5 Reasons to Purchase an Indexed Universal Life Insurance Policy

As a financial planner, I feel like Indexed Universal Life insurance is one of the most misunderstood and underutilized tools and asset classes in the market today. I believe that this is because of the newness of the product itself. Indexed Universal Life(IUL from here on out) has only been around for a little over 15 years. Because of this, most financial advisors don’t fully understand it. IUL’s came around after they received their education and set their practices. Thus, individuals aren’t learning from experts, but rather, they rely on media pundits for any information on these programs. In an effort to further educate you, and promote a wonderful product, I give 5 reasons to buy an IUL.

The first great reason to have an IUL in your retirement portfolio is the fact that these products provide minimum guarantees. Unlike placing your funds directly into the market, these funds are protected from the market. They earn interest in a unique way. Interest is credited based on the performance of a chosen index. Rather than being invested in the actual market, you merely receive a portion of the index return. Again, the worst-case scenario is that you earn 0% in a given year. You can never lose money due to market fluctuations. Each year that you do earn interest, that interest is locked in and becomes part of the principal amount guaranteed to not be at risk to the market. What a great way to plan for retirement. This system of guarantees also removes the risk of retiring at the wrong time, when your account value is low due to market losses. It also prevents catastrophic damage to your retirement due to losses in the early years of your retirement.

In addition to the downside protection, these products can perform very well; often times outperforming the market returns seen in a typical investment portfolio. So you don’t have to give up a good return to find a safe haven for your retirement nest egg.

The second great reason for purchasing an IUL is the tax-free death benefit.

Life insurance is often used as a tool in estate planning. It is treated favorably by the IRS tax codes. Often, the funds coming from a death benefit from a life insurance policy are passed on to beneficiaries income tax free. Indexed Universal Life is no different. It becomes a wonderful tool to pass on assets tax free. Unlike other retirement options, such as a 401k, the assets held in an IUL pass on without taxes and give you immediate access to the funds, unlike assets held in real estate. It is also very typical, due to the death benefit common in all life insurance policies, that the death benefit will exceed the accumulation value of the account, meaning you not only leave more to your beneficiaries by paying less in taxes, but also because of the higher death benefit.

The third great reason for looking at an IUL is for the incredible supplemental retirement income that can be generated from it. What if you could put an unlimited amount of money into a Roth IRA, pay taxes on the principal now and have an income generated, tax free, for your retirement, and you could even access it early if you wanted? That would be an incredible deal, right? Well, it exists. It’s called an IUL. You can create a tax-free income through these IUL’s without having to worry about the timing of the market. Rather than rolling the dice of where the tax brackets fall out over your lifetime, why not draw at least part of your income through a program that allows you to fund it limitlessly, and not have to worry about paying taxes on the gains?

This is achieved through policy loans. It’s a new concept, but hear me out. Through a policy loan, you are able to draw out an income from your IUL tax free. Everyone always asks me “what if tax laws change?” Valid question. In theory, it is possible that the laws change and these funds do become taxable, but that would be odd. The government doesn’t tax our loans, only the asset by which the loan is guaranteed. Think for example of your car loan… you pay a property tax on that auto, but you don’t have to treat the loan from the bank that you used as income because it wasn’t income, you have to pay it back. These policy loans function the same way.

Diversification is the fourth reason to purchase an IUL. Since the bulk of your retirement funds are probably in taxed deferred savings accounts, like traditional IRA’s and 401k’s, IUL’s can provide a diversification, not only in asset class, but also in the tax treatment of the account. We typically believe in diversification and have been taught that since our high school years, yet we all have our retirement in the same types of vehicles. All are tax-deferred time bombs with minimum distribution ages and minimum distribution requirements or maximum contribution amounts controlled by the government and current economics in the USA. We are all typically in a blend of stocks and bonds, crossing our fingers that when that day comes to retire, we are up, not down. Hopefully we’ve picked well, though we be uneducated as can be, and yet we bank on this as our retirement program and a whole industry has built itself around it. Amazing that we’ve heard this same concept preached for over 2 decades and we’re still drinking the kool-aide. I’m not going to tell you to not drink, just try a different flavor for a minute. It should be noted that when taxes go up, and they inevitably will, you will pay taxes on those funds that are in taxed deferred accounts. This can hurt the value of the dollars you have saved in those accounts. There is also a little thing called an RMD. Required Minimum Distributions are what the federal government requires us to withdraw from our retirement accounts, based on our age, as a percentage of our account balance. There is always the possibility of these percentages increasing so the taxes can be collected on these funds. This could also cause you to withdraw funds you don’t need. An IUL gives you a great hedge against these potential tax issues.

