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Are you being audited? Why the IRS Picked You for the Audit

Posted by Administrator on March 25, 2012

“Why me?” is the plaintive cry from most taxpayers facing an examination from  the IRS. You can ask the auditor why all day long, but he’ll just shrug and say, “I don’t know. I’m just doing my job.” Once in a while an auditor may give you  her best guess as to why you were selected, but don’t count on it.

To be fair, there tends to be a good reason a tax return is flagged for an  audit. Sometimes it is a random spin-of-the-wheel choice, but in most cases  there’s a catalyst to the red flag. So here’s some insight:

Dif Scores. Electronic filing has made it much easier for the IRS to  gather data in order to analyze population groupings, standards and trends. A  simple act of feeding in parameters to existing data can provide information  regarding queries like: How many home owners exist in a certain nine-digit ZIP  code, or what is the average income in Wichita?

The IRS developed a method of computer scoring called the Discriminant  Function System (DIF) score which rates the potential for change based on past  IRS experience with similar returns. The Unreported Income DIF (UIDIF) score  rates tax returns for the potential of unreported income. The highest-scoring  returns are reviewed by IRS personnel and from there some are selected for audit  with pointers to items on the return that need review.

So: You might be audited if you live in Bel Air, pay DMV tags for a  Lamborghini, and pay interest on a million-dollar mortgage yet declare less than  $100,000 of income. Although there may be a very good reason for this–maybe you  earned millions in 2010 and left the workforce in 2011 to kick back and spend  your fortune– the IRS will suspect you aren’t reporting all of your income, and  will want to take a peek.

Abusive tax avoidance transactions. Some folks are audited because  they participate in abusive tax avoidance transactions. The IRS identifies  promoters and participants usually from tipsters or from lists of participants  that promoters have been court-ordered to turn over to the IRS. Be very wary  when investing into those “too-good-to-be-true” tax shelters. Always run them by  your tax pro.

Related examinations. I defended a general contractor in an audit  recently. The IRS noticed that he had neglected to send out Forms 1099 to his  subcontractors and then identified the subcontractors and checked their tax  returns to see if they had declared the income–several had not. The agency  pounced on those who had not – easy prey. I’ve had clients tell me that since  they didn’t get a 1099, they didn’t think they were required to report the  income. Not so. If you have self-employment income of $400 or more, you are  required to file a tax return whether you receive a 1099 or not.

Specific market segments. Every year the IRS selects a particular  industry for compliance examinations. In the last couple of years they have  concentrated on foreign trusts with the idea of uncovering unreported income  from offshore accounts. A few years ago they looked at attorneys incorporated as  Sub S corporations attempting to reclassify dividends as wages for those who take low  salaries but large distributions thus saving money on employment taxes. One year  they went after servers in restaurants to collect on unreported tip income.  Every year the agency chooses an industry to scrutinize based on suspected abuse  hot spots.

Automatic Underreporter Program (AUR) and Information Matching. Employers, banks, brokerage firms, payers of independent contractors all  file documents with the IRS and send the same documents – Forms 1099, W2, 1098,  K-1, etc. to taxpayers. If you neglect to report any of the data on these forms,  or report an amount different than what is on the form, the IRS picks up on it.  Usually, it sends out a letter CP- 2000  relaying the information and billing the taxpayer for additional taxes.  Sometimes an agent shows up on your doorstep.

Amended returns are often times flagged for audit, especially if the  information you are changing involves increasing deductions in red flag areas  such as travel, meals and entertainment and automobile expense.

Don’t be afraid to amend if you have cause. However, if you are amending your  income tax return, be sure you can substantiate all deductions and income.

Read more: http://www.foxbusiness.com/personal-finance/2012/03/22/why-irs-picked-to-audit/#ixzz1qBB0vhyB

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How vulgar! £1 million 24-carat gold Rolls-Royce is unveiled (but who on earth would want to buy it?)

