Finance

Drink to Your Wealth

Protect Your Home Against Burglary TRIA Renewal Affordable Broadband Cleaning HVAC Ductwork Yard Sale Bargains Community Fundraising Finding the Home of Your Dreams

Drink To Your Wealth

(NAPSI)—If you have a thirst to be your own boss, whether you’re a student, a homemaker, retired or temporarily unemployed, a new kind of organization may mean an opportunity for you to become one of America’s estimated 28 million entrepreneurs.

It involves promoting products you already like, such as an energy drink, via social media. The company provides you with your own special website and whenever anyone orders from it, you get paid—right away.

How It Works

Start with the energy drink. Called KAOS GOLD, it’s a fruity-tasting blend of nine energy-boosting ingredients, yet it has as much as 70 percent fewer calories and 80 percent less sugar than similar beverages.

Next, start your own business. Share the facts about the drink with people you know—through social media, in person or by phone. You don’t even have to leave the house to build your business and you get paid instantly anytime someone places an order. You can get help running your Social Network Marketing business from the experts at the #ditchthecan company, which offers

• Free website and sales system

• Cash back on every order

• Real-time earnings

• No need to deliver a sales pitch

• Training from the Social Network Marketing University.

Learn More

For further facts and to sign up, text the word “Movement” to 75309 or go to www.DTCMovement.com.

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Simple Ways To Protect Your Home Against Burglary

(NAPSI)—Protecting your home against break-ins may be easier than you fear. Here are a few hints that can help:

• Install lighting: Motion-sensing lights can be a great way to increase security without having to leave your outside lights on all night. Use them in any shadowy area where an intruder may linger.

• Maintain your landscaping: Don’t let overgrown shrubs give a criminal a place to hide. Keep trees and shrubs near the house neatly trimmed and be on the lookout for footprints near windows or trampled planting beds.

• Keep valuables out of sight: Put away electronics or other valuables whenever practical. Consider mounting large items such as TVs or artwork where there is no direct sightline to a window or keep drapes or blinds drawn.

• Your house never goes on vacation: A vacation can make your home an easy target. Never post on social media sites that you are going away. To deter trouble, invest in some inexpensive timers, which can be set up with staggered timing on multiple lamps and in multiple rooms to mimic a realistic lighting pattern. Visit the post office or fill out a form online to have your mail held while you’re away. Talk to your neighbors to let them know you’ll be gone, and if your trip overlaps with trash day, ask if they can move your bins out for pickup and take them in afterward.

• Upgrade door locks: Add dead bolts to any doors that don’t have them, including the garage and shed. Dead bolts are significantly harder to force open than the more common spring bolts found in many doorknobs.

• Fortify windows: Glass windows are one of the most vulnerable areas of any home and intruders often target windows if doors are locked and secured. Whenever you’re away or asleep, close them and install locks on any windows that don’t have them. You can also get security window film. One manufacturer, 3M, offers security films designed to hold broken glass together. The films prevent shattered glass from flying into the house, reducing potential injury. Tests have shown that windows protected with security window film can deter intruders for as long as two minutes-giving police additional response time. Security window films also reject up to 99 percent of harmful UV rays, reducing the effects of fading on your furnishings, and block IR rays, keeping heat out of your house.

For more information on security window film, visit www.3m.com/windowfilmsecurity.

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TRIA Renewal Is A Matter Of Public Good

(NAPSI)—Most people have some kind of insurance to provide financial protection for their car, their home or their health. And this insurance covers the things we hope never happen, such as a tree falling through the window after a particularly windy storm. But did you know that in the U.S. we also have insurance for acts of terrorism?

Following 9/11, the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA) was signed into law and created a public/private partnership to aid in the recovery of potential future financial losses after a terrorist attack. The program was renewed by Congress in 2005 and 2007 but is set to expire on December 31, 2014.

An expiration of the TRIA program means that if another large-scale terrorist attack hits the U.S., a huge economic toll would be placed on American companies. One estimate shows that an attack with weapons of mass destruction could result in $250 billion in insured losses—nearly equal to the total insurance capacity of the entire U.S. commercial property and casualty sector.

