09
Mar
12

Postal service could pay off its debt

The U.S. Postal Service has a loan from Treasury, but Congress would pay that back.

The U.S. Postal Service has a loan from Treasury, but Congress would pay that back.

WASHINGTON (CNNMoney) — The Postal Service is facing such a cash crunch that it has a $12.1 billion loan outstanding from Treasury.

But taxpayers will be paid back, especially after Congress acts to help save the Postal Service, according to most experts.

While progress on a measure has been slow-going in Congress, both House and Senate legislation would dramatically reduce or eliminate debt by tapping overpayments made in retirement accounts.

The plans would also cut costs at the agency by closing plants and post offices, ending Saturday service, and delaying first-class mail, all of which would help put the agency back on the road to profitability.

“We’re deeply concerned about the restoration of the Postal Service to solvency,” said Ali Ahmad, spokesman for Rep. Darrell Issa, a California Republican who has sponsored a postal bill in the House.

The Postal Service had no debt in 2005. But a recession, declining first-class mail volume and a congressional mandate to prefund retirement health care benefits have put the service in a hold, according to Postal Service spokesman David Partenheimer. The service reported a $5.1 billion loss for the year ended Sept. 30.

Postal chief’s $384,000 pay sparks call for cut

If Congress signs off on the Postal Service’s cost-cutting five-year plan, “we will be able to pay down our debt and we’ll have a cash surplus of $7 billion by the end of fiscal year 2016,” Partenheimer said.

The Senate’s bill would tap most of estimated $10.9 billion overpayment in the Federal Employees Retirement System to pay down postal service debt — although it would also use between $1 to $2 billion for incentives to get some long-time employees to retire.

The House bill would also give the Postal Service the ability to access its retirement overpayment. In addition, it would give access to another $10 billion loan backed up by Postal Service property, which would have to be sold a decade later to pay off that loan.

“With USPS property values estimated to be well into the tens of billions of dollars, there should be significant additional excess property that can be sold to pay off large portions of the base debt,” Ahmad said.

The U.S. Postal Service is, by law, an “independent establishment” of the executive branch. The agency doesn’t normally use tax dollars for operations, but it has a $12.1 billion loan from Treasury, as of Jan. 31.

Without help from Congress, the U.S. Postal Service will hit its $15 billion legal cap on the amount it can borrow from Treasury in coming months, postal service officials have warned.

But Postal Service officials don’t want their cap raised without more meaningful reforms.

“The last thing we want is a short-term fix such as raising our debt limit,” Partenheimer said.

To cut costs, the Postal Service is moving forward with the plan to close more than 200 postal plants that may cost 32,000 jobs. The Postal Service is also trying to cut Saturday service,delay delivery of some first-class mail, and close post offices. It is also considering a hike in the price of a first-class stamp by a nickel to 50 cents.

Congressional aides couldn’t say Monday when Congress would officially take up and pass Postal Service legislation.

But they have a self-imposed deadline of May 15, when a moratorium on postal service facility closures expires. And individual Democrats and Republicans are united in their effort to prevent their own neighborhood post office or postal plant from closingTo top of page

07
Mar
12

Could student loans be next financial ailment?

Soaring student debt won’t likely start another banking crisis, but the problem could slowly drag down future economic growth.

Flickr

FORTUNE – Ever since U.S. consumers began owing more on their student loans than their credit cards a couple of years ago, economists have kept a closer watch over whether soaring education debt could be America’s next bubble to pop.

For Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, the issue apparently strikes close to home. At a Congressional hearing recently, the central banker told lawmakers that his son, who’s in medical school, will likely rack up $400,000 of student debt upon graduation. The rapid growth of education loans requires “careful oversight” from regulators, he added.

There’s reason to worry. After all, the latest outstanding student loan balance has risen to $870 billion – more than the total credit card debt (at $693 billion) and what people owe in car loans (at $730 billion), according to a report released Monday by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

More importantly, the rate of delinquencies may be higher than previously thought, the Fed’s economists noted. That’s because calculations that the central bank usually follows don’t take into account the proportion of federally guaranteed loans that typically don’t require repayment while borrowers are still in school. It also doesn’t consider those loans that can be deferred for up to six months upon graduation. If such groups were excluded from the tally, the percentage of borrowers with past-due balances as of last summer would jump to 27% – about double the 14.4% (or 5.4 million borrowers) under the Fed’s more conventional measure. And as many as 47% of student-loan borrowers appear to be in deferral or forbearance – a temporary option that many unemployed, underemployed or those facing financial hardships often chose.

