippines is a major call for the world.

I have traveled the world, far and wide – but I do not know of any organization that is as committed, as radical, as organized and as dedicated to the women in the grassroots communities as GABRIELA in the Philippines. They led the incredible One Billion Risings there. They are on the ground, with the people – and every dime you contribute will get to the women and children affected and their families. Whatever we raise through activist donations, will get matched.

With love and thanks,
Eve

V-Day is a California 501(c)(3) public charity.
Tax ID number: 94-3389430

https://secure3.convio.net/vday/site/Donation2;jsessionid=684265B58292DA267AB1B5768D34DA5C.app367b?df_id=2120&2120.donation=form1

The Power of CHOICE Summons Universal Forces in a Flash!

Choice is yours for the taking      –        Life is yours for the making! –                                                        One thing that can change everything…

The Choice Factor! By Aine Belton

           Choice is a gateway to the possible – not only at cross-roads on your path, but in every moment, giving access to the limitless palate with which to paint your life.
You can choose a new action, thought, feeling, or behaviour at any time, and birth an entirely new reality as a result.
There are no ‘perfect’ choices, but there may be choices that you may feel more passionate about, aligned to, enlivened and inspired by, choices that move you, speak to your heart, and take you towards bright futures.
Those may be small choices, big choices, easy or more challenging choices.
One of the magical things about choice is… you can make a new one in any moment!  Choice, when owned and yielded, is a powerful tools with which you create your reality, especially as it can steer and direct the others – namely your beliefs, thoughts, feelings, imagination, focus, and so on.
A vast number of choices you make are barely conscious, or you may fail to acknowledge them as the choices they indeed are. Habits, for example, are choices that have become more automatic, be they your sleeping patterns, the way you communicate, your job, your daily routine, how you take your coffee (that you even drink coffee), etc.
What you tangibly do (your actions) are the most obvious choices, but there are choices at subtler levels, i.e. what you think and feel, your attitudes, principles and values, etc.
Choice opens you to the realization that each moment is filled with possibilities – for more love and joy, for a new beginning, a new direction, expanded success, etc.
Every choice has an impact to a greater or lesser extent, each one like a pebble dropped in a pond; the ripples, the ramifications, spreading out into your future and other areas of your life.
Even one small choice made today that shifts your life by one degree, overtime can lead to a future far brighter than where you may be currently heading, opening you up to a new path and life; new doorways, visions, people, horizons, places, and opportunities, new levels of love, happiness, health and success.
I’ve no doubt you can remember choices you made weeks, months or even years ago that have significantly changed who and where you are right now. Perhaps you can also think of choices you didn’t make and wonder where your life may have ended up, for better or worse, if you had.
What choice could you make TODAY that would change your life for the better – both now, and in the coming days, weeks and months ahead?
One of the contributors to our education project I’ll be sharing about was telling me how some years ago he began asking the question, several times a day, “How may I serve?”
From that asking, inspirations began flowing to him, including a book, that flowed out onto paper within 3 days.
It reminds me of a quote I share on twitter:
“If you lack vision, passion, motivation or direction, think of how your gifts can be of service in some way”.
If you feel unclear or uninspired by choices, reflecting on how you may be of help to yourself, others and the world can ignite possibilities.

W
hat choices could you make for sharing your gifts, love and being of service in some way?              
There are many ways you can give. You can give of your time, care, attention, love, money, information, support, appreciation, joy.
That includes giving those to you and making serving choices for you and your life too, obviously. If your tank’s empty, you’re not going to have any juice for others. One of the greatest gifts you have to give the world is the gift of your happiness.

www.Facebook.com/GlobalLoveProject

11 Bulletproof Stocks to Buy Now

Dear Investor,

It’s time that Wall Street face the music. The days of the Federal Reserve’s easy money policy are drawing to a close and that’s going to have big–potentially disastrous–implications for the markets.

You see, for the past few years, the Fed’s accommodative policies–known collectively as Quantitative Easing (QE)–have been a driving force behind the stock market. Essentially, the Fed has been pumping $85 billion into the U.S. economy each and every month–in the form of bond buying. This has helped keep interest rates low and encourage borrowing.

This Fed policy gave Corporate America the green light to rush to the bond market and borrow at ultra-low rates and put the cash towards aggressive stock buyback programs or dividend increases. And this corporate buyback frenzy has persisted as long as the Fed has kept up its end of the bargain.

As you probably know firsthand, stock buyback programs and dividend increases are great for shareholders. So many investors have banked on the continuation of the Fed’s zero-interest rate policy. If you consider yourself one of those investors, I have bad news for you: Things are going to change very quickly in the next few months, and not for the better.

In fact, the Federal Reserve recently stated that it could start to cut back on bond purchases by the end of the year–and end them altogether in 2014! And now that the unemployment rate has fell to 7.3% in August, we are drawing ever closer to the 6.5% benchmark rate that signals to the Fed when it’s time to pull the plug.

So if you don’t act quickly, you could be caught holding the bag when the Fed announces the definitive end to Quantitative Easing.

What Will Happen When QE Ends?

If QE ends definitively, it will make all high-dividend stocks more volatile, especially mortgage REITs. What I expect would happen is that an initial shockwave would hit Wall Street. The kneejerk reactions we’ve seen to past Fed announcements will pale in comparison to the post-QE pullback. But that doesn’t mean you have to get caught up in the panic.

You still have a choice to make.

Option #1 is to resign yourself to the market’s obsession and get caught up in the selling action that will inevitably result from the end of QE.

Option #2 is to plan ahead for what’s to come: A flight to quality.

I’m sticking with the second option and I recommend you do the same. The first half of 2013 belonged to the crap, if you’ll pardon my language; the second half should belong to the quality. Believe it or not, the best performing stocks in the first half of the year were in the bottom 10% of market capitalization (i.e., micro caps), with the lowest dividend yields (essentially 0%), the most negative analyst earnings revisions (bottom 10%) and the highest short interest (top 10%).

