Slash Thousands From Your Business Travel

When it comes to your business travel we all know that this comes write out of your bottom line, but in order to keep good customer relations this is something that you must do. One of the most common things to do is to hire a business travel manager to handle all your business travel arrangements.

Did you realize that the median salary for a business travel manager is $73,000.00 per year? (FACT) Where’s the savings?

The best way to slash thousands from your travel expenses is to out source. You can have a travel agency do the same things as a business travel manager without spending thousands doing it. By having a travel agency handle your travel arrangements, you can save anywhere from 80 to 90% depending on how many traveler’s you have. By doing this makes your bottom line more profitable.

Let me ask you, would you rather spend 73,000 or 10,000?

The responsibilities of a travel manager are to choose transportation and lodging for company employees, advise about passport and visa requirements, rates of currency exchange, all things that a travel agent is already doing. Additional perks of hiring a travel agent is they can handle convention planning and group vacation organization for employees.

One of the best benefits from hiring a travel agent over a business travel manager is that a travel agent is offered reduced travel rates from preferred vendors as to where a business travel manager is not.

By out sourcing and hiring a travel agent over a travel manager, you are not only saving from paying a large salary, but you also save by not having to provide benefits such as health care and retirement. These could easily bring the cost of hiring a business travel manager to well over $100,000.00 a year. That’s Insane!!!

There are so many more benefits from hiring a travel agent over a business travel manager because they are so much more knowledgeable in the travel industry. How, when, and where travel is booked whether online or offline is very important when it comes to saving money on your business travel. These are techniques that only travel agents will know because they deal directly with travel vendors. Nine times out of ten a business travel manager will either call a travel agent or go to a travel agent’s web site for their information.(FACT)

Haven’t we learned in the past couple of years that foolish spending is not the way to go? Look at what it has done to big business. It’s time we get smart and trim the wasted fat. Wouldn’t you rather spend the money growing your business than hiring someone that’s probably looking out for them self rather the company?

When looking for a travel service for your company make sure that they have incentive and rewards programs. Look for a service that has the customer’s best interest at heart.

I understand that customer service must come first in order to have long standing business relations. I want to help you to accomplish this same goal.

How Do Equity Indexed Annuities Stack Up?

Sales of equity indexed annuities (EIAs) have grown considerably in recent years. These products are positioned as simple investment vehicles that enable the investor to participate in market gains but offer protection from market losses. In reality, these are complex investments and because salespeople are paid large commissions for promoting these products, it’s difficult to get an objective opinion on whether they are right for you.

How Do Equity Indexed Annuities Work?

EIAs produce an investment return that is tied to a market index, most commonly the S&P 500. Each product has a minimum guaranteed return (currently, 1% is common) and a cap rate, which is the highest annual return the investment can generate (currently, 8% is common). Consequently, an EIA with these common parameters would generate the same return as the S&P 500 of that return was between 1% and 8%. If the S&P 500 produced an annual return of less than 1%, the EIA would guarantee 1%. Similarly, if the index produced a return greater than 8%, the annuity would be capped at an 8% return.

Further, EIAs have participation rates that commonly range from 70% to 100%. For instance, if the index increased in value by 10% during the year, an EIA with an 80% participation rate would produce an 8% return (80% of the index’s 10% return).Also, it is important to note that minimum guarantees, cap rates, and participation rates can change at the whim of the insurance company.

Other Important Factors

As mentioned previously, salespeople are handsomely compensated for selling EIAs. To protect the insurance firm from paying a large commission to a salesperson only to have the investor sell the annuity, these products have a surrender charge if the investors sells within a certain time frame, which can be as long as 10 years. This surrender penalty can be as much as 10%. Thus, liquidity is severely limited with these investments.

EIAs offer tax-deferral, meaning an investor doesn’t pay taxes on investment gains until the annuity is sold. This tax-deferral is similar to the benefit offered by a 401(k) or IRA. However, unlike investments in a 401(k) or IRA, investments in an EIA don’t reduce your current income or tax bill when the investment is made. For this reason, many financial planners encourage their clients to maximize contributions to other tax-deferred vehicles before considering an annuity.

It’s important to note that most EIAs only count equity index gains from market price changes, and exclude any gains from dividends. Since you’re not earning dividends, you won’t earn as much as if you invested directly in the market. For example, the S&P 500 earned 15.1% in 2010, but 2.3% of that return came from dividends which would not be included in an EIA.

Lastly, the guaranteed return on an EIA is only as good as the insurance company that gives it. While it is not a common occurrence that a life insurance company is unable to meet its obligations, it happens. Information about the financial strength of insurance companies can be found on the SEC’s website.

