Do You Hear Me Now?

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When someone is talking to you do you actually hear what they are saying? When you pray, do you hear God’s response?  How To Listen To God by Charles Stanley will take you on a journey through the various steps and processes to understanding how God talks to us. While everyone’s interaction with God is different, there are some universal ways that God talks to us from His word and confirmation from others to hearing directly from Him during your prayer time. In this book, you can obtain a clearer understanding of your relationship with God. Do you know if God is talking to you?

One factor to this connection is that when you pray, expect, an answer. Now keep in mind that the answers that you seek may not occur in the way that you desire. An example is that you ask God for transportation or more specifically a car. When you pray, trust and begin seeking the answers to your prayers. You may see your answers surface in various ways from a friend giving you a car to you being approved for a car within your price range, despite your poor credit.

Learn your communication language with God so that you do not miss the answers to your prayers. If you are seeking a more productive learning experience with God, this is a book that you must add to your library. Remember, God is speaking. God does answer prayers. Do you have your listening ears on?

B.E.S.T. Publishing (A Division of Jabez Enterprise Group (JEGroup)
bestpublishing@jabezenterprisegroup.com

Blessings to You. Peace

Holiday Wishes (2017)

Keep Your Eyes on High

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Janie was a woman of mystery that every man was intrigued about in Eatonville. The men in the town could not understand why she chose to be married to Mr. Joe Starks, who was almost twice her age. What they came to understand was that Starks was a smart man that came to their town with great ideas and with money. It was his ideas and money that garnered him to be elected the town’s mayor.

On the other hand, the town’s women felt that Starks could have chosen someone better, like someone his own age and they couldn’t understand why he chose someone young like Janie. Despite what the town felt Stark and Janie had that special something, that connection that kept them together “til death do them part.” When Starks died Janie decided to leave Eatonville to embark on another adventure, this is when she met Teacake. Teacake was different than any man that Janie ever knew. Not only was Teacake much younger than her but he provided her with the adventure, excitement, and love like she’s never felt before.  As Janie tells it Teacake made her insides feel like some live bumble bees.

Their Eyes Were Watching God By Zora Neal Hurston is about how your choices can affect the decisions that you make, how passion becomes the center of your world and how watching God during tragic occurrences and taking action can guide you to where you were meant to be.

B.E.S.T. Publishing (A Division of Jabez Enterprise Group (JEGroup)
bestpublishing@jabezenterprisegroup.com

Being A Business That Benefits

Up until this point, you should have seen a variety of different articles that I have crafted for you from health care and access to capital to taxes. From the House of Representatives, and the U.S. Senate to the numerous Small Business Policy Forum’s panel of experts these articles were written with you in mind, the business owner. I wanted to provide you with a wealth of information that you can benefit from in running your business.  If you have missed any of the articles, click here:

  1. Tax Reform or Tax Cut
  2. ObamaCare vs the ACA
  3. Back to Basics

In my last article, we will discuss the various aspects of portable benefits (includes healthcare, and retirement). We all know that small businesses have to get creative to acquire and maintain great talent.  In order to do this, they must provide an assortment of benefits but should portable benefits be one of them?

Let’s look at this conversation two ways:

  • Scenario One: As an employer, you are responsible for a lot of people from your employees to their families but what happens when your employee decides to leave the company? Should you be responsible for their portable benefits? If so, for how long? Or should they be responsible for their own?
  • Scenario Two: Your business uses several freelancers and contractors, you depend heavily on their talent and the services that they provide. So what happens when they decide to leave the company? Yes, they are not your employee but should you be responsible for their portable benefits? If so, for how long? Or should they be responsible for their own? Are your answers the same as it would be if they were your employee?

Regardless, of the way that you answer either of these questions, understand that the workforce is shifting. Retirees and millennials are entering the workforce and most are opting to become freelance or contract workers. With this type of workforce, establishing a universal portable benefits system is ideal.

In today’s marketplace contractors and freelancers has a focus on not only getting paid but seeking to assure that their healthcare and retirement benefits are paid, current and available when needed.   Having a universal system would also help those employees that decide to leave a company but later determine that they wish to become an independent contractor or freelance worker instead. A portable benefit system should not only provide options to suit several needs but be affordable.

During the Portable Benefits: Creating An Infrastructure for Entrepreneurs to Thrive panel myself and a few other industry experts discussed what portable benefits could mean to small business owners including freelance and contract workers. In all honesty, small business owners want to see that their employees get the best because they are the ones that are helping to make the company profitable.

