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New LegalShield Law Index Brings Leading Indicators Of Actionable, Hard Data To Reveal Economic Trends

Posted By Kenyatta Turner, LegalShield Independent Associate, Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Monthly Index Covers Over 70% of the GDP to Predict Economic Health

 

ADA, Okla.June 8, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- For the first time, the LegalShield Law Index—launched today—provides a forward-looking snapshot of the economic and financial status of U.S. households and small businesses. The Index is made up of five indices, including the LegalShield Consumer Financial Stress Index, LegalShield Housing Activity Index, LegalShield Bankruptcy Index, LegalShield Foreclosure Index, and the LegalShield Real Estate Index. Each index relies on LegalShield's unique and proprietary database of actual member demand for and usage of legal services to predict the health of the U.S. economy.

Experience the interactive Multichannel News Release here: https://www.multivu.com/players/English/8115751-legalshield-law-indices-predictive-economic-trends

 "The LegalShield Law Index is generated from actual consumer and business demand for various legal services provided by our closed panel of dedicated law firms covering all 50 states," said James Rosseau, LegalShield's Chief Commercial Officer. "Each index is a leading economic indicator and is released in a more timely manner than traditional economic indices. Our index predicts economic activity that represent more than 70 percent of the Gross Domestic Product of the United States. The LegalShield Law Index provides actionable intelligence about the direction of the U.S. economy in the mid- to near-term," continued Rosseau.

The key predictive takeaways from the first public release of data, through May 2017, are as follows:

  • Consumer confidence may continue to ease in the months ahead, but will likely remain strong by historical standards.
  • Housing starts, which have risen at a stubbornly slow pace since 2012 and remain well below pre-recession levels, should continue to improve slowly in the months ahead.
  • Bankruptcy filings should remain subdued in the near term. However, elevated levels of household debt are worth keeping an eye on, as they could lead to upward pressure on bankruptcy filings in the future.
  • Foreclosures should remain subdued in the short term, but may begin to rise in the second half of the year.
  • Existing home sales should continue to improve slowly in the months ahead.

The LegalShield Law Index is made up of five indices that are generated from LegalShield's proprietary data, which tracks the demand for different types of legal services for the various areas of law over the past 15-plus years. Each time a LegalShield partner law firm receives a request from a LegalShield member, the request is logged as an "intake" within one of roughly 70 unique areas of law (e.g., real estate, criminal, bankruptcy), depending on the nature of the legal need.

"We are excited to share our forward-looking data about the U.S. economy, based on the actual legal needs of our members and the work of our provider law firms—data that covers more than one-and-a-half decades of activity. When our members contact their LegalShield provider law firm, we record the area of law," explained Rosseau. "In aggregate, our index foreshadows economic activity based on actual legal events in the lives of individuals, families and small businesses."

The flagship LegalShield Consumer Financial Stress Index tends to lead the Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index by one to three months. LegalShield's May data suggest that the recent run-up in consumer confidence may have overshot economic realities, and that consumer confidence levels may consequently pull back in the months ahead.

"While there are reasons to be optimistic about the U.S. economy, since December there has been a divergence of 'soft data' based on consumer and business confidence surveys, and 'hard data' based on actual market events, such as demand for legal services," Jeff Bell, LegalShield CEO, said. "Historically, when the LegalShield Consumer Financial Stress Index drifts away from the Consumer Confidence Index, it is typically consumer confidence that falls back into line with our index, not the other way around. We saw this in 2006 and 2007, when our index provided an early warning signal of the drop-off in confidence at the outset of the Great Recession."

LegalShield will be releasing the Index monthly, on the sixth business day of each month. Today the company is releasing May data, along with an assessment of what the data suggest about the health and direction of the U.S. economy. For access to the economic assessment, please visit https://www.multivu.com/players/English/8115751-legalshield-law-indices-predictive-economic-trends/.

The five separate measures that comprise the LegalShield Law Index together provide a leading indicator of the economic and financial status of American households and small businesses. The indices closely track a handful of key economic indicators, such as the Consumer Confidence Index (developed by the Conference Board), Housing Starts (reported by the U.S. Census Bureau), and Foreclosure Starts (reported by the Mortgage Bankers Association). Each LegalShield index has undergone a battery of statistical tests overseen by a PhD economist to validate its relationship to an existing economic indicator that sheds light on the health and direction of the U.S. economy.

LegalShield's suite of law indices provides actionable intelligence about the direction of the U.S. economy in the near term. Each index is based on data collected through LegalShield's provider law firms across all 50 states, thereby offering insights that are not accessible to the general public.

The Index is based on data collected on a near real-time basis, and will be refreshed and released monthly along with forecast statements on each index. The Index is based on intakes among more than 1.6 million memberships (including individuals and small businesses), providing a window into the legal needs of families and businesses across the country at any given point in time.

About LegalShield 
LegalShield is one of the North America's leading providers of legal safeguards for individuals, families and small businesses. The company also offers one of the industry's most affordable and comprehensive identity theft plans, IDShield. LegalShield plans provide protection to more than 4.2 million individuals, and IDShield provides identity monitoring and restoration services to more than one million individuals across North America. In addition, LegalShield and IDShield serve more than 141,000 businesses.

For as little as $20 per month, LegalShield members get access to attorneys with an average of 19 years of experience in areas such as family matters, estate planning, financial and business issues, consumer protection, tax, real estate, benefits disputes and auto/driving issues. Unlike other legal plans or do-it-yourself websites, LegalShield has dedicated law firms in 50 states and four provinces in Canada that members can call for help without having to worry about high hourly rates.