Investment Return

Suppose a 45 year old with a 40 year investment horizon was looking for an investment that offered impressive returns with relative safety. Would an EIA be a good choice? Let’s consider a $10,000 investment in three unique options: an investment in the S&P 500, an investment in a conservative diversified portfolio* consisting of 75% bonds and 25% stocks, and an investment in an equity indexed annuity tied to the S&P 500. For illustration purposes, let’s assume the annuity has extremely favorable conditions: a 100% participation rate, a 3% minimum guarantee, and a 10% cap rate. Further, let’s give the EIA the benefit of the doubt and assume it includes the portion of the S&P 500’s return due to dividends, which few EIAs do. All and all, this annuity is significantly more favorable than any real product you are likely to find. Since the investor intends to live another 40 years, let’s look at what would have happened to these three $10,000 investments during the last 40 years, starting in 1970.

As you would expect, the $10,000 investment in the S&P 500 grew the most over 40 years, to $495,551. However, this investment endured significant volatility, losing as much as -37% in one year. Clearly, this investment is too risky for an investor willing to endure only a small amount of risk. Alternatively, the $10,000 investment in the diversified 75% bond, 25% stock portfolio grew to $433,838 — still an impressive return. However, the largest loss this portfolio suffered in a calendar year was -6% (1974), which might be tolerable to an investor with a low risk tolerance. Finally, while the equity indexed annuity with unrealistically favorable terms never gained less than 3% per year, our $10,000 investment only grew to $195,479. What if we consider an EIA with more realistic terms: 100% participation rate, 1% guarantee, and an 8% cap rate? Our $10,000 investment would have grown to only $103,767. Clearly, when comparing an EIA to investing in a diversified portfolio with a conservative ratio of bonds to stocks, an investor benefited of accepting a small amount of volatility in their portfolio.

ity indexed annuity without full knowledge of the product? Annuities have a “30-day free look” that enables you to surrender the product free of charge within 30 days of signing the contract. If you recently purchased an EIA, speak to a fee-only financial planner immediately to ensure the product was right for you. If you decide the annuity wasn’t what you thought, a fee-only financial planner can help you exercise your free look provision and find an alternative investment that is more appropriate.

Business Travel Trends 2010 – Part 1

It’s that time of year again; time to predict marketplace trends. Whether trying to explain the past year’s business ups and downs or preparing for next year’s marketplace, those in the know have begun forecasting, prognosticating and generally gazing into their crystal balls. After having read many of these predictions, including the results of various, pertinent surveys, here’s my take on what we can expect in 2010 and beyond with regard to trends in business travel.

Corporations will gradually begin to concentrate on managing trade and reducing travel. While everyone seems to agree that face-to-face meetings will continue to remain fundamentally indispensable in the way of doing business, most notably with regard to client relationships, corporations will put the emphasis on managing trade and reducing travel. Even so, businesses will carefully study how they may obtain the greatest return on investment from travel, doing away with any needless or excessive business trips.

The competition for employee talent may well lead to a noticeable reduction in limiting travel protocols, balanced by stronger compliance standards. Travel guidelines may also turn out to be less restrictive as businesses increase their attempts to draw and maintain suitable professional individuals. Further attention will be focused on employees’ work-life balance as well as managing productivity and less on accomplishing savings at the expense of traveler comfort and well-being.

Companies will ramp up attempts to control travel-related hazards. Preserving the safety of business travelers will continue to be of the utmost importance to travel managers, especially with regard to high-risk travel destinations. Corporate travel professionals will be looking for the ability to recognize services which will facilitate the improvement of traveler safety.

Consumers will depend upon merchants to become a motivating force in discovering “green” solutions. Fundamentally, businesses will seek to balance environmental issues with economic obligations, putting into practice a holistic, sustainable methodology with regard to travel.

Technology will continue to enhance the business traveler’s experience. Significant concepts will feature self-service, plug and play, one-stop shop and cellular phones. Simply put, from the decision to travel to post trip reporting of expenses, corporations will persist in seeking out technology that is more user-friendly and of worth to employees during their travel process. At the booking stage, additional travelers will make use of on-line tools as companies strive to better accommodate individuals within their travel design.

Believe it or not, this is not the complete outline of significant changes that may impact business travel as a whole. In Part 2 of 2010 Business Travel Trends we will continue to explore the very real possibilities that may play out for the business traveler in the not so distant future.

Indexed Universal Life Insurance For Retirement Income

When designed properly, indexed universal life insurance can be a great savings vehicle for investors who have a good ability to save. Indexed universal life or IUL, is a type of permanent life insurance that allows a policy holders to build a cash value. The cash value can be invested in a fixed account that often has a guaranteed minimum interest rate or the owner can derive their returns based on several different equity indexes.

There are several crediting methods that can be used to generate returns on the cash inside the policy. The most common method I see is an annual point to point calculation based on the return of the S&P 500 with a cap rate that protects your principal and limits your upside. When you pay your annual premium, the insurance company deducts some of the premium for state taxes, cost of insurance, and a sales load. After the fees are taken, most of your money goes to the insurance company’s general account and a small portion buys derivatives on whatever index you select.

