Issue 2

Fall Skin Care

The Essentials As sun drenched bathing suit season transitions to the frost of Fall, most people are getting ready to pack away their summer clothes and pull on a sweater. Before you do, it’s time to evaluate what the summer sun did to your skin. Start with a skin analysis using technology like the Can […]

The Essentials

As sun drenched bathing suit season transitions to the frost of Fall, most people are getting ready to pack away their summer clothes and pull on a sweater. Before you do, it’s time to evaluate what the summer sun did to your skin.

Start with a skin analysis using technology like the Can eld Visia System we have in our of ce. This special camera sees “under” your skin, reveal- ing damage unseen by the naked eye. It can identify sunspots, age spots, and wrinkles and gives you a peak at the future.

Once you have a true picture, there are a number of ways to reverse and slow the damage caused by sun exposure. While many face creams on the market promise results, we believe you’re better off with professional treatments. Facials, microdermabrasion, microneedling, and IPL light treatments all work alone or combined.

Facials are a perfect place to start. We’re especially fond of one called the HydraFacialTM. It pumps moisture back into the skin and can be tailored to all skin types. Follow up with the right skincare at home and invest in a ClairsonicTM brush to use once a day.

We also offer advanced, no downtime treatments with devices like the Clear + Brilliant PermeaTM, which is perfect for young patients, with mini- mal damage. It’s good for pores, texture, and ne lines. It’s a cumulative treatment, meaning the more times you do it, the better results you get.
If your skin needs more, IPL and Fractional laser light treatments can be customized to each and every skin issue. Because of our years in the medical research eld, we are able to offer a wide range of treatments to address the common signs of aging, including sagging skin around the face, ne lines and wrinkles, age spots, skin damage and scarring from trauma, sun exposure, or acne. The pulsed dye laser treats anything pink or red, like scars, rosacea, and broken capillaries. Fraxel Thulium focuses on texture, pore size, ne lines, and brown spots.

RF Microneedling, using devices like the Dermapen and In ni, allow us to infuse serums deep into the skin, adding the moisture the sun dried out. Downtime varies, but is usually minimal.

So why now? Fall is also the ideal time to start treatments that require a series of visits. With the help of advanced lasers, we can remove tattoos, tackle spider veins, remove hair, kill toenail fungus and even stop exces- sive sweating, but the truth is, all of these require time. The best time to start is now. While most patients start thinking of these kinds of things after the holidays, Spring is too late to start and expect optimum results.

One last piece of advice, the technology is changing constantly, and it’s easy to be overwhelmed when you start doing your own research. Like many medical treatments, it’s often better to tackle an issue with more than one device. Lasers are frequently used in combination with other therapies, and in this eld, timing is everything. Fall is the perfect time to start saving your skin.

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Allentown JazzFest launches its 2016 Season at The Hess Mansion

On August 29th, Performing Arts Live! launched the 2016 season of Allentown JazzFest at one of Allentown’s most historic properties, The Hess Mansion. With over 200 people in attendance, guests had an opportunity to mingle with leaders from the Lehigh Valley’s arts and business communities, sample cuisine and drinks from some of Allentown’s finest establishments, […]

On August 29th, Performing Arts Live! launched the 2016 season of Allentown JazzFest at one of Allentown’s most historic properties, The Hess Mansion. With over 200 people in attendance, guests had an opportunity to mingle with leaders from the Lehigh Valley’s arts and business communities, sample cuisine and drinks from some of Allentown’s finest establishments, and hear great music spanning the entire 2015 JazzFest artist roster plus live performances by some of the region’s best musicians.

Only seven months after its first public announcement, Performing Arts Live! has taken the Allentown JazzFest from a startup arts organization to what will be the second largest music festival in the Lehigh Valley during its 2016 season.

Several corporate sponsors banded together to help make the 2016 launch event a success: Hook Seafood & Grille, County Seat Spirits, HiJinx Brewing Company, QNB Bank, The Valley Ledger and the Tuk Law Offices.

In addition, many businesses from the region donated items and services to the Silent Auction: The Lehigh Valley Phantoms, Chickie’s & Pete’s, Northampton Coin & Jewelry Exchange, Crust Pizza, G&E Smoke Shop, Allentown Brew Works, Taking Care of Business, Arbonne, Younique, Sleeptastic Solutions, Flowing Lines Landscape, Norwex CleanerGreener Product Co., and Forward Thinking Fitness.