MORE: What should we teach our kids about money?

Some have compared the problem to U.S. subprime mortgages and the banking crisis that followed, but this isn’t to say student debt will necessarily threaten the U.S. financial system. If you believe most economists, the problems are entirely different. For one, the student loan market is only one-tenth the size of the residential mortgage market, says Moody’s Analytics economist Christian deRitis. Secondly, more than 90% of student loans are federal guaranteed. And while private student lending surged from 2002 to 2007 amid alarmingly loose lending standards, those standards tightened abruptly amid the Great Recession. This leads deRitis to think the quality of private loans has since improved. Nevertheless, of particular concern is the default rate on loans for students attending for-profit schools, which has risen higher than loans for students attending public, not-for-profit institutions and private schools.

It’s not entirely clear what the implications of this ballooning debt will be, as outstanding student loans approach the $1 trillion mark this year. However, economists have suggested that high student debt combined with a weak job market, particularly for younger workers just starting out, has already added pressure onto the broader economy. And it will likely have an impact on future growth.

“Even if borrowers could service their debt, it means they might not start as many businesses, buy as many homes or buy as many automobiles,” deRitis says.

Take for instance the housing market. In a study sent to Congress in January, the Fed pointed out that tighter lending standards have disproportionately weighed on first-time homebuyers — typically an important segment of housing demand that broadly affects house prices and construction. In recent years, between 2009 and 2011, the proportion of 29- to 34- year olds with a first-time mortgage was 9%, compared with 17% a decade ago.

MORE: Gen-Y looks to developing economies for biz training

The Fed doesn’t go as far as explicitly blaming student loans, but it would make sense that heavy education debt would contribute to the marked drop in first-time homebuyers. Going back to the Fed’s Monday report, borrowers between 30 to 35 years old (typically the age of first-time buyers) had the he highest average outstanding student loan balance at $28,500.

And because many younger people have put off buying homes, that potentially deprives the economy of faster growth. As The New York Times noted, under normal economic times, $145,000 is injected into the economy each time a new household is formed. But with the weak job market, hundreds of thousands of young people have delayed their moves, choosing instead to move back in with mom and dad. About 950,000 new households were formed in 2010, down from 1.3 million in 2007.

This would suggest a log of pent-up demand for new homes, but it’s hard not to wonder how long it will actually take for it to show up in the housing market.

The Obama administration has responded to the student debt problem in piecemeal. In the president’s State of the Union address in January, he proposed overhauling the federal financial aid system by linking colleges’ eligibility for campus-based aid programs, such as Perkins loans, to their successes in reducing costs for students. Administration officials say the current system gives colleges incentive to keep costs high.

Obama also wants to give families clearer information about the costs and quality of their education. The administration has proposed that colleges and universities be required to provide students with a “shopping sheet,” which would make it easier to compare financial aid packages, as well as provide post-graduate earning information and employment information.

It will certainly take time for such proposals to get anywhere. Luckily, with a doctor’s salary, Bernanke’s son might be in a position to pay off his student loans. Not everyone will be so fortunate.

06
Mar
12

Super Tuesday: What to Watch For

It’s not as super as it has been in previous elections with more states involved, but 10 states have their say Tuesday in one of the most volatile Republican presidential races in generations.

Here are three things to watch for:

Romney’s big day. He’s been the off-and-on frontrunner throughout the race, but a big Super Tuesday could begin an end game toward a sometimes hesitant base coalescing behind former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

Romney should win his home state of Massachusetts, neighboring Vermont and Virginia, where he and Ron Paul are the only two candidates on the ballot. His campaign thinks he can win in Idaho with its heavy Mormon population and possibly in North Dakota. That leaves Ohio and Tennessee, where polls show former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum leading just a week ago.

If Romney can win in Ohio, a bellwether for the general election, and Tennessee, which would help dispel the notion that he can’t win in the South, it would be a big boost in overcoming a balky base and propel him to a huge lead in the delegate race.

What’s at stake on Super Tuesday?

Could Paul get his first win on Tuesday?

DeWine:Santorum appeals to average voter

Turnout. It’s the biggest dance yet for Republicans, so the number of people who show up at the polls could be an indication of how energized Republicans are now and what that might mean for the fall.