Let’s say that the insurance actuary believes that they can earn 5.27% on their pool of investments. They would invest $95 of your $100 in their general account expecting that it one year, the $95 would grow to $100. This is how they can guaranty your principal. The $5 in my example would buy derivatives that could make up to a certain return or they could expire worthless if the index you chose has a negative year. The costs of the derivatives help determine the cap rate or the maximum that you can make per year. Most companies have a 10-15% cap rate on the S&P 500 index currently. If your insurance policy has a 12% cap rate on the S&P 500 and the index does 30%, you will have 12% credited to your account for the year. If the index does 5%, you will make 5%. If the index loses 20%, your return will be zero for the year. You do not receive the dividends of the indexes you invest in.

Principal Protection

Some people are very critical of the fact that IUL limits their upside. There is no free lunch. In order to protect your principal, you have to give up some of the upside. These critics point out that because of the cap rate, IULs would have earned between 5-8% per year over the last few decades during a time when the S&P 500 has averaged 9-11%.

I agree that it is possible to make better returns IF you are willing to stomach the risks of owning an all stock portfolio and my experience has taught me that very few people are able stay invested when the financial world is in a panic. The latest study from Dalbar was recently released and it shows that the average equity investor has averaged 3.79% over the last 30 years while the S&P 500 has averaged 11.06%. Even worse, the average fixed income investor made .72% per year, which is only 1/10 of the return of the Barclays Aggregate Bond Index.

Because it is so hard to stick with an investment plan that does not appear to be working, I think a percentage of the population would be better off in a product like IUL that limits their gains, but provides principal protection that helps them sleep better at night.

Creditor Protection

Texas law states that the cash value in your life insurance is protected from creditors. This is a very important feature for people in the medical profession and business owners. Money held in your bank account or brokerage account is generally not protected. This may not seem like a benefit to you, but consider the fact that a home owner and tree trimming company were successfully sued for millions of dollars because an oak tree fell on the current Governor of Texas in 1984 rendering him paralyzed. I didn’t know I needed to worry about the trees in my yard bankrupting me until I learned this.

Did you know that when you sell your car, you can be held liable for tickets and criminal and civil liability if the new owner doesn’t change the title of the vehicle to their name? It is important to go to the tax office with them or submit a vehicle transfer notification to the DMV right away. The more experience I have under my belt, the more I realize how risky life can be.

Tax Benefits

The cash value inside indexed universal life insurance grows tax deferred and if designed properly can be pulled out as tax free loans that don’t have to be paid back during the insured’s life (the insurance company uses some of the death benefit to pay off the loan). The only return that really matters is what you keep after taxes and after inflation. If you are in the highest Federal income tax bracket of 39.6% you are now subject to an extra 3.8% Medicare surtax on investment interest under the Affordable Care Act. If you make 6% inside your tax deferred IUL policy, that is a 10.6% tax-equivalent yield for the highest tax bracket.

In addition to tax deferral, you can pay zero capital gains tax by borrowing against your cash value. You can borrow to buy your next vehicle, for a real estate down payment, or to fund your child’s college. You can choose to pay these loans back or potentially never pay them back. Page 27 of the 1990 GAO Report to the Chairman clearly states “If a policyholder borrows the inside buildup from his or her life insurance policy, the amount borrowed is considered a transfer of capital, not a realization of income, and, therefore, is not subject to taxation. This reasoning is in accord with tax policy on other types of loans, such as consumer loans or home mortgages.

Diversification

Stocks and safe government bonds often have low to negative correlations. There are very few years where the US stock market and US government bond market both lose at the same time. However; many take comfort knowing that in down stock markets, they can pull money from their insurance policy that has principal protection. This can be a very useful tool when one considers the risk of the sequence of returns when distributing money in retirement. Pulling money from stocks in a year like 2008 can seriously hamper one’s ability to maintain their standard of living during the rest of their retirement.

There are also times where the US stock market is a lousy long term investment. The S&P 500 hit 1552 in March of 2000 and was at the exact same level 13 years later because of the tech wreck in 2000-2002 and the Great Recession in 2008-2009. This was an ideal environment for indexed universal life insurance because your principal was protected during the crashes and the crashes made stocks cheap where they had a good chance of going up and hitting the cap rates on the IUL policies. During long term bull markets (like 1982 to 2000) you would expect a capped IUL policy to do worse than the return of the US stock market.

Arbitrage

When you withdrawal money from your brokerage account or 401(k) and spend it, the money is no longer invested and working for you. This is not the case with indexed universal life insurance. When you borrow from your policy for retirement income, the insurer is lending you money and using the cash value in your policy as collateral for the loan. This means that you could have a $200,000 loan at 5.5% interest against the cash value in your IUL policy. If over the course of your loan, your policy averages a 6.5% rate of return, you are making a 1% rate of return on all the money you spent to live on.

The chance of being able to make a small spread on what you have borrowed and the downside protection of the product could potentially allow you to withdraw a higher percentage of your cash value per year than you could from volatile investments that don’t have principal protection. I ran an IUL illustration on a 37 year old male who had an average return of 6% per year until age 65 and found he could borrow 4.8% of the cash value in the first year of retirement and continue to increase that initial amount by 3% each year until age 100. In simpler terms, the arbitrage and principal protection may allow you to pull $48,000 indexed for inflation from $1 million dollars of cash value in an IUL.