All of these businesses – the corporate sponsors plus our silent auction donors – have been instrumental in supporting the Allentown JazzFest, which is rapidly turning into one of the driving forces of Allentown’s renaissance.

Also, many thanks to Ray Bridgeman, David Olson, and Barte Shadlow who offered Network Magazine’s assistance by supplying guest bartenders for the Hamptons @ The Hess event.

At the Hess Mansion we unveiled two new central components of the 2016 Season: The Center Stage Series and the 2016 AJF High School Summit. First, the Center Stage Series will bring the region’s best jazz, blues and soul performers to venues all around Allentown. These free concerts will take place every first Thursday of the month starting in October and continue through April 2016, leading into the beginning of the 2016 festival. No tickets are required, but for event times and location, please visit our website at www.allentownjazzfest.org.

Finally, we are extremely pleased to launch a major educational component to the AJF: the AJF High School Summit, which will occur on the first day of the 2016 festival. Up to eight high school jazz programs will be invited to Allentown on April 29, 2016 to spend the day with nationally-renowned trumpeter, Al Chez. Mr. Chez was, for 28 years, the lead trumpeter in the World’s Most Dangerous Band/CBS Orchestra with Paul Shaffer on the Late Show with David Letterman. Both Mr. Chez and members of his band, The Brothers of Funk, will work with the students in small group masterclasses, and the day will culminate in a performance which will be open to the public.

Details on all the facets of the Allentown JazzFest’s 2016 season can be found at www.allentownjazzfest.org or by following the AJF on FaceBook.

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Cigar Reviews: Autumn 2015

CAO Pilón Robusto Nicaragua     5.0” x 52     Medium to Full 91-Rated Cloaked by a thick Habano wrapper born from Ecuador, each CAO Pilón comes equipped with bold long-fillers from Nicaragua inside a zesty Nicaraguan binder. The result is a medium-bodied profile tip-toeing the lines of full, dusting the palate with eventful hints of spice, sweet […]

vol2-1

CAO Pilón Robusto

Nicaragua     5.0” x 52     Medium to Full

91-Rated

Cloaked by a thick Habano wrapper born from Ecuador, each CAO Pilón comes equipped with bold long-fillers from Nicaragua inside a zesty Nicaraguan binder. The result is a medium-bodied profile tip-toeing the lines of full, dusting the palate with eventful hints of spice, sweet cedar, and nuts throughout. A rich touch of cocoa enhances each puff on the final third, completing a complex cigar full of charisma.

vol2-2

Diesel Unlimited d.6

Nicaragua     6.0” x 60     Full

94-Rated

A complex blend of long-leaf ligeros from Condega (Nicaragua) and Esteli (Nicaragua) mingle with spicy San Andres long-fillers, inside a leathery Ecuador Habano ligero wrapper. Power meets grace instantly, as thick and creamy smoke blankets every last taste bud. Leather, oak, rich tobacco, pepper, and rich earth smack the palate, growing more intense toward the nub without losing a touch of balance.

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H. Upmann The Banker Annuity

Dominican Republic     6.0” x 52     Medium

89-Rated

Nicaraguan and Dominican long-fillers reside within a toothy Ecuador Habano wrapper, delivering a straightforward, medium-bodied bouquet. Cream mingles with earth from the get-go, while a dash of spice dusts the taste buds on the finish. Mellow yet smooth and balanced, what The Banker lacks in complexity it makes up in quality.

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Julius Caeser Pyramid

Dominican Republic     6.5” x 52     Mild to Medium

93-Rated

A beautiful burn promotes rich, earthy undertones complemented by roasted coffee bean, sweet cedar, and the slightest touch of white pepper. A product of well-aged Dominican long-fillers inside a dark and oily, Havana Ecuador wrapper. Expect big clouds of smoke overhead, as this slow-burning treat lingers long on the palate and emits dense, woodsy aromas.

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Rocky Patel Sun Grown Maduro Gordo

Nicaragua     6.5” x 52     Full

94-Rated

This big, burly, 60-ring behemoth oozes with oils, thanks to a thick Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro wrapper. Underneath, two binders secure a bold blend of Nicaraguan long-fillers. Full, yet balanced, each puff booms with richness, yielding notes of dark chocolate and espresso between big, robust tobacco notes. Cool smoke disguises the full-bodied core, completing a lush, flavor-packed 60 minutes.

