Posts tagged with "cost"

Lawsuit illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Four Questions to Ask Your Personal Injury Attorney

Meeting with a lawyer for the first time can be stressful, especially when you’re pursuing an important personal injury case. Need some help figuring out what to ask? Here are a few helpful suggestions:

How Much Will This Case Cost Me?

One of the most important factors to consider before pursuing a personal injury case is if it’s worth the time and effort. One way to decide that is to find out how much it will cost you. That means asking your injury attorney what their fees are.

Most lawyers work on contingency, meaning they only get paid if you win the case, in which case the amount they received is based on a percentage of your settlement. It’s also worth checking what advance costs (filing fees, medical record retrieval fees, expert witness fees, etc.) you’re liable for if you don’t win.

What Could My Settlement Be Worth?

Another major factor in deciding if a case is worth pursuing is how much you stand to gain from it. Injury attorneys can calculate an estimated settlement amount for you based on things like the cost of your medical bills, any property damages you may have suffered, wages lost due to missed work, and more.

Getting an idea of how much you can expect from a settlement is good not only for helping you choose whether or not to pursue your case, but also if a certain lawyer’s terms are acceptable to you, or if you should consider hiring someone else instead.

What Will My Role in the Case Be?

Different lawyers work in different ways. Some require a high level of participation from their clients, while others are happy to work on things on their own and only contact you when they need information. Likewise, you may want to take a more active role or you may prefer to leave it in their hands.

Whatever your preference, it’s important to know what is expected of you, and also for your injury attorney to know what you expect of them. Establishing these things through clear and upfront communication is vital to the success of any personal injury case.

How Much Experience Do You Have?

One of the most important factors to consider when hiring a lawyer, if not the number one most important factor, is how much experience that lawyer has with cases similar to yours. Even if a lawyer has worked on numerous personal injury cases over the years, there are different kinds of cases within that milieu.

From car accidents to work-site injuries to commercial negligence, an attorney can work for many years without once representing a case like yours. If you want the very best representation possible, you want to know that the lawyer you’re talking to has had both experience and success in cases like yours.

Heather Skovlund Lexus IS 350 F-Sport illustration for use by 360 Magazine

2021 Lexus IS 350 F SPORT

By: Emily Bunn x Vaughn Lowery

360 Magazine took the 2021 Lexus IS 350 F-Sport out for a spin along California’s golden coast. We drove the Grecian Water model- an electric blue color that surely was the star of Hollywood Boulevard. As compared to other luxury sedans, such as a the BMW 3 Series, the Lexus IS provides unrivaled steering feel, safety features, and price. The low to the ground position of the vehicle­–30mm wider than its predecessor Lexus model–makes for a dramatic, aggressive, and sleek reimagined design. A pure sports sedan, the 2021 Lexus IS 350 F-Sport promises peak performance, craftsmanship, and technological innovation.

The intriguing, proactive layout of the Lexus IS 350 F-Sport inspired 360 Magazine to revamp our LA workspace to reflect the vehicle’s beautiful interior and exterior. During our trip, we drove the Lexus IS to several Home Depots as we worked on renovations. Thanks to the agile driving ability of the IS, we were able to get to our destination smoothly in a matter of minutes. The lean design of the Lexus IS allowed us to easily maneuver into tight parking spaces and around busy corners. The ferocious agility and powerful drive of the vehicle made for a comfortable journey as picked up revamping supplies.

We reimagined our LA location to exude sophistication and innovation, as the Lexus IS represents. With new shelving units and countertops, modern metallic flooring, a chandelier with LED lights, repainted matte countertops, and installed bejeweled glass knobs, the 360 team transformed our area into a completely redesigned and elevated workspace. To maximize the space’s function, we also added surrounded sound, subwoofers, and a TV. Just like the ergonomically compact and versatile construction of the Lexus IS, 360 Magazine’s refurbished LA workspace reflects how we will efficiently utilize the space for future events, dinners, and live performances. For trips to Home Depot, work commutes, grocery runs, cruises along the Golden Coast, and more, the Lexus IS 350 F-Sport is the ideal vehicle.

