Sunday, January 31, 2010

Great Ways to Save on Prescriptions - Shop Costco Pricing!!

Save BIG On Prescription Drugs

Anyone who buys medications from their local pharmacy can’t help but wonder about the high cost of prescription drugs. By applying a little knowledge and forethought at the doctor’s office—and at the pharmacy counter, you can save BIG money…and get the medications that you need to stay healthy! Here are a few practical strategies to help you SAVE on your health care needs:

1. This one is simple…don’t take medications you don’t really need. If a change in diet, more exercise, and weight loss will get the job done, then by all means try that approach first.
2. Buy in bulk when possible. The larger the quantity, the greater the savings. Ask your doctor for a 90-day prescription if you are on a daily medication.
3. Routinely ask your doctor or pharmacist if there is generic equivalent for a prescribed medication. Generics can be as effective and cost less.
4. If you are starting a new drug, ask your doctor for free samples. Then if you have a bad reaction and can’t continue, you haven’t wasted money on a full bottle of pills or ointment.
5. Ask your doctor for a higher dose, and then cut the pills in half by scoring them with a kitchen knife or pill-splitter. Not all drugs can be split, so consult with your doctor first.
6. Compare prices at your neighborhood drug stores. Many of the “big box” stores feature pharmacies that have lower prices on prescription drugs, including Costco.
7. Check out mail order drug companies and the blossoming internet outlets. Medications can be 20 percent cheaper and shipped to you.
8. Use discount cards promoted by pharmacies and consumer groups (like AARP). The savings can be up to 40 percent with these special programs.
9. If you can’t afford medication, at least 30 states now have active prescription drug assistance programs for the low-income and elderly.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

7 Secrets to Building Lasting Wealth

7 Secrets to Wealth-Building
by TRUE Millionaires

The tech boom and the stock market “bubble” of the 1990s have come and gone like a bright, shining dream. And visions of “instant millionaires” created by stock options and killer web sites have all but evaporated. So what really defines being “wealthy” in the 21st century and who has it…for real?

Thomas J. Stanley, author of the bestseller “The Millionaire Next Door,” interviewed 1,000 millionaires to find out what traits, attributes, and habits they have in common.

Stanley sorted through the “showboat” wealthy (those living affluent lifestyles but actually burdened with debt) to find the genuine “balance sheet” millionaires—those with solid assets between $2 and $5 million. And what he found is that the basic rules for creating and keeping wealth are still driven by old-fashioned, common sense values. Here are seven key factors that make a “real” millionaire:

1. They started their own business and acquired wealth by finding a profitable niche in the market. They also love what they do for a living, and are motivated by building a business—not by amassing wealth for its own sake.
2. “Real” millionaires live comfortable lifestyles, but they are not extravagant or wasteful. On the average, they live in homes valued at $350,000 and drive mid-priced cars.
3. They stay married to responsible, stable spouses who run tight, efficient households. Their mates clip coupons, buy household items in bulk, and keep track of the household expenses.
4. They spend less than they earn, and follow a savings plan as a life-long habit.
5. TRUE millionaires do not speculate when it comes to investments. Once their businesses have reached maturity, they invest wisely to grow capital. They rarely visit a casino to gamble, and almost never buy lottery tickets.
6. Most of the millionaires were average students who had little encouragement to succeed in life. They developed leadership skills through sports and nurtured determination and a will to succeed—on their own.
7. Two strong characteristics the TRUE millionaires all had in common were an unwavering belief in themselves and their abilities. They dared to think differently from the crowd!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Advantage of Having a Buyers Agent

Q. I’m thinking of buying a home soon. Should I get a Buyer’s Agent, or should I go it alone?

A. I recommend getting a Buyer’s Agent because the agent will be specifically representing you, and, because a Buyer’s Agent generally gets paid by the seller, you pay no commission. A Buyer’s Agent will take time to help you find the type of home you want, in the location you want, and the properties that fit your particular needs and desires. Research by the National Association of REALTORS® reveals that buyers find their home faster when they use a Buyer’s Agent.