Finally, the fifth reason to purchase an IUL is because they allow you to work towards becoming your own banker. Have you ever found it odd that you borrow money from a bank even though you have money in the bank? I have. Most IUL’s have loan provisions allowing you to borrow from and pay back your life insurance. The nice thing is, by doing this, you pay yourself the interest rather than the bank. You continue to have a retirement fund that is growing and you aren’t losing years’ worth of interest to the bank. Think of all the interest you have paid for credit cards, auto loans, your mortgage, etc. You can borrow yourself the money instead and you don’t have to worry about the approval process at the bank. Many business owners feel that term insurance is the only type of life insurance for them because they don’t want to tie up their money. This is a false assumption. The funds “tied up” in life insurance are not locked up, but rather, provide more access to funds than most investment opportunities. The funds can be borrowed and replaced with relative ease, making it a wonderful program for creating your own personal banking system.

One final little bonus is that your IUL is permanent insurance, as long as it is built correctly and you fund it properly. You’ll likely have lifetime coverage, even after stopping your premium payments and taking withdrawals. Long after your term insurance is gone, you’ll still have a death benefit to leave those you love.

For these reasons, along with many others, indexed universal life insurance is a great way to help fund your retirement. It is not perfect for all situations, and it is always wise to consult your advisor before purchasing any retirement funding program. That being said, there are five reasons you should give your advisor a call and find out if an IUL is right for you.

Get Search Engines – Index Your Website

If you want free search engine traffic from the search engines then the first step is to get your website indexed by the search engines. As long as your site is not indexed by Google, Yahoo and MSN, these search engines won’t even know that your site exists.

You will find many SEO Services on the internet that claim to getting your site indexed by hundreds of search engines on payment of $50-$100. Most of these SEO Services are just taking the webmaster for a ride; avoid them. Many SEO services online will charge you something like $50-$100 for getting your site indexed by hundreds of search engines. The truth is most of these services are not good. Don’t waste your money. You can get your site indexed for free by the three important search engines.

In my opinion, there are only three search engines on the internet; Google, Yahoo and MSN. The other so called search engines have so little traffic that you can ignore them. Focus on Google, Yahoo and MSN. Google is the most important search engine. In fact, it is the search engine. If your website is not indexed by Google than forget about getting search engine traffic. Google gets more than 60% of the search engine traffic and its share of the global internet searches is on the rise. Ignore it at your peril!

Yahoo gets around 30% of the search traffic online. This is the second largest search engine. Getting indexed on Yahoo is also important for you. Yahoo can give you a lot of traffic for free.

MSN is the youngest search engine among the top three and is also called the Baby Search Engine. MSN share of the search engine traffic is less than 10%. Somehow MSN could not compete with Google and Yahoo in the online world and has been left behind. Most of the people who go on MSN, are not internet savvy, so you should expect very good conversions on it. Studies show that MSN converts 3 times better as compared to Google.

For getting your site indexed on Google. Open a Google Webmaster Tools account. Submit your site as well as its sitemap. Wait for a few days. Googlebot will come and crawl your site and get is indexed. It is as simple as that. People try to portray as if getting indexed by Google is difficult. But with Google Webmasters Tools, rest assured, Googlebot will index your site in a week.

Yahoo has its own Yahoo Explorer service. Open an account. Submit your site and its RSS feed. Yahoo takes a bit long in indexing a site. But once you have submitted your site, dont worry much. Your site will be in the Yahoo index in around a month’s time.

You can also get your site indexed on MSN by clicking on the Webmaster link on the bottom of each MSN search page. Submit your site. MSNbot will index your site in a few days. Just focus on these three major search engines. Rest of the search engines are not worth wasting your time.

How Is the Value of the Stock Index Calculated?

Recap – What is a stock index?

A stock index is a statistical indicator that measures the combined value of a number of underlying stock prices. As stock indices are usually formed by a group of leading stocks in a market, they represent the overall health of an economy as well as the value of the stocks.

Although a stock index is not a tradeable product, but the rise and fall of its value can be traded on.

Methods for determining stock index prices

The price of each stock represented in a stock index affects the overall value of the index. However, there are different methods for determining how much weight each stock should be allocated. These include:

• Price-weighting
• Capitalisation weighting/ market-value weighting
• Market-share weighting
• Fundamental weighting
• Float-adjusted weighting
• Equal weighting

Price-weighted stock indices

A price-weighted stock index is an index where the fraction that a stock makes up of an index is proportionate to the price of that stock. This means that a stock trading at $500 will make up 10 times more of the total index when compared to a stock trading at $50.

