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Friday, December 18, 2009

Show Me the Money!

Show Me the Money an interview with Chet Jones about money, business and how you need to get in to fit in will air tonight at 7pm on don't miss it.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Where is the money? Educational, Small Business, Green, and NSP Grants Top the Charts.

Grant and scolarship money related to education, green technology and neighborhood stabilization are topping the charts these days.  Anyone that is not involved in what is going on in those industries may need to at the very least address the directions of the wind of change in these areas.

Educational grants, scholarships and financial aid will either be based on merit or need.  The federal government is covering about 30 percent of the monies and states are picking up about 15 percent of the tab.  Institutions will cover the rest, which will mean that the schools that students are enrolled in will figure prominently in the aid to cover college expenses.  Financial aid based on need is income based and basically on a first come first serve basis.

Green technology funds will be provided to homeowners that invest in making their homes energy efficient.  Some states will provide stimulus money directed toward weatherization via their department of community affairs.  Funds will be directed to counties, cities or non profit organizations with weatherization certifications.  The idea adopts the trickle down theory with a direct reward to contractors that meet criterial for weatherization.  Weatherization should lower the heating bill for the elderly and stimulate the economy by awarding contracts to companies with certifications that can hire local labor to assist in accomplishing this goal.  As much as $8M was awarded to a company Action, Inc. within the past 30 days.  I know of one organization in the state of Georgia that has been awarded at least $4.2M in weatherization contracts.  This is real and many counties have there money in place and they are ready to spend, but local contractors may not have the certification for them to begin. 

The Obama's stimulus plan has small business in mind by directing stimulus funds to the SBA so that small businesses can acquire loans of up to $35K to pay past due bills.  Documentation and financial packages will be required.  Additionally, awards of federal contracts and funds are available for disabled service veteran owned companies.  The loans require 10% reserves without source or seasoning.

NSP (Neighborhood Stabilization Program) money is available in most cities.  Joint venture agreements have been signed with some cities, but a lot of this money is being held by the some cities and conditions for acquiring these grants are unstable because of continual changes in the financial climate and politics.  Agreements and allocations seem to be directed toward non profits (CHDO's, Faith Based Organizations) and Contractors that have the financial fitness to acquire land and develop housing.  In some cases the city actually has the end buyers approved and ready for acquisition, but government has not learned to work as expeditiously as the situation for funds disbursement requires.  Some businesses have been awarded NSP money only to have the grant retracted because of daily changes to criteria after the award.

Each day millions of dollars in Free Government Grants are given away to people just like you for a wide variety of Business and Personal Needs.

Grants Can Be Secured By Any US Citizen. This year to date, as part of President Obama’s stimulus package, over $635 billion dollars have been diving out as grants:

Small Business Start Up and Growth - $150 Billions
Housing and Home Renovation - $100 Billions
Heath Care Cost Recovery - $80 Billions
Student Loans and Education Grants - $85 Billions
Minority Grants - $55 Billions
Women’s Grants - $100 Billions
Research Grants - $100 Billions
Community and Social Development Grants - $36 Billions
Personal and Cash Grants - $90 Billions
Grants for Non-Profit organizations - $100 Billions

There is no limit to the number of grants you can apply for. Each US citizen is eligible for more than one grant and should feel free to apply for the grants they deem necessary to help them live the most complete and fulfilling life. These should not be confused with loans – government grants never have to be paid back. There are no credit checks, no collaterals, and no co-signers. Those with bad credit or who have declared bankruptcy are still eligible.

Health Savings Account Contribution Limits for 2010

By William Perez, Guide to Tax Planning

For 2010, the maximum amount that can be contributed to health savings accounts are:

•$3,050 for self-only coverage,
•$6,150 for family coverage,
•$1,000 in additional catch-up contributions for people age 55 or older.