A Buyer’s Agent can also help you with financing your home. The agent will determine how much you can afford and help you become pre-qualified to purchase a home. Getting pre-qualified puts you in a stronger negotiating position by letting the seller know you are serious and able to purchase the home. You hire a Buyer’s Agent by signing an agency agreement, which is legal and binding. If you have questions about Buyer Agency, or if you are buying or selling a home and need competent and caring representation, please call me at 206-226-0565.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Energize Your Life With These Tax Incentives

Are you making the most of energy tax incentives? You can save energy and money by qualifying for these rebates and tax credits:

• Cash for Appliances. It’s the 2010 version of “Cash for Clunkers” but you get the rebate when you buy new energy-efficient appliances. Funded with $300 million from the stimulus package, the program is conducted at the state level. Visit your state’s energy office web site for details.

• Home Energy Efficiency Improvement Tax Credits. If you install certain products, such as energy-efficient windows, insulation, roofing, and heating and cooling equipment in an existing home, you can receive a federal tax credit for 30 percent of the cost (up to $1,500) for improvements “placed in service” from Jan. 1, 2009 through Dec. 31, 2010. Go to for specifics.

• Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credits. Install a solar energy system (including solar water heaters) and receive a 30 percent tax credit if it’s placed in service before Dec. 31, 2016. (The previous tax credit cap no longer applies.)

• Auto Tax Credits. If you buy or lease a new hybrid gas/electric car or truck, you’re eligible for an income tax credit for vehicles placed in service from Jan. 1, 2006 to Dec. 31, 2010. This will be phased out for each manufacturer when they sell 60,000 eligible vehicles. Tax credits also are available for alternative-fuel vehicles, diesel vehicles with advance lean-burn technologies and fuel-cell vehicles. See the IRS web site for vehicle specifics.

For more information on local, utility and federal incentives that promote energy efficiency, check out the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency at

You Are Entitled to Your Health Records - Become a BETTER Patient

Become A Smarter Patient

What’s the one thing you can do right now to become a smarter, more empowered patient? Get copies of all your test results, even for routine check-ups. Here’s what you should know:

• You’re entitled to this information according to the Health Information Portability Accountability Act (HIPAA). Note, however, that you may be denied access to records (often involving mental health) that the provider deems may be harmful to you.

• You must be the patient or guardian of the patient to get the records. Caregivers may get records if the patient provides written permission.

• You probably need to ask. Doctors’ offices are busy places.

• You may be asked to pay an administrative fee for stored records, depending on the state.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Free Trial Offer? Maybe Not!

The next time you sign up for a free trial offer, be sure to read the fine print. While these offers can be a great way to try out a product, you might be agreeing to buy additional products and services if you don’t cancel within a specified time.

It’s called the “negative option feature,” and it requires the customer to cancel or opt-out of a recurring charge for future products. While it’s not illegal, some questionable online merchants pre-check the consent box or bury the details under terms and conditions, making returns difficult.

If this has happened to you, you’re not alone. A Visa survey showed 29 percent of American consumers have been victims of this option. The Better Business Bureau says it has received thousands of complaints from people who learned the hard way by signing up for online trial offers for acai berry supplements, detox products, teeth whiteners, free government grants and debt consolidation services.

Best advice? Before you buy, read the offer carefully, pay attention to pre-checked boxes and check out the business at

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Can Some Foods Make You Smarter?

Brain Food - How to be Smarter

Would you like to know how you can make yourself smarter? It’s really quite simple. There are certain foods that make your brain work better. To improve your memory and brain function, eat more foods high in choline. According to Dr. Arthur Winter, coauthor of Build Your Brain Power, foods high in choline include: soy, fish, beef, dairy, egg yolks, oatmeal, brown rice, liver and wheat germ.

Eating foods high in Vitamin B12, such as red meat, liver, eggs, and dairy, also will improve memory and brain power. Winter recommends taking a multivitamin and mineral supplement to ensure you’re getting what your body needs. You can take Vitamin C (a powerful antioxidant) to reduce stress to your brain tissue.

