12 Personal Finance Apps you need to use NOW!

If you’re one of the many people who are trying to improve how they spend and mange their money than we have some great tools for you. Managing your money should not be hard and it should not take hours out of your day. With the personal finance apps we have highlighted below you should be able to take care of your budget from anywhere. Take a few minutes during your commute, while waiting at the doctors. or while eating lunch to pull out your smartphone and set yourself up for financial success!

Mint.com

If you don’t have a Mint account, go get one. Now. This app automatically tracks everything on your phone: your bank accounts, credit cards, loans, spending, etc. It’s incredibly intuitive and it’s all in one place so you can easily see the big financial picture.

Paypal

If you’ve done any shopping at all online, there’s a good chance you’re familiar with PayPal: the safe, secure way to buy an item or transfer money to an individual. The app makes it convenient to send money on the go. Say you’re out to dinner with friends and you want to split the check three ways.

GasBuddy

Don’t overpay for gas ever again. Boot up this app, and find the best gas prices within your local area.

ShopSavvy

Find hot deals in your local area by entering a bar code or snapping a picture. ShopSavvy will list online stores along with their prices to help you save money.

BillTracker

This is the easiest app to view your outstanding and upcoming bills at-a-glance. It features a helpful reminder system and includes an archive of past bills so that you can see your full payment history.

Pageonce

PageOnce is a leading app for paying bills and monitoring account activity. The beauty lies in the simplicity. After linking your accounts, PageOnce packs your information into a standardized, easy-to-read format with intuitive navigation paths. A few quick taps allow you pay bills or view expenditures and deposits.

Expensify

Great for business travelers. One of the more unique finance apps out there, Expensify is a tool for simplifying expense reports, particularly useful for companies that deal with them on a regular basis.  Users scan receipts with their phone or import credit card transactions from the web. Using the data, Expensify automates an expense report, which is easy to edit and customize.

Grocery Gadget

Basically, it digitizes your grocery list and adds unprecedented versatility to the traditional organization of shopping trips. You can save lists across multiple stores, mark product prices, and save recipes. Grocery Gadget also remembers the order in which you check off items and will organize your list to match your routine shopping route.

Key Ring

It digitizes store loyalty cards, eliminating the need to carry physical copies. No more pockets padded with plastic. No more key rings cluttered with cards. All your account information is stored electronically in a single mobile device. You can even enroll in new loyalty programs through Key Ring without holding up the line.

Shoeboxed

It digitizes receipts, meaning no more sloppy piles or crumpled scraps of paper necessary to document your purchases. Snap a photo of your receipt, give it a day or so to process and the transaction will enter your archive as fully formatted, easy-to-browse data. If you keep track of your receipts—whether for business or that silly thing called responsibility.

Adaptu Wallet

Putting a unique spin on the basic budget-and-account-summary app, Adaptu Wallet includes features tailored for the financially savvy. In addition to comprehensive budgeting charts, Adaptu Wallet provides an investment summary for things like IRA accounts and 401(k). Adaptu Wallet also allows you to create “Watchlists” that keep you updated with daily quotes, stats, and stock news.

Easy Envelope Budget Aid

Easy Envelope Budget Aid, or EEBA, functions similarly to many budgeting apps of its ilk with one key difference: it can be shared. If you share a budget with a family member or significant other, EEBA allows you to set spending limits for combined finances. This can reduce overspending on redundant purchases and simplify communication via real-time updates.

Jordon Construction Company – Environmental Project


2013-04-30 11.58.58

|James Jordon| of |Jordon Construction Company| partnered with CB&I, US&S Inc, and Ecolo Tree to complete a landfill remediation project at the Chanute Air Force Base in Rantoul, Illinois.

The Ecolotree® Buffer (EBuffer®) uses poplar trees and understory grasses to filter sediments and pollutants from groundwater, surface water, and irrigation water. EBuffers® can take the form of a plantation, or are strategically placed as the final filter at stream side or around a site perimeter. They are designed to remove organic and inorganic pollutants in wastewater effluents, contaminated soils, and non-point source pollution. The trees can be managed for biomass yield and harvested for sale as wood and fiber. Additional benefits include erosion prevention, greenhouse gas sequestration, and creation of a visual barrier, windbreak, and wildlife habitat.