That can’t last. The biggest winners the last six months profited from a tremendous “short squeeze” that propelled many thinly-traded stocks higher as wave-after-wave of money flowing into index funds and ETFs caused the shorts to cover their positions, which increases institutional buying pressure. Whenever low-quality stocks lead the way and a “crap rally” occurs, the stock market historically reverses itself and a flight to quality ensues, typically within seven months.

The time for that flight to quality is approaching, so there’s no time to waste. I’ve been running my proprietary screening tool on full blast to try to isolate the best Bernanke-proof stocks around and I’ve isolated eleven such names. No matter how choppy the market gets, I fully expect these stocks to benefit from the impending flight to quality.

Of course, buying is only half of the battle. With this kind of volatility on the horizon, you’ll need to go over your existing positions with a fine tooth comb. So later on in this report I reveal 25 of the biggest names on Wall Street that you must sell now.

Arm Your Portfolio With These Fed-Proof Stocks

Bulletproof Pick #1

AmerisourceBergen Co. (ABC) is one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical services companies–serving an industry that’s expected to reach $370 billion to $390 billion by 2015. In other words, the profit potential stuffing. Moreover, because it helps drug makers and healthcare providers cut costs, it stands to win big from the healthcare shift that’s just getting underway here in the U.S.

The company is on track to meet its 2013 financial objectives and is in a good position to generate sustainable long-term growth. AmerisourceBergen expects 2013 adjusted earnings in a range of $3.06 to $3.11 per share and between 11% to 13% sales growth. But I’m really looking forward to what comes next. By most estimates–mine included–the company is headed toward.

Just recently, the company’s board approved $750 million in stock buybacks–that’s on top of the $450 million or so it has left on its existing program. Even more impressively, since 2006 the company has increased its quarterly dividend nearly tenfold.

As a result, investors are being paid 1.4% per year just to hold the stock, the second highest dividend in the Wholesale Drugs industry. Between its industry leading position, its commitment to shareholders and its earnings prospects, I consider this conservative industry leader among my top healthcare picks.

Bulletproof Pick #2

This cable giant has built-in value that many competitors can only dream of. To start, my No. 2 pick is in the middle of a $4 billion stock buyback program, with about $2.8 billion to go. It also boasts the third highest dividend in the cable business–which it has increased fivefold over the past seven years! In total this company returned upwards of $800 million to shareholders last quarter.

And I haven’t even begun to talk about this company’s earnings prospects. With 15 million customers (and counting), this company has a firm handhold on the U.S. cable, data and voice market. But that doesn’t mean this company is resting on its laurels. The next big push is the shift to video streaming media, and instead of denouncing the threat to traditional cable, this company is embracing the change. Recently, this company agreed to stream more than 300 live channels through Roku, the leading set-top box player.

Adding to the excitement, there’s a lot of buzz right now around both a change at the top and possibly industry consolidation. So it’s small wonder why U.S. funds have been scooping up shares of this stock, and why I’m recommending my Blue Chip Growth readers do the same.

Bulletproof Pick #3

Discover Financial Holdings (DFS) is the perfect play to cash in on rising consumer spending—which the government expects will hit $12 trillion in eight years. On top of this, the company is at the crux of another powerful trend: The surge in U.S. consumer credit. Discover is, of course, a big card issuer in the U.S. and a leading innovator in the credit card industry. At last count, Discover-brand credit cards are used by more than 25 million members!

And before long, Discover Financial will get a piece of the housing recovery–the company has just started offering home equity loans. While this isn’t expected to affect earnings until next year, this is just another example of how the company has kept moving forward in the credit business.

What’s more, stock gives shareholders serious bang for their buck. With a 1% annual dividend yield, DFS falls in the top 10% of all Credit Services companies. And the company is in the process of buying back $2 billion of its own stock. These kind of value-added activities will continue to entice investors no matter what the larger market is doing.

Bulletproof Pick #4

My No. 4 pick for the post-Fed market just so happens to be one of the most exciting biotech plays around. Just how exciting? Well, this company is working overtime to double sales by 2017! This is a pharmaceutical company specializing in cancer treatments as well as therapies for immune-inflammatory related diseases. It currently has several drugs on the market–one that treats a blood cancer that begins in the bone marrow–and a blockbuster chemotherapy treatment currently used in breast cancer patients.

But what really excites me about this company is what’s in its pipeline–this company has over 20 drugs in either late-stage development or development. With such a strong product pipeline, this biotech is headed towards industry-leading sales and earnings growth. But given that this company has trounced analyst expectations for the past several quarters running, the sky is the limit for this up-and-comer.

Bulletproof Pick #5

My next recommendation is one that you’ll definitely want to consider “ringing up.” With over 2,600 supermarkets across the U.S., this is one of the nation’s largest grocery chains. On top of this, this $97 billion company’s empire covers nearly 1,200 gas stations, 800 convenience stores, over 300 jewelry stores (yes, jewelry!) and 37 food processing facilities.

With the dollar as strong as it is, I’ve been screening for strong domestic companies, which have an inherent edge over multinational companies. And I’ve found just the right fit in our No. 5 pick, which is also benefitting from lower food costs and higher grocery spending.

But the big catalyst for this company is a multibillion dollar merger. Our grocery retailer is about to combine with one of its biggest competitors in a $2.5 billion cash deal. Analysts expect the deal to add $0.06 to $0.09 a share to this company’s earnings in the first full year following the merger.

So I’m telling my Blue Chip Growth readers to add this stock immediately because it won’t be long before it takes off.

Bulletproof Pick #6

Chances are that you’re familiar with Johnson and Johnson (JNJ), which was founded in 1886 as the Johnson brothers sought to spread the practice of sterile surgery in the U.S. That mission continues today, only now, the company maintains this standard worldwide. J&J has grown into a $16.5 billion company, with hundreds of products in more than 170 countries. J&J consumer products can be found in households everywhere, from Band-Aids to Listerine to Tylenol to baby shampoo. You probably have several on your shelves.