To improve alertness, memory, and focus make sure you eat three servings of protein (chicken, fish, beef, soy, and dairy) each day. Your brain is regulated by amino acids, and these foods have the necessary amino acids your brain needs. If you are a vegan, make sure to balance your diet with legumes and nuts. Lastly, folic acid, another B vitamin, helps brain function by improving mood and alertness. It’s found in green leafy veggies, broccoli, cereals, meat, and lentils. Bon appetit!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Processed Meats Can be Unheathly

Dangers of Processed Meat

Hot dogs, sausage, bacon and even luncheon meats may not be so good for your health, according to a researcher at the University of Hawaii. The greatest danger may be to your pancreas. In a study presented at the American Association for Cancer Research, people who ate processed meats had a 67% higher risk for pancreatic cancer than those who didn’t consume processed meats.

The study analyzed the diets of 190,545 men and women. Other research has found a correlation between pancreatic cancer and other factors such as a family history of pancreatic cancer, smoking, obesity, and diabetes.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Six Ways to Improve Your Credit Rating

Sure-Fire Tips For Improving Your Credit Rating…

A good credit rating in essential in today’s economic market. It can save you thousands of dollars when you apply for a mortgage, car loan, or when you want to finance any other big-ticket purchase. Here are six tips for improving your credit rating:
1. Check your credit report. Make sure to resolve any credit debt inaccuracies or disputes. Go to for information on how to order your credit report.
2. Pay your bills on time. It’s especially important near the time you are applying for a loan.
3. Pay down, or pay off your credit cards. High debt will adversely affect your credit rating.
4. Don’t apply for new credit cards to increase your available credit.
5. Pay down your revolving debt. Also, pay down your debt rather than moving it around.
6. Manage your credit cards and installment loans responsibly. Paying credit cards and installments loans promptly will actually raise your credit rating.

Friday, January 22, 2010

7 Secrets for Conquering Stress in Your Life...

Are you a harried mom? Overworked dad? Stressed out professional? Stress is considered one of the top three contributors to heart disease and other serious illnesses. Don’t let daily stress get the best of you. Here are seven steps you can take right now to reduce your stress level, and get back to feeling more balanced and energized in your daily life...

1. Master Your Thoughts. Stress and anxiety are actually a choice. You have the power to choose how you feel at any given moment. When you are feeling stressed out, take a moment to pause and close your eyes. Ask yourself, “Is there another choice I can make that will make me feel more at peace with myself or this situation?”

2. Breathe. It sounds so simple, but breathing has a tremendous affect on your mind, body, and your mood. Focus on your breathing when you find yourself feeling stress. If you put your finger on your belly button, you’ll begin to breathe from your belly and relax.

3. Exercise. Regular exercise can release stress and make you feel more in control of your life. Try a 30-minute brisk walk, bike ride, or play a game of tennis or racquetball.

4. Take Up A Hobby. Hobbies give our body and mind a place to relax. Whether it’s painting, woodworking, gardening, or playing a musical instrument, hobbies can give us that feeling of a vacation without having to go anywhere to get away.

5. Pace Yourself. Many of us have a tendency to over schedule ourselves or our family, and then become stressed when we can’t meet the demands. Prioritize your workload and concentrate on one task at a time.

6. Lighten Up And Take The Long View. If you’re feeling anxious and tense...take a moment and ask yourself, “will this really matter tomorrow, next week, or even five years from now?”

7. Strive For Peace of Mind. You can get more out of your life by actually doing less. Happiness comes not from the number of activities we do, and things we collect, but from the opportunity to enjoy our experiences. Doing less may actually make you’s your choice.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Should We Get Our New House Inspected?

Q. We’re getting ready to purchase a home. What’s involved in a home inspection, and is it mandatory when buying a house?

A. A home inspection is not mandatory when you purchase a house, but I recommend that you have any home you’re planning on buying inspected by a licensed inspector. In fact, I’d insist upon it.

A home inspector has the training and expertise to provide an objective opinion about the condition of the home. The inspector will carefully examine the home’s structure, roof, plumbing, electrical wiring, heating and cooling system, and appliances. He or she will provide a written assessment of the house’s condition.

The inspection will tell you what repairs might need to be made before buying. The inspection can alert you to any serious problems the house may have—before you buy the house. There’s a period after a contract is accepted when you can have the inspection completed. Fees are paid to the inspector by the buyer.