Posted by Administrator on December 17, 2011

Driving offence: The classless 24-carat gold makeover of the iconic Rolls-Royce Ghost model

Driving offence: The classless 24-carat gold makeover of the iconic Rolls-Royce Ghost model

DAILY MAIL-UK The Rolls-Royce has always had a history of elegance and class – until now.

That prestigious reputation has been smashed by the world’s most vulgar makeover of the company’s iconic Ghost model.

An Italian fashion design house has created a gold-covered monstrosity costing more than £1 million.

Luxury: Biscuit-coloured leather seats with 24-carat trimmings. The car is on sale for £1.05 million

Luxury: Biscuit-coloured leather seats with 24-carat trimmings. The car is on sale for £1.05 million

The Fenice Milano ‘Diva’ has been spray painted in 24-carat gold and the company is so proud of it they have described the model as a ‘true.masterpiece.’

It is fitted with the same 6-litre twin-turbocharged engine of the Ghost, giving the saloon more than 560bhp and a top speed of 155mph.

Fenice Milano believes their Rolls-Royce is a ‘synonym for class, elegance and style’. many would disagree.

The interior has biscuit leather and 24-carat gold throughout. The standard Ghost costs £220,000 but the Diva is now for sale at £1.05million.

Elegance: The original and iconic Rolls-Royal Ghost model which sells for £220,000

Elegance: The original and iconic Rolls-Royal Ghost model which sells for £220,000

Phillip Brooks, a Rolls-Royce historian, described the car as ‘bizarre’ but also ‘spectacular’.

He said: “I think what Fenice is doing with the Ghost is quite interesting. It’s certainly a case of gilding the lily, but the gilding job looks pretty good.

‘My personal taste doesn’t run to something like a Diva, but I think it would be great fun to show up in one. All in all, perhaps a slightly bizarre car, but a very neat one.’

Gold spray job: An Italian fashion house has described their model as a 'true masterpiece'

Gold spray job: An Italian fashion house has described their model as a 'true masterpiece'

Posted in Finance | 1 Comment »

Steps to help you wriggle out of that debt hole

Posted by Administrator on January 6, 2011

You don’t have to continue suffering under the massive burden that is threatening to choke you alive. Phoot/FILE

You don’t have to continue suffering under the massive burden that is threatening to choke you alive. Phoot/FILE

You are in debt and you don’t know what to do. You have taken loans from the sacco, topped them up, broken the “Two Third’s” rule, borrowed from your chama, your friends… the list is endless. Simply, debt is wound up all around you like a snake and you can hardly breath.

Marcos Karanja*, a civil servant, was in such a predicament. He had many loans from his sacco, commercial banks and myriad chamas.

When matters reached a critical point, he would wriggle out with top-ups of the biggest loans and use the net to settle a few instalments on the other existing loans.

But unknown to him, every top-up deal would raise his loan amount with that particular financial institution and retain him as their customer for much longer.

Sometimes, Mr Karanja would default on some of the smaller chama loans and their penalties would accumulate to huge sums. He would turn to his friends to bail him out but soon these people began avoiding him.

Matters reached a crisis point when officials from one of the chamas teamed up, shared his information with others and raided his home to recover their debts.

They carried away most of his disposable property, which only partially settled his outstanding loans. This was a wake up call for Mr Karanja to finally accept that he was in debt. He consulted financial advisers who gave him a plan, at a fee.

The “Two Thirds” lending rule, which is in operation in all formal financial institutions, ensures that salaried people don’t go Mr Karanja’s way.
It bars lenders from deducting more than two thirds from a person’s net monthly salary as loan repayment instalments.

However, crafty people routinely go around this rule by becoming members of informal lending institutions like chamas where full disclosure of one’s finances is often not required.

Many people also fall into the trap of paying only the minimum instalments required to service their loans, even when they have the ability to pay extra money from salary increments and other sources.

Financial experts warn that these minimum payments are designed to keep borrowers paying the high interest rate of the loan, even if the base lending rates falls midstream, for the loan’s entire lifespan.

