Gunning Daily News

Four Tips for Financial Success

January 10, 2014 8:06 pm

According to the Fidelity 2014 New Year Financial Resolutions Study, 54 percent of respondents are planning a financial resolution in 2014, up from 46 percent last year. With the new year officially underway, millions of Americans will be looking for ways to achieve their financial goals.

Robert Lindquist, Ashford University professor and author of "Financial Independence for the New Generation," offers four strategic tips for managing money and creating personal wealth:

  • Money Is Freedom – To accumulate wealth, we need to save money. This seems simple but many people say that bills prevent them from saving. The trick is not focusing on the amount of savings, but the process. Because it takes discipline to save money, the key is semi-enforced saving – paying yourself first and using leftovers for bills and other needs. Even $1 a day will make a difference.
  • Cut the Card – If money equals freedom, debt equals servitude. We live in a credit-driven society, with high credit card balances and finance rates. Although we need to establish credit for larger purchases, such as a home, the key is to avoid creating debt. To reduce credit card obligations, it's necessary to cut the cards and apply any extra money, such as a bonus or birthday gift to debt reduction. Creating a strategic plan for lowering balances and switching to a debit card can expedite the process.
  • Know Your Debits & Credits – It's important to understand monthly spending patterns and to budget accordingly. This entails creating a personal income statement to identify revenues and expenses, and a balance sheet to determine financial worth. Just taking a look at spending by category can help plan for future expenses. Understanding the difference between a need and a want and carving out money for emergencies will further ensure a well-balanced budget.
  • Invest in Your Future – Many are intimidated by the term 'investment' and unsure about the steps for securing a profitable future. Although an average person may not want to play the stock market, they can invest in their future with basic investment plans, such as an IRA or a 401(k). Additionally, owning property offers a number of financial benefits so a home purchase can be a great investment.

Source: Ashford University


Write Better Bios to Attract More Clients

January 10, 2014 8:06 pm

Writing a client-attracting bio can be a time-consuming challenge that keeps many self-employed business owners, authors, coaches, and speakers feeling frustrated and stuck.  They want "bio pride" but continue to suffer from "bio cringe."

"There is a story-struggle and message-muddle epidemic in force that needs relief now," says Bye-Bye Boring Bio Author and Business Bio Expert Nancy Juetten. "Let the healing for boring business bios begin because 'The Bio Doc' is in."

Juetten offers tips to make a powerful first impression with well-chosen words quickly:

  • Define the priority. Cater the message to serve the need at hand – client attraction, media interviews, or speaking engagements. Juetten says that one-size bios do not suit all situations.
  • Lead with the role that has the greatest potential to attract clients now. "Author/Speaker/Coach is a list of roles as opposed to an intoxicating message about results that a reader can't wait to learn more about," Juetten explains.
  • Reflect on the who, the how and the wow. Specify the ideal client and the compelling result the client can expect to welcome to invite an easy YES decision.
  • Identify the specific, terrific results for clients in crystal clear terms. "Readers need to know that relief or compelling benefits are within reach with you as their service provider, and be willing to invest," Juetten says.
  • Add personality. "What quick stories or sound bites can you share?" Juetten suggests. "People hire me for my head, pay me for my heart, and trust me most when I use both," is an example from Steve Juetten, Certified Financial Planner. It sets the tone to create a relationship and invites clients to lean in to learn more."
  • "Content over Cute" is a good rule of thumb. Name and claim geography and expertise – such as 'Fee-only financial planner, Bellevue, WA.' Then, it is easy for clients searching for that expertise to find, call, and do business," Juetten says.

Source: www.byebyeboringbio.com. 


The Evolution of a Viral Video

January 8, 2014 7:57 pm

The video of a blonde, 5-year-old exuberantly singing, “Santa was his name-O!” during a kindergarten holiday concert while simultaneously translating in American Sign Language captured hearts around the world.

It made headlines and news broadcasts from the New York Daily News and the United Kingdom’s Daily Mail to ABC News and network affiliates coast to coast.

Claire Koch’s mother, Lori Koch, says she posted the video on YouTube because she thought it was “share worthy.” Claire, who is not hearing impaired, has grown up with sign language because her mom and dad, Tom, are deaf. Still, her parents were surprised to see her signing every song for them.

“We don’t use Claire to interpret for us – she did it because that’s how she communicates with us,” says Koch. “Fortunately, the days of parents having to rely on their children to interpret are gone. There’s so much great technology available now for the deaf.”

Koch works at Stratus Video/ZVRS, www.stratusvideo.com, the video relay services provider for the deaf and hard-of-hearing that’s developing a lot of that technology.

“Video relay service allows people to make phone calls without relying on friends and family. Video Remote Interpretation opens up whole new worlds of communication possibilities.”