EBuffers® are currently being used in the following applications:

  • Remove or sequester organic solvents, fuels, munitions, and petrochemical spills from impacted soils and groundwater.
  • Treat landfill leachate and wastewater treatment plant effluent.
  • Treat landfill leachate and wastewater treatment plant effluent.
  • Clean-up nitrogen spilled at fertilizer manufacturing plants, thus protecting surface and groundwater supplies.
  • Buffer streams from nutrient, herbicide, and sediment contamination.

Tree Diagram

With the target on safety and delivering a quality product to our customer the project was a success, and a win for the environment.

Why you should hangout with your rivals!

Business handshakeHow many of your competitors do you also consider friends? That probably seems like a very strange question. Why would you be friends with people who are actively trying to take money out of your pocket with their own products or services? The idea just seems counter-intuitive.

However, there are many reasons why you should actively work towards formalizing a community around your industry. And yes, that means including your bitter rivals, whether they are across town or across the nation.

Like it or not, you need each other. What am I talking about?

Sharing is Caring

Let’s face it: unless you just invented a totally new product or service, you have a ton of competition. The small business world is cutthroat, since everybody and their brother is hopping into the game to make some money. The Internet really is the great equalizer, and tons of new businesses open every day.

As a result, whole industries are under siege. It’s not just your business – undoubtedly your competitors are feeling the pinch as well. If this is the case, why wouldn’t you band together? The important thing to remember is that everyone in the group has value, and every shop has its own niche to fill. Even if your shops seem identical, they’re bound to have differences. With this in mind, there’s no reason you can’t share.

Share what, exactly? Resources, for one, and any tricks or best business practices everyone has found to work in their own niche. Even leads can be shared – perhaps there was a customer who didn’t like one thing about your business so they didn’t sign up. One of your new colleagues could fit the bill quite nicely.

Don’t Be Alone

While running your own business can be a lot of fun, it can also be incredibly lonely. Sometimes you might feel like you don’t have a friend in the world and that nobody could possibly understand what you go through every single day

Well, that’s not true! Your new colleagues understand perfectly what you’ve been going through and have felt that same desire to just unwind and let loose once in a while.

In any other job you have the opportunity to go to the bar or hold a poker game and complain about coworkers, customers, your boss, etc. You don’t really get that as a small business owner. When you start formalizing your community, you can find ways to unwind with people who understand your business and your stressors.

Plus – it’s fun! Instead of faceless enemies you now have a roomful of friends who can help push you and your business to the next level. It’s still competition, but friendly competition where everyone wants the same thing: to see the industry grow and all parties to be successful in an often-ruthless world.

So instead of organizing yet another business meeting or a networking event, get everyone together for an evening of fun. Organize a bowling league or poker tournament. If you find everyone has common interests, like reading, get everyone together for a book club. Soon you’ll find your former enemies are your closest friends and everyone is spurring each other on to success. 

This guest post is brought to you by WePay – the easiest way to accept credit cards online.

 
 

Life in the present!

Life in the Present: A 10-Step Approach

The idea of being mindful — being present, being more conscious of life as it happens — may seem contradictory to those who are used to sacrificing living for pursuing their goals, but cultivating mindfulness will help you achieve your goals and enjoy life more. In fact, you’re more productive when you’re mindful. But more importantly, being present is undoubtedly the only way to enjoy life to the fullest. By being mindful, you enjoy your food more, you enjoy friends and family more, you enjoy anything you’re doing more. Anything. Even things you might think are drudgery or boring, such as housework, can be amazing if you are truly present. Try it — wash dishes or sweep or cook, and remain fully present. It takes practice, but it’s incredible.

1.  Do one thing at a time.
Single-task, don’t multi-task. When you’re pouring water, just pour water. When you’re eating, just eat. When you’re bathing, just bathe. Don’t try to knock off a few tasks while eating or bathing or driving. Zen proverb: “When walking, walk. When eating, eat.”

2. Do it slowly and deliberately.

You can do one task at a time, but also rush that task. Instead, take your time, and move slowly. Make your actions deliberate, not rushed and random. It takes practice, but it helps you focus on the task.

3. Do less.

If you do less, you can do those things more slowly, more completely and with more concentration. If you fill your day with tasks, you will be rushing from one thing to the next without stopping to think about what you do. But you’re busy and you can’t possibly do less, right? You can. I’ve done it, and so have many busy people. It’s a matter of figuring out what’s important, and letting go of what’s not.

