Pros and Cons of a Smart Car

When people are thinking about making an expensive buying decision, especially with something as new and unusual as the smart car, they often want to know the pros and cons of the various options they are considering. This article will examine the pros and cons of a smart car.

There is no doubt that the smart fortwo car has its passionate supporters. Before it arrived in the United States in 2007, it had already enjoyed wild success in Europe over several years. But with its small size, there are also a number of concerns.

Pros of a Smart Car

There are many benefits to be considered; don’t let its small size fool you!

  • Environmentally-friendly. Not only is this small car fuel-efficient, averaging around 40 mpg, but it has several other environmentally-friendly features as well. The smart fortwo car uses innovative energy-efficient and recyclable materials in its construction. In fact, 95% of the vehicle is recyclable and the dash material is made from recycled synthetics.
  • Easy to park and drive. The smart car has a very small footprint. At less than 9 feet long, it’s nearly 3 feet shorter than the already diminutive Mini Cooper. Of course, a big reason for that is that it’s only a 2-seater. But the short size means this car is super easy to park, especially in tight spots or short spots where other cars wouldn’t fit. It’s also got a great turning radius that makes it very maneuverable.
  • Appearance. No one can argue that the smart fortwo car is not unique in its design and appearance. See one, and you will never forget it, whether you like it or not! Many people’s first impression is that it is just so darn cute. When Mercedes Benz brought the smart fortwo car to the United States, they updated its image to be more cutting edge, with more chrome, a bit longer hood section and updated headlights and dashboard area. You can also change out the plastic body panels to give it a whole new color, or purchase a car wrap with some kind of unique print or design on it.
  • Safety design. Most people’s first reaction when they see this tiny car is something along the lines of, “How could such a small car be safe on the road” However, what make the smart car so unique is Mercedes Benz attention to safety. From the innovative tridion safety cell, a sort of safety cage, to its 4 airbags and advanced braking system, the smart car is built for safety. Crash tests have consistently proved Mercedes’ safety claims. Anecdotal evidence, as published on the website, also supports those claims.
  • Surprisingly roomy inside. Another surprising benefit of the smart car is its interior roominess. There is plenty of leg room for both driver and passenger. Head room is great too, with men as tall as 6’6″ fitting in the driver’s seat comfortably. The cargo area is also quite roomy for a small car. We fit a 50-pound black lab and 2 other dogs in our hatch when we go hiking. And we’ve toted home as many as 8 grocery bags and a case of soda when we go food shopping.
  • Perfect commuter car. The smart fortwo car was originally designed as a “city car” for crowded European city-dwellers, and that is its greatest value in the United States, as well. It makes a great commuter car, with its roominess, solid gas mileage and zippy performance on the roads, not to mention ease of parking.

Cons of a Smart Car

Of course, no car is perfect for everyone, and this one is no exception. It does have a few features that could be improved, as well as some aspects that just make it the wrong choice for certain people.

  • Size vs. other cars on the highway. Despite its considerable safety features, there is no question that the smart car is much smaller than just about every other vehicle on the highway. So, there is a good chance that if you are involved in an accident with a big SUV or truck, you might come out the loser. However, there are accounts of smart cars faring better than other larger vehicles in an accident. One advantage of its small footprint is that it might be able to avoid collisions that a larger vehicle could not.
  • No cruise control. As mentioned above, the smart car was designed as a commuter, in-town type of car. Perhaps that’s why, despite a number of other high-end features, it lacks a cruise control option. If you do plan to travel in it or your commute involves highway driving, chances are you are going to miss having cruise control.
  • Unusual transmission. Smart cars have what is termed an “automated manual transmission.” What that means is that you have an option between going completely automatic or using a modified manual transmission. Most people find that keeping it in automatic means slightly sluggish gear shifting. That is easily remedied, however, by switching to the automated manual mode. This is a clutch-less manual transmission, meaning you are in charge of using the stick shift or paddle shifters on the steering wheel to switch gears, but you don’t have to coordinate with a clutch. The manual mode is super easy to use, even if you’ve never driven a stick shift before, and provides for a much zippier gear-shifting experience.
  • Limited passenger seating and cargo space. Smart cars only have 2 seats – the driver’s seat and one passenger seat. So they’re not meant to be family cars. And while the cargo hatch area is surprisingly roomy, it is still less than 8 cubic feet. So you won’t be hauling any lumber or large pieces of furniture in it.
  • Gas mileage could be higher. For such a small car, you might expect the gas mileage to be much higher. However, the smart car was rated the most fuel-efficient gas-powered car in the United States by the EPA in 2010. And even at 40 MPG, it is considerably more fuel-efficient than most light trucks and SUVs on the road today.
  • Requires premium fuel. The smart car requires premium fuel, which can be pricey, because of its small engine size. Smaller engines tend to perform better with a higher grade of fuel. You might consider its gas mileage to be the trade-off for the pricier gas.