So, how did little Claire’s video go viral? Lori deconstructs the evolution:

• She uploaded her video to YouTube because it seemed “share worthy.”  Music videos are by far the most popular on YouTube – “Gangnam Style” by PSY is the all-time No. 1 most-viewed; Justin Bieber’s “Baby” is No. 2. Humor does well, as do videos with incredibly unusual content. Super cute kids and animals can also attract attention. Lori’s video combines almost all of those elements: The kids are singing holiday songs; little Claire hams it up with a humorous performance; and she’s adorable. Seeing such a young child who is not deaf signing away so expertly may also qualify as incredibly unusual.

• A major world news event involving sign language broke. “The story about the fake fiasco at Nelson Mandela’s funeral came up,” Koch says, referring to the deaf “interpreter” who signed gibberish as he stood alongside global leaders. “That gave me the opportunity to get attention for my story. … Claire’s video put a positive highlight on a bad experience.

• Using the funeral interpreter as a news hook, Lori shared her video with influential people via social media. “I sent the video to some famous people, like Piers Morgan, and news outlets, via Twitter,” she says.  That significantly ramped up her exposure, which included a retweet by Academy Award-winning deaf actress Marlee Matlin, who commented, “This is too cute. Can you spot the child who has deaf parents?”

Lori says Claire was a bit overwhelmed by her 15 minutes-plus of fame, but enjoyed it.

“At school, some fifth-graders came up to her and introduced themselves by finger-spelling their names in sign language,” Lori says. “She was really inspired by that.”

As for her daughter’s potential future as an interpreter for the deaf, Lori says, “I’d rather see her on the stage.

“She can be whatever she wants to be.”


What to Buy in January

January 8, 2014 7:57 pm

Most shoppers think linens in January – and with good reason, since January White Sales have been a staple in the American economy since 1878, when department store magnate John Wanamaker introduced them.

But, according to Huffington Post consumer watcher Jeanette Pavini, there are at least seven other January sale items worth looking into:

  • Furniture – Many manufacturers release new furniture designs in February, which means stores need to clear out inventory now. It’s an especially good time to buy dining room furniture, because pieces not sold in time for the holidays will be deeply discounted now.
  • Gym memberships - Gyms depend on New Year's resolutions to get members in the door, so look for incentives like a waived enrollment fee. But, because many gym memberships go unused, avoid long-term commitments. You can bargain for a good rate, but also negotiate a month-to-month until you're positive the gym is for you.
  • Winter produce – It’s soup and stew season – and diet time – and also the best time to find low prices on healthful seasonal produce like members of the cabbage family including cauliflower and Brussels sprouts, and root vegetables like beets and turnips.
  • Fine jewelry – The holiday gifting season’s over and it’s slow at the jewelry store, making this a good month (before Valentine’s Day) to buy some bling.
  • Gift cards – Right after Christmas, many people are trying to exchange gift cards for something they will actually use. Look on gift card exchange websites to buy cards at a discounted rate. They sell for up to 35 percent less than face value (although around 10 percent seems to be the norm for more popular stores), and you can even purchase them for practical items like groceries, gas or office supplies.
  • Calendars – If you can stay organized on your own until mid-January without a calendar, you’ll be able to save over 50 percent on 2014 calendars and planners for your desk, home office or handbag.

 


Wedding Registry 101

January 8, 2014 7:57 pm

(Family Features)—For engaged couples, it can seem as if there are a million things to accomplish before the big day arrives. One essential piece of the wedding puzzle involves creating a registry that makes it easy for guests to celebrate your union with gifts that reflect your personality as a couple.

Before Building Your Registry

It's no wonder why guests love the ease and simplicity of a gift registry. But many couples may not know where to begin when setting out to create this useful list. Here are some helpful pointers from Macy's to help you get started on creating a perfect wedding registry:

  • Meet with a Consultant: These trained professionals are on site to assist and discuss everything you want and need. It's a good place to start if you have questions on what items to include and what brands are available.
  • Look for Special Programs: Some stores offer special features whose Dream Fund allows guests to contribute any amount to the ultimate gift card, so the bride and groom can later choose exactly what they want.
  • Start Early: Most couples like to register 4-6 months before their wedding date, which allows more time for choosing items, planning for showers and meeting other deadlines.
  • Register Together: Whether it's in-store, online or both—make a day of it and have fun selecting all the things that will be part of your new life together.
  • Choose Different Price Points: Guests will appreciate a varied list that has many gift options to fit their personal budget.
  • Create a Registry That Reflects You: If you're a laid-back, easygoing couple, consider registering for a more casual dinnerware pattern that you can use every day, then mix in some fancy pieces to use for those special occasions. If you enjoy entertaining friends and family, be sure to choose a range of serveware and barware.