If there are problems or repairs that need to made, you can request in writing during the specified period that these repairs be made as a condition of the sale. If you’re thinking of buying or selling a home and need competent and caring representation, please call me at 206-226-0565.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Winter Driving Tips

Driving Tips In Bad Weather

Truck drivers know what to do when driving in rain and fog, but do you? First, make sure your windshield is clean. This will improve your windshield wipers effectiveness. Secondly, be aware that rain can cause serious problems after a period of dry weather. A slight drizzle combined with the oil on the road, can make the road as slick as ice.

Driving in fog can be the most hazardous because of its changeability. In dense fog, the American Truckers Association (ATA) recommends you pull off the road. If that’s not possible, adjust your speed to whatever vision you do have. Here are six tips when driving in fog:

1. Drive with headlights on low beam, whether it’s day or night.
2. Reduce your speed.
3. Roll down your windows to hear traffic you can’t see.
4. Use your defroster in addition to your wipers for maximum vision.
5. Use the right edge of the road as a guide. Be patient and don’t pass.
6. Never stop on the roadway when there is fog.

Monday, January 18, 2010

How To Prevent Portion Distortion . . .

Your mother's old adage "finish your plate" isn't the best advice anymore. Whether you eat out (restaurant portions are up 40 percent over the last 30 years) or eat in at home, portion sizes have grown out of proportion, causing many of us to consume extra calories and add unhealthy pounds. Here's how to prevent portion distortion and help control your weight.

Know your terms. A portion is the amount of food you choose to eat for a meal. Big or small - the choice is up to you. A serving is a measured amount of food or drink, such as one slice of bread or 8 ounces of milk.

Read the Nutrition Facts Label. The Food and Drug Administration puts it there to tell you how many calories and how much fat, carbohydrate, sodium and other nutrients are in one serving of the product. You may think the 3-ounce bag of chips is one portion, but the label says it contains 3 servings.

Gradually reduce your portions. Try relating one serving size to everyday objects such as these offered by the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute:

1 cup of cereal = a fist
2 tsp of peanut butter = a ping-pong ball
1/2 cup of ice cream = 1/2 baseball
1 medium fruit = 1 baseball
3 ounces of meat, fish or poultry = 1 deck of cards
Use the "New American Plate" guide. The American Institute for Cancer Research says to look at your plate and aim for meals made of 2/3 (or more) of vegetables, fruits, whole grains or beans, and 1/3 (or less) animal protein.

Repackage products. Buying large-size bags or boxes may save you money, but divide the items into single serving packages when you get home.

Don't "supersize" at fast-food restaurants. It may sound like a good value but you know you're eating more than you should. If you go for the larger-sized meal at any restaurant, be sure to share it with a friend or take half of it home for another meal

Reduce Your Risk of Alzheimer's by Taking Two Important Vitamins

Two Ways You Can Reduce Your Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s research is a hot topic, and could have a big impact on your life. There’s an estimated 4.5 million cases in the U.S. reports the Alzheimer’s Association, and that number is growing. But there’s hope!

You may reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease by taking two important vitamins, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.
Vitamins C and E are the focus of many research studies, which indicate they may reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers have found that antioxidants may absorb damaging free radicals in the brain and prevent cell damage.

A Johns Hopkins study found that people taking both Vitamins C and E were 64% less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease four years later. The recommended daily doses for Vitamin C are 500 to 1,500 mg, and 400 to 1,000 IU of Vitamin E daily. Be sure you check with your doctor to determine which dose is best for you.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Could Owning a Pet Help You Live Longer?

What would you say if you could buy a medicine that lowered your blood pressure, improved your cardiovascular health, reduced your anxiety and stress, and made you happy...everyday. Would you buy it?

We know how much love and affection pets can bring to our lives, but there’s more. Scientific studies have found that having a pet can significantly improve your health. Here are five ways pets can positively impact your health:

1. Heart Benefits. The American Journal of Cardiology reports pet owners are more likely to survive a heart attack than those who don’t own a pet. Another study found people who owned a dog were more likely to be alive one year after a heart attack than those who didn’t have a dog.