Design

The Lexus IS 350 F-Sport was designed in tandem with BMW and Lexus, mixing the utmost quality of German and Japanese engineering. Some of the most noteworthy design features of the F-Sport include heated and ventilated power sears for the driver and passenger, as well as a shift knob and hand-selected leather-trimmed steering wheel and interior trim. Fine accent stitching details car’s the dashboard, creating a very coordinated and sleek ambiance in the vehicle. The large, circular air vents in the car are reminiscent of jet turbines and make every drive in the Lexus a daring adventure to embark upon.

The IS 350 F-Sport has all-wheel drive abilities that grant enhanced traction on many surfaces and conditions. Carpet floor mats lets passengers climb back into their Lexus with no fear after a day out adventuring. The car’s 19 in staggered-width alloy wheels, with a dark metallic finish, allow drivers to take on any terrain. The IS 350 F-Sport has luxurious F-Sport exterior styling including glossy black accents around the grille, lower rocker, and rear lip spoiler and a singular tailpipe that stylishly tapers to mere centimeter in the center. When passengers enter the vehicle, they are sure to notice to the black, geometric film interior trim, which creates a classy, elegant atmosphere in the car’s cabin. Following the perimeters of the vehicle’s lustrous trim, passenger’s eyes are led up to the power tilt-and-slide moonroof.

While we loved cruising in style in the Grecian Blue model, the vehicle also comes in seven other stunning shades: Ultra White, Iridium, Atomic Silver, Cloudburst Gray, Caviar, Infrared, and Ultrasonic Blue Mica 2.0.

Technology 

Lexus’ impressive multimedia system, comprised of The Mark Levinson navigation/audio package, includes a navigation system with 10.3in touch screen multimedia display, Lexus Enform dynamic navigation (3-year trial included), dynamic voice command (10-year trial included), Lexus Enform destination assist (3-year trial included), and Mark Levinson 17-speaker, 1,800-watt premium sound system audio system with voice command. Also available on the display is a panoramic view monitor with four high-resolution cameras on the car’s front, side, and rear. The panoramic view monitor allows drivers a bird’s eye view of their surrounding environment, providing helpful assistance with parking and tight maneuvering. All of these tech savvy features make navigating and entertaining a breeze.

Driver need not lift a finger from the wheel, as they can easily listen to music, make lists, hear the news, and control smart-home devices by using voice commands. The digital instrumental of the car’s gauges can also be read aloud to inform drivers when necessary. Or flip between channels and navigate the touchscreen with the Lexus Enform Remote (which includes a 3-year trial.)

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto Compatibility lets drivers cruise while listening to their favorite music, podcasts, audio books, and more. Or, if you prefer to have someone else curating your driving playlist, crank on the car’s SiriusXM Satellite Radio (3-month trial of such is included.) During our sunset cruise, we listened to “Love Nobody” and Afro Soul by WurlD.

The IS 350 is compatible with smartphones, smart watches, devices enabled with Google Assistant, and the Amazon Echo. Even if you’re traveling in remote areas, Lexus’ Enform Wi-Fi (3-month trial included) lets adventurers stay connected, wherever you are. Further, the Lexus App allows drivers to manage their vehicle on the go. Schedule service appointment and start your vehicle remotely with just a few simple taps.

With dual-zone electrostatic climate controls, drivers can customize their car’s temperature effortlessly with intuitive slide touch controls. Individual settings allow for both the driver and front seat passenger to set their preferred temperatures.

Safety

Lexus knows that their customers travel with precious cargo. Keeping this in mind, the 2021 Lexus IS 350 F-Sport was created with a myriad of safety features to keep everyone secure. The F-Sport model has a governmental 5-star for its driver and passenger safety in case of a crash and is also rated 5-stars regarding the safety of passengers in case of rollover in a single-vehicle crash.