However, with a plan, you can ride above your debt in the New Year. Mr Anderson Kalu, a banker, says financial institutions have no problems with borrowers repaying faster than the agreed amount in the loan contract.

“As one debt is paid off, some borrowers realise more disposable money, and since they are used to living with less, they commit the extra cash towards another debt”, he says.

This kind of effort often improves one’s overall credit scoring. For those who have collected debts from all over and are unable to pay, Mr Kalu advises them to stop getting further into debt. “If you have credit cards, cut them up or put them where you cannot easily get them,” he suggests.

He warns people whose lifestyles depend on credit to be wary of digging a hole from which they cannot easily climb out. “To get out of debt, stop spending more than you make each month and don’t ever count on future bonuses, inheritances, refunds or other non-dependable income to bail you out,” he says.

Mr John Kung’u, a certified public accountant, says the way out of debt starts by determining how much one can afford to pay each month toward his or her debts. “One may need to examine his or her spending for the last several months to get a clue of what could be going on,” he says.

Mr Kung’u suggests finding out things one can eliminate or do without for a while to consolidate their debt repayment power. “You can postpone some purchases, cancel subscriptions to members’ clubs, pay television, magazines and so on; anything to free up more money to pay off your debts,” he says.

Mr Kungu advises people to negotiate with their creditors for more time to repay their loans. “But even as you do so, have something on the table that you take to settle your debt”, he says.

After keeping the debt collectors and auctioneers at bay, keep track of your total debt by writing down each monthly instalment you are paying.

Create a score card and record the creditor’s name, the current balance and the interest rate, then take a separate sheet of paper and record the debts, starting with the one that has the highest interest rate.

Strive to meet the minimum monthly payment for each loan and record this on your score card. After all your monthly overheads have been paid, take any extra money left and make another payment on the debt with the highest interest rate.

You can make this additional payment on the current month or save to add to next month’s bill.

Source: http://www.nation.co.ke/Features/money/Steps%20to%20help%20you%20wriggle%20out%20of%20that%20debt%20hole%20%20/-/435440/1084276/-/rufw19z/-/index.html

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Pain of losing a child: Men hurt too

Posted by Administrator on October 13, 2010

DENNIS OKEYO | NATION: Catherine Don and Mwanike together with their daughter Ailsa Zawadi during the interview.

DENNIS OKEYO | NATION: Catherine Don and Mwanike together with their daughter Ailsa Zawadi during the interview.

“I have accepted, but I haven’t forgotten,” begins Don Mwaniki.

“I have just had to accept that my baby is no more, but it is difficult to forget. The memory is as fresh as though it happened yesterday,” Mwaniki says of the day he lost his new-born baby, exactly seven months ago.

His wife, Catherine, had checked into the maternity ward on the 1st of March this year at 7 o’clock in the morning. After a series of traumatic events, their new-born daughter passed away at 1:17am the following morning.

Their first born, Ailsa Zawadi, who is four and a half years old, was anxiously waiting to cuddle her little sister, but this was not to be. And unknown to them, their house-help too was excited about having another little girl to help take care of.

As it is, her death affected her psychologically, and she had to go through counselling to deal with the loss. The tragedy is one that this family has had to accept, live with, and learn from in a number of ways. Here is their story.

How I lost my baby
Catherine: “At 38 weeks, I get some stomach aches in the morning and notice some bleeding. I consult a nurse, as well as my parents, over the phone. They advise me to rush to hospital. We get there at 7am. But fifteen minutes later, we still have not been admitted. It is the last time I feel my baby kick,” Catherine recalls, tears building up.

“A few minutes to 8am, I check into the maternity ward and lie on a bed. Two rubber bands are fastened on my stomach as the doctors’ check on the baby’s heartbeat, which fluctuates from 150 to 70 and then zero.”

But the nurse who is attending to me seems not to be concerned and instructs me to ring the bell when I feel the baby kick. She walks out of the room, assuring me that everything is okay.