According to panelist, John Scott, Retirement Savings Director, The Pew Charitable Trusts, “66% of full-time employees are offered portable benefits, 48% of the employers want to help their employees save for retirement, and 22% of employers lack an internal administrative resource that will allow them to start and maintain a portable benefits system.”

For the sake of argument, let’s focus on retirement. While there are a lot of choices out there, there are several types of plans available, let’s explore a few:

For the sake of healthcare should the U.S. adopt a system that is universal for everyone as I discussed in ObamaCare vs the ACA? One thing that is prohibiting more small business owners from offering portable benefits is costs. From administrative setup and upkeep to contributions, should there be some type of subsidy programs in place to help offset these costs?

If so, should the programs be subsidized by the federal government? Or should this be a local or State financial responsibility? “Individuals that wish to do so, should be able to provide their own portable benefits and not be subjected to a specific employer but there must be multiple plans and options available, like a common or shared interest program,” Shilpa Phadke, Senior Director, Women’s Initiative at the Center for American Progress.

With some support, this will allow the new and emerging workforce the ability to take on the responsibility for their own future and not leave these critical pieces in the hands of others, especially since they are not an employee of the company. As a portable benefits plan is being created it should meet the needs of the freelancer or contract worker with minimum financial disruption during their Golden Years. As previously stated we business owners need to get creative in how we acquire and maintain the talent to run our businesses.

There are several ways that companies are becoming creative in their efforts to obtain the deliverables that they require. Below you will see several examples of which the first two companies offer full portable benefits, the third company offers partial portable benefits and the last offers no portable benefits but provides the revenue that freelancers and contractors can use to fund their portable benefits plan:

  • Company 1: 26-hour work-week for full-time employees but these employees are paid for a 40-hour work-week. This helps to offset the childcare and costs that these employees may encounter otherwise. By implementing this small step, this small business owner has been able to increase their revenue and productivity while creating an asset for their employees.
  • Company 2: One of my clients, offers several company benefits from wholesale catalog discounts; vacation, sick and family leave; and charity contributions matching to other types of personal flexibility. The interesting thing is that the majority of the benefits that this company offers if out of the company’s Profit and Loss (P&L). We all know that normally these costs are what the small business owners use to live off of but instead, this client passes these profits on to their employees.
  • Company 3: Employees may not be provided a full portable benefits package but they are instead offered profit sharing and are co-owners of the company that they work for.
  • Company 4: I work with several freelance and contract Since I am unable to provide them with portable benefits, I try to look for ways to provide them a long-term Return on Investment (ROI). One option is that I offer them revenue sharing on a project, that has a long-term, steady income flow. In this case, the workers obtain revenue for a number of years, which they can use to invest and fund their portable benefit accounts.

For those small businesses that offer an entrée of portable benefits including family leave should there be tax credits?  It is difficult to determine how portable benefits should roll out for small businesses, freelancers or contract workers but it should exist. Here are some other discussions about portable benefits that may interest you:

If you have any concerns about how portable benefits will affect you consider the following:

  • Contact your local representative or your State’s Senator
  • Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper
  • Consider an Op-Ed (Opinion-Editorial)

Once again I thank you for your support and the opportunity to serve you.  Subscribe to The JEGroupZone to stay up to date on articles and information about initiatives, programs, and issues that will affect you and your small business. As always, if you have a concern or issue that you would like for me to cover or talk about on your behalf in the near future please feel free to contact me at Jabez Enterprise Group (JEGroup).

“Don’t just stand by, be a part of the conversation.” Vernita Naylor

Vernita Naylor
Founder/Owner, Jabez Enterprise Group (JEGroup)
Small Business Ambassador Since 2001
services@jabezenterprisegroup.com
https://jabezenterprisegroup.com/

 

OBAMACARE VS. THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT

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ObamaCare or the Affordable Care Act (ACA) my question for you is, is it the same thing? In today’s political climate, the ACA, also known as, ObamaCare is such a controversial issue. There are people out there that have such a bias against President Obama and his legacy that they want to eradicate him at any cost.

The irony is that when surveyed people stated that they would prefer to keep their Affordable Health Care but did not want to have anything to do with ObamaCare.  The interesting thing is that they did not realize nor understand that it is the same thing. It is such an issue that there are so many articles written around this.

