In the United States an annuity contract is created when an insured party, usually an individual, pays a life insurance company a single premium that will later be distributed back to the insured party over time. Annuity contracts traditionally provide a guaranteed distribution of income over time, until the death of the person or persons named in the contract or until a final date, whichever comes first. However, the majority of modern annuity customers use annuities only to accumulate funds free of income and capital gains taxes and to later take lump-sum withdrawals without using the guaranteed-income-for-life feature.

Annuity contracts in the United States are defined by the Internal Revenue Code and regulated by the individual states. Variable annuities have features of both life insurance and investment products. In the U.S., annuity insurance may be issued only by life insurance companies, although private annuity contracts may be arranged between donors to non-profits to reduce taxes. Insurance companies are regulated by the states, so contracts or options that may be available in some states may not be available in others. Their federal tax treatment, however, is governed by the Internal Revenue Code. Variable annuities are regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission and the sale of variable annuities is overseen by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) (the largest non-governmental regulator for all securities firms doing business in the United States).
Read (more…)

U.S. taxpayers are still owed $132.9 billion by companies that benefited from the financial bailout and haven’t fully repaid. Some of that money will never be recovered, a government watchdog said.

Big companies like General Motors and AIG, which benefited from the bailout, still owe U.S. taxpayers $132.9 billion. Some of that money will never be recovered, a government watchdog said.

Christy Romero, the acting special inspector general for the $700 billion bailout, has said the bailout that began in September of 2008, could actually last for several more years. Romero told The Associated Press that some bailout programs such as the effort to reduce home foreclosures will last up to 2017 and such programs could cost an additional $50 billion or more.
Read (more…)

Businesses possess their own unique alchemy that results in a plethora of phenomena for researchers to explore. The employees and employers with whom they work also greatly benefit from the discoveries, as an enhanced understanding of the environment means an enhanced understanding of what needs to be done to smooth out any common issues. As one can probably assume, far, far more than 15 helpful studies exist shedding light on strategies both helping and hindering the health, safety, and efficiency of the office. But the following sure do make for an interesting, insightful start.

1. Forty percent of workers find their jobs “very or extremely stressful”:

A 1992 Northwestern National Life Insurance study still garnering attention today noted that 40% of American employees labeled their positions “very or extremely stressful.” It also revealed that one out of every four of these workers considered their careers the No. 1 source of stress in their lives. Suffice it to say, this makes job-related anxiety something of a public health issue.

2.Even nutritious diets can’t offset sedentary office lifestyles:

Meanwhile, back in the dark ages of 2010, a University of Rochester publication discovered that the ravages of workplace stress won’t dissipate in spite of a healthy diet. Of the 2,782 employees surveyed, between 72% and 75% qualified as overweight or obese regardless of whether or not they practiced proper nutrition. Researchers blame the largely sedentary lifestyle of the modern office drone, meaning exercise stands as pretty much the only viable solution to combating this less-than-healthy corporate lifestyle.

3. Sexual harassment hinders job performance:

Read (more…)

A company’s reputation is based on the satisfaction level of its customer, its financial performance, and its ability to tackle problems. Here is a list of the worst companies in U.S.
Charter Communications

Charter Communications has been ranked as the worst Internet Service Providers and its services as the worst among all the major national carriers. Charter redirected the error pages and the Windows Live Search results to the Charter’s page, without informing the customers. If any customer wanted to opt out of the option to be redirected, they had to click a link on Charter’s search page. The main problem was that while opting out, the link would install a cookie on the customer’s computers, and in order to delete the cookie, they would be required to opt out again.

In 2008, Charter reportedly deleted the email accounts of 14,000 customers during a routine sweep of the inactive accounts, which made the removed data irretrievable. Though it refused to pay any compensation to the customers, it finally decided to give a $50 account credit to each of the affected user. Its customers generally filed complaints regarding the improper billing practices and the poor customer service.

Four former Charter executives were framed for accounting frauds in 2005. In 2008, Charter announced its plans to monitor the websites visited by its high-speed Internet users via a partnership with NebuAd, but had to change its plan after many customers voiced their concerns. The company has been under financial pressure and filed for bankruptcy in March 2009, but emerged out of it in November 2009.

United Airlines

United Airlines has faced a lot of customer complaints regarding to extremely long delays of the flights, and the exorbitant baggage fees. In 2002, United Airways filed for bankruptcy, as it failed to keep its costs under control, which along with the rising oil prices made United loss $2.14 billion. It tried to cut down costs with its employees, suppliers and contractors. In 2005, it cancelled its pension plans, which was the largest such default in the U.S. corporate history. After implementing a restructuring in 2006, United finally returned to normal operations.

The merger with Continental Airlines had negative impacts on customer services. The Air Line Pilots Associations sued the company saying that the revised operating procedures were inadequate to maintain the levels of safety. The merger led to the check-in kiosks being inoperative, flight delays, and loss of baggage.


The company has been in the loop of a lot of criticism for its stance on net neutrality, and poor levels of customer satis
faction. The common complaints included poor communication with the customers when it came to updates and changes in the billing systems, making the channels unavailable for customers who didn’t update to digital cable, long waiting time for technicians, and a very steep increase in prices. Comcast is also stated to having spent millions of dollars on lobbying relations with the government. Though Comcast is a largest cable company on the basis of its revenues, it is equally big when it came to providing the worst customer services.

