financial

Laundromat Business Plan – Sample Layout Financial Planning

These days most experts will advise you to create a business plan before you decide to take the risks that are associated with starting a business. A laundromat is typically a little more complicated than other small business models so the need for research, planning and a clear direction are even more essential for entrepreneurs entering the coin operated laundry industry.

A laundromat business plan will help you to prove to yourself that your ideas are viable. With a plan in place you will be able to set clear goals and map out a path towards achieving them in an organized manner. A sound business plan may become essential if you have to show it to financiers or investors prior to getting the startup funds that you need. Lastly it will help you to be more realistic and to ask yourself some tough questions about your ideas.

In this article we have set out a sample laundromat business plan layout. We have set out some examples of titles and content that you might consider using. Feel free to use it as a template as you proceed to put your own plan together.

Cover Letter

Your plan should be set out neatly in a folder with a cover that outlines what the report is about and who contributed to it. It is likely that many different parties will read your plan so you may consider attaching a cover letter to each one that addresses the reader specifically, highlighting the concerns that they will have.

Contents Page

If the plan is any longer than a couple of pages you should include a table of contents. This includes a list of all headings and sub-headings together with a page reference so that the information can be located quickly by the reader.

Executive Summary

An executive summary is a simple introduction to the report. Give the reader a brief introduction to your business plan and summarize each of the sections in the plan.

Mission Statement

While not essential, some businesses like to set out a mission statement which outlines their purpose or business philosophy. It usually covers non-financial motives. For a laundromat you might say that you strive to provide the best service to your customers or that you want to provide a clean, safe and efficient way for them to do their laundry. Your mission should be to do your best for the customer and to be better than your competitors.

Background

Provide readers with some background information on yourself and any other individuals who are involved with the proposed laundromat. Readers may want to know what your qualifications are and if you have had any experience in business or in the coin laundry industry.

Provide a background on the local coin laundry industry so that readers get a better understanding of the opportunities that are available.

If your planning has been in progress for a while then you might want to update the reader on what stage you are at. If you are considering purchasing an existing laundromat then you will want to outline the history of the business in this section too.

Business Description

Offer readers a basic description of the proposed coin laundry business. When will your new unit open for business? Where will it be located? Will you have an attendant on-site at the laundromat all day or only part-time?

Goals and Targets

Set out a list of realistic targets that you want to achieve with the business in the first year or two. Such targets could be financial and relate to gross or net profits on a monthly basis. They could also be related to other metrics such as membership numbers or customer satisfaction rates. Thinking longer term you may also set goals to expand into new locations.

Startup Requirements

Before you can launch your new laundromat business you must know exactly what you are going to need and how much it will cost. Costs will include everything from equipment purchases, renovations and marketing along with professional fees and compliance costs.

Once you have listed everything out you can then work out the total startup cost. From here you can mention some of the options that you have for funding the laundromat. Mention how much you will be able to contribute yourself and how much external funding you will require.

Products and Services

Go through the services that you plan on offering to customers. As well as a basic machine laundry service with washers and dryers you may also offer more upmarket services like ironing or dry cleaning. Make a note of the products that will be vended onsite. Obviously you will sell washing related products like soap powder and fabric softener but you may also offer non-related products like coffee and soda.

Market Analysis

As a prerequisite to writing a plan you should have done at least a little market research around the area where you propose to open your coin laundry. You can present your findings in this section of the plan.

In your research you should attempt to discover if there is sufficient demand for a laundromat in the area in question and if so, exactly what kind of services the people within this target market want.

You also need to consider the competition that you have in the local area. Produce a map that shows your customer catchment area bearing in mind that customers will usually go to the laundromat that is more convenient for them to get to. Look at the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors. Is it going to be possible to pull customers from the catchment area of competing laundromats? Can you make your service that much more attractive than theirs?

Marketing Plan

Set out a plan to bring new customers into your laundromat and to convert them into regulars. The marketing component of your plan should cover everything from the development of your brand, pricing, advertising, other marketing methods and customer service.

Remember that in the laundromat business you will be relying on building long term relationships with regular customers. You not only need to focus on bringing in new customers but you also have to focus on satisfying and ‘over delivering’ to your existing customer base. If you retain your customers and please them then you will also benefit by referrals and ‘word of mouth’.

Business Operations

Set out a plan for the daily operation of your laundromat. Make a note of the equipment that you will have in place and how the demands for water and energy will be met. Mention how you plan on maintaining the machines.

Discuss your daily staff requirements. What role will you, as the owner take in the daily running of the laundromat? How many employees will you need and what will their responsibilities be?