4. Put space between things.

Related to the “Do less” rule, but it’s a way of managing your schedule so that you always have time to complete each task. Don’t schedule things close together — instead, leave room between things on your schedule. That gives you a more relaxed schedule, and leaves space in case one task takes longer than you planned.

5. Spend at least 5 minutes each day doing nothing.

Just sit in silence. Become aware of your thoughts. Focus on your breathing. Notice the world around you. Become comfortable with the silence and stillness. It’ll do you a world of good — and just takes 5 minutes!

6. Stop worrying about the future — focus on the present.

Become more aware of your thinking — are you constantly worrying about the future? Learn to recognize when you’re doing this, and then practice bringing yourself back to the present. Just focus on what you’re doing, right now. Enjoy the present moment.

7. When you’re talking to someone, be present.

How many of us have spent time with someone but have been thinking about what we need to do in the future? Or thinking about what we want to say next, instead of really listening to that person? Instead, focus on being present, on really listening, on really enjoying your time with that person.

8. Eat slowly and savor your food.

Food can be crammed down our throats in a rush, but where’s the joy in that? Savor each bite, slowly, and really get the most out of your food. Interestingly, you’ll eat less this way, and digest your food better as well.

9. Live slowly and savor your life.

Just as you would savor your food by eating it more slowly, do everything this way — slow down and savor each and every moment. Tune into the sights and sounds and awaken your senses to the world around you.

10. Make cleaning and cooking become meditation.

Cooking and cleaning are often seen as drudgery, but actually they are both great ways to practice mindfulness, and can be great rituals performed each day. If cooking and cleaning seem like boring chores to you, try doing them as a form of meditation. Put your entire mind into those tasks, concentrate, and do them slowly and completely. It could change your entire day (as well as leave you with a cleaner house). Keep practicing. When you get frustrated, just take a deep breath. When you ask yourself, “What should I do now, Self?” The answer is, “keep practicing.”

10 Ways to be more Charismatic

Some people instantly make us feel important. Some people instantly make us feel  special. Some people light up a room just by walking in.

We can’t always define it, but some people have it: They’re naturally charismatic.

Unfortunately, natural charisma quickly loses its impact. Familiarity breeds, well, familiarity.

But some people are remarkably charismatic: They build and maintain great relationships, consistently influence (in a good way) the people around them, consistently make people feel better about themselves–they’re the kind of people everyone wants to be around…and wants to be.

Fortunately we can, because being remarkably charismatic isn’t about our level of success or our presentation skills or how we dress or the image we project–it’s about what we do.

Here are the 10 habits of remarkably charismatic people:

1. They listen way more than they talk.

Ask questions. Maintain eye contact. Smile. Frown. Nod. Respond–not so much verbally, but nonverbally.

That’s all it takes to show the other person they’re important.

Then when you do speak, don’t offer advice unless you’re asked. Listening shows you care a lot more than offering advice, because when you offer advice in most cases you make the conversation about you, not them.

Don’t believe me? Who is “Here’s what I would do…” about: you or the other person?

Only speak when you have something important to say–and always define importantas what matters to the other person, not to you.

2. They don’t practice selective hearing.

Some people–I guarantee you know people like this–are incapable of hearing anything said by the people they feel are somehow beneath them.

Sure, you speak to them, but that particular falling tree doesn’t make a sound in the forest, because there’s no one actually listening.

Remarkably charismatic people listen closely to everyone, and they make all of us, regardless of our position or social status or “level,” feel like we have something in common with them.

Because we do: We’re all people.

3. They put their stuff away.

Don’t check your phone. Don’t glance at your monitor. Don’t focus on anything else, even for a moment.

You can never connect with others if you’re busy connecting with your stuff, too.

Give the gift of your full attention. That’s a gift few people give. That gift alone will make others want to be around you and remember you.

4. They give before they receive–and often they never receive.

Never think about what you can get. Focus on what you can provide. Giving is the only way to establish a real connection and relationship.

Focus, even in part and even for a moment, on what you can get out of the other person, and you show that the only person who really matters is you.

5. They don’t act self-important…

The only people who are impressed by your stuffy, pretentious, self-important self are other stuffy, pretentious, self-important people.

