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Commit a Minute: 100 Things to Make Your Home Safer

Posted on March 11, 2011. Filed under: -- What MOLLY's Up To, . More Resources For YOU!, Around the House, Tips | Tags: , , |

I was looking online for additional safety tips and came across an article on www.safetyathome.com where they list 100 things we can all do to make our homes more safe. Below are their suggestions. I’m going to print this list and try to knock out ALL of these tips this weekend.  Afterwards, I’m going to dance around my place doing the Safety Dance, probably a few times actually.

  1. Test each smoke alarm in your home
  2. Replace the batteries in each smoke alarm
  3. Count how many smoke alarms you have in your house. If you do not have one on every level and near sleeping areas, purchase additional smoke alarms
  4. Designate an outside meeting place for your family (for example: the mailbox) in case of a fire or emergency
  5. Blow out candles before leaving the room or going to sleep
  6. Use a sturdy candle holder or hurricane lamp
  7. Turn down your hot water heater to 120 degrees or less to prevent burns
  8. Roll up your sleeves before you start cooking
  9. Have oven mitts nearby when cooking
  10. Turn pot handles toward the back of the stove
  11. Store all matches and lighters out of reach of children
  12. Put hot food and drinks near the center of the table only
  13. Put down your hot drink when carrying your baby
  14. Test hot water with an elbow before allowing a child to touch
  15. Post your fire escape plan on your refrigerator
  16. Put water on cigarette butts before throwing them away
  17. Unplug small appliances such as hair dryers and toasters after using them
  18. Use flameless candles
  19. Move anything that can burn, such as dish towels, at least three feet away from the stove
  20. Practice “Stop, Drop and Roll” with your kids
  21. Schedule an appointment to have your furnace cleaned and inspected
  22. Look for the UL Mark when you buy appliances
  23. Tell kids to stay away from the stove/oven
  24. Turn space heaters off before going to bed
  25. Remove any gasoline from your home
  26. Put non-slip strips in your tub and shower
  27. Install night lights in the hallway
  28. Put a flashlight in each bedroom
  29. Wipe up spills as soon as they happen to prevent slips and falls
  30. Use a sturdy Christmas tree stand
  31. Water your Christmas tree every day
  32. Keep your Christmas tree at least three feet away from any heat source
  33. Inspect your Christmas lights for signs of damage
  34. Flip over large buckets so water cannot accumulate and become a drowning danger
  35. Store cleaners and other poisons away from food
  36. Post the Poison Control hotline number (1-800-222-1222) next to your phone
  37. If you have young children, use cabinet locks on cabinets that have poisons such as antifreeze, cleaners, detergents, etc.
  38. Keep medicine in its original containers
  39. Purchase a carbon monoxide detector for your home
  40. Test your carbon monoxide (CO) alarm
  41. Put your infant to sleep on his/her back
  42. Remove any soft bedding, stuffed animals and pillows from your infant’s crib
  43. Cut your toddler’s food into small bites
  44. Use safety straps on high chairs and changing tables
  45. Check www.recalls.gov to see if any items in your home (including cribs) have been recalled
  46. Move cribs away from windows
  47. Use safety covers on unused electrical outlets
  48. Test small toys for choking hazards – if it fits in a toilet paper roll, it’s too small
  49. Remove all plastic bags from the nursery
  50. Pick up any small items, such as coins or buttons, that can be choking hazards for infants and toddlers
  51. Write down emergency contact information for your family and make sure everyone has these numbers
  52. If young children live in or visit your home, move furniture away from windows so they don’t climb up to look out and accidentally fall
  53. Tie window cords out of a child’s reach
  54. Check your child’s bath water temperature (use your wrist or elbow) to make sure it is not too hot
  55. Remove drawstrings from your baby’s clothing
  56. Keep the toilet lid shut to prevent little fingers from getting slammed by a falling lid
  57. If you have toddlers, install a toilet seat lock
  58. If you have young children, install door knob covers on bathroom doors
  59. Use a fireplace screen
  60. Put toys away after playing
  61. Don’t refer to medicine or vitamins as “candy”
  62. Put on safety glasses before any DIY project
  63. Put tools away after your DIY project is complete
  64. Post emergency numbers near your phone
  65. Pick up one new thing for your family’s emergency preparedness kit
  66. Use a ladder, not a chair, when climbing to reach something
  67. Use plastic instead of glass near the pool
  68. Cover any spa or hot tub when it is not in use
  69. Purchase a first aid kit
  70. Drain the bath tub immediately after bathing
  71. Remove clutter from the stairs
  72. Use the handrail when you are walking up or down the stairs
  73. If the power goes out, use flashlights instead of candles
  74. Ask smokers to smoke outside
  75. Wear proper shoes when climbing a ladder
  76. Check your home for too many plugs in one socket and fix the problem
  77. Install baby gates at the top and bottom of stairs if you have young children
  78. Never leave food cooking unattended
  79. Make sure pools or spas are properly fenced to keep out small children
  80. Teach kids to tell you when they see matches or lighters
  81. Turn out the lights when you leave the room
  82. Unplug appliances that aren’t in use (especially in the kitchen)
  83. Take your hair dryer off of the bathroom counter and store it safely
  84. Check your electronics for the UL Mark
  85. Identify two exits from every room with your kids in case of fire
  86. Check your holiday decorations – keep breakable decorations out of reach of young children
  87. Replace an old light bulb with a new energy-efficient option
  88. Check the walls for loose paint chips and re-paint with low-VOC or VOC-free paint
  89. Check all the outlets in your home for overloaded sockets or extension cords
  90. Remove any extension cords that are pulled under rugs or tacked up
  91. Place fire extinguishers in key areas of your home
  92. Place an escape ladder in an upstairs room that might not have an easy exit
  93. Remove any painted furniture that is pre-1978 to avoid possible lead exposure
  94. Lock medications safely in a cabinet
  95. Consider low-flow toilets
  96. Check that all major appliances are grounded and test your GFCIs
  97. Clean the lint trap and hose on your dryer
  98. Check your swing set for sharp edges or dangerous S-hooks
  99. Take a tour of your home from your child’s perspective looking for hazards
  100. Hold a family fire drill