What other systems will you have in place to ensure that the laundromat runs smoothly on a daily basis and that you can control and manage the business efficiently. Will you have a computer system to keep track of stock and cash flows? What about a security system?

Financial Analysis

Lastly, but most importantly, a sound business plan will include detailed financial forecasts over a period of two to three years. This data is best displayed in spreadsheets so that you can set up a column for each month. Some businesses include more than one spreadsheet to allow for different situations. You may consider including one as a best case scenario and others that show revenue growing at a slower rate than is expected.

Try to identify a break even point where the business would basically be running without making a profit, but without losing money at the same time. Then you will have an idea of the customer volume that you will have to aim for. To calculate break even point you need to assume an average customer spend per visit and then calculate the number of customer visits needed on a monthly basis.

If you are borrowing money to start the business you should also include a repayment schedule to show how fast the loan will be paid back.

Appendix

Many assumptions are made in business plans so it is important to be able to give reasons as to why you made such assumptions. Rather than guessing you should try to include data that backs up your theories. Include an appendix at the end of your plan that includes all supporting materials that don’t fit conveniently into the pages of the report. These could include maps, pictures, spreadsheets, tables and lists of references and sources to name just a few examples.

financial planning

Twelve Things You Can Do to Make Your Work Life More Satisfying Each Year Financial Planning

Month by month, your year comes to a close and if you look back you are most likely not the same in one way or another. Think about it. You are either healthier or “not-as-healthy,” saved more or spent more, learned something new or forgot more than you remember. If you just work and work and feel like a hamster on a wheel, it might be time for some good, old fashion work life planning month-by-month.

January: Make a plan. A simple plan (perhaps based on these guidelines) that sets up a goal a month is a good start. Instead of planning to “lose 10 pounds,” how about just drinking more water and walking 10 minutes a day to start off your January?

February: Put a little love into your work. Be the office Valentine by bringing flowers and candy to work.

March: Gimme a break. Just as you’re getting sick of the weather, you may have a spring break or summer vacation. This is a great time to start thinking about where you could spend a week when the weather gets nice. Rest is good.

April: Do some spring cleaning. A regular workplace cleaning day (both in the physical space and the electronic one) can do wonders for morale.

May: Save for a rainy day. The government’s taken a good piece of your income in taxes by now, so you can start saving some for yourself. Set money aside each month in a qualified retirement plan. Try to do it automatically.

June: Downsize: Paper files overrunning your cabinets and storage units? It’s time to purge and you can use the IRS retention rules to get your started. Scan critical documents, shred or recycle the rest.

July: For many businesses, this starts their corporate year. Make sure your employee’s files are in order. Do you have everyone’s reviews completed? Is your handbook up to date?

August: While you go from hot outside to freezing cold air conditioners inside, think about energy efficiency. Have you had an energy audit? Consider one thing your business can do to be a good steward of the environment.

September: Children are going back to school so resolve to learn something. I forced myself to use Prezi (instead of PowerPoint). I figured out how to update websites on WordPress and buy Facebook ads.

October: Visit your financial planner and accountant. It’s time to plan for the end of the year, so set an appointment before they get too busy to do your tax planning and maximize your deductions.

November: Send Thank You Notes. Every day someone is making your work life a little easier, whether it’s the person who makes your latte or keeps your car running. You are not ever too busy to be thankful.

December: Take inventory. Just like a business’s strategic plan, you need to evaluate in what areas you made progress and which you did not. Adjust your plan and start all over again. (I suggest you do take a vacation, however. All work and no play… )

financial planning

Parenthood As A Developmental Experience Financial Planning

When seen only as presiding over a child’s growth, parenting can be frustrating and burdensome. However, when seen as an opportunity for personal growth, parenthood is one of the most creative and affirming experiences that life offers.

Parenthood is a career that deserves as much planning and diligence as does a remunerated career. Individuals grow as much, or more, in their careers as parents as in their vocations. Parenthood offers opportunities to broaden personal horizons when parents try to model the qualities they would like to see in their own children. For some parents, rearing their own children offers an opportunity for them to become the parents they wish they had.

PARENTHOOD AS A GROWTH PROCESS

Parenthood necessitates sacrificing personal interests, particularly those related to careers, entertainment, and recreation. It means the loss of privacy, time, and personal freedom. It entails emotional, physical, and financial burdens, not the least of which are worries about the health, behavior, and achievement of one’s children. It means coping with annoying behavior, noise, and distractions. For women, there are health and physical consequences of pregnancy and childbirth.