While there have been spikes in turnout in some states — South Carolina was energized to turn out a win for Newt Gingrich in January that helped blunt Romney’s early momentum — overall it’s down nearly 10% from 2008.

There are many factors that influence turnout — local races on the same ballot, weather, polling that suggests the outcome is a foregone conclusion. Watch states such as Ohio and Tennessee for a better indication of how energized Republicans are.

How is your Super Tuesday? What issues are you voting on?

Anyone leaving the race? No.

Even if Romney doesn’t win in Ohio and/or Tennessee, he’ll be able to take the podium tonight and point to wins in other states. Expect Santorum to also declare victory and emphasize that he was outspent by Romney in the states he lost to him.

Newt Gingrich will get a big win in Georgia, which he represented in the House of Representatives, and is already looking ahead to next week’s contests in Alabama and Mississippi to keep his campaign going.

“All indications are that Gingrich will win big in Georgia,” Dr. Robert Sanders, University of West Georgia political science professor, told the Associated Press. “It will give him a boost, but he has to win several primaries in the South for his campaign to still go on. If he only wins Georgia, he’s pretty much out of it at this point.”

Sanders believes former Sen. Rick Santorum could make some major gains today in the more conservative states.

“I think (former Gov. Mitt) Romney will take Ohio, but Santorum will do well in some parts of the state,” he said.

He said Tennessee is probably the state where Gingrich stands the best chance for another win, but it will likely go to Santorum.

Sanders told the AP that Georgia’s open primary will probably affect the vote a little, as Democrats choose to cast Republican ballots for what they perceive as a weaker candidate. However, he thinks the effect will be minimal.

Sanders said he favors a closed primary where voters register for the party of their choice and are limited to voting in their own party.

And Ron Paul could finally win his first contest of the 2012 battle for the Republican nomination in one of the caucus states. Even if he doesn’t score a victory, he’ll pick up some delegates, and his passionate core following and low-budget campaign will keep him in the race as long as he wants.

01
Mar
12

Foreclosure sales rise

Foreclosure sales are on the rise, even in states where banks need court approval to foreclose on a home.

Sales rose to 91,000 in January, up 29% from the month before, according to LPS Mortgage Monitor.

Foreclosure sales are when a bank completes the foreclosure process and takes possession of the home.

Experts have been closely monitoring foreclosure activity for signs of a resurgence.

Foreclosure sales had dropped in the fall of 2010 after major problems in banks’ documentation practices came to light. Foreclosure sales had peaked at 124,000 in Sept. 2010 and then flatlined most of last year.

The most notable jump in sales came in the 24 so-called judicial states, where banks must get a judge’s permission before foreclosing on a home. There were more than 33,000 sales in these states in January, up 51% from the month before. Sales had peaked at 45,000 in September 2010 and then averaged around 20,000 through the end of last year.

Though it’s too early to say whether it’s the start of a trend, the increase is notable, said LPS’ Herb Blecher.

“It’s the sign we’ve been looking for,” said Blecher, a senior vice president at LPS Applied Analytics. “It’s what has to happen for the pipeline to start clearing.”

17
Feb
12

IRS: Beware of the ‘dirty dozen’ tax scams

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — As the tax season kicks off this year, the IRS is keeping an eye out for scam artists who steal identities, lie about charitable donations and hide income in offshore accounts, among other abuses.

The IRS released its annual list of “dirty dozen” tax scams on Thursday, outlining the most common ways taxpayers are cheating the system.

“Scam artists will tempt people in-person, on-line and by e-mail with misleading promises about lost refunds and free money,” said IRS commissioner Doug Shulman. “Don’t be fooled by these scams.”

Here are the 12 scams to be most wary of this year:

1. Identity theft

A growing number of identity thieves are using other taxpayer’s personal information to file fraudulent tax returns and claim undeserved refunds, the IRS warns.

In 2011, the agency stopped more than $1.4 billion in refunds from getting into the wrong hands, and it plans to weed out more identity thieves this year.

If you believe someone stole your personal information for tax purposes, call the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 1-800-908-4490.

2. Phishing

Scammers can steal your personal information from e-mails, phone calls, text messages or social media like your Facebook page. Some fake websites are also set up to dupe potential victims into giving out their information.

They tried to deduct what?!