4.8% is a lot higher than most financial planners would be comfortable pulling from a traditional portfolio. One of the most common amounts planners consider safe to pull from your investments is 4%. This has even come to be known as the 4% rule. Retirement Researcher, Wade Pfau, recently estimated that retirees should consider pulling only 2.85% to 3% initially from their investments. That would mean you should only pull $30,000 indexed for inflation from a million dollar portfolio. If Pfau is correct, having a maximum funded IUL for retirement could be a nice addition to your retirement.

Death Benefit

The last benefit of saving into index universal life policies is to remember that you are buying a life insurance policy. If you pay one month or year’s premium and die prematurely, your heirs could literally have a 1,000% return on the money you invested. If this unlikely and unfortunate event happens, life insurance is the best thing that you could possibly have invested in. And the best thing about life insurance is it is tax free to your heirs.

I also like how many IUL policies have a free accelerated death benefit rider that allows you to take a portion of your death benefit while you are alive if you are terminally ill. You could use part of your death benefit while you are alive to take your family on one last vacation or to pay for a long term care facility.

Disadvantages

The biggest disadvantage to IUL policies is that they usually have 10 to 15 years of surrender charges or fees to get your money out. You need to fully understand the product and be committed to it. The products also front load their costs and most illustrations that I run at 6% don’t break even until year 7 to 10. Therefore, it is usually a bad idea to apply for a policy and cancel it early on.

The second disadvantage to IUL is that the cap rates can and will change throughout your ownership of the policy. Many policies only guarantee a minimum cap rate of 3% or 4%. As mentioned previously the cap rate is a function of the cost of buying derivatives. Volatility was very high in 2008 which made derivatives more expensive. I did not see any companies dramatically drop their cap rates at that time and don’t see this as a huge risk. If for some reason your IUL dropped cap rates near the minimums, you could change to a different index crediting method or you could invest your cash value into the fixed account for a period of time.

Lastly, life insurance illustrations always show guaranteed values and non-guaranteed values. It is very likely that we continue to operate under the non-guaranteed assumptions, but if Ebola killed massive amounts of people or AIDS became airborne, all insurance companies can raise their charges for insurance and administrative costs after receiving approval from your state. In this rare event, life insurance contracts would be considerably less attractive than policy owners were expecting.

Conclusion

IUL is not right for everyone. If you design a policy that buys the least amount of insurance to get the maximum amount invested, you can add diversification to your portfolio, have tax flexibility in retirement, and make attractive after-tax returns. If you would like to see what it would look like to save into an IUL, please give me a call. We can determine the amount that you want to commit towards saving into a policy and then find the right one for you based on your health history. Because I am independent and not beholden to one company, I can shop all IUL carriers to find the best option that meets your needs.

Business Travel Tips

Business Travel Tips; Reduce Stress and Enjoy Yourself

Traveling for Business is Less Stressful When You Take Time to Prepare and Organize.

Here are a few tips for your business travel that will make that time away from home just a bit more enjoyable. Let’s start with packing for business travel. Start with the purchase of a good carry one bag. Any seasoned business traveler will tell you carry on is the only way to travel. It will keep you out of baggage claim and you will never have to worry about lost luggage. Buy a couple of good quality pieces constructed of polyurethane-treated fabric that have nylon zippers. The polyurethane will keep the moisture out and the nylon zippers are far less likely to snag.Consider keeping a duplicate of as much as possible when it comes to those things that you use on a daily basis such as your toiletries. This way you won’t have to worry about unpacking them when you return home. They can just stay in your business travel bags. You may also think about going to your local drugstore to purchase trial sizes of your toiletries. Try to pack your bag with space saving in mind. Cut down on the number of business suits for example by packing alternate shirts and ties that will go with the same suit.Women can change the look of a suit with different blouses, scarves, sweaters or jewelry. Pack socks and underwear inside your shoes. Not only does this save space but it will also help keep the shape of your shoes. Pack your belts around the edge of your suitcase. When considering the items to pack think of those things that are necessities and those items that may make your business travel just a little more comfortable.

Here is a business travel tip when choosing your mode of transportation. When choosing transportation for business travel the distance that you will be traveling should be considered. Although air travel is the first choice when it comes to long journeys for a shorter trip that is only a couple of hundred miles away a train or automobile may be the better choice. Take into account the time you would spend traveling to and from the airport. Also, don’t forget to consider the amount of time taken at the airport to check in, board, disembark and then find transportation to your final destination etc.

If you do choose to fly consider alternative airports just outside your departure and destination city. Typically these airports may have fewer flights but also will have less chance for overbooking and delays.

Always try to stay in hotels that cater to business travel. Most of these hotels will have high- speed internet access and will offer access to business machines. For unbiased reviews from other business travelers just like you we recommend that you research
hotel reviews at TravelPost.com

One of the more important business travel tips is to check your cellular service prior to leaving for another city. Check with your cell phone service provider. You may find that they don’t provide service where your business travel takes you and therefore you will need to find an alternate carrier for this trip.Can you imagine not finding out until you’re there!