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Where is Your Tax Refund?

Posted on February 18, 2011. Filed under: -- Money Help (in simple terms), -- Uncategorized, . More Resources For YOU!, Tips | Tags: , , , |

If you are lucky enough to get a refund this year, click on the picture below or use this link to track down your IRS refund:


To access the information, you’ll need to provide the following information from your tax return:

  • Your Social Security Number (or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number)
  • Your Filing Status
  • The exact whole dollar amount of your refund

IMPORTANT: You can usually get information about your refund 72 hours after IRS acknowledges receipt of your e-filed return or in three to four weeks if you filed a paper return.  “Where’s my Refund?” is updated weekly, every Wednesday.  Please check back after Wednesday for updated information.

If you don’t have a computer to access this information, no problem. You can get the information you need from the telephone.

A special automated toll-free line is dedicated to refund status reports. When you call (800) 829-1954, you’ll need the same information the online system requires.

Don’t forget though, that this year, there’s also the issue of delayed tax return processing. Because tax law changes affecting 2010 returns weren’t enacted until Dec. 17, 2010, the IRS had to update forms and its computer systems before it could process many returns. The IRS started working on those delayed filings on Feb. 14, 2011.

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7 Tips for Negotiating With The IRS

Posted on February 18, 2011. Filed under: -- Money Help (in simple terms), -- Top 10..., . More Resources For YOU!, Tips | Tags: , , , , , |

Do you owe the IRS money? Or will you owe them money after this April? If so, here are 7 tips that I found helpful, posted on www.foxbusiness.com

From time to time every taxpayer will have to go head to toe with the IRS. Whether you are setting up an installment agreement, facing the auditor from hell, resolving a misunderstanding, or dealing with collectors on the phone or worse yet, on your doorstep, you would be well advised to heed the following suggestions.

1. You get more flies with honey. Dealing with bureaucracy can be very frustrating, but park your bad attitude and anger at the door. Take a deep breath, demonstrate a cooperative attitude, and proceed in an orderly fashion to resolving your issue. In my 28 years of dealing with the IRS, I have found that most IRS personnel are compassionate humans that bend over backward to find ways to resolve issues and help taxpayers. Of course you are going to run into that power-hungry, condescending, surly agent from time to time, but if you do, you can always trade up to a more understanding and respectful model by asking for the manager.