Time Warner Cable

The company has been into a lot of controversies with regards to bandwidth metering, agreement to local stations, and cable and on-demand channels. The common complaints were centered around fraudulent business acts and bad services, capping the usage by customers, limited support for public access television, and a steep increase in the prices. In 2008, the company started capping the customer’s broadband usage. In 2010, Time Warner Cable’s transmission on the kids channels was interrupted by a programming by Playboy TV for around two hours.

Time Warner enjoyed a long period of monopoly, which enabled it to rule its customers with its own policies, but the increasing competition from the satellite companies, forced Time Warner to provide better services.

Delta Airlines

Delta has been ranked the worst U.S. airline for a long period and the usual complaints revolved around flight delays, exorbitant baggage fees, and service cutbacks. The other controversies the company has been involved related to its free upgrades and lining the pockets of policymakers, a lousy service, and their refusal to let people use their frequent flier miles. In 2005, Delta filed for bankruptcy, owing to increasing fuel prices, lot of competition and a declining inflow of cash. The sacrifices made by all, from the employees to the management, pulled Delta out of bankruptcy in 2007.

Delta acquired Northwest Airlines in 2008, to form the world’s largest airline in terms of schedules passengers carried, after which the level of customer satisfaction dropped further.


Corporations are notorious for being formal and stuffy, but not all big businesses are created equal. Over the last decade, more big-name companies are ditching the standard suit and tie and allowing their employees to wear khakis, jeans, and even (gasp!) flip-flops. These trend-setting companies have gone above and beyond the business norms to provide a comfortable and fun working environment for their employees, while providing awesome amenities like free gym memberships, complimentary dry cleaning, and on-site chefs to meet their daily needs. Check out these 10 big businesses with incredibly casual offices.

1. Google. Google was one of the first companies to adopt the laid-back corporate culture that emphasized creativity and achievements on an individual basis that add to the team’s overall success. One of the company’s 10 principle philosophies is “you can be serious without a suit.” This philosophy speaks volumes for the casual culture of Google. Not only is the dress code casual, but the overall look and feel of the company’s headquarters in Mountain View, Calif., is also laid back and fun. Google employees can enjoy ping pong, snacks in the break rooms, video games, and “huddle” rooms for everyone to take a break. Some additional office amenities include massage chairs, foosball and ping pong tables, an onsite gym, haircuts, and complimentary car washes.
Read (more…)

Social networking sites were originally created to connect people, but today’s sites do so much more. Everyone knows that successful careers are built on who you know. So, whether you’re looking for a new job or just wanting to move up in your field, these ten sites can help you move forward.

LinkedIn – The site for professional connections, leads, and jobs. These are all business people, and that’s what you’re looking for. Making connections is an essential part of any career, and, should you find yourself looking to change companies, start a new career, or simply move up in your field, you want a wide range of people to help you achieve your goal.
Facebook – The go-to site for everyone now, Facebook overtook MySpace as the most popular social networking site and caters to millions of users. The ability to make connections and renew acquaintances allows Facebook users to connect with current co-workers and potential employers they may never have come across in the real world. Be careful of what you post and who you friend though, employers will check you out. Join groups that show what kind of worker you are, and avoid things that could reflect negatively.
Read (more…)

This won’t take long, but think about the message and act accordingly.

Never, ever, in the history of the investment world has a major correction in the stock market not been a major buying opportunity — particularly in Investment Grade Value Stocks (IGVS).

Always, every time and without exception, the general media has predicted the end of the financial world, financial experts have pointed out the remarkable differences from the last correction, and investors everywhere have been encouraged to take their losses and sit on cash or gold until the smoke clears.

Every time, the short sighted fear mongers have been wrong. Not just most of the time mind you — absolutely all of the time. Similarly, the investing public has always been mesmerized into a take-no-further-action coma by whomever and whatever they listen to.

At the same time, every time, without exception, while the financial markets plummet out of control down the most recent “Double Black Diamond” Wall Street favorite, the few investors who practice Market Cycle Investment Management are collecting IGVSs in their cash rich shopping carts, preparing for the next “Silver Bullet” up the mountain.

Read (more…)

The true enemy is not necessarily Wall Street and its counterparts, it is the Federal Reserve. Wall Street’s greed created the housing bubble and subsequent collapse but it was saved by both the US Treasury and FR. The FR secretly loaned $1.2 trillion in public money to Wall Street firms before the Treasury even stepped in. The FR is the safety net for the criminals of Wall Street and until that source is cut, Wall Street will remain backed by the most powerful corporation in the United States.

Why aren’t these protest taking place where it needs to be: Washington DC. Where they piss away 90% of OUR money on bloated bureaucracies with regulations that encourage businesses to move overseas and entitlement programs that keep people reliant on govt. instead of earning a living and some self respect. I have no problem with govt. assistance when it’s needed, but it’s a way of life for too many people. At least Wall Street earned theirs.

Read (more…)

« Previous PageNext Page »