Hope that you will find these business travel tips helpful and may all of your business travel bring further success!

Solar PV – The Smartest Investment For 2011? And You Get Free Electricity!

A 10% tax free, index linked income for 25 years, guaranteed by the Government that’s environmentally friendly and provides free electricity.

When you install a Solar Photovoltaic (PV) system at your property you can now earn around 10% per annum tax free guaranteed by the Government for the next 25 years. Solar PV is the amazing investment and environmentally friendly opportunity that was introduced by the UK Government in April 2010. This is when the ‘Feed in Tariff’ (FiT) was introduced to increase the rate you get paid for the microgeneration of electricity at your premises.

The FiT is index-linked for the next 25 years making it inflation proof. In the context of the Spending Review in October it is one of the few areas where there is real certainty to invest your money safely and wisely for the future with exceptional, tax free returns.

In setting out to stimulate consumer demand for microgeneration (the production of clean energy on a domestic scale), the Government have set the FiT very high for a limited period. This means that only households and commercial enterprises that complete their installation before March 2012 will qualify for the highest rate tariff.

As soon as you are installed you are locked into the index linked scheme and its benefits for the next 25 years. This includes the annual cash benefits of the FiT, free electricity and knowing that you are reducing your CO2 footprint.

So what are the catches? There aren’t any. Your installation needs to be carried out by an MCS qualified installer in order to claim your 10% tax free, indexed linked, 25 year income that’s guaranteed by the Government.

The roof needs to be southerly facing and shadow free for most of the day. The panels are mounted onto the roof using a hidden lightweight aluminium framework. The DC electricity produced by the panels during daylight hours is converted to AC by an inverter. This will usually be in the loft space or near your electricity supply.

Finally, a meter measures the amount of electricity that your system generates (in the same way that your current meter measures what you use and are charged for today). A typical installation will involve two installers and a qualified electrician working at your house over a couple of days. It is a straightforward job with most of the work taking place outside.

The highest rate FiT is 41.3p per kWh and applies to systems up to 4kW in size. This is typically four times the price paid for electricity from the grid and is paid regardless of how the electricity is used and even if you don’t use any of it.

On top of the FiT, you add the value of electricity that you have saved by using some of what you’ve generated. Finally there is an income called the Export tariff which is calculated as 50% of the electricity that you generate being fed back into the grid.

If any of this sounds complicated, it really isn’t; once your installation is completed, the Solar PV system is connected seamlessly to your present electricity supply and your new meter is ready to calculate how much electricity you have generated and what your annual revenue is.

And there are a range of investment options depending on what return you are looking for. From wholly owned systems through shared ownership and even free systems, where you rent your roof for free electricity, the options are many and varied.

Hire Travel Agencies For Your Business Travel

When going to a foreign destination on a business trip, there are a lot of things to be taken care of, especially if it is your first business travel. To make your business trip easier it is always advisable to hire a travel agency to take care of all your travelling matters.There are many travelling organisations in Australia that can help you with your business trip. They will plan all the details of your trip meticulously for you, right from the onset till the last moment of your stay in your foreign destination. Business travel is a complete opposite of a leisurely vacation. The first and most prominent point of difference is that you are not going there to take a leisurely break from work, but you are going to a foreign land for work! Therefore, these trips need proper and thorough meticulous planning. Travel agencies take care of all the planning that is to be done according to your requirements, Business air travel bookings, hotel room bookings, arrangements of meetings, and many more things on the same lines. These agencies know all the needs of business travellers and also the fact that they travel quite frequently to particular business destinations. Therefore, to attract these frequent business travellers and to furnish their own accounts, they come up with alluring business travel packages that snugly fits every traveller’s pocket! Apart from just being affordable, these packages also include comfortable stay hotel booking, affordable business air tickets, fine cuisines and dining, and best arrangements for business conferences and meetings.

For a frequent business flier, it is always recommended to hire an agency that specialises in business travelling. These agencies are experts in this area and can provide you with best possible arrangements and services at an affordable price. You can expect best experience in reasonable fees, after hiring these travel experts. These agencies can also provide you with a perfect combination of two types of travel packages, that is, which includes site seeing and pleasure activities after your business work is over. The package includes trips to the popular tourist attractions, cruises, amusement parks, site seeing and exploration of the place. There are many agencies that provide packages for both travel purposes – business and leisure. People going on business can take up such packages to explore the place after finishing the business or in the evenings or anytime of the day in between the business meetings and other official activities. These are the best economical packages for leisure and business travel. These packages can make you attend your business activities, while your family can indulge in the leisurely activities. Hiring travelling agencies not only saves you money but also makes your business trip a lot easier for you and your family.