2.Use IRS lingo. When you use IRS lingo the agent you are speaking with will find you knowledgeable and may treat you with a little more respect. Here is some verbiage you may find useful:

  1. Ask for penalties to be “abated” rather than removed.
  2. Tell them, if it’s the case, that your failure to (pay or file or comply with a document request) was due to “reasonable cause.” Use this term if you didn’t just flake and have a good reason, which could include such things as unemployment, losing your records, losing your home, health problems, etc.
  3. If you can’t pay a tax bill because you are suffering financial reversals, you can ask to be deemed “currently not collectible.” If you are granted this status, they will leave you alone for an entire year while you get it together.
  4. If you feel a spouse or former spouse should be responsible for a tax matter, ask to be treated as an “innocent spouse.” There are certain criteria to this status; do some research or discuss the issues with your tax pro.
  5. If defending business deductions during an audit, the term “ordinary and necessary” business expense will help–but only if that’s really the case.

3. Don’t talk too much. IRS agents are trained to draw as much information from you as possible. Answer questions truthfully, but keep your answers short, succinct and to the point. There is no need to elaborate or discuss your personal life or disclose too much. This will only lead to misunderstandings and maybe even investigations.

4. Always tell the truth. Lies have a way of uncovering themselves. Once you are caught in a lie, you will always be suspect. And when you are suspect, you lose the cooperation you would normally receive. Don’t hide assets, don’t run for cover. There are many ways to resolve tax problems using a straightforward and honest approach. Lies may lead to jail time.

5. Only make promises you can keep. This is especially true when it comes to paying your liability. If an IRS agent asks you if you can pay $200 per month on a tax balance and you know you can only afford $100, tell him so. Indicate that you will try to pay extra when you can, but you are not going to set yourself up for failure by promising more than you are able. Throw that in with the fact, (if it’s the case), that you have always timely filed and paid liabilities in the past and now you need a break. Note that this will not work if their analysis of your financial situation indicates you can pay more.

6. Go to them before they come at you. If you are unable to keep a promise you make, tell the IRS immediately. The agency is usually so happy with the cooperation it will likely grant you the extensions you need. The collections department notes your file whenever you or your representative calls.

7. Stop the Interview. If at any time during an audit or a phone conversation you feel intimidated, disrespected, or out of your depth, simply say so and end the interview. Tell the IRS that you will be seeking representation and will get back with them soon. This will give you a chance to take a deep breath and discuss the matter with your tax pro. If you felt disrespected, you can always request a different auditor. Or if it was a matter of a surly customer service rep you were speaking with on the phone, you can hang up and call again in hopes of getting someone kinder or a little more understanding.

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5 Things You Need To Know About Getting Audited

Posted on February 12, 2011. Filed under: -- Money Help (in simple terms), -- Saving Money And YOU, -- Top 10..., -- Uncategorized, . More Resources For YOU!, Tips | Tags: , , , |

As tax time rolls around for all of us this year, here are 5 Thing You Need to Know About Getting Audited. At least according to Money Magazine. Enjoy!
1. AUDITS ARE ON THE RISE. Money says that the number of audits has risen steadily year after year, and that experts expect the trend to continue. They also add that audit letters typically go out 18 months after the filing date.
2. DELAYING CAN COST YOU THE RIGHT TO FIGHT.  If you receive a letter from the IRS be sure to take action within 30 days upon receipt. Otherwise dispute moves on to a collection agency, which becomes a total nightmare.  If you can’t get everything together in 30 days, you have the right to ask for a postponement. The IRS does not have to, but they should grant you more time if you need it to track down records.
3. IT CAN HELP TO HAVE A PRO ON YOUR SIDE. Almost 3/4 of audits happen by mail, with the IRS requesting certain documentation (like receipts) on a specific part of the return. You can handle this type of audit on your own, but if someone else prepared your taxes you should ask him to weigh in. The fee you paid could cover such help, and the agreement you have may put the person on the hook for mistakes. If the audit requires an in-person meeting, it will probably get in-depth with some issues. You’ll then probably want an advocate like a CPA on your side with audit experience. Expect to pay $500 to a few thousand dollars.
4. ANYTHING YOU SAY CAN BE USED AGAINST YOU. In other words, do not offer any additional information beyond what is asked for by the examiner.  
5. THE AUDITOR’S BOSS MAY BE ABLE TO NEGOTIATE. Unhappy with what the auditor is finding? Ask for his or her supervisor. Like in most situations, the manager has more angles to work.  If the manager doesn’t see your side, file an appeal. The other option is to take them through the legal system. Money says that may not be worth the cause unless there’s more than $10,000 at stake.
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White House Rescue Plan Announced Today–All $75 Billion Of It

