It is time to make history by changing history. For more than 40 years - and through eight presidents - the United States has been dependent on foreign oil to power the nation. Today, energy independence is a realistic goal, one founded on American innovation, technology and hard work.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries - OPEC - has a stranglehold on the United States’ fuel supply. In fact, the United States spends more than $1 million per minute on foreign oil - adding up to more than $450 billion per year, making this the largest wealth transfer in history. This situation is not only unsustainable; it leaves the U.S. indebted to the 12 OPEC member nations, including Iran, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.
For the first time in decades, the United States has the resources for energy independence. The discovery of abundant reserves of shale-based oil and natural gas, combined with new drilling technology needed to produce those resources, has given the United States a long-term source of homegrown energy. The U.S. has enough oil and natural gas to power 65 million cars for 60 years and heat 60 million households for 160 years, according to the American Petroleum Institute (API). By 2030, 100 percent of U.S. liquid fuel needs could be met by resources found in North America.
Energy independence is within reach, and its benefits extend beyond enhanced national security. Increasing domestic oil and natural gas production does the following:
* Creates jobs: Oil and natural gas companies currently support 9.2 million U.S. jobs and are among the nation’s largest employers, according to API. Increasing domestic oil and natural gas development could create more than 1.4 million additional jobs. These jobs are both direct - energy company employees - and indirect - vendors and others who support the energy industry. The increase in domestic oil and natural gas development boosts other industries as well, including steel and manufacturing.
* Revitalizes communities: Last year, the industry contributed $476 billion in direct support to a struggling economy. Domestic oil and natural gas are produced across the country, and wherever drilling takes place, local residents benefit from royalty payments and good-paying jobs. In fact, last year oil and natural gas companies paid more than $176 billion in wages and benefits and payments to oil and natural gas leaseholders. The oil and natural gas industry also provides an influx of tax dollars, paying $86 million per day to the federal government. County and state taxes paid by energy companies contribute to schools, roads and infrastructures.
* Promotes a healthier environment: Domestic energy - particularly natural gas - offers a cleaner energy future by helping reduce air pollution in communities around the country. As an electricity source and a viable transportation fuel, natural gas emits fewer pollutants and no mercury, according to the Energy Information Administration.
Energy independence is no longer campaign rhetoric; it is reality. If you support fueling our country from within, declare your energy independence at www.chk.com/independence.
Courtesy of BPT
Do you know what’s on your credit report? Do you know your credit scores? If you don’t, you’re not alone, but now is a good time to better understand how they work before you go apply for that loan. By waiting to check your report and scores until you want to buy a car or house, you may discover too late your financial history forces you into strict loan terms with high interest rates, or, worse, disqualify you from getting any loan at all. How can you avoid this situation?
Responsible past credit behavior, a healthy credit score and understanding your debt picture all play crucial roles in achieving your overall financial goals. So reviewing your credit report and knowing your VantageScore credit score and how you compare to others is essential. By reviewing your report, you can verify the information in it, and take actions to correct any item that may require it. If you have any negative marks, now is the time to take action to address those issues and increase your credit score.
Perhaps the biggest misconception about credit scoring is that all the three major credit bureaus - TransUnion, Equifax and Experian - produce the same score. Although similar, there are many different scoring formulas, so variations can occur.
The three major credit bureaus partnered to develop VantageScore credit score to make credit scores more consistent and predictable across all three credit bureaus.
VantageScore credit scores fall within a range of 501 to 990 and include a letter grade from A to F. the higher your score, the better. Even though new methods provide more consistent formulas, there may still be variations across the three credit bureaus because information on individual credit reports may differ from bureau to bureau. Furthermore, each company is provided updated information from creditors on different days of the month, so an increase or decrease for one might happen on the first day of the month while another may not occur until the 15th.
These differentiators are why it’s important to know all three of your scores, which you can easily get with a paid TransUnion membership. If you find the scores you have are lower than you’d like, there are some key things you can do. Most credit scores are derived by looking at these five attributes. By understanding what makes up these five factors, you can begin to change your behavior to improve your credit scores.
1. Payment history: A good record of on-time payments will help increase your credit scores. Review your credit reports closely and regularly. Late payments and other negative marks typically remain on your credit reports for up to seven years from the date of first delinquency. If you do find a mistake, take the proper steps to correct it so you can increase your scores.
2. Credit account history: An established credit history makes you a less risky borrower. Keeping old accounts that you have paid off can also help because keep your debt-to-credit ratio more favorable. Think twice before closing old accounts before a loan application.
3. Outstanding debt: High balances in relation to your credit limits can lower your credit score. Aim for balances less than 35 percent of your total available credit. You can determine your debt-to-credit ratio by reviewing your credit report now.
4. Recent inquiries: When a lender or business checks your credit in response to an application, it causes a hard inquiry on your report and may result in a slight ding to your credit score, so apply for new credit in moderation. Remember, viewing your own report and score is counted as a soft inquiry and doesn’t change the score one way or another.
5. Types of credit: A healthy credit profile has a balanced mix of credit accounts and loans. It shows you have paid bills in the past and know how to manage different types of credit obligations. By reviewing your current credit reports and learning what your three scores are, you’ll set yourself up for financial success in the future. Visit www.transunion.com for more information.
Courtesy of BPT
(BPT) - You’ve polished your resume, updated your references and picked up your best outfit from the dry cleaners. You’re ready for that big interview. But while your experience and qualifications may match the position perfectly, have you given any thought to your soft skills?
Soft skills include a person’s attitude, workplace behavior, values and ethics. Increasingly, employers are looking at soft skills as the deciding factor when choosing between two applicants.
Harry Weimann, director of education at WyoTech Blairsville and a business owner, says he wishes he would have learned to look for the appropriate skills long ago.
“As a business owner for many years, I’ve hired several employees,” Weimann says. “Some were talented workers, but I never could pinpoint why I rarely got the person I was looking for. Working for WyoTech opened my eyes to what I was missing - soft skills.”
Weimann says employers view an employee who shows up on time, performs the job correctly and respects others as being more valuable in many cases than an employee who is technically competent but shows up late, is sloppily dressed and has a poor attitude. Because of this, employers are looking harder at soft skills when hiring in the current market.
“For some reason, organizations seem to expect people to know how to behave on the job or have the right soft skills,” says Weimann. “The assumption is that everyone knows the importance of being on time, being accountable, having integrity and being a team player, but is that fair to expect without communicating that during the interview process?”
When you head to that big interview, you should expect to face some soft skill questions. These may include:
* What is your definition of integrity?
* What does it mean to be accountable?
* What is your definition of common sense?
* What is your definition of customer service?
* What are your feelings regarding deadlines?
* How do you handle high-pressure situations?
* Tell me an example of how you’ve resolved a conflict in the past.
Make sure you are able to answer each of these questions with the same accuracy and confidence you would apply to any question about your resume. As employers continue to search for candidates with the right professional and soft skills, it is up to you to prove that you are qualified in both.
Courtesy of BPT
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