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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:

 "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

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 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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The Hot Dog Stand

Posted By George (Clint) Frederick CPA PLLC, George Frederick CPA PLLC, Friday, May 12, 2017


Proposed ‘Hot Dog Stand’ Regulations for Spinoffs

Browsing through the April 2017 issue of The Tax Advisor, published by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Tax Division,  IRS ‘Proposed’ regulations that would impact a closely owned company caught my eye.  Two reasons: first because of the terminology, ‘Hot Dog Stand’, and second because I previously advocated a spinoff to a client.   (Reference Sec. 1.355-3, Sec. 355 (b) and Sec. 1.355-2(d).  The treasury Department in conjunction with the IRS issued proposed regulations REG-134016-15. 

By illustration assume shareholders have two active trade businesses, Company A, and the other Company B, a ‘Hot Dog Stand’ with value of $20,000,(must be a New York hot dog stand) and non-business assets (i.e. vacant land, cash, marketable securities) of two million.  The current regulations allow tax free spin-off to Company A. (Assuming certain other conditions do not deny the transaction.)  The proposed regulations would not allow the tax-free spinoff. 

The prospective date of the new regulations is generally after the date they are published.  But they would not apply to spinoffs that were in process, or had a binding agreement in place. 

If you have multiple corporations where a spin-off might be beneficial I suggest at least have a plan and a binding agreement in place. 





Tags:  finance  small business  tax 

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Choosing a Tax Preparer

Posted By George (Clint) Frederick CPA PLLC, George Frederick CPA PLLC, Monday, January 30, 2017

Choosing a Tax Preparer

Today, January 30, 2017, our friends at the IRS issued “Tax Tip #5”, meaning the fifth tax tip issued in 2017.  The gist of the tax tip is what to look for in a tax preparer’s qualifications.

The IRS publishes; IRS directory of Federal Tax return Preparers with Credentials and Select Qualifications.   This directory lists by city and zip code Attorneys, Certified Public Accountants (CPA), enrolled agents, and others that prepare tax returns.

Only an attorney, CPA or enrolled agent can represent any client before the IRS in any situation.  Non-credited prepares who do not participate in the Annual filing season program can only represent clients before the IRS on returns they prepared or signed.

Any Questions?  Call me at 480 502 1617.  Here is what to look for:

1.      Check the credentials, a CPA, an attorney, or an enrolled agent is best in my view since if something is wrong they can represent you, even if they did not prepare the return.

2.      Check the preparer’s history.  Have there been any complaints filed with the Better Business Bureau?  Has there been any disciplinary action by the State Bar or State Board of Accountancy?

3.      Ask about fees for the service.  A preparer that bases fees on a refund, boasts bigger refunds, or takes payment from the refund are to be avoided.  I base my fees on the time and complexity of the returns to be provided, generally starting in the $200 range for an individual tax return.

4.      E-file your tax return.  Find a tax preparer that will E-file your tax return.  It’s a requirement for tax preparer’s that file more than 10 tax returns. 

5.      Make sure your tax preparer is available.  Don’t wait until after April 18 to find file your taxes, penalties and interest will be charged.  You can get an extension to file your taxes but any tax due should be paid by the tax deadline.

6.       Provide records and receipts to your tax preparer.  It’s against the rules to just use the last pay-stub and not the W-2 to file a tax return.  The preparer should ask a lot of questions to maximize you’re your refund, get all the credits and deductions to which you are entitled in order to avoid paying extra tax.  I use a comprehensive checklist of yes and no questions.

7.      Never sign a blank return.  Always get an explanation of the reason for the form being signed.

8.      Always review your return before signing your tax return.  You are responsible for your tax return, and tax preparer’s may are not infallible.   They are human and make mistakes.

9.      Ensure the preparer signs and includes their PTIN.  All paid tax preparer’s must have a Preparer Tax Identification Number.    