In weighing the pros of a smart car against the cons, I find the pros win. For what it’s designed to be — a commuter vehicle for 1 or 2 people — the smart car is a great value with many added benefits. Could it be better? Sure, as with most products, there is definitely room for improvement. But, if you want a forward-thinking, unique and fuel-efficient small car, then I would definitely encourage you to consider the smart fortwo car.

Users and Uses of Financial Information

In every financial accounting textbook, the authors explain in detail about "Users and Uses of Financial Accounting." Information such as cash flow statements, income statements, and balance sheets are important documents that are kept to ensure that the company is recording everything correctly. The users of this accounting information are divided into two categories, internal and external users.

The internal users of accounting information are the managers who organize, operate and plan daily business routine. They are directly affiliated with the company and use administrative accounting, which includes in-depth reports used to determine financial strengths and weaknesses. For example, internal users would include management, finance, marketing, and human resources. An example of a human resource manager would be that he or she has to ensure the rights of their employees by using wage information along with other data. Important questions arise with internal users. A question for a marketing manager would include, "What price for an Apple I Pad will maximize the company's net income?"

External users are groups of individuals that are outside organizations, and they use accounting to make financial decisions. An example of an external user would include a creditor, who uses accounting to evaluate the risks of granting credit. Taxing authorities, investors, and customers are also external users. External users would receive limited financial information from a company such as financial statements. These statements are the backbone of financial accounting and they give the external users enough information to inform them of the company's economic position. Assets, liabilities, revenues, and expenses are of great importance to users of accounting information. For business purposes, it is customary to arrange this information in the format of four different financial statements; Balance sheet, income statement, retained earnings statement, and statement of cash flows.

The purpose of the income statement is to report the success or failure of the company's operations for a period of time. The income statement lists the company's revenues followed by it expenses. A key point to recall when preparing an income statement is that amounts received from issuing stock are not revenues, and amounts paid out as dividends are not expenses. Therefore they are not reported on the income statement. Retained earnings statement shows the amounts and causes of changes in retained earnings during the period. The time period is equivalent to the time covered on the income statement. Financial statement users can evaluate dividend payment practices by monitoring the retained earnings statement. Some investors seek companies that have a history of paying high dividends, while others seek companies that reinvest earnings to increase the company's growth.

The balance sheet is based on this equation: Assets = Liabilities + Stockholders Equity. This equation is referred to as the basis accounting equation. The balance sheet reports the company's assets, liabilities and owners equity. It is a financial window to the company at a specific point in time. Claims are divided into two categories: claims of creditors, which are called liabilities and claims of owners, which are called stockholders equity. On the balance sheet it lists the company's financial position as of a specific date in this order: assets first, then liabilities and stockholder's equity. A note to self about stockholders equity is that it is composed of common stock and retained earnings. Finally there is the statement on cash flows. The purpose of the statement of cash flows is to provide financial information about the cash receipts and cash payments of a business for a specific period of time. Users are interested in the statement of cash flows because they want to get a better understanding of what is happening to a company's most important resource. The statements of cash flows answer these following questions: 1) Where did cash come from during the period? 2) How was the cash used during the period? 3) What was the change in the cash balance during the period? The statement of cash flows also organizes and reports the cash generated used in the following activities: financing, investing, and operating. All businesses are involved with these three types of activities.