If you see anything suspicious or receive a message from someone claiming to be from the IRS, don’t open any attachments or click on links included in the e-mail. Instead, forward the message to the IRS at phishing@irs.gov.

3. Sketchy tax preparers

With about 60% of taxpayers expected to use professionals to prepare and submit their taxes this year, be careful about who you entrust with personal information.

There are many preparers out there who will take a portion of a client’s refunds, charge more than they should for services and lure taxpayers to their offices by promising unattainable refunds.

Federal courts have issued hundreds of injunctions ordering tax professionals engaging in these scams to stop preparing returns, and the Department of Justice has issued many complaints against preparers as well.

This year, all paid preparers are required to have a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) so customers can verify that they are legitimate. Be wary if your preparer doesn’t sign the return or put their PTIN on it, doesn’t give you a copy of your return, promises unusually large refunds, charges a percentage of the refund amount as a fee, adds forms to the return you’ve never filed before, or encourages you to include false information on your return, the IRS says.

4. Hiding income offshore

Taxpayers who have an offshore bank account, brokerage account, credit card or even an offshore insurance plan, are urged to come forward voluntarily in order to limit the possibility of criminal prosecution.

As part of its ongoing crackdown on hidden offshore accounts, the agency announced another initiative this year that gives taxpayers a reduction in penalties — and no jail time — if they fess up to any undisclosed overseas accounts. Since starting the crackdown in 2009, about 30,000 individuals have come forward and voluntarily disclosed their offshore accounts.

5. No such thing as “Free Money”

Flyers and advertisements have been showing up in community churches claiming that taxpayers can file returns with little or no documentation and receive big amounts of money, the IRS said. These ads typically target low-income individuals and the elderly and often promise non-existent Social Security refunds or rebates.

Inevitably these returns get rejected by the IRS. But by the time that happens, the scam artists have already disappeared with the victims’ money.

The IRS warned that intentionally filing incorrect returns can result in a $5,000 penalty.

6. Inflating income and expenses

Claiming income you didn’t actually earn or expenses you didn’t pay to boost credits and refunds is another common scheme taxpayers attempt. If the IRS catches you in the act, you could end up repaying the extra money you claimed, along with interest and penalties — and, in some cases, you could even be subject to prosecution.

7. Filing false forms

Some scam artists are filing fraudulent forms with their returns that contain fabricated information in order to get fatter refunds.

Same-sex spouses lose big on taxes

“Don’t fall prey to people who encourage you to claim deductions or credits to which you are not entitled or willingly allow others to use your information to file false returns,” the IRS said. “If you are a party to such schemes, you could be liable for financial penalties or even face criminal prosecution.”

8. Picking a bone with the IRS

There are even people who charge money in exchange for advice on how to argue with the IRS in order to avoid paying taxes. The agency has a list of legal positions that have been “thrown out of court” and cannot be used against the IRS, including the argument that filing a tax return is voluntary and that the IRS must prepare a return for anyone who fails to file. So pick your fights carefully this tax season.

9. Falsely claiming zero wages

In an attempt to lower the amount of taxes they owe, some taxpayers file phony wage-related information returns instead of the required returns. This is typically done by filing Form 4852 (a substitute W-2 form) or a “corrected” Form 1099 to fraudulently lower a person’s taxable income to zero.

10. Exaggerating charitable donations

It can be tempting to overvalue the items you give to charity when reporting them on a return — especially for non-cash donations such as furniture or artwork — but the IRS is keeping an eye out for suspiciously high-valued donations this year.

The agency is also looking out for taxpayers who abuse charitable deductions by temporarily donating money or items to tax-exempt organizations, just to shield the money from getting taxed.

11. Disguising corporate ownership

It’s time to fess up to that business you own. The IRS is currently working with state authorities to identify corporations and other entities that are hiding ownership of a business.

Often these businesses are hidden because the true owner uses a third party with its own employer identification number, whose businesses or financial services can be used for the underreporting of income, fictitious deductions, money laundering, financial crimes and even terrorist financing.

12. Misuse of trusts

Beware of anyone that tries to convince you to transfer money into a trust in order to reduce your taxable income, deductions for personal expenses and/or estate taxes. The IRS has seen an increase in the number of taxpayers improperly using trusts — especially private annuity trusts and foreign trusts — to skip out on tax liabilities.

The $13,000 adoption tax credit is back!

