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October 31, 2014     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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October 31, 2014
 

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PAGE 6B HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, OCTOBER 31, 2014 By Jim Galfund On July 8, Israel .launched Operation Protective Edge to put an end to relentless rocket attacks emanating from terror groups in Gaza. Over the ensu- ing weeks, over 3,500 rockets were launched at Israel. And yet, despite a complex military operation involving ground and air combat and thousands of troops, the flagship TA-25 Index rose 1.2 percent--dur- ing a concurrent slump in global equities. As an August 11 Bloomberg article ob- served, "Capital keeps pouring into Israel." What's Israel's secret? Af- ter all, years after declaring independence in 1948, Israel remained an agrarian nation with an economy more akin to socialism than capitalism. In the'80s, the nation suffered from" hyperinflation exceed- ing 400 percent. Nevertheless, in June, Israel became only the 20th nation to join the exclusive Paris Club, comprised of in- fluential nations that assist poor, indebted economies. The Associated Press declared Israel's admission to the Pai~is Club gave the country "an international boost of recognition for its economic accomplishments." To uncover the answers, a representative from De- velopment Corporation for Israel/Israel Bonds--the organization founded in 1951 to help strengthen Israel's economy--visited the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) during the height of Operation Protective Edge. The head of the TASE's research department, Kobi Avramov, says although the exchange dropped when the conflict was launched, a "quick recovery and ongoing strong performance, even as fighting continued, clearly demonstrated "investors believed in the strength of Israel's economy." Today's TASE, recently re-located to a high-tech, environmentally green build- ing that opened its doors in late July, is a far cry from the exchange's humble ori- gins, which date back to the pre-state year of 1935. That was when it first took root as the Exchange Bureau for Securities, founded by a conglomerate of banks and brokerage firms. Eighteen years later, in the aftermath of Israel's independence, the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange was incorporated, A tech-focused exchange Avramov says 500 compa- nies are presently listed on the TASE. Unsurprisingly, given Israel's global reputation as a technological innovator, tech companies comprise 25 percent of all listings, with 125. Real estate is a distant second with 99. The TASE's mission statement is also tech-focused, emphasiz- ing the exchange's goal of "position(ing) Israel as an international financial c.enter for the listing and trading of technology companies." The effort to attract tech- nology companies to the TASE took a quantum !eap forward in 2013, with the establishment of a committee comprised of representatives of the Finance Ministry and Office of the Chief Scientist, as well as regulators tasked with making it easier for tech companies to issue IPOs and be listed. The committee provided a series of recommendations and now, says Avramov, "companies can come to us, the procedure is easy and we also offer tax incefltives." Pro-active research The TASE proactively solic- its companies recommended by its Research Division. Specifically, says Avramov, the exchange strives is to attract small-to-medium sized tech- nology companies, including companies located in the U.S, "Large companies," he says, "go to NASDAQ," although he notes there are some dual-listed companies on the TASE. Currently, 51 TASE companies are dual-listed on either NASDAQ or the London Stock Exchange. Avramov says a unique feature of the TASE is its abil- ity to provide investors with "one-stop shopping," pointing out that the exchange offers trading in convertible securi- ties, government and corpo- rate bonds, T-bills, exchange- 1994, the market capitaliza- tion of listed companies was $32.7 billion; as of July 31, the value had exceeded $218 billion. Israel's consistent economic pertormance, its admission to the prestigious Organization for Economic Cooperation and Develop- ment (OECD) and, of course, its trailblazing tech sector, have all contributed to the explosion in the value of stocks listed on the exchange. In quantifying the reason why investors remain bull- ish on Israel despite periodic conflict, TASE spokesperson Idit Yaaron explains, "People who know Israel know the past shows this is what happens. They understand that in spite traded products, options and of this, investing in the TASE futures, "all under one roof." is not only an investment in Sky-rocketing capitaliza- Israel, it'sagoodinvestment." tion "Don't stop buying Israel Over the past two decades, bonds," adds Avramov,"but the market capitalization of also invest in the Tel Aviv the TASE has skyrocketed. In Stock Exchange." .icaYe al"ll"lua (StatePoint) If you're 65 or older, you probably know that the Medicare annual enroll- ment period runs Oct. 15 through Dec. 7. Generally, this is the only time you can make changes to your coverage. According to Herb Fritch, president of Cigna-Health- Spring, a leading health ser- vice company and Medicare insurance provider, here are some things to consider: Determine priorities. - Make a list ofpriorities--such as lowering out-of-pocket costs--and use it to compare plans. Understand the different parts. PartA refers to hospital insurance. The amount of the deductible depends on the length of the hospital stay. Part B refers to basic medi- cal insurance for doctor visits and other health care services. Medicare pays 80 percent of approved charges while you pay 20 percent in addition to a monthly Part B premium and annual deductible which