With all of these disadvantages, one wonders why parenthood is attractive to anyone. But for most persons both childbirth and childrearing are eminently creative processes that fulfill their biological capacities to reproduce and to nurture. Biological and adopted children provide growth opportunities for parents through reliving their own childhoods and through being nurturing adults. When it is a mutual growth process, childrearing becomes an exchange of ideas, emotions, and power as children and parents learn how to respect and influence each other.

Unfortunately, parenthood often is not seen as an opportunity for growth and personal discovery. Consequently, many parents live in households that are little more than way stations for family members who lead separate lives. As the seductions of materialism and individualism encourage the pursuit of personal excellence and purchasing things, many parents and children do not draw upon each other as sources of pleasure and affirmation. Those parents do not fulfill their potentials for growth in family life.

STRONG FAMILIES

More research has been conducted with troubled and disrupted families than with strong families. However, significant studies demonstrate that competent parenting is both a protective factor that prevents social problems and a positive factor in promoting an individual’s successful life course.

The developmental psychologists Hamilton McCubbin and Charles Figley reported a study of competent parenting in “strong families”. A strong family was defined as one in which there was mutual respect between family members who had coherent, positive views of life expressed through overt displays of affection and open communication. In these families individuals were valued explicitly for what they are rather than for their achievements. Realistic expectations were held of family members, so that children learned what is acceptable and what is unacceptable with opportunities for both parents and children to correct their errors. The parents gave clear directions and enforced reasonable limits by emphasizing the positives rather than the negatives.

In strong families, family life is a mutual growth experience for both parents and children. Parents are not totally enmeshed in their children’s lives. They have clear moral senses that are demonstrated through their words and actions. They have a sense of meaning and purpose in life often related to a spiritual orientation with a trusting, optimistic outlook on life. They treat their children courteously and with respect. Through tolerating irrationality family members can relax, “let their hair down,” and refuel for meeting the rational and irrational demands on them in the world away from home. Most importantly, parents and children acknowledge their own mistakes. They know how to forgive.

Strong family members adhere to family traditions and routines. They share power and decision making among their members. They communicate their feelings, concerns, and interests and listen and respond to what others have to say. Their styles of communication are clear, and individuals are encouraged to take responsibility for their feelings, thoughts, and actions. They spend time together but also value individual privacy and pursue independent interests.

Strong families also are involved in the world in which they live. They have supportive attitudes toward each other and toward others outside of their families. A strong family contributes to the development of its members and to the well-being of its community and of society as well. Members of a strong family cultivate their relationships throughout life.

At the core of strong families is the legitimate use of parental authority.

PARENTAL AUTHORITY

American culture has moved away from the powerful father image that permeated the old-world order of family, church, and state. The image of the American Revolution throwing off the authority of a British king is reflected in the present-day extreme sensitivity to the abuse of power to the extent that even legitimate parental authority has been undermined in American families.

As a result of this anti-authority ethos, many parents are not aware that freedom only has meaning in the context of legitimate restraint so that one individual’s freedom does not restrict the freedom of others. We cannot avoid facing the effects of our freedom on other people. For this reason, legitimate authority is an ingredient of all successfully functioning groups. That authority flows from knowledge, wisdom, and experience that is respected by group members. In families those qualities generally reside in parents.

Two basic principles underlie the exercise of legitimate parental authority. The first is recognition that from the time they are born, children are individuals with valid needs and feelings. The second is to model effective living for children, who are influenced more by what parents actually do than by what they say. When parents model controlling their impulses, their children learn how to behave civilly and tolerate the inevitable frustrations of life. When parents model delaying gratification, children learn how to schedule pleasant and unpleasant activities. They learn the ingredients of effective living.

The attachment bonds that form between parents and children are the foundations for loving relationships with other people in later life. The parents set on their children’s behavior helps them develop respect for other persons. They also learn how to postpone gratification and to tolerate frustration of their impulses and desires. Through beliefs in hopeful visions for the future, children learn how to surmount obstacles in their daily lives. They also gain inspiration for making the world a better place in which to live. All of this is nurtured by an atmosphere of respected parental authority.

Parental authority is exercised through the creative use of power, the practice of morality, the setting of family priorities, the affirmation of children, and a family’s participation in its community and society.

The Creative Use of Power

The word power comes from the Latin poder, meaning “to be able.” Everyone needs to be able, to be capable, to have a sense of personal power. At the heart of personal power is the sense that we are in charge of our lives. By accepting responsibility for our own selves and for our own behavior, we gain personal power.