Equipped with the Lexus Safety System + 2.5 Pre-Collision System, this Lexus has pedestrian detection, all speed-dynamic radar cruise control, intelligent high beams, road sign assist, lane tracing assist, and lane departure alert with steering assist. The vehicle also comes stocked with a first aid kit, so you can feel prepared for anything while on-the-go.

Additionally, the blind spot monitor with rear cross traffic alert smart access takes the stress out of driving in crowded areas. If drivers are hesitant the venture out into stormy weather, the IS 350’s rain sensing wipers allow driver’s a clear view of the road in front of them, no matter what. Even while driving at night, Lexus customers can feel protected knowing that the car’s intelligent high bean headlamps and road sign assist will make navigating in the dark easy. Auto on/off LEF low and high beam headlights with daytime running lights (DRL) will illuminate the night, wherever your adventures take you.

Performance 

Standard features of the vehicle include a 3.5-liter V6 engine with 311 HP @ 6600, and 280 torque @ 4800. The enhanced agility of this new model allows for improved cornering, reduced body lean, and greater overall responsiveness. The annual fuel cost of the car totals $2,100, with a 23 MPG– 20 mpg in the city, and 28 mpg on the highway. Further, the F-Spot uses only 4.3 gallons per 100 miles. The fuel economy, greenhouse gas rating, and smog rating of the car is a 5/10.

The IS 350 F-Spot has an exhilarating 8-speed sport direct-shift transmission (RWD only). This model Lexus performs highly, thanks to the car’s rear wheel drive and selection of five driving modes (ECO, Normal, Sport & Snow.) Drivers can also utilize custom drive mode, which enables users to create a unique combination of drive mode settings for a more personalized driving experience.

Drivers to cruise with comfort, thanks to the mounted steering wheel with paddle shifters. For those wanting extra security, the torsen limited-slip differential is available; which shifts power to the rear wheel with the most grip to provide greater traction and command during acceleration and cornering.

Other performance aspects of the Lexus IS 350 F-Sport are included in the Dynamic Handling Package. This package includes adaptive variable suspension turning abilities (with components that are up to 20% lighter to sharpen response and reduce body lean), a moveable meter, and a carbon fiber rear spoiler.

Cost

Upon purchasing your Lexus, the car retailer provides their Lexus Enform Safety Connect, which includes a 3-year trial. Furthermore, the Lexus Enform Service Connect is included for the first 10 years of ownership. The 2021 Lexus 2021 IS 350 F-Sport starts at $39,050.

The model that 360 Magazine took on the road–including delivery, processing and handling fees–cost $53,740.

Purchase NOW.

360 LA Workspace renovation image via Armon Hayes and Vaughn Lowery for use by 360 Magazine
360 LA Workspace renovation image via Armon Hayes and Vaughn Lowery for use by 360 Magazine
360 LA Workspace renovation image via Armon Hayes and Vaughn Lowery for use by 360 Magazine
360 LA Workspace renovation image via Armon Hayes and Vaughn Lowery for use by 360 Magazine
360 LA Workspace renovation image via Armon Hayes and Vaughn Lowery for use by 360 Magazine
360 LA Workspace renovation image via Armon Hayes and Vaughn Lowery for use by 360 Magazine
360 LA Workspace renovation image via Armon Hayes and Vaughn Lowery for use by 360 Magazine
360 LA Workspace renovation image via Armon Hayes and Vaughn Lowery for use by 360 Magazine
360 LA Workspace renovation image via Armon Hayes and Vaughn Lowery for use by 360 Magazine
360 LA Workspace renovation image via Armon Hayes and Vaughn Lowery for use by 360 Magazine
Filmstrip illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Best Places to Live × Work

The Best Places to Live and Work Abroad in 2021—InternationalLiving.com

While just about every country is willing to provide a tourist visa that lets visitors hang around for a few months, most will not grant permission to live and work within their borders without a job offer from a local employer. Some offer long-term residence visas that let expats legally live in the country, but they don’t typically allow for work. A new report from the editors at International Living highlights four countries where it’s possible to find easy access to a residence visa—and the permits that allow for work as well.

