FINANCE

Selling
Your Home Globally

Diversify Your Portfolio Collaboration Solutions Health And Wellness Deals Medicare
Preventive Care
Earn Money
Direct Selling
Small Business Opportunities Life Insurance
For Women

When Selling Your Home — Think Globally

(NAPSI)—When listing a home, sellers typically expect curious neighbors to stop by during an open house, but who is likely to actually purchase that home may surprise them. Rather than buyers from down the street or even across the country, a growing number of sellers are seeing their homes purchased by buyers from the other side of the world.

According to the National Association of REALTORS (NAR) Profile of International Home Buying Activity, the percentage of international sales increased by over 24 percent in the past year. With the current changes in the global economy, more homes in the U.S. are purchased by international buyers than ever, raising the total volume of sales to international clients from $66.4 billion to $82.5 billion.

Marketing Real Estate to International Buyers

Because of the current international landscape, it’s important for today’s homeowners to enlist the help of real estate professionals capable of marketing their property globally. For example, the CENTURY 21® System has a network of over 100,000 real estate sales professionals serving 73 different countries and territories worldwide.

Tips for Appealing to Potential Buyers Abroad

• Play up your home’s best features—Highlight such attributes as proximity to top schools and colleges, international businesses, transportation hubs and vacation spots.

• Work with the right professional—Look for a real estate professional who excels in working with international buyers and has accreditations such as the NAR Certified International Property Specialist designation, which equips real estate professionals with the tools to be experts on exchange rates, cultural matters and investment trends.

• Recognize the power of the Internet—Make sure your home is properly marketed online and listed on sites that cater to foreign buyers, such as www.century21.com/global.

“It’s important for sellers to know that their real estate professional is equipped to market their home to diverse clientele in this increasingly global economy,” said Rick Davidson, president and CEO, Century 21 Real Estate LLC. “The world is growing smaller; advances in technology make it possible for our global network of sales professionals to not only share property details on Facebook, but to tweet a listing video to any point on the globe within seconds,” said Davidson. “Coming together as a global real estate organization, CENTURY 21 real estate professionals are well positioned to help consumers buy and sell properties from Bali to Brooklyn.”

To find the right real estate agent to help make your home appealing to buyers both down the block and around the world, you can visit www.century21.com.

  Download article content                                                                                          [Top]

Switching To Safety

(NAPSI)—As you contemplate retirement-something that’s a good idea to do at any age—it may pay for you to adopt new financial habits and invest in a high-yield savings account.

It’s a smart way to diversify your portfolio and reduce your overall risk, which can be a big plus—especially in an uncertain financial climate.

What You Get

Other important benefits include:

• Peace of mind. One of the safest investment vehicles is a high-yield savings account. Your savings are fully insured by the FDIC up to at least $250,000--even if the bank that holds your account fails. In fact, since the formation of the FDIC in 1934, no insured depositor with an account within the FDIC insurance limit has ever lost money as the result of a bank failure.

• Liquidity. High-yield savings accounts are one of the most liquid investment vehicles, providing you with easy access to your money.

• No maintenance fees. An increasing number of savings vehicles, including high-yield savings accounts, don’t impose monthly service fees, provided you maintain a specified minimum balance in your accounts. Look for a savings account with no fees so all your money can keep working for you.

• Earnings. Not all savings accounts are high-yield savings accounts. As the term suggests, high-yield accounts offer higher interest rates than conventional savings accounts. That makes them an effective long-term investment vehicle as well as a means of establishing an emergency fund. For example, the CIT Bank Savings account offers competitive interest rates and, like most high-yield accounts, is available online.

What The Banker Says

Explains Raymond Quinlan, executive vice president, banking, CIT Group Inc., the parent company of CIT Bank: “Since the launch of CIT Bank’s online bank, our mission has been to provide our customers with the highest level of service, security and reliability.” That commitment, he adds, “is in keeping with the values that have been CIT Group’s hallmark for more than a century.”

Award Winner

CIT Bank has been awarded five stars in Bankrate.com’s Safe & Sound Ratings service for the quarter ended July 31, 2012, the highest possible rating, for “a superior ranking of relative strength and stability.” Bankrate’s Safe & Sound ratings are comparisons to both industry peer norms and standards. Individual performance levels are determined from publicly available regulatory filings and are compared to asset-size peer norms, industry standards and key absolute benchmarks.