The two sides of love in childrearing are showing affection and caring enough to help a child learn self-discipline. Although the negativistic behavior of young children is frustrating for all those involved in their care, it is a sign of their growing independence. At the same time, they need reasonable limit setting of their behavior. They also need parental models of self-discipline so that they can learn how to tolerate frustration and to delay gratification of their impulses themselves.

Parental authority is most appropriately exercised when parents gradually relinquish power to their children. The focus is on creatively sharing power among family members, not controlling them. In contrast with authoritarian parents, authoritative parents share power by helping their children find their talents and decide what they want to do with their lives. The legitimate exercise of power is the opposite of mutual victimization that occurs when parents and children struggle to control each other.

Throughout childhood, there are times when a parent leads a child and times when a child leads a parent. The challenge for parents is learning how to appropriately shift back and forth between leader and follower roles with their children. For example, during infancy a child actually wields great power and leads a parent by setting the feeding-sleep cycle. In order to do this, a parent needs to respect and trust a child, and more fundamentally, to respect and trust oneself.

Later on parental power is introduced around limit setting. Many parents do not realize how important it is to set limits for toddlers. It is easy to give in to their demands. The more difficult but rewarding course is to help them learn the limits of their power. During this stage prior to the appearance of the capacity for reasoning, nonverbal communication in the form of physical redirecting is necessary in order to establish a child’s respect for the parent’s appropriate use of the word “No.”

Most toddlers naturally test limits and push for all they can get. They are quick to assert themselves over siblings and peers. They want what they want when they want it. This means that parents are well advised to set clear limits and to help toddlers realize that the parents mean what they say. In order to get this across to toddlers physical redirection and restraint are necessary in order to demonstrate that a parent’s words are to be taken seriously. Verbal commands across a room can be easily ignored so that a toddler can conclude that what a parent says need not be taken seriously. Using one’s feet and hands by directly intervening instead of one’s voice across the room is the most effective way of conveying this message to toddlers.

In the same vein, when the easy way of appeasing whining or tantruming is taken, the message is that those behaviors can be used to manipulate adults. A whining or out-of-control toddler should be placed in a setting that will permit regaining of control without unduly disrupting family life. Letting the child rejoin the parent when ready to do so conveys the message that regaining self-control is the purpose of the time out, not punishment.

The Practice of Morality

Whether we like it or not “good” and “bad” are real polarities in life. That polarity has been the foundation of philosophy throughout the centuries. For young children, “good” and “bad” are the only value judgments that have meaning.

The word “bad” is not appropriate when children do not comply with parental desires or expectations and are exercising their independence through noncompliance. “Bad” should be reserved for mean, unjust behavior toward others. “Bad” and “good” can be dealt with most usefully by facing issues of “right” and “wrong” in the family.

“Right” and “wrong” obviously depend on the perspective of the one making the judgment. The ancient Greeks pondered this question as illustrated by Plato’s observation that killing lambs was right for human beings but wrong for wolves.

Children have the inherent capacities to distinguish right from wrong and to be generous, compassionate, and altruistic. They have predispositions to attend to and to respond to others’ emotional states that are evident early in life. These predispositions are reinforced by parental attachment bonds and modeling. They wither away in the absence of attachment bonds to others. Children also acquire prosocial or antisocial values, fashions, and interests from their peers, teachers, religion, movies, literature, and television.

“Good” (right) and “bad” (wrong) can be broken down into manageable pieces. Good revolves around the truth (reality-trust) and love (giving to others). The core issues for the good are emotional honesty (accepting responsibility for one’s feelings and actions) and the creative use of power (influencing others constructively). Bad essentially is deception (altering reality-mistrust) and hurting others (blaming-hating).

The irrational aspects of family life provide ample opportunities for children and parents to learn how to express and deal with “good” and “bad”. Most family conflicts involve parents and children deceiving or hurting each other and, therefore, are opportunities for learning how to accept responsibility for one’s feelings and actions and for learning how to constructively manage impulses to hurt and deceive others.

Distinguishing “right” from “wrong” in family life in terms of justice places interactions between parents and children on moral grounds rather than on arbitrary definitions of right and wrong based on the convenience or desires of parents. It introduces justice into the rearing of children rather than the simple exercise of parental power. For example, children can be expected to be courteous to others because respecting other people’s rights is a moral good rather than because failing to do so annoys the parents.

A strong family is one in which there is mutual respect and in which no individual’s personal needs or desires dominate. But families cannot always be “just” communities. Guidelines about telling the truth or about not interrupting when others are speaking tend to be unequally enforced for parents and children. Parents expect a degree of privacy that they do not accord our children. Often one family member is expected to do most of the compromising or another tends to be unjustly accused of starting squabbles among siblings. The best efforts to establish justice in a family cannot succeed completely because a family is a flawed institution composed of imperfect creatures. Consequently, family life, as is all of life, is a struggle between right and wrong and the quest of justice. Being questioned and challenged by children compels parents to clarify their own moral values and become stronger persons themselves.