The insurance industry and many in government are fighting for TRIA’s renewal, noting that the program protects companies from being wiped out economically after an attack-at virtually no cost to the taxpayer. Senators from Conn., Ill., Nev. and N.Y. issued a statement of bipartisan support earlier this month, and dozens of major corporations ranging from Verizon to Hilton Worldwide have sent a letter to Congress urging a swift renewal to protect the economy.

“The fact of the matter is, we can’t predict when or where the next terrorist attack will occur,” said Keith Wolfe, a managing director at Swiss Re, a reinsurer that insures insurance companies. “Potential losses are limited only by the imagination of terrorists. We need TRIA to help America get back on its feet faster if there is another attack, and to limit the disruption of business.”

According to the Insurance Information Institute, the total insured loss of $32.5 billion ($42.1 billion in 2012 dollars) from 9/11 was the largest terrorism loss on record and remains many multiples ahead of any other terrorist attack loss. If insurance companies were to cover those losses without government support, they would be wiped out and unable to insure the fires, car accidents and storm damage upon which millions of people in the U.S. rely.

“The enactment of TRIA allowed a private insurance market for terrorism coverage to develop where it otherwise would not have,” said Charles M. Chamness, president and CEO of the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies. “Without a single dollar having been paid to an insurer by the federal government, TRIA has made it possible for more businesses, large and small, to protect themselves from terrorism.”

Reauthorization of TRIA is important for all Americans because a terrorist act on any target in the U.S. would induce a shock to our economy that would be felt throughout the country.

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Keeping Broadband Affordable For More Americans

(NAPSI)—The nation’s small, independent telecommunications providers are eager to implement service improvements for their customers. These mostly rural and small town Americans may soon get more and better communications services, but the key is keeping costs affordable. That’s because these carriers, which serve areas left behind long ago by other companies because of the substantial economic challenges of serving sparsely populated areas—they cover more than 40 percent of the nation’s landmass and less than 5 percent of telecom subscribers—are now striving to upgrade their communications networks while at the same time keeping rates affordable for their customers.

The Situation

Because of the way Federal Communications Commission (FCC) universal service rules are currently structured, some consumers in rural America are being forced to select services they may not want-like traditional landline telephones—to get services more and more consumers do want: high-speed broadband at an affordable rate. Most people who live in urban areas have a variety of communications options to choose from, including telephone, broadband and wireless, and these rural carriers believe all Americans—no matter where they live—should have reasonably comparable choices in terms of the services they can receive.

To help, NTCA—The Rural Broadband Association is working with the FCC and lawmakers to update the rules in a targeted way so rural America can enjoy a sufficient support system for broadband communications services.

Explains Chief Executive Officer Shirley Bloomfield: “All Americans, regardless of who they are or where they live, deserve to have a reasonable opportunity to participate in our increasingly interconnected and online society. Universal service policies need to be updated to adapt to a more broadband-oriented world, but we need a solution that promotes affordable rates and sustainable networks that will stand the test of time and provide consumers with choices.”

For decades, the providers relied on consumers paying reasonable rates, universal service support and fees collected for use of their networks to justify the investments and operating expenses necessary for multiuse networks in some of the hardest-to-reach corners of the United States. Rather than cutting these critical cost recovery mechanisms or leaving them tied to outdated rules, NTCA believes policymakers should sustain and update these programs.

Washington Wants To Know

Americans can ask legislators where they stand on this or any issue at www.house.gov and www.senate.gov.

Learn More

For more information, visit www.fcc.gov or www.ntca.org or call (703) 351-2000.

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Get The Dirt Out Of Your Indoor Air—And Save

(NAPSI)—If your house is like most in America today, you and your family create up to 40 pounds of dust a year, just through everyday living. In addition, high temperature and humidity can also increase concentrations of some pollutants. So can not getting in enough outdoor air, which can happen, especially with modern homes designed to minimize air “leaks.”

Through normal occupation in a home, people generate a great deal of contaminants and air pollutants, such as dander, dust and chemicals. These are pulled into the HVAC system and recirculated several times a day. Over time, this causes a buildup of contaminants in the ductwork.

Your Health

Dirty ducts can harbor contaminants that could cause serious problems for people with respiratory problems, autoimmune disorders or allergies.

