Archive for June, 2008

Volunteering By Reading Text Books For Blind, Dyslexic and Disabled Folks

Posted on June 30, 2008. Filed under: -- On MY Calendar, -- Uncategorized, -- Volunteering, -- What MOLLY's Up To | Tags: , , , |


By Molly Malone

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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HAVE YOU EVER MEASURED YOUR CARBON FOOTPRINT? Calculate your electricity CO2 print, your car’s CO2 print, and if you want to be really ambitious, you can even calculate your “flying footprint” measuring your trips that you take via air!

Posted on June 30, 2008. Filed under: -- Energy/Being GREEN, -- Uncategorized, -- What MOLLY's Up To, . More Resources For YOU! | Tags: , , , , , , |


By Molly Malone

Originally from Vermont–The Green Mountain State–and having lived there 18 long years as a kid, I have always known about Green Mountain Energy since I can remember. Green Mountain Energy  also now has an office right here in Austin, Texas, so I find myself checking their website frequently to see what’s up. 

They have a GREAT website and have an AWESOME carbon calculator, available to you and me for FREE. It takes about 5 seconds to use and it’s super simple—just grab your electric bill or check the milage of your car to get started. If you really want to be ambitious, you can even track your “flying footprint” measuring your trips that you take via air!

Enjoy!

http://www.begreennow.com/calculator or click the GREEN button thing above. 

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Top 25 Architecture Firms In Austin

Posted on June 28, 2008. Filed under: -- Real Estate Guide For Today's Market, -- Top 10... | Tags: , , |


by Molly Malone

There’s tons of new construction going on in Austin right now, and in case you’re about to hop into the mix, here is the list of the  Top 25 Architecture Firms in the Austin area as per Austin Business Journal’s Book of Lists 2008.

1. PageSoutherland Page LLP
2. Graeber Simmons & Cowan Inc.
3. Susman Tisdale Gayle Architects Inc.
4. Nelsen Partners Inc
5.  Pfluger Associates Architects
6. O’Connell Robertson Inc
7. Kipp Flores Architects LLC
8. Danze & Davis Architects Inc.
9. Cornerstone Group Architects
10. Barnes Gromatzky Korsarek Architects Inc
11.Sixth River Architects
12. 3D/International
13. Dick Clark Architecture Ltd
14. PBS&J Architecture
15. Aguirre Corp
16. TAG International LLP
17. Fromberg Associates Ltd
18. Jackson Galloway Associates
19. Parking Planners LP
20. Heimsath Architects Inc.
21. Clayton Levy & Little LLP
22. The Bower Downing Partnership Inc.
23. Moman Architects Inc.
24. Noack-Little Architects
25.  The Bommarito Group Inc.

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average: All 30 companies at close today. 6/27

Posted on June 27, 2008. Filed under: -- Today's DJIA 30, -- Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |