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Life Insurance as an Asset

Many people do not think about using life insurance as an asset. The industry pushes clients to buy term insurance and invest the difference; however this strategy is not followed consistently. Often times, Americans manage cash flow backwards; income comes in, lifestyle is chosen, debt is incurred, and taxes are paid. By the time all […]

Many people do not think about using life insurance as an asset. The industry pushes clients to buy term insurance and invest the difference; however this strategy is not followed consistently. Often times, Americans manage cash flow backwards; income comes in, lifestyle is chosen, debt is incurred, and taxes are paid. By the time all of the current cash flow expenditures are dished out, and the term insurance is paid for, there is far too little left to save toward retirement or for any significant unexpected expenses. Sometimes, a more efficient, more effective way of achieving the proper death benefit protection and wealth accumulation is not necessarily by maxing your contributions to the company 401(k) plan or Roth IRA; however, in conjunction with a complete financial plan, it can be accomplished through a permanent form of life insurance called Whole Life. The most important difference from term insurance is that it<Whole Life Insurance> is permanent; it is “when you die” insurance rather than “if you die”.  It will pay a death benefit at an unknown time period in your life and the cost per year remains level. In addition to a guaranteed death benefit,1 permanent life insurance builds cash value within the policy and provides a competitive rate of return when compared to other fixed products.  At this point in our economy, safety and consistency in a financial product is very important, especially with the current volatility and mystery that exists in other markets and products.

The death benefit and cash value in a whole life policy grows at both a guaranteed and non-guaranteed2 rate If let to accumulate over a period of time, the cash value can be borrowed against or withdrawn3 to help pay for countless expenditures throughout life such as college tuition, purchasing real estate, financing business opportunities, funding business succession planning and providing supplemental retirement income. In addition, and most importantly, if these policies’ cash values are not borrowed against or withdrawn, the death benefit may increase over time to an amount far greater than was originally purchased. There are plenty of great investment opportunities in variable securities and some of these should be incorporated into one’s financial plan. Permanent life insurance is one piece of the puzzle and plays an integral part of an overall plan, covering various areas of a complete financial picture on a more secure, guaranteed basis. I am not saying it is right for everyone, however it is something to consider when ensuring your family, your business, and your wealth are protected.

1All whole life insurance policy guarantees are subject to the timely payment of all required premiums and the claims paying ability of the issuing insurance company. Policy loans and withdrawals affect the guarantees by reducing the policy’s death benefit and cash values. 2Dividends are not guaranteed. They are declared annually by the issuing company’s board of directors. 3Policy benefits are reduced by any outstanding loan or loan interest and/or withdrawals. Dividends, if any, are affected by policy loans and loan interest. Withdrawals above the cost basis may result in taxable ordinary income. If the policy lapses, or is surrendered, any outstanding loans considered gain in the policy may be subject to ordinary income taxes. If the policy is a Modified Endowment Contract (MEC), loans are treated like withdrawals, but as gain first, subject to ordinary income taxes. If the policy owner is under 59 ½, any taxable withdrawal may also be subject to a 10% federal tax penalty.2015-10346 Exp. 9/17

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The Power of the Liberal Arts

As the new president of Muhlenberg College, I am asked frequently whether a liberal arts education is still relevant in this technological age.  After all, doesn’t the future belong solely to those who pursue the “STEM” (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) disciplines? First, many forget that the natural sciences and math – literally, the alpha […]

As the new president of Muhlenberg College, I am asked frequently whether a liberal arts education is still relevant in this technological age.  After all, doesn’t the future belong solely to those who pursue the “STEM” (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) disciplines?

First, many forget that the natural sciences and math – literally, the alpha and omega of STEM – are core elements of a liberal arts education.  Indeed, Muhlenberg’s outstanding programs in biology, biochemistry, neuroscience, math and computer science provide excellent preparation for students interested in careers in biotechnology and other high-tech fields.

