Blog Directory Martinspiration

Why it's still a great time to refinance your mortgage

March 19, 2017

If you currently have a mortgage loan, it’s normal to worry that you may be paying too much on the interest. After shopping around, many homeowners find that they often can take advantage of lower rates by refinancing. Recently, however, mortgage rates climbed slightly. What’s more, the Federal Reserve just announced an interest rate hike, which could also make mortgage rates go higher.

In a climate with rising rates, many borrowers choose to put refinancing plans on hold. But despite rates ticking up, experts say now remains a good time to consider a refi and lower your mortgage payment. Learn wide by reading my latest article for The Mortgage Reports, available here.

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Social studies

March 5, 2017

In an increasingly challenging climate for electronic publishers, content providers and digital marketers – where the gray clouds of ad blocking, content competition, short-attention-span consumerism, and monetization pressure loom menacingly over the horizon – social media is the silver lining.

Far from being the fad or gimmick it was once considered years ago, social today offers incalculable value for brands to keep users engaged with targeted messages, offers and content: all with an efficiency and expediency that levels the playing field for Davids and Goliaths alike. And the prospects for engagement are tantalizing: consider that the average user logs 1.72 hours per day on social platforms, comprising 28% of total online activity.

Read more about the current state of social media by checking out my newest article for EContent Magazine on this topic, available here.

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A parting of the ways—with perks

February 26, 2017

Shakespeare wrote that parting is such sweet sorrow. But it can certainly be more sorrowful than sweet if you are let go or resign from a company without reasonable recompense. To sugarcoat matters, a severance agreement may be offered on or before your last day at work. This agreement may include a package that provides various benefits and severance pay that’s separate from your final paycheck.

U.S. labor laws don’t typically obligate employers to pay severance, and you shouldn’t expect it if you’re being terminated for cause or are a low-level and at-will employee. However, many companies offer it and may be willing to up the ante on what’s included in your severance deal, say the experts.

Learn more about how to negotiate a severance package by reading my newest article for AARP The Magazine, which you can access here.

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More homeowners heading to HELOCs

February 19, 2017

If you’re a homeowner who survived the real estate market downturn from a few years back, chances are the value of your home—and your equity in it—has increased. And therein lies an opportunity: the chance to tap into that equity in the form of a home equity line of credit (HELOC), which can be a great way to finance a home improvement project, pay down debt, help pay for college or even purchase a car.

This option has proved to be increasingly popular in recent years—in fact, for 17 consecutive quarters spanning 2012 through mid-2016, residential HELOC originations increased, according to ATTOM Data Solutions.

Learn more about the pros and cons of HELOCs by reading my latest real estate article for Newspaper Media Group by clicking here.

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Portable power in a pinch

February 1, 2017

Emergency power generators sure come in handy during outages, natural disasters and situations when you’re removed from the grid. But traditional gasoline-powered units can be heavy and loud, produce harmful and smelly exhaust, and require maintenance and the storing of combustible fuel on your property. Fortunately, there’s a new breed of backup power generators: the portable power station, fueled by lithium batteries, which offers more convenient movability, recharging flexibility, and compatibility with your devices. And countless consumers stand to benefit—from homeowners to apartment dwellers, campers to tailgaters, and construction site workers to backyard partiers.

Read about this new technology in my latest story for The Costco Connection magazine, available here.

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Fun is a cinch with a chinch

January 22, 2017

Hamsters, mice and guinea pigs may rule the small animal roost in American homes. But the chinchilla is another soft and cuddly critter that should be considered. They enjoy a longer lifespan (up to 15 years) than many other pet rodent breeds, their fur is among the softest and most pettable and their bushy tails and jumbo ears give them a distinctive adorability. They’re also fairly low maintenance compared to a lot of other pets.

Read more about chinchillas, and how pet stores should feature them, by reading my latest small animal column for Pet Age, available here.

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