Source: International Living

It’s clear that an increasing number of Americans want a different life and are looking for countries where they can live and work legally. But the options are limited without a local employer willing to provide a job.

Expats able to earn from anywhere do have a few good options, however, according to International Living’s report. While a small collection of countries welcomes outsiders, who can qualify for the necessary visas, four in Latin America and Europe stand out as the best options in terms of cost, ease, and timing.

Panama

If your goal is to live and work remotely overseas, but remain close to U.S. borders, Panama is your best bet. Direct flights land in Panama City from at least nine U.S. cities and take between three and seven hours, depending on where you’re coming from.

Beyond proximity, Panama offers what it calls the Panama Friendly Nations Visa, a special program whereby nationals of certain countries (including the U.S. and Canada) can apply for permanent residence, which comes with a Panamanian cédula, the local ID card. That cédula is permanent, allowing holders to come and go as they please, as would a born-and-bred Panamanian. Separately, the program also allows holders to request a work permit through the Ministry of Labor, though that’s part of a different process.

Obtaining a temporary cédula takes about eight days. It will take another two days to obtain a multiple-entry visa that’s necessary so an individual can come and go as they wait out the roughly five-month process for the government to issue a permanent cédula. Once a cédula has been obtained, a person can then apply for a work permit from the Ministry of Labor, which will take about a month.

To start the cédula process, you’ll need basic documents—passport, proof from the FBI that there is no criminal record—and $5,000 in a Panamanian bank account, plus $2,000 for each dependent. And to obtain a work permit, then you’ll need to set up a Panamanian corporation (which can be disbanded after a year).

Uruguay

If speed is more important, then Uruguay is a great choice. Here, expats can land at the airport with the correct collection of documents, and if they already have a pre-scheduled filing date with the immigration office that day, they can file their paperwork and have a temporary cédula that afternoon or the next day. All that’s required is a birth certificate and an apostilled police record (meaning it has been authenticated and is acceptable across international borders). They will also need to show that they have the financial means to support themselves with a provable stream of income from anywhere in the world.

With a temporary cédula, they will also have immediate access to the state healthcare system, or they can immediately buy access with a local, private healthcare plan, which will cost about $70 to $350 a month, depending on the bell and whistles they want.

To manage the process themselves, expect to pay about $600 to $700. But they will also need to have a proficient level of Spanish, as none of the paperwork is in English. Otherwise, hire an attorney. It will be quicker and more efficient and will cost between $1,000 and $2,000.

­Portugal

Portugal has two visas that would apply to someone wanting to live and work on the Iberian Peninsula: D2 and D7. Technically, the D2 is for independent workers and entrepreneurs, while the D7 is for those who are retired or earning passive income. In practical terms, the D7 will make sense for most people, even if they’re not retired, because it’s based on income. The D2 requires proof that an expat can support themselves as a freelancer and can begin issuing Portuguese invoices on which the business will be taxed, though the tax rate is fixed at 20% for 10 years.

With the D7, instead, a person will need only to show that they have €8,000 (about $9,700) per person in a Portuguese bank account and that they have the equivalent of €30,000 ($36,400) in a bank account back in their home country.

To apply for either a D2 or D7 visa, an expat must enroll in the Portuguese tax system and become a tax resident. That requires obtaining a Portuguese tax number before they can even apply for a visa. And for that, they will need a sponsor, which can be a law office, accounting office, or migration office.

For that reason, they’ll need to hire a pro to walk them through the process and be their sponsor for the tax number. All in, that will cost you between €1,000 and €2,500 (about $1,200 to $3,000). The process will require two to four months to complete.

As a freelancer, an expat will also want to apply for Non-Habitual Resident status, or NHR, which is issued to people who’ve never lived in Portugal before and move to the country. With NHR status, income earned outside the country is exempt from taxes. They will have to file a Portuguese tax return and declare the income, though they’ll owe no taxes on it. The other benefit of this is that it shows Uncle Sam they’re a tax resident of another country, which then helps trigger their eligibility for the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion.