TODAY’S OVERALL PERFORMANCE: 11346.51 -106.91 (-0.93%) .bear market

 Please note that the Dow 30 Components Chart is courtesy of Cnn’s Money web page. Thanks, Cnn!
Company Price Change %Change Last Update †
3m Co 69.51 -0.75 -1.07% 6/27 4:00pm
Alcoa Inc 35.38 +0.08 +0.23% 6/27 4:00pm
American Express Company 38.19 -0.70 -1.80% 6/27 4:00pm
American International Group, Inc. 27.75 -0.34 -1.21% 6/27 4:05pm
AT&T Inc. 32.76 -0.71 -2.12% 6/27 4:04pm
Bank of America Corporation 24.59 -0.22 -0.89% 6/27 4:01pm
Boeing Co. 66.92 -1.29 -1.89% 6/27 4:00pm
Caterpillar Inc. 73.75 -0.53 -0.71% 6/27 4:01pm
Chevron Corp 98.14 +0.73 +0.75% 6/27 4:00pm
Citigroup, Inc. 17.25 -0.42 -2.38% 6/27 4:01pm
E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company 42.69 -0.13 -0.30% 6/27 4:04pm
Exxon Mobil Corp 86.55 +0.14 +0.16% 6/27 4:01pm
General Electric Company 26.26 -0.27 -1.02% 6/27 4:04pm
General Motors Corporation 11.55 +0.12 +1.05% 6/27 4:01pm
Hewlett-Packard Co. 44.58 -0.09 -0.20% 6/27 4:04pm
Intel Corporation 21.49 -0.10 -0.46% 6/27 4:00pm
International Business Machines 120.05 -1.08 -0.89% 6/27 4:01pm
Johnson & Johnson 63.57 -0.69 -1.07% 6/27 4:02pm
JP Morgan & Chase & Co 35.05 -1.27 -3.50% 6/27 4:03pm
McDonald’s Corporation 56.50 +0.05 +0.09% 6/27 4:00pm
Merck & Co., Inc. 36.98 +0.78 +2.15% 6/27 4:01pm
Microsoft Corporation 27.63 -0.12 -0.43% 6/27 4:00pm
Pfizer Inc 17.28 +0.11 +0.64% 6/27 4:02pm
The Coca-Cola Company 51.84 -1.38 -2.59% 6/27 4:03pm
The Home Depot, Inc. 24.02 -0.64 -2.60% 6/27 4:01pm
The Procter & Gamble Company 60.49 -1.76 -2.83% 6/27 4:04pm
United Technologies Corporation 61.15 -1.64 -2.61% 6/27 4:01pm
Verizon Communications 34.28 -0.03 -0.09% 6/27 4:02pm
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. 56.41 -0.42 -0.74% 6/27 4:00pm
Walt Disney Company (The) (Holding Company) 31.57 +0.04 +0.13% 6/27 4:01pm
Dow 30 Components
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Vanguard’s Economic Week In Review—Week Ending Friday, June 27th

Posted on June 27, 2008. Filed under: -- Economic Week In Review | Tags: , , |



Economic Week in Review: Consumers grow gloomier
————————————————

This week’s economic reports showed little signs of relief as the
consumer confidence index fell even lower than expected. Consumers
continue to be concerned over rising unemployment rates, historically
high gas prices, and the housing slump. On a brighter note, sales of
existing homes were up for the month, albeit still far below
historical averages. In other news, the Federal Reserve Board’s Open
Market Committee met this week and kept the target funds rate at 2.0%,
putting an end to an eight-month-long string of rate changes. For the
week, the S&P 500 Index fell 3.0% to 1,279 (for a year-to-date total
return of –12%). The yield of the 10-year U.S. Treasury note fell 17
basis points to 3.99%.

To read Vanguard(R) Economic Week in Review in its entirety, go to:
http://www.vanguard.com/visit/econweek062708

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Congratulations Austin Business Journal’s Best Places To Work 2008!!

Posted on June 26, 2008. Filed under: -- On MY Calendar, -- What MOLLY's Up To | Tags: , , , , |


 by Molly Malone

There were over 700 people in attendance for Austin Business Journal’s Best Places to Work 2008 banquet today at the Hilton, and I was one of them.  I was probably one of a handful of people that went just for the heck of it, since I’m currently self-employed.  It was worth every dime to see and hear the great ways that local Austin companies appreciate their employees. The crowd was charged and rallying for each other, and they were full of so much energy.  I, along with the people at my banquet table, felt like we were at a pep-rally!

The crowd really went nuts when the various company perk offerings were announced. For example, all 51 employees at Profit Fuel enjoy free lunch, EVERYDAY at work!  I thought it was really cool that the Heart Hospital of Austin allows monthly birthday lunches with the CEO, and that those lucky folks at Texas Medical Liability Trust leave work every Friday at 1pm! Or how about those lucky folks at DPR Construction who enjoy Friday afternoon happy hours at their in-house saloon? Awesome. 

Anyhow, here is how Austin stacked up this year. I’ve typed them in alphabetical order for you below.

