Blog Directory Martinspiration

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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Farewell, free social marketing

January 8, 2017

The free lunch is over, social media marketers: prepare to pony up and devote even more of your budget to paid promotion on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and their ilk. That’s the conclusion reached after digesting the findings of a recent report by Gartner, entitled “Digital Channel Survey 2016: Social Marketers Expand Tactics for Results.” According to the report, four out of five industry professionals who spearhead social media marketing programs indicated they would place paid advertising programs via social media over the next 12 months—with 42 percent this group embarking on paid social marketing endeavors for the first time and 38 percent already having paid programs intact.

Learn more about why and how social media marketers need to switch gears and shift into paid social strategies by reading my latest article for EContent Magazine, found here.

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Become a live-in landlord and let your tenants pay your mortgage

December 26, 2016

Eager to purchase a home to live in but worry about affording the financing? Wouldn’t it be great if a mortgage could somehow pay for itself? There’s a tried-and-true method for accomplishing the latter goal, which equates to having your real estate cake and eating it, too. It involves purchasing a two- to four-unit multi-family rental property, occupying one of the units as your primary residence and serving as the landlord, and collecting enough rent monies from the other attached units to cover most or all of your monthly mortgage payment—and possibly even your other real estate-related costs well.

Learn more about this strategy by reading my latest article for The Mortgage Reports here.

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Getting interpersonal equates to higher employability and earnings

December 9, 2016

Barbra Streisand once famously sang, “People who need people are the luckiest people in the world.” They may also be among the most employable. According to a new Pew Research Center study on jobs released in October, employment of positions requiring stronger social skills – particularly interpersonal, communications or management proficiencies – rose 83% between 1980 and 2015 (from 49 million to 90 million, respectively).

If you're over 50 and hunting for a new job, social skills are more important than ever. Learn why in my latest article for AARP The Magazine by clicking here.

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