Gunning Daily News

Q: Is a Home Equity Line of Credit Similar to a Second Mortgage?

May 23, 2013 2:20 pm

A: A home equity loan, like a second mortgage, lets you tap up to about 80 percent of the appraised value of your home, minus your current mortgage balance. But because it is set up as a line of credit, you will not be charged interest until you actually make a withdrawal against the loan, although you will be responsible for paying closing costs.

The withdrawals can be made gradually as you begin to pay contractors and suppliers for handling your remodeling project.

The interest rates on these loans are usually variable.  Of particular importance: make sure you understand the terms of the loan. If, for example, your loan requires that you pay interest only for the life of the loan, you will have to pay back the full amount borrowed at the end of the loan period or risk losing your home.

 


This Summer, Keep Kids Learning

May 22, 2013 2:00 am

(Family Features)—During the school year, kids focus on the fundamentals of reading, writing and arithmetic. Make summer a time to explore their interests. Plan trips and activities that keep them learning and enjoying their favorite topics.

  • Learning is as close as your computer. Both YouTube and Ted Talks feature short videos that educate and inspire.
  • When visiting the library for books this summer, pick up a few DVDs covering your child's favorite subject.
  • Arrange a mini-internship. If one of your kids loves animals, ask a veterinarian if your child could observe at the office for an afternoon.
  • Explore the great outdoors at summer camp. Instead of sending your kids away, look for local day camp options focusing on nature, sports or other activities.
  • Volunteer opportunities abound. Look for charity work tailored to your child's interest to combine learning with helping others.
  • Connect with clubs in your community, such as Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts and 4-H. Each group encourages learning, outdoor activities and friendship.

The most important part of summer should be family so use those extra days of freedom to spend more time together. Involve your child in the daily routine. A trip to the grocery store is a great place to see math, reading, problem solving, and decision making in action. They'll learn a lot about etiquette and social skills just being along for the ride during "grown-up" activities.

Attend free outdoor movies, explore museums, visit relatives or play group games. Also set aside crafting afternoons to paint, play with modeling clay or make special projects, such as Stamped Alphabet Magnets. Not only will everyone have the fun of making them, they can be used on the refrigerator all summer to keep kids spelling or simply share special messages.

Source: www.joann.com


Juice for Good Health

May 22, 2013 2:00 am

Drinking to good health via juicing is seeing a resurgence in popularity as a new generation discovers the benefits of juiced vegetables, says nutritionist and juicing icon Cherie Calbom, MS, author of a new book full of juicing tips, tricks and recipes, “The Juice Lady's Big Book of Juices and Green Smoothies.”

“For decades, people with acute medical conditions and those striving for optimum health have turned to juicing nutrient-dense ingredients,” says Calbom.

“You can supplement your diet with a glass of fresh juice, or go on a days-long cleansing ‘juice feast.’ And you can use different combinations of ingredients to improve your mood or boost your energy or even help alleviate physical ailments.”

Calbom says she witnessed the transformation of a woman who had back and arthritis pain, which caused her many nights of interrupted sleep due to pain in her hands. After six weeks of juicing in the morning and before dinner, she lost 12 pounds and felt more energetic in the mornings. More importantly, her arthritic and back pain has completely ceased.

Calbom suggests these cocktails for people burdened with specific ailments:

• Arthritis helper: One handful of flat leaf parsley; One dark green lettuce leaf; three to four carrots, scrubbed well, tops removed, ends trimmed; two stalks of celery with leaves; a two-inch-chunk of ginger root; and one lemon, peeled if not organic. This makes 1 serving. Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce arthritic joint pain and help combat oxidative damage to joints.

• The asthma helper: Five carrots, scrubbed well, tops removed, ends trimmed; five to six radishes with leaves; one green apple; half a lemon, peeled if not organic. This makes one serving and can be served chilled or at room temperature. Radish is a traditional asthma remedy.