“While there are legitimate uses of trusts in tax and estate planning, some highly questionable transactions promise reduction of income subject to tax, deductions for personal expenses and reduced estate or gift taxes,” the IRS said. “Such trusts rarely deliver the tax benefits promised and are used primarily as a means of avoiding income tax liability and hiding assets from creditors, including the IRS.” To top of page

15
Feb
12

Firms turn to riskier financing

Zalmi Duchman, CEO of TheFreshDiet.com, turned to merchant cash advance providers when several banks denied him small business loans.

Zalmi Duchman, CEO of TheFreshDiet.com, turned to merchant cash advance providers when several banks denied him small business loans.

New York (CNNMoney) — Banks denying small businesses loans keep demanding what they can’t have – collateral – and the disconnect is forcing firms to look elsewhere.

Small businesses are caught up in the collateral crisis, as banks continue to focus on healthy credit scores and tangible assets like property, two of the hardest hit casualties of the recession.

“A lot of the traditional collateral that entrepreneurs used to have disappeared,” said Ami Kassar, a financing consultant and CEO of MultiFunding.

It’s a quandary long in the making. The landscape of U.S. small firms has changed from manufacturers to service companies, yet banks keep demanding collateral like equipment and land. The chasm has produced a breeding place for others, according to FOCUS investment banker John Slater.

Small biz loan demand up, Federal Reserve says

“Banks have backed away from making loans at a time when what many businesses have of value is cash flow and not physical assets,” said Slater. “That’s created a market opportunity for the cash advance industry.”

Those in the trade, such as AmeriMerchant and RapidAdvance, offer quick money with a hefty fee. Typical clients are restaurants and small shops, which take out advances that range between $5,000 and $200,000. A business owner who takes out a $70,000 advance will have to pay back $100,000. Lenders ensure repayment by immediately taking a fixed portion, close to 15%, of a sale every time a customer swipes a credit card at the shop.

Advances commonly take six months to repay and carry annualized interest rates of 104% to 177% if paid evenly every month, according to a 2009 industry analysis by consulting firm First Annapolis. Marc Abbey, an expert and managing partner at the firm, said figures are similar today.

Despite complaints that such terms amount to predatory lending, the industry is supported by some small businesses that revel in how easily advances are made. Financing firms require little paperwork and no collateral or guarantees.

It’s a merchant cash advance that kept open The Killarney, an Irish pub in Vermont that feeds those coming down from the snowy Okemo Mountain Resort. During the restaurant’s first year in 2005, owner Mark Verespy exhausted a $285,000 Small Business Administration loan to buy the place and burned through a $50,000 line of credit. He needed more, but the bank denied him.

Verespy’s kitchen equipment was not enough.

“They were looking for my parents to put their house up and all kinds of stuff that were just not an option,” said Verespy.

Instead he turned to Merchant Cash & Capital, which analyzed the pub’s cash flow and quickly handed over $30,000. Verespy has returned to the company a dozen times since.

“It’s not inexpensive,” he said. “But the good side is, if I need funding I can generally get it in less than a week. If I had to wait for the bank to get a loan, I’d probably be out of business.”

Doctors: Why we can’t stay afloat

Large financial institutions that have long sat on the sidelines are starting to listen.

In September, American Express (AXP, Fortune 500) began offering a similar option it calls “express merchant financing.” Raja Sengupta, an executive who oversees the program, said it’s different from merchant cash advance, because it’s only offered to existing business clients who show a strong enough flow of customers using American Express credit cards.

Zalmi Duchman, CEO of TheFreshDiet.com, turned to American Express after three banks denied him loans and found the financing terms of his credit card processor unfavorable.

Duchman was looking for quick money to finance an ad campaign for his food operation in Miami Beach.

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His credit card processor offered $1 million if he would pay back $1.15 million by giving up 8% of every customer’s Visa and Mastercard payment.

“When I looked at it, I said, ‘It’s loan shark money,’ ” said Duchman.

American Express offered him $750,000 at a 6% annualized interest rate. He said 10% of every payment customers make with an American Express card goes to pay down the $795,000 bill. Unlike a bank loan, however, the full amount must be paid back by year’s end or American Express will claim all of every future credit card receipt.

Still, he happily accepts the cost and risk.

“I have to give American Express props for entering this business,” Duchman said. “They’re doing what the banks and SBA aren’t doing, and that’s giving out money. It’s hard to demonize them.”

