5 Smart Tips and Tactics for Spending Less on Your Next Car

5 Smart Tips and Tactics for Spending Less on Your Next Car

Buying a car can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be outrageously expensive. With the right strategies, you can lower the cost, get a better deal, and spend less on your monthly payments. Sound good? Read on!

5 Tips for Spending Less on Your Next Car

If you’re like the average person, a house is the most expensive purchase you’ll ever make. But vehicles come in a close second. Thankfully, there are ample opportunities to save. Here are a few highly recommended suggestions:

1. Set Your Budget

Start by asking yourself two questions:

  • How much can I spend?
  • How much do I want to spend?

For some people, the answer to these questions is the same. But if you want to make a fiscally sound decision, you should probably spend less than you can afford to pay.

Once you set your budget, it’s important that you stick to this budget. (And it’s also wise to remember that you don’t have to max out your budget. If you know you can afford to spend $20,000 on a car, paying $17,000 is even better.)

2. Know Where to Find Deals

Sourcing the right deal is half the battle. The same vehicle can cost 15 to 20 percent less than it does at another dealership, but you have to know where to look.

Buying from a private party will almost always yield a lower price. (No added fees and expenses.) And if you’re in a state with high property tax rates, buying across state lines could save you a few hundred to several thousand dollars.

3. Use This Little-Known Email Trick

Tom Niejadlik is in the car business. He’s spent more than 15 years in car showrooms, negotiating with buyers, and mastering the ins and outs of the business. And while he’s seen a variety of negotiation tactics and techniques over this time, there’s one method he says is most effective right now; it involves sending one simple email.

You can read about the process in this article, but here’s the gist of the methodology:

  • Do your research and find out the fair market price for the type of car you’re interested in.
  • Locate seven to 10 dealerships in your region that have the car you’re looking for.
  • Send an email and visibly CC a salesperson from each dealership on the message.
  • In your email, include the fact that you’ve selected a vehicle you want to buy, have already test driven it, and are ready to buy. Explain any options that you must have and that you’re aware of all costs associated with these various options. You should also mention that you’re pre-approved for financing, but would prefer to finance through the seller.
  • Give the dealers 24 hours to respond with their best offer and promise to provide a credit card deposit over the phone.

Dealers hate emails like this, but many will bite. And the best part about it is that you’re showing the dealers they have competition. Some will ignore your email, but you should get at least three to five responses. You can then use these deals as leverage to negotiate even lower offers.

4. Secure a Low Interest Loan

The purchase price of the vehicle is the first major element you need to flesh out. However, it’s also imperative that you secure the lowest car loan rate possible. This requires shopping around online and comparing various rates from different lenders.

5. Buy Used Over New

Buying a new vehicle might seem attractive when you’re on a test drive and you find yourself intoxicated by that new car smell, but it’s rarely a smart choice. New cars depreciate rapidly in the first year – losing more than 20 percent in the first year alone. Why not buy a pre-owned vehicle with low mileage and let someone else take that hit?

Be an Intentional Car Buyer

Lazy car buyers get taken for a ride every single time. Not only do lazy buyers pay too much for their vehicles, but they also overpay on high-interest loans. If you want to spend less money, you have to become an intentional car buyer. This means carefully weighing the details and paying attention to every little aspect (including budgeting, deal sourcing, financing, etc.). Hopefully this article has provided you with a good starting point to begin your search.

Sustainable Building Solutions for Business Owners

Picture this: you’re a new business in a thriving community. You’ve made your business plan, presented it to investors, and received support! Now you’re looking into the construction of the ideal space to facilitate your success. You dream of a workplace that has it all: one that welcomes clients, makes your employees feel productive, and embodies the forward-thinking nature of your new enterprise.  

Whether your business is a retail space, a restaurant, an accounting firm, or a nonprofit, putting the pieces in place to bring your vision to life can be an overwhelming process. Especially so if you’re looking into “green” and sustainable practices for constructing the home of your business.

Now more than ever, ensuring that you as a business owner are doing all you can to practice and implement business practices that support the sustainability of our planet is one of the most important considerations you can make. When it comes to construction, it becomes even more so – not only will making thoughtful choices throughout the construction process positively impact your ecological footprint, but it can support the longevity of your business as well. Constructing a building correctly, the first time will cut down on maintenance and repair costs for years to come. 

The roofing process presents some of the biggest challenges, as well as some of the most innovative solutions for incorporating sustainable techniques into the construction of your storefront. Not only is the roof an important part of the aesthetic appeal of your building, but it serves a critical purpose in preserving the virtue of your structure for years to come.

