The catch of co-branded cards
Steer clear of retail credit cards, said Jason Steele at Credit.com. These days, "nearly every retailer wants you to sign up for its co-branded credit card," incentivizing sign-ups by offering discounts or interest-free financing. While "these cards can really work if you leverage the rewards and discounts," they can also get customers into trouble if they don't pay them off in full. So before signing up for a co-branded card, check out other options. Some banks offer even better credit financing, and some major cards offer points, miles, or cash-back rewards that dwarf retail cards' sign-up discounts. And if you do decide to get a retail card, perhaps to purchase a big-ticket item, shop around first. Different stores may offer better promotional financing, so be sure to ask for a written application and "review the offer later at home."
Protecting against lawsuit
Are your assets safe from lawsuits? asked Jonathan Clements at The Wall Street Journal. While getting sued may not be on everyone's list of "financial fears," the "risk can loom large" for small-business owners and the wealthy. But there are some precautions you can take. For example, small-business owners should incorporate, as that will make it "harder for creditors to take your share of the business to satisfy a personal debt." And for wealthy individuals, consider putting your money into an asset-protection trust, where "distributions are at the discretion of a trustee, who could stop payouts" if you lose a lawsuit. Thanks to homestead exemptions, losing a legal battle won't leave you on the street, but while some states have "robust" protections, "other states might protect only a portion of your home's value."
Dealing with problem employees
For bosses with subpar workers, these tips may help get them motivated, wrote Will Yakowicz at Inc. First, "don't wait." Experts say "underperformance is like an infection," and a good boss must "treat it and help it heal, or else it will spread." The key is to identify "specific improvements and goals" and create a framework for how to achieve them. "Agree on measurable actions and start tracking their progress," but be realistic and "make sure you give ample time." Finally, follow up. For workers who "turn their performance around, you should reward them." But if improvement is nowhere in sight, it may be time to cut your losses.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- After Ferguson: Stop deferring to the cops
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- 10 things you need to know today: November 27, 2014
- The hilarious hypocrisy of Republicans complaining about the imperial presidency
- Ferguson riots were terrible — but this racist reaction was worse
- Obama just kneecapped Jeb Bush and Chris Christie's 2016 prospects
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- Why the poor can't catch a break on Thanksgiving
- How to deep fry a turkey
- In Ferguson, Michael Brown lost his life — and America's police lost the benefit of the doubt
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