And at about 8.30am, she comes back and this time round advises me to lie on my left side, arguing that with a change of position, the baby might respond.

A few minutes later, I am shocked when several doctors approach my bed and ask my husband to excuse them, which he does.

One of them, an experienced doctor I think, looks at the results of the baby’s heart-beat and immediately punctures the amniotic sac.

A dark green fluid flows out and immediately, he sounds an emergency. I am wheeled to the theatre. It is 10:22am.

Mwaniki: “I insist that I want to be in the theatre and I am allowed and change into the proper gear. The baby is delivered very healthy. He weighs 3.58 kilogrammes, but cries not.”

She is rushed to the nurses to clean and I follow. A pediatrician comes in and sees that she is not breathing. She starts the suction from the nose but she doesn’t cry or open her mouth.

She has taken in a lot of fluid, the doctor says. But she assures me that baby will bounce back once placed at the High Dependency Unit (HDU) for monitoring. My mother-in-law arrives and my attention shifts to her and my wife who has now been transferred to the ward.

While at the ward, the paediatrician calls, saying that our baby’s vital signs aren’t good, meaning that her breathing is bad, therefore she lacks sufficient oxygen.

She also informs me that she has been transferred to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) to be hooked to a breathing machine.

She advises me to rush to the accounts office since I first need to deposit half a million shillings (Sh500,000) so that she can be connected to a respirator. I plead that I only have Sh200,000; but I can find the balance as soon as possible if they first connect her to the machine.

She refers me to the hospital’s accountant. At that moment, I feel helpless as my baby’s life, it seems, is pegged on my pockets.

I plead with him to connect my baby to the respirator as I find the rest of the money. He is hard to convince and after arguing for a while, I lose patience and tell both the doctor and the accountant to call me when she dies.

It is then that the accountant calls the ICU and directs them to put my baby on the respirator. I make the Sh200, 000 deposit and immediately rush to the ICU.

Each time the doctors are doing the suctioning, it is only blood that comes out of my daughter’s lungs. The pediatrician explains that due to lack of oxygen, parts of the lungs are damaged. It is as if she is drowning in her own blood.

The situation is so horrible that I keep asking whether she will make it, but doctors assure me that she is okay. However, the chief pediatrician follows us to the ICU. She calls me aside and bluntly tells me that my baby will not make it.

She asks me to ensure that my wife sees baby while she is still alive.

I inform my mother-in-law. The pressure is too much and I take a walk around the hospital compound. I then toughen up, go to the ward and inform my wife that she needs to see our baby in the ICU.

One of the nurses helps her to get out of bed. Blood is seaping from her caesarean wound, which is still raw. We manage to get her there and looking at the baby, she starts to vomit and doubles up in pain because the stitches are too painful.

We pray and I take her back to the ward to stay with my mother-in-law.

Then the levels of gas start to fall from 120 to 90 and by the time I leave the hospital at 10pm, I am very sure that she won’t make it. However, I can’t admit it to myself. My wife insists that I stay, but I am in a state of helplessness.

I feel that I am not of any use to her. What shocks me is that a week before, we had gone to the same hospital and done an abdominal scan that confirmed that our baby was okay. Exhausted and bitter, I go home and place the car keys on the stool, put my feet up and try to sleep.

Catherine: That night, from 10pm up to midnight, I don’t sleep. I feel as though I have the strength to walk around. I go to the ICU, wash my hands and request if I can hold my baby.

The doctor tells me that I can only touch her and I see that she is struggling to breath. I call Mwaniki and tell him that I am going to sleep and the baby is not too well. I also inform my mother that I am scared that the baby might not make it.

She assures me that she and dad are praying about it. A few minutes to one o’clock, a nurse comes to my room and tells me that she needs me in the ICU since something is not right with my little girl.

I find five pediatricians doing transfusions and trying to resuscitate my baby, who is not responding. Seventeen minutes later, all the readings click zero and she is no more.