Price-weighted stock indices do not accurately reflect underlying market values, as the stock trading at $500 could be that of a small company, whereas the stock trading at $50 could be that of a large company. As the stock of the smaller company makes up 10 times more of the total value of the index than the larger company, a change in its price will have a larger impact on the value of the stock index than a change in the price of the larger company. Meanwhile, the combined market values will not change to the same degree as the price of the larger company has not changed.

Also, price-weighted indices need to be constantly adjusted, as the changing prices of stocks will affect their appropriate weight in the index.

Examples of price-weighted indices include the Amex Major Market Index, the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the NYSE ARCA Tech 100 Index.

Capitalisation-weighted stock indices

In contrast to price-weighted stock indices, a capitalisation-weighted/market-value weighted index factors in the size of the company as well as the share price. This means the impact of a company’s price change is proportional to its overall market value, or the share price multiplied by the number of shares outstanding.

Consequently, small changes in large companies will have a greater influence on the value of the stock index than larger changes in small companies.

Some examples of capitalisation-weighted indices include the Hang Seng Index, Kuala Lumpur Composite Index, NASDAQ Composite, NASDAQ-100, NYSE Composite and the Taiwan Capitalization Weighted Stock Index.

Market-share weighted indices

A stock index that is market-share weighted is similar to a capitalisation-weighted index, but a market-share weighted index measures the price of shares relative to the number of shares, as opposed to their total value.

Fundamentally-weighted stock indices

Fundamentally-weighted stock indices weight stock indices by one of many economic fundamental factors, or by a composite of several fundamental factors.

This method of weighting argues that fundamental factors, such as sales, earnings, book value, cash flow and dividends, are a more accurate measure of its value than the share price, which can fluctuate with investor sentiment. One of the benefits of trading on these indices is that they might average out sector-specific biases.

Fundamentally-weighted stock indices are often contrasted to capitalisation-weighted indices. As the method of capitalisation-weighted stock indices focuses on company size and share prices, capitalisation-weighted indices could overweight overvalued stocks while underweighting undervalued stocks, meaning investors can’t see the true value of a company, and that the index doesn’t provide a true representation of an economy. As fundamental weighting weights industries by fundamental factors, an over- or undervalued share value will not have as large an impact.

That being said, although there isn’t a perfect correlation between fundamentals and share prices, there is some correlation, as large changes in fundamentals can result in large share-price movements. This was evidenced in the global financial crisis, when both fundamentally-weighted and capitalisation-weighted indices plummeted.

Float-adjusted weighted stock indices

Traditionally, capitalisation-weighted stock indices have had full-weighting. Full-weighting means that all shares outstanding for each company are included. Recently, many capitalisation-weighted indices have shifted to float-adjusted weighting, which takes into account the proportion of shares a company has free floated.

Both the S&P 500 and S&P 100 indices are now float-weighted.

Equal-weighted stock indices

Equal-weighted stock indices assign each stock in an index the same weight, so a movement in the share price of all companies have the same impact on the index, regardless on the size or market-share of that company.

Discover the Risks of Trading Index CFDs Before Jumping on Board

Trading success can often be the result of minimizing your losses and this very point is emphasized when trading a highly leveraged product like Index CFDs. In fact the golden rule of trading success can be found in the old trading maxim: Cut your losses off short and let your profits run and if you are able to follow this formula for success you should be on the right side of the ledger more often than not.

What is an Index CFD?

Index CFDs are highly leveraged CFD products that enable you to gain access to the main indices around the world. You can begin trading the SPI 200 (sometimes referred to as the Aussie 200), FTSE, Nasdaq, S&P 500, Dow Jones and CAC 40 to name a few. You get an amazing amount of leverage as most CFD brokers allow you to trade at 1% margin or 100 times leverage.

The greatest risk to your trading account

Trading Index Contracts for Difference at 100 times leverage or 1% margin allows you to make extremely large gains or losses on your trading account. It is for this very reason that the number 1 risk to you when trading index CFDs is the way you control your leverage. When trading it is important to understand that you control the leverage on your account. This means that with $10,000 cash in your trading account, you can access as little or as much leverage as you desire. In effect this means you control how much risk you take on board by either trading a very low levels of leverage or trading risky at very high levels of leverage. Clearly the smartest option is to keep your leverage very small.

The hidden costs of trading Commission free index CFDs

Incredible amounts of marketing dollars are spent attracting new market participants to trading index CFDs and the main emphasis is on ‘commission free trading’. Now whilst they are not lying it is important to read the fine print and get a feel for what the real costs to trading this product are. All CFD brokers charge an overnight financing rate which means for every day you hold the position long, you get charged a certain rate. For index CFDs that rate is normally plus or minus 4% as opposed to plus or minus 3% for share CFDs so bear this in mind when trading the indices.