The rest of us aren’t impressed. We’re irritated, put off, and uncomfortable.

And we hate when you walk in the room.

6. …Because they realize other people are more important.

You already know what you know. You know your opinions. You know your perspectives and points of view.

That stuff isn’t important, because it’s already yours. You can’t learn anything from yourself.

But you don’t know what other people know, and everyone, no matter who they are, knows things you don’t know.

That makes them a lot more important than you–because they’re people you can learn from.

7. They shine the spotlight on others.

No one receives enough praise. No one. Tell people what they did well.

Wait, you say you don’t know what they did well?

Shame on you–it’s your job to know. It’s your job to find out ahead of time.

Not only will people appreciate your praise, they’ll appreciate the fact you care enough to pay attention to what they’re doing.

Then they’ll feel a little more accomplished and a lot more important.

8. They choose their words.

The words you use impact the attitude of others.

For example, you don’t have to go to a meeting; you get to go meet with other people. You don’t have to create a presentation for a new client; you get to share cool stuff with other people. You don’t have to go to the gym; you get to work out and improve your health and fitness.

You don’t have to interview job candidates; you get to select a great person to join your team.

We all want to associate with happy, enthusiastic, fulfilled people. The words you choose can help other people feel better about themselves–and make you feel better about yourself, too.

9. They don’t discuss the failings of others…

Granted, we all like hearing a little gossip. We all like hearing a little dirt.

The problem is, we don’t necessarily like–and we definitely don’t respect–the people who dish that dirt.

Don’t laugh at other people. When you do, the people around you wonder if you sometimes laugh at them.

10. …But they readily admit their failings.

Incredibly successful people are often assumed to have charisma simply because they’re successful. Their success seems to create a halo effect, almost like a glow.

Keyword is seem.

You don’t have to be incredibly successful to be remarkably charismatic. Scratch the shiny surface, and many successful people have all the charisma of a rock.

But you do have to be incredibly genuine to be remarkably charismatic.

Be humble. Share your screwups. Admit your mistakes. Be the cautionary tale. And laugh at yourself.

While you should never laugh at other people, you should always laugh at yourself.

People won’t laugh at you. People will laugh laugh with you.

They’ll like you better for it–and they’ll want to be around you a lot more.

Jeff Haden learned much of what he knows about business and technology as he worked his way up in the manufacturing industry. Everything else he picks up fromghostwriting books for some of the smartest leaders he knows in business. @jeff_haden

Father Forgets – by W. Livingston Larned

Listen, son; I am saying this as you lie asleep, one little paw crumpled under your cheek and the blond curls stickily wet on your damp forehead. I have stolen into your room alone. Just a few minutes ago, as I sat reading my paper in the library, a stifling wave of remorse swept over me. Guiltily I came to your bedside.

There are things I was thinking, son: I had been cross to you. I scolded you as you were dressing for school because you gave your face merely a dab with a twoel. I took you to task for not cleaning your shoes. I called out angrily when you threw some of your things on the floor.

At breakfast I found fault, too. You spilled things. You gulped down your food. You put your elbows on the table. You spread butter too thick on your bread. And as you started off to play and I made for my train, you turned and waved a hand and called, “Goodbye, Daddy!” and I frowned, and said in reply, “Hold your shoulders back!”

Then it began all over again in the late afternoon. As I came Up the road, I spied you, down on your knees, playing marbles. There were holes in your stockings. I humiliated you before you boyfriends by marching you ahead of me to the house. Stockings were expensive – and if you had to buy them you would be more careful! Imagine that, son, form a father!

Do you remember, later, when I was reading in the library, how you came in timidly, with a sort of hurt look in your eyes? When I glanced up over my paper, impatient at the interruption, you hesitated at the door. “What is it you want?” I snapped.

You said nothing, but ran across in one tempestuous plunge, and threw your arms around my neck and kissed me, and your small arms tightened with an affection that God had set blooming in your heart and which even neglect could not wither. And then you were gone, pattering up the stairs.

Well, son, it was shortly afterwards that my paper slipped from my hands and a terrible sickening fear came over me. What has habit been doing to me? The habit of finding fault, of reprimanding – this was my reward to your for being a boy. It was not that I did not love you; it was that I expected too muchof youth. I was measuring you by the yardstick of my own years.

