Consumer Real Estate News

    • 10 Secrets of the Millionaire Next Door

      19 September 2019

      We’ve all heard the stories: the hotel maid or shoemaker who put three kids through college - or died and left a fortune to charity. Where did the money come from? 

      While $1 million may not buy what it once did, the goal is reachable, suggest the editors at Kiplinger, the personal finance magazine, who offer 10 secrets about “the millionaire next door” that could determine whether you can someday be one of them:

      Most millionaires are self-made. They weren’t born into money, but worked hard and smart to become millionaires.

      Most millionaires don’t have advanced degrees. Some 74 percent have an undergraduate degree, but only 18 percent have a Master’s, while only eight percent have a law degree and six percent became physicians.
      However, those with advanced degrees earn more than those with undergrad degrees and undergrads earn more than those with a high school diploma.

      Millionaires are smart savers. They know that, thanks to the magic of compounding, a 20-year old who begins saving $200 per month will be worth more than $1 million at retirement. 

      Most millionaires have limited knowledge about investing. They take professional advice and they do invest, but 78 percent say they still have a lot to learn about investing.

      There are more millionaires in America now than in 2006. There are 7.7 million U.S. households with more than $1 million in investable assets today than there were before the Great Recession. That’s because as stocks recovered, so did their portfolios.

      Millionaires hail from across the job spectrum. No matter where you work or how much you work, the key to millionaire status is saving, millionaires agree.

      Making millionaire status costs more as you age. The longer you wait to start saving, the less money you will amass. A 45-year old would need to save $20,400 a year to hit $1 million by age 65.

      A majority of today’s millionaires live in Silicon Valley. Although topping the list of small cities with a lot of millionaires is the resort town of Summit Park, Utah.

      Millionaires still worry about retirement. That’s why they continue to save and invest.

      Money doesn’t buy happiness. A Princeton University study confirmed most people are happier as they earn more, but that levels off. Someone making $300,000 a year is not necessarily happier about his or her life than someone making $75,000.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • School-Year Safety Tips

      19 September 2019

      While we encourage our kids to pay attention, study hard and make friends at school, we may neglect to properly guide them on how to stay safe each day. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission offers the following primer on some of the common safety issues children encounter during the school year, and how we can advise them to be careful.

      Distracted walking. While distracted driving has become a term we’re all familiar with, distracted walking is also a real concern. For the five-year period from 2014-2018, there were an estimated 6,500 ER-treated injuries associated with walking-while-texting. Remind kids to keep their heads up and avoid texting or talking on the phone while walking, especially near traffic and cross walks.

      Bicycles: From fractures to contusions and lacerations, there were an estimated annual average of 154,200 ER-treated bicycle injuries from 2016 to 2018, for children under the age of 16 years old. Insist that children who are biking, skateboarding or riding a scooter to school wear a helmet.

      Playgrounds: Each year there are more than 230,000 injuries associated with playgrounds.  Have children leave necklaces and clothing with drawstrings at home to reduce choking hazards.

      Backpacks: From 2016-2018 there were an estimated annual average of 7,400 kids under 19 years old who were treated in emergency rooms for injuries related to backpacks. If your child is complaining about back pain, make sure their backpack isn’t too heavy and discuss ways they can lighten the load, such as online textbooks.  

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Pet Health Tips for an On-the-Go Lifestyle

      19 September 2019

      (Family Features)--People who lead busy lives often seek convenient and healthy choices when it comes to taking care of their own well-being. For pet parents, a little creativity can make it easy to deliver the same level of care for their beloved pets, even when the pace of life accelerates.

      Pet obesity is at an all-time high and pet owners need easy and accessible ways to keep their furry friends healthy, whether they're on the go with their pets or inside on a busy day trying to keep up with dogs' and cats' regular routines. These tips from the experts at Petcurean can help you maximize your schedule for better pet care:

      Multi-task with your four-legged friend in tow. If you live in a walkable city, take your pet with you while running errands. Pets are welcome at an increasing number of locations, so plan your jaunt accordingly. If your community is more suitable for driving, you can still consider inviting your dog or "adventure cat" to tag along; the fresh air, change of scenery and companionship can do you both some good. 

      Make time for time. Your attention is among your pet's chief needs, so find ways to ensure those cravings for affection and attention get met. It may mean allowing your pup to rest next to you while you tap away on a keyboard or letting your cat perch on the counter while you apply your morning makeup. The key is making sure you work some quality time together into every day. 