For more information, visit http://www.LegalShield.com/hub/KenyattaTurner or contact Kenyatta Turner, LegalShield Independent Associate, 602-367-1069

Tags:  business  business decision-making  business development  Business growth  business plan  business resources  business services  business worries  economic development  economy  finance  ID Theft  Identity Fraud  Legal  legal services  real estate  setting goals  small business  small business marketing  small business strategy  women owned small business  women-owned business 

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What's Not Keeping The Fastest Growing Companies Awake At Night

Posted By Jason Trujillo, Woodbury Financial, Tuesday, October 21, 2014

What's Not Keeping The Fastest Growing Companies Awake At Night by Steve Parrish. Article originally appeared on Forbes.com on October 17, 2014. Click here to read original article.

I’m in Arizona this week at a meeting where 1,500 business owners and key employees have gathered to:

  •  Share best practices
  • Learn from each other
  • Hear from nationally recognized experts

 These are businesses that have made the prestigious Inc. 500/5000list.

 And what have I learned?

 It’s my third time at the Inc. 500/5000 annual meeting, but there is always so much insight from this  impressive group.

 A colleague and I presented on the financial issues that are keeping business owners awake at night (taxes, retirement planning, employee benefits, etc.). My big takeaway from the discussion was the long list of business issues that are NOT keeping them awake at night.

 These are issues that are being addressed, neutralized or even leveraged.

 Optimism for the overall business environment

 As always, there is a lot of enthusiasm and confidence among Inc. 500/5000 attendees.

 These are entrepreneurs with fast-growing companies.

 Pessimism and insecurity would simply not work for this crowd. That being said, this is the most upbeat I’ve ever seen Inc. 5000 business owners. They are reporting a positive consumer market, good liquidity and a manageable economic environment.

 The elephant in the room

 In past years, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) had been the proverbial elephant in the room. Some disguised their concerns through a political rant, some procrastinated by taking a “wait-and-see” approach, and many simply chose to ignore the law.

 Despite all the bravado, however, I sensed the ACA was keeping them awake at night.

 This year there seemed to be a refreshing turn. Companies have come to accept the reality of the ACA’s existence and have started learning and adapting. These businesses are almost universally building healthcare planning into their strategic and tactical business planning.

 Incorporating the new law has caused some growing pains. One retailer I met with can’t find anyone who wants to provide his successful company health insurance, and his business – by default – is relegated to the federal exchange market.

 But the owner is simply accepting the challenge as a normal part of doing business, and he’s doing what he can to mitigate its effect on the company’s plans.

 Valuations

 Business owners I talked with are receiving unsolicited sales offers with high multiples of earnings. The buyers appear to have available financing and liquidity.

 These are fast-growing companies, of course, and the multiples being offered are dependent on the industry they’re in. Still, compared with three years ago, the merger and acquisition market has heated up significantly.

 Interestingly, notwithstanding these high multiples, there doesn’t seem to be much of a mood among owners to take the money and run. Many want to grow their companies organically and eventually sell their business interests to their other partners or employees.

 Marketing

 Fast-growing companies always seem to have a unique marketing spin, but there are some themes I noticed that apply to a number of marketing strategies.

  •  Retailers who entered the market by selling online are often seeking to additionally sell their products through brick-and-mortar retailers. I talked with both a snack company and a skin care company that sell through the Internet but have started to also sell their products through name-brand retailers in malls. They report that this gives them some credibility to advertise on the Web. They promote that they also sell their products at, say, Bed Bath & Beyond, GNC, etc.
  • Retailers that traditionally sell through their own stores or dealerships are increasingly finding success in selling online. Imagine an RV company that reports excellent sales through Web purchases. A family researches the product online, even buys online, and then comes to the shop to pick up their camper as part of their vacation.
  • Similarly, manufactures and retailers of big-ticket items like specialty vehicles report success in selling used products through the Web. They buy back products they’ve manufactured or sold, post it on the Web and sell it to a new buyer. Consumers are accustomed to eBay-style purchases, and they find peace of mind in buying a used product through the website of the original manufacturer.

 Key employees

 It was particularly encouraging to see that employers want to address recruiting and retaining key employees.

 Business owners recognize that key people are mobile and attuned to pay and benefit issues. The “keep my head down and keep my job” mentality is history among employees.

 Even more encouraging is that many of these owners want to avoid the mistakes of the past, where the solution was to try to mollify the key employee with stock options or restricted stock. A number of business owners are interested in unique and exciting employee benefits (voluntary service days off, weight loss programs, flex time) and goal driven incentive plans.

 They’ve come to realize pay and bonuses work as rewards but not necessarily as retention tools. More than one owner I talked with plans on selling their business soon yet still wants to install long-term incentive plans for key employees.

 In the end, I can only guess what business issues do or don’t keep these successful business owners awake at night, but I did see a lot more willingness to recognize potential problems as opportunities for the future rather than impediments to growth. No wonder they’re among the fastest-growing companies in the country.

 

Tags:  Affordable Care Act  Business Best Practices  business concerns  Business Learning  business planning  business worries  employee benefits  fast growing companies  Forbes  Inc. 500/5000  National Business Experts  Principal Financial Group  retirement planning  Steve Parrish  taxes 

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