The family is the ideal proving ground for coping with human frailties by being slow to lose patience and quick to be gracious; being understanding when provoked; trying not to impress others with one’s own importance; thinking the best, not the worst, of others; and not gloating over the faults and failures of others. Most mistakes in family life are harmless omissions and errors in judgment resulting from selfishness, jealousy, and irrationality rather than “bad” actions or omissions.

Still, because family emotional bonds are so intense, family members’ faults can be the most difficult to forgive. At the same time, because it is impossible to hide human imperfections in a family, it is the place in which forgiveness is the most needed and appreciated.

Family Priorities

Parental authority involves setting family priorities for mothering, fathering, homemaking, careers, managing stress, and family routines.

Because parenthood involves costs that are not borne by adults without children, parents must plan for financial consequences that increase as their children grow up. An appropriate balance needs to be found between childrearing, financial, and career objectives. Seldom can they all be met completely at one time in life.

The prudent management of family income and time based on the values and goals of a family is an increasingly urgent issue. It involves at least:

• family financial planning,

• care in purchasing to assure value received,

• ongoing maintenance of a residence and personal needs,

• planned use of time for personal, family, and community opportunities and obligations, and

• adequate nutrition and health care.

Most importantly, financial goals need to be guided by setting a lower priority on material things than on family time. In later years, many parents wish they had spent more time with their children and less time making money.

Stress in families can be minimized by programming family time for relaxation, recreation, and play. This includes scheduling time away from children for parents. Otherwise, busy schedules, television, and computers leave few informal moments for parents and children to enjoy each other.

Family administration includes planning activities that can be programmed, such as traditions, celebrations, and routines. Traditions are celebrations of the past, such as Thanksgiving and Christmas. Celebrations are special events that accentuate the present, such as anniversaries and birthdays. Routines are regular daily and weekly activities.

A useful principle for guiding housekeeping routines is that each member of the family is responsible for contributing to the common good of the family as much as they are able to do.

PARENTAL AFFIRMATION

Internalized mental images of our parents and other influential persons are central components of our personalities.

Each of us grows up carrying an assortment of “good” and “bad” internalized images that carry previous family interactions with our parents and siblings into our present lives. These images constitute the “internal family” that stays with each one of us throughout our lives. These internal images “look over our shoulders” in present interactions and influence them. They can cause us to react inappropriately when unresolved conflicts from our own childhoods are activated. In turn, as parents, we become images in our children’s internalized families.

For these reasons, children need to develop “good internal images” that flow from having their maturity affirmed by parents who expect and respect the highest level of maturity of which their children are capable. From the beginning, children need affirmation of their individuality and of their competence. Parents, in turn, are affirmed when their children become competent and responsible persons in later life.

Learning to Communicate Ideas and Emotions Verbally

Affirmation in family relationships relies upon open communication, so that parents and children understand each other’s ideas, emotions, and needs. That communication depends upon listening, expressing ideas and feelings, and reaching mutual understanding.

Children especially need to learn from their parents how to find words to communicate their feelings to others. They are inclined to act out their feelings rather than use words to express them. Parents can model communication by verbally expressing their feelings instead of simply acting upon them. For example, an explanation that a parent has a headache helps a child understand a parent’s irritable mood more than do angry words.

When helped to learn to use words instead of actions to communicate their feelings effectively, children gain confidence in themselves. When they do not, they ineffectively relieve their tensions in emotional outbursts. Misunderstandings because of faulty verbal communication lie behind most family conflicts.

How we handle our emotional reactions to other people is our personal responsibility. We can counterattack emotionally, or we can use words to express our feelings. The most useful response when others hurt our feelings is to honestly say that our feelings are hurt. We are better served by verbally communicating our feelings to others instead of blindly acting upon them.

The ways parents handle their own arguments provide models for their children. Still arguments between siblings tax the ingenuity of parents. Separating them until they “cool off” usually is more effective than taking sides. In spite of the emphasis placed on sibling rivalry, most sibling relationships are congenial over the years.6 Siblings usually are not as close to each other as friends during adolescence or as spouses and children in later life, but they do feel loyal to each other and see themselves as good rather than as best friends.

When parents and children are able to verbally communicate their feelings and needs to each other, blind emotional outbursts are minimized. They are able to put themselves in the position of the other person. This promotes children’s capacities for empathy.