SEO Tactics to Get Indexed, Get Ranked, and Get Traffic

No one can deny that you need traffic to your website in order to succeed online. The best kind of traffic is free traffic. Where’s the best place to get free traffic? Google and other search engines.

How Does Free Search Engine Traffic Work?

The process works in a way that you have experienced many times. You go to Google, enter in a word or phrase you want to research, and click one of the links that shows up. Well, the link you clicked on just sent free traffic to that website owner. What we need to figure out is how to get YOU free traffic.

Most people only click results from the first couple pages. In fact, the first page of results receives almost all the free traffic. Believe it or not, the first 3 results receive over 70% of the traffic.

So to get any significant amount of free traffic from Google, you really need to be on the first page. This means Google needs to “rank” you as a top 10 result. This bring us to…

What Is SEO?

Search Engine Optimization is a measure of how well Google and other search engines think your website matches the search terms people are typing into their search boxes. It’s a complex formula that only people working for Google know exactly. There are several factors that we do know.

Getting Indexed

Before your website can begin gaining ranking, you have to alert Google to it’s existence. This is known as being “indexed.” When your website gets indexed, Google stores information about it in their massive database.

In order to get indexed, Google has to be able to find you. Links from other sites are the easiest way to accomplish this. Google will actually follow the links on sites it already has indexed to find new sites and index them.

Use your Twitter and Facebook updates to get quick indexed links to your site. These sites are indexed multiple times every day so your new link will get indexed very quickly.

Gaining Ranking

After this first hurdle, you need to start gaining ranking. Due to the massive size of the Google database – literally billions of pages – just getting indexed doesn’t do much for you.

Here’s what’s important in ranking:

 

  • Content
  • Links
  • Activity

 

Optimized Content

This is the SEO work you do on your page. It’s critical that your page content is consistent with the keyword phrases you’re targeting. Clearly this article is about search engine optimization. Google knows that not just because the words search engine optimization show up. Another way this is determined is by the other related phrases like traffic generation that are also in the article.

You also need to make sure the title tags, outbound links and the domain itself match the topic of the page. These all play a part in helping Google determine what your website is about.

Your Links

Next, you need to pay attention to the links to and from your site. The links to your site, as well as the sites you link to are important. You want to make sure you have more inbound links than outbound links. And the more inbound links the better.

Article marketing is a super easy way to get a bunch of inbound links. To accomplish this you start by writing an article that targets the keywords you’re after. Then you continue to create articles around these and other related keywords for ever increasing back-links. The more quality articles you write, the more links you’ll get back.

Make Your Site Active

Lastly, it’s seems clear that Google expects important pages to be actively updated. Static pages that just sit may rank at first, but will fall off over time, so you need to update your pages often. RSS feeds are an easy way to keep your content changing.

Another great way to keep your page content fresh is to enable comments on it and allow others to discuss your page topic. This means you need to get real live people to your site, as well. An easy way to do this is from forums.

Set up forum profiles with the ones related to your website and post there often. Put a link to your site in your profile. This gets you inbound links and it will also get real visitors to your site.

Conclusion

It’s important that you do everything listed here. But let’s face it, writing article after article, creating a bunch of forum profiles, and posting your articles and comments takes a lot of time which means you probably will end up NOT doing it.

Fortunately, you can get rank builder software to do all the grunt work for you. The best thing you can do is to automate this process. Otherwise, you won’t do it at all. And if you don’t do it, you simply will not ever get free traffic from Google.

Why the London Riots Created a Greater Business Travel Threat Than a Terrorist Attack

Introduction to the London riots threat

If you have business travel to London, you need to read this article. In this article you will discover why the London riots created a greater travel threat than a terrorist attack. We will examine the threat posed by the London riots and demonstrations, terrorist attacks and resulting travel delays, disruptions and changes. At the end of this article, you will have a specific understanding of the required business travel management response and awareness as to why this will happen again.

The London riots and demonstrations has resulted in one of the largest business travel disruptions of 2011.

London Riots and Demonstrations

The London riots and demonstrations have come as a complete surprise to many. It is not a unique event and certainly not unique to the UK. The scale, violence, fire and failure of the authorities is often something expected in other countries but the lack of preparedness for destinations like the UK is common and widespread. Therefore, the lack of preparedness and last-minute scramble to respond and the inability to avoid major business travel disruptions are widespread as a result.

Due to the footprint of disruption, many routes and modes of transport have been negatively affected. Simple commute from the airport, trains and ports to planned accommodation options have been altered and continuous review of hazard or threat assessment are required. Furthermore, travel support providers such as taxis, hotels, restaurants, emergency services an other basic amenities have also been affected, to varying degrees.