10.  Most tax preparers are honest and provide a great service to their clients.  However, there are some that are not so honest.  If you find one that is not honest they should be reported the IRS.

Tags:  finance  Taxes; small business 

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Films That Inspire Accountants

Posted By George (Clint) Frederick CPA PLLC, George Frederick CPA PLLC, Thursday, March 3, 2016


Films That Inspire Accountants

The CPA Letter Daily, March 1, 2016, contained an article, ‘5 Films to Inspire CPA’s’.  I had never thought of the films as inspiring, although they are some of my favorite movies.  These films are:

·         All the President’s Men 1976.  The film earned four Oscars.  It is an inspiration to accountants since it is the quest for the truth, even at personal risk.  This is a canon of the AICPA Code of Ethics, not to shade the numbers, or stated another way; do not paint the financial picture to hide the facts.  I particularly relate to the story since at the time I was traveling to Washington DC on business trips.  I was involved on a large utility case and in hearings, and stayed in the Watergate Hotel on one trip.  They also have a real nice restaurant that overlooks the Potomac.

·         Schindler’s List 1993. As noted by Dr. Sara Kern CPA, associate professor of accounting at Gonzaga University, her favorite quote was when Schindler said to Stern(the accountant),”My father was fond of saying you need three things in life: a good doctor, a forgiving priest, and a clever accountant.  The first two I’ve never had much use for.”   They devised a plan that saved some 1,200 Polish Jews from the death camps. The film won seven Oscars.

·         The Shawshank Redemption1994.  The film depicts a person with financial skills being able to escape from a brutal prison by providing financial advice to the guards and the warden.  As stated by Dr. Ken Milani CPA, University of Notre Dame, “It also displays the power of information and how information can be used for good and evil.” 

·         The Untouchables 1987.  The story of FBI agent Eliot Ness, and his brainy US Treasury accountant Oscar Wallace, bringing down famous gangster Al Capone for income tax evasion.  

·         Wall Street 1987.  Set in New York City, the story based on the excesses of the 1980’s portrays Michael Douglas in a cesspool of illegal activities, insider trading and securities fraud.  The famous line “Greed is good!”  Douglas earned a best actor Oscar for his part.  Charlie Sheen plays a young ambitious stockbroker, a mentee of Douglas.  Joseph Rugger, CPA and CFO of Jonesboro Prosthetic ad Orthotic Laboratory notes, “At some point in all of our careers, we as accountants are faced with the challenge of whether or not we want to stay on the good side, or take shortcuts to the bad side. It is a great reminder of the good, bad, and the ugly that comes with blind ambition.”

Personally, I would add one more film to the list that inspire accountants.  That film is “A Few Good Men”, where Tom Cruise plays a young attorney that brings down a superior officer played by Jack Nicholson.  Nicholson won an academy award.  To me it portrays the courage to pursue the truth at the risk of personal loss and sacrifice.  Although Tom Cruise won the battle, had he lost would he have regretted not pursuing the truth?  If he had not pursued the battle would he have regrets over not continuing the battle? 

Tags:  Accountants  Ethics  Finance  Inspiration 

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New Chips in Credit Cards Pose a Problem for Small Business

Posted By Ashley Vizzerra, Arizona Small Business Association, Thursday, June 25, 2015

New chips being put in credit cards are posing a problem for small businesses. Businesses of all sizes face an Oct. 1 deadline to get new card readers and software that can handle chips. The problem with that is these new card readers cost thousands of dollars which is huge financial strain on small businesses.