Accountability Resources

Adlucent

agileTCP

Alamo Title Company

Alterpoint, Inc.

Armbrust and Brown LLP

Austin Regional Clinic

Bazaarvoice, Inc

Brigham Exploration Company

BuildASign.com

Capital Certified Development Corp

Commercial Texas

Community Impact Newspaper

CompassLearning

DMX Inc.

DPR Construction Inc

Dresser Wayne

Express Information Systems

Giordani, Schurig, Beckett and Tackett, LLP

Goodwill Industries of Austin

Hilton Hotels

Hoovers Inc

IE Discovery

Inquisite

JOSCO Products

LandAmerica Austin Title

LifeSize Communications

Maxwell Locke and Ritter LLP

McQueary Henry Bowles Troy LLP

NetWos

Optaros

Padgett, Stratemann, & Co. LLP

ProfitFuel Inc

Richard P. Slaughter Associates

Rogers-O’Brien Construction Company

Sente Mortgage

Silicon Laboratories

SpawGlass Contractors

SpeakTECH

Springbox

St. David’s Health Care

State Farm Insurance

Sweet Leaf Tea

Texas Medical Liability Trust

The Steam Team

Transwestern

Vintage IT Services

Watkins Insurance Group

Wells Fargo Bank

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7 Investments You Need To Be Properly Diversified In Today’s Market

Posted on June 26, 2008. Filed under: -- Building Wealth, -- For The Investor In YOU, -- Top 10..., -- Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |


By Molly Malone

With a tough market and economy like we’re in currently, the last thing you want to do is complicate your investments; many of you already find your investments too complicated and hard to understand as it is.

Many newbie investors like you, have investments in numerous accounts, hoping that you’re diversified enough to handle market fluctuations like we saw today, with the Dow losing over 350 points. The problem I have, is that you are hoping you’re diversified enough so you don’t lose it all, but you really aren’t certain. Are you?

Dont’ worry, you’re not alone. That’s why I’m writing this post. Unless you’ve called in to Jim Cramer’s Mad Money, you probably have no ideahow to make sure you’re portfolio is properly diversified. I’m sure you’ve been given quick advice like ” You should have 75% stocks and 25% bonds?” Do you ever think “okay, but which stocks, and which bonds?

Take a look at the below. SmartMoney’s June 2008 magazine has an article that tackles the question: Can 7 different asset class investments be enough to have a diversified account? “It can be,”  SmartMoney says, “if it’s the right seven.”

So,  I’ve got the 7 outlined for you here! The good news is that you can even purchase all of them IN JUST ONE FUND if you want to (by owning a target date fund for example).

Here’s what SmartMoney lists as the “7 INVESTMENTS you need”  (In parenthesis is what their FIRST choice pick is..)

1. A Blue-Chip US Stock Fund. ( Fidelity Spartan 500 Index)

2. A Blue-Chip Foreign Stock Fund ( Vanguard Total International Stock Index )

3. A Small-Company Fund ( T. Rowe Price New Horizons )

4. A Value Fund Fund ( Vanguard Value Index )

5. High Quality Bond Fund ( Vanguard Total Bond Market )

6. An Inflation-Protected Bond Fund ( Vanguard Inflation-Protected Securities Bond )

7. A Money Market Fund ( Fidelity Cash Reserves )

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Donald Trump: The Trump Institute Is Coming To Town And I’m Registered!

Posted on June 16, 2008. Filed under: -- Austin Related, -- On MY Calendar, -- Real Estate Guide For Today's Market, -- Uncategorized, -- What MOLLY's Up To | Tags: , , , , , , , , |


Yay, am I excited!!!

I attended Donald Trump’s The Donald Trump Way to Wealth Seminar 2 weeks ago, and now I’m going to the School of Real Estate.  I can’t wait. It’s Friday, Sat and Sunday only and boy will it be intense!! 