Travel and risk managers need to immediately identify:

  • Affected areas,
  • Degree of threat,
  • Affected and exposed (inbound and outbound) business travellers,
  • Arrival/departure points,
  • Safe and non-affected areas,
  • Mitigation or eradication options,
  • Cost of implementation,
  • Funds available,
  • Emergency support,
  • Accommodation options,
  • On-going or developing events,
  • Social or non-business activity,
  • Insurance claims and compliance requirements,
  • Cancellation criteria,
  • Resumption of travel criteria,
  • Extended event plans,
  • Travel alternatives (domestic and international)

The London riots have affected multiple support systems related to business and leisure travel. Any leisure travel disruptions will further compound business travel threats such as decreased accommodation options, airport congestion and increased public transport demand. Even simple actions like withdrawing money from an ATM will prove a challenge and compound the hazard/s.

The London riots have had a prolonged affect on UK business travel sector, far greater than the majority of terrorist attacks. Further affects such as planning and preparation for the 2012 Olympics will also contribute to the lingering affects.

A lack of planning and subsequent response capability by businesses could constitute a failure of duty of care, due diligence, corporate social responsibility, workplace health and safety or other related legislation.

Terrorist attacks less of a threat than London riots

With the exception of the Mumbai terrorist attacks, most have limited travel disruption and only affect a narrow band of travellers. Inclusive of the Mumbai terror attack, terrorist attacks typically have clearly defined threat elements (terrorist, bombings, gunfire, etc) whereas the London riots is a constantly changing and unclear threat. Most business travellers will be unprepared for such decision-making demands and lack sufficient experience to make consistent and safe decisions.

Most contemporary business risk management systems focus on location and plausible event threats, then seek to inform or prepare travellers for the best results to mitigate or eliminate the hazards and threats. Therefore, the bulk of business travellers will not be prepared or educated on how to respond in London, with such wide spread disruption and threats. Few will have residual knowledge from information and preparation for such events in other locations, considered more likely to be medium to high risk. Many of the supporting business travel management departments and managers will be equally unprepared and resourced.

A terrorist attack and other similar violent crimes would have a much smaller footprint of disruption, not affected such a wide business travel demographic, not affect business travel support providers so comprehensively or have such a prolonged impact on all exposed.

Routine travel delays, disruptions and changes represent one of the most persistent and probable travel risk management issues.

Travel delay, disruption and changes

Change management and the decision-making involved is one of the most commonly accepted workplace hazard concerns. This is equally relevant to business travel and business travel threats.

The instinctive and guided response of travellers to any delay, disruption or change can significantly affect the outcome of any spontaneous or new hazard as it presents. Particularly when this is the first level of response, before support options and resources can be activated or come into affect.

Travel delays have been triggered due to airport and airline workers unable to get to work, taxi drivers not able to refuel vehicles, hotels and staff overwhelmed, business travellers unprepared and convergence of business and leisure travellers upon all available exit travel nodes.

Access to information, at all levels, the ability to consume and process all the options and explore alternatives is imperative in this and similar travel disruption events. Crisis leadership will succeed more frequently than simple crisis management, to which are dependent upon timely and accurate information from all available resources.

Unfortunately, many will fail to fully understand the gravity of the events, the threats posed and respond or prepare accordingly. While many others exposed will chalk it up to another force majeure or random act that is just part of the rich experience of international travel. Courts, business travellers and peer review increasingly do not share this flippant view.

This scenario and lack of preparedness has been played out numerous times in recent history. Volcanos, volcanic ash affects, Japan’s tsunami, airport closures, airline failure and many others have caught business travellers and managers alike unprepared. This disturbing trend will continue.

Conclusion: London riots threat

You should now see why the London riots have a far greater impact and threat to travellers than you may have originally thought. We have examined the business travel threat posed by the London riots, terrorist attacks and resulting travel delays. You now have a specific plan for this and similar events and the required business travel management and response. This will happen again. Perhaps not in London, perhaps not a city wide demonstration but this kind and scale of business travel disruption event will happen more than once before the end of 2011. Review your plan and make the necessary enhancements now.

Business Travel Tips – How to Pack For A Business Trip

Use these business travel tips pointers to create and plan a stress-free business packing travel plan.

Ladies:

 

  • When you are putting together your clothes for business, experiment with one color instead of all your favorites. This makes it simple for you to combine and present an ideal business persona for your meetings. With a one color-scheme, you will not need to pack multiple pieces of clothing.
  • If you’d like to add a bit of color, you can include a colored shirt or scarf you like (maybe it is your favorite, or it gives you that ‘extra OOMPH’ that you need for self-confidence – or to compliment your look).