When taking on a roofing project for your commercial space, you’re certainly considering many important aspects – materials, function, and durability. Choosing sustainable practices can actually speak to several of these points, all in one. Even more importantly, selecting a commercial roofing contractor that has the same vision and values in mind can make or break a project that influences the success of your business.

In this day and age, each time we construct a new building we are using precious natural resources to create the space. And, with these resources growing more scarce every year, we can only in good conscience choose techniques that care for the environment in the best way possible.

Solar power is one of the most prominent pieces of technology at the forefront of the energy conservation movement. More and more, installation costs are easily written off by the energy savings over time that just continue to build over the years. Solar panels also allow you to be more self-sufficient, which, as we all know, is a great move to make heading into the new decade. 

Indeed, as of recently, new products have been added to the solar power industry to meet the growing demand! Solar roofs, solar shingles, and solar tiles are all being continuously developed and enhanced in order to increase their viability and effectiveness. Some of them are specifically designed for residential buildings, while some are more appropriate for large office buildings. If you’re interested in solar power for your new building – or an addition to your existing structure – make sure to ask an expert so you can be sure to select the correct option for your particular situation.

Choosing the proper materials for your roof, to ensure its durability as well as sustainability in construction, is also an important consideration. Clay, concrete, slate, and metal all offer unique elements to a structure when used for roofing projects. Clay and slate have been used for centuries for their durability, ease of access, and rustic aesthetic appeal. Concrete and metal are also very durable and can bring a solid feel and sense of the modern to any structure that employs them for their construction. 

Another exciting innovation in the world of sustainable roofing materials are shingles made from recycled materials. If you’re concerned about keeping your space warm, common for those creating a workspace in cooler climates, these recycled shingles can assist you with maintaining a comfortable temperature. Even the choice of color for your roof can pay use dividends. Choosing a white-colored roof can help keep your space cool and cut down on air conditioning bills in the summer, which can easily become very expensive. 

Natural light is also an important addition to your coworking space that can create positive effects on your employee’s wellness and productivity. For those with sensory issues or sensitivities to light, replacing fluorescent lighting with natural lighting can make all the difference in keeping them happy, engaged, and part of the team.

If you’re constructing your building from scratch, you have the opportunity to put in ample windows and skylights to allow the natural sunlight to filter in. Not only will this allow you to fill the space with plants, but it will also cut down on energy bills – another score for your bottom line! 

If you own the building, look at the “bones” – does it need any repairs? For instance, gutter cleaning services, landscaping services, or investing in window upgrades could make all the difference between a space that you’re happy to occupy for years as your business grows and one that you’re itching to move from as soon as possible. Moving can be just as stressful for a business team as a family, and especially if you’re wanting to create a homelike feeling in your office, setting up a sense of stability is key to comfort.

As you can see, if you approach customizing your ideal workspace with knowledge and conviction about not only the aesthetic appeal of your building but your passion for preserving the environment through sustainable building techniques, you are certain to enjoy productivity for years to come.

And every time you enter your building, you can feel the pride that comes with making choices to construct a fine piece of architecture that stands the test of time – while not putting excess pressure on our precious natural resources.

3 Professionals That Can Help Win Your Car Accident Case

3 Professionals That Can Help Win Your Car Accident Case




So you’ve just been in a car accident. It’s the sort of thing that happens to just about everyone at least once in their lives, but particularly if you’ve been in a serious accident, the aftermath can be frightening and leave you with a lot of questions about what to do next. Seeking medical care is a top priority, as is contacting your insurance and finding an attorney. For those car accident victims hoping for an optimal legal outcome, though, seeking out additional expert help beyond these core players can make a big difference.

Who do you want supporting your case when you enter the courtroom? These 3 types of consultants can all offer valuable information, helping you claim victory and collect the damages you deserve.

Industry Standards

In any given case, your lawyer will determine what experts to consult in support of your case, but at the Gainesville-based law firm Fine, Farkash, and Parlapiano, PA, the team often brings on accident reconstruction experts, economists, care planners, and other medical experts when litigating car accident cases. As a group, this set of experts is uniquely positioned to identify factors ranging from fault to loss of income and long-term care needs. While your lawyers can identify key areas of concern, they don’t have the specialist knowledge and authority to argue these issues to juries and insurance companies on their own.

Reconstructing The Scene

One of the most valuable expert groups in any car accident case is the accident reconstruction specialist, a role that is essentially self-explanatory. The question many people have about accident reconstruction experts, though, is how important are they? After all, with video cameras just about everywhere these days, what can these experts show that cameras can’t?