2. Lower Blood Pressure. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) reports that pets help lower blood pressure (and heart rates). An American study found men who owned a cat had a lower resting heart rate and lower blood pressure than men who didn’t own a cat. And after a stressful event, their blood pressure returned to normal more quickly.

3. Mood Elevator. People, particularly seniors, who own pets are less likely to be depressed and lonely. Pets can provide companionship, humor, and add playfulness to our daily lives.

4. Kids and Health. Research presented at the 10th International Conference on Human Animal Interaction 2004 found that children who have pets have fewer sick days. They also reported that children who had pets had higher levels of self-esteem and functioned better emotionally. Research studies also found that children with pets coped better with divorce.

5. An Exercise Buddy. Dogs need regular exercise, which also gets their owners walking. This can improve their overall health. As an added benefit people improve their social network as they socialize their pet.

There is a word of caution, however. Owning a pet requires your time and a financial commitment. If you’re not ready for that responsibility, it’s best to hold off owning a pet.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Find Your Homes Walkability Score

Q. What are “walkability” scores?

A. CEOs For Cities, a national network of urban leaders, commissioned a study released in August 2009 that explored the relationship between home values and walkability in various U.S. metropolitan areas.

Walkability is defined by the Walk Score algorithm, which calculates the closest amenities to a U.S. address. Scores range from 0 (car dependent) to 100 (most walkable).

The results showed that the walkability of cities translated into increased home values in 13 of the 15 housing markets studied. In the typical metropolitan area, a one-point increase in Walk Score was associated with an increase in value ranging from $700 to $3,000 depending on the market. The gains were larger in more dense, urban areas like Chicago and San Francisco and smaller in less dense markets like Tucson and Fresno.

Houses with above-average levels of walkability commanded a premium of about $4,000 to $34,000 over houses with average levels in the typical metropolitan area.

Walk Score is an approximation. It does not consider factors such as public transit, crime and topography. Lots of real estate agents, however, are adding the Walk Score to their listings.

If you have any questions, or need capable and trustworthy representation, please call me at 206-226-0565.

Friday, January 15, 2010

New Credit Card Rules go Into Effect

These Credit Card Changes
Will Protect Your Teen

Has your teenager or college student been tempted by credit card solicitations? The Credit Card Act of 2009 will put an end to that. Effective February 22, 2010, these new rules will limit marketing and issuing credit cards to young people:

 Companies will not be allowed to issue a credit card to a consumer younger than 21 unless he or she has a co-signer over 21 or can show proof that they have the means to repay the card debt.

 Pre-screened credit offers must not be sent to anyone under 21.

 Companies are banned from offering gifts (such as pizzas or t-shirts) to induce college students to apply for credit cards on or near campus.

 Colleges, universities and alumni organizations will have to annually disclose the terms of any marketing or promotional agreements they make with credit card companies. Additionally, Congress urges colleges to require that students receive credit and debt management courses as a part of new student orientation.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Nordstroms Mentality is Right!! Make it Work for You Today

How To Complain Effectively

The customer may always be right, but sometimes you have to convince companies that it’s true. If you think you’ve encountered bad service, you not only have a right to complain, you have a responsibility. Here’s how to do it effectively:

 Decide what you want the company to do. Will you be satisfied with a refund, a credit, a repaired product or a replacement?

 Contact the seller as soon as possible. Talking to a customer service representative can solve many problems. Be ready with details and documentation. Be assertive yet calm (not threatening!) as you explain your position. Keep going up the ladder until you reach someone in a position of authority.

 If the issue is not resolved, write a letter to the seller’s national headquarters or the manufacturer of the item. Do your research since the manufacturer is often different than the brand name.

 If you are not satisfied (after a reasonable amount of time), file a complaint with a third party. In addition to complaining to the Better Business Bureau and your state consumer protection office, take your issue to the state or federal agency that regulates that particular business. You might also get help from a trade association or the local news media.

 If all else fails, consider filing a small claims suit or pursuing a dispute resolution program. You can get a directory of programs, including mediation, arbitration and conciliation, from the American Bar Association.