In addition to the high-yield savings account, CIT Bank offers a range of CDs with attractive interest rates. Accounts are insured by the FDIC.

Learn More

For more facts on Bankrate, go to www.bankrate.com. For further information on CIT Bank, visit www.BankOnCIT.com. CIT Bank is a Member of FDIC.

 Download article content                                                                                          [Top]

Over 70 Percent Of Businesses Not Collaborating Effectively

(NAPSI)—Recent global research discovered an intriguing correlation between collaboration technologies and better business outcomes. Although many organizations recognize that improved collaboration would improve the way they conduct business, the vast majority are not using technology tools and processes to achieve this.

A study by Filigree Consulting, an independent global consulting firm specializing in technology research, concluded that over 70 percent of businesses are not effectively using collaboration tools to increase productivity, make faster and more informed decisions or drive business value. In contrast, the few organizations that are taking full advantage of an integrated approach to collaboration-including technology, people and process—reported up to 300 percent more impact on business results, including accelerated rate of innovation, enhanced customer experience and reduced travel costs.

Collaborative technologies, including interactive whiteboards and conferencing software, help teams consolidate information from multiple sources and bring flexibility to the work environment for more purposeful and effective meetings. Local and dispersed teams can actively engage—everyone can see and share information and contribute to discussions and decisions in real time.

What Can You Do?

Based on the survey, an assessment tool has been created to help organizations determine how they may improve business outcomes through collaborative technology. This assessment tool from SMART Technologies consists of a 20-minute online questionnaire that can be completed by any member of an organization for comparative results based on industry standards. These results will give decision makers relevant information in determining the optimal means of incorporating collaborative technology and process into their organization.

“As the world’s leading chemical company, we are continuously looking for ways to improve the way we do business, and recognize that technology plays a large role in increasing our overall efficiency,” says Mike Handy, AV Specialist, BASF. “Participating in this project is an opportunity to identify the best practices for organizations to follow when it comes to incorporating collaboration in the workplace. It’s straightforward and practical and sheds new light on a subject that is of growing interest for business today.”

How to Learn More

For further information and to take the assessment survey, visit www.smarttech.com/freestormGEN.

Download article content                                                                                          [Top]

Blue365 Program Offers Health And Wellness Deals

(NAPSI)—There is good news for those who want to get more out of their health plan.

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association has teamed up with exceptional companies to provide access to health and wellness deals through its Blue365 program.

Members of participating Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies have access to discounts on gym memberships, healthy eating, personal care, courses on stress management, armbands for monitoring weight reduction and much more to help ensure health and well-being.

For example, members can get access to over 8,000 gyms nationwide for only $25 per month from Healthways, 25 percent off a Jenny Craig® Premium Program or 20 percent off an entire order at Reebok.com, plus free shipping.

Enrollment is free and exclusive to members of Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) companies that have agreed to offer this voluntary program as a complimentary member benefit.

To sign up, visit www.blue365deals.com or go to your BCBS company website to access Blue365. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association is an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Note to Editors: Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies participating in Blue365 are in the following states: AZ, DC, FL, IA, KS, LA, MA, MD, MI, MO, MT, NC, NE, NJ, NY, PA, RI, SC and VT. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Federal Employee Program® also participates in Blue365.

Download article content                                                                                          [Top]

Medicare Encourages Preventive Care

(NAPSI)—As a flood of baby boomers approach 65 years of age, many face health challenges they may not have anticipated—but help may be at hand. Consider this: Thirty-one percent of people who turned 65 in 2011 said their physical health is worse than they thought it would be.1 In addition, 14 million—or one out of every four boomers—will be living with diabetes by 2030.2

As boomers continue to age, it’s important for them to focus on their health and well-being. Medicare and Medicare Advantage, the private sector Medicare option, can help them prepare for a more healthy future.

The Doctor’s Advice

“Boomers need to realize there is an array of preventive care benefits the federal health care system provides for them,” said Dr. Scott Latimer, Central Florida Senior Products Market President of Humana. “It pays to learn what Medicare and Medicare Advantage deliver and how to access these benefits.”