The sad part is that there are so many people out there that are either too ignorant or too prejudice to understand exactly what they are saying. Here are a few of the articles that you may find interesting on the subject:

The bottom line is why can’t we have Universal Healthcare in the U.S. like other Countries? While the healthcare system is not perfect in those Countries healthcare is the least of their concerns. This is the same with the ACA.

There were several presidents that tried to accomplish enacting a healthcare system but it didn’t work until President Obama. In conversations with the Preserving Health Care Benefits for Small Businesses panelists and the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension (HELP) Policy Advisor and Staff we were provided with enough information to help us to understand the issues around the ACA.  The burning question is will the ACA be repealed or replaced?

“The ACA is not a perfect system but at least it is operating in the right direction. It needs a little massaging. The focus needs to be on improving what is working and replacing what isn’t.”  Kevin Lucia, Research Professor and Project Director, Center on Health Insurance Reforms (CHIR), Georgetown University’s Health Policy. Let’s give credit where credit is due.

To start we will begin with the Murray-Alexander Deal. In this deal, the two Senators wanted to get some movement as it pertains to the ACA, so they struck a deal that they believed would be a win-win. The deal reflected on the subsidies that are a major part of the ACA.

These subsidies also are known as Cost-Sharing Reductions (CSR), are the federal reimbursements that healthcare providers receive to supplement the out-of-pocket expenses that those within the underserved communities are unable to afford or pay for.  The CSR issues have been heavily talked about in the news because President Trump is opting to not reimburse the healthcare providers for these costs.  With the Murray-Alexander Deal, it will help to remove “the emperor has no clothes syndrome” because as everything stands now pertaining to the ACA and the lack of getting any type of resolution it has become so embarrassing for both sides of the House.

While some of the Congressional party are willing to move forward in getting a resolution to the plan the issue is at what costs? Hence the Murray-Alexander Deal.  Also, what will the American people have to give up just to get a plan that will not be a detriment to each household or small business owner?

On the table was the skinny repeal, what does this mean? The skinny repeal is a scaled down of the ACA which is estimated that it could be passed with some of the following elements removed:

  • Individual mandate of requiring individuals to purchase insurance
  • Employer mandate for companies with at least 50 employees
  • Other social services programs that affect millions of Americans

As a business owner is it important to know and understand how the ACA will and can impact you and your business. If the ACA is not massaged or improved it can get worse. Let’s explore how the ACA rolls out:

  • Overall health insurance premiums are decreasing, however, there are some people who’s premiums has increased because it offsets those with pre-existing conditions, as well as those that previously did not have healthcare insurance;
  • The focus shouldn’t be on eradicating the legacy that President Obama has created during his terms in office at the expense of the people but instead focus on how to best serve the people;
  • If the plan is totally replaced or repealed instead of parts of it, there could be at least 20 million people that could once again be without healthcare. Is this Making American Great Again?;
  • The healthcare providers are unsure as to the stability of the ACA, particularly the CSR, so they are beginning to attach a 12% surcharge to some of the policies. The surcharge is to help offset their losses, in case the CSR are eradicated under the new plan;
  • Without the government assistance each State would have to pay for their own CSR; and
  • Other States could be affected because patients could cross over into other States for services such as within the Washington Metro Area (D.C., Virginia, and Maryland).

Now let’s consider some suggestions including those of the panel experts and the HELP Team:

  • “Locate a broker that understands all of the aspects of the ACA including the risks,” says Lucia;
  • “For high deductions create standard benefits package vs non-standard packages which allows flexibility. Thoroughly read your policy whether it’s a Bronze, Gold, Silver or Platinum plan to understand what is and isn’t covered,” says Mila Kofman, Executive Director, DC Health Benefits Exchange Authority;
  • Restructure the billing codes for services. It is the billing codes that determine what the costs will be. There are known cases of medical fraud due to billing codes for services which are assisting in taxing our healthcare system;
  • Why are the costs in the U.S. so high? What are other Countries like Australia and France doing pertaining to medical costs that seem to escape our medical system? Let’s look at best practices of other systems throughout the world and implement some of them;
  • Carefully look at the Medicaid Expansion and its effect on each State;
  • Make ACA markets more stable so that insurance companies can price and forecast better;
  • Create more robust outreach to get more millennials insured;
  • Wraparound ABTC services from early childhood, outpatient, and transitional housing to school-based; and
  • Let’s rebrand the ACA and call it for what it is the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and not ObamaCare. Once people are fully educated that these two plans are the same then the conversation, acceptance, and support would become different.