Making the Right Choices

With all the things needed to properly stock your home, selecting the right ones can seem overwhelming. Here are some tips to keep in mind while adding to your registry:

  • Select Your Settings: A five-piece setting is meant to serve one person and includes a dinner plate, salad plate, bread and butter plate, tea cup and saucer. If you want to serve eight guests, you will need to register for eight five-piece settings.
  • Factor in Some Extras: When registering for drinkware, be sure to register for a few extras in each glass size in case some break down the road.
  • Protect Your Cutlery: Be sure to choose a sturdy cutting board to protect your knife blades from chips and cracks. You can keep your cutlery in top condition by registering for a honing steel and knife sharpener.
  • Stock Up on Kitchen Must-Haves: When it comes to cookware, make sure to stock up on the essentials. This should include a fry pan, saute pan, grill pan, sauteuse (round, deep-sided design for sauteing on the stovetop or baking in the oven) and a chef's pan.
  • Opt for the Basics: White dinnerware allows you to transform the look of your table year-round by changing the decor and accessories around it. The classic look will be a design that you can appreciate for years to come.

Source: www.macys.com/registry


Word of the Day

January 8, 2014 7:57 pm

Grace period. Specified period of time to meet a commitment after it becomes due, without penalty or default. For example, most lenders allow a two-week grace period after the due date of the mortgage payment before a late fee is imposed.


Q: What Do Zoning Regulations Do?

January 8, 2014 7:57 pm

A: Zoning is the government’s way of controlling the physical development of land and the kinds of uses to which each individual property may be put.

Zoning regulations establish how the land can be used, either for residential, industrial, commercial, or recreational purposes – although they also can allow for more than one use in a given jurisdiction.

Designed to protect you, your neighbors, and the community from undesirable, or inappropriate, land uses and/or construction, zoning laws in many communities can be very rigid and inflexible.

On the other hand, they can protect your property value and give you a piece of mind. This is particularly true in instances where the community debates whether to locate a prison in your neighborhood or a neighbor illegally builds a second story onto his home that blocks your view of the lake or mountains.

Before you begin any remodeling jobs, determine how your local zoning laws might affect your project.


Your Top Ten Bone and Joint Health Resolutions in 2014

January 7, 2014 7:06 pm

Orthopaedic surgeons understand bone and joint health problems are among the most prevalent and debilitating health challenges Americans face. This New Year, the members of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) would like to empower you to do your part to ensure a more healthy and active self: pledge to make the Ten Bone and Joint Health Resolutions part of your lifestyle.

Always cut away from yourself in the kitchen. One slip of the knife can cause a terrible injury. When cutting fruits and vegetables (and especially avocados!), be sure to cut away from your body and keep your free hand away from the blade. Keep your knife handles dry, your cutting surface secure, and your cutting area well-lit.

Warm up before sporting activities. A good warm up prepares your body for more intense activity by getting your blood flowing, raising muscle temperature, and increasing your breathing rate. Warming up gives your body time to adjust to the demands of exercise. This can improve your performance and help you get the results you want. How long you warm up depends on your fitness level, but if you are new to exercise, your body will respond better with a longer warm up.


Check your Vitamin D levels and start supplementation if warranted. Vitamin D is necessary for strong bones and muscles. Without Vitamin D, our bodies cannot effectively absorb calcium, which is essential to good bone health. Recent research supports that the body needs at least 1000 IU per day from diet and/or sunlight for good health. A simple blood test can reveal your Vitamin D level.
 

Keep your bones strong with weight-bearing activities. Everyone needs lifelong weight-bearing exercise to build and maintain healthy bones. Consider any of the following weight-bearing activities each day: brisk walking, jogging and hiking; yard work such as pushing a lawnmower and heavy gardening; team sports such as soccer, baseball and basketball; dancing, step aerobics and climbing; tennis and other racquet sports; skiing, skating, karate and bowling; weight training with free weights or machine.

Stay off ladders. They are dangerous! If you must use one to reach something on the top shelf of the pantry, to wash windows or clean the gutters, follow AAOS ladder safety guidelines: inspect the ladder for any loose screws, hinges or rungs; never place a ladder on the ground or flooring that is uneven; make sure the soles of your shoes are clean so they don't slip off the ladder rung; never stand on the top rung of any ladder and always grip the rails of the ladder while climbing.

Be aware of the loads you carry and how you carry them. If possible, lighten the load you carry each day, because the larger and heavier your backpack, luggage, purse, or diaper bag, the greater at risk you are for neck, back and shoulder injuries. When lifting a large item, stand alongside it and bend at the knees. Try and limit bending at the waist. Lift luggage with your leg muscles and don't twist when lifting or carrying. Point your toes in the direction you are headed and turn your entire body in that direction. If you are carrying a backpack, use both straps to help distribute the weight.