Posted on February 18, 2009. Filed under: -- Economic Week In Review, -- Real Estate Guide For Today's Market, . More Resources For YOU! |

By Molly Greaves



President Barack Obama on February 18 rolled out the White House’s Rescue Housing plan of $75 billion to help struggling families avoid foreclosure and to bring some order to the housing market.  The President said taxpayer money could help save  between 7 – 9 million families who are risking foreclosure because they cannot afford their mortgages.  The President continued on adding that “this problem does not just involve them, it involves all of us. All of us are paying a price for the home mortgage crisis and all of us will pay an even steeper price if we allow this crisis to continue—a crisis which is unraveling home ownership, the middle class, and the American Dream itself. But if we act boldly and swiftly to arrest this downward spiral, every American will benefit.”  

In a roughly 20-minute announcement, the President  laid out the 4 key elements in his $75 billion Homeowner Affordability and Stability plan which he says is necessary to help the economy. If taken together, he told the folks in Mesa, AZ where he delivered his speech and also to those of us around the world listening, “the provisions of this plan will help us end this crisis and preserve for millions of families their stake in the American Dream.”

In Barack Obama’s exact words, here is how his plan works:

First, we will make it possible for an estimated four to five million currently ineligible homeowners who receive their mortgages through Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac to refinance their mortgages at lower rates.

Second, we will create new incentives so that lenders work with borrowers to modify the terms of sub-prime loans at risk of default and foreclosure.

Third, we will take major steps to keep mortgage rates low for millions of middle class families looking to secure new mortgages.

Fourth, we will pursue a wide range of reforms designed to help families stay in their homes and avoid foreclosure.”

To read more on each key point, or to read his speech in its entirety, please click here.

One last important thing for you…

I went to the White House website to learn more about this for my readers, and came across a Q & A section for Borrowers about the Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan.  I thought it would be useful and have copied it below for you. If you are risking foreclosure or even if you are current on your mortgage, you will find most likely find this useful. For those of you facing foreclosure, please scroll down to find your questions and answers. Just so you know, all of this information below is based on the official White House blog.

Borrowers Who Are Current on Their Mortgage Are Asking:

  • What help is available for borrowers who stay current on their mortgage payments but have seen their homes decrease in value?

Under the Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan, eligible borrowers who stay current on their mortgages but have been unable to refinance to lower their interest rates because their homes have decreased in value, may now have the opportunity to refinance into a 30 or 15 year, fixed rate loan.   Through the program, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will allow the refinancing of mortgage loans that they hold in their portfolios or that they placed in mortgage backed securities.

  • I owe more than my property is worth, do I still qualify to refinance under theHomeowner Affordability and Stability Plan?

Eligible loans will now include those where the new first mortgage (including any refinancing costs) will not exceed 105% of the current market value of the property.   For example, if your property is worth $200,000 but you owe $210,000 or less you may qualify.  The current value of your property will be determined after you apply to refinance.

  • How do I know if I am eligible?

Complete eligibility details will be announced on March 4th when the program starts.  The criteria for eligibility will include having sufficient income to make the new payment and an acceptable mortgage payment history.  The program is limited to loans held or securitized by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.

  • I have both a first and a second mortgage.  Do I still qualify to refinance under theHomeowner Affordability and Stability Plan?

As long as the amount due on the first mortgage is less than 105% of the value of the property, borrowers with more than one mortgage may be eligible to refinance under the Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan.  Your eligibility will depend, in part, on agreement by the lender that has your second mortgage to remain in a second position, and on your ability to meet the new payment terms on the first mortgage. 

  • Will refinancing lower my payments?