Traffic reconstruction experts provide valuable information based on visits to the accident scene, evaluation of the damage done to the vehicles, study of debris and tire tracks, and study of surveillance video and medical and police records. There really aren’t other experts besides your lawyer who gets to see all of these pieces in one place. Their knowledge of car accident mechanics and ability to synthesize this information brings a critical, comprehensive view of the event into the courtroom.

Effective Economists

Why would an economist consult on a car accident case? It may seem like an odd fit, but if you want to get the maximum financial settlement, you want a labor economist on your side. That’s because a labor economist can testify to your earning capacity, consider how future industry changes and market growth could impact your future earnings, and – most importantly – what financial losses any accident-related injuries might have caused. Those are losses you can recover.

The Medical Side

Anyone familiar with the use of expert witnesses in car accident cases can tell you that medical evaluation is a standard part of any car accident case, but you need more than just a doctor to evaluate your injuries. Rather, your lawyer can also bring on a medical expert with a specialization in long-term care planning. If you’ve been seriously injured in a car accident, you may need special care, therapies, adaptive equipment, or changes to your home, and that’s where these specialists come in. Not only can they assess your medical needs, but they can also estimate the costs of appropriate care.

While your lawyer is the point person for all parts of your car accident case, additional experts play a critical role in your lawsuit’s overall success. By bringing together their combined expertise, you provide the court and the insurance companies all the information they need to find in your favor.




Shasta Ventures Discusses Churn Amidst Economic Turmoil

Shasta Ventures Discusses Churn Amidst Economic Turmoil

The current economic turmoil resulting from the global health crisis has placed a spotlight on the actions businesses may need to take to retain customers. By concentrating on minimizing churn, many businesses hope to weather the current economic downturn, so they can return to a sustainable degree of profitability in the long run. In order to better understand this concept, as well as related ideas, we turned to information from Shasta Ventures. The venture capital firm has been releasing useful educational resources since the pandemic began to help business leaders better navigate the road ahead.

Company Expertise

One of the reasons Shasta Ventures makes for a useful resource in these matters is the vast institutional experience of its team members. This experience spans multiple economic downturns and encompasses a variety of insights directed at helping businesses return to some degree of normalcy as soon as is possible. One of the leaders in this regard has been the company’s Co-Founder and Managing Director, Ravi Mohan. Mohan’s experience with the firm spans the 2008 financial crisis, providing him with an understanding of some of the skills required of tech leaders to navigate the troubling economic waters in which we now find ourselves.

Another leader at the firm with experience in these matters is Jason Pressman, also a Managing Director with the company. Before joining the venture capital firm, Pressman was known for his role in developing Walmart.com into one of the world’s leading online retailers. His time with that company spanned the 2001 dot.com bubble, an economic crisis that had a profound and lasting impact on the world of tech. Having joined the venture capital firm in 2005, he also worked alongside Mohan to help navigate the company through the 2008 financial crisis. He now brings his experience from both of these time periods to his current work acting as a thought leader and providing advice for businesses struggling at present.

A Look at Churn

One of the ways in which that struggle is manifesting is through a reduction in customer base at many tech companies as market demands and priorities shift. This metric, known as customer churn, is often defined as the rate at which customers stop doing business with a company. For subscription services, it is commonly expressed as a percentage of subscribers who discontinue their service during a set period. However, churn is also a relevant metric for companies that are not subscription-based as it gives an idea as to how demand is changing for a given product.

Churn is especially relevant at present as a number of companies are seeing the use of their offerings drop in relation to reduced customer need or a reduction in the number of customers who can afford a product or service. As we’ll see, this number can be a gateway to an in-depth analysis as to how a business can evolve to better meet customer needs. These types of actions can be useful in any economic context, but at present, they can be a powerful resource for staving off disastrous long-term prospects.

Information from the Firm

Shasta Ventures recently explored this idea in greater detail in a webinar entitled “Analyzing and Managing Churn During Economic Downturns.” The online event brought together three prominent team members from the firm — Mohan, Issac Roth, and Michael Lock — to help businesses explore how a look at customer churn can be critical in this trying time. In fact, one of the reoccurring themes of the informational session was the idea that churn may need to be the top priority for business leaders moving forward. “It’s always been the case that keeping existing customers is easier than acquiring new ones,” said Lock on this subject. “And that rings even more true during these times.”