For more information, consult the “2009 Consumer Action Handbook”
a free 172-page guide from the General Service Administration’s Office of Citizen Services and Communication. You can order the handbook, which contains a directory of several hundred companies and a sample complaint letter, or download it at

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Don't Lose Those Gift Cards - Go Spend Them Now!!

Use It Or Lose It: Making
The Most Of Gift Cards

Chances are you’ll give or receive at least one gift card over the holidays, but there’s more to buying and redeeming them than you think. Follow these tips to get the most for your money.

If you’re purchasing one…
• Only buy cards that clearly state the cost, monthly fees and expiration date.
• Include your purchase receipt with the gift card in case the recipient has problems with it.

If you’re using one…
• Know what you have. Is it a store card or bank card? Bank cards (Visa, MasterCard and American Express) are popular but they come with fees and terms. If you receive a bank card, register it online so you can get a replacement if it’s lost or stolen. (You’ll need to report it right away.)

• Use the total value of the card within six months. You’ll avoid fees and the possibility of the store going out of business.

• Try to use the card at stores that accept split payments (part card, part cash). While most large chain stores do, some stores don’t. The Consumer Federation of America says 10 percent of the value of bank cards is never used.

• Keep track of your balance (the store may be able to tell you). It’s easy to forget you have money left on the card. Any unused amount only benefits the store or bank.

There’s good news: Effective August 2010, a new law requires cards to be active for at least five years and prohibits companies from charging fees if gift cards are used within the past 12 months.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Real Estate Tax Credit EXTENDED and Expanded

Real Estate Corner…

Q. What’s the latest on the first-time homebuyer tax credit?

A. The tax credit for qualified first-time homebuyers was extended to this spring. Some of the original features are the same, including:

 First-time buyers can get a credit of as much as 10 percent of the purchase price, up to $8,000. The home must be your principal residence for the next three consecutive years.
 If you don’t pay enough tax to offset the credit, you can get a tax refund.
 You can’t purchase the home from your ancestors (parents, grandparents, etc.) or your lineal descendants (children, grandchildren, etc.).

New features include:
 A buyer must have a contract before May 1, 2010 and the sale must close before July 1, 2010.
 Income limits have been raised. Check sites such as or for details.
 If you buy after Nov. 6, 2009, the credit is available if the home will be your principal residence and the price is less than or equal to $800,000.
 Repeat buyers who lived in one residence for five consecutive years of the last eight can quality for a tax credit of as much as 10 percent of the purchase price, up to $6,500.
 For purchases after Nov. 6, 2009, you can’t claim the credit if you buy the home from a spouse or spouse’s family members.

If you have any questions, or need capable and trustworthy representation, please call me at 206-226-0565.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Can Medication Make You Sick?

Medication is supposed to make us better, but it can have the opposite effect. Take care to avoid these medication mistakes:

• Mixing over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription medications. You may be double dosing. For example, if you take a cold pill that contains acetaminophen (more than 600 OTC and prescription medicines do), don’t pop an additional Tylenol for good measure. Too much of the drug can cause liver damage.

• Not recognizing the “rebound effect.” That’s when a drug produces reverse effects when the effect of the drug has passed or the patient no longer responds to it. In other words, a remedy meant to help may make a condition worse. This has been known to happen with pain relievers, OTC eye drops, decongestant sprays, sleeping pills and teeth whiteners. Best advice: If you don’t think a drug or product is working, don’t just take more of it. Talk to your doctor about alternatives.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Make The Census Count For You

It’s almost time to stand up (or sit down) and be counted. 2010 census forms will be mailed or delivered to every residence in the U.S. and Puerto Rico this March. Here’s what you should know about it:

It’s the law. The Constitution requires that the government count every resident of the U.S. every 10 years. Responses are mandatory, but are confidential and used for statistical purposes only.

It’s short. It should take only 10 minutes to answer the 10 questions. But you won’t be able to do it online.

It’s providing temporary jobs. The government is hiring hundreds of thousands of census workers to complete the task. Call your local census office for employment information.

It’s important. Census data are used to apportion congressional seats to states and to distribute more than $400 billion in federal funds to local, state and tribal governments each year.