Even more importantly, our students are preparing for leadership roles within the new, Creative Economy, where ideas are the coin of the realm.  They realize the future will value those who can bring new and innovative ideas – including disruptive new business models – to the table most effectively, and see them through to effective implementation.
For this sort of value-creation, the most important skills are integrative and creative thinking spanning multiple domains of knowledge, coupled with the ability to formulate cogent arguments and communicate clearly and compellingly.  Don’t look now, but these are the skills our students at Muhlenberg are learning today.  In fact, by blending art and science, today’s Muhlenberg students are forging new alloys that will shape and form the future.  The large majority of our students double major, and in new and innovative combinations; say, in theatre and neuroscience, or dance and biochemistry.  In fact, one of our professors recently remarked, “Some of our best pre-med students are dance majors!”

To quote Wayne Gretzky, today’s students must skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it is today.  When our current first-year students were born, Google didn’t exist, and Siri wasn’t even a gleam in Apple’s eye.  By the time they are 30 years old, they will very likely be working on products, processes, and technologies that are unknown today.

Speaking of Apple, its co-founder and legendary CEO, the late Steve Jobs, went to a liberal arts college – Reed College in Oregon. In fact, if Jobs had not taken a course in calligraphy and, thereby, developed a deep aesthetic sensibility, the world might be a very different place today, filled with far fewer beautifully-designed products, and we might still be listening to vinyl record albums purchased in retail stores and played on turntables.
I left a successful career in business and strategy consulting in Boston to come to Muhlenberg because I saw an unparalleled opportunity to play a key, leadership role in an institution with a history of over 166 years of helping students prepare to make their marks on the world.

Muhlenberg College was founded back in the mid-Nineteenth Century on the idea that education is more than a foundation for learning. Rather, we have always believed that expanding one’s goals and exceeding one’s potential is a basic and necessary prerequisite for life-readiness.  At Muhlenberg, this philosophy extends to mid-career learners in our Wescoe School, one of the oldest and finest schools of continuing education in the U.S.

Together, our community is committed to an ethos of reaching higher; guiding and driving students of extraordinary promise to reach above and beyond their given talents, skills, and objectives to achieve prominence and effect change in whatever professions, interests, and causes they choose to pursue.  Are the liberal arts relevant for the careers of the future?  You bet!

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Lehigh University & Bethlehem

Partners in the Community Since Lehigh University first opened its doors in 1865, it has been inextricably tied to the City of Bethlehem and the Lehigh Valley region of eastern Pennsylvania. The vision of Lehigh’s founder Asa Packer, an industrial pioneer, entrepreneur, and philanthropist, set the foundation for generations of students to learn, live and […]

Partners in the Community

Since Lehigh University first opened its doors in 1865, it has been inextricably tied to the City of Bethlehem and the Lehigh Valley region of eastern Pennsylvania. The vision of Lehigh’s founder Asa Packer, an industrial pioneer, entrepreneur, and philanthropist, set the foundation for generations of students to learn, live and lead as productive members of their communities.

Bethlehem has undergone and continues to undergo a tremendous transformation as local leadership seeks to revitalize its neighborhoods, encourage growth and economic prosperity, and address a full range of critical social issues in order to strengthen the community. Lehigh University strives to be a good partner in that mission.

Lehigh University believes that a university brings intellectual vibrancy and collaborative opportunity to its home town. By working closely with the surrounding community, students benefit from experiences that will alter their life trajectories. The university can serve as a tremendous resource for the community. With that in mind, Lehigh has committed to working collaboratively with the City to improve quality of life for all in the area.

Although Lehigh University has a long history of collaboration with members of the Bethlehem community, in recent years it has developed a more formal framework for engagement that is a major component of the institutional strategic plan approved in 2009. The framework for the Lehigh-Bethlehem partnership includes four strategic priorities:

  • Clean and safe environment
  • Support of public education
  • Commercial vitality
  • Neighborhood revitalization

Among the initiatives focused on public education are Lehigh’s partnerships in Community School initiatives in South Bethlehem, including Donegan Elementary School and Broughal Middle School. The Community School model embraces the holistic approach to educating a child and parent together—a model that has proven successful across the country.

Lehigh’s commitment to fostering a clean and safe environment, commercial vitality and neighborhood revitalization is exemplified by the Community Ambassadors Program. Launched last September, the Ambassadors program is a partnership between Lehigh and the Bethlehem Economic Development Corporation, the non-profit economic development organization of the City of Bethlehem. The initiative is supported by the university’s three-year commitment to fund cleaning and safety Ambassadors in a core area of the South Bethlehem commercial district, centered on New St. and covering the blocks along 3rd and 4th streets from Broadway to Taylor Street.

