Archive for August, 2011
Tuesday, August 30th, 2011
Thursday, August 25th, 2011
According to the article titled “Social Security: Fears vs. Facts”, written by Liz Weston and published in AARP The Magazine, there are three myths that need to be addressed and put to rest.
Myth #1: “By the time I retire, Social Security will be broke.”
“It’s true that Social Security’s finances need work, because over the long term there will not be enough money to fully cover promised benefits. But radical changes aren’t needed. In 2010 a number of different proposals were put forward that, taken in combination, would put the program back on firm financial ground for the future, including changes such as raising the amount of wages subject to the payroll tax (now capped at $106,800) and benefit changes based on longer life expectancy.”
Myth #2: “The Social Security trust fund assets are worthless.”
Any surplus Social Security trust fund assets are used to purchase interest-paying Treasury bonds. In other words, this surplus has been loaned to the federal government for its general use. Treasury will soon need to pay back these bonds.
Without any changes, “Social Security can continue paying full benefits through 2037. After that, the revenue from payroll taxes will still cover about 75% of promised benefits.”
Myth #3: “I could invest better on my own.”
“Maybe you could, and maybe you couldn’t. But the point of Social Security isn’t to maximize the return on the payroll taxes you’ve contributed. Social Security is designed to be the one guaranteed part of your retirement income that can’t be outlived or lost in the stock market.”
Monday, August 22nd, 2011
From the Greater Washington Board of Trade regarding a hurricane conference call on Friday, August 26 at 2 pm (EST):
REGIONAL HURRICANE CONFERENCE CALL – 2 P.M. FRIDAY, AUGUST 26
The current hurricane track raises serious concerns for the Greater Washington Region. Storm surges, high winds and heavy rains all bring risks of outages, transportation challenges, business continuity difficulties and more. Business leaders and their teams should be taking action now to prepare for an extended disruption to commerce and operations should this storm intensify and approach this region.
In an effort to assemble a “situation awareness” update, the Greater Washington Board of Trade is convening a special emergency conference call on Friday afternoon, August 26, at 2:00 p.m. We will receive status updates and outlooks from:
- Metro’s CEO and General Manager
- PEPCO’s senior management
- Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority
- Safeway’s Eastern Division President
- American Red Cross’ CEO
- Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments’ Executive Vice President
- And, several other key leaders
Conference Call Agenda & Speakers
This call will last one hour and begin sharply at 2:00 p.m. There is no cost for this special conference call, but we ask that you assemble teams of people off one line, rather than using multiple lines in one company.
Conference Call: (866) 576-7975
Access Code: 144556
To help you prepare, the Board of Trade has compiled Business Preparation Guidelines for Hurricane Irene. I hope that you will find this information and conference call of value to you and your business.
P.S. We are also assembling a collection of resources for preparedness and tracking on the Board of Trade’s Emergency Preparedness webpage.
Source: Email from Jim Dinegar, President and CEO, Greater Washington Board of Trade.
Thursday, August 18th, 2011
The article titled “Stop, listen, learn – it’s how you get your best info”, written by Harvey Mackay and published in the Washington Business Journal, provides readers with a number of important, and often overlooked, tips on how to become a better listener. All too often each and every one of us comes in contact with a person who does not listen or interrupts every sentence.
“Learning – or relearning – good listening skills start with a few basic concepts”. The author met with his friend, Bob Dilenschneider, CEO of The Dilenschneider Group in New York, who helps corporations communicate internationally, who provided the author with the following basic concepts:
- Avoid passing judgment;
- Be patient;
- Pay attention;
- Ask; and
- Listen at different levels.
The moral of the author’s article is “[i]f you want to be heard, you must know how to listen.”
Monday, August 15th, 2011
Recently, there have been a number of real estate scams. Please do not share any wire information (title companies, law firms, brokers, etc.) with unknown potential clients suggesting that they are interested in purchasing a home and all they need is wiring information.
To read more about the scam please visit the following website: http://www.sarasotahomesforsalenow.com/sarasota-real-estate-scam/. Please be careful. If you are contacted by one of these scammers, please go to the Internet Crime Complaint Center’s website at http://www.ic3.gov/complaint/default.aspx to file a complaint.
Olde Key Title knows many real estate agents in the Maryland area with whom such scammers have already contacted. Please be careful.
Monday, August 8th, 2011
If you are having issues with your mortgage company, sometimes it is not easy to know who or where you should turn to for answers or to file a complaint. In Dan Krell’s article titled “Many have mortgage complaints to file”, he introduces the public to the newly created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (http://www.consumerfinance.gov) (which recently went into effect). The Bureau does not only regulate the mortgage industry; it also regulates the credit card industry, etc. “It’s akin to a one-stop shop for consumer protection.” If you need help now, try going to the Bureau’s “Get Help Now” webpage at http://www.consumerfinance.gov/get-help-now/.
If you use the Bureau in the future, please let us know how responsive the Bureau was, if they solved your problem, etc. As the Bureau’s functions recently went into effect, I am curious to hear your feedback!
Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011
The article titled “Your action plan for managing money in August”, by The Associated Press, provides the following tips with regarding to managing your money this month:
August 14 – 20: Consumers in Maryland can enjoy sales tax holidays for back-to-school shopping. Visit the Federation for Tax Administrators’ website for more information (taxadmin.org/FTA/rate/sales_holiday.html).
August 28: “It may not feel like it now, but the start of the holiday shopping season is just around the corner. Keep the chaos under control this year by starting to pay down debt and map out a budget now.”
August 31: Set aside a couple of hours to review your summer travel and recreation expenses. Compare this summer’s vacation(s) expenses with how much you intended to spend. Keep track of these numbers so you can budget wisely for next summer.
Also keep in mind the following:
The next school year is around the corner. Before you know it, your children will be heading off to college. If you have not already, consider at 529 college savings plan.
Look at your credit report if you have not done so in several months. Do not forget that you are entitled to three free credit reports per year. Visit annualcreditreport.com to request a copy of your credit report.
If you are in the market for a new car, now is a good time to visit car dealerships. “Car dealers will be making room for the 2012 models. Watch for steep discounts and low-interest deals.”
August is here! That means that there are plenty of fun and entertaining events in Maryland this month. August’s “This Month in Maryland” E-Newsletter was recently published and may be found here. You may also visit Maryland’s Office of Tourism website for additional information and entertainment, places to visit, etc. here.
Some of the events published in August’s “This Month in Maryland” E-Newsletter are the following:
- Restaurant Week (Baltimore City): August 5 – August 14
- Restaurant Week (Carroll County): August 21 – August 28
- Maryland State BBQ Bash (Harford County): August 12 – August 13
- Cal Ripken World Series (Harford County): August 12 – August 21
- Caroline Summerfest (Caroline County): August 19 – August 20
- Ocean City Hotel Week (Ocean City, Maryland) (hotel deals and discounts): August 21 – September 1
Be sure to check out the entire E-Newsletter for more information on the wonderful events close to home and/or within Maryland. Enjoy the rest of your summer!