But what you may not realize is just how big the Johnson and Johnson name is. This company dominates the competition even outside of consumer products.

  • No. 1 in medical devices and diagnostics.
  • No. 5 in biologics.
  • No. 6 in consumer health.
  • No. 8 in pharmaceuticals.

And the company’s motto “for all you love” extends to investors as well. As J&J has expanded its global reach, its commitment to its shareholders has remained the same. Johnson & Johnson has increased its dividend for each of the past 51 years! With upwards of a 3% annual dividend yield and strong earnings potential, I have no reservations recommending this old company for new money.

Bulletproof Pick #7

Next up is my top automotive recommendation, which just so happens to be a leading supplier to the auto industry. From vehicle engineering and assembly to production of exterior trim and building interior door panels, this company has it covered. Fiat–including Chrysler and Dodge–Ford and General Motors are all long-time clients of this up-and-comer.

Now is a great time to buy because this auto parts maker is still flying under the radar of many investors. But I don’t expect this stock to remain a secret for long. First, this company is cash rich and using its cash hoard to reward shareholders. It boasts a strong dividend track record–in the past five years it has hiked up its quarterly payment by 78%. The company is also in the middle of a 12 million share repurchase program, which ends in November.

And then there’s profit potential. This company is benefitting from all the outsourcing and just-in-time manufacturing demands on the auto industry. And while it is based in Canada, it’s a global company that is largely immune to currency valuations that would otherwise hurt its competitiveness. That’s because it has the ability to transplant its manufacturing operators to the most competitive countries.

For now, the stock remains a steal, but I look for it to blast away analyst estimates in the coming months.

Bulletproof Pick #8

With 10,400 locations in 150 countries, Hertz Global Holdings Inc. (HTZ) has a global reach that extends from airports to construction yards…

Because not only do they lease cars by the hour, day, week, or month-their 300+ branches supply earth-moving equipment, construction trucks…even generators and pumps.

They are the #1 choice for consumers, construction, petrochemicals, manufacturing-and let’s not forget the entertainment industry. So you’ll find them in all North American countries, as well as scattered across Europe and Asia.

One reason Hertz has popped onto my radar is that it is in the middle of a major acquisition. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently granted Hertz final approval to acquire Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group (DTG) for $2.3 billion. As part of this deal, Hertz sold off minor assets like its former Advantage car rental business as well as select airport operations. But it should be well worth the effort. The combined company should see at least $160 million in annual cost synergies thanks to increased productivity and efficiency.

Bulletproof Pick #9

My No. 9 recommendation is the world leader in serving science. Scientific institutions–including universities, biotechs, hospitals and government agencies–all go to this leader when they need specialized equipment.

What makes this company special is that it also stands to profit no matter what happens with the general regulatory climate. It makes what I like to call “mandatory devices”–tools that are essential to the day-to-day operations at laboratories, clinics and hospitals. These include analytical instruments, basic chemicals and laboratory glassware. So regardless of how the healthcare industry is changed by ObamaCare, this company’s products will still be in demand.

But I’m really recommending this stock now because it is also set to become the second largest player in the genetic testing market. No stranger to big buyouts–the company was formed through a $13 billion merger of two big rivals–this company is buying out a big genetics player for nearly $14 billion. This deal is expected to add $0.90 to $1.00 to its per-share profit in 2014.

Bulletproof Pick #10

The Clorox Co. (CLX) has dominated the cleaning products market for a century! Clorox is one of those brands that have become so popular that the name is now interchangeable with the generic term “bleach.” And, there’s good reason for that-it is estimated that 8 in 10 U.S. households rely on Clorox for their laundry and cleaning needs!

In addition to bleach, the company’s cleaning product portfolio includes Glad, Pine-Sol, Liquid-Plumr, Tilex and Fresh Step and Scoop Away cat litters. But over the years The Clorox Co. has diversified into lifestyle products like Hidden Valley salad dressing, KC Masterpiece barbeque sauce and the Brita water filtration system. The company sells products in over 100 countries across five continents, with the bulk of sales going through mass merchandisers, warehouse clubs and grocery stores. With such a diverse portfolio of household products, Clorox is the leading Housewares & Accessories company in terms of size, return on equity and its strong dividend yield (3%).

CLX is also at the crux of a powerful consumer trend. Whether it’s the norovirus or the latest flu virus, it seems like we have a new germ scare every few months. And there is no doubt that the company is benefitting from the germ phobia that has gripped much of the world. Scientists have even talked recently about concerns over superbugs that could prove resistant to antibiotics. More people than ever are using Clorox’s antiseptic wipes and cleaning products, so this company’s prospects remain strong.

Bulletproof Pick #11

I have a lot of pharmaceutical plays on the Blue Chip Growth Buy List for one simple reason: Pills are cheaper than procedures. Now that ObamaCare is the law of the land, everyone is required to sign up for healthcare or risk being penalized. This is creating a very healthy environment for pharmaceutical companies like my final Fed-proof stock.

Right now, all eyes are on this company’s ophthalmology division because it’s about to get a lot bigger. That’s because my No. 11 pick recently bought out one of the world’s top contact lens businesses for $8.7 billion. Word on the Street is that this acquisition will add to earnings immediately and add $800 million in annual cost savings by the end of 2014.

And the timing couldn’t be better. The global contacts business is booming due to the aging population, growing demand in emerging markets, and growing rates of diabetes, which can damage the eyes. All these signs point to a good year for the company’s bottom line, so I’m having my Blue Chip Growth readers take full advantage of this.

25 Stocks To Sell Now

I’ve been crunching the numbers and I was shocked to find some of the biggest names on Wall Street–from tech stocks to commodities companies to financials–are on the verge on imploding. In fact, I’ve isolated no fewer than 25 big names that were flagged by my stock screening system. And because you were among the first to sign up for this special report, you are the first to know about these companies.

If you own any of these companies now is the time to unload them before they get really hammered. Especially with earnings announcement season right around the corner, holding even one of these companies could sabotage your profits for 2013 and beyond. So without further ado, here is my complete list of 25 blue chips to unload right away.