• The headache mender: Half a ripe cantaloupe with seeds and rind removed; half of a cucumber, peeled if not organic; a 1- to 2-inch chunk of ginger root, peeled. Cantaloupe and ginger root have been shown to reduce platelet stickiness, which is related to migraine headaches.

• Cholesterol buster cocktail: Four medium-sized carrots, scrubbed well, tops removed, ends trimmed; two ribs of celery, with leaves; two kale leaves; one green apple, such as a Granny Smith, or pippin apple; a 1-inch chunk of ginger root, scrubbed or peeled if old. Ginger root has been shown in numerous scientific studies to reduce inflammation. It’s inflammation that is implicated in heart disease. But if you are looking to lower your LDL, juice an apple with your ginger root. Apples contain antioxidants that help to halt oxidation of LDL. It is oxidized LDL that is most harmful.

• The adrenal booster: One handful of parsley; one dark green lettuce leaf; four carrots, scrubbed well, tops removed and ends trimmed; two tomatoes; two ribs of celery with leaves; a dash of hot sauce; a dash of Celtic sea salt. Serves two. The adrenal glands respond to stress; when they’re overworked and fatigued, you can experience mood swings and weight gain. Hot peppers and parsley are rich in vitamin C and celery is a great source of natural sodium, both of which are very beneficial for the adrenal glands.

“As with any juice cocktail, these drinks are best imbibed as soon as possible after being processed,” Calbom says. “This is ‘live food,’ which has a full complement of vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, biophotons and enzymes. You can make it the night before, however, and drink in the morning or take it with you if you keep it chilled in a covered container.”

Cherie Calbom, MS is the author of 21 books, including the best-seller “Juicing for Life,” with 2 million copies sold in the United States and published in 23 countries.

Source: www.juiceladycherie.com


Keeping Your Finances and Sanity on Track

May 22, 2013 2:00 am

You don’t have to be a trader on the world’s markets to experience the financial roller coaster, says mathematician Lambros Klouvidakis.

“The world has struggled in recent years to absorb the many stresses and negative influences on global markets and everyone’s affected. Look at the senior citizens who lost as much as 40 percent of their retirement investments!” he says. “At one point during the crisis, the Dow Jones Industrial lost 50 percent of its value in less than a week; unemployment shop up more than 5 percentage points and consumer spending, at its worst, dropped by 50 percent.”

Traders, however, gain and lose on a regular basis, and we can learn a lot from their experience, Klouvidakis says.

Klouvidakis offers tips for traders and anyone else experiencing major shifts in their finances:

• Set the right tone immediately. If you’ve lost a chunk of money and your lifestyle is already compromised, understand that you can get it back. Rather than wasting energy trying to blame someone or something, focus your efforts on problem-solving. Not only does this mindset put time to good use, it also diverts you from negative and painful feelings. On the flip side, if you have recently come into a large amount of money, smart investments and shrewd spending are equally important. 

• Take stock of your human assets. Remember, you have important assets that don’t show up on the net worth statement. Education, experience, skills and knowledge are hard to put a dollar value on, but don’t overlook them as a resource. Talk to other traders about ways to use strengths and skills during this time of income change and in the future.

• Share the burden & ask for advice. During times of stress, the support of friends and acquaintances is critical. New traders, for example, have difficulty revealing their vulnerability and inexperience to more seasoned traders, but when they do, they open the door to receiving excellent advice. The same is true for those who are not marketplace professionals but need encouragement.

• Accept change and uncertainty (be flexible). Income changes require that we prepare for a journey of uncertainty. We often cling to the very things that hold us back. Traders who adjust well to change know when to hold on to a position and when to let go. Many of us grew up believing strength meant holding on, when it often takes more strength to let go and move on.