The objective of the Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan is to provide creditworthy borrowers who have shown a commitment to paying their mortgage with affordable payments that are sustainable for the life of the loan.  Borrowers whose mortgage interest rates are much higher than the current market rate should see an immediate reduction in their payments.  Borrowers who are paying interest only, or who have a low introductory rate that will increase in the future, may not see their current payment go down if they refinance to a fixed rate.  These borrowers, however, could save a great deal over the life of the loan.  When you submit a loan application, your lender will give you a “Good Faith Estimate” that includes your new interest rate, mortgage payment and the amount that you will pay over the life of the loan.  Compare this to your current loan terms.  If it is not an improvement, a refinancing may not be right for you.

  • What are the interest rate and other terms of this refinance offer?

The objective of the Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan is to provide borrowers with a safe loan program with a fixed, affordable payment.  All loans refinanced under the plan will have a 30 or 15 year term with a fixed interest rate.  The rate will be based on market rates in effect at the time of the refinance and any associated points and fees quoted by the lender.  Interest rates may vary across lenders and over time as market rates adjust.  The refinanced loans will have no prepayment penalties or balloon notes.  

  • Will refinancing reduce the amount that I owe on my loan?

No.  The objective of the Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan is to help borrowers refinance into safer, more affordable fixed rate loans.  Refinancing will not reduce the amount you owe to the first mortgage holder or any other debt you owe.  However, by reducing the interest rate, refinancing should save you money by reducing the amount of interest that you repay over the life of the loan.

  • How do I know if my loan is owned or has been securitized by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac?

To determine if your loan is owned or has been securitized by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac and is eligible to be refinanced, you should contact your mortgage lender after March 4, 2009.

  • When can I apply?

Mortgage lenders will begin accepting applications after the details of the program are announced on March 4, 2009.   

  • What should I do in the meantime?

You should gather the information that you will need to provide to your lender after March 4, when the refinance program becomes available.  This includes:

    • information about the gross monthly income of all borrowers,  including your most recent pay stubs if you receive them or documentation of income you receive from other sources
    • your most recent income tax return
    • information about any second mortgage on the house
    • payments on each of your credit cards if you are carrying balances from month to month, and
    • payments on other loans such as student loans and car loans.

Borrowers Who Are at Risk of Foreclosure Are Asking:

  • What help is available for borrowers who are at risk of foreclosure either because they are behind on their mortgage or are struggling to make the payments?

The Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan offers help to borrowers who are already behind on their mortgage payments or who are struggling to keep their loans current.  By providing mortgage lenders with financial incentives to modify existing first mortgages, the Treasury hopes to help as many as 3 to 4 million homeowners avoid foreclosure regardless of who owns or services the mortgage.

  • Do I need to be behind on my mortgage payments to be eligible for a modification? 

No.  Borrowers who are struggling to stay current on their mortgage payments may be eligible if their income is not sufficient to continue to make their mortgage payments and they are at risk of imminent default.  This may be due to several factors, such as a loss of income, a significant increase in expenses, or an interest rate that will reset to an unaffordable level.   

  • How do I know if I qualify for a payment reduction under the Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan?

In general, you may qualify for a mortgage modification if (a) you occupy your house as your primary residence; (b) your monthly mortgage payment is greater than 31% of your monthly gross income; and (c) your loan is not large enough to exceed current Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loan limits.  Final eligibility will be determined by your mortgage lender based on your financial situation and detailed guidelines that will be available on March 4, 2009.

  •  I do not live in the house that secures the mortgage I’d like to modify.  Is this mortgage eligible for the Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan?

No.  For example, if you own a house that you use as a vacation home or that you rent out to tenants, the mortgage on that house is not eligible.  If you used to live in the home but you moved out, the mortgage is not eligible.  Only the mortgage on your primary residence is eligible.  The mortgage lender will check to see if the dwelling is your primary residence.

  • I have a mortgage on a duplex.  I live in one unit and rent the other.  Will I still be eligible?

Yes.  Mortgages on 2, 3 and 4 unit properties are eligible as long as you live in one unit as your primary residence.

  • I have two mortgages.   Will the Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan reduce the payments on both?

Only the first mortgage is eligible for a modification.

  • I owe more than my house is worth.  Will the Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan reduce what I owe?

The primary objective of the Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan is to help borrowers avoid foreclosure by modifying troubled loans to achieve a payment the borrower can afford.  Lenders are likely to lower payments mainly by reducing loan interest rates.  However, the program offers incentives for principal reductions and at your lender’s discretion modifications may include upfront reductions of loan principal.

