Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Credit Card Perks - Check Your Points

Credit cards are usually known for high interest rates and extra fees, but did you know they also have some hidden benefits? Policies vary by company, but here are five perks your credit card may provide: • Rental car insurance. One-third of drivers tend to buy extra collision insurance when they rent a car. Most credit cards include collision insurance. You could save $140 on a week’s rental, but it may not apply to trucks, campers, and SUVs. • Cell phone replacement. If your phone gets damaged or stolen (loss may not be included), certain cards such as Citi will pay for a new cell phone, although you’ll have a $50 co-pay. • Trip cancellation. A Discover card may give you up to $2,500 if you have to cancel your trip due to illness. It has to be a serious illness with a doctor’s note or an event like death in the family. Also, American Express cards usually offer travel perks, such as double reward points to use on hotel and airfares. • Price (or return) protection. If you buy an item and find the same one advertised for a lower price elsewhere within 30 to 60 days, your card might refund the difference. Exclusions could include cars, cell phones, online sales, and purchases on eBay. Plus, most cards let you dispute a purchase if your merchandise isn’t delivered. • Extended warranties. Visa and AmEx cards automatically double the length of any manufacturer’s warranty. You need documentation and some products aren’t covered but it can save you money. See page 2 for more information on extended warranties. Don't forget to check your points! Most credit and debit cards include point incentives you may not even be aware of. Cash in your points before they expire. Read your credit card agreement to find perks you may be missing!

Monday, January 14, 2019

6 Ways To Improve Your Work Relationships

If you are like most Americans, you’ll spend about one-third of your life working. And if you’re going to spend so much time at work, wouldn’t it be ideal if you liked your colleagues? There is good reason to get along with co-workers: Liking other employees consistently ranks among the highest factors in determining job satisfaction. This isn’t always easy, however. If some of your work relationships could use a little sprucing up, try these tips: 1. Respect time. Avoid hovering around your colleagues’ work areas if they’re on the phone or speaking with someone else, and respect their professional/personal life balance by keeping work issues at work. 2. Avoid gossip. Office politics and the rumor mill can run rampant, and the best thing you can do is to avoid any conversation that is irrelevant to your job. You never know whom you will have to work with – or for – in the future, so do your best to remain professional to everyone. 3. Be polite. The Golden Rule of doing unto others as you would have them do unto you goes a long way in a professional setting. Say hello and thank you, smile, hold doors open for others, and clean up after yourself. 4. Show concern. It is not your job to solve personal problems, but keep in mind your co-workers are people too. Be mindful that others may be having a bad day or issues beyond the boardroom. If you feel comfortable, it’s okay to check in to make sure everything is alright. 5. Welcome the newcomers. Do you remember your first awkward day of work? Make someone else’s first day on the job easier by smiling and introducing yourself. 6. Follow up and communicate. Simple communication goes a long way in helping to facilitate good relations and clear up misunderstandings. Make yourself approachable so others feel they can discuss work-related projects with you. Managers need to set clear expectations with their employees so there is no question about what is expected from each person.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Find a Hidden Gem at Schmitz Preserve Park

Have you ever wondered what the Seattle forests looked like? Well the last of our untouched old growth forest is located in West Seattle! Former parks commissioner Ferdinand Schmitz was watching our forest rapidly disappear and decided to act. Ferdinand was a German immigrant who moved to Seattle in 1887. His 1908 donation allowed a small piece of it to remain as nature intended. It is only 53.1 acres / about 15 city blocks but in a city like Seattle very welcomed. In 1949 a preservation policy was applied so only foot trails are allowed and there are no interior signs in the park. The latest addition to the park occurred in January of 2018 adding a 5,000 ft lot to the park. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 3, 2019

