Want to protect your portfolio from the anemic dollar, or even cash in on it? First, don't do anything rash, because currency swings are tough to predict (story by Allan Sloan).But here are some money moves worth considering:Buy big: American companies like GE and Pepsi that export to countries with strong currencies do well when the dollar doesn't.
In the time it takes to stuff your pocket with small bills, flag down a cab and teach the driver how to actually reach your destination without absurd detours, you could take another meeting.Growing numbers of business travelers are calculating that it's worth the extra expense of hiring a private car service, especially when they head to congested cities.
Internet-based travel companies are ratcheting up the competition by offering new services. "Everybody's nailed the air-car-hotel piece," says Dean Sivley, chief product and marketing officer at Cendant Corporate Travel Solutions. "Now you need to do more to get people to the online booking." When booking through a Cendant subsidiary, corporate travel managers can now order travel medical insurance, private security services and overnight delivery of cell phones.
After a lifetime in Minnesota, Randy and Rhonda Berg turned their backs on frigid winters, work and the high cost of living in the United States. They sold everything and retired to Costa Rica in 2002, enticed by reports of cheap real estate and a laid-back lifestyle. "The first week was an eye-opener," says Randy, 58, describing balky real-estate agents, an Internet-touted house that was "an absolute disaster" and the urge to head back home.
That operator taking your next order may not be in Mumbai; she might be sitting in her bedroom. A growing number of companies are hiring U.S. home-based call agents as an alternative to more expensive in-house operators or less-qualified offshore call centers.Office Depot saves 30 or 40 percent on the cost of each call because it's not providing work space or benefits for its home-based call-center workers, says Julian Carter, the company's director of operations.
French workers are starting to take the talking cure. A major managers union, the CFE-CGC, has just instituted a 24-hour telephone help line staffed by psychologists who can counsel members stressed out by the low pay, layoffs, pushy customers, demanding bosses and defiant underlings that sometimes come with those middle-management jobs.The help line was originally set up simply to serve stressed-out bankers, who responded with enough fervor that the program was expanded to all 35,000 union...
Robert Reid is looking forward to spending his upcoming 50th birthday at work. After 19 months of unemployment and more than 1,000 applications, he landed the job he wanted, as a technician for a Silicon Valley firm. "My biggest birthday present is going to be sitting at my desk," he says.
There's money out there, but it's hiding. Roughly 60 percent of the individuals participating in small-business investment clubs are actually "latent angels." That's a term coined by Jeffrey Sohl, director of the Center for Venture Research at the University of New Hampshire.
It's time for black entrepreneurs to get really serious about growing big companies, according to the National Urban League. So the organization is setting up inner-city minority business centers designed to share the wealth, connections and expertise that can get companies growing fast.
If you're dreaming of a lavish European vacation, the weak dollar's not likely to stop you. But when you're thinking about your portfolio, the fact that the dollar is in the dungeon, bumping along at record lows against the euro, might give you pause.
For a while, mobile social software (MoSoSo) has automated the idea of affinity groups. But now businesses are noticing. Embraced early by Dodgeball.com as a way for cell-phone-toting singles to find each other, MoSoSo marries mobile-communications technology with a giant database.