Did You Know?


I love volunteering. I just got back from 3 hours of reading at the RFB&D where I enjoy spending some of my energy reading textbooks for blind students (today I learned how to direct readers and ran the recording technology).  Disabled folks can use our service too, including folks that cant turn the pages because of arthritis for example. Some students have been recently blinded and some were born blind. Either way, it’s very rewarding because of the impact on others. I’m going to join the Ambassador committee soon, so I thought I’d start by sharing some interesting facts with you about the program.

Where I volunteer, we serve Texas, Arkansas and Oklahoma. Pretty fun territory for a gal from Vermont to think about. Wonder what listeners think of my accent?

* In Texas alone, we have over 16,000 borrowers that have benefit from our services.  Nationally, Recording For The Blind & Dyslexic provides over 185,000 people with print disabilities the books they need to learn and succeed. 

* Currently over 700 Texas schools and districts are members of our service.

* Borrowers range from kindergarten-graduate students and continuing education. We have even helped a blind woman graduate successfully from acupuncture school!

*  We have a studio that has 7 recording booths. Everyone gets to direct!

* Johns Hopkins University evaluated the effectiveness of RFB & D’s (reading for blind and dyslexic) recorded textbooks, and found a 38% increase in content acquisition reading scores.

* Their goal (and mine too, which is why I volunteer here) is for all people to have access to the printed world. 

http://www.rfbd.org

And if you’re in Texas, they’re just right up the street off of Lamar and 45th!

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So far, investing has proved to be the most effective way to build wealth. It also helps you beat inflation, which since about 1925, the United States has averaged 3% per year inflation.  Currently though, we are seeing inflation at about 4%. People believe it will only get worse and I sure as heck think so too. The huge issue with that, as you know, is that most people cant keep up. Many dont beat inflation when it’s all said and done at the end of the year and have no idea they didnt. Many people earn amounts like .02% on their normal savings accounts. The local limit to drink and drive is higher than that.

Luckily though, taking some risk with stocks and bonds can help get you ahead of inflation and hopefully allow you to feel like you’re actually getting ahead in the world by earning, hopefully double digit returns =) . At the very least, historics will show that you’ll beat inflation–at least when you use a 15 year average.

Check out these statistics:

-Due to inflation, in 30 years, you’d need $2,427.26 to equal the purchasing power of $1,000 today. 

-$1,000 kept in a savings account would grow to $1,811.36  after 30 years, trailing the effect of inflation.

-$1,000 invested in stocks today would grow to $17,449.40 over 30 years, easily allowing you to outpace the effects of inflation over that time period.

by Molly Greaves with help from bankrate.com…check them out!

1. Not shopping around- shopping around could make a huge difference in the price you pay.

2. Only comparing rates-You need to compare rates, and should also look at companies’ pay reputations.  You can look at insurance companies and see how they rank with Standard & Poor’s or Fitch Ratings.

3. Not comparing agents-First make sure your searching only properly licensed agents, and then ask them what they bring to the table. Not all are the same and should be created equal. Some have huge hidden fees or personal motives with certain policies. Make sure you get referrals. And yes, take the extra step to check the referrals too =) 

4. Not knowing your policy-What a bummer for people to only know their policy AFTER the unthinkable happens. It happens all of the time. Don’t let yourself become one of the statistics. Do an evaluation each year to make sure you always know. (Do this with your credit report too!) Learn what the fine print says. Many don’t even know what their deductible, nor do they realize what’s not covered until it’s too late. 

5. Not buying certain types of insurance. Dont skimp on health insurance even if you feel like a million and ten bucks. Even if it’s just catastrophic insurance.  Otherwise you could wind up with such medical debt that you can never get yourself out of it. 

If you have dependents, you may want to consider LIFE INSURANCE. This will help pay the bills after a working parent dies unexpectedly. It’s cheaper to buy when you’re young and healthy. It’s also easier too. 

Bankrate.com says that unless you have major assets to tap, think about getting long-term disability insurance. “It’s the single most important coverage for anyone who works.”  They also claim that “Disabilty income is more important than life, even though it gets more press. If you become disabled and cant work, the long-term disability insurance can help keep you and your family financially solvent.”

I also advocate picking up long-term care insurance. Some people think they should wait until they’re closer to retirement, or that they need to be at least 50 years old, or something like that. The truth though, is that diseases like Multiple Sclerosis (MS) can develop at 30 or 40, so dont make the mistake of forgetting about that. You could be come “uninsurable.” And yes, that can and does happen to people.