Benefits include preventive screenings, such as blood glucose tests, now offered by all Medicare Advantage plans. In addition, beneficiaries can participate in a comprehensive “Welcome to Medicare” session with their physician, whatever plan they choose. These provide preventive tests and screenings, including mammograms and colonoscopies; a review of medical history; and planning for a healthy future.

“Preventive health care is essential to ensuring boomers aging into Medicare and other beneficiaries live healthier, more productive lives,” Dr. Latimer explained. “Boomers should start researching Medicare health care and prescription drug plans before they enroll.”

Tips to Help You Choose

Although choosing a health plan can be daunting, boomers and beneficiaries can use these three tips to help them make the best choice.

1. Before choosing your Medicare plan, you need to understand your unique needs. How would you classify your overall health? What are your prescription drug needs? Make a list of your current medications and consider which prescription drugs you may use in the future. Talk to your doctor about your current health to get a better overall picture of your coverage needs. Review the past year’s health care expenses, including hospital, pharmacy and physician costs, to determine if that year was typical. This will help you make the best estimate for the year ahead.

2. Each of the different parts of Medicare delivers something unique. Make sure you understand them so you can make a confident choice. Use www.medicare.gov as a resource to help find and compare Medicare health plans and prescription drug plans.

3. Visit Family Health Budget (www.familyhealthbudget.com) for help estimating costs.

1. Source: Approaching 65: A survey of Baby Boomers Turning 65 Years Old, December 2010.
2. Source: American Hospital Association, May 2007.

Download article content                                                                                          [Top]

 
 

More Working Women Find Flexibility And Job Satisfaction With Direct Selling

(NAPSI)—When it comes to what women are looking for in a job or career, studies show the answer is flexibility. According to a More Magazine Workplace Survey, 92 percent of women want flexibility in a job. In addition to flexibility, 42 percent of respondents said they want to own their own business.

Where To Turn

With more and more women looking for flexibility and greater job satisfaction, many are taking advantage of a career in direct sales.

Amy Robinson of the Direct Selling Association explains: “Direct selling provides a time-proven business opportunity for those looking for flexibility.” Direct selling can fit a variety of needs whether you’re looking for a way to earn extra money for a family vacation or you are looking for a full-time business opportunity.

When Jenny Gok, a mother of two, was looking for a more flexible way to supplement her income, she chose to become a salesperson for Nu Skin. “I was a customer for many years and loved Nu Skin’s skin care and nutritional products. I thought if I loved the products I could sell them to others and earn extra income. What started out as a part-time business has now grown into a full-time career. With Nu Skin, I now have the flexibility and freedom I’ve always dreamed of and the opportunity to sell products that I truly believe in.”

Ranked by Forbes.com as one of the “100 Most Trustworthy Companies in 2010,” and established nearly three decades ago, Nu Skin has provided women and men from all walks of life with an independent business opportunity to sell its exclusive ageLOC® anti-aging products in the 53 markets the company operates in.

For those looking to get involved in direct selling, Robinson recommends individuals follow some basic steps. “First, find a company and product that appeals to you and your interests. Second, set realistic goals. There isn’t easy money in direct sales and success depends on your hard work. Finally, ask questions about your chosen company and its products or services. Make sure you learn about start-up fees, the cost of doing business, average earnings, return policies and anything else that might concern you.”

Why Nu Skin

Gok followed these steps when choosing to become a distributor for Nu Skin. She was drawn to Nu Skin because of the growing trends in anti-aging that include:

• According to Anti—Aging Products-A Global Strategic Business Report, March 2008, Global Industry Analysts, Inc.—the anti-aging industry is projected to experience an 80 percent increase from 2009 to 2015.

• The global cosmetics and toiletries market is currently worth $333 billion, according to TrendWatch.

• Euromonitor states that the global wellness products industry is a $569 billion industry and anti-aging is one of the fastest-growing categories.

Learn More

For further information, visit www.nuskin.com or call (801) 345-1000.