  • I heard the government was providing a financial incentive to borrowers.  Is that true?

Yes.  To encourage borrowers who work hard to retain homeownership, the Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan provides incentive payments as a borrower makes timely payments on the modified loan.   The incentive will accrue on a monthly basis and will be applied directly to reduce your mortgage debt.  Borrowers who pay on time for five years can have up to $5,000 applied to reduce their debt by the end of that period.

  • How much will a modification cost me?

There is no cost to borrowers for a modification under the Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan.  If you wish to get assistance from a HUD-approved housing counseling agency or are referred to a counselor as a condition of the modification, you will not be charged a fee.  Borrowers should beware of any organization that attempts to charge a fee for housing counseling or modification of a delinquent loan, especially if they require a fee in advance. 

  • Is my lender required to modify my loan?

No.  Mortgage lenders participate in the program on a voluntary basis and loans are evaluated for modification on a case-by-case basis.  But the government is offering substantial incentives and it is expected that most major lenders will participate.

  • I’m already working with my lender / housing counselor on a loan workout.  Can I still be considered for the Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan?

Ask your lender or counselor to be considered under the Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan.

  • How do I apply for a modification under the Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan?

You may not need to do anything at this time.  Most mortgage lenders will evaluate loans in their portfolio to identify borrowers who may meet the eligibility criteria.  After March 4 they will send letters to potentially eligible homeowners, a process that may take several weeks.   If you think you qualify for a modification and do not receive a letter within several weeks, contact your mortgage servicer or a HUD-approved housing counselor.  Please be aware that servicers and counseling agencies are expected to receive an extraordinary number of calls about this program.

  • What should I do in the meantime?

You should gather the information that you will need to provide to your lender on or after March 4, when the modification program becomes available.  This includes:

    • information about the monthly gross income of your household including recent pay stubs if you receive them or documentation of income you receive from other sources
    • your most recent income tax return
    • information about any second mortgage on the house
    • payments on each of your credit cards if you are carrying balances from month to month, and
    • payments on other loans such as student loans and car loans.
  • My loan is scheduled for foreclosure soon.  What should I do?

Contact your mortgage servicer or credit counselor.  Many mortgage lenders have expressed their intention to postpone foreclosure sales on all mortgages that may qualify for the modification in order to allow sufficient time to evaluate the borrower’s eligibility.  We support this effort.









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The Dow Closes Down 382 Points, Down The Most In 3 Months…

Posted on February 10, 2009. Filed under: -- Economic Week In Review, . More Resources For YOU! |

By Molly Greaves


At 11:00 am today, the Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, was scheduled to announce the Obama Administration’s new bank bailout plan.  Earlier, U.S. stock futures were trading lower as investors prepared for details on the new financial rescue plan. When Mr. Geithner began his speech, the Dow was down about 80 points.  As he unveiled his plan, taxpayers and investors listened closely, and many followed the Dow’s movement to see Wall Street’s reaction in real-time.  Not liking what Geithner had to say, stocks fell sharply after the plan was outlined, and the market was down over 280 points by the time he was finished, even though the market had yet to reach the bottom.

 That’s because also today, Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke took the helm and appeared in front of the House Financial Services Committee. He was scheduled to talk about the moves the Fed has taken to deal with both the credit crunch and with the recession while also addressing whether the Fed should continue to have as much powers over the economy. By the time Mr. Bernanke was done speaking and answering questions from lawmakers, the Dow dropped another 100 points!!

 Meanwhile, Wall Street was also having a hard time swallowing the $838 billion stimulus package that was passed by the Senate today. “The markets weren’t impressed,” said Fox Business News Stocks Editor, Elizabeth McDonald. And understandably so. $838 billion is some serious money, wouldn’t you agree?


Did you know that if you had spent $1 million PER DAY from the time Jesus was born, up until now, you still would be less than ¾ of the way to a trillion dollars?!  I’m not kidding! Let’s do the math…

 $1million x 365 days per year = $365 million per year

 $365 million x 2,000 = $730 billion

 (The number 2,000 is used assuming Jesus was born 2,000 years ago. I used this number to make math easy, and to help you really grasp your mind around what a trillion really is)

 $730 billion is 73% of $1 trillion, which is less than ¾ of a trillion. Yikes!