A person is eligible to apply for Portuguese citizenship and a passport after five years of residence, though they have to demonstrate sufficient knowledge of the Portuguese language.

Czech Republic

It’s a two-step process in Czech Republic. First step: apply to join the živnostensky (zivno) list. This isn’t specifically for foreigners. It’s a trade license for any Czech resident who works independently, be that a plumber, masseuse, artist, or whoever. That will take a week at most. Zivno in hand, they can then apply for a one-year, temporary residence visa.

They must apply for a residence visa at a Czech embassy outside of the Czech Republic, show they have housing (a notarized lease agreement) for the full-length of the visa they seek, up to one year. That means they’ll need to visit the Czech Republic to arrange that. Some expats will move to Prague, obtain their housing and zivno, then take the train to nearby embassies in Berlin, Vienna, or Bratislava and complete their application.

They will need a signed letter from their bank stating that they have the equivalent of 125,000 Czech crowns on deposit (about $5,700). That will need to be translated into Czech, which a visa agency can handle. Be sure the account has a debit card, which must be presented at the application meeting at the Czech embassy, because officials will want to see it—it’s proof that a person can access the account.

An FBI criminal background check is required, though as an American an expat can also go to the U.S. embassy in Prague and sign an affidavit attesting to their criminal-free background. Along with a passport and an application form, that’s pretty much all the documents an applicant needs.

To hire a local agency to help with the process, it should cost less than 15,000 crowns (about $685) for everything. The embassy fee is a separate 5,000 crowns (about $230).

Once the temporary visa expires after a year, it can easily be traded in for a renewable, two-year long-term residence visa. After five years as a legal resident, a person is eligible to apply for Czech citizenship and a Czech passport, which like the Portuguese passport, is an EU passport and thus gives them free rein to live and work anywhere in the EU.

The full report on the best places to live and work in 2021, including more information for immigration experts in each of the countries mentioned, can be found at: The Best Places to Live and Work Abroad in 2021.

International Living has launched its new “Work From Anywhere” resource, devoted to coverage of innovative money-making strategies, ways to build a portable income, tips for boosting health and well-being, methods to maximize Social Security, and so much more. More information can be found, here.

Marijuana illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Honest Marijuana Company

In the old days of illegal weed, the price you paid for your weekend toke depended mostly on who was selling it to you. These were behind-the-scenes transactions, with no recourse for a deal gone bad and no way to price compare with a competitor. You paid the price asked or you went without.

Now, as state legalization grows and the chatter about federal legalization becomes less talk and more reality, the game has changed forever for the buyer. So, it’s a good time to be clear on what you’re paying for before you go to your local cannabis boutique, or even the corner store, if you should be so lucky to have marijuana available for sale there!

First off, price comparing starts with quantity

If you want to look at what your weed is going to cost you, and even compare different strains, it’s best to pick a quantity. From state to state, the price of quantity X will vary, based on factors we’ll discuss later, but for now, it’s important to understand what quantities you can order in. 

The most common quantities you can buy cannabis in are a gram, eighth of an ounce, quarter of an ounce, half an ounce, and a full ounce. Notice how the common quantities mix metric and Imperial measuring units? A gram is 1/1000th of a kilogram and an ounce is 1/16th of a pound. Typically, you’ll find that dispensaries will use ounces for larger quantities, and grams for a smaller purchase.

What does a gram look like? It’s about the size of a bottle cap, which gives you a visual point of reference to figure out what you’re getting for what price. The average joint is about 0.7 grams of weed so a gram will give you about 1.5 joints. Here are the other measurements, to give you a rough idea of what you’re getting:

  • An eighth of an ounce (which is roughly 3.5 grams) will give you just about 5 joints.
  • A quarter of an ounce (7 grams) will net about 10 joints.
  • A half an ounce (14 grams) will give you about 20 joints.
  • A full ounce (28 grams) is just about equal to 40 joints.