Are you a U.S. small business owner who has taken a merchant cash advance? Email Jose Pagliery and share your story. Click here for the CNNMoney.com comment policy. To top of page

13
Feb
12

New job? get a head start now

About 40% of executives who change jobs or get promoted fail in the first 18 months. One way to avoid that is to lay some crucial groundwork before your first day.

By Anne Fisher, contributor

FORTUNE — Dear Annie: I’m starting a new job in about two weeks as head of a somewhat troubled division at my current employer’s biggest competitor. It’s a larger role than I’ve had so far in my career, and I’m pretty excited about it, but it comes with some significant challenges, since the business I’ll be running has been hit hard by the recession and the European debt crisis, revenues and earnings are down, and morale is in the tank.

The CEO who hired me said everyone there is expecting me to “hit the ground running.” I’ve got some ideas about what needs to be done right away, which I talked about in interviews (and which presumably got me hired). But on the theory that there’s no such thing as too much information, I’d appreciate any thoughts from you and your readers about what works, and what doesn’t, in this kind of situation. –Parachuting In

Dear P.I.: It’s fortunate that you have two weeks before your official start date because, according to executive coach George Bradt, you’ll need every minute of that to get off to the strongest possible start. “The best way to build your team, take charge, and get great results fast is to create time by starting earlier than anyone thought you would,” he says. “This one idea can make or break a new leader’s transition.”

Bradt is basing that partly on his own decades of experience as a senior manager at Unilever (UN), Procter & Gamble (PG), and Coca-Cola (KO), and partly on his work with 600 job-changing managers since 2002 as principal of PrimeGenesis, the executive coaching firm he started in 2002. Bradt is also co-author of a new book you might want to check out, The New Leader’s 100-Day Action Plan (Third Edition).

His mission is to lower the failure rate among executives newly hired or promoted into big jobs, which research shows has stood at about 40% for at least 15 years now.

“New leaders who miss the opportunity to get a head start, before their official start date, often find out later that organizational or market momentum was working against them even before they showed up for their first full day at the office,” Bradt says. Gulp. Borrowing a term from the product-development world, Bradt calls the time before you’re officially on board the “fuzzy front end.” Here are four ways to make the most of it:

1. Meet with critical stakeholders as soon as possible. “Identify the people in the company who can have the most impact on your success in the new job,” Bradt advises. “These include your direct reports, critical support people, peers, potential allies, and even the person who wanted your job but didn’t get it.” Call or visit each of these folks, even just for a quick chat or a cup of coffee. It sounds simple but, Bradt says, “It always makes a huge difference. It’s a game changer.”

2. Have a plan for listening and gathering information. “Different stakeholders will have different views of the same situation,” Bradt notes. Asking for their perceptions and suggestions “is not a search for the One Truth. Rather, it’s an exercise in understanding people’s views, both on what’s going well and what’s not and why, so that you can work effectively with each of them. Come into these conversations with an open mind and actively listen.”

While you’re at this, try to find out about what Bradt calls “shadow metrics” in the organization you’re joining, meaning key measures of how things are going that may not be evident at first glance: “What are the key measures of success along the way? How are they tracked, and how can you get access to them?”

3. Craft your message. How are you going to present your ideas — the ones you believe got you hired — on where the business needs to go from here? “Part of preparing to lead is thinking through the messages you want to send, right down to details like whether your office setup will be informal and open-door or more formal and structured,” Bradt says. People will be watching closely and talking to each other about you, he adds: “Everything communicates, and not always what you intended, so be careful.”

4. Start making a hundred-day plan. The knowledge you gather before you officially start “should help you begin to put things in context and decide what you want or need to do on your first day, during your first week, and in your first three months,” says Bradt. “It’s important not so much to learn everything there is to know before you show up, which would be impossible anyway, but to have a plan in place to learn more.”

Granted, this is a lot of work. “People tend to resist doing all this because there’s usually a time squeeze involved in changing jobs, where your old employer wants you to stay as long as possible, and your new one wants to rush your start date,” Bradt notes.

“It’s also very common to want to take at least a short vacation to rest and recharge between jobs,” he adds. But tempting as it might be to sit on a beach and unwind for a few days, if you really want to start strong, you just haven’t got time.

Talkback: What helped you most in starting a new management job? If you’ve ever had a new boss come in from outside the company, what did he or she do well at the start, and what do you wish had gone differently? Leave a comment below.




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