 Guess what else? With the stimulus amount that was passed through the Senate today — all $838 billion of it — being equal to almost 84% of $1 trillion, that is the same thing as spending a $1 million per day for 2295 years. That’s 295 days in addition to our example above!!

It’s no wonder with all this spending and low confidence that the market plummeted. With all of that said, the market closed today at 7888.88, down 4.62 percent or 381.88 points.  This is its lowest point since Nov. 20, the date considered by many experts to have been the low of the bear market. Hopefully tomorrow the market we’ll be back over 8000 again.





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Top Outdoor Essentials. BE PREPARED!

Posted on October 16, 2008. Filed under: -- Top 10..., -- Uncategorized, . More Resources For YOU!, Pictures | Tags: , , , , |

By Molly Greaves

(here I am yesterday in New Hampshire’s White Mountains. Today I’m back in Austin, comparing our hills for theirs!)


1. Water. Don’t leave without it. On a hot summer day, you can lose more than a liter of sweat per hour.

2. Energy Bars or Snack. Clif and Mojo bars are great tasting and great sources for energy.

3. Map, compass, GPS (if you have one).

4. Multi-purpose tool. The uses are endless: remove splinters, fix broken gear, slice cheese for lunch =)

5. Sunscreen. Sunny OR cloudy, you should always wear sunscreen. Higher elevations increase your risk for burns.

6. First-Aid Kit. Know what to pack…

7. Fire Starter. Carry waterproof matches and fire starter in a sealed container. Try cotton balls dipped in Vaseline.

8. Whistle. Great signal for help. If you have kids with you, allow each one to have their own.

9. Insect Repellent.  Unless of course you like bug bites.

10. Digital Camera OR any old camera will do the trick.

11. Flashlight.

12. Extra layers of clothing.

13. Good attitude. DON’T LITTER!

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Make Your Own First-Aid Kit!

Posted on October 12, 2008. Filed under: -- Uncategorized, . More Resources For YOU! | Tags: , , , , , |

By Molly Greaves

As a State Park Member here in Texas, I made a first-aid kit for one of my recent treks. I looked up what to include and thought I’d pass it along to you so you can be since you can be prepared for every nick and scrape that happens along the way, should you need to.


1. Latex Gloves

2. Bandages

3. Guaze Pads

4. Athletic/adhesive Tape

5. Duct Tape

6. Moleskin

7. Antibacterial wipes

8. Triple Antibiotic ointment

9.  Over-the-counter (OTC) painkiller

10. Safety Pins

11. Multi-purpose tool

12. Tweezers/scissors

13. Mini first-aid manual

14. Carrying case (qtr size zipper-lock works well)

15. Rubbing Alcohol

16. Cotton

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Posted on September 19, 2008. Filed under: -- Entrepreneurship And YOU, -- Uncategorized, . More Resources For YOU! | Tags: , , , , |

By Molly Greaves

I’ve been learning a lot about asset and privacy protection, studying various structures from Sole Prop to Dynasty Trusts, including structures not currently available in my state of Texas. I have a lot of personal real estate goals for my future, and want to make sure I have the correct protection for the near and distant future.

Here’s a summary from all of the information I’ve taken in that I think is important for you to understand, even if just a sole prop.  I kept this list short and sweet to be sure you read it all =)

It often makes sense to make the investment and take the time to realign ownership of your assets. 


From a legal perspective, you can only lose what you own. 

Most people don’t realize how much difference it can make to realign ownership of selected assets. 

It’s the way in which you hold your assets that can create problems or keep you free of hassles later. 



1. Legal Reasons for limiting liability risk.

2. Tax planning so that business revenue can be taken as a profit or set aside in an accelerated investment plan. 

**Don’t forget: It is the taxpayer’s responsibility to lower his or her own tax liability. 

** It is also said that a corporation can deduct any general related business expense, so tax liability can be achieved through good money management.



Financial, tax, business, legal, retirement, insurance + privacy

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Posted on September 19, 2008. Filed under: -- Entrepreneurship And YOU, . More Resources For YOU! | Tags: , , |


By Molly Greaves


There are a lot of things that we humans are responisble for having, and knowing about. 


Financial, tax, business, legal, retirement, insurance + privacy (moreso for some than others, although by not hiding your privacy you are more open to being sued)

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