Download article content                                                                                          [Top]

Survey Shows A Big Opportunity For Small Businesses

(NAPSI)—According to a new survey, consumer shopping habits are showing the biggest shift since Santa Claus first slid down the chimney. The survey showed that Internet sites are more popular than ever, with more than three-quarters of those surveyed saying they plan to shop for gifts online this holiday season.

However, the survey also revealed some positive news for smaller businesses and boutique stores—and potential ways to attract more customers. For instance, customers with higher incomes and without children are more likely to shop inside small stores and boutiques.

Plus, shoppers whose annual incomes top $100,000 visit stores in person more often than those who earn less. Seventy-five percent of parents said they’re more likely to shop at major retailers, while just 60 percent of people without children preferred the big chains.

The Personal Touch

“Many shoppers prefer smaller businesses because they can cater to the needs of individuals in ways that major retailers simply cannot,” said Megan Kavanaugh, executive director of Bags & Bows, a retail packaging firm.

Referring to the Deluxe survey results—which showed that 91 percent of gift-givers wrap their own presents—Kavanaugh explained, “By offering custom wrapping or providing attractive signature gift bags, small businesses can eliminate the wrapping hassle—and help the customer’s gift stand out.”

Many Like Real Mail

And when it comes to sending holiday cards and wrapping presents, traditional methods still prevail. Nearly 90 percent of survey respondents said they prefer to receive traditional cards versus an electronic one. “We all like getting a card in the mail—it makes us feel special,” said Dave Lessing, general manager of PsPrint, an online printing company.

Younger People Shop Online

The survey—which was conducted by the Deluxe Corporation—showed that respondents between 18 and 34 make nearly 90 percent of purchases online. While the number is lower for older shoppers, people 65 and older also shop online in large numbers (48 percent).

For more information on the survey, visit www.deluxe.com/holiday_trends_survey.

 

Download article content                                                                                          [Top]

New Policies Offer Many Women A Better Prognosis For Life Insurance Coverage

(NAPSI)—There’s hopeful news for women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer and are seeking insurance coverage.

An insurance company that has a long history of supporting breast cancer research philanthropically, has made it a priority to have its underwriting of policies reflect the good prognosis many women receive because of advanced medical treatments.

In 2011, Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) revised its life insurance underwriting guidelines for people who have battled breast cancer based on a review of recent medical research, including changes to the official staging system for breast cancer.

The end result is that more breast cancer survivors than ever before are likely to be eligible for life insurance coverage, and often with lower premiums.

Making it Personal

In 2009, the issue of coverage became very personal for Vlasta Duffy, a MassMutual agent. In the spring of that year, she was diagnosed with noninvasive breast cancer.

As a professional, Duffy had faced questions about coverage and similar issues with clients many times before.

“One of the first thoughts that went through my head when I got diagnosed was, ‘Do I have enough coverage?’ And if I didn’t, then what? Would my husband and daughter be OK if something happened to me either now or if I got cancer again a few years from now,” said Duffy.

Duffy believes that planning for your future becomes so much more urgent when that future is uncertain. She says she speaks out about her cancer now because she wants her experience to serve as a chance for others to consider their options, particularly the plans they have made for coverage.

Tips on Coverage

If you haven’t completed your insurance planning or just want to make sure your plans are in good shape, start by calling on a trusted financial professional.

Here are some additional tips:

• Find a financial professional you are comfortable working with who understands your situation and your needs.

• Apply for life insurance—you never know what you are eligible for even with a history of breast cancer and/or other medical issues, or ask for an informal inquiry to get an accurate idea of what you can qualify for if you were to submit a formal application.

• Review your spouse’s coverage and make sure it is adequate. During this challenging time, it is important to make sure everyone is properly protected.

• Work with your financial professional to apply for life insurance that covers your children to protect their insurability in the event they develop breast cancer or any other medical issues.

Added Duffy, “It’s never an easy time to plan. But knowing you and your family are in good financial health is one less thing to worry about when you’re caught by surprise.”

To learn more, visit the website at www.massmutual.com.

  Download article content                                                                                          [Top]
 

AMERICA'S HEROES



Bookmark and Share LIST OF SUBJECTS LEAVE A MESSAGE  Follow Me on Pinterest