One way that the team members suggested looking at churn was through the lens of how it showcases a customer’s experience in the current economic environment. By carefully analyzing the metric, businesses can better understand the day to day reality their customers are experiencing and the pressures they are under in their own business endeavors. Through a greater understanding of these ideas, businesses can be better prepared to react to customer needs and can adjust their own offerings accordingly.

Much Needed Perspective

Part of the above analysis rests on businesses taking a real and honest look at the ways in which their offerings are benefiting customers. One concept the firm refers to as a helpful rule of thumb for this analysis is known as the “toothbrush test.” This refers to the idea that if a customer is not using a service at least twice a day, they probably don’t need it. This type of flagging usage can be a sign of trouble ahead for a company and can ultimately lead to higher churn rates as customers look to cut the fat to make their own operations leaner and more cost-efficient.

One of the possible methods suggested to avoid such an outcome was to check in with customers regularly. The panelist noted that “This is a time where you want to be communicating with your customers.” By doing so, companies can work to anticipate customer needs and help to make their products and services more indispensable by directly reacting to market demands. This can not only help to increase usage, and therefore contribute to lower rates of churn, it can also help to keep a business afloat through the duration of this economic downturn. Ultimately, that type of focus on long-term resiliency might spell the difference between success and failure over time.

The global health pandemic caused by COVID-19 has thrown the economy into a state of turmoil. While experts aren’t sure how long this downturn may last, it’s clear that many businesses are struggling to navigate these new waters at present. Turning to voices of experience during these difficult times can help improve a company’s chances for weathering this storm. The above information on churn, pulled from insights from Shasta Ventures, is just one useful example of what can be gained from this type of experience. Look for additional information from the firm and others in the field who can provide context for this downturn and some business practices to be enacted to help promote a more stable economic outlook in the future.

More information about Shasta Ventures at https://www.bloomberg.com/profile/company/3556502Z:US

5 Ways a DUI can harm your career

5 Ways a DUI can harm your career

A DUI can cause you to lose your license, pay astronomical fees, and cause your insurance premium to skyrocket. That’s aside from the effects it will have on your immigration status or public standing, which could impact your ability to get a job. That’s not all that could hurt your chances, though. Here are five ways a DUI can harm your career. 

1. Required Driving

Companies that require driving as part of the job view those with a DUI as an insurance liability risk. If they can’t trust you to make the right decisions in your own vehicle, how can they trust you to do so in theirs or when you represent their company? This will keep you from getting a new job in a similar field, as well. 

2. Background Checks

Nearly every company conducts a background check on potential employees as part of the interview process. In most cases, that’s going to include any criminal history along with your driving record. While companies might view DUIs differently, most will change their perception of you once it shows up on your record. 

3. Irresponsible Candidate

When it comes to perception, the top way employers see a candidate with a DUI is irresponsible. While that might not be fair or true, they assume that you cannot hold your daily life and routine together. They might think you fail to take life seriously, they may think you’re an alcoholic, or that they simply cannot trust you. 

If you manage to retain your current position, a DUI will cause you to lose trust among your coworkers and bosses. They may also see you as irresponsible, which could cause you to miss out on opportunities and promotions. 

4. Financial Strains

Jobs that require driving often offer excellent pay. Without a license, this could cap your earnings at a certain amount and reduce your income. Even when a job doesn’t require driving, they do require you to have a way to get to work. You’ll find yourself paying for rides when you can as you become unreliable to get to work on time. 

5. Emotional Toll

A DUI can impact your self-esteem, create surmounting stress from its consequences, and put you in a negative state of mind for some time. All of these emotional tolls can impact your work performance as well as relations in the workplace. If the impact is severe enough, it could cost you your job. 

For many, it also leads to depression and drinking. Both of these can also impact your work performance and lead to your firing. It’s essential that those with a DUI seek counseling if the emotional toll begins to impact their daily life. 

Moving Forward

If a DUI does cost you your job, all is not lost. You can continue to seek employment with positions that do not require travel. After enough time has passed, it’s also possible to have the DUI expunged from your record, giving you the opportunity to start fresh and land an even better job than the one you had before. 

What’s the Best Way to Fund a Small Business Start-Up?

What’s the Best Way to Fund a Small Business Start-Up?

Many of us dream of starting a business, after all, who wouldn’t want to be in charge and do something they really love? Unfortunately, it’s not always so easy to get a business off the ground. Cash is usually the biggest obstacle, and even if you don’t need a huge amount to start things up, you will need some seed money to get things going. So, how do you fund your business idea?

