Monday, July 27, 2015

Dog Days of Summer

As the 'dog days' of summer are upon us in the Midwest, one common complaint we hear from many business owners and business development professionals is the lack of new business growth. Whether it's the increased heat and humidity, summer storms or vacations, business tends to slow down during this time period. Here are some suggestions of things to do until these days have past:

  • Look ahead to September: We see a lot of business activity happen in early to mid-September when the weather has cooled down and the kids are back in school. What do you need to do to be prepared for the influx of activity that comes with this occurrence?
  • Review your processes: As business owners, we should review how we're doing things within our business and making sure they are both efficient and effective. This could be a great time to make tweaks and help you and your team develop new habits.
  • Refresh your relationships: You aren't the only one experiencing a slowdown; so are your customers, team member and referral sources. Take some time out and be intentional about scheduling time to grow relationships over a cold beverage. 
  • Take a break: Slow times are a great opportunity to rely on your team to run things while you take some time out to go play in the sun or sit in the shade with a good book.

We hope some of these ideas will help get you past the 'dog days' of summer and lead into fall ready to do more business.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

NerdWallet’s Best Credit Card Tips, July 2015

by on July 6, 2015 | posted in Credit Card Basics, Hacks and Deals, Tips


Managing your credit cards isn’t a one-and-done task — you’ll need to keep at it to get the most out of your plastic. Every month, the Nerds round up a new set of tips to help you maximize rewards and minimize costs with every swipe.
For July 2015:

1. Opt into new 5% bonus categories on your cash-back card.

July is the beginning of the third quarter of 2015, which means it’s time to opt into new bonus categories if you have a card that earns 5% cash back on a rotating quarterly basis. Remember, earning accelerated rewards isn’t automatic — you have to log into your account and click around a bit to sign up; otherwise you’ll just be getting the standard 1% cash back on all your purchases.

This might seem like a bit of a hassle, but it’s well worth spending the extra 30 seconds. Depending on which card you have, you could be earning a whopping 5% cash back at gas stations, home improvement stores, select department stores, bookstores, and more. That’s a lot of cash to potentially leave on the table, so opt in as soon as you can.

2. Figure out a way to pay while you’re traveling.

Only about 50% of Americans pay their bills online, according to a September 2013 Marketplace report. If you normally pay your credit card by mail, you’ll need to figure out a way to make your payments on time while you’re traveling this summer. Making a late payment could put a dent in your FICO score, 35% of which is determined by your payment history. Plus, you’ll likely get slapped with a late fee of $25-$35.

One option is to plan to bring along your checkbook and a stamp to mail in your payment while you’re on the road. You might also be able to pay by phone, but this may cause you to incur an extra fee. All things considered, this might be a good time to consider moving to online bill payments. That way, you can pay what you owe on your credit card from anywhere that there’s Internet connectivity. What’s more, most major issuers have smartphone apps that make mobile bill payments a breeze.

No matter what you decide, put a plan in place before saying “bon voyage.” That way you won’t be stuck without a way to pay when you should be enjoying your relaxation time.

3. Check your progress on your debt payoff goal, and tweak if necessary.

July marks the official halfway point in the calendar year, so if you made a New Year’s resolution to pay off credit card debt, now is a good time to assess your progress. If you’re on track to accomplish your goal within the timeframe you established, keep doing what you’re doing. If not, it’s time to rethink your budget to get back on target.

It’s also worthwhile to take a hard look at your lifestyle to figure out why you lost your debt payoff mojo in the first place, then re-engineer some things to make it easier to stay on goal for the rest of the year. Spend too much money on socializing with friends? Start a new potluck dinner party tradition. Gas-guzzling vehicle eating into your available funds? Trade it in for something more economical. Housing costs too high? Take on a roommate.

These steps might not be easy, but they’ll get your card paid off quickly, allowing you to move on to bigger and better financial goals.

Lindsay Konsko is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: Twitter: @lkonsko.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

KOS is Partnering with The Sports Shed

Kessler Orlean Silver is partnering with The Sports Shed, a local charity that collects, finds and distributes quality sports equipment to under-resourced kids in the Chicagoland area. KOS supports The Sports Shed’s mission in believing that kids benefit from engaging in sports and physical fitness and want to provide the means to help all kids achieve success.

KOS will be collecting new or gently used sports equipment or monetary donations at their offices beginning July 10, 2015 and running until August 1, 2015. We invite our entire KOS family to help out with this wonderful cause.

Please drop off your donations to KOS during business hours:
(Monday-Friday 8:30am-5:00pm)
1101 Lake Cook Road, Suite C
Deerfield, IL 60015

Since 2009, The Sports Shed has been partnering with over 25 organizations to provide quality sports equipment to them on an ongoing basis. For more information please visit  


  • Hockey equipment
  • Basketballs – 28.5 & 29.5
  • Soccer balls – size 5
  • Footballs – regular or junior
  • Baseball/softball equipment
  • Rubber baseball cleats – size 4 & up
  • Playground balls – kickballs, etc.
  • Volleyballs – indoor only
  • Tennis racquets – 5-10 years new
  • Badminton sets/racquets
  • Small fitness items
  • Soccer cleats – any sizes
  • Mesh reversible jerseys
  • New athletic socks

What if Something Happened?

No one wants to think about death. It is a tough topic to approach with family members and some believe it should be avoided at all costs. Sadly, we have been in this position too many times. However, for the sake of family and loved ones, this is the time for the lawyer, financial planner and accountant to get together and get together fast.

The following is our checklist, knowing full well that all clients have procrastinated and had not paid attention to details:
  1. Does the family know all the user names and passwords that they may need on an immediate basis?
  2. Make sure the family is fully prepared to pay upcoming life insurance premiums, health insurance premiums, disability insurance premiums, long-term care insurance premiums, homeowners and auto insurance premiums, real estate taxes and college tuition payments.
  3. Will there be adequate cash immediately available for a surviving spouse or minor children while the estate administration process is taking place?
  4. Immediate review of the client's Will, Trusts, Health Care Power of Attorney and Property Power of Attorney to make sure all documents are in compliance.
  5. If the client is a business owner, review the business succession plan. If he has co-owners, the buy-sell agreement may need to be tweaked.
  6. Coordinate all titling and beneficiary designations to coordinate with the estate plan documents, including life insurance, IRA's, qualified plans, transfer-on-death designations, joint tenancy, tenancy by the entirety, etc.
  7. Can probate be eliminated, and if so, what changes need to be made to accomplish that?
  8. Is there a burial plot?  Have funeral arrangements been made and prepaid?

When it comes to getting affairs in order before death, most people know what to do; they just don't know what documents to keep, where to store them, and who they should tell.

KOS has created a guide to help understand the documents you need to establish and gather to ensure that your heirs can find them after you are gone. It will capture the efforts you have arranged to know that your wishes are carried out and that your family members and beneficiaries are not left with any unanswered questions. The guide is available in print or PDF. If you would like to receive a copy of this guide please contact Kristin Kentra, Marketing Director at or 847-580-4100. As always, if you have any questions or would like to discuss your options and plans, please contact your KOS Advisor.