Financing activities is described as taking money to make money. The two sources of outside funds for corporations are borrowing money and selling shares of stock in exchange for cash. Investing activities involve the purchase of the resources company's need in order to operate such as sale of long-term investments, property, plant, and equipment. Finally there is operating activities. Once a business has the assets it needs to get started it can begin its operations. Operating activities convert the items reported on the income statement to cash.

In conclusion, the users of financial statements are people who use financial documents for a large variety of business purposes and their ability to make decisions using these statements helps them to succeed in the business world. Students have a chance to succeed in business if they have the knowledge of professionals who use financial statement analysis techniques and tools used on a day-to-day basis.

Pets – Safety Tips at Holiday Time

The holiday season has arrived. Thanksgiving has just passed and before you know it … or usually we are ready for it … you'll be waking up to Christmas morning. Boy, does not the year fly by? Along with all the joy the holidays bring, they can also present some particular hazards to the health of your pet – and consequently, to your peace of mind. Here are some ideas that can help prevent problems so that your holiday is a happy one for all.

First, it's a good idea of ​​know your vet's holiday hours. Keep emergency phone numbers and any special holiday requirements where they will be easily accessible.

Give some thought about how you'll use plants to decorate. Birds, cats and dogs will all nibble on household plants – and many of them are toxic or poisonous, including mistletoe and poinsettias. They can make your pet very ill so be sure to keep them out of your pet's reach.

If your celebration includes having a Christmas tree you should use some caution in placing the decorations on it. Only use unbreakable decorations at the bottom of your tree so there is not any danger of your cat batting a glass ball and breaking it, or the pup chewing your grandmother's antique bubble lights. As for birds – they should not have any access to the tree, decorations, plants and such. For those of us who live with pet birds, we know what mischief they can get into very quickly … not to mention how destructive they can be. So keep your birds confined, or watch them like a hawk (so to speak) when they are out of their cage. Better to be safe than sorry.

As far as the less exotic pets go … that is, cats and dogs … how about putting some kitty baubles or doggie toys on the lower branches of the tree instead of your fragile and valuable decorations. That way, if those pets are attracted to the tree they'll find something appropriate for them. Or, here is another suggestion that has proved successful for protecting both pets and little ones. Put the Christmas tree and gifts into a playpen. That may not stop kitty, but at least the tree can not fall down as easily as she decides to climb it. Granted, it might be a little strange to see the holiday tree and gifts in a playpen, but it might just be the ticket for your situation.

Since we are on the subject of the Christmas tree, here is another safety hint. If you have a live tree placed in water wrap the base so your pets can not drink the water. Many modern live trees have been sprayed with chemicals that may be toxic to your little friends.

Be very, very careful with candles. Your bird or cat may be enticed by the flicker of the flame. Singed whiskers or feathers would certainly put a damper on holiday cheer, not to mention the horror your pet would suffer from a serious burn. Place glass "hurricane lanterns" or other attractive covers over candles to protect your home and your pets.

Give some thought to New Years Eve. Pets are typically fried by the traditional firecrackers and other noisy merriment and it's best to have a plan to keep them from becoming afraid by the noise. Some dogs may be severely traumatized by fireworks so be sure to leave them inside if you go out to celebrate.

Pets, especially birds and cats, may be stressed by the changes in household routine during the holidays, especially if you are stressed yourself. Some cats and dogs respond to stress by becoming hyper or hysterical, and some simply retreat. Plan to spend some special time with your pets to calm yourself and reassure them during this period. If your pet is especially upset with strangers visiting, prepare a refugee where he can go to escape the "maddening crowd."