Ambassadors walk in the designated areas seven days a week from 7 a.m. until 11 p.m. About 20,000 cars a day travel along Third Street, commuting through or visiting South Bethlehem.  The Ambassadors program is a great step toward revitalizing the South Bethlehem area as a litter-free, bustling commercial district that draws more people out of their cars.

Services provided by the ambassadors include:

  • Daily litter removal of sidewalks and other public areas
  • Daily removal of trash from receptacles throughout the commercial district
  • Daily graffiti removal to deter copycat graffiti
  • Tree and flower maintenance; weed removal
  • Increased pedestrian security and hospitality assistance
  • Parking assistance
  • Snow cleared from crosswalks and handicap ramps

Lehigh will continue to build on these successes, working with the City to make a positive impact on the quality of life for all those who live, work and visit Bethlehem.

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Why We Need to Brand Our Business

Like many over achieving entrepreneurs, many of you have or are currently experiencing the excitement of starting up a new business.  You had or have a great business plan, a vision for the future, along with long term and short term goals. But during the excitement of getting a new business off the ground, many […]

Like many over achieving entrepreneurs, many of you have or are currently experiencing the excitement of starting up a new business.  You had or have a great business plan, a vision for the future, along with long term and short term goals. But during the excitement of getting a new business off the ground, many aspiring owners put the value of branding their new ventures on the sidelines.

Unfortunately, this can be a big mistake. Branding your company is a key element to future success and the pipeline to ongoing business. Taking the time to establish a strong brand for your business will add an extra layer to the foundation of future success.

A company brand is its recognizable appearance to the rest of the world of what the company offers and is all about. It consists of its name, visual logo, mission, quality of products and services, and the company’s communication both internally and externally. These elements all filter down to how current and future customers see your business. It can give it value, or disvalue it.

As a business owner, we have to look at a brand like a term of assurance. Over time, anyone who comes into contact with your company for its products or services will have a feeling of being assured the quality and outcome of what they are seeking through the affiliation of your brand.  Think about your favorite restaurant? Can you describe its logo, service, and quality of food?  Because you go there routinely, are you not assured the outcome of the interaction with staff, atmosphere, and food quality?  This is all attributed to its brand. When looking at national amusement parks (i.e. Disney), do we not automatically conclude what lies ahead before entering their gates based on the brand we affiliate with them?  How about national franchises?  What do we think about when we see the McDonalds or Subway logos? Their brands resonate with consumers, does yours?

No matter what type of business you are engaged in, establishing a brand can assure future success.  Whether you are in the infancy of starting a venture, or have been established but never put thought behind creating a brand, now is a good time to start.  A strong brand will reinforce your mission statement and vision, which will create direction for your employees. In doing so, your brand will help you generate emotion from your customers (which helps sales of course), because they will know what to expect from that implied promise of quality. This in turn will also spread to generate new customer leads. As a result of a strong brand, you will be set apart from any threatening competition through your distinct recognition.

In sum, branding is an accumulation of your name and logo, mission, quality and communication internally and externally. It should extend within your company and to the outside world. Developing and delivering to the foundation of what customers can expect from your business as a result of your brand affiliation, can assure a lasting pipeline of business and leverage over competitors.

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The 7 i’s To Making Great Leaders

Part I Most professionals I know are striving to be Leaders or to become better Leaders.  They take classes, join groups, read books and pursue a multitude of avenues to acquire this career metal, often spending much time, energy and money to achieve it.  The journey of Leadership is a long slow journey that requires […]

Part I

Most professionals I know are striving to be Leaders or to become better Leaders.  They take classes, join groups, read books and pursue a multitude of avenues to acquire this career metal, often spending much time, energy and money to achieve it.  The journey of Leadership is a long slow journey that requires a combination of wisdom, action and awareness.  The 7 “I’s” formula is a roadmap that I hope you find enlightening, thought provoking, and a stimulus for your ability to gain or grow in this trait.  In this two-part article we will unpack the 7 “I’s” formula, and reveal the ultimate equation.

1 Intuition* a natural ability or power that makes it possible to know something without any proof or evidence : a feeling that guides a person to act a certain way without fully understanding why : something that is known or understood without proof or evidence
Think of what instinct looks like in the animal kingdom – where the survival of predators and their prey are equal to their ability to quickly sense, make decisions and act.  The wrong decision at the right time or the right decision at the wrong time still equals failure.