 

Tips on packing shoes: As much as shoes are something that some women say they can’t ‘live without,’ pack no more than two or three sets. Make certain you have a set of flats and only one set of high heels in your luggage. If you wear high heels all day and evening long, then during your company trip, when what you want (need) most is to shine, you may be experiencing painful leg and back discomfort.

In addition to sensible shoes, women who travel may want to pack makeup. On a business trip and with makeup – Less is better. Makeup during a business trip really should be minimal so that you present an experienced, knowledgeable and professional look. Foundation, powder, mascara, lip gloss, eye liner, and eye shadow, are a few of the things that you need to consider in packing. Less is more – mascara and lip gloss can go a long way in making a professional looking presentation.

All Travelers:

 

  • Frequent business travelers should make it a habit of packing their bags as soon as they return from a business trip. This way, when they have to travel on short notice, the stress and worry of packing is diminished.
  • Frequent travelers on business really should try to use regional airports instead of major air-ports. Local and small airports are less congested, and then there are fewer security hurdles.
  • When you are on company business, choose the most direct routes instead of the least expensive routes. The least expensive travel arrangements usually make for the longest distance, and this also means you will likely have to use your precious time for traveling and staying in hotels.
  • So, instead of saving money, your cost may actually go up, with the less expensive, less traveled route, Because you’ll make up for the cost with longer flights and maybe even an extra day stay at a hotel – which means more money all the way around (food, cab or car rental,.. ). Consequently, it’s always best to go on a direct flight route to save time and expense, even if you have to fly first class.
  • If you’re able to fly mid-week, you will be happier because you may be able to save money on trip expenses. Traveling on a Monday or Tuesday normally costs more. Take these travel tips into account when you are paying your own personal air flight to help you cut your costs.
  • Also think about the distance from your hotel room to where you are meeting. Have a look on the internet on a map so you see exactly where you’ll be meeting, compared to where you are going to be staying. In case you do not know the local or surrounding area, you might want to stay near a company or civic facility in which your company is holding their business.
  • Business travelers understand how to make the most of the resources offered to travelers specifically on business. Find hotels that focus on the travelling business person. These hotels won’t have amenities for families and neither are they attempting to attract buses of adolescents in route to a camp. When you need to pay attention to business details and not the kids running in the hallway, this will help you find appropriate (and professional) lodging.
  • Packing vital electronic things is likewise one of several business travel tips. In case you are traveling overseas, make certain you are aware of the telecommunications requirements of the country. Make certain you pack a couple of USB memory sticks. You will never know if they may require them.
  • Never pack your laptop inside your luggage. Your laptop may be a pivotal element of your trip. Inside a flight terminal in an unexpected emergency situation, your wireless laptop may be used to adjust reservations so that you can prevent all those long lines for getting your next flight out. You’ll be able to arrange accommodations by automobile or snag just one of the few remaining rooms in hotels in the city straight from the convenience of the seats in the airport terminal.
  • If you plan well, then you can normally just walk to your meeting or hotel, while the people around you are stressed – simply because you knew the way to balance technology plus the need to help yourself out of a situation that could have been a problem.
  • But one way to use your laptop computer to help yourself if there is a situation where the airport terminal is shut all the way down would be the limited electric power of laptop computers. To see your electric battery go lifeless just when you wanted it by far the most is a lot like watching your tire go flat on the freeway because you drove over glass on your way to the meeting.
  • What few people know is that you have open electric-powered outlets in air terminals which are there for cleanup crews. Once you are at the airport – discover exactly where those outlets are. Normally you can find these outlets just underneath the windows that look over the landing strips. If you can secure a seat close to these outlets, it is possible to replenish your laptop computer and maintain your lifeline to everyone you need to.

The Upside to Business Travel

Many people abhor traveling for business, while some only hate it when they are consistently on the road as a road warrior. They frequently miss home, having their own familiar place to stay, and home cooking. Still, there are a number of tips for the business traveler that can make the best of traveling for business.

Free Fun Travel
Traveling for business can also help increase traveling for pleasure. While flying, staying at hotels, and renting cars one can be collecting loyalty points for future use. This means that one can be traveling for fun with the rewards of their business travel. It is a liberating feeling to walk to an airline counter and cash in some points for a trip to anywhere in the world- Vegas for the weekend or take someone special to Paris.

Travel Perks
Being a frequent traveler with the loyalty programs will have you an established elite traveler in no time. Pay attention to the requirements and do what you can to get elite status as soon as you can. The perks are tremendous with free and sometimes unexpected upgrades. Preference in the check-in lines will make a huge difference when you are pressed for time or dog tired at the end of the day. Preference in check-in/check-out times will be a perk you will use often.