It is a harrowing experience to watch, very depressing. At some point, the doctors want to take away her body but I refuse and tell them that I will have to wait for my husband and parents.

I then struggle to call and share the sad news. By 2am, my parents and husband have arrived at the hospital.

Mwaniki: At 1o’clock, I get this call that I do not want to pick. My daughter is no more. I try to console my wife over the phone. Then I look for the car keys and I can’t find them.

I get agitated and I call out loudly for the house girl to come and search for them. She just picks them up on the stool where I had placed them and asks me what the problem is.

I inform her that we have lost the baby. She bursts out crying, and I caution her not to wake up Zawadi. I got outside and I start looking for my car, I am so confused, it is my father-in-law, who does not live very far from us, who offers to drive me to hospital with his car.

At the hospital, I look at our baby, who for the first time appears peaceful. I wipe off some blood oozing from her nose. Apart from shedding helpless tears, there is nothing else I can do.

She starts getting cold and the nurses want to take her away but I insist I need to have some time with her. I sit there holding her as we pray until morning.

This is a very trying moment for my wife as the mothers next door have babies that are crying. I ask the hospital staff to transfer her to a different room. I disagree with some doctors, who want to have a post-mortem done.

We refuse since we can’t take it anymore. My wife argues that we cannot open up such a beautiful baby.

The funeral arrangements begin and I get somewhat busy. Then a week after the burial, a kind of depression overcomes me.

I feel as though God is against me and I cannot stand it when people keep telling me about the power of prayers and God, who I question.

Then in a sudden twist, my elder sister who had a very rare tuberculosis strain that had affected her brain, passes away.

The grieving of my daughter takes a back-seat as I now get involved in her burial. My wife seems like she has accepted our loss, since she can talk about it. I am still struggling psychologically and eventually, I tell God that if He must take somebody from me, then let it be me.

Then with the help of my mother-in-law, who is a professional counsellor, it becomes easier for me to open up. I delete some of the pictures that I had taken of our daughter with tubes all over her body.

I have to be strong for Zawadi and we allow her to go through the grieving and burial process. At one point, she inquires if ‘mtoto amekufa’ (has the baby died?) and it is hard for me to explain to her what exactly happened, but I try.

At the burial, she touches her sister’s face and asks if she is asleep.

As she is being lowered to the ground, Zawadi asks, horrified, “Kwanini mnaweka mtoto wetu kwa shimo?”(why are you putting our baby into a hole?)

She immediately disappears from the house after the burial only for her grandmother to find her at the grave side, struggling to pull away the cross.

She intends to get her sister from the grave, she explains. She asks why the baby cannot leave the grave.

She always wants to look at the burial photographs and watch the video tape. At least, she can now understand that when someone dies, they cannot see, eat or talk. But she still asks about her sister and if she is going to get another one.

The issue of having another baby crops up but at the back of my mind, there is some fear.

Even our house-girl who had also anticipated the baby, was so affected, that we had to find a counsellor for her. She could not bring herself to look at the burial photos or video-tape.

Catherine: It has been difficult for me, since everyone who saw me pregnant now expects that I have a baby. Explaining what happened isn’t easy.

Mwaniki: This experience has brought us closer as a family. We have been there for each other, through it all. We went for the ante-natal check-ups together and I had been part of the pregnancy from the very beginning,”

Source: Daily Nation

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Tribe resetting standards in Kenya tourism

Posted by Administrator on May 16, 2010

Tribe opened its doors in September 2008, making it almost two years old.

Tribe opened its doors in September 2008, making it almost two years old.

May 10, 2010 – I did not think that the Tribe Hotel’s recognition by Conde Nast Traveller as one of the best hotels was that big a deal – maybe that was because I didn’t know what the CNT was all about!

Let me share with you, the Conde Nast Traveller is a highly respected global magazine which specialises in covering the luxury travel market. It has editions in the UK and USA and Tribe Hotel made it on the hot list for both versions!