Consider how much you really need

While you may want to start with a big office and state of the art equipment, the truth is, many businesses start off in peoples’ garage or a spare bedroom. It’s worth sitting down and working on a spreadsheet detailing the bare bones of what you need to get things going. As you make a profit, you can then invest it in buying more stuff for the business.

Take out a small loan

It can be a long, complex process to take out a business loan, and perhaps not one you want to get into if you’re just starting a side hustle right now. Consider getting a personal loan from https://nimble.com.au/ to help you get things off the ground. Remember, if the business doesn’t succeed, you’ll still need to pay the loan back, so be careful about how much you borrow and ensure repayments are manageable.

Consider using your savings

Your savings can be another way to fund your business dream. If you only need a few hundred to buy some items, then this may be a good way to get things off the ground. However, there can be disadvantages to using your savings this way:

  • You lose out on any potential interest payments
  • You may get penalties for withdrawing your savings
  • It can remove any safety net you had for the future
  • It’s risky – you shouldn’t invest your entire savings in a business venture

Using small amounts of your savings can help you achieve your goals, but only use them if you’ve considered the above.

Asking friends and family for help

Friends and family can often help you with small loans, and they may well be happy to fund an enthusiastic entrepreneur. However, borrowing from loved ones can be risky, if things in your business don’t go to plan, you may end up souring personal relationships.

Treat a loan from family or friends as you would any business loan. Make sure you pay it back, whether your business succeeds or not, and put together a business plan so you can make the most of the money and don’t waste it.

If you’re a budding entrepreneur and have an amazing idea for a start-up, you don’t have to wait to turn your dreams into a reality. There are many ways you can fund a business, whether it’s from taking out a loan, using your own money or getting help from others. Weigh up the pros and cons of each option and pick a choice that’s right for you and has the least risk.

How To Increase Your Productivity With A Healthy Work/Life Balance

How To Increase Your Productivity With A Healthy Work/Life Balance

One proven method of increasing productivity among employees is cloud adoption. The adoption of the cloud has been driven by the digitization of the business world, which has exponentially added to the amount of data, programs, and systems that an organization needs to manage in order to keep up. The cloud offers the best way to keep your business organized and innovative, and businesses have reported back strong results. And now, with the development of Social Cloud Storage™ by MrOwl, cloud-based productivity can expand into areas the cloud has never reached. The post, Enhancing Productivity Through MrOwl, details the ways Social Cloud Storage can help increase productivity. Here are five additional ways MrOwl and the cloud can improve productivity within companies.

Flexibility and Agility

Agility and flexibility used to be considered the domain of technology companies but now, it is necessary for any business. Cloud computing allows you to adapt to market conditions with a flexibility that is not available when you use on-site, physical solutions. Aside from adapting to external conditions, this virtual solution also enables quick responses to internal demands. If user demand increases, cloud services can rise to meet the demand, and then be easily decreased as demand drops, thus eliminating the problem of over-provisioning or IT systems overload.

The cloud enables opportunities that simply don’t exist without it, such as the ability to instantly deploy an application or service to all employees with one click. As your organization grows and changes, flexibility becomes that much more important in maintaining productivity. Being able to easily adopt and deploy services as you need them and monitor workloads is a huge gain for the organization and one that’s only available with a cloud instance.

Collaboration and Mobility

A Forbes survey recently found that 64% of respondents indicated that cloud-based collaboration tools have helped their organizations execute faster than before, and 87% of leaders surveyed indicated that cloud-based solutions “represent a true breakthrough in collaboration”.

With the traditional workplace breaking down into more remote, decentralized teams, the need to collaborate efficiently whether employees are in or outside of the office is more important now than ever. One of the keys to higher productivity is through enabling your employees to more easily work together through the myriad collaboration tools available in the cloud. This is where Social Cloud Storage truly shines. It “enables the sharing of content directly out of your cloud storage to a community beyond your contacts.”

With MrOwl, company documents, links, and projects are accessible whenever and wherever employees need them on a self-service basis. The cloud additionally allows employees to, collaborate, and instant message each other, whether they are in the same room or half a world away.

Worker Satisfaction

Working remotely makes such a difference to employee satisfaction that 36% said they would pick working remotely over a pay raise and the same percentage said they would even take a 10% cut in pay for the telecommuting that the cloud makes possible. Distractions in the workplace are another factor inhibiting productivity and these are estimated to cost the US economy $600 billion a year. Cloud computing allows employees to work remotely which cuts down on office distractions and can increase productivity by 35-40%. 