Glycemic Index Vegetables

Vegetables are known for their ability to maintain good health. Low glycemic index vegetables are rich in vitamins and minerals. It is recommended that you eat least 2 -3 servings of low glycemic vegetables per day. Vegetables should be eaten in moderate amount.

Low glycemic index vegetables can cause a moderate rise, in sugar levels, the blood system. There are two main types of vegetables, including low and high GI vegetables. High glycemic index vegetables can increase the glucose level in the blood beyond the optimal level. Vegetables with high index scores include legumes, and starchy vegetables. Examples of starchy vegetables include potatoes, yams and etc. When you know the index rating of each vegetable, you will be able to control the sugar level in the blood efficiently. In addition, your body will be resistant against diabetes, cancer and heart disease. Eating lots of vegetables will enable you to maintain a healthy weight.

Low glycemic index vegetables are also rich in fiber. Fiber is a type of carbohydrate. However, the stomach cannot digest fiber and because the stomach cannot digest fiber, it cannot increase the glucose level in the blood system. After you eat a food, the stomach will break down the carbohydrate into glucose. Glucose can increase the level of insulin in the body. Insulin can increase the energy of the body and makes you active. After you have used up the energy, the excess insulin will be stored in other organs such as muscles and the liver. When there are no more places to store the glucose in the organs, the body will then store the excess glucose as fat in other parts of the body.

By eating vegetables, you can maintain an optimal weight because they have a low amount of carbohydrate. It is important to have low glycemic meals every day. A single low GI meal cannot lower the glucose level in the body efficiently. Eating vegetables can burn off the excess fat in your body. Vegetables can eliminate the high lipoprotein cholesterol in the blood, again helping you to have a healthy body.

If you want to find out the exact glycemic value of each vegetable, you must reference the GI food chart. You can find free information on low glycemic index vegetables on the internet. Many websites offer index rankings for different ranges of vegetables. Some websites provide more comprehensive GI information than others – look around. Therefore, you should visit a variety of websites so that you can compile the most comprehensive vegetable GI list.

Business Traveller Flying to London? A London City Guide for Getting to the Centre

London. The vibrant, beating heart of the United Kingdom. It’s one of the world’s most popular destinations for tourists, and for business travellers too. The amount of commerce that goes through London is staggering, with a financial centre second only to New York, and service industries that cater for both the UK, European and international markets. As the world’s most multicultural city – there are over 300 languages spoken by a population of over eight million people (twelve million if you include the metropolitan area) – the opportunities for business are clear.

With the UK strategically positioned for the business traveller on the western edge of Europe, London is a global hub for air travel, providing easy access to mainland Europe, and a stepping stone to the United States. Primarily served by five airports – Heathrow, Gatwick, City, Stansted and Luton – London is easily reached from anywhere in the world. But with the exception of London City Airport – smallest of the five and located in East London, close to the business district of Canary Wharf – the other four airports are satellites evenly dispersed around the city. The most popular, Heathrow, is located to the west of London; Gatwick is situated to the south; Stansted to the north east; and Luton to the North West. Knowing this before you make your travel plans can be useful. Since the greater metropolitan area of London covers over 1,000 square miles, your final business destination may not be right in the centre. Researching which airport is closest to your destination can save you time, effort and money.

However, whether you’re a business traveller flying from within the UK or from overseas, your starting destination may often determine the airport you arrive at. Other factors, such as your chosen time of travel, budget and availability will also make a difference. For example, if you’re travelling with a major international carrier from a major city, such as New York, the chances are you’ll arrive at Heathrow or Gatwick (Stansted also receives flights from New York but is the smallest of the three). If you’re travelling locally from within the UK with a budget carrier you’re more likely to arrive at Stansted or Luton (though not exclusively). And if you’re travelling from a major European city, particularly a financial capital, such as Frankfurt, London City Airport is a likely arrival point (the airport was created specifically to cater for short haul business travellers, particularly between financial centres).

Each airport is served by comprehensive rail and road infrastructure, providing business travellers with a variety of options to enter London. All five airports offer direct rail travel into the heart of Central London, coach travel to the main Victoria terminus, and hire car, mini-bus, licensed black cab and taxi services by road. If you’re a VIP business traveller, chauffeur services are also available, and with the exception of London City Airport, each also offer direct helicopter transfer into the heart of the city.

London Heathrow Airport

The busiest of the five airports is London Heathrow. Located less than twenty miles from central London, Heathrow is situated to the west of the city within the M25 motorway metropolitan boundary. The fastest route into London is via the Heathrow Express train service, taking just 15 minutes from terminals 1, 2 and 3 to Paddington station (located on the western side of Central London). If your flight arrives at either terminal 4 or 5 it’s a further four and six minutes travel time respectively, and you’ll need to transfer on to the main London-bound service at terminals 1, 2 and 3.