Thousands of hotels world-wide were reviewed and it has been seven years since a Kenyan hotel featured in the Hot Lists. Hot stuff, eh?

“We see this double accolade as good news for the Kenyan tourism industry as a whole. We feel a real sense of revival in the tourism industry in Kenya in 2010, and we’re delighted that Tribe is playing its part in making this country be viewed positively by all the important and discerning foreign travelling community,” said Tribe Hotel’s General Manager, Mark Somen, at a press conference held to release the impact of this recognition to the hospitality and general tourism sector in Kenya.

The magazine cited, among other things, Tribe’s elegant interior design, saying “the hotel mixes contemporary city glamour with carefully placed African art and artefacts.” CN Traveller also singled out Tribe’s “superb” standards of service.

Tribe is Nairobi’s first independent designer boutique hotel and its design is best described as ‘New York chic melds with African warmth.’

This accolade has caught the attention of the Kenya Tourist Board (KTB). Chairman Jake Grieves Cook said; “Tribe is helping Kenya’s hotel industry to be ranked at the very top level in the world and is setting high standards for other leading hotels to emulate.”

Tribe Hotel’s recognition is a boost to Kenya’s tourism industry which is currently emerging from a difficult period marked by the global financial crisis in 2009 and the post-election violence in 2008.

The hotel’s architect was at the conference as well. Mehraz Ehsani said: “From the very initial drawing board stage of design, our benchmark has always been the global hospitality industry, and this accolade establishes Tribe as one of the top properties in the world, an achievement we’re really proud of.”

“We have already earned a reputation of resetting the standards of hotel customer service and accommodation in Nairobi. We are extremely proud of what we’ve managed to achieve in such a short space of time, but for us this recognition is a spring-board for the continued development of Tribe, and the continued growth of tourism in Kenya,” said Hooman Ehsan, Director and Chief of Development at the Hotel.

The Tribe Hotel is well versed with style. For instance, an outdoor Pool vista, floating islands, an in-house 300 DVD collection and a library which contains around 2,800 books.

Set in the leafy suburbs of Gigiri, Tribe Hotel is located at the Village Market. It has quickly established itself as the destination for discerning travellers, hosting among others, luminaries from October’s MTV Africa Music Awards (MAMAs) including Wyclef Jean and Akon. Other famous people who have experienced the Tribe include Nicole Kidman, Angelina Jolie, and the Princess of Thailand, etc.

In an effort to reverse the notion that the Tribe is not a Kenyan affair, the hotel has launched a new campaign, under the title “We always knew Nairobi is hot, now it’s Hotter”.

*For more photos of the five-star pleasure, take a look at our gallery in the “Good Life” section.

Posted in Finance | 1 Comment »

Kenyan bourse hits Sh1 trillion mark

Posted by Administrator on April 13, 2010

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Mercedes F800 embraces sporty and sleek look

Posted by Administrator on March 18, 2010

The doors slide back close to the vehicle’s body, making it easy for occupants to get into and out in tight parking spaces. Photo/COURTESY

The doors slide back close to the vehicle’s body, making it easy for occupants to get into and out in tight parking spaces. Photo/COURTESY

The design team at Mercedes have suddenly been inspired to produce something pleasing to the eye.

I was so disappointed by the E-class, however, the F800 has restored my faith in the brand.

After years of what seemed like shift in design thinking across the motor industry with some good and some very bad outcomes, Mercedes has produced a stunning new design language with what looks like flame surfacing and a pointed snout that signals a sporty for new direction the marque.

The vehicle’s front end features a variation of the radiator grille with the centrally placed brand star that is typical of Mercedes sports cars.

The curved radiator grille bars softly flow around the tube holding the Mercedes-Benz brand star.

Along with the wide radiator grille and the generously curved air intake openings, the model’s unique bright LED headlights emphasises the dynamic nature of the research vehicle.

The headlights are divided into individual segments for daytime running lights, turn signal indicators, and primary headlights.