Leaders with strong intuition win.  If you want to be a good Leader and be a winner, than you need to know how to build this part of the formula into your essence.  This one is not easy.  In fact most of the “I’s” are difficult to acquire, but I hope with some mental perseverance you gain enough insight to expand your abilities.  Unfortunately, much of Intuition is intrinsically written into the code of our DNA, a complex web of thought patterns, life experience, intelligence, processing style and speed, and feelings.  Intuition can also come and go depending on a host of life circumstances.  Very few Leaders have pinpoint accuracy with their Intuition.  Because good Leaders are aware that their Intuition can be flawed, many will learn to gauge their Intuition and by measuring it speedily with a sprinkle of knowledge, they can adjust how much weight to put behind their Intuition.  If you want to grow in the first I of the formula, then you will need to strap on discipline and expand your business, life and philosophical reading, get into a mentorship relationship or two, and regularly test your Intuitive thinking with those who are wiser than you.  This takes calculated and purposeful communications to develop this ability.  There is no shortcut.

2 Initiative* the power or opportunity to do something before others do : the energy and desire that is needed to do something : a plan or program that is intended to solve a problem

If you laid out the first six “I’s” next to each other like cards on a table, then this one would be your trump card.  Initiative is the gas pedal, the trait that makes things happen.  Initiative immediately follows Intuition, and if not, then your Intuition becomes a distant memory, not a reality.  Initiative is primarily distinguished by a Leaders DNA, an internal urge to see movement, to affect change, to drive ideas forward.  The two biggest hindrances to Leaders excelling in this trait is lack of self confidence to act and a low urgency personality trait.  Self confidence can only be gained by taking risks, emotionally recording successes, and finding the internal stamina to stay the course when the desired outcomes are not achieved.  Urgency is difficult because you either are an urgent person or not.  When you are urgent, you have a trait that is natural – that flows from your being and can’t help itself – it craves forward progress and is not satisfied if progress is not made.  The challenge is how does one cultivate this trait when it’s not natural.  If it’s not there, it won’t be, so you need to be aware of this is your style and identify team members who are urgent and then empower them to execute.

3 Influence* the power to change or affect someone or something : the power to cause changes without directly forcing them to happen : a person or thing that affects someone or something in an important way

One’s ego-drive is critical to how strongly you desire to influence your surrounding business environment to make it better.  I have so often witnessed business executives who want to be Influencers, but because it’s not a high motivator for them, they either squander opportunities or they shift their desire for Influence into personal gain, and their initiatives become tainted.  The best process for growing in this area is asking why, journaling your desire as a Leader, and galvanizing the desired outcome as a healthy passion beyond you.  This “I” has the biggest potential to trip up Leaders because it easily slips into a selfish ambition.  Check that at the door.

Check back for the next issue to learn the rest of the equation and the most important “I” that occurs as a result of mastering the equation.

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Robo-Advisors in the Investment Industry

I have learned throughout my career in investing that technology can be a true disruptor.  Oftentimes, I have witnessed disruption from the perspective of an investor.  New technological developments provide value to a company or industry while breaking others not willing to adapt.  In any service industry, there has to be a willingness to integrate […]

I have learned throughout my career in investing that technology can be a true disruptor.  Oftentimes, I have witnessed disruption from the perspective of an investor.  New technological developments provide value to a company or industry while breaking others not willing to adapt.  In any service industry, there has to be a willingness to integrate technology but not lose sight of the human element. Recently, the investment industry itself has fallen prey to the technological advancements purporting to replace the personal oversight of an investment professional.

Robo-advisors offer a simple process of automated investing with low costs and with little human intervention. These services are now being offered and heavily marketed to millennials and other retail investors that have grown up relying upon technology for almost everything.  Downloading songs in 30 seconds, planning vacations and even buying groceries can be done without ever leaving your sofa.  For these people, an automated advising platform may be preferable as they enter into investing and long-term planning for the first time. With easy-to-use technology and a simplified investing platform, tech-savvy users can grow their assets while their financial future begins to take shape. Investors with smaller assets may find value as well, if they are willing to embrace this technology. With smaller assets, clients can take advantage of lower costs.