Building Self-Esteem by Affirming Individuality

Affirmation of each child’s individuality facilitates developing that child’s self-esteem. In turn the evidence of self-esteem in a child enhances a parent’s self-esteem.

Affirmation differs from approval because seeking approval can lead children to conform to expectations and to squelch their own individuality, whereas affirmation of children enhances their individuality. The aim of parental affirmation is to build a child’s self-esteem. On this foundation of affirmation, there is an additional need for approval and disapproval, so that children can learn to recognize and regulate the impact of their behavior on others.

Affirmation of a child begins with mirroring a child’s innate sense of vigor during infancy through eye contact and mimicking sounds. This reinforcement of an infant’s spontaneous expressions fosters development of the child’s true self in contrast with an imitative self. When a parent does not respond to an infant’s gestures, but instead substitutes his or her own, imitation is encouraged rather than individuality. In the same vein, parents later affirm when they touch, kiss, hold, wrestle, and play with their children. Younger children who are not touched in these ways may regard themselves as unattractive and ultimately unlovable.

Building Self-Esteem by Affirming Personal Competence

In addition to affirming a child’s individuality, affirmation of a child’s personal competence also builds that child’s self-esteem.

Happiness is not a series of isolated pleasures. It is not “fun” from pleasurable or exciting activities. It is a feeling that one’s self and the world are in harmony. It is a subjective sense of well-being and satisfaction, the intensity of which varies from one individual to another. It is reflected in self-esteem that derives from early childhood experiences of being able to master one’s body and of being effective in the world. Its prototype is a baby’s smile on taking the first steps of walking. The feeling of self-esteem is an inner measurement of personal competence.

Self-esteem is enhanced by using language to guide our actions. As a medium of thought and communication, language enhances problem solving, learning from the consequences of one’s actions, forming rewarding relationships with others, and engaging in long-range planning. When thought accompanies actions, there need be no conflict between our basic drives and our self-esteem. The self-esteem that flows from personal competence is not so much the result of suppressing our innate drives as integrating them into the thoughtful pursuit of our legitimate interests.

In order to foster self-esteem, parents need to insure that their children know that their love for them is not contingent on their behavior. Therefore, it is better to see children as doing “bad” or “good” things rather than as being “bad” or “good”; to help children avoid making the same mistake again rather than criticizing them when they make a mistake; to accept children as they are rather than to compare them with other children; to avoid talking in front of children as if they were not there; and to be aware of children’s sensitivity about their physical appearance and avoid pet names.

Children need firm limits, but how limits are handled determines what they will learn. For example, when children’s behavior is unacceptable, they first can be asked if they understand why their behavior was not acceptable. Then they can be asked what would help them avoid that behavior in the future. This places the responsibility for self-control with the child. When a parent expresses confidence in a child’s ability to do better, that child’s self-esteem is enhanced.

A sense of competence is fostered when parents encourage their children to take risks by giving them responsibilities instead of overprotecting them. They then affirm their children for trying new things even when they fail. This encourages children to master risks rather than to avoid them. There is a point of convergence where fear is met, confronted, and used as a source of both caution and energy. Daring our children to accept responsibility for the consequences of their actions has far more to teach about risk taking than any outward-bound wilderness trip.

Learning to cope with failure is the essence of learning to take risks. For teenagers, school work and after-school risk-taking activities, like sports, may be better self-esteem builders than paid work in itself. Earning money for its own sake can build a sense of responsibility for adolescents, but it also can foster self-centered materialism when the money is used simply to purchase luxury items.

For both parents and children, the most important aim is achieving peace within themselves. In order to value themselves as competent persons, children need to develop a clear sense of their own assets and liabilities. They need to learn how to tolerate frustration and to postpone gratification. They need to experience the satisfaction of pleasing others. Then they will be valued by others.

If we value ourselves, we do not need to put others down in order to build ourselves up. Awareness of our own imperfections enables us to accept the imperfections of others. In this way seeking power over others through wealth, physical strength, weapons, and criticism can be replaced by affirming each other.

FAMILY PARTICIPATION IN ITS COMMUNITY AND SOCIETY

Families are strengthened by involvement in their communities and in social and environmental issues. In fact families are the foundation of their communities and of society. They are fundamental parts of the ecosystem in which we all live. The idealism of children and adolescents can be encouraged and at the same time tempered with reality by involvement in social and environmental causes.

The responsibility of human beings to care for the human family and for the Earth can be a central theme in family life. Family discussions and activities can be focused on participating in community, national, and global issues related to peace and the conservation of the Earth. In this way, the family can be a source of support for creative, reconciling community life. These kinds of active participation in their communities help young people relieve anxieties about the future.