The F 800 Style’s tail lights are also equipped with state-of-the-art LED units that enable an exciting interplay of indirect illumination and direct beams.

The result is an attractive, unmistakable, and memorable visual effect.

On the inside, Mercedes engineers and designers used lots of wood and light to create comfort.

You will feel light headed in this cabin as they have created a sense of lightness with floating armrests.

The seats too have lightweight construction. Mercedes is very clear about what it expects to achieve with this new design language.

With the F 800 Style, it is underscoring their drive to bring together responsibility for the environment with practical customer benefits and automotive fascination.

The new research vehicle combines this leadership role in innovative drive concepts with classic Mercedes strengths in the fields of design, safety, comfort and superb performance.”

The forward thinking that Mercedes is known for is epitomised in this concept and it is as green as ever.

When developing this vehicle, the engineers paid particular attention to the further development of all-electric driving in urban traffic.

Its drive unit consists of a V6 petrol engine with next-generation direct injection developing around 220 kW (300 hp) and a hybrid module with around 80 kW (109 hp) fully integrated into the casing of the 7G-TRONIC seven-speed automatic transmission, as in the Mercedes-Benz S 400 HYBRID launched in mid-2009.

Its power reserves facilitate a top speed in electric mode of 120 km/h.

This means that the F 800 Style can also handle out-of-town traffic conditions.

The overall output of the hybrid drive stands at around 300 kW (409 hp).

A particularly customer-friendly innovation of the F 800 Style is its rear doors.

Whereas the front doors are attached to the A-pillar in a conventional manner and open wide toward the front, the rear doors slide backward when opened, as they are suspended from an interior swivel arm.

Because the doors slide back close to the vehicle body, occupants find it much easier to get into and out of the automobile in tight parking spaces.

The F800 Style also has no B-pillar, making the entire space between the A and C-pillars completely accessible when the doors are opened.

Despite the lack of a B-pillar, the F 800 Style boasts a bodyshell that is both extremely robust and lightweight, and that meets the stringent demands for crash safety that are a hallmark of the Mercedes brand.

The F 800 Style is both a technology package and a showcar.

This research vehicle was created through close cooperation between technical research and advanced engineering departments and the advanced design studios in Sindelfingen, Germany and Como, Italy.

Its exterior appearance is marked by a long wheelbase, short body overhangs, and a sensually flowing roof line.

“The exciting coupe-like roof line, and in general the vehicle’s balanced proportions, lend it a stylish sporty look that reinterprets the Mercedes-Benz design idiom and emphasises the sculptural character of the F 800 Style,” said Mercedes-Benz head of design Prof. Gorden Wagener. “The result is a harmonious blend of innovative form and function, which conveys a sense of great styling and authority.”

Safety is a key feature of all Mercedes vehicles and this comes strongly in the F800.

It has a new feature called Traffic Jam Assistant which heightens comfort and active safety.

The innovative protective system known as PRE-SAFE 360° further improves passive safety.

This system is based on the proactive occupant protection system PRESAFE® developed by Mercedes-Benz.

Unlike the previous system, PRE-SAFE 360° also monitors the area behind the vehicle.

As a result, the system engages the brakes around 600 milliseconds before an anticipated rear-end collision occurs.

The advantage of this system is that braking a stationary vehicle that is hit in the rear helps prevent secondary accidents such as those that occur when the car is catapulted uncontrolled into an intersection or a pedestrian crossing.

It goes without saying that PRE-SAFE 360° also allows the driver to take control at any time.

For example, the brake is immediately released if the driver hits the acceleration pedal knowing that there is sufficient space in front of his or her own vehicle to avoid the rear impact.

An exciting future awaits wabenzes in Kenya.

-www.businessdailyafrica.com

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How to talk money with your honey

Posted by Administrator on February 11, 2010

Many lovers will talk about anything, even sex, before talking about finances. Research shows that money issues are the leading causes of friction in relationships.