Be In The Now
Every major town will have its unique flavor and will have some tourist must sees. See them when you have down time. When you are constantly on the road it will seem enticing to stay in a hotel room and relax to some TV, but when you do this day after day, town after town no wonder burn-out settles in. Get out and explore, get to know the town, it will undoubtedly help your business in that town to know more about it. Try the specialty foods of the area, stay away from national chains. And if you do find that you travel the same cities consistently, then make it your town. Find some favorite places to eat and entertain yourself, then you can actually look forward to visiting again.

Being able to travel for business is a wonderful opportunity and should not be seen as a burden. Changing of the attitude may be as simple as looking to the pluses and not focusing on the negatives of frequent travel.

Do Not Let Business Travel Disrupt Your Fitness

You have your ticket, you are packed, and the airport van is picking you up for your next business trip. Leaving Sunday afternoon and returning Friday evening has become routine over the last couple of years. You ran your errands and spent time with the family. You managed a brief workout early Saturday morning so you could attend the kid’s soccer games and birthday parties. Business travel is difficult. Lately you are feeling your clothes tightening around your waste. It has not gotten to the point of buying new clothes, yet. Ask yourself if this sounds familiar. There are more and more business professionals challenged with stressful jobs compounded by stressful travel. Surely, this takes a toll on the family and personal life[1], but even more important it could be destroying your health. When your health is gone, your family and job is in jeopardy.

Health and fitness for traveling business professionals is a serious concern, “But it is also a source of a variety of stresses, often overlooked or denied by both organizations and travelers themselves. The World Bank, studying its own travelers, discovered that both their physical and mental health-care claims were significantly greater than those of nontravelers.“[2] The typical executive travels 3-5 days per week. They eat ninety-five percent of their meals in airports, restaurants, or fast food establishments. They eat late while entertaining clients. Most of them do not exercise on the road even though gyms are available in hotels. In addition, most traveling business professionals do not get the deep sleep they need. Any medical professional, or fitness expert, will tell you this lifestyle is a recipe for disaster.

There are several resources offering ways to eat right and workout while traveling.[3] Videos abound on exercises you can use while traveling.[4] Still with all this information available, the vast majority of business travelers fail to eat right and workout on the road. Why is this? The problem is more behavior than access to good food and workout facilities. The solution is more education about fitness, not more facilities, workouts, and supplements. People who understand “why” about anything tend to accept and change more than those who do not take the time to understand a subject. Think about this principal. Continuing education is designed to make you more proficient at your job. The more you know and experience the more valuable you become to your employer. Your self-worth and self-esteem increases. This is true when it comes to fitness. The difference is you are your own boss. Here lies the root cause of the problem. If fitness is not a priority in your life, you have too many irons in the fire, you are stretched thin, and now your travel time takes up twenty percent of your waking hours, then you will put fitness on the back burner. The next thing you know you are twenty-five pounds heavier, your body fat percent is nearing obesity, and you have little energy at the end of the workday. At this point, your doctor informs you that your blood pressure is elevating and recommends blood pressure medicine.

A CEO who has all the distractions mentioned earlier recognizes the problem, does not drop everything, and still attacks the specific problem. They would contract a professional, e.g. lawyer, CPA, or consultant to help them filter through all the information and establish a good plan to attack the problem. These professionals allow the CEO to attack the problem while dealing with all the distractions, and still achieve his/her goals. The traveling businessperson should have the same approach to solving their fitness problem. Their professional is a private personal trainer, or fitness consultant.

Private personal trainers have the ability to provide you the right amount of information you need at the time you need it without you spending large amounts of time researching nutrition or exercise routines. They have the ability to assess your current fitness level then design a nutritional and exercise program that works for you. In addition, they can continually assess you, and make changes that will allow you to progress. Good private personal trainers have the ability to council behavior as well as design programs. They hold their clients accountable the same way a CEO uses a consultant to help them maintain accountability for a strategy. In most cases, a private personal trainer is more expensive than a gym personal trainer, but offer services that are more customized and personal. They are normally much less expensive than business consultants. You should consider a private personal trainer as an investment not an expense, the same way a CEO considers a consultant as an investment. So if you are traveling how can a private personal trainer help? You sure are not going to pay them to travel with you. The good news is technology helps to solve this problem.

Today private personal trainers have a wealth of technology available to them to help resolve the two biggest problems preventing fitness while traveling, i.e. education and accountability. Private personal trainers normally have their own web site. This web site provides the tools necessary to help their traveling client. Let us review a few tools that provide a near personal training experience on the road for a fraction of the cost.