And last of all, we wish you and your family a wonderful and safe holiday.

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10 Essential Investor Tips For Successful Investing

Trading and investing into the financial markets has never been more popular. More and more people are starting to see the benefits of taking a little time to, first invest in themselves through a trading and investing education, but also using that knowledge on the financial markets.

Whilst traders may take quicker positions and investor will most likely be holding positions for much longer, sometimes months or even years. So, if you fancy investing into the financial markets successfully, and profit from companies you already know about like Google, Facebook or Microsoft, then these are the ten essential things that an investor must do and know before they start. Let's take a look …

1. What are your goals?

It sounds simple but many people start investing into a trillion dollar market without any type of plan which, let's face it, is essentially a gamble. Whilst it can be very simple to invest profitably for the long-term you must define your goals as this will align your expectations correctly, so you do not kick yourself in the teeth if you do not hit a million dollars in one day. For example, knowing whether you are investing for the next five or twenty-five years can make a huge difference to how you decide to invest.

2. Start early for compound interest

The single largest reason to the success of most billionaires is the power of 'compound interest'. Even Albert Einstein regarded this as the 'eighth wonder of the world'. It basically means that your money makes you money as all the gains you make put back into an investment so it compounds and builds over time. Sounds good right? It definitely is! The earlier you start the better but no matter how old you are it's never too late to start but effective that you do actually start!

3. Every little helps

No matter how little or how big you can invest, it is well worth investing on a regular basis. It sounds so simple but most people do not see the point in investing just $ 10 per month. However, if you look to the future by the time you're very old that amounts to a lot especially if you parked it into some good investments over the years. Of course, most people have a 'spend today and save tomorrow' mentality and that's the trap folks. Save and invest regularly to reap the rewards in the long run – you'll be glad you did.

4. Diversify

It's imperative to spread your capital across a wide range of investments to reduce your risk and increase potential returns over the long-term. Whilst some investments are doing poorly some others may be doing great, thereby balancing it out. However, if you're fully invested into just one thing then it's either 100% right or wrong. There are thousands of markets across treaties, stocks, commodities and indices so the opportunity is there.

5. Educate yourself

By far the most important tip. You must educate yourself and learn your craft. After all if you're investing your hard-earned capital it makes sense to do your homework. Even if you read all the articles here and watched all the videos you'll be doing far better than the majority of investing wannabes who simply give away their money to the markets.

6. Have practical expectations

Of course, we all want that million dollar investment and for many it will come at some point. But you can not plan for that, if it happens great if not then you still need a plan to survive and to reach your goals as discussed in the first tip. Remember it's the journey that's the most beautiful part and what you do on a daily basis that makes the difference.

7. But do not limit yourself

It's important one must remain conservative in deciding which investment to take. However, that should not limit you to just what you know. Be creative and find opportunities no matter how inconvenienced they may be. After all if it was that comfortable everyone would be doing it. Be adventurous in finding opportunities but be conservative in deciding which ones to take.

8. Manage your risk

Successful investing is all about managing risk. If you have $ 1,000 to invest then there's no point in putting all of that on just one investment. You're basically saying it has a 100% success rate … which of course is extremely unlicly. If you follow the steps above, like making sure you diversify, then you'll be on the right path.

9. Review constantly

A very simple step to achieving more than what you are already doing is to review your investments constantly. However, this does not mean to look at your profit and loss of a five-year investment every single day – you'll never make it to the fifth year as markets move up and down. But it's important to review what investments have worked and have not worked. Concentrate on doing more of the stuff that has worked and find out where you're going wrong with the stuff that has not.

10. Have fun!

Sounds simple but most people forget that best work comes from when we enjoy the process. Whilst investing is a serious process you are allowed to enjoy it too. In fact the buzz of finding an opportunity, researching it, investing into it and then seeing the result is exciting in itself.

There you have it ten essential tips for successful investing.