Disaster Resistant

Losing important data to a fire or some other disaster at your business premises can devastate your business. Data back-up service providers have preached this message for a long time, but with the availability of cloud services, it is now much more convenient to heed the message. Virtualization technologies enable the incorporation of cloud-based recovery models which keeps a cloned version of all your data readily available at data centers should something go wrong.

Competitive Edge

A Harvard Business Review study found that 74% of organizations reported that cloud services have given them a competitive advantage because of the ease and speed of capitalizing on opportunities. The ability to build and deliver faster, easier, cheaper, and higher quality results is a huge business advantage that can make all the difference in today’s market.  When employees have exactly what they need in order to do their job the best they can, they gain the ability to be much more productive than before – which helps the business’ bottom line, now and in the long run.

The business world is becoming more complex by the day. With Social Cloud Storage, your employees and overall business are enabled to stay above the chaos and be as productive as possible.  MrOwl offers a huge opportunity to change productivity levels among employees and throughout the organization, and with a strong cloud strategy best fit for your specific needs, you can succeed. With the speed of innovation consistently rising in any and every industry, empowering your employees and business with the best solutions around is essential to success.

Everything You Need to Know About Aquamarine

Everything You Need to Know About Aquamarine




Aquamarine has long been a popular choice for rings and other forms of jewelry, and it’s seeing a resurgence in popularity. Interested buyers are shopping for aquamarine engagement rings, and fashion-conscious consumers are integrating more aquamarine jewelry into their daily attire.

But what is aquamarine, and what should you know about it before you buy it?

What Is Aquamarine?

First, let’s talk about the physics of aquamarine as a gemstone. It’s technically part of the beryl family of minerals, occurring as a light blue or cyan shade. There’s also a deep blue variety that’s sometimes called maxixe.

Aquamarine occurs in most places that yield beryl in general, with Colombia leading international production; it can also be found in the Big Horn Mountains of Wyoming and in the Sawatch Range of central Colorado. Generally speaking, the quality of aquamarine is determined based on its color and richness.

Symbolism and History

Aquamarine has a rich symbolism to support its use as a gemstone. In some circles, aquamarine is believed to embody the purity of clear water, and deep relaxation. It’s also associated with calmness, cleansing, and letting go. Historically, aquamarine was believed to be valued by mermaids—which is why many sailors wore or carried aquamarine as a totem of protection and good fortune. Still today, aquamarine is heavily associated with the sea.

Traditionally, aquamarine is also the birthstone of people born in March. In this context, aquamarine is believed to represent youth, health, and hope, and is heavily associated with spring.

How to Buy Aquamarine

If you’re interested in buying aquamarine rings or other forms of jewelry, there are a few factors worth your consideration.

For starters, you can review aquamarine stones with the four “C’s,” much like you could with a diamond:

  • Color. For aquamarine, the ideal color is something dark blue to slightly greenish blue, with a moderate intensity that still allows light to penetrate. That said, your personal preference may vary, and there’s a fairly wide spectrum of color to choose from in aquamarine.
  • Clarity. Inclusions in your aquamarine should be rare, with good transparency. Related gemstones, like emerald, frequently tolerate inclusions; however, aquamarine should be as clear as possible. You may be able to find aquamarine with a milky discoloration for a discount, if you don’t mind its appearance.
  • Cut. Aquamarine is a workable stone, so you’ll be able to see it in a variety of shapes, sizes, and styles. That said, aquamarine is most commonly cut to resemble emeralds, or as round cuts. If you’re looking for something unique, you can look for vintage aquamarine rings or customize your own design.
  • Carat weight. Aquamarine is rare, but not as rare as the diamond. Accordingly, you may be able to find gems of 25 carats or more. Generally speaking, the larger the carat weight, the deeper the color is going to be; gems under five carats tend to be pale, while bigger gems will offer a richer color.

Be on the lookout for scams and “fake” aquamarine. Because the color and transparency can be readily imitated, unscrupulous sellers may be inclined to try and sell you something false. Real, fine aquamarine is both rare and expensive, so expect to pay a high amount for a quality gemstone.

Additionally, you’ll notice that aquamarine and blue topaz have a similar color and structure. However, blue topaz is much less expensive. Blue topaz is less expensive, because it’s common and easy to produce; you can treat colorless topaz with radiation to get this color. Some aquamarine is similarly treated to enhance its blue color, but it’s still much rarer and more collectable; it’s also considered finer and richer in color.

Some rings may come with side stones, meant to complement the center stone. If these stones are all aquamarine, be prepared for a slight color mismatch. Remember, the richness of the aquamarine’s color will deepen as it increases in size, so smaller stones may end up looking paler by comparison.