 

  1. You have access to articles, other web sites, and educational material on your personal trainer’s web site. Your personal trainer can provide information based on your level of fitness. In other words, they provide the right information at the right time. You are not wasting time.
  2. Your personal trainer can provide a private login on their web site that has all your information, e.g. measurements, training schedule, exercise videos, meal programs, etc. This section of their web site is password protected for your privacy. Google documents offer great tools for this type of interface.
  3. Accountability is available with the use of Google’s calendar and SMS notifications. SMS messages are pre-assigned via the Google calendar for clients. They receive alerts on their phone saying to snack, complete a workout, etc. Business travelers have the ability to respond through SMS text messaging, email, or a phone call letting the trainer know what they have eaten, or that they completed their workout routine. If not contacted the trainer will follow-up. This happens no matter where the business travelers, or the trainer, are in the world.
  4. Clients can sign-up on
  5. It is less than $10.00 per month and offers the ability to track and monitor nutrition, activities, journals, and moods. By providing their trainer access, the trainer can track all activity 24/7. This combines nutrition, exercise, and behavior extremely well. This provides the trainer the information needed to council clients through a variety of virtual techniques, e.g. SMS texting, web site response, email, phone call, or SKYPE.
  6. Skype, Google Video Talk, and other video conferencing tools allow clients to schedule times with their trainer in order for the trainer to view the business traveler’s workout. This is convenient if they are working out in a hotel room.
  7. Finally, it is important to meet at least once a week when possible with your personal trainer face-to-face to celebrate your progress, establish new measurements, and set new goals.

This type of professional and private personal training is available to travelers. One company providing this service is Strategy for Fitness(TM). Overcoming a lack of education and accountability will be a big step to improving your fitness level. These services are an investment in your life. You have someone who is interested in your health and wellness and can counsel you on an ongoing basis no matter where you are. Using technology reduces your overall cost for personal training. Accountability is a powerful motivator. Trainers can hold business travelers accountable through advanced technology services. Do not let excuses become a barrier to improving your fitness while you travel. There are no excuses.

[1] Espino, C, Sundstrom S, Frick H, Jacobs M, Peters, M, “International Business Travel: impact on families and travelers”. Occupational and Environmental Med Medicine. January 11, 2010 .

[2] James Striker, Lennart Dimberg, Bernhard H Liese, “Stress and business travel: Individual, managerial, and corporate concerns”. Journal of Organizational Excellence Vol. 20 Issue 1 pages 3-10. January 11, 2010

Why Sound Business Travel Reporting Matters

For any company that has their employees engage in regular travel, it is important to have a good corporate travel strategy. Part of developing and improving on a corporate travel strategy is solid business travel reporting. Business travel reporting provides the company with details about the cost of travel and how the money is being used. This data not only helps to keep track of expenses but it also can be used to identify areas of waste and inefficiency. When this information is tracked and analyzed it can be used to improve upon your company’s business travel strategy. Using the service of a corporate travel agency is an effective means toward achieving all of these goals.

Due to their experience and their connections in the travel and finance industry, a corporate travel firm will be especially suited to provide these services with the highest degree of detail. A corporate travel agency uses a variety of methods to analyze and track a clients business travel expenses. They can use data from banking and credit card records along with the travel records to identify the most and least efficient travelers in your company. They can help to manage airline data to find which carrier is providing the most business friendly service for the most affordable price and they can help to identify waste and abuse of funds.

A corporate booking agency can also help employers to analyze information in a way that can determine how effectively the employees travel and how well they stick to the itinerary and how closely the individual employees stick to the travel strategy. This can be achieved by referencing the data accumulated from credit cards, expense accounts, airline data, hotel bills and rental information. Once all of the data is collected and analyzed, the corporate travel firm can prepare a complete report. The reports will cover a variety of different areas and will often be accompanied by a written summary of the overall information. Clients can also request specialized reporting from a corporate travel agency. These may be to address an area of concern or to see how a new aspect of the travel strategy is working.

Most business travel agencies recommend that their clients schedule regular meetings with their travel manger to go over the business travel reporting and to find ways to improve the corporate travel strategy. The management of a business should meet with their corporate travel manager at least once a year. In these meetings the travel manager can help the client go over the business travel reporting and understand what all of the data means. The manager will help to identify areas of waste and point out parts of the travel plan that are working well. At this time the client can address their concerns about the travel strategy and work to adjust the business travel strategy. A corporate travel agency can also help their client with a plan for implementing the new strategy and addressing the changes with their staff.

Having the services of a business travel agency is a necessity for any company that engages in regular travel. Having a well thought out strategy will not only save the company money, but it will also make sure that the staff is getting the most out of their trip.