From Alaska to West Virginia, that price per ounce of medium quality weed can run anywhere from $6 to $12.

Quality is the next factor

If you look at average prices of weed across the country, they’re pretty stable and typically refer to medium quality cannabis. When you want to compare a gram of cannabis from one shop to another, a major increase in price could be because of the quality of the product. 

For example, an organic and locally indoor grown variety might be more expensive than a mass produced, imported one. You really do have to compare apples to apples, if you want to be sure you’re getting the right picture.

Other factors that will influence the price of weed

Your state’s legal stance toward cannabis

If you live in a state where cannabis isn’t legal in any form, obviously you’re still operating in the old ways of quiet deals made with people who don’t really care to negotiate the prices they feel like charging. After all, they risk going to jail for providing you with your ‘chill’ so there’s a premium attached to that.

In the states that have legalized recreational marijuana (Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington), you’ll find competition higher and prices that reflect that.

The remaining twenty-one states that have legalized medical marijuana require a doctor’s note to obtain it, which isn’t a particularly challenging hurdle in most places, so this doesn’t affect the prices too significantly.

One place where cannabis is particularly expensive? Washington D.C. Despite legalization of medical and recreational use, they didn’t legalize the purchase of cannabis. That little detail is reflected in prices that are almost twice the national average for legalized / decriminalized states!

The physical geography of where you live

Cannabis isn’t an overly fussy plant to cultivate but it does prefer warm, stable temperatures, averaging in the daytime around 80 degrees. Places that have daytime temperatures that run hotter than 88 degrees or colder than 60 degrees have a harder time growing—it’s a slower process—and can end up with plants that have lower THC content and therefore lower overall quality.

So, if you live in Alaska or New Hampshire, for example, your weed has most likely been brought in from elsewhere, which means added costs in transportation and labor, to package and ship.

How your weed is grown

How your preferred brand is grown makes a difference on quality. 

  • Are they grown outdoors where light, water, soil, and ambient daytime temperatures are all free for the asking and therefore don’t add to the cost of production? 
  • Are they grown indoors, where special electrical lighting, watering and feed systems, and climate control are all required and add to the cost of production? 

Outdoor grown weed can be lower quality in that there aren’t many ways to control Mother Nature. Being able to control elements through technology can yield a higher quality product. From pest and humidity control to very specific watering schedules, as well as the use of light waves to maximize growth and intensity, indoor growers have the keys to control quality in ways that outdoor growers really cannot.

Factor in also whether the grower is using organic production methods, as this will definitely yield a higher quality product. No toxins from pesticides means a cleaner experience for you.

Where you buy your marijuana

Are you buying from a boutique dispensary or a corner store? Are you buying from a chain of cannabis stores or from a one-man dealer? Which way you go will affect the price you pay.

Dispensaries have overhead and staff to pay, which adds to the cost. However, they also have guidelines to follow in terms of packaging and labeling, as well as a vested interest in pleasing their customer, so they’re a good bet. You will know exactly what you’re getting, including the sourcing, THC content, whether it’s organic or not and so on. If you buy from a dealer, who is claiming to sell high quality products, you have no guarantees whatsoever that they are telling the truth.

Competitors drive the price down

Supply and demand is an easy equation. If there are several dispensaries with similar offerings in your area, the price per gram will be lower than in an area with no competition for your one dispensary. There is less supply for potentially similar demand, which can easily affect the price. The key as a consumer is to know your average pricing so you can tell whether or not you are getting a good deal.

Taxation and legalization go hand in hand

The states that have legalized marijuana have also clued in that it is an important revenue source. Sales tax, if the state has one, is applied to cannabis too. The rate can be higher for weed than for other products, as it is in Colorado. They have a state sales tax rate of 2.9% but the rate for weed? 10%.

In addition to sales tax, legal sellers are faced with taxes in production, purchasing, packing and transportation, costs that are typically downloaded to the end consumer.

The timing of your purchases

Time of year can impact the price of weed. Like most cultivated crops, the largest amounts are harvested in and around the month of September. Result? The supply is up, and prices should go down a little. 