The annual maximums are adjusted annually by the IRS as part of their inflation-indexing process (Rev Proc 2009-29). The additional catch-up amount for people age 55 or older is set by statute in Internal Revenue Code Section 223. This additional catch-up amount reached its full $1,000 amount in 2009, and so the catch-up amount will not increase further unless Congress changes the law.

I also wish to point out two interesting things I noticed about HSAs recently. Normally funds inside an HSA cannot be used to pay for insurance premiums. Except: HSA funds can be used to pay for

•COBRA premiums,
•health insurance premiums during any period for which you're receiving unemployment benefits, or
•health insurance premiums if you're age 65 or older (other than Medigap and other Medicare supplemental policies).

So for people who are currently unemployed, you might be able to tap into your health savings account to help pay for your health insurance coverage.

The second thing I recently noticed about health savings accounts: no where do the rules say you need "earned income" to be eligible for an HSA. In other words, even "unearned income" such as interest, capital gains, or unemployment benefits can be offset by using the HSA deduction. (Earned income is a technical phrase meaning income from wages or self-employment.)

American Opportunity Tax Credit

Educational deduction that is taken on the 1040A will be accompanied by the new American Opportunity Tax Credit which provides up to $2,500 for people pursuing undergraduate education. Replacing and expanding on former the Hope credit, the American Opportunity credit is scheduled to be effective for the years 2009 and 2010 only.

This coupled with educational grants and aid can make a tremendous difference for students enrolled in education programs during the years 2009 and 2010.

State of Georgia Have you done business with the state?

Many businesses submit bids to do business with the DCA state of Georgia only to find out that they don't meet the criteria. Part of the criteria will be to have done successful business with the state recently (3 to 5 years). Now many businesses have to be wondering is this a trick question; or should I overlook this question and let them know of the successful business that I have done with other organizations so that they will see that I have credibility.

Unfortunately, businesses that have a successful history with organizations that have not done business with the state of Georgia will be disqualified to act as a GC in a bid submission. The best way to align your business with the state is to begin collaborating with existing business on existing projects. A lot of stimulus funds will actually be transferred via HUD to the DCA and from there it will be accessed via winning bidders that submitted proposals in answer to RFP's let by the state. Now those winning bidders had to start somewhere and that place is where I am telling you to start right now.

Large operations within the state of Georgia will be the GC on many projects let by DCA and it would be wise to identify those vendors and submit a statement of qualifications to them before they select a team for upcoming bids. Most information about the money and the allocations can be accessed on the HUD website and a few other sites on the internet. This research can be done at this site, so that you can determine which jobs you may be interested in pursuing. DCA's website will provide public information about the vendors that are successful bidders, but that probably won't get you through the door of the current work on tap. Posture your organization for success by marketing to these organizations via networks, direct communication and other subcontractors that are in the know.

The state moves slowly so plan for their process to access contracts, but once you go through the hoops then you are on your way to success. Once you are a vendor with a track record then you fit the criteria to be rewarded with a contract as a GC. Provided that you are able to reach out and become affiliated with larger operations that are vendors which will engage you as a subcontractor. Although, your organization must be prepared to make minimal profits up front. The key is to get access and in order to get access you must be able to answer the question "Have you done business with us before?” positively.

Additional groups and organizations that can be approached are CHDA's, CDC's and Faith Based Organizations that are seeking to become CHDA's. Collaboration is the key to success. A little patience won't hurt either.

Real Estate Investor Financing

Atlanta Area has funding for investors that are willing to purchase a turnkey product that generates a minimum of $250 per month cashflow and that has equity of $30K. The loan is @ 1% down with a $3,000 reserves per property.

Investors with a fico score of 720 can acquire up to 10 properties and investors with a 650 fico can acquire up to 4 properties.  Loan limits are $80K with a payment of $650 per month PITI.

Tax Info

Find out what tax credits are refundable. If you are a schedule C filer with children get your return in early and you will get your refund back quicker if you are in the first batch of efilers.