I’ve signed up for the Rich Dad Poor Dad’s seminar as well, and am also looking forward to that. I’ll start blogging what I learn if you’re interested!

Maybe I’ll even see you at the class!!!

 

 

The Seminar

Who Should Attend?

Everyone should attend, especially those who want to improve their lives through financial success with real estate investing and building businesses.

What You Will Learn at this Live EventThe Donald Trump Way to Wealth Seminar will introduce you to Donald Trump’s “secret recipe” for success – a combination of the right knowledge and the right mindset to create unlimited riches.

As you’ll discover, there are two great ways to create wealth – owning a business and investing in real estate. Donald Trump is a master of both, and his strategies for both have been packed into this Seminar.

When you attend The Donald Trump Way to Wealth Seminar, you will learn how to get wealthy with real estate and how to build a successful business.

How to Get Wealthy with Real EstateAre you drawn to real estate investing? At this exciting live event, you will learn about:

  • The Trump Way to get cash back when you buy a property
  • The Trump Way to find great deals in the hidden markets
  • The Trump Way to build your real estate empire, property by property
  • The Trump Way to get the government to rent your properties
  • The Trump Way to negotiate with bankers… and win big
  • The Trump Way to make terrific deals on real estate in a buyer’s or a seller’s market
  • The Trump Way to retire early on your investment income

 

 

http://www.trumpinstitute.com/seminar.php

How to Build a Business that Will Make You Rich

If your dream is to be your own boss, you will learn about:

  • The Trump Way to get people to jump-start your business
  • The Trump Way to structure your business for maximum profit and protection
  • The Trump Way to build your power team the right way
  • The Trump Way to finance your business without putting up your house
  • The Trump Way to stop paying high taxes
  • The Trump Way to build your retirement account quickly and live the lifestyle of your dreams
  • The Trump Way to be your own boss… forever

You can have all this priceless knowledge and much, much more.  But you must be willing to take action.  So don’t miss out – register now!

Reservations

Due to the popularity of the program, seating may be limited.   Attendees must make advance reservations and arrive no later than 30 minutes before the start of the Seminar in order to take advantage of the available seating (doors will be closed promptly at the start of the Seminar.)  We encourage you to invite a guest to attend the Seminar with you, such as a family member,  a friend, or a business associate.

Not In Austin?

They hold Seminars in different cities every week. To find an upcoming Seminar location near you, visit the zip code search.

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Vanguard’s Economic Week In Review-Week Ending Friday, June 13

Posted on June 13, 2008. Filed under: -- Economic Week In Review | Tags: |


Economic Week in Review: Core CPI, retail sales provide hopeful signs
———————————————————————

The U.S. economy received welcome news this week with
stronger-than-expected retail sales and core inflation in line with
consensus estimates. While inflation increased in May by its largest
percentage in six months, core inflation was relatively stable and
could alleviate the need for interest rate hikes by the Federal
Reserve later this year. In other news, the trade deficit grew at a
faster-than-anticipated pace, and business inventories grew in line
with expectations. For the week, the S&P 500 Index was essentially
unchanged, finishing at 1,360 (for a year-to-date total return of
–6.5%). The yield of the 10-year U.S. Treasury note rose 33 basis
points to 4.27%.

To read Vanguard(R) Economic Week in Review in its entirety, go to:
http://www.vanguard.com/visit/econweek061308

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What is the Dow Jones Industrial Average? What are the 30 companies?

Posted on June 6, 2008. Filed under: -- Building Wealth, -- For The Investor In YOU, -- Investing, -- Today's DJIA 30, . More Resources For YOU! | Tags: , , , , , , |


By Molly Malone

The Dow Jones Industrial Average, a popular measuring stick for the NYSE, is a gauge of how the entire U.S. stock market is doing. Also called the DJIA, it consists of 30 large, widely-held public stocks, all representing major industries like technology, finance, and retail.  