The service is excellent, offering comfort and convenience, but does not always suite everyone’s travel budget. The standard ‘Express’ single journey ticket costs £21.00 (€25.00 / $35.00), but business travellers can get better value when purchasing a return ticket, priced at £34.00 (€40.00 / $56.00). The ‘Business First’ ticket is more expensive, with singles costing £29.00 (€35.00 / $48.00) and returns £52.00 (€62.00 / $86.00), but it does afford business travellers considerably more leg room, the privacy of a ‘single seating’ layout, and a fold out table. The experience is akin to that of air travel. All passengers across both pricing structures enjoy access to electrical sockets, USB ports and free Wi-Fi. The overall quality of service and passenger experience generates a ‘wow’ factor, and if your budget can afford it, is certainly the smoothest, quickest and most convenient way to travel into London from Heathrow. Trains run regularly every fifteen minutes in both directions, particularly useful for last minute dashes to the airport.

There are two further rail options available to business travellers, both considerably less expensive, though this is reflected in the quality of service. That’s not to say either is not a good solution for business travellers, just that there is a noticeable difference in convenience and comfort.

With a service typically running every thirty minutes, and a journey duration – depending on the time of day – of between 23 and 27 minutes from terminals 1, 2 and 3, Heathrow Connect is more than adequate for business travellers who are not in a hurry. Like the rival Express service, Connect also arrives at Paddington station, but unlike its faster rival stops at up to five other stations before reaching its terminus. The ‘inconvenience’ of this less direct journey is compensated for by a considerably less expensive ticket price. Single journey’s cost £9.90 (€12.00 / $16.00) while a return is £19.80 (€24.00 / $32.00). There is no saving to be made from purchasing a return ticket. While the convenience and comfort of the traveller experience cannot match the Express, the Connect business travel solution is an acceptable compromise that suits a greater number of travel budgets.

The third – and least expensive – rail option is the London Underground ‘tube’ network. Despite the network’s name the majority of the journey from Heathrow is overground, until the business traveller nears Central London. Starting on the Piccadilly Line, the service connects all five Heathrow terminals and provides frequent trains into London, stopping at a considerable amount of outlying stations before arriving in the capital’s centre. This continually ‘interrupted’ journey – there are seventeen stops between Heathrow terminals 1, 2 and 3 and Paddington Tube station (the nearest equivalent tube terminus for a fair comparison) – and takes approximately fifty minutes journey time on average, considerably slower than its more direct rivals. This journey comparison also requires the inconvenience of a transfer between lines.

So why would the business traveller consider using the tube from Heathrow to Central London? Simple. The frequency of service, the array of destinations, and the cost. At a cash price of just £5.70 (€6.80 / $9.50) for a single journey in either direction during peak hours (06:30am to 09:30am), financially the Underground is an attractive option. At nearly half the price of the Heathrow Connect, and at just over a quarter of the price of the Heathrow Express, this service is comparably good value for money. Further value can be found if the business traveller purchases an ‘Oyster Card’, the ‘cashless’ electronic ticketing system beloved by so many Londoners. Available to purchase at Heathrow London Underground stations, this useful option allows you to get tickets cheaper than for cash – in this case a reduction to just £5.00 (€6.00 / $8.30). Off-peak travel with an Oyster Card offers even greater value, with Heathrow to Paddington in either direction costing just £3.00 (€3.60 / $5.00) per journey. The Oyster Card can also be used for unlimited travel on buses and trains throughout London, with a maximum daily spend capped at £17.00 (€20.00 / $28.00) peak time and just £8.90 (€10.60 / $15.00) off-peak for a six zone ticket (destinations across London are divided into six main zonal rings. Travelling from Heathrow to Central London crosses all six zones).

The Underground is primarily a city-wide mass transit system, rather than a ‘train’ service. As such the level of comfort and convenience is substantially less than that of both the Heathrow Express and Connect services, and at peak hours can be considerably uncomfortable. Having endured a recent flight, business travellers who choose this option run the risk of having to stand up the entire journey if travelling during peak hours. If the carriage is full to squeezing point (as is often the case at peak time) managing your luggage can be a challenge. It should also be noted that the tube network – which, as the world’s first urban mass-transit system is over 150 years old – is often prone to signal failures and delays. If the time between your arrival at Heathrow (don’t forget to factor in clearing immigration control, luggage collection and customs) and your business appointment is tight, particularly during peak hours, it is not unfair to say that you are taking a risk if you choose to use the Underground.

Compared to using rail, travelling by road into Central London is far less convenient. Like every major city around the world, traffic congestion plagues the streets of London. The M4 and A4 route from Heathrow into London is always busy and in parts can be slow moving at times. No matter what your method of road transport, the business traveller is vulnerable to the risk of delays and accidents.

Buses and coaches are plentiful. The dominant carrier is called National Express. They operate services between Heathrow Airport and London Victoria, the main coach terminus in London. From here travellers can travel to many other destinations around the UK. The coaches run from Heathrow Airport Central Bus Station, which is located between terminals 1, 2 and 3. Its well sign posted so easily found. If you’re arriving at terminals 4 or 5 you’ll need to first take the Heathrow Connect train to the central bus station. From Victoria Station you can get to any other part of London with ease, via the Underground, plentiful buses, local trains and licensed black cabs / minicab taxi services.