How To Protect Yourself And Others On The Road

Could you pass a written driver’s test – today? The results of an online GMAC Insurance survey showed that nearly 1 in 5 licensed drivers – 38 million Americans – probably wouldn’t! Here’s what you should do to brush up on the Rules of the Road and make yourself safer.  Take the National Drivers Test. Go to www.nationaldriverstest.com. Answer the 20 questions from state exams and study up on the ones you missed. You also can download it to Facebook and challenge your friends.  Review Local Traffic Laws. Many states post them on a .gov website.  Avoid these top driving mistakes that cause crashes: • Multi-tasking while driving. Say “no” to: texting, phone calls and eating! • Following too closely. Leave 2 seconds between you and the car ahead. • Failure to yield on a left turn. Check for cars or people in your path. • Incorrect merging. Merge carefully but don’t stop. • Backing up. Don’t rely on the mirrors. Look over your shoulder.  Consider a refresher course. AARP offers an online Driver Safety Course geared to drivers 50 and older. Plus, taking it may qualify you for a car insurance discount.  Keep your brain sharp by subscribing to a computer driving program. CogniFit sells a Senior Driver program that starts with an assessment of 10 cognitive abilities essential for safe driving, including visual scanning and response time. It’s probably good for everyone!  Get help from your car. The next time you’re car shopping, look for a model that offers new “smart” technologies such as Distance Control Assist (which applies the brakes when you’re following another car too closely); Blind-Spot Detection (which alerts you about vehicles in your blind spots); and Night Vision Systems (which give you a vision of the road ahead with a infrared beam).

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Time To Organize Your Home For The New Year

Need quick tips for organizing your home this New Year? Let’s focus on the living room for now:  Remove everything on the floor that doesn’t belong there. Kids’ toys go back to their rooms.  Return food items (half-eaten snacks?) to the kitchen.  De-clutter the coffee table and other flat surfaces.  Group your framed photos. Consider a creative wall display.  Put similar objects (like TV remotes) in one place.  Purge the magazines and assorted papers. Place relevant items on a rack or in a bin.  Add an attractive wastebasket.  Cut your favorite collectible collection by at least half. Put the rest in storage and rotate the items to keep it fresh.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

How Good Posture Can Make You Happier

Have you noticed that you slump or hunch over when you’re feeling down and do just the opposite – stand up straight and tall – when you’re feeling good? Studies show that your mind (or mood) influences your body (posture) and vice versa – your body language influences your confidence and energy. Once you realize this, you can make it work to your advantage. Here’s what you should know:  How good posture looks and feels, and what you can do to improve yours this New Year. • Go to a site such as www.acatoday.org and search for “tips to maintain good posture.” • Exercise (stretching, walking, running, yoga) to improve your mobility and flexibility. Get away from “couch slouching.” • Watch Amy Cuddy’s popular 2012 TED Talk. Just search for “Amy Cuddy Ted Talk” on Youtube.com. She explains how doing certain “power poses” every day will actually change your hormone levels and relieve stress.  The benefits of avoiding “computer hunch.” Sitting at a computer or looking down at a phone causes a natural slump and ultimately fatigue. If you learn to sit properly, move your eyes away from the screen and take breaks from the computer and phone, you’re bound to clear your mind, and feel refreshed and more energetic.  “Fake it ‘til you make it” might just work. It sounds funny, but even if you’re not in a good mood, try adjusting your posture, holding your head up and projecting confidence. People will react to you accordingly, sending positive feelings to your brain.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Become Smarter With Your Money in the New Year

Are you smart when it comes to money? Since many of us would say “probably not,” here are some basic bad money habits and good ones you should adopt to replace them in the New Year. Bad: Using the same credit card for years. Good: Get a new card with terms and rewards that are appropriate to your life style. Use the credit card tool on a site like www.nerdwallet.com to choose the best card to meet your needs. Bad: Not tracking your spending. Good: Make a budget and have a plan. Track your spending and be prepared for major purchases that may lie ahead. Check out sites like www.youneedabudget.com, www.budgetsimple.com, and the free app Debts Monitor. Bad: Doing everything manually. Good: Take advantage of technology by setting up automatic payments tied to your credit card for bills that can be paid online. You’ll avoid late payments that can lower your credit score. Bad: Not investing your money. Good: Invest in yourself now by contributing to your employer’s 401(k) program, and putting money into a mutual fund or trading account. Consider talking to a financial advisor who can help you make investment decisions. It might be a good time to consider investing in real estate if it works for your portfolio! Bad: Going it alone. Good: Hang out with successful people. Their good habits can rub off on you!