All 30 companies are price-weighted (this is where each stock makes up a fraction of the index that is proportional to its price). The Dow Jones’ averages are unique in that they are price-weighted, rather than market-capitalization-weighted. Their component weightings are therefore affected only by changes in the stocks’ prices, in contrast with other indexes’ weightings that are affected by both price changes and changes in the number of shares outstanding. 

It is just one of many popular market indicies.

The 30 stocks are selected by editors at The Wall Street Journal. The editors make frequent changes to those listed on the Dow in order to maintain relevance with the overall current market.  I got my undergrad in Pittsburgh, so let’s take steel for example. As the US economy has moved away from a manufacturing focus, steel companies have fallen off the Dow.  At the same time, other industries and stocks are added over the years as well, like technology and energy for example. Below is a list of the Dow Jones Industrial Average 30 members at close time on June 6th, (date I wrote this). Click here to see who’s listed on the Dow TODAY!! It’s kinda fun to compare the prices and to see those that aren’t on the list any longer, and those that have been added.

Dow 30 Components Chart courtesy of Cnn’s Money web page.
Company Price Change %Change Last Update †
3m Co 69.51 -0.75 -1.07% 6/27 4:00pm
Alcoa Inc 35.38 +0.08 +0.23% 6/27 4:00pm
American Express Company 38.04 -0.85 -2.19% 6/27 4:08pm
American International Group, Inc. 27.75 -0.34 -1.21% 6/27 4:05pm
AT&T Inc. 32.76 -0.71 -2.12% 6/27 4:04pm
Bank of America Corporation 24.59 -0.22 -0.89% 6/27 4:01pm
Boeing Co. 66.92 -1.29 -1.89% 6/27 4:00pm
Caterpillar Inc. 73.75 -0.53 -0.71% 6/27 4:01pm
Chevron Corp 97.80 +0.39 +0.40% 6/27 4:08pm
Citigroup, Inc. 17.25 -0.42 -2.38% 6/27 4:01pm
E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company 42.69 -0.13 -0.30% 6/27 4:04pm
Exxon Mobil Corp 86.55 +0.14 +0.16% 6/27 4:01pm
General Electric Company 26.26 -0.27 -1.02% 6/27 4:04pm
General Motors Corporation 11.55 +0.12 +1.05% 6/27 4:01pm
Hewlett-Packard Co. 44.58 -0.09 -0.20% 6/27 4:04pm
Intel Corporation 21.49 -0.10 -0.46% 6/27 4:00pm
International Business Machines 120.05 -1.08 -0.89% 6/27 4:01pm
Johnson & Johnson 63.57 -0.69 -1.07% 6/27 4:02pm
JP Morgan & Chase & Co 35.05 -1.27 -3.50% 6/27 4:03pm
McDonald’s Corporation 56.50 +0.05 +0.09% 6/27 4:00pm
Merck & Co., Inc. 36.98 +0.78 +2.15% 6/27 4:01pm
Microsoft Corporation 27.63 -0.12 -0.43% 6/27 4:00pm
Pfizer Inc 17.28 +0.11 +0.64% 6/27 4:02pm
The Coca-Cola Company 51.84 -1.38 -2.59% 6/27 4:03pm
The Home Depot, Inc. 24.02 -0.64 -2.60% 6/27 4:01pm
The Procter & Gamble Company 60.49 -1.76 -2.83% 6/27 4:04pm
United Technologies Corporation 61.15 -1.64 -2.61% 6/27 4:01pm
Verizon Communications 34.28 -0.03 -0.09% 6/27 4:02pm
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. 56.30 -0.53 -0.93% 6/27 4:06pm
Walt Disney Company (The) (Holding Company)

 

Did you know that the DJIA was first published in The Wall Street Journal in 1896? Yep. It’s initial value was 40.74, and originally consisted of 12 stocks (mostly railroads) instead of 30. GE is the only stock to still remain——although it has dropped on and off over the years. The Dow Jones is currently the most-quoted market indicator in newspapers, on TV and on the Internet.

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