Investors may do this on their own with an independent robo-advisor platform or work with an advisor who offers this as an option with some oversight for an additional fee.  Advisors offering this option in their services can grow their businesses by offering low-cost solutions to these clients. As clients begin to amass more and more wealth throughout their lifetime, they will already have an established relationship with an advisor to help navigate ongoing financial decisions.  Recognizing the unique circumstances that may apply to a person’s emotional reaction or financial situation is not factored in by an automated system.

In times of uncertainty and high market volatility, the guidance and coaching of a financial advisor becomes critical, especially when bigger dollars are at risk.  Investors can seek guidance and advice from an advisor on such matters as college funding, complex income tax planning, and retirement planning where various investment strategies and portfolios may be implemented and targeted for these needs.  An automated robo-advisor cannot offer advice.  In contrast, a robo-advisor only offers a simple questionnaire to develop a risk profile and generates a plan through algorithms to invest accordingly.  However, this technology enables advisors to manage more accounts effectively and efficiently.

In the investing industry, the trend for advisors is not to combat this technology, but rather to adapt it and use it to grow. Adapting and mastering this newest technology is critical and something that deserves our ongoing attention. Being more efficient with technology opens the door for more human interaction in our service model, which can make all the difference in people’s life decisions as well as the growth of the firm.

Securities offered through Valley National Investments, Inc. – an independent broker/dealer and member FINRA and SIPC. Valley National Advisers, Inc is a Registered Investment Adviser with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

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Employee or Independent Contractor?

Many companies face the daunting challenge of properly classifying workers as either employees or independent contractors. There is no uniform definition of the term “employee” in the Internal Revenue Code and as such, taxpayers must rely upon common-law rules which have their origin in court cases. Despite this lack of direction provided in the statutes, […]

Many companies face the daunting challenge of properly classifying workers as either employees or independent contractors. There is no uniform definition of the term “employee” in the Internal Revenue Code and as such, taxpayers must rely upon common-law rules which have their origin in court cases. Despite this lack of direction provided in the statutes, there are serious consequences for failing to properly classify your workers.

Companies that classify their workers as employees are responsible for a host of employment taxes including Social Security and Medicare (commonly known as “FICA”), Federal Unemployment, and certain state level taxes. Additionally, there are anti-discrimination rules that require those individuals to participate in employee benefit programs including health insurance, pension, etc. Conversely, workers classified as independent contractors do not subject the company to employment taxes or fringe benefits. In the event of an audit by the Internal Revenue Service, the failure to have properly classified your workers can result in the assessment of substantial delinquent tax liabilities along with penalties and interest. Therefore, companies should exercise extreme care in making this facts and circumstances-based judgment regarding their workers.

Under the “common law” rules developed by the courts, workers are generally deemed employees for federal tax purpose if the employer has the right to control and direct the worker with regard to what he or she does and the manner in which the work is to be performed. It is not necessary that the company actually direct or control the employee; the mere right to do so is enough to cause the worker to be deemed an employee. Courts have utilized a facts and circumstances approach in these worker determination cases that include the consideration of such items as:

  • A worker who must comply with instructions about when, where, and how he or she is to work may be deemed an employee.
  • Ongoing training provided by the company to the worker is a strong sign of an employer-employee relationship.
  • A worker who is required to personally render the services may be deemed an employee.
    Hiring, supervising or providing assistants to the worker is indicative of an employer-employee relationship.
  • Workers who provide service to the company on a continuing and regular basis may be acting like employees.
  • Workers who are required to perform on the Company premises may be deemed employees.
  • Workers who perform in a certain manner or order as dictated by the company are exhibiting traits of an employee.
  • Workers who are required to submit reports to the Company may be acting as an employee.
  • Compensation methods including hourly, weekly, or monthly typically point to an employer-employee relationship.
  • Tools furnished by the company to the worker may be indicative of an employer-employee relationship.
  • Workers who have the ability to realize a profit or suffer a loss are generally deemed to be independent contractors.
  • Workers who render services for a variety of unrelated entities are typically deemed to be independent contractors.
  • Workers who avail themselves to the public on a regular and consistent basis are generally deemed to be independent contractors.

The above list is by no means all inclusive. There is no standard for how many of these factors must be present nor have the courts applied these interpretations universally. Companies that have concerns about their worker classifications should consider consulting with appropriate legal and accounting professionals for assistance in this very complex area.

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