The IDT Energy Network

IDT Energy recently started the IDT Energy Network, empowering customers to benefit from the deregulation of energy supply in a new way. Their Partners can transform their energy bill from a liability into an asset by referring people in their social network to IDT Energy. When they do, they get paid!

With about 400,000 active customers, IDT Energy is one of the leading energy suppliers in the Northeast. However, with over 29 million homes and small businesses in the markets they serve, everyone can get involved. Company Chairman Howard Jonas understands what it means to work hard and to become an entrepreneur, with multiple companies now publicly-traded on the stock market. His goal is to create a movement that empowers people to build their own wealth on their own time, and gives them the opportunity to empower others to do the same.

Thanks to energy deregulation throughout the United States, more and more people have the chance to shop for and choose their energy supplier. Now, the IDT Energy Network takes customer benefits to a whole new level, where customers can get started by enrolling their own meters in the program, and getting paid for doing so. Partners earn more by encouraging others in their social circles to join the program too. By helping friends and neighbors to become customers and to switch their home or business electricity and natural gas to IDT Energy, IDT Energy Network partners grow their own energy supply business. They will continue to earn money from each customer they enroll and from Partners who enroll and sign-up their own meters as well.

Through the IDT Energy Network, IDT Energy is sharing a piece of the growing pie while helping people to get the best out of the electricity and natural gas choices that they make. It’s a win-win situation for so many who may be looking to make extra spending cash in their spare-time, part-time, or even full time.

Disappointing Number of Jobs Added in January

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the United States added 151,000 jobs to the job market, helping to bring the unemployment rate down to 4.9 percent.

The figure of 151,000 was lower than expected and was a sharp decline from the number of jobs that were added in December, which was 292,000. The lower figures were pushed down due to the loss of jobs in education and transportation.

General US economic growth slowed as well, down to an annual rate of only 0.7 percent during the last quarter of 2015. Third quarter growth was measured at 2 percent in 2015.

The statistics have investors worried, reflected in a downturn in the Dow Jones average which closed lower by 215 points, or 1.3 percent. For other investors the news is a sign that  the Feds will most likely not raise interest rates.

“I’m a little surprised the markets reacted somewhat negatively to it,” said Sean Lynch at the Wells Fargo Investment Institute. “It is actually a pretty good number that should be welcomed by the equity markets, it takes some of the concern the Fed moves too quickly off the table a little bit.”

Cubaexport and Bacardi in Dispute Over Trademark

Rum Mojito. Photo by  Roberto Ventre
Rum Mojito. Photo by
Roberto Ventre

In a move which Eduardo Sanchez,  general counsel for Bacardi called, “unprecedented, sudden, and silent,” the US government has decided to allow Cuba to sell its Havana Club rum in America as soon as the US trade embargo on Cuba comes to an end.

One month ago the United States renewed on behalf of the Cuba-owned company Cubaexpoert its use of the Havana Club trademark. The two parties, Bacardi and Cubaexport, have been mired in court for almost 20 years over who has rights to the trademark.

Since the 1990s Bacardi has been selling its own brand of Havana Club rum. It is distilled in Puerto Rico and sold in the United States. In the rest of the world Cubaexport is the owner of the trademark.

Last Monday Bacardi said in a statement that it filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the US Department of Treasury concerning the renewal of the trademark, which Bacardi says is against the “language and spirit if US law.”

From Stocks to Docks: Rob Hannah Sailing Down the River of Life

Boat race from Chicago to Mackinac island. Photo by Lindserr
Boat race from Chicago to Mackinac island. Photo by Lindserr

It is probably a fair guess to say that not too many people have made the switch from successful bond trader and real estate investor to high-end yacht dealer; yet there is at least one person that fits this description: Rob Hannah.

Hannah is formally trained as an architect, but moved to the world of investing as a bond trader. He ended up in real estate where he had the chance to put his design skills to use; designing, building and developing commercial and residential properties. During the 1990s, while Hannah was the CEO of Tax Strategies Group LLC in Chicago, he developed an innovative legal ownership structure to help investors in real estate save on taxes. His idea blossomed into what became a multi-billion-dollar industry.

Not one to rest on his laurels, Hannah parlayed his love for boats and boating into a new business. Officially certified for powerboats and sailboats, and a serious racer of large sailboats, Hannah went to the next level in 2011 and began his foray into the marine industry as an active player.

He took over Chicago Yacht Yard, a full service marine and storage facility located right in downtown Chicago, on the Chicago River. Hannah led the company to become an industry leader, and he eventually became the Great Lakes dealer for Fairline Boats of the UK; Zar by Formenti of Milan, Italy; Mercury Marine and Comitti boats of Italy.

GM Launching Car-Sharing Service in US and Germany

General Motors introduced Maven, a car-sharing service designed to attract people who would prefer not to own a car, but prefer not to use a ride-sharing service either.

Maven, which means ‘expert’ in Yiddish will begin with small fleets of autos in Ann Arbor, Chicago, New York, Frankfurt and Berlin. It will at first stay close to large cities and college campuses. GM will be testing the market for this service, with plans to expand to additional cities this year, although GM did not announce which cities or to what extent they would like to expand.

President of GM Dan Amman emphasized that this is a completely different service than Lyft Inc, a ride-sharing service that GM invested $500 million in. Ride-sharing allows people to call taxis; they do not need to drive themselves. Car-sharing customers use a smart-phone or other device to get access to cars and drive them themselves.

The use of a small car can be bought for as little as $6 per hour, while larger cars will go for about $12 per hour. Amman stated that today around the world there are about 5-6 million people who are utilizing some kind of car-sharing service. He expects the service to expand 4-5 times in the next five years.