And there was so much that was good and fine and true in yourcharacter. The little heart of you was as big as the dawn itself overthe wide hills. This was shown by your spontaneous impulse to rush in and kiss me good night. Nothing else matters tonight, son. I have come to your bedside in the darkness, and I have knelt there, ashamed!

It is a feeble atonement; I know you would not understand these things if I told them to you during your waking hours. But tomorrow I will be a real daddy! I will chum with you, and suffer when you suffer, and laugh when you alugh. I will bite my tongue when impatient words come. I will keep saying as if it were a ritual: “He is nothing buy a boy – a little boy!”

I am afraid I have visualized you as a man. Yet as I see you now, son, crumpled and weary in your cot, I see that you are still a baby. Yesterday you were in your mother’s arms, your head on her shoulder. I have asked too much, too much.

By W. Livingston Larned

Comfort Zones: Nice cozy little pockets of reality.

There is nothing wrong with comfort zones per se. We all like being cozy at times and there is an ebb and flow to life. There is a time for pushing ourselves and ‘being out there’ and there is a time for rest. If we trust ourselves we start to sense when the time is right for doing and when it is right for resting.

Where the comfort zone becomes a problem is when we are stuck in it, when we don’t let ourselves move on with the natural flow of life. When we hold ourselves back and hide in our comfort zone we are effectively saying no to life.

How to go from thinking to doing!

Tags

Here is an excerpt from an article that I recently read online and wanted to share:

But if you took a long look at perfectionism do you know what you would find? You’d discover that perfectionism is the socially acceptable Siamese twin of a subconscious feeling called fear of mediocrity. Because perfectionism is socially touted as a positive personality trait, we consciously accept its existence within us as desirable. But within the hard-core perfectionist, fear of mediocrity stands unseen off stage and pulls the strings. So, even though perfectionism enjoys acceptance, it creates a pattern of self-imposed pressure that we tend to avoid. This avoidance, in turn, leads to procrastination and self-defeat.

An ice skater who once competed in a Winter Olympics spoke about the early days of her figure skating career. She lamented about having been so over-whelmed by the pressure of perfectionism that she had a nervous breakdown and lost most of her hair.

In another case, the pressures of perfectionism prompted writer Dorothy Parker to explain her inability to meet deadlines by saying that for every five words she wrote, she erased seven. Moreover, Parker’s ongoing difficulties with alcohol were probably related to her intense perfectionism. These reactions to perfectionism are not at all uncommon.

Remember: Perfectionism is really a subconscious fear of appearing mediocre either to ourselves or to others. Attempts to escape our fears often lead us down self-destructive and self- defeating paths. 

Self discipline in 10 days.  “How to go from thinking to doing.”

Theordore Bryant

How to Organize and simplify your business lifestyle

With an organized and simplified work ethic, you can expect to have more time to get things done and stay focused on producing better results for your business.

Many of us spend an unnecessary amount of time each day browsing through our email, checking our social media accounts, and doing a number of irrelevant online tasks. Others overload themselves with so much work that they have no form of organization, and still manage to get nothing productive done throughout the day.

When you strip your daily activities and organizational structure down to the basics, you’ll get a whole new perspective on what’s really important. This allows you to focus on getting some real progress done during the day, which will you to have more time for yourself and other activities without suffering from stress or procrastination.

Ultimately, everyone finds their own way of working productively. The following tips are meant to reorganize and simplify your work life so that you can explore new schedules and habits with a clean slate. The central idea being that less really is more.

Prioritize your tasks

If you could only get one thing done today, what would that be? In other words, what is the most important thing you need to accomplish for the work day?

Once you’ve figured that out, make sure that task is at the top of your list of things to get done. Then, get to work on it! It’s very easy to accomplish various small tasks throughout your day that detour from your ultimate goal. Yes, you need to call back that client. Yes, you need to respond to emails. But is that the most important thing you need to have done?

If you start with tackling what’s most important, then at the end of the work day you’ll be more productive and feel more accomplished.

Clean up your email

Try unsubscribing to any totally unnecessary newsletters that keep piling up in your inbox. Also, make sure that you turn off needless notifications and updates from social media and bookmarking sites. Anytime you get a spam message in your inbox don’t just trash it, make sure you label it as spam. That’s what that spam button is for! Right there you’ve just eliminated at least 50 daily emails.