Depending on the jeweler where you purchase your piece, you may be able to learn the origins of the aquamarine stone; however, most people do not take the origin of the stone into consideration. An aquamarine stone with the same color, clarity, cut, and carat weight will be priced the same regardless of where it is originally found.

Reviewing Aquamarine

While there are some “standard” ways to evaluate aquamarine, some of your decision will boil down to personal preference; you may prefer a paler or deeper color, or a shade that’s pure blue or closer to green. The best way to make your aquamarine buying decision is to review as many stones as possible, taking their prices into consideration as well, so you can learn and identify your wants.




Juan Monteverde Shows How to Work With An Attorney

Juan Monteverde Shows How to Work With An Attorney

Working with an attorney to help resolve a legal dispute can be unfamiliar territory for some people. That doesn’t mean, however, that it has to be a difficult process. In fact, a good attorney can actively help to demystify the interactions between themselves and a client over the course of a working relationship. In order to help our readers better understand how this works, we turned to the career of Juan Monteverde, a leading securities attorney. Through a look at his insights and an overview of his professional history, you should have a better idea of what to expect from your interactions with an attorney.

Professional background

Let’s first take a look at the professional history of Juan Monteverde in order to gain perspective on how he has helped his own clients resolve a myriad of legal issues. As a securities attorney, he focuses his work on issues dealing with stocks and other financial tools relating to public ownership of a company. In this regard, he often works with shareholders during the process of a corporate merger to ensure their rights are properly taken into account. By doing so, he has been able to not only protect the rights of the shareholders he represents, but also to help improve the overall quality of the merger taking place.

The attorney is also known for his work in disseminating ideas related to legal practice. These undertakings date as far back as his time in law school where he was a staff editor of the law review. He also served as the President of Plead the 5th, his school’s official newspaper. His written work in his field has continued into the present, where he produces scholarly content for distribution in legal publications. In addition to writting articles, he also often speaks at public events to help inform others on issues related to mergers and executive compensation. In this capacity, he has spoken at ABA, ACI, PLI, and other legal conferences.

Importance of communication

One of the most important things to expect from an attorney is an open and clear line of communication. Just like any other type of relationship, communication is the basis for making the partnership a fruitful one and even the best of intentions can be for naught if there is a breakdown in this area. Though communication does not necessarily need to be immediate for it to satisfy the needs of a good working relationship, there should at least be enough of it to keep you abreast of developments in your legal matter. If you find that you are unclear about how things are progressing, and you’re unable to get a response from your attorney, then you may have a breakdown in communication that needs to be addressed.

In general, it is reasonable to expect regular updates from your attorney or someone in their office. You are also well within the bounds of a normal working relationship to expect to be clear on the overall strategy for your matter and where in the process you are at a given time. A timeline of events can be helpful in this regard and can be something you can request from your attorney to ensure you’re both on the same page. If you have questions related to that timeline or other aspects of your case, phone calls or other forms of communication should be responded to in a timely manner. Similarly, you should also be responsive to your attorney and provide feedback when asked.

Attorney competence

At present, there are well over one million attorneys licensed to practice law in the United States. While this means that you should have many options available if you should have a legal dispute that needs to be resolved, it also means that there is a wide range of skill levels amongst practicing attorneys. It is important to understand this and realize that just because an attorney is licensed to practice law, it doesn’t mean that they are exceptionally skilled in that regard.

In order to ensure that you select an attorney who is able to meet the demands of your case, it can be wise to look to third-party evaluations of their abilities. This will help you feel confident that your attorney is competent in the field in which they practice. To take an example from the career of Juan Monteverde, the attorney is ranked by numerous outside organizations, such as Martindale-Hubbell, as a top practitioner in his field. In fact, Super Lawyers has listed him as a New York Metro Rising Star in multiple different years, an award given to only the top 2.5% of attorneys in a given specialty.

Understanding fees

Another important issue to understand fully is the fees that will be associated with a particular legal action. There’s no overarching rule that can be used to determine how much it will cost to engage an attorney in services. Instead, this is an item that should be discussed between a client and their attorney directly. This issue is of sufficient importance that it should be discussed at the outset of a working relationship so as to prevent any misunderstandings down the road.

Examples of possible fee structures vary drastically depending on the attorney’s experience level, type of legal action, and other factors. Some attorneys will operate on a pro bono basis, meaning there is no charge for their services. This is sometimes done in the case of low-income clients. Other legal actions might be paid for with a percentage of a client’s awarded damages, in the case of some civil suits. Other attorneys may charge a flat hourly fee. Knowing an attorney’s fee structure from the outset is an important part of the full and honest communication that all clients should expect.