will vary based on your in- come. Supplemental plans like Medigap and Medicare Advantage can help cover the 20 percent gap and most offer extra benefits. Part C refers to plans oper- ated by private companies that combine PartAand B benefits. Most include Part D prescrip- tion drug coverage, offer no or low monthly premiums, and extras likevision, dental and gym membership benefits. Part D refers to Prescription Drug Plans offering at least a standard level of coverage set by Medicare; some are available as stand-alone plans. Do your research. Benefits differ from company-to-com- pany and even state-to-state, so do your research. Look be- yond premium cost to ensure there aren't hidden copays or fees that will end up costing you more. Pay close attention to medication quantity limits and make sflre your plan offers adequate drug coverage. Pay your Medicare Part B premium. Even if you're enrolled in a private Medicare plan, you must continue pay- ing your Part B premium. If you're having trouble, contact your local Medicaid office to see if you qualify for a Medi- care Savings Program. Don't settle. Priorities change, so the plan that worked when you were 65 may not be best when you're 75. Plans also change year-to-year so review before renewing. Know your network. Many plans offer choices with a network of doctors. If you visit a doctor out of network, you could be responsible for out-of-pocket costs. However, networks offered by Medicare Advantage choices, such as Cigna-HealthSpring, can fos- ter better coordination among doctors, leading to better care. Ask your doctors what plans they accept or check your network directory. Don't worry about the Exchanges. With a few excep- tions, Medicare will be a better option than the Exchanges (also called "Marketplaces"). In fact, it's illegal for someone to sell you an Exchange plan if theyknow you have Medicare. Use free resources. The Centers for Medicare & Medic- aid Services' Plan Finder helps you compare costs, covered medications and other items. Many insurance plans offer free seminars with no obliga- tion to sign up. You can also check companies' websites or call their Customer Service number for more information. Local agencies on aging can also be helpful. This open enrollment pe- riod, make sure your health plan works for you. Glickstein Laval Carris P.A. CERTIFIED PUBLIC ACCOUNTANTS PROFESSIONAL SERVICES PROVIDED IN THE AREAS OF: TAX PLANNING AND PREPARATION FOR U.S. AND FOREIGN INDIVIDUALS, PARTNERSHIPS, CORPORATIONS, TRUSTS AND ESTATES ACCOUNTING AND AUDITING SERVICES MANAGEMENT CONSULTING SERVICES QUICKBOOKS CONSULTING Serving Central Florida Since 1975 220 E. CENTRAL PARKWAY, SUITE 1040 ALTAMONTE SPRINGS, FL 32701 PHONE: 407-645-4775 FAX: 407-629-1606 www.glccpa.com art (StatePoint) If you own a small business, you know that online visibility is one of the keys to success. And these days, harnessing the Web is crucial to any market- ing plan. "While most small busi- ness owners know they need a strong Web presence, many of them are not taking enough action to build and maintain it," says Tim Carroll, Vice President of Small Business Engagement at Deluxe Corp., a provider of marketing ser- vices and products for small businesses. In fact, of those small busi- ness owners who put a high level of importance on Web presence, 70 percent spend less than one hour a week maintaining it, according to a new Deluxe study. In contrast, only 1.2 percent spend 10 or more hours each week on their Web maintenance. It's important to learn how to use the Internet to keep your business top of mind with prospective customers, says Carroll. He offers some top tips for maximizing your company's presence online. Interact: Since current and prospective consum- ers use social media, you can't neglect this market- grow a ing approach. Social media marketing isn't just about gaining followers. It becomes a vehicle for sharing your company's message as well as driving traffic to your website. Don't be afraid to use Twit- ter, Facebook and other social media sites to ask customers for feedback and show your personality. Use calls to ac- tion to acquire new followers, engage them further and encourage reviews of your services. Many small businesses turn to consultants or social media services for help developing and executing a social media strategy. When effective, these efforts will place a brand in front of its target audience. Small business owners should look for a service that also tracks results in order to gain insight into how its customers engage online. Website: "Today, a busi- ness without a website is a business without a face," says Carroll. "A clean, easy-to- navigate, and mobile-friendly online presence is one your customers will remember." Unfortunately, less than a third of small business own- ers think they are proficient or extremely proficient at maintaining their individual company websites, which is why many seek outside help developing a site and building content. Search engines;. With 91 percent of Internet users utilizing search engines, according to the Deluxe- commissioned study, search engine optimization can be your key to better visibility online. After all, a website is hardly useful if no one can find it. Additionally, consider search engine marketing services to help your online advertising and to make use of local searches by more effectively targeting your customer audience. Email marketing: Small business email marketing is the centerpiece of any effort to stay in touch with existing customers, while reaching out and finding new ones. Use it to promote new items and of- fer special discounts to loyal customers or simply to keep in touch. More tips, strategies and information about marketing your business online can be found at www.Deluxe.com. Small business owners know they need to be online. It just takes commitment and the right tools to capitalize on the potential.