Couple’s can take advantage of the cozy Valentine’s mood to talk about money. Andrew Gichure and Esther (pictured above), who have been married for over 20 years, discovered this secret early.

“Our openness with our money started long before marriage. I knew the length of his payslip and he knew mine,” says Esther, 42.

Since then, money has been the centre of their daily talk. “We are both in business and we all go different directions each day to make money, and so we meet in the evening to compare notes.”

Financial experts and marriage counsellors say knowing the net worth of your partner is important for long-term relationships. Also, know your partner’s family because it is possible that your finances will be used to help his or her family.

Joint accounts

Keep your investments simple and agree on how money is saved and invested. While the Gichures run different businesses, they operate a joint account for the family, personal accounts and separate accounts for each of their companies.

“The joint account is very free,” says Mr Gichure.

“Each one of us deposits some amount money into it and that goes into our monthly household budget, school fees for the children and other domestic expenditures.”

Mr Patrick Wameyo, a financial literacy coach at the Financial Academy & Technologies, says the key issue is how to trust each other’s ability to handle money productively.

“Mistrust,” he says, “is normal and is a product of a couple’s different behaviours. The behaviours result from characters which they developed under different family beliefs and attitudes about money and wealth. They now need to create a new family financial behaviour and provide a fresh family environment for it to grow.”

Couples should must therefore change their financial behaviours whether it takes talking about money everyday until they trust each other’s ability to handle money well.

“We sit down and discuss what should be included in our budget and what should not.

Some independence

We adjust according to changing needs, school fees and of course prices of commodities and it keeps our spending in check,” says Mr Gichure, who takes care of school shopping. His wife takes care of groceries and share water and electricity bills.

Riding on a common budget doesn’t mean a spouse cannot enjoy some autonomy on money. They use individual accounts to cater for personal needs like Esther’s salon and Andrew’s occasional beer.

“These accounts were triggered by our need not to interfere with our monthly budget and also to give each other the freedom to look good and feel good,” says Mr Gichure.

Esther, an IT consultant who took early retirement three years ago, used to earn three times more than her husband, but free discussions helped forestall any complexes. And whenever one gets broke, the other comes in to the rescue.

“He is ever willing to rescue me with some cash whenever I hit my pocket seams, and I sometimes do the same. However, I do not go petty and push him to account for every coin that he spends,” she adds.

Their financial freedom is such that whenever Esther travels, she leaves her ATM card with the husband.

“I try to stick to how much she has said I spend and on what. If I cross that line, I surely inform her about it,” says Mr Gichure.

Trust is key

A few years back before Esther quit her job, she took Sh4 million loan and entrusted it with her husband to oversee construction of their home in Nairobi. “She did not strain me to account for every coin spend on the building.

But I surely took it upon myself as a responsibility to see that the quality of the building was worth with what was spent on it. I am still keeping the receipts.”

So when is the right time to start talking money with your honey? “The ideal situation for a couple is to begin discussing money while they are still dating,” says Mr Wameyo, the financial expert.

Plan together

“If this does not happen, it should form part of the premarital counseling discussions, so that they can start their family on a stable financial platform in line with their common aspirations.”

Financial planners advise couples to plan investments together. The Gichures, for instance, jointly own property apart from the car which is in the man’s name the house he acquired before marriage. They also co-own their businesses.

“We plan for holidays together,” Esther says.

Andrew draws a holiday budget and ensures implementation because, he says. Esther has the temptation to spend beyond our budget.

The Gachures say lovers should learn each other’s money character before settling into marriage. Financial experts advise money secrets, as they can ruin a marriage.

“If one party hides some money, mistrust will prevail especially when the other party suspects or finds out,” says Mr Wameyo.

“The ideal situation for a couple is to put all their money plans and peculiar problems on the table and work out a budget for expenses, savings, and investing that reflect their common aspirations and problems.”

money@nation.co.ke

Posted in Finance | Comments Off on How to talk money with your honey

 
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