Families also can play key roles in advocating and modeling alternatives to violence as a way of solving problems. In so doing they can become involved in movements that oppose injustice and that foster peace. Children can be helped to see that poverty and oppression make people feel helpless and desperate and thereby breed violence. They can be helped to relate the violence they encounter in their own lives to the violence in the world. They can be inspired to be peacemakers in their own realms and thereby develop a peacemaking stance in the broader world.

CONCLUSION

Childrearing is a mutual growth process for both parents and children. For parents, it is balancing their needs and wishes with the needs and wishes of their children.

The vital issues in family life revolve around intimacy, identification, influence, irrationality, and industry. In symbolic terms, the expression of these qualities of individual person’s “I”s makes it possible to fulfill the “we” of family life.

Intimacy in the family develops emotional bonds that integrate ambivalent love-hate emotions and that balance personal needs for interaction and privacy.

Identification is the process in which parents, children, and siblings reciprocally absorb each other’s qualities and vicariously share experiences.

The influence that family members have on each other is expressed in the power structure of the family and in the behavior of individuals in the family.

Irrationality is an essential part of family life so that irrational fantasies, emotions, and behavior can be expressed and channeled into realistic outlets.

Industry in families is developing the coping abilities of family members through planning, resolving conflicts, the allocation of responsibilities in the family, acquiring tangible and intangible resources, and adapting to change.

Children become mature persons in their families by learning how to be responsible for themselves and for their actions, by learning how to tolerate frustration, by learning how to postpone gratification, by learning how to control their impulses, by learning how to solve problems, and by learning how to work. Children develop self-esteem by identifying with competent parents and by being affirmed as competent, unique individuals in an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect.

Children need to learn that being responsible for themselves and for others is the source of meaning and purpose that brings fulfillment in life. Helping them do so is the satisfaction that parents gain from growing with their children.

financial planning

How to Write a Business Plan For an Online Business Directory Financial Planning

Writing a business plan for an online business directory is as important as writing a business plan for any type of business. A proper plan is essential to making an online directory a success. This will outline the type of business directory you will be running and how you will make it profitable. Below are a number of tips to writing a business plan for an online business directory.

1. The plan should outline your strategies on how you will make the directory a money generator. It will detail how the directory will work and how you will maintain profitability. It will also help you plan for unexpected obstacles, such as if one method of acquiring business listing does not work, how you will modify the strategy to make it more effective. It is important to regularly update your business plan to maintain competitiveness. Create short and long term goals and establish time frames for achieving specific tasks and set goals, such as the number of businesses that will post their listing in a week, or in a month.

2. The mission statement is a blueprint to having successful directories. It should define your values and objectives to maintaining competitiveness in the marketplace. It is important that you outline how you understand your target audience, including their needs and wants and how your directory will meet them. It must detail how you will attract customers to list their businesses.

3. You must detail your understanding of your competitors and how your directory will be unique and stand apart from your competitors’ directories. For instance, will yours fill a particular niche market? You need to outline your promotion plan and how you will implement your marketing strategies. You need to create a strategy that gives you a competitive edge.

4. You need to detail a comprehensive financial plan. You have to include such information as advertising and promotion costs and the expected revenue you will generate. You should outline all of the methods and programs you will use to effectively monetize your directory. This can include affiliate programs, offering paid listings…etc. You should create an effective budget that is practical and takes hidden or unexpected costs into consideration. You will need to break down your expenses and revenue to make sure you have a plan that generates more revenue that money paid out.

Starting a new online business directory can seem overwhelming as there are so many online directories on the internet. To stand out from the others, you need a strategic plan, clearly defined objectives, clear promotion and marketing plan, and a practical budget. It will help minimize the risks and maximize the benefits. A general guide on writing a business plan for an online business directory is helpful when planning to build a successful online business directory, but it is essential that you do your research and consult with others to make sure your business plan is a blueprint to success.

financial planning

Can an Asset Protection Trust Protect Against a Federal Tax Lien? Financial Planning

When a taxpayer fails to satisfy his financial obligations to the IRS a lien automatically arises and reaches all assets belonging to the taxpayer, wherever that property is located. The lien continues in force, against all the taxpayer’s property until the tax is paid in full. A properly recorded tax lien places all creditors and potential creditors on notice of the IRS’s claim to the taxpayer’s assets. This notice of the federal tax lien would make it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to sell the encumbered assets or secure a loan to pay off the tax debt. The IRS now has the right to foreclose on the lien and sell your assets at auction to pay the back taxes.