  1. Alcoa Inc.
  2. Apple Inc.
  3.  AT&T Inc.
  4. Baker Hughes Inc.
  5. Barrick Gold Corp.
  6. Canon Inc. ADS
  7. Caterpillar Inc.
  8. Coach Inc.
  9. Chevron Corporation
  10. Devon Energy Corp.
  11.  Ecopetrol S.A. ADR
  12. E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company
  13. Exelon Corp.
  14. Exxon Mobil Corp.
  15. FirstEnergy Corp.
  16. General Electric Co.
  17. Goldcorp Inc.
  18. Intel Corporation
  19. International Business Machines Corp.
  20. J.C. Penney Co.
  21. Loews Corp.
  22. Microsoft Corporation
  23. Vale S.A. ADS
  24. Vornado Realty Trust
  25. Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

Take Your Profits to the Next Level In 2013

The stocks we’ve just discussed are a great start. Own even a few shares of the winners and steer clear of the losers I’ve identified and you will immediately increase your profits, safety and income. But if you’re like the tens of thousands of investors I’ve talked to in my career, you want more.

You want ongoing guidance that will consistently bring you the next big winners. You want updates when those stocks are on the move. And you want a balanced investing approach that limits risk.

Well, that describes Blue Chip Growth to a “T.”

I’m proud that for the past 14 years I’ve been able to alert my readers to the continuing changes in the market-place and then guide them to the most profitable stocks. By using this simple yet visionary approach, I’ve been able to not only help them bank $3-to-$1 profits but also lead them to many outstanding profits along the way.

All by simply riding the trends, buying the most profitable stocks, and holding on for the ride.

If this sounds good to you, I invite you to try Blue Chip Growth at 50% off the regular price and with a 100% money-back guarantee.

As a New Blue Chip Growth Member, You Will…

1. Stay ahead of the profit curve with some of the most exciting investing opportunities on the market. Almost instantly, you’ll start profiting from powerful trends like the falling dollar, the age shift in America, and the tablet boom. You’ll get in on the ground floor of these profit opportunities early on–and watch these stocks soar as others belatedly pile in.

2. Benefit from fat profits and greater safety that only the biggest earnings winners can afford. My Blue Chip Growth investing strategy is based on nearly three decades worth of experience, so it’s not surprising that it has beaten the S&P 500 by better than $3 to $1 for over 10 years and captured triple-digit returns on 29 individual picks.

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5. Benefit from 100% transparency in our investing strategy. The system that backs Blue Chip Growth is elegantly simply–taking into account fundamental strength and buying pressure. There’s no funny business–just healthy numbers. This means that for every recommendation I make, I will clearly outline why this investment has long-term profit potential. I will also show you the ideal portfolio allocation that maximizes profits while minimizing risk. While my primary objective is to help you secure the best returns, my secondary goal is to teach you how to become a better investor.

6. Have access to my exclusive message boards and inbox. As a proactive investor, you’ll undoubtedly have questions about our individual holdings as well as larger market forces. That’s exactly why I recently set up subscriber-only message boards on the Blue Chip Growth website as well as a special email address where you can send your questions or give me feedback. When you join the Blue Chip Growth community, you’ll have the opportunity to talk with me or a member of my staff one-on-one.

Most Importantly, This Offer is 100% Risk-Free

They say money talks, and nowhere is that more applicable than in this business. The reason why Blue Chip Growth has become one of the most respected investment newsletters in the country is that I have the track record to back it.

But you don’t have to take my word for it–I’d much rather have you experience the success of Blue Chip Growth yourself. If for whatever reason you feel that my recommendations aren’t quite matching your expectations, you have a full six months to cancel and get a full refund.

The fact is that I’ve offered this money back guarantee for the past 14 years–every single of my Blue Chip Growth readers since then has had the chance to cancel their subscriptions and get his or her money back. Of course, 14 years later Blue Chip Growth is still alive and kicking and that’s because my returns have outpaced the S&P 500 three-to-one, and most of my readers have realized early on just how much money they could make.

My hope today is that you can join the tens of thousands of investors who have profited from Blue Chip Growth. As an added bonus, this special offer includes 12 monthly issues of Blue Chip Growth, 24/7 access to my exclusive website, regular email Flash Alerts, and these four special reports:

  • 20 Best Take-It-to-the-Bank Stocks to Buy Now
  • Action Plan for the Eurozone Crisis
  • How to Invest $50,000 Now
  • 6 Blue Chip Bargains Set to Soar

When you consider that you can cancel at any time during the first six months and receive a full refund, why not sign up for two years and get all eight of my wealth-building reports FREE before you make your final decision?

That way you’ll automatically lock in our best price for two years and get eight special reports before you commit for good.

How can you say no?

If you trust your instincts and seize this major wealth-building opportunity today, I guarantee it will be your most profitable risk-free decision of the year.

Thank you for taking the time to read this report. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed preparing it for you. And I hope that you will carefully consider joining me at Blue Chip Growth. Whatever you decide, I wish you the best of luck with your investing.

Sincerely,

signed: Louis Navellier               Louis Navellier

P.S. Get this extra free bonus report when you become a Blue Chip Growth member now. It’s called 257 Big-Name Stocks to Sell Now.

In it, you’ll learn the names of 257 companies that are headed for a fall. Each has earnings growth that’s slipping, or even just about to fall off a cliff, and no one realizes it. Don’t get caught in these stocks! Join now to get this report free.

