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As I See It

Every now and then, it’s good to clean off the ol’ desk. Here are a few items I ran across last week.


Drink tea and live longer. Not iced tea with extra sugar but “real” tea – green tea, black tea, Chinese tea or fruit-flavored tea. As long as the leaves come from the plant Camellia sinensis, tea will contain potent antioxidant chemicals that have been linked to protection against major diseases like cancer and heart disease. The popularity of tea in Japan and China may partly explain why heart disease rates are much lower in the Far East than in Western countries.


If you are going to file bankruptcy in America, the best places to do it are in Florida and Texas. Both states have unlimited homestead exemptions, meaning that bankruptcy can protect their homes from creditors no matter how much they are worth. Contemplating bankruptcy? Pay off your home mortgage and stiff your creditors who can’t touch your home equity to satisfy their claims.

Incidentally, Congress is considering bankruptcy reform. A bill has already passed the House, and Senate action is possible. None of the contemplated legislation would plug the unlimited homestead exemption loophole.


Only 13% of small businesses have an annual budget in writing. Only 14% have a business plan in writing. In all, nearly 60% of small businesses have no plans at all on paper. This data comes from a recent survey of more than 500 businesses with fewer than 500 employees which was conducted by Willard & Schulman Group Ltd., a market-research company in Greenwich, Conn.

In addition to lacking a business plan, nearly 90% of small business owners don’t have a succession plan. That means that the business would likely be crippled by the unexpected death of the owner.


Beginning Oct. 1, the Social Security Administration began mailing statements to about 125 million workers who are age 25 or older and not already receiving Social Security benefits. The four-page individualized statement is intended to help workers plan their financial future by providing estimates of the retirement, disability and survivors benefits they and their families could be eligible to receive now and in the future.

To accomplish this monumental task of reaching 125 million workers, they will mail approximately 500,000 statements each business day. Workers can expect to receive their statement each year about three months before their birth month.


Next week, MBJ will join with KPMG Peat Marwick, CPAs, the GodwinGroup advertising agency and Brunini, Grantham, Grower & Hewes, attorneys at law, in recognizing the 40 fastest-growing private companies headquartered in Mississippi. We are looking forward to this celebration of success. These companies have demonstrated their ability to survive and prosper in today’s economy. They create lots of new jobs and are financial blessings to their communities.


The holiday season has arrived and we can smell the turkeys cooking. Well, almost. The United Way’s annual fund drive is underway. I can’t think of a better way to get in the holiday spirit than making a generous commitment to help those in our community who are less fortunate. I promise the turkey will taste better.


Here is my creed. I believe in one God, the Creator of the universe. That he governs it by his Providence. That he ought to be worshiped. That the most acceptable service we render to him is in doing good to his other children. That the soul of man is immortal, and will be treated with justice in another life respecting its conduct in this. These I take to be the fundamental points in all sound religion.


in a letter to Ezra Stiles, president of Yale University

Joe D. Jones, CPA, is publisher of the Mississippi Business Journal. His e-mail address is cpajones@msbusiness.com.

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