Protect your joints and learn how they can last a lifetime. Thirty minutes of physical activity a day can help individuals feel good and prevent certain medical conditions, so Get Up! Get Out! and Get Moving! Exercise helps keep the joints flexible, the muscles around the joints strong, bone and cartilage tissues healthy and reduces pain and stiffness. If you do have joint pain or arthritis, find an orthopaedic surgeon in your area and discuss your options on how best to preserve your joint.

Eliminate hazards in your home and the homes of your elderly relatives that might cause a fall. Falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries among elderly adults and in 2010, more than 2.3 million Americans were treated in emergency rooms for fall-related injuries. Research shows that simple safety modifications at home, where most falls occur, can substantially cut the risk of falls and related injuries. Fall-proof your home by placing a slip-resistant rug or rubber mat adjacent to the bathtub for safe entry and exit or installing handrails on both sides of the stairway.

Decide to Drive: Keep your eyes on the road and hands on the wheel. Every day, orthopaedic surgeons see the horrible consequences of people who choose to drive while distracted. So, each time you get behind the wheel, make a conscious decision to 'Decide to Drive.' Prepare to drive before you start your car–adjust all controls, mirrors, maps, navigation systems, etc., while still in park. If a distraction comes up while driving, pull over and manage it. But most importantly, keep your eyes on the road and hands on the wheel every time you drive.

Take an active part in your own healthcare and be an informed patient. Better healthcare happens when patients and physicians work together as a team. It's all about communicating. So remember to write down your questions before your appointment. And, insist on fully understanding all treatment options discussed, so together you can make the best decisions. Don't ever hesitate to ask questions, voice concerns or speak up when you don't understand. Always be honest and answer questions completely; share your point of view and don't hold back information.

Source: OrthoInfo.org.


Hardwood Flooring Trends, a Touch of the Creative

January 7, 2014 7:06 pm

(BPT)—The recovering U.S. housing market has led to increased demand for certain luxury items, including hardwood flooring. Exciting trends are influencing the marketplace and for today's consumers, there are more hardwood flooring options than ever before.

"Savvy consumers want variety and flexibility in their flooring choices," says Linda Jovanovich of the American Hardwood Information Center. "With American hardwood species running the gamut of color and because hardwood is a product that can adapt to many different decorating styles and decors, hardwood provides a degree of diversity, as well as long-term value, that cannot be matched by other flooring materials."

From the trend-watchers at independent market research firm, Market Insights Torcivia, and the National Wood Flooring Association, look at what's trending now.

A touch of the creative

* Using multiple wood species is very popular, typically using one species in the main field of the room, then introducing other contrasting species incorporated as a border or other subtle design elements in the room.

* Mixed media incorporates hardwood with other flooring options like stone, tile, carpet or even metal. This approach often helps to define different seating or functional areas within a large, open space.

* Installing wood floors, in a non-linear format, is increasingly popular as well. Custom parquet patterns can achieve this look but even traditional linear floors can accomplish the same goal by installing the linear pattern on a curve.

* Consumer preferences are gravitating toward darker species, like walnut, over the more traditional, medium-colored white and red oak. In many cases, however, existing oak floors are being refinished and stained to achieve this look without replacing the floor.

* Buyers are moving away from the traditional 2 1/4 inches strip floor to wider plank flooring, 3 inches and wider. Random width planks are also popular. This creates a very casual look, while utilizing more of the raw materials during the manufacturing process.

* Distressed flooring - hand-scraping the boards will achieve an antiqued look while, at the same time, hiding small imperfections that can appear in flooring over time, like small scratches or dents.-This distressed effect can also be achieved in the factory.

Stains and finishes

The National Wood Flooring Association also reports that flooring manufacturers are introducing new lines geared to satisfy the emerging trends toward gray stains and finishes - ranging from very subtle to very dark - and metallic finishes.

Metallic finishes incorporate softly shimmering metallic accents by embedding the metallic materials into the hardwood. The result is a pronounced grain that shimmers softly in contrast to the rest of the wood. It is difficult to predict if this trend will catch on long-term but it has become increasingly popular, particularly on the West Coast.

Get inspired

As the U.S. economy continues to recover, more and more consumers will enhance their living spaces with flooring, cabinetry and other luxury items made from American Hardwoods, the ultimate in value, versatility and style. Browse the photo gallery of the American Hardwood Information Center at www.HardwoodInfo.com for inspiration.


Word of the Day

January 7, 2014 7:06 pm

Homestead protection. State and federal laws that protect against the forced sale of a person’s home by creditors. Also, upon the death of one spouse, provides the other with a home for life.