12 Reasons Why Gold Price Will Rebound and Make New Highs in 2014

12 Reasons Why Gold Price Will Rebound and Make New Highs in 2014 Commodities / Gold and Silver 2014Oct 25, 2013 – 09:24 AM GMT

By: Jason_Hamlin

Investor sentiment towards precious metals is at the lowest level in over a decade. Many analysts believe the bull market is over and are calling for sub-$1,000 gold in 2014. Even diehard gold bugs are losing faith, as the correction has been longer and more severe than most had anticipated.  So, is it time to throw in the towel? Is the bull market in precious metals really over?  In order to answer this question, I thought it would be constructive to re-visit the fundamental drivers of the gold price and determine if anything changed over the past two years to weaken the bullish case. My conclusion is that nearly all of the fundamental factors that have been driving the gold price higher in the past decade have only strengthened in the past two years. Now that the correction has most likely run its course, I expect gold to rebound into the close of the year and bounce sharply higher in 2014. Here are the 12 reasons why…

#1 – Rapidly Growing Debt

Just one day after President Barack Obama signed into law a bipartisan deal to end the government shutdown and avoid default, the US debt surged a record $328 billion, the first day the government was able to borrow money. The U.S. national debt has increased by more than a trillion dollars in the past 12 months. This pushed the total debt above $17 trillion for the first time in history. As the debt increases and GDP growth slows, the debt-to-GDP ratio will continue to rise at an accelerating pace. This is simple math and it dictates an ongoing slide in the purchasing power of the dollar and rise in the purchasing power of real assets and particularly monetary metals such as gold and silver.

The following charts show the steepening rise in total public debt and the debt-to-GDP ratio of the United States. Many economists view a debt-to-GDP ratio of 100% as the point of no return. It is a slippery slope that is certain to push higher at an accelerated rate in the coming years.

                       

Note that alternate calculations of the total debt including unfunded liabilities and off-balance sheet items, puts the number somewhere closer to $100 trillion or more than 5 times the official figure. This equates to a debt-to-GDP ratio of over 500%, not the 100% charted below.

 

Takeaway: The total level of debt and the debt-to-GDP ratio have both increased substantially in the past two years. This is bullish for gold, as precious metals have a positive correlation to total debt levels.

#2 – Inept Government and Partisan Bickering

The fight over the budget and debt ceiling shut down the government for 16 days and ended up costing billions more than if the government would have remained open. Standard & Poors estimates that the 16-day government shutdown took $24 billion out of the U.S. economy, and reduced projected fourth-quarter GDP growth from 3 percent to 2.4 percent. Not only that, but it tarnished the image of U.S. financial strength and has many people worldwide questioning how the United States will continue to pay its bills. These shenanigans also led Fitch to put the U.S. on “rating watch negative” and the Chinese ratings firm, Dagong, formally downgraded its rating of the US from A to A-.

Both sides of the political aisle continue to engage in deficit spending and neither side seems serious about addressing the debt and deficit. Sadly, my guess is that they will never voluntarily reduce spending and will have to be forced to do so via default or other events. The more they shine a light on the fiscal weakness of the U.S., the faster other nations dump U.S. debt and the sooner we will see the inevitable ratings downgrade and debt default (official or via hyperinflation).

Takeaway: The Western political system is broken and the idiots running the U.S. government severely damaged government credibility and brought the country dangerously close to a technical default. They haven’t made any serious effort to balance the budget and their “solution” only kicks the can down the road for a few more months. Look for more of the same in the near future, which will further erode the creditworthiness of the U.S. government and faith in the U.S. dollar. This increases the bullish outlook for gold.

#3 – QE to Infinity Confirmed, as FED Balance Sheet Explodes

At Gold Stock Bull, we have long been calling QE3, “QE to Infinity” and doubting that any major tapering would occur. With weak economic growth and low official inflation, the FED’s dual mandates would dictate more stimulus, not less. Just weeks ago there was a consensus for tapering in September. Now, analysts are talking about March of 2014 at the earliest. My expectation is that they will change the QE program, maybe give it a different name, but the end result will always be a net increase in stimulus efforts.

The FED’s balance sheet has already increased from $869 billion in August of 2007 to $3.8 trillion today! The nomination of Janet Yellen as FED chief adds gasoline to the fire, as she is expected to be at least as accommodative as her predecessor and potentially much looser with the printing press. Helicopter Yellen?

Takeaway: The economy is addicted to QE and reliant on central bank stimulus to stay afloat. The world now understands that the FED cannot end the bond-buying program and has no intention of doing so anytime soon. If anything, we are likely to see increased quantitative easing in the future, just as a drug addict must up their dosage in order to have the same impact. This monetization of debt increases the bullish outlook on gold, as the gold price has historically trended higher along with the FED balance sheet.

 

#4 – Dollar Losing Status as World Reserve Currency

The exorbitant privilege of being able to print the world reserve currency is coming to end. “It is perhaps a good time for the befuddled world to start considering building a de-Americanized world,” said a statement on Monday by Xinhua, the state news agency of China — which holds some $1.3 trillion in Treasury bonds.

“The United States will inevitably lose its reserve currency monopoly,” wrote economists Hélène Rey of the London Business School, Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas of the University of California, Berkeley, and Emmanuel Farhi of Harvard University. “It can only be a matter of time before the world becomes multipolar.” The IMF echoed this sentiment, stating how “reserves concentration in the government debt of one country introduces idiosyncratic risks to the international monetary system.”

Several nations now have bi-lateral trade agreements that bypass the dollar. China has made arrangements to swap Yuan’s for for local currencies with Japan, Russia, Australia, Iceland, South Korea, Malaysia, Brazil, India and South Africa. The BRICS nations are emerging as a powerful economic force and they are intent on conducting affairs without use of the U.S. dollar. The growing rift with Saudi Arabia also threatens the petrodollar.

Oil-rich countries that have attempted to sell their oil in currencies other than dollars include Iraq and Libya, both bombed into submission. Iran is now trading oil for gold, bypassing the U.S. petrodollar. This is likely the real reason they are now in the crosshairs of the U.S. military. Syria is seen as a stepping stone to attacking Iran, but widespread opposition from ally countries and citizens alike stopped the recent war momentum.

As the influence of the petrol-dollar continue to wane, so too will the power of the U.S. dollar as the world reserve currency. Without the ability to deficit spend and export our inflation, it will come home to roost and the dollar will suffer or even collapse as have other debt-ridden fiat currencies throughout history.