It benefits your community. When you fill out the form, you’re helping your community determine what resources it needs. The data is used to make funding decisions on things such as schools, hospitals, job training centers and emergency services in your area.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Resolve To Follow These Fitness Trends In 2010

The American College of Sports Medicine has ranked the top fitness trends for 2010 based on a worldwide survey of fitness professionals. Make a New Year’s resolution to incorporate these trends in your family’s fitness program this year:

 Educated and experienced fitness professionals. As the fitness market becomes more competitive, consumers are realizing the importance of working with professionals who have been certified through accredited health/fitness educational programs.

 Strength training. This was once the domain of bodybuilders, but it’s now an essential part of a complete physical activity program.

 Children and obesity. This is the year to reverse an alarming trend of rising obesity rates by getting overweight kids involved in exercise.

 Personal training. As more personal trainers are educated and certified, they are becoming more accessible to a greater number of people.

 Core training. This training specifically emphasizes strength and conditioning of the stabilizing muscles of the abdomen and back.

 Special programs for older adults. Fitness facilities are offering more exercise programs for active older adults. Get your parents involved now!

 Sport-specific training. High school athletes are now training during the off-season to prepare themselves for their specific sports.

 Pilates. This form of exercise that targets the core of the body has become a mainstay of most fitness facilities. If you haven’t already done so, try it this year to increase your flexibility and posture.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Here’s What To Do If Your Car Is Recalled...

Have you ever owned a car that’s been recalled? Millions of people have, including (most recently) 3.8 million owners of certain Toyota and Lexus models.

Here’s what you should know: Manufacturers must notify all registered owners and purchasers of the vehicles by mail that the problem exists and evaluate its safety risk. They must say how to get it corrected (at no charge), when the remedy will be available, how long it will take, and whom to contact if there’s a problem getting the work done.

If you’ve heard about a recall but don’t receive a letter in a “reasonable” amount of time, take these steps:

• Visit the manufacturer’s web site and the site for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) at Search the NHTSA’s database for recalls on your vehicle. While you’re there, search the database for any “technical service bulletins” for your car. These are memos to dealer service departments on any mechanical issues that you might want to have addressed, especially if your car is still under warranty.

• Get a CARFAX report on your car (by Vehicle Identification Number). This is important if you’re buying a used car since manufacturers are not required to repair a recalled car at no charge if it is more than 10 years old.

• Call your dealer to schedule an appointment. They will probably tell you to be patient.

• Play a key role in keeping vehicles as safe as possible by reporting any safety-related problems to the NHTSA. File a complaint online, call their hotline or mail the complaint to their office in Washington, DC. You also can search online for complaints others have made by vehicle model.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Life Expectancy Improvements in One Century

How Things Have Changed Since The Year 1900...
• The average life expectancy in the U.S. was about 48 years.
• For every 1,000 births, six to nine women died.
• Fewer than 15 percent of the homes in the U.S. had a bathtub in 1900.
• The 3 leading causes of death in the U.S. were pneumonia and influenza, tuberculosis, and diarrhea.
• 10% of U.S. adults couldn’t read or write.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Five Surefire Ways To Spot A Liar…

Do you remember the old joke: “How can you tell if a politician is lying? Answer: Their lips are moving!”

Well, almost everyone lies at sometime, according to Dr. Robert Galatzer-Levy of the University of Chicago. In fact, research has shown that people lie in one-fourth of their daily social interactions.” White lies, little kid lies, vicious lies, lies of infidelity...and infamous ‘presidential’ lies! There can be severe penalties for lying. If you lie in court and get caught, you can go to prison. Most liars usually give themselves away with their body language or their words. Here are five surefire ways for becoming an expert ‘liar detective’:

1. Shifty Eyes. Shifty eyes are the hallmark of a liar, according to a recent study of people polled in 75 countries. Looking away or lack of eye contract are non-verbal signs that may indicate the person is lying.
2. Body Language Giveaways. Look at body movements. Is the person fidgeting? Is their body stiffening? Watch their hands, fingers, legs, and feet. Also, look at their emotional facial expressions. Watch for small, brief expressions that run counter to the person’s facial gestures.
3. Verbal Clues. Liars tend to hesitate, stammer, or stutter when speaking. Watch for slow speech, pauses, and a higher-pitched voice.
4. Inconsistencies. If a “liar” tells you something that doesn’t add up, ask for an explanation. Then watch for clues. Are they defensive? Do they give you too much information and go overboard with a lie?
5. Intuition. Pay attention to clues. Listen to what a person is saying (and how they’re saying it). Look at what a person is telling you with their body and gestures. Does the person say they’re glad to see you, but then moves away...or gives you a tepid handshake?
The chance a person is lying increases when their words and gestures don’t match. Asking questions is the best way of getting to the truth.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

If Your are Planning to Sell in 2010 Get Ready Now!!