      Find simple feeding options. For humans, a busy day may mean a meal gets pushed back or even missed altogether, but you can curb hunger with a quick snack. Pets thrive on routines and schedules and rely on their owners to take care of meal planning, so finding ways to keep their meals on track is extra important.

      Partner with another pet lover. You probably won't have to look hard to find a friend or neighbor who shares your struggles making time to get your pup the exercise and attention he or she craves. Enlist a dog or cat exercise buddy so you can make arrangements to take turns walking and playing with each other's pets along with your own.

      Get creative to inspire more activity. Indoor cats can be difficult to exercise and provide enough stimulation. However, easy entertainment isn't hard to find. Next time you're at the grocery store, grab a bunch of empty boxes and make your own playground. Place some boxes upright and some on their sides, and toss some catnip and favorite toys in the boxes so your cat can exercise and stay entertained jumping in and out for hours.

      Source: Petcurean

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Social Security Spousal Benefits: What You Need to Know

      18 September 2019

      The spousal benefits available through Social Security can be a huge benefit in retirement. Understanding how they work is the first step to making it work for you, whether you or not you worked yourself.

      While checking with your financial advisor - or with Social Security - is always a good idea, the finance experts at The Motley Fool suggest five things every spouse should know:

      You can receive up to half of your spouse’s benefits. If you’ve never worked but your spouse is entitled to Social Security, you can claim up to 50 percent of your spouse’s benefit if you wait until your full retirement age. (You can file earlier, but your benefit will be reduced).

      You can claim spousal benefits even if you worked. If your benefit amounts to less than 50 percent of your spouse’s benefit at full retirement age, you can choose to receive the spousal benefit instead.

      You can’t claim spousal benefits until your spouse starts collecting. You need to wait for your spouse to file before you can receive any benefit. But if you start collecting your own benefits, and you spouse’s benefits are higher, you can get bumped up to the higher amount once your spouse files for benefits.

      Delaying a spousal benefit doesn’t pay. While the benefits based on your own work record grow each year that you delay taking them up to age 70, delayed retirement credits do not apply to spousal benefits, so it pays to file for them once you are at retirement age.  

      You can claim spousal benefits even if you’re no longer married. If you were married for at least 10 years, and have not remarried, you can claim spousal benefits even if your spouse has remarried. In fact, if you have been divorced for at least two years, and are at least 65, you can file for spousal benefits even if your former spouse has not yet filed for benefits.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • 5 Things That Will Make Your House Stand Out

      18 September 2019

      Even though you know all the many things that make your house so special, the average home shopper is probably a bit jaded. They’ve looked at countless homes online and have probably driven around to see many in person as well. They may even be at the point where they’re not going to bother getting out of the car if they pull up to a house and it just doesn’t grab them.

      That’s why it’s exceedingly important to make sure your house stands out at a glance. The market is competitive, so you need to attract the discerning - and sometimes tired, frustrated and stressed out - eye of buyers. Here are some ways to make your house just a little more eye-catching:

      1. Paint the Trim. Painting the trim around your roofline, windows and front door in a complementary color can be an instant wow that really sets your home apart. Just don’t do anything too crazy. Consult a color expert at your local paint store to find out what options may work. 

      2. Get creative with shutters. Adding fixed shutters to your windows is another eye-catching feature from the curb. A contrasting or coordinating paint will make them especially appealing, or they can be stained for a natural look. Architectural elements or gingerbread can be added for additional appeal.

      3. Make the front door a focal point. The front door is possibly the first thing homebuyers will see from the curb, so make sure it’s special. Paint it a stand-out color, such as red, black or cobalt blue. Frame it in stonework or panels of decorative or stained glass. Go with a natural wood look and add cast iron elements, such as a door knocker and sconces. 

      4. Put plants in focus. If you’ve got a green thumb, let your landscaping lend a hand with curb appeal by adding attractive potted plants to your front stoop or porch, window boxes with trailing vines and flowers, and neatly trimmed grasses and shrubs along the front and side border of your home. 

      5. Light it up. The right accent lighting will work magic for your home’s presentation, so make sure your front door is lit properly, add atmospheric lighting along walkways and can lights to shine a spotlight on trees and other important features of your lawn or home. 

      These few steps will serve as immediate attention-getters to prospective buyers and leave an indelible impression as they narrow down their choices. 

      Published with permission from RISMedia.