Health effects from indoor air pollutants may include irritated eyes, nose and throat, as well as headaches, dizziness and fatigue. Symptoms of asthma, hypersensitivity pneumonitis and humidifier fever may also come from exposure to some indoor air pollutants.

To protect you from this pollution, your heating and cooling system acts as the lungs of your home. The system takes air in and breathes air out. A good rule of thumb: If your ducts look dirty, they probably are and should be inspected by a reputable, certified HVAC professional.

Your Wealth

In addition to better air, clean ducts can mean saving money and energy. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, 25 to 40 percent of the energy used for heating or cooling a home is wasted. Contaminants in the heating and cooling system cause it to work harder and wear out sooner. Even with filters, the heating and cooling system still gets dirty through normal use. A clean system uses less energy for more cost effectiveness.

Who Can Help

A good way to get your ducts properly cleaned is to have them done by a professional who belongs to NADCA, a trade association of companies in the HVAC inspection, maintenance and restoration industry that have signed the NADCA Code of Ethics and invested time and resources into industry-related training and education.

Members possess general liability insurance and will clean and restore your heating and cooling system in accordance with NADCA standard and guidelines.

Learn More

For further facts and to find a nearby association member, go to www.nadca.com.

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Finding Yard Sale Bargains Just Got Easier

(NAPSI)—More than $4 million is generated every week at yard sales, and the number of yard sales continues to increase each year by almost 60 percent. So whether you’re a buyer or a seller, with a yard sale, everybody can be a winner.

For buyers, it can be a chance to enjoy the thrill of the hunt by finding a bargain or vintage item at a greatly reduced price, sometimes as much as 90 percent off retail.

For sellers, it can be an opportunity to generate some cash—either for yourself or a charity. The good news is that thanks to two online resources, managing the world of yard sales just got easier.

The Virtual Yard Sale

If you love a good bargain but don’t want to leave your house, there is an online community that makes it possible to have the yard sale experience whenever, wherever you want, from your computer or mobile device.

Bookoo.com is a free online destination where visitors can buy and sell things within their local community. Sellers post what they have for sale, buyers indicate their interest and they meet and exchange the items for an agreed price. It’s that simple.

No need to wait until the weekends or for peak yard sale season this summer. Bookoo.com features items for sale from toys, furniture and home decor to the more obscure. You never quite know what you will find!

Finding A Yard Sale

As a buyer, if you want to venture outdoors and hunt for great deals in person, Yardsalesearch.com is a great resource where you can find a list of upcoming yard sales in your area by searching by zip code and date.

If you want to host a yard sale, simply post a free ad on the site using its easy step-by-step instructions, and it’ll be live in minutes.

If you are a newbie to the world of yard sales, the website provides tips for success, from scheduling your yard sale to local advertising to how to display and price the items you have for sale. For example, items priced under a dollar tend to sell the fastest.

To help buyers prepare for a successful day of shopping, it features useful advice, such as wear comfortable shoes and carry cash in small bills. To learn more about yard sales in your community, visit www.Bookoo.com and www.Yardsalesearch.com.

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Community Fundraising Made Easy

(NAPSI)—Warm weather is here and that means youth sports teams, nonprofits, schools, church groups and other community causes are raising money for the season. Through the Schwan’s Cares™ fundraising network, these groups have discovered a convenient way to earn funds.

How It Works

The Schwan’s Cares™ fundraising program enables community members to support their favorite causes with a seamless, 100 percent online process. With the Schwan’s Cares™ fundraising program, children or groups no longer have to handle cash, sell marked-up, generic products in parking lots or storefronts, or deliver or arrange for the pickup of products. In about 20 minutes, charitable groups can use Schwan’s Cares™ to create a fundraising Web page and run their own campaigns entirely online.

Supporters can then visit the page to shop online, selecting from more than 350 of Schwan’s® delicious, home-style frozen foods including USDA choice meats and Grade A vegetables, flash frozen at the peak of freshness. Campaign supporters will pay the same everyday price as all Schwan’s Home Service customers, and the company’s friendly and reliable team members will deliver the high-quality food orders directly to campaign supporters’ homes. This means that fundraising groups do not have to worry about getting Schwan’s® orders delivered-Schwan’s Home Service handles fulfillment for all orders.