• Don’t forget your family. Trading, looking for a job or studying for a new career can be consuming, but even when things have gone bad—especially when things have gone bad—stay involved with your family and create stability at home. What’s good for the family is also good for you. In difficult times, new traders tend to take others for granted and forget to provide the attention they need and deserve. If necessary, make a strong conscious effort to pull together with family and work through tough times.

Lambros Klouvidakis is the creator of Semathy, an elite foreign exchange consultancy. He is a math expert who has dedicated 12 years of his life to the study of currency exchange behavior.


Word of the Day

May 22, 2013 2:00 am

Restrictive covenants.  Clauses placed in a deed to restrict the full use of the property by controlling how future landowners may or may not use the property; also used in leases.


Q: What Are Subprime Loans?

May 22, 2013 2:00 am

A: Subprime mortgages are made to borrowers, usually at a higher interest rate, who do not meet traditional credit criteria or who have unconventional borrowing needs.

Factors that can prevent someone from meeting the traditional criteria could be a high debt-to-income ratio, low reserves at settlement, as well as past credit woes – bankruptcies, defaults, foreclosures, or chronic late payments on debt obligations.


Aging in Place Primer: In Home Safety

May 22, 2013 2:00 am

I recently referenced reporting by Nell Bernstein at caring.com, who pointed out two important factors about planning for aging in place. Bernstein says the steps to successful aging in place include learning how to "future-proof" a home -- before a health crisis or other emergency strikes.

The first is in-home safety. Bernstein references a a worry-by-worry guide to several innovations -- some tested and recommended by Susan Ayers Walker of SmartSilvers Alliance.

Solution No. 1: Big-button cell phone. According to the Pew Research Center, many seniors won't use a cell phone even in an emergency. They find them too complex, can't manage the tiny buttons, or read the screens. So choose a phone with features like extra-loud speakers, big backlit buttons, a bright screen with easy-to-read numbers.

Solution No. 2: Automatic pill reminders. A 70 year old, says Walker, could be taking about 12 medications, and taking them unsupervised accounts for up to 40 percent of nursing home admissions. So consider pillboxes with alarms tied to services that will send medication reminders by phone, e-mail, or pager. MD.2 is a monitored dispenser can dispense all your pills right on time, with one touch of a button. Rescue Alert will monitor a pillbox electronically and alert a dispatcher if the lid isn't opened when it's supposed to be.

Solution No. 3: Temperature-activated flow reducer. It's relatively low-tech and can cost less than $40, but this gadget sure does work (search for it online using the key words temperature-activated flow reducer). A screw-on faucet attachment prevents burns by shutting off the water from a sink or shower if it gets too hot.

Solution No. 4: The Safe-T-element Cooking System. This device consists of cover plates you can install over existing stove top burners that limit how hot they can get and automatically shut off the stove if they reach a certain temperature. Prices vary.


The 10 Best Things to Buy in June

May 22, 2013 2:00 am

With Dads, grads and bridal couples being celebrated in June, it should come as no surprise that household goods and personal electronics head the list of things that go on sale now.

Specifically, said Lifehacker’s consumer editor, Whitson Gordon, look for good buys on these 10 top most-wanted items:

  • TVs and consumer electronics - The Japanese fiscal year ends in March, so most electronics manufacturers are trying to get rid of their old stock, making this a great time to grab the ones you want.
  • Boots and ski wear – June offers the biggest discounts on leftover winter wear for skiers and the entire family.
  • Cookwear,  china, and kitchen gadgets – Haunt the malls for the year’s lowest prices on the most popular cooking and dining merchandise, from pots and pans and food processors to china, silver and glassware.
  • Vacuum cleaners – New models hit the stores in late June, so you should be able to find a good price on leftover last-year models.
  • Champagne – Next to New Year’s, June weddings and other celebrations put champagne in top demand. Shop now for good prices on bubbly you can use all year long.
  • House paint – For some reason, June is the top month for re-painting home interiors and exteriors. Most paint brands, therefore, are now on sale.
  • Tools – If your tool box is not fully stocked, the Father’s Day period is a good time to pick up good buys on hand and electric tools.
  • Men’s suits – Mothers of the bride are on their own, but men’s suits and tuxedos are on sale now as Dads prepare for seasonal weddings.
  • Houses – Spring weather always sees for-sale signs go up in front yards. Newlyweds and others will have a great selection of homes to choose from now, while interest rates are still low.
  • Gym memberships –Most people have long since forgotten their New Year’s resolution, making this a good time to haggle yourself a good price on a gym membership.

