Do you eBay? Do you PayPal?

eBay announced last Thursday that it would no longer use PayPal as its primary processing service.  Moving to Ayden, a Netherlands based firm and promising lower costs for consumers and a more streamlined customer experience.  PayPal was acquired by eBay in 2002 and spun off in 2014 after pressure from activist investor Carl Icahn.  The two remain contractually related until 2023.

EBay is dropping PayPal; if you’re a customer, here’s what you need to know

Portfolio Planning

Wondering about Bitcoin?  Consider first if it fits within your investment portfolio.  Carl Richards for the New York Times reminds us that investing is very different than speculating.  Our decisions should be based on the process and not the outcome, which no one can actually predict.  Plan your goals and focus on diversification and then decide if Bitcoin or any other investment opportunity is right for you.

Spend More Make Less?

The IRS outsourced tax collection in an effort to “put a dent in the $138 billion that taxpayers owe the government.”  This action cost the agency $20 million and netted a little over six million in past due monies.  Combined with contractor payments and relatively low collection rates, other cost factors included the streamlined approval of “tax-exempt organizations” as well as lack of funding for better direct (IRS) communication with tax payers.

I.R.S. Paid $20 Million to Collect $6.7 Million in Tax Debts

Team Building 101

After interviewing over 500 business leaders, managing director of Merryck & Co and author, Adam Bryant compiled this detailed list of the best practices for creating and maintaining a strong and productive team.  Start with a plan, set the rules of the road and work to foster a culture of communication and respect that goes both ways.

How to Build a Successful Team

It’s All Relative

Remember the holidays when you were little?  Lots of hugs, kisses and breath taking squeezes from relatives, not to mention that one aunt who always wore bright red lipstick and left an impression on your cheek for all to see.  Navigating the holidays with small children can be difficult, especially when they appear shy or snub the advances of loved ones.  Sue Shellenbarger for the Wall Street Journal offers a variety of ways to help both your children and the relatives connect and enjoy their time together.

When Your Child Won’t Hug the Relatives

The Thought That Counts?

Ever gotten a bad gift and wondered if it was meant to hurt your feelings?  Deborah Y. Cohn, associate professor of marketing at New York Institute of Technology explores the many reasons people select certain gifts for others, often to the detriment of relationships.  Are we really that mean?  Apparently so, or we find that gifts are an easy and quiet way to tell someone what you really think.  Food for thought when shopping for next Christmas!

This is why people give bad Christmas gifts 

It’s Business, Not Personal

As much as we all dream of companies who serve the greater good, supply amazing products and  make money, it’s an almost unachievable business plan.  Started as a marketplace for vintage arts and crafts, Etsy went public in 2015 and slowly began shifting its focus away from original tenants and toward making money.

Inside the Revolution at Etsy

Word of Mouth

We often see social media rants about products, but do they actually represent how we feel about the brands or are they really just a way to blow off steam?  Janet Morrissey for the New York Times explores this question in her article, Brands Heed Social Media. They’re Advised Not to Forget Word of Mouth and reminds companies what studies show.  Even when we put things out for the world to see, the words from our mouths the next day may be a very different story.

Tax Confusion?

What will the new tax bills mean for you?  At the moment it’s not quite clear.  Accountants and tax advisors everywhere are watching with bated breath as we approach the current tax season where these new laws will take affect.  The best advice in the article? Schedule your tax professional appointment early this year.

Confused by the Tax Bills? Be Glad You’re Not an Accountant


Are You Oily?

How do you feel about essentials oils?  Ever given them a try, just to see?  What do you think about Multi-level Marketing businesses?   Young Living and DoTerra, the two leading essential oil companies share a deep and ‘colorful’ past.  Rachel Monroe for the New Yorker offers an in-depth history of the men who started both groups, as well as a personal look into what the people who sell their products actually gain from being part of these marketing schemes.

How Essential Oils Became the Cure for Our Age of Anxiety