 

Takeaway: The dollar historically has an inverse relationship to gold. As the dollar continues to lose its role as world reserve currency and its purchasing power declines, the gold price will move higher. Mike Maloney and other analysts have calculated that the gold price needs to climb past $15,000 per ounce to account for all of the paper dollars that exist today. As more and more money is printed and debt is monetized, this target price only increases.

#5 – Global Race to Debase

It is not only the U.S. central bank that is printing money with wreckless abandon. Around the globe, central banks are trying to remain competitive in foreign trade by debasing their currency in line with the dollar. No countries are willing to admit it, but the currency war is on. As the competition heats up, they will no doubt overstep in their push to print money. This will translate into higher gold prices worldwide, measured across multiple currencies.

Takeaway: The race to debase has only intensified in the past few years, as evidenced by new stimulus programs in Europe and Abenomics in Japan. Put simply, the more fiat money that is created in this currency war, the higher the price of gold and other commodities will climb.

#6 – Inflation Will Pick Up as Velocity of Money Accelerates

Up until this point, a large portion of the new money printed since the financial crisis has been parked with the banks or as excess reserves with the FED. Banks are reluctant to lend and corporations are also hoarding cash. Individuals are consuming less, tightening their budgets amidst high unemployment and stagnant wages and paying down debt. This means that money has not been circulating throughout the economy at a very fast pace. The stimulus has disproportionately benefited banks and the wealthiest people in society, doing little for the middle class that continues to get squeezed.

To get money flowing, future stimulus efforts must be focused on tax breaks or refunds for the working class, who are more likely to spend that money into the economy than the rich that aren’t living near the margin. With unemployment higher than desired and official inflation lower than desired, I think we will see Yellen and the FED focus more on consumer stimulus now that the banks finances have been shored up. This will lead to a sharp increase in the velocity of money and when multiplied by all of the money created in the last few years, it could lead to high inflation or even hyperinflation if the FED fails to soak up the excess liquidity in time.

 

Takeaway: An increase in the inflation rate, driven by an increase in the velocity of money, will be very bullish for gold.

#7 – Diversification of Price Discovery and Decreased Power to Manipulate Commodity Markets

With the rising power and influence of the East, we are seeing the centers of global finance reposition. These include the Shanghai Exchange and Pan Asian Exchange, where an increasing amount of physical gold and silver are being traded. If you believe the COMEX and London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) are helping to manipulate the prices of precious metals, it will be welcomed news to see new exchanges emerge that can provide alternative price discovery.

Takeaway: The diversification of price discovery in the gold market will lessen the ability of Western powers to manipulate prices. As this trend plays out, the artificial downward pressure on prices should be removed and allow precious metals to more accurately reflect the fundamental conditions around them. If GATA and others are correct about the degree of manipulation, any diminishing of this manipulative ability will be very bullish for gold.

#8 – Increasing Physical Demand Worldwide, Including Central Bank Demand

Consumer demand for gold was up 53% in Q2 according to the WGC. Total bar and coin demand set a new quarterly record, exceeding 500 tonnes for the first time and U.S. silver eagles sales are on pace for a record year. Central banks continue buying at a frenzied pace, adding 534.6 metric tons to reserves in 2012, the most in almost a half century. And these are just the reported purchases. China, Russia and other nations are thought to be buying discretely via third parties.

Furthermore, there is a growing movement of gold repartriation around the globe. First Venezuela, now Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Poland, Romania, Finland, Ecuador and others are demanding their gold back from the FED and Western financial institutions.

Takeaway: Increasing demand, particularly by those taking physical delivery, will also serve to lessen the impact of manipulation in the markets. Investors are increasingly losing faith in paper gold and as the real metal is removed from the market, the lower supply will put upward pressure on prices and force exchanges to settle in cash.

#9 – Stagnant or Declining Supply

Total gold supply contracted 6% during the latest quarter to 1,025.5 tonnes, driven by a sharp drop in recycling activity. There have been huge outflows from COMEX and Shanghai stocks. With prices at or near the cost of production, several mining operations have been suspended or shuttered, which will further restrict supply. Mints in the U.S. and Canada have resorted to rationing supplies of their popular bullion coins, a further signs of tightening supplies.

Takeaway: Economics 101 dictates that increasing demand and declining supply leads to higher prices.

#10 – Tiny Size of Gold Market versus Stock or Bond Market Will Provide Leverage

It has been estimated that all of the gold ever refined would form a single cube 20 m (66 ft) on a side. This cube would contain around 5.5 billion ounces of gold and be worth roughly $7 trillion. By comparison, the world stock market is estimated at $50 trillion and the bond market at around $100 trillion. So, it would only take a small percentage of money moving from these larger markets into the gold market to overwhelm available supply and send prices substantially higher.

Takeaway: Participation in the gold market is at very low levels, estimated at around 1% to 2%. Even a small rise to 4% or 5% participation, would cause demand to spike and send prices significantly higher. Sentiment is extremely bearish at the current time and can only become more bullish from here.

#11 – Gold Most Oversold Since 1985

According to at least one technical indicator courtesy of “The short side of long”, gold bullion is the most oversold it has been since 1985. The indicator is the simple yearly rolling performance, also known as the 52 week rate of change. This is the performance of an asset over the last 12 months and gold is having one of the worst performances ever.

 

Gold stocks are also severely oversold, both in absolute terms and relative to the underlying metals. The gold miners index (GDX) has fallen more than 50% in the past year. Looking at gold stocks relative to gold, we can see they are the most oversold they have been since the start of this 12-year bull market.

 

Takeaway: Extreme conditions, whether oversold or overbought, do not tend to last very long. The market runs through cycles and seeks a return to equilibrium after hitting extremes. A move away from the current severe oversold levels would push precious metals much higher while generating significant leveraged gains for mining stocks. Ripe pickings abound.