The tax lien is applicable against real, personal and intangible property of greatly varying natures, as well as future interests, and even property acquired by the taxpayer after the lien has come into existence. The law is clear that where an individual is liable for a federal tax debt and that individual later inherits property or is given property, the IRS may sell that property to satisfy the tax debt. The issue of how to place inherited assets beyond a creditor’s reach, especially when the creditor is the IRS, has long been the object of many tax and estate planners. The goal is to create an instrument that allows maximum use of the assets with little to no exposure to a creditor’s attacks. Enter the asset protection trust.

The asset protection trust is an advanced planning technique used in some states to prevent creditors, including the Internal Revenue Service, from reaching the taxpayers assets to satisfy a tax debt or lawsuit judgment. It does not eliminate the debt or remove liability for the judgment. The taxpayer remains liable, but if executed properly, the taxpayer’s assets can not be reached by the federal tax lien and therefore can not be levied or seized by the IRS. This protection against the tax lien and levy is accomplished by inserting a clause in the Asset Protection Trust instrument known as the Tax Lien Lock Out Provision (TLLP) and inserting shifting and springing executory interests into the trust document. Lets take a look at an example.

William is 75 years old and wants to leave his stock portfolio, worth $500,000, to his daughter and her husband Chris. William knows that Chris has a history of making very foolish financial decisions. He is also concerned that his son-in-law is involved in some questionable income tax transactions which could result in significant tax debt in the future. William directs his attorney to create an asset protection trust with a Trust Lien Lockout Provision.

The trust will provide that Chris shall be the beneficiary but in the event that one of certain “triggers” occur (such as receiving an audit notice) Chris will no longer be a beneficiary of the trust and all beneficial rights will “spring” up in another individual perhaps William’s grandson or another family member or guardian of the property. The language of the TLLP might provide that: “on the earliest day on which any triggering event occurs, Chris shall cease to be a beneficiary of this trust and his rights and interest in this trust shall shift to an alternate beneficiary. This shift in beneficiary is the key. Once Chris no longer owns any beneficial interest in the trust assets the threat of losing the property to the IRS is gone.

The trust will also provide a mechanism for Chris to regain his status as beneficiary. The language of the TLLP might provide: “After such time as all revesting conditions have occurred (such as release of the federal tax lien), the rights and interests he lost shall shift back and he will once again be the beneficiary of the trust.” At this point it is once again safe for Chris to own a beneficial interest in the trust since his IRS problems are now behind him.

It is important to distinguish the tax lien lockout provision from other types of trust provisions such as a spendthrift provision. A typical spendthrift provision prohibits a trust beneficiary from surrendering trust assets to a creditor and prohibits creditors from attacking trust assets to satisfy debts of the beneficiary. These provisions are completely ineffective against the IRS because the federal tax lien attaches to any property owned by the taxpayer, or property later acquired by the taxpayer. With a Spendthrift trust, the trust beneficiary has a property right in the trust. As long as the asset remains in trust, the IRS can’t take it. However, the tax lien still attaches to any future distributions. If trust assets are ever distributed, the IRS is waiting with open arms to seize or levy the property.

With the TLLP, Chris has no interest in the property for the IRS to seize. Since the IRS is required to serve notice on Chris that there may be a tax problem on the horizon, this notice serves as the triggering event which shifts Chris’ property interest away from him and causes that interest to spring up in alternate beneficiary. Since the triggering event automatically divests Chris of his beneficial interest and vests that property right in the alternate beneficiary, there is no property for the tax lien to attach to. Moreover, since the revesting conditions prohibit property from being revested in Chris until the tax problem is resolved, Chris will never have ownership of any of the trust assets during any period where he is in jeopardy of losing the property to the IRS. Put another way, before the tax lien ever arises, Chris ceases to be an owner of any trust property.

The Asset Protection Trust with a proper TLLP is definitely not a do it yourself project. Only an attorney experienced in both tax collection procedure and estate planning should attempt to create the instrument. An attorney who is not experienced in both disciplines is likely to create a trust that is adequate in protecting against most creditors but totally ineffective in keeping the IRS at bay. Other difficulties lie in determining whether the taxpayer’s state allows such a trust in the first place. In states that do not allow precisely the type of trust created above, alternatives offering similar, albeit less effective, protections can be readily created by an experienced professional. Another pitfall to overcome is determining an effective trigger to cause the beneficiary’s property interest to shift. The shift must occur early enough to avoid the tax lien or risk being ineffective but so early as to be premature and cause unnecessary headache or complication.

financial planning