Real Estate Corner…

Q. We are planning to sell our home soon. What room should we focus our main attention when getting our house ready for sale?

A. Focus on the kitchen. The kitchen is a major consideration in most sales. For many people, the kitchen is the most important room in a house.
If you have an outdated kitchen and plan to sell your home, a kitchen remodel usually doesn’t make sense. However, a kitchen makeover can work magic in brightening your home. Here are a few tips to liven up a tired kitchen without taxing your pocketbook:
1) A New Coat Of Paint. A fresh coat of paint can work wonders in brightening any room. Focus on neutral colors.
2) Clean Up The Clutter. Put away any extra appliances, cookbooks, and other messy items that take up counter space.
3) Clean, Clean, Clean. Make sure everything sparkles...from the windows, appliances, counters, to the floor.
4) Out With The Old, In With The New. If your countertop tile is outdated, old, or grungy. replace it with new tile. Remember to keep the colors neutral. If you have an old stainless steel faucet replace it with a new one. These improvements can be completed inexpensively, and will increase the value and appeal of your home.
5) Replace Outdated Hardware. If you have old, outdated hardware on your kitchen cabinets, look for a new, stylish replacement.
6) Lighting. Make sure there is light shining in the kitchen when you show your house. You want your kitchen to look bright and spotless.
If you are in the market for a buying or selling a home and need competent and caring representation, please call me at 206-226-0565.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Secrets to Success

Secrets Of Female Millionaires

Did you know there are more women millionaires today than at any time in history? It’s true. Thomas Stanley, author of The Millionaire Woman Next Door, has come up with some interesting facts. The average female millionaire is 49 years old, married, a mother, spends 3-4 hours a week at the gym, and works a 50-hour week.

Stanley found three themes that stood out. Female millionaires were responsible for budgeting and financial planning in their households and had a detailed method of tracking expenses. Second, female millionaires focused selling their skills rather than merchandise. Service businesses enabled the women to do what they liked, and work a reasonable schedule.

Third, female millionaires viewed themselves as leaders. Four out of five women millionaires focused their attention on the future...and not what had happened in the past. The millionaire women were proactive, and believed it was their responsibility to move situations forward.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage in 2010

Get Ready to Take Advantage of Buying Opportunitys in 2010

Q. We are shopping around for mortgage, but we don’t even know where to begin. What are the biggest mistakes people make?

A. First, before you begin, do your homework. Choosing the wrong mortgage is the biggest mistake people can make. Shop around. Make sure to look at the initial interest rate, future interest rates, and payments. Also, make sure you know if there are any prepayment penalties, and if so, what these are before signing anything.

Secondly, pay off your credit cards. Excessive credit can affect your ability to qualify for a mortgage. A lender doesn’t want you to get in over your head, and then have you unable to make your payments. Another big mistake is not having the home inspection done. Make the purchase of your new house contingent on passing a home inspection. Don’t skip this step. That way you’ll know whether there are any serious problems with the house (mold, leaking roof, poor foundation, cracks) before you buy. It’ll be money well spent!

Also, know the terms. Know the difference between pre-qualified and pre-approved when talking with lenders and real estate agents. Pre-qualified means the lender is making an estimate about how much you can borrow based on the financial information you’ve provided. Pre-approved means the lender has verified the financial information you’ve supplied, and can offer you a loan at a specific amount, interest rate, and under certain conditions.

Lastly, hire a competent real estate agent who is experienced, who specializes in your area, and has a record of success. Ask the agent for specific information about how he/she plans to market your house.

If you are in the market for a home and need competent and caring representation, please call me at 206-226-0565.