#12 – Prices Have Dropped to the All-In Cost of Production, Which Typically Provides Support

It is not often that a commodity will drop to a price below the cost of production. Can you think of many things that you can buy for less than it costs to produce it? At current price levels, many miners are being forced to suspend operations as their all-in sustaining cost to produce an ounce of gold makes the operation unprofitable. Even some of the best miners are just barely squeezing out quarterly earnings, propelled by increasing production and cost controls. Supply levels have already been impacted, but any further drop in the price of gold and silver will lead to additional mines shuttering operations. As these mines stop producing and supplies drop, prices will rise to reflect this change.

Takeaway: As costs rise, so do prices. Either precious metals will climb to levels where miners are profitable or they will stop mining and destroy supply levels. The price can certainly drop below the cost of production for a short time period, but it is not likely to last. This all-in sustaining cost usually proves to be a solid floor during corrections, so the downside is limited at this juncture.

Conclusion

All of the fundamental reasons to own gold and silver have only strengthened in the past two years. Against this backdrop, the sharp correction in prices over the past two years makes little sense. Whether or not the price is being surreptitiously suppressed is not the important point. The bottom line is that prices are not reflective of the fundamental economic conditions in the world today and no matter why this is occurring, it is not likely to last long. So, I would suggest that investors welcome the manipulation and take advantage of the fire sale prices while they last.

As the gold price climbs back towards its inflation-adjusted high of $2,400, Shadowstats target of $8,000 or Mike Maloney target of $15,000, we will look back at this current correction as nothing more than a bump in the road and excellent buying opportunity.

However, not all mining stocks are created equally. I have focused my research on best-in-breed companies with low all-in cash costs, rapidly increasing production, politically-stable jurisdictions and management with a proven track record. I also like the royalty and streaming companies that have been able to weather this storm fairly well. Their business model provides for limited downside risk and huge upside potential as their partner mines come online.

To view the Gold Stock Bull portfolio, receive our highly-rated newsletter and get regular updates on the stocks that we believe will generate the greatest gains during this next upleg, click here to sign up for the Premium Membership.

By Jason Hamlin

http://www.goldstockbull.com/

Jason Hamlin is the founder of Gold Stock Bull and publishes a monthly contrarian newsletter that contains in-depth research into the markets with a focus on finding undervalued gold and silver mining companies. The Premium Membership includes the newsletter, real-time access to the model portfolio and email trade alerts whenever Jason is buying or selling. You can try it for just $35/month by clicking here.

Copyright © 2013 Gold Stock Bull – All Rights Reserved

All ideas, opinions, and/or forecasts, expressed or implied herein, are for informational purposes only and should not be construed as a recommendation to invest, trade, and/or speculate in the markets. Any investments, trades, and/or speculations made in light of the ideas, opinions, and/or forecasts, expressed or implied herein, are committed at your own risk, financial or otherwise. The information on this site has been prepared without regard to any particular investor’s investment objectives, financial situation, and needs. Accordingly, investors should not act on any information on this site without obtaining specific advice from their financial advisor. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

 

© 2005-2013 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk – The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.

 

“Chat and Chew” – 2013 Housing Services Forum

housingpic1

 

Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency
2013 Housing Services Forum
“Chat and Chew”

Come enjoy this opportunity to meet and share housing information and ideas from other professionals.

Presentation will be provided by the following:

Philly Artist Against Violence – This collaborative endeavor uses music and youth’s love of music to promote mentorship, apprenticeships and networking. They work as big brothers and sisters to at risk youth.

“Birth the Treasure Within”- Life is filled with diversity, challenges and obstacles. Come learn from Karen L. Ross how to overcome life obstacles and seize the moment.

Open Group Discussion on Hot Topics

Lastly, lunch will be provided to all attendees at NO cost.

Host: Robert Butcher rbutcher@phfa.org

Location: Sharswood Townhouses II
1450 North 21st Street
Philadelphia, PA 19121

When: Thursday, November 14th, 11:00AM – 2:00PM

Phone: 610 270 1560

Street Parking is Available

PA Housing Services Conference at the Scranton Hilton

In 1887, Scranton was Pennsylvania s first city with a successful pioneer trolley line and Scranton became known as the Electric City when electric lights were introduced at Dickson Locomotive Works in 1880.

Scranton is also home to a regional branch of Dunder Mifflin, the fictional paper company featured in the television series The Office. Scranton is a great venue to host the conference. There are so many options to choose from in the city andthe surrounding area. The Steamtown Mall just a few short blocks away from the conference venue, and avast choice of restaurants, cinema, and sightseeing all within a comfortable walking distance. Or for adifferent adventure hop in your car and visit attractions that are just around the corner or within a few miles of the Hilton Scranton Conference Center. These include some of the following:

Steamtown National Historic Site

Lackawanna County Coal Mine

Pennsylvania Anthracite Heritage Museum

Electric City Trolley Station and Museum

Houdini Museum

Snow Cove and Montage Mountain

Scranton Railrider s Baseball Stadium

Think about it, this is a great opportunity to come to the eastern part of PA, network, learn and experience and get acquainted with your peers and an exciting part of PA. Even better bring family or friends and extend your stay to make it a great June vacation in the Scranton/Poconos! Within a short driving distance you will find top-notch swimming, white-water rafting, kayaking, bicycling, canoeing, zip-lining and other outdoor adventures. This area is known for great antique and flea markets on the weekends as well. For more information about sponsorship, the marketplace of vendors or to get on our mailing list please email: housingservices@phfa.org

2014 Qualified Allocation Plan Approved, Cycle 1 Applications Due November 8

The 2014 QAP has been approved. PHFA hosted an informational meeting and developers are working hard on their applications for the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program. The approved QAP can be found at: http://www.phfa.org/developers/default.aspx

Know your Local Lead Agency

PHFA encourages developers to partner with Local Lead Agencies to establish a referral system for targeted units in their developments (see LIHTC guidance on affordable and accessible units, and Tab 12). By serving in a clearinghouse role for a variety of service provider agencies in the county, Local Lead Agencies can provide qualified referrals for available units in a timely and efficient fashion. For a list of DPWdesignated county Local Lead Agencies, go to:

http://www.phfa.org/developers/serviceprovider/default.aspx

and scroll down to Department of Public Welfare

and click to access pdf list of Lead Agencies.