Moving? Make the Most of Your DIY Move

May 22, 2013 2:00 am

(BPT)—New jobs, first jobs, relationships and looking for a change in weather - these are just a few reasons people have for moving. Most families move during the warmer months, and many choose to move to warmer locations.

"Atlanta is still the top location to move to, and six other warm weather destinations help round out the top 10 moving destination list," says Don Mikes, senior vice president of truck rental for Penske. "We're seeing patterns in our 2012 consumer truck rentals of people moving south for more warmth and sunshine."

Penske's top 10 moving destinations for 2012 were:

1. Atlanta

2. Dallas/Fort Worth

3. Phoenix

4. Orlando, Fla.

5. Chicago

6. Houston

7. Denver

8. Seattle

9. Charlotte, N.C.

10. Sarasota, Fla.

If you're planning a move to any state this year, Penske, which has been renting out moving trucks to do-it-yourselfers for more than 40 years, offers some advice:

  • For long-distance moves, a moving truck is a must. But even if you're just moving across town, renting a moving truck makes sense. Making multiple trips can be exhausting - not to mention the gas you'll use and the greenhouse gases your vehicle will emit on multiple trips. Reserve your truck at least two weeks in advance of moving day-- Penske guarantees a truck for every reservation. A 12- or 16-foot truck works for moving a few large items or the contents of a small condo or apartment.
  • Pack in increments. Start early to avoid the stress of last-minute rushing. It's OK to leave a box open in case you need something you've packed inside it; it's much easier to tape a box shut on moving day than it is to pack at the last moment.
  • Buy sturdy boxes in a variety of sizes, along with foam and bubble wrap to protect fragile items. You'll also need a good supply of packing tape and markers for sealing and labeling boxes.
  • Make sure you have moving blankets and hand trucks on moving day to make the process easier.
  • Purge before packing. It's much easier to throw away, donate, sell or give away items that you don't need than it is to pack them and move them. As a rule of thumb, if you haven't used something in the past 12 months-- or it's still packed in a box from the last time you moved-- you can probably get rid of it.
  • Label boxes as you pack. First, list the room that the contents belong in, and, if necessary, a few details such as "glass," "fragile" or "dishes." As you load the truck, try to keep boxes from each room grouped together.
  • Load the heaviest items onto the truck first to create a sturdy base, then start stacking on top.
  • Moving trucks are taller, wider and heavier than the passenger vehicles you are used to driving. They require more distance to stop. Be extra careful driving your moving truck, especially after it's loaded. Be aware of low-hanging tree branches and building overhangs, and use caution when cornering. Park only in well-lit areas and keep the rear door padlocked and the passenger compartment doors locked.
  • Finally, create a travel bag for moving day and keep important paperwork, credit cards, identification, a change of clothes, beverages and snacks close at hand.

Source: www.PenskeTruckRental.com.


Q: What Is a Second Mortgage?

May 22, 2013 2:00 am

A: It is a loan against the equity in your home.  Financial institutions will generally let you borrow up to 80 percent of the appraised value of your home, minus the balance of your original mortgage.

You may incur all the fees normally associated with a mortgage, including closing costs, title insurance, and processing fees.

Home improvement loans are often written as second mortgages.  And sometimes you can get a college tuition loan by using a second mortgage.

In case of default, the loan is paid off from the proceeds of the sale of the property, after the first mortgage has been paid off first.