As legalization continues to expand, state to state and even federally, the pricing will become more standard and easier to predict. At that point, the quality of the weed will be the big differentiator and as the end consumer, that’s not a small factor to consider. Buy with care and enjoy yourself!

Bio:

Anthony Franciosi, also known as Ant, is an honest to goodness farmer whose fingers are as green as the organic cannabis he grows. He is the proud founder of Honest Marijuana– an all-natural, completely organic marijuana growery in Colorado.

Most Expensive States For Speeding

The United States is a vast nation connected by the automobile. But while our car culture helps connect the far reaches of the country to each other, it also comes with some clear limitations. Like how fast you can travel whilst zipping from the Grand Canyon to the Great Smoky Mountains on your cross-country road trip. And few things can ruin a vacation quite like getting slapped with a speeding ticket.

However, depending on where you get it, a speeding ticket can range from a minor annoyance to a significant financial burden. A $20 fine isn’t always a huge burden to bear, but relatively few Americans can afford to fit an unexpected fee of $300 into their normal budget. So, before you set out on your great American road trip, it might be worth learning how much a ticket would cost you in the states along your route.

To determine this, GOBankingRates delved into the cost of a speeding ticket in each state using data from GoCompare.com’s Harsher Penalties 2018 study. The GOBankingRates study then compared the cost of a ticket for traveling 13 mph over the posted speed limit for a first-time offender and assuming no additional fees established a ranking of the expected cost by state.

Record Turnover For LIQUI MOLY With Lower Growth

During its first year as part of the Würth Group LIQUI MOLY has chalked up a new record turnover. But the growth has been more subdued than previously. The German oil and additive specialist recorded a turnover of € 544 million, just two percent more than the previous year. “International trade disputes, the hot summer and increasing costs, especially the dramatically increased crude oil prices, have all contributed to the significant slowing down of our earnings growth,” says Ernst Prost, LIQUI MOLY CEO.

Whilst previous years have been noted for their high growth rates, 2018 was an exception with much more moderate growth. October was the most successful month in the company’s more than 60 year history, with a turnover of almost € 54 million and growth of 34 percent. A range of factors prevented there being a similarly high rate of growth across the whole year. Latent global trade disputes had an impact on LIQUI MOLY. Business with China, for example, decreased by a third. And trade with Russia, a significant export market for the company, has also decreased rapidly over the last two years due to the substantial devaluation of the ruble. “Such changes cannot help but have an impact,” says Export Manager Salvatore Coniglio. “These setbacks in China and Russia would have had a much greater impact if we were not active in 150 countries. We can offset the reduction in turnover in some countries by opening up new markets in others.”

One of the greatest rays of hope in terms of export was the development of the subsidiary LIQUI MOLY USA, which handles business in the USA and Canada. It posted an increase of 39 percent in comparison with the previous year. This strong growth was no coincidence. LIQUI MOLY invested heavily in personnel, in order to offer its customers a comprehensive service.

The dents in export performance did nothing to cushion the fragile growth in the highly competitive German market. “In present circumstances, a two percent growth in Germany and Austria is a huge success,” says CEO Günter Hiermaier, “after all, the number of competitors has increased but the pie to be shared is still the same size. And so the competition is correspondingly fierce. We continue to rely on a combination of marketing packages and sales power.”

At the same time as turnover growth has reduced, the company’s costs have dramatically increased. On top of investment in additional inventory control strategies, new software and an additional tank storage facility of around eleven million euro, increasing raw material prices added additional costs of around six million euro. The weather also had an impact.  The prolonged period of high temperatures over the summer restricted the use of the Rhine and made it unnavigable at times which, in turn, increased the transport costs for raw materials and finished goods. “Overall, our freight and logistics costs increased by some € 1.2 million. All in all, a cold shower. Of course, a double hit like this, higher costs and lower than planned turnover, has brought our performance to its knees. But that is how it goes in life, and in business, you have to adapt to new circumstances or you’re out of the running. And no two years are the same,” says Ernst Prost.