Next, try and set up some filters that automatically organize and send messages like bank statements, bills, and other regular emails to designated folders that you create. Then, at a scheduled time throughout your day, read through these emails. This is another great way to better prioritize your daily tasks. The temptation to get sidetracked is just too great, so make sure you categorize as much as you can!

 Clear your desk

A clear work environment reflects a clear mind. Try stacking up all those loose papers and trash as much of it as you can. It’s amazing how many expired coupons, brochures, junk mail, and other clutter I accumulate on my desk in a week without clearing things up regularly.

Try going paperless and keep many of your documents saved on a thumb drive or a portable hard drive. Whether you work at home or in an office, make sure you schedule 5 to 10 minutes out of your day to tidy up your work space and throw out anything unnecessary.

You can also do with this with your computer desktop as well. Your desktop is just as much a part of your work environment as your actual desk. Get rid of any shortcuts to programs that you don’t regular use. Make sure that you always save documents into categorized folders, instead of directly onto your desktop screen. Also, make sure you close any open tabs or windows that you’re no longer using on your Internet browser or desktop. And finally, remember to regularly delete any unnecessary files and programs you might have off of your computer’s hard drive. Not only will this make you more productive, but it will also make your computer run faster.

Remember to keep it simple and organized. Businesses will always be more productive this way. In what ways do you organize your business lifestyle? What suggestions do you have to make the workday more productive?

Vincent Clarke is a blogger for USB Memory Direct, a leader in the promotional usb drives industry. As someone who works in marketing, he enjoys learning and blogging about new, creative, and effective small business marketing techniques.

 

Are You a Startup Porn Addict?

Startup porn, simply put, is a collection of entertaining, stimulating, and worthless activities that distract an entrepreneur from focusing on what really matters, hindering future achievements.

When I first started as an entrepreneur, I spent time on the damnedest things. I obsessed about logo colors, the right type of phone system for our office, and safeguarding us against even the slightest legal issues that could potentially arise in the future. To be transparent, I look back on those days and wonder what I was thinking.

Startup porn comes in many different forms. The question is, how addicted are you? Check out this list of 37 types of startup porn I published on Forbes: onforb.es/PCKbNX.

I’m six years into my startup life, and while I still struggle with distraction (everyone does), I’ve learned quite a bit about what matters – and it’s not startup porn.

1)  Startups stay in business based on revenue. It seems simple, but when I started, I believed everything hinged on creating perfect systems and a perfect product. Not true. More than anything else, your startup needs revenue.

2)  Startups thrive on income. I went through a phase where growth was the only thing that mattered. What happened? We grew fast. Know what else happened? We almost grew ourselves out of business. Without profits, nothing else matters.

3)  No one cares. This may seem harsh or jaded, but I have found it to be freeing. People have their own lives to live. They’re busy and distracted. They won’t seek out your startup to buy whatever you’re selling. They don’t care that your previous startup went under. Go out and sell, and don’t worry if you fail.

4)  Vitamins are nice, but painkillers are necessary. You don’t know you need a vitamin until someone grabs your attention and explains it. Even then, you won’t prioritize buying the vitamin over things you need. Painkillers, on the other hand, solve an immediate and important need. When you have pain, you seek out relief. Find business opportunities that don’t force you to create demand. As Forrest Gump would say, “That’s good, because it’s one less thing we have to worry about.”

5)  Be important to those who are important to you. Thanks to Warren Buffett for this thought. While it may seem obvious, it’s something to keep in mind. If you can’t figure out why someone won’t call you back, try asking yourself what you’ve done to earn a call back.

6)  Simplicity is paramount. If a plan sounds complicated to start, you’re screwed. If you need a ton of people’s permission to be successful, you’re screwed. If your startup involves distributing your product through a reseller, you’re screwed. If your ownership structure isn’t crystal clear, you’re screwed. Keep things simple. They’ll inherently become more complicated, but nothing successful ever starts complicated.

7)  Most importantly, cut out startup porn. Figure out what matters to your business and what steps are needed to accomplish those tasks – and then do them. Don’t spend hours following the latest trends. Don’t set up calls and coffees to make yourself feel busy. Delete “Funny or Die” from your bookmarks. Get to work.

Brent Beshore is the CEO of AdVentures , ranked #28 on the 2011 Inc. 500 list of the fastest growing companies in the U.S.