Scams Affecting Medicare Open Enrollment and the Federal Insurance Marketplace

It is important to be aware of scammers appearing as the Medicare Open Enrollment runs from Oct 15-Dec 7, 2013, and the Federal Insurance Marketplace opens enrollment on Oct 1- Dec 31, 2013. Remember these tips:

Don t provide numbers for Medicare, Social Security, Credit Card, Bank Account Information or Birthdates to anyone

Unsolicited telephone calls or cold of any kind should not be responded to-keep a record of anyone who contacts you with their name, organization, contact info, phone, address and website, and time/date of call

Beware of online fake insurance exchanges or marketers trying to sell health information in an educational setting it is not legal to do so

Verify that insurance agents are licensed through your State Department of Insurance

For more tips or information, go to www.healthcare.gov or call APPRISE at 800.783.7067 to discuss free, objective information on Medicare plan options in your area.

Personal Finance – Ten Commandments> How’s your money? Do you have a personal relationship with your money?!

This article is from among 50 ideas put together by an intelligent lady Anastasiya Goers of www.balanceinme.com. She compiled ideas into The Book of Wisdom: 50 Ideas for the All-Around Balanced Life. I’ll be featuring different ideas on this site that would be interesting for the readers.

 Today’s ideas is about Personal Finance:-

My Ten Commandments of Personal Finance – This is a post by Len Penzo of

Len Penzo dot Com. Follow him @LenPenzo to keep your finances under control.

Maybe you heard about tha infamous Kelton studydone a couple years ago that found that Americans could identify more ingredients in a Big Mac than the individual Ten Commandments. To wit: eighty percent of Americans knew there were two all-beef patties in a Big Mac, but only 6 in10 could identify “Thou shalt not kill” as one of the Ten Commandments.

My anecdotal research verifies the Kelton study.

I know a Big Mac has two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles and onions — all on a sesame seed bun, no less. But I can only name eight of the Ten Commandments. (Don’t tell my third grade catechism teacher, Sister Nora.) I wonder if Sister Nora would feel better if I told her I can name all ten of my Personal Finance Ten Commandments? I faithfully try to follow these little nuggets of wisdom every day in order to make my personal financial life run as smoothly as possible:

1. Spend less than you earn.

This commandment is number one for a reason: Those that follow it are destined for financial freedom. Be a disciple of frugality. Remember, the word disciple is derived from its root word “discipline.” There is a lesson there for those who are willing to take it. Keep your life balanced!

2. Thou shalt remember to always pay thine self first.

Before you pay for anything, be it the utility bills, mortgage, groceries, etc., you need to save a portion of your income. Start by taking advantage of your employer’s matching contribution to your retirement savings plan, and also building an emergency fund amounting to at least three months of expenses. Use automatic deductions and start slowly, then gradually increase your savings rate and watch your savings grow.

3. Behold the power of compound interest, the most powerful force in the universe.

The greatest lesson you can ever bestow upon your children is the power of compound interest. Working teenagers, especially, have the opportunity to set themselves up for life with relatively little income, assuming they have the financial discipline to let their accrued savings grow over time. That being said, the benefits of compound interest aren’t limited to kids and teenagers, but they do have the most to gain as the longer the time horizon, the greater the power. I wish I had taken this more seriousl when I was ateenager making pretty good coin at the grocery store.

4. Thou shalt always track thine household income and expenses.

Trying to get a handle on your personal finances without knowing how much money you are earning and where it is all going is tantamount to trying to drive with a blindfold around your eyes. Those who are deep in debt have run their car off the highway. Take the blindfold off. If your destination is good financial discipline, you’ll need to see where you are going so you can get back on track.

5. Thou shall understand the difference between a want and a need.

Being able to distinguish between wants and needs is directly tied to your ability to accept personal responsibility. When taken down to the most basic level, I will argue that all of us have only four or five primary needs. Those needs are food/water, clothing, shelter, transportation (for most of us), and health care.

Everything else is a want.

6 Don’t be a financial jellyfish; Remember the Budget and keep it holy.

Before anyone can expect to successfully manage their household finances, they have to commit to following the household budget. Following the household budget requires the ability to exercise self-control. Unfortunately for many people, asking them to exercise self-control can be akin to waiting for a jellyfish to spontaneously generate a spine.

It’s easy sticking to the household budget — as long as you refuse to be a financial jellyfish.

7 Thou shalt avoid paying interest.

This is my philosophy: When it comes to personal finance, unless it is the family home, if you can’t afford to buy something you want, then you must save for it — that includes a car. You can’t afford to buy a new car, you say?  Keep your life balanced! Save up for a nice used one. Cars lose roughly half their value soon after they are driven off the lot. The only exceptions to this rule that I would consider are starting up a business and/or paying for higher education.

8. Ensure thine spouse is involved in the financial decision process.

It is absolutely critical that households with married couples communicate. Keep your lines of communication open, regularly assess and update your goals and progress, and be willing to compromise. Better yet, split up the financial duties. In our house the Honeybee and I work as a team; I perform the duties of th Household CEOwhile she handles the Household CFOtasks.

9. Blessed are those who understand tha high wages do not beget financial freedom.

A high household income can never be assumed to be a guarantor of financial freedom. The good news is that financial freedom can be achieved no matter what your household income happens to be. It is a state of mind, as much as it is a state of being. Those that understand this have a much easier time keeping their personal finances under control than those who don’t.

10. Thou shalt undertake your chosen vocation for love, not money.

Most successful people are successful because they love what they do for a living. Life is too short to be doing something solely because it pays a good wage. We achieve satisfaction at our vocation, whatever it may be, through a job well done. For most people to be able to do this on a consistent basis, they have to love what they do. For example, if you study to be an engineer solely because engineers make good money, I guarantee you that in the long run you would have been better off doing something you truly loved. So do what you love to do and the money will follow. I promise.

Keep your life balanced!

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