Spending on marketing and on research and development have also increased, but this was planned. In 2017 LIQUI MOLY invested € 19.8 million in brand awareness, and almost a million more in 2018. The biggest coup of all is undoubtedly the endorsement contract with the Chicago Bulls. The basketball team is one of the most well-known global sports brands. They boast 175 million fans. “No other professional team in the USA can top this,” says Marketing Director Peter Baumann, explaining the significance of international activities to the German company.

Nationally and internationally, the quality associated with “Made in Germany”, still has enormous pulling power for LIQUI MOLY. And this consistently high quality requires research and development, spending in this area has risen to almost € 6 million. “Modern lubricants are highly complex solutions. If you want to stay at the top of the game, you need the latest technology for development and quality testing,” explains David Kaiser who is responsible for this area and for application technology.

Another figure that has led to increased costs is the number of LIQUI MOLY employees. 24 jobs were created in 2018. A total of 848 people are now employed in Ulm, Saarlouis and the international subsidiaries. “We are more than happy to be spending this money, it is always a pleasure to be creating jobs. We are also happy to pay the additional one million euro for the new wage agreement from the Industrial Mining, Chemistry and Energy Union, as it benefits people in the LIQUI MOLY family,” says Ernst Prost.

Since the CEO sold his shares to the Würth Group at the turn of the year, many have been fearing radical change at the oil and additive specialist. “The opposite is the case,” says Ernst Prost. “My business cards now just say CEO instead of Managing Partner and our long-standing Sales Director Günter Hiermaier has risen to be our second CEO, but otherwise it is business as usual.”

Diamond × Basquiat Collection

Diamond Supply Co. is excited to release their Diamond x Basquiat Collection, on Saturday, August 25, a collaboration featuring work from famed American artist, Jean-Michel Basquiat, as the brand continues to celebrate its 20th anniversary.

The 23-piece collection will be available on Saturday, August 25 at 9:00AM PST, available online at www.diamondsupplyco.com/collections/diamond-x-basquiat and at Diamond flagship locations in LA and NYC. Retail prices range from $30-$160.

THE ECONOMIST x OPEN FUTURE

The Economist, a leading source of analysis on international business and world affairs, today announced “Open Future”, an editorially driven initiative (www.economist.com/openfuture) which aims to remake the case for The Economist’s founding principles of classical British liberalism which are being challenged from all sides in the current political climate of populism and authoritarianism.

“Although the world has changed dramatically since James Wilson founded The Economist to fight against the Corn Laws, the liberalism we have championed since 1843 is as important and relevant as ever,” said Zanny Minton Beddoes, editor-in-chief, The Economist.  “Yet the core tenets of that liberalism—faith in free markets and open societies—face greater resistance today than they have for many years. From globalization to free speech, basic elements of the liberal credo are assailed from right and left.”

Content for Open Future will be developed and organised around five themes: Open Society (diversity, and individual rights versus group rights); Open Borders (migration); Open Markets (trade, markets, taxes and welfare reform); Open Ideas (free speech); and Open Progress (the impact and regulation of technology). In addition to content from The Economist editorial staff, the Open Future hub will feature commentary from outside contributors, including from those with dissenting points of view.

The initiative launches with a debate between Larry Summers and Evan Smith about no-platforming and free speech at universities. Mr Summers is the Charles W. Eliot University Professor and President Emeritus at Harvard University. He served as Secretary of the Treasury for President Clinton and as the Director of the National Economic Council for President Barack Obama. Evan Smith is a Research Fellow in history at Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia and is writing a book on the history of no-platforming.

A special report on the future of liberalism written by editor-in-chief Zanny Minton Beddoes will appear in the newspaper’s 175th anniversary edition dated September 15th. And on that Saturday, the newspaper will host the Open Future Festival, to be held simultaneously in Hong Kong, London and New York. There will also be an Open Future essay contest for young people; surveys and other data visualizations; podcasts; social-media programs and new video from Economist Films.