A single journey tickets start from £6.00 (€7.20 / $10.00), while returns cost £11.00 (€13.20 / $18.00). Although you can purchase your ticket at Heathrow, it is advisable to do so in advance, and online. This will ensure you have a guaranteed, reserved seat on your coach of choice, and also provide you with the opportunity to select a time of departure and/or return that best suits your needs. Typically this service runs three coaches per hour to and from London Victoria coach station. The journey time can vary, dependent on the route taken, the time of day and traffic conditions, but you can typically expect your journey to take between 40 and 90 minutes.

National Express also offers business travellers a Heathrow hotel transfer service to and from the airport, known as the Heathrow Hoppa. With hundreds of services each day running around the clock, it’s a clean, comfortable and affordable way to get about, costing £4.00 (€4.80 / $6.60) for single journey and £7.00 (€8.40/ $11.50) for a return journey. This service is particularly useful if your business appointment is located close to Heathrow and you have no need to travel into Central London.

An alternative to coach travel is taking a bus. This can be particularly useful if you arrive at Heathrow late at night. Depending on the day of the week, the N9 night bus runs approximately every 20 minutes to Trafalgar Square in Central London, from 11.30pm to 5am. The journey time is approximately 75 minutes, subject to traffic delays. It’s a very affordable service, and as part of the Transport for London infrastructure a single journey can be paid for with an Oyster Card (£1.40 (€1.70/ $2.30) or by cash (£2.40 (€2.90/ $4.00).

If your journey into London requires the freedom to choose to travel whenever you want, to wherever you want, or you simply require privacy, then private hire transport is readily available at Heathrow. If you’re just interested in getting from A to B and back again, without any other journeys in between, taking a licensed black cab or minicab taxi may suit your needs. Travelling in an iconic licensed black cab into Central London will take approximately 45-60 minutes, subject to traffic delays, and can typically cost between £50.00 (€60.00/ $83.00) and £80.00 (€96.00/ $132.00). If you do find yourself delayed in traffic the journey will cost more, since black cab meters also charge for waiting time when not moving. Black cabs are readily available at all hours, and good sign posting at Heathrow means they’re easy to find. At a squeeze up to five business travellers can be accommodated, though if you all have large luggage it will be a problem.

An alternative private hire to black cabs are licensed taxi services. This could be a better option for the business traveller, particularly if a number of people with luggage are travelling together. An array of vehicle types are available, ranging from standard 4/5 seater saloon and 6/7 passenger people carrier cars, up to 15 or 17 seater minibuses and even coach taxis. An added advantage is you can book your vehicle of choice in advance and at a fixed price. With so many different companies offering these services, prices – and quality of service – can vary, but typically for a single journey the business traveller can expect to pay a fixed, advance price of £40.00 (€48.00/ $66.00) for a saloon car; £50.00 (€60.00/ $83.00) for an estate car; £55.00 (€66.00/ $90.00) for an executive car; £55.00 (€66.00/ $90.00) for a people carrier; £65.00 (€78.00/ $108.00) for an 8 seater minibus; £80.00 (€96.00/ $132.00) for an executive people carrier; and £165.00 (€198.00/ $272.00) for a 16 seater minibus. Savings can be made on all tariffs if a return journey is booked in advance.

Travelling by black cab or licensed taxi affords the business traveller the freedom to travel at his or her own pace, and can take the hassle out of a journey. It can be a very relaxing way to commute from the airport into London, particularly after a long flight, and offers the business traveller an opportunity to unwind prior to their business appointment.

If you need to arrange senior executive or VIP transportation, chauffeur driven services are readily available (booked in advance) between Heathrow and London. The vehicle type and the length of time you require it for will dictate the price you’ll pay. Chauffeur driven services are readily available to find online. The same is true of helicopter charter services which can transfer the executive business traveller from Heathrow into Central London (Battersea Heliport) in approximately 15 minutes. Flightline Travel Management is experienced at providing our customers with both modes of transport, and we’re happy to take your enquiry.

Free Business to Business Directories

Ok so I have written about some of the best B2B directories, they all offer services at a price but can provide great results for your company. I have detailed probably what I would consider to be the ‘big’ 4. There are many more available but weather they are worth looking at is a decision I will leave for you. However not all directories make you pay for your advert, there are a few out there that offer their services for free. One thing you have to remember is that these directories simply can not provide the same coverage as the paid for ones, but considering they are free they do work fairly well. Also remember when advertising you are not limited to one place, spread your advert out across different directories to receive more coverage.

Free Index
This is one of the most popular free directories, not as large as the paid for directories but still boasting around 20,000 companies and 1.2 million visitors a month Free Index works well considering it is free. Their service is free of charge and they promise not to send to any spam. It takes about 2 minutes to set up a free small advert and is a good start to getting your name out there.

Expert Focus
This is another free directory that specializes in the advertising of manufacturers, so if it is a manufacturer you are looking for and want to put a small advert somewhere Expert Focus is worth checking out.