This New Year, Resolve to Reduce Your Environmental Footprint

With 2014 almost upon us, it’s time to start thinking about those New Year’s resolutions. Are you focusing on self-improvement this year? Eating better, exercising more, quitting smoking – is one of those at the top of your list?

Self-improvement is a wonderful goal. But why not try to be a little bit more environmentally altruistic this year and resolve to start living a greener life? With a few simple changes, each of us can reduce our environmental footprint and do our part to improve the condition of our cities and our planet.

Photo © Michelle Meiklejohn

Change Your Lifestyle

Going green doesn’t have to be a difficult, painful or inconvenient process. We can all make a positive impact on the environment by making eco-friendly choices, by using products that conserve energy and pollute less, by recycling and re-using more, by limiting the use of toxic household chemicals, and by promoting greener ideas in our households and our communities.

Consume Less Energy

There are many simple ways we can cut down on electricity, water and gas usage without compromising comfort. This Australian government website offers a wealth of information on cutting consumption and saving money on utilities. No matter where in the world you live, you can cut consumption and lower your bills by following a few simple rules.

Tune Up Your Vehicle

A properly maintained vehicle not only runs more efficiently, it also burns less fuel and produces fewer emissions. Earthshare.org suggests making sure tires are properly inflated, getting regular tune-ups and changing your air filter. All of these suggestions will save you money by improving your gas mileage, thus reducing greenhouse gas emissions. 

 

Be Conscious of What Goes Down Your Drain

Do you pour solvents, paints, bleach and other corrosive or harsh chemicals down your drain? This article on Freedrinkingwater.com should give you pause for thought. NEVER pour things down the drain that you wouldn’t be willing to drink out of a glass! ALWAYS take these materials to a hazardous waste disposal site instead of sending them down into the sewer system, from where they will end up back in the water table.

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Seasons Greetings to All Our Customers, Visitors, Affiliates and Partners!

candles in window

Whatever holiday you’re celebrating at this time of the year, we’d like to wish you all the best, and may it be a very happy and safe holiday, spent with those that you love.

Merry Christmas!

Happy Hannukkah!

Happy Kwanzaa!

Happy Pancha Ganapati!

SEE YOU NEXT YEAR!

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How to Protect Your Business From Creditors

The time to protect your assets and your investment in your business from creditors is before any financial problems arise.

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If you attempt to protect your business assets after you borrow money or after a financial or creditor issue arises, you may allow your business creditors a better chance of accessing your assets and challenging any planning you have done.

Liability

As a shareholder of the business, your exposure is generally limited to the amount of your investment, both by way of shareholdings and through shareholder loans to the corporation. However, various situations may arise which impose liability upon you. If you have given a personal guarantee to guarantee the debts and obligations of the corporation, creditors may be able to sue you and attach your personal assets (by way of garnishment or seizure) to cover the amount guaranteed.

As a director or officer of the corporation, you may also have additional personal liability for such things as unpaid employee salaries, uncollected or unremitted sales or other taxes, unremitted payroll deductions, and breach of contract.

How to Protect Your Personal Assets

Prior to signing a personal guarantee, engaging in a new business opportunity or agreeing to be a director or officer of a corporation, you may want to consider the following strategies:

  • Transferring your personal assets to your spouse or some other party (at fair market value).
  • Investing your money in assets which are exempt from creditors’ claims.
  • Setting up an asset protection trust in a foreign jurisdiction.

Protecting the Company’s Profits

There are similar steps you can take to protect the profits of the business:

  1. Establish a holding company to hold the shares in the corporation. The profits of the business could then be paid on a tax-free basis to the holding company through dividends on the shares. Those profits could then be reinvested or loaned back to the business as a shareholder’s loan, which would ensure that the business’ cash flow remains unaffected. The business can grant security back to the holding company for repayment of the loan, making the holding company a secured creditor. In addition, the holding company can purchase equipment or land required by the business and then lease it back to the business, at a profit. These assets could then be out of reach from business creditors.
  2. Set up a trust. Any shares in the holding company could be transferred to the trust, and any funds paid by the holding company to the trust by way of a dividend would belong to the trust for the benefit of the trust beneficiaries. These funds would not be available to creditors even if one or more of the beneficiaries signed personal guarantees, or have other personal obligations.

All creditor proofing strategies require careful consideration of taxation issues so as to avoid income attribution problems or the unexpected triggering of capital or income gains. The above opportunities and strategies represent only a sample of what ought to be considered. Each circumstance will offer its own opportunities and restrictions on planning.

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