Be on the lookout for Open Enrollment Season. Under the new leadership, the marketing dollars have been tremendously decreased, therefore, the public will not be timely notified when they can either change their provider or enroll in a health care plan. For this year the enrollment timeframe is from November 1 to December 15, 2017.

According to Adam Rochon, Owner, Sequoia Employee Benefits & Insurance Solutions,  “Business owners should get ready for carrier changes in some areas because Blue Anthem is or has pulled out. Some of the healthcare providers’ websites are not fully operable or functioning properly. Also, you may experience shortened operating hours due to staff shortages. “

As a small business owner you must continue to make your voice heard and to stay up to date on small business issues reach out to these organizations and your Senators now:

Please do your part and let your voice be heard. “Show up, speak out, testify if needed before Congress, write articles to your local papers, and get ready to rally behind the causes when needed, “ says Lucia.

We need the Affordable Care Act (ACA) more than ever.

Thank you for this opportunity to serve you and for your support.  If you have a concern or issue that you would like for me to talk about on your behalf within the near future please feel free to contact me.

“Don’t just stand by, be a part of the conversation.” Vernita Naylor

Vernita Naylor
Founder/Owner, Jabez Enterprise Group (JEGroup)
Small Business Ambassador Since 2001
services@jabezenterprisegroup.com
https://jabezenterprisegroup.com/

 

 

Life Is Not As It Seems

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Life is not always as it seems. Neighbors, BJ and Tammy knew this mantra all too well. To the outside world, they had an unusual friendship because BJ was black and Tammy was white but despite what others thought they were BFFs. One day both of their worlds turned upside down. BJ had two sisters, Arlene and Venetia who was not in touch with their own realities so what happens when they come to grips with their reality and BJ finds herself in the middle? Also, when BJs daughter and two sons become a force to be reckoned with when their world begins to take over the solitude that BJ once held so dearly. What happens to BJ when her daughter drops off her two young sons, Luther and Ricky; her son comes from home after a stint in prison and her other son can’t seem to stay faithful in a relationship and come to grips with who he really is?

On the other hand, when Tammy was left as the trustee of her parents’ estate, she decided to make a sound decision by giving her brothers a hefty portion of the estate, however despite her goodwill they hated her primarily because she married a black man. Her daughter, Montana asked to allow her and her husband, Trevor to live with Tammy until she delivers her baby, Clementine. What started as a temporary stay turned into years of support. With all of this going one day one of her brothers turned up and things in Tammy’s life would never be the same again.

Who Asked You By Terry McMillan displays how our lives can be directly affected when others interject their issues, problems, and concerns onto us. One day you can be into the flow of your life and the next day all of that can be changed in a twinkling of an eye.

B.E.S.T. Publishing (A Division of Jabez Enterprise Group (JEGroup)
bestpublishing@jabezenterprisegroup.com

What Is Your Defense?

The Art of War by Sun Tzu

Do you know how to fight? There are different ways to fight, spiritually, physically and mentally. If you have an interest in learning how to fight get a copy of the Art of War by Sun Tzu. You will see this book with several types of jacket covers but if it says The Art of War by Sun Tzu you are in for a treat. This Ancient History Classic uses the military formulations, principles, and practices to teach fighting techniques. In the book, the Chapters are sectioned off to explain the importance of the strategies, plans, disposition, energy, weak and strong points, and staging of a battle.

You will learn how to focus on the seasons and terrains while strengthening your leadership and management styles which provides a stance necessary for fighting.  Get positioned to fight by studying your enemy. Fighting is not based upon how you feel but flexibility, movement, adaptation, and development. When an army is ready to fight, there must be a plan of action. The Art of War provides you with everything that you would need to become an effective fighter.

Reading the Art of War by Sun Tzu was such a pleasure that I have read it over and over again throughout the years. It has provided me the tools necessary using the military prowess that I have been able to use every day on my journey. As an advocate on several fronts from public lands, national monuments, historical buildings and landmarks, businesses, and youth to young adults I have learned that my focus must be on and remain on the facts, and details in order to provide a solution to the problems at hand. If you are seeking a way to fight tactically consider adding the Art of War by Sun Tzu to your library.

B.E.S.T. Publishing (A Division of Jabez Enterprise Group (JEGroup)
bestpublishing@jabezenterprisegroup.com