A typical campaign lasts about 45 days and fundraising groups get 20 to 40 percent of the proceeds from these online sales. In addition, they get 5 percent on purchases from their supporters for the rest of the year. The program has several prominent partners, including the National PTA, USA Hockey, the National Sports Center and the Minnesota Wild of the National Hockey League.

Parent and Teacher Approved

Thousands of groups have already participated, including Pine Grove Elementary’s Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) in Pine Grove, Pa. “Pine Grove Elementary’s PTO tries to do as much as it can to let the kids have fun,” said PTO Vice President Justine Schach. “The Schwan’s Cares™ platform makes it accessible for anybody to purchase and help out.”

Other beneficiaries include the Laurel-Concord/Coleridge School Choirs from Laurel, Neb., raising money to perform for current and retired U.S. veterans, and the Hamline University football team from St. Paul, Minn., raising money to enhance its video equipment and editing systems.

Schwan’s Cares™ is a subsidiary of Schwan’s Home Service, which markets and distributes top-quality frozen foods through home delivery and mail order.

Learn More

To start a campaign, support a campaign or find further facts and figures, visit www.schwans-cares.com or call (855) 870-7208.

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Five Tips To Help You Land A Home You’ll Love

(NAPSI)—With mortgage rates still low, now could be a great time to buy a new home. Before diving into the market headfirst, however, it’s important to do your homework so that you’re prepared to tackle each hurdle in the homebuying process. With this in mind, the “What I Wish I Knew About the Homebuying Process” survey gauges the preparedness of recent homebuyers. As a result, these five tips can help you make the right homebuying decision.

1. Identify your “must-haves.” Identifying your “must-haves” is key to guaranteeing satisfaction with your home purchase. The survey found that nearly four in 10 recent homebuyers (39 percent) said that, knowing what they know now, they would buy a home of a different size, at a different price point, and/or in a different area. In addition, first-time homebuyers (55 percent) are more likely to say that they would make significant changes with respect to the home’s size, price and/or location. To help you look back regret-free, make a checklist of top priorities (access to a good school district, for example) and perks you can forgo (such as a multiple-car garage). Know what you’re willing to compromise on and what you are not so that you’re prepared to find the home that’s right for you.

2. Understand the financial aspects of the homebuying process. Nine of every 10 recent homebuyers felt prepared going into the homebuying process, but in hindsight, more than half (56 percent) wish they had been armed with more knowledge about the financial aspects of purchasing a home, according to the survey. In fact, it found that recent homebuyers would have liked more knowledge about the ins and outs of the closing and settlement process (22 percent), negotiating/making an offer on a home (19 percent) and financing a home (15 percent). To help people overcome the challenges of buying a home and give them a primer on what to expect, Chase launched the My New Home app and YouTube Channel.

3. Prepare with technology. Key aspects of the homebuying process differed from expectations. A majority said the length of the process was not what they anticipated, saying it either took longer (40 percent) or shorter (16 percent) than expected. Thirty-four percent of recent homebuyers overall said the costs and fees of maintaining their home were more than they expected, with the sentiment especially felt by first-time homebuyers (55 percent). Chase’s My New Home suite of educational tools can help individuals and families avoid surprises and fully prepare for one of the biggest purchases they will ever make.

4. Seek out advice from experts. Homebuyers continue to rely on Realtors and mortgage bankers to meet their needs. Sixty-eight percent of homeowners sought out advice from Realtors throughout the homebuying process and about half (45 percent) turned to mortgage bankers and loan officers. Seek out Realtors, mortgage bankers and loan officers with key industry data and tools that are easy to understand so you have all the information you need to find the right house—one that you will be proud to call home.

5. Consider the desire to renovate. The desire to renovate is bound to hit even the newest of homeowners. While recent homebuyers said the home they bought aligns well with their “must-have” list (97 percent) and considered the home move-in ready (83 percent), 76 percent have done or are planning to make renovations to their home in the near term, according to the survey. A Chase Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) is one product that homeowners can continue to rely on to put their ideas and visions into action

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