Tags:  credit cards  finance  Small Business 

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Access to Capital Is A Great(er) Challenge For Women

Posted By Rhette Baughman, Arizona Small Business Association, Monday, August 11, 2014

On Monday, August 11, 2014, the National Women’s Business Council (NWBC) released new research on High Growth Women-owned Business' Access to Capital. The report, prepared by Alicia Robb and Susan Coleman of Marin Economic Consulting company, outlines the differences between men and women business owners, regarding the scale of business growth, amount and sources of financial capital, and the relationship between the two. The report findings on women’s financial capital are sobering: on average, women received only two percent of total funding from outside equity. Among the most successful firms, men started their businesses with six times as much capital as women did. Women’s access to capital remains one of the most significant barriers, and is too often the factor preventing the growth of women-owned small businesses. Within the report, the National Women’s Business Council has proposed solutions for women entrepreneurs, advocates, funders and policy makers to remedy the issue of women’s access to financial capital.

“Women need money to grow their businesses, and this report gives us more data showing that the capital they are able to secure is insufficient. The National Women’s Business Council continues to advocate for greater access to capital for women entrepreneurs,” said NWBC Council Member Rose Wang. “Our research on this issue enables us to make recommendations to support the entrepreneurship ecosystem, including government, funders and non-profits. We’ve discovered that on average, men start their businesses with nearly twice as much capital as women – $135,000 vs. $75,000. Among high growth firms, men start with six times as much capital as women. This must change. In order to narrow the entrepreneurship gender gap and truly broaden the pathway for women entrepreneurs, access to financial capital must continue to be a priority.”

"Accessing capital is a great burden for all, but this research again confirms that the burden is greater for women entrepreneurs – and even among those with significant high-growth potential. Too many women underestimate themselves and their business’ growth potential even though the data confirms that they are more likely, than their male counterparts, to see growth. This is something that must be remedied, and the good news is that it can be remedied," says Amanda Brown, the Executive Director of the National Women's Business Council. "This data demands action, and really a cultural shift, to better support and enable women business owners. We can narrow the gender gap with more programming geared at women-owned businesses who have high-growth potential, like accelerator and incubator programs, equity financing programs, and business mentorship and training programs; or more women participating in STEM prior to entrepreneurship. Think if there more women on the financing and investing side, as angel investors or members of a venture capital screening committee, or investors doing more to find, and then fund, women entrepreneurs with investment-ready firms. That would change some things, I’m sure of it.”

Access to financial capital remains at the forefront of the NWBC’s agenda. As the government’s only independent voice on economic issues impacting women entrepreneurs, the NWBC will be sharing these report findings with Congress, the U.S. Small Business Administration, and the White House, among others. The full report is available online: High Growth Women-owned Business' Access to Capital.

For media inquiries or additional information on the report, please contact NWBC Communications Director, Krystal Glass, at

Tags:  capital  finance  lending  small biz  small business 

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PayPal Expands Small Business Lending

Posted By Rhette Baughman, Arizona Small Business Association, Wednesday, August 6, 2014

PayPal is significantly enhancing it's credit business...announcing last week that its Bill Me Later credit-line program will now be called PayPal Credit. In addition, the company said it will continue to expand Working Capital, its small-business lending program, which launched last September. To date more than 20,000 businesses have borrowed over $150 million with Working Capital.

Tags:  Arizona Business  ASBA  asbanews  capital  finance  lending  PayPal  small biz  Small Business (Industry) 

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Most Small Business Owners Don't Take Loans

Posted By Rhette Baughman, Arizona Small Business Association, Wednesday, August 6, 2014

When it comes to business loans, the majority of small business owners don't apply for one. A recent survey by Sageworks, a financial information company, found that 3 out of 4 owners in businesses less than 10 years old said they have never applied for a loan for their companies.

Tags:  Arizona Business  ASBA  asbanews  capital  finance  lending  small biz  Small Business (Industry) 

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Chipotle Beats Earnings Expectations Again!

Posted By Rhette Baughman, Arizona Small Business Association, Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Chipotle blew by analyst expectations for its second quarter earnings report last week. The fast food chain registered sales of $1.05 billion beating Wall Street’s predictions of $990 million.

Tags:  Arizona Business  ASBA  asbanews  chipotle  finance  small biz  Small Business 

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