While many people may not have a full understanding of what to expect from a potential attorney, they need not be left in the dark for long. A good attorney-client relationship generally follows certain guidelines that can often be similar to other fruitful partnerships one may encounter in life. Communication and trust are key components in these matters. Looking to the above overview of insights and work by Juan Monteverde can provide a good first step in understanding what to look for if you find yourself in need of an attorney’s services.

The Whiskey Wash Reviews Kevin Plank’s Sagamore Spirit

The Whiskey Wash Reviews Kevin Plank’s Sagamore Spirit

When Kevin Plank was playing football for the Maryland Terrapins, he was continuously frustrated by the fact that his cotton T-shirts didn’t keep his body comfortable and dry. Being an individual who wasn’t easily daunted by a challenge and who liked to pursue passion projects, he searched for a fabric that could wick the sweat from athletes’ bodies when they were on the field.

Eventually, his search led him to a moisture-wicking microfiber fabric that had previously been used for underwear, from which he designed a new T-shirt that kept athletes dry, cool and light by wicking moisture.

The Establishment and Development of Under Armour

Based on the success of his early prototypes, Plank went on to found his company Under Armour in 1996 to produce sports apparel made from microfiber. At the time, he had $40,000 in credit card debt and $20,000 in personal savings, and he began selling his T-shirts from his grandmother’s basement. Nevertheless, thanks to his entrepreneurial drive and sharp business skills, he managed to keep growing the company by expanding its product lines and making smart marketing investments. Now, almost 25 years after its establishment, Under Armour has grown into a multinational enterprise that’s known for some of corporate America’s fastest growth rates, making a total of $5.2 billion in revenue in 2018 alone. 

However, as the company dealt with concerns about questionable accounting practices and slowing sales, Plank announced his retirement as CEO in October 2019.

Sagamore Spirit Produces Award-Winning Ryes

Never one to sit still, Plank also founded several other businesses while heading up Under Armour. One of these ventures was the Maryland-based Sagamore Spirit company, which began construction on a 22,000-square-foot whiskey distillery in 2015. The distillery also features a welcome center, a processing center, a gift store, two tasting rooms, and a full-service restaurant and bar named Rye Street Tavern.

Maryland has long been a center of U.S. rye whiskey production. According to Forbes, before Prohibition, there were 13 distilleries in Baltimore and 31 located throughout the rest of the state. Maryland-style rye is known to be smoother, sweeter and less spicy than its Pennsylvania counterpart, made from 65 percent rye and 35 percent corn. 

As another passion project of Plank’s, Sagamore Spirit’s mission is to produce rye-whiskey that stands out from the crowd due to its unique Maryland style. Sagamore Spirit sets itself apart due to the use of spring water sourced from Plank’s Sagamore Farm, a renowned horse farm that’s located on a bed of limestone rock. The water is filtered naturally through a limestone aquifer, which ensures its refreshing pureness and zest. The rye whiskey is aged in North Point, in a facility with a capacity of 20,000 barrels. 

And it seems that Plank’s rye whiskey is a success, as The Whiskey Wash reports. While experts agree that the distillery has room for growth, its ryes have already won several industry awards. For example, the cognac finish expression won a noteworthy double-gold citation at the 2020 Denver International Spirits Competition. This cognac finish is one of seven ryes the distillery is currently producing. 

Sagamore Spirit Cognac Finish Rye Whiskey

First produced as a distillery exclusive, the Sagamore Spirit cognac finish rye is a delicious 101 proof that’s been aged for four years in charred barrels made of American white oak before being finished for eight months in barrels that formerly contained French cognac. It’s a pleasing dark amber color, with a nose that contains hints of maple bar donuts, vanilla and new leather jackets. As rye aficionados would expect, it hits the palate with spicy notes of cinnamon and fresh-cut ginger before melting down into date bars and brown sugar. 

Now available in wide release, the cognac finish rye makes for good sipping, although it might be sweeter, moodier and darker than some comparable ryes. For those bourbon drinkers who are less experienced with ryes, the Sagamore Spirit cognac finish rye might be a pleasant cross-over. 

While the finish has a long duration, its fading could be more elegant and pleasing — as the sweetness and spice dwindle, drinkers are left with an enduring black tea taste on the palate. 

Fine-Tuning the Ryes

Overall, the Sagamore Spirit company is well on its way to producing some delectable ryes. Nevertheless, some may need a little more fine-tuning before they become true classics.