Check your family history too. L-T Care Insurance can help pay for the cost of expenses assciated with chronic illness and help cover nursing homes, and in-home caregivers.  

6. Buying unnecessary insurance policies-I know, I know. If you dont own a boat, you aren’t going to carry boater’s insurance. Just like I know that if you don’t have a house, you wont pick up homeowner’s insurance.

-If you have kids, they dont necessarily need life insurance. Although tragic, for most kids, you should be able to come up with the money vs. spending money monthly on insurance. It makes sense to have it if you have dependents. People that are single don’t really need it either. 

-Use the rule of thumb that if you see specific illness insurance like cancer insurance coverage, to always check the fine print and really triple cross check out the agent and his references. You could just end up paying double. 

-Dont buy Identity Theft Insurance until you check other policies you have first. Check you bank too. Many companies now have something like this built into them. Could save you some $$$.

7. Not updating your coverage.

-I say evaluate this annually. If you’re home goes up in value, make sure you increase your policy limits. 

-For health care, I say review this annually too. If you’re married, make sure you cross check and make sure that you are covered under the most cost effective policy. Sometimes it actually makes sense for couples to have individual policies. 

-When the kidos move out, hurry and call your insurance agent. They love knowing that the reckless teens are out of there. =)  Once your kids get to college, make them get good grades, and when they do, hurry and call your agent back again.  You’ll get a nice little reduction. Every bit counts. 

Last thing- if you do an annual review, do it about 30-60 days in advance of renewal time so you can get a thorough evaluation. Plus, you’ll have time to add to your list so you don’t forget anything valuable.

 

I recommend paying up and going to the Fed before they come to you! Not the coolest people in the world to have hot on your tail.

Not filing can result in:

– interest charges (currently at 6% annually).

– steep failure-to-file charge (where as much as 25% of he tax owed or 75% of if the failure to file is deemed fraudulent).

–  failure-to-pay-penalties as well (also up to 25% of your unpaid tax).

–  In extreme cases, the result is jail time. 

The GOOD NEWS is that the IRS does like to make good with its delinquents. It is known that they are wanting you to correct the situation and try to cooperate with you. SO, tell your friends, relatives, or concious self to put some current paycheck money towards a CPA, and stop running from the Fed!

Elevator PitchSome say an elevator pitch should be 30 seconds or less. I say that’s old school and to try get it down to 15 seconds. Even 30 seconds seems like an earload in today’s world that is full of distractions. Plus, you know how they say almost all of us need to improve our listening skills? That includes the person you’re pitching to. You want to make sure you can deliver your message before your audience gets distracted.

Cover these 3 bases to effectively communicate your message to the world: Who you help, identify their problem, and your unique solution.

If your audience likes what you have to say, they will continue on dialog with you, which will then allow you to expand further. Make sure you have business cards that are consistent with your pitch. Make sure you carry them on you at all times, elevator or not.

 

GM

According to SmartMoney June 2008 edition:

In 2007, GM logged it’s biggest loss EVER, $39 BILLION!

That’s a loss of more than $100 MILLION per DAY!!!

My thoughts:  Next time you need to buy a car, at least take a look at your domestic products when shopping around.   Just give it a try. You’ve got nothing to lose. Sometimes there are even carnival type events in the reception area of the dealerships. Free popcorn! Oh yea, sort of like striking gold.

Check out my blog!

According to Smart Money June 2008, Starbucks CEO & Founder, Howard Shultz, said this is Nov 2007:

“I want to say this as loud and clear as I possibly can: 3-5 years, 20% revenue growth, and we’re heading to 40,000 stores.”

SmartMoney says that with a 28% drop in 2nd quarter profits the coffee house will now open only 400 new stores through 2011.  

My thoughts:

As the French say “C’est la vive.” Or in Austin, we say “Keep Austin Weird.”  I think both reflect the way our culture is starting to rethink things.  The demands of the world are changing, and people are starting to become more aware of how individually they can be change agents. Take “Going Green” for example.  Seems like everyone is participating. Take that thought, and then think about Walmart. It really angers many people when they even hear the name. Many people flat out refuse to have association with them regardless of the savings. I believe that it reflects how people in our country deeply despise big corporations. I think they recognize the impact on their local econmies, and in today’s struggling exconomy, and what some consider weak employment, people are starting to support small and local businesses whenever they can. Some make no exceptions. 

 

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