Sunday, November 11, 2012

How To Repair Stucco

Do you have a stucco wall that is in need of some minor repair? If so, the good news is that small areas of damage on stucco walls may be repaired fairly easily by most laypeople. The bad news is that larger repairs should be left to the professionals due their scope and the potential for inadvertently covering up underlying structural problems. Here is what you need to know to complete a basic, minor stucco wall repair on your own:
Brief Anatomy of a Stucco Wall
Stucco walls consist of a base material which may be metal lath, brick, stone or concrete. A layer of stucco, which is actually another form of concrete, is then applied over the base material in layers until the desired thickness is reached. Some stucco walls are also painted, embedded with color pigments or textured. Though it is useful to know what kind of base material, paint, pigments and texture techniques were used in creating your damaged stucco wall, it is not necessary as the repair technique I am about to share with you will work for the majority of stucco walls.
Words of Warning about Stucco Repair
One caveat though, if your stucco walls are embedded with pigments instead of paint or textured with items like gravel, you will want to purchase replacement items that closely resemble the remaining wall. Otherwise the repaired area will stick out like a sore thumb. As far as pigments go, a good rule of thumb is to make a test batch first by adding a little bit of the metallic oxide pigments at a time to white stucco mix and then let it dry completely. Match the dried test batch to the remaining wall and adjust the color as needed before whipping up a full batch of pigmented stucco patch.
Materials Need to Repair Stucco Walls
In order to complete a minor stucco wall repair job you will need to gather together the following materials;
1 pair work gloves
1 pair safety goggles
1 putty knife
1 wire brush
1 pointed trowel
1 wooden float
1 bag stucco patch mix (make your own mix if need be)
Stucco pigments, if needed
Texturing materials, if needed
1 old blanket
1 roll duct tape, heavy duty
Access to a working garden hose
Step 1: Clean and Prepare the Damaged Stucco Surface
Before attempting this task, be sure to don your work gloves and safety goggles. Once your safety gear is on, use the putty knife, pointed trowel, wire brush and garden hose to clean away any loose debris from the damaged area. Continue by wetting but not soaking a blanket with water. Duct tape the wet blanket over the damaged area and allow it to sit like that overnight. This is because the damaged surface area must be sufficiently damp to properly receive the stucco patch.
Step 2: Patching the Damaged Stucco Wall
According to the manufacturer's instructions, prepare the stucco patch mix. You may need to make your own stucco patch mix which should consist of one part Portland cement, three parts sand, 1/10 part hydrated lime and enough water to make the mixture a consistency of wood putty. Depending on whether or not the stucco base is exposed will determine what you do next. Damage that does not extend down to the stucco wall's base material may be patched in one application. However, if the stucco base is exposed, you will need to complete the patch in layers over at least two applications.
Assuming that the base was exposed, your first step will be to use a pointed trowel to firmly pack the damaged area within ¼ inch of the damaged area's surface rim. Once the damaged area has been packed with patch up to ¼ inches deep, wet the patch area and cover it with a damp blanket as described in step one. Allow the first layer of the patch to sit like that for approximately two days. In order to keep the blanket wet you may need to periodically sprinkle it with water. At the end of the two day period remove the wet blanket and, using a square trowel, apply another layer of patch mix so that the damaged stucco area is flush with the undamaged stucco area. Proceed by using a wooden float and any necessary texture materials to blend the repaired area in with the rest of the stucco wall.
Once the repair has been made you will need to recover it with the wet blanket and leave it like that while the patch cures. You will need to keep the blanket damp during the entire curing process, which generally takes three to four days depending on the brand of stucco patch used. After the patch has cured the blanket may be removed. Once the wall dries you may paint it if necessary.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

How To Find Best Rate CDs

Certificates of Deposit (CD’s) are one of the safest investment vehicles out there. If you want to be at the low end of the risk/reward spectrum, CD’s might be the right choice.
CD Basics
CD’s pay you interest on your money very much like a savings account, but your earnings are typically higher with a CD. Go ahead and compare for yourself: you should find that CD’s pay a higher APY than a savings account.
Why Do CD’s Pay More Than Savings?
When you buy a CD, your bank is doing you a favor by paying you higher interest. Why would they do you any favors? They expect that you will return the favor by keeping your money in the CD for a specified period of time. This gives them some certainty and ability to use your money for other purposes (such as lending it to other customers or investing it).
How do CD’s Work?
Getting a CD is easy. Simply tell your bank or credit union that you’d like to buy a CD. They’ll most likely have a simple form with some disclosures. Then, they move the money into the CD for you. You don’t need an actual certificate – usually you’ll just see a distinct category for the deposit on your statements.
CD’s pay interest at some point. You can choose to reinvest that interest, or spend it. I suggest reinvesting if you’re really trying to make the money grow. Once you start earning interest on your interest (compounding) your account grows faster.
When your CD matures you usually have a window (10-15 days in many cases) of time to decide what to do next. Usually, your bank will automatically reinvest into a new CD if you don’t give them alternate instructions. Make sure you know the policy, and that you give proper instructions if you don’t want the money rolled into a new CD.
If you want the best CD rates, set yourself up for success. First, check our CD Rate Scorecard to see what the most competitive institutions are doing. Now, pick your product.
Time and the Best CD Rates
CD’s with longer maturities (time periods) pay higher rates than those with shorter maturities. This is because you’re promising to leave the money with the bank for more time, and they reward you for this. Try comparing for yourself. You’ll see that the best CD rates have the longest maturities, although there are always some surprising exceptions.
Keep in mind that the economy in general dictates what “competitive” interest rates are, and that influences what the best CD rates are. Rates could rise or fall (see Bank CD Rates for more details). You need to decide whether or not you should lock your money up long-term for a higher rate, or whether you should wait and see if rates will be more favorable in the near future.
Shop for the Best CD Rates
Next, you need to shop around. Try checking your local banks and credit unions to see if anybody is “having a sale”. You’ll often find that an institution needs to get deposits on the books quickly, and they know that one of the best ways to do this is to offer the best CD rate available locally. You’ll see these advertised on banners and in the newspaper.
Another great place to shop is online. Online-only banks offer some of the best CD rates all the time. They have lower overhead than the brick-and-mortar banks so they can pass the savings on to you.
A third place to shop is with a brokerage firm. Although you may not know it, your financial advisor may have some of the best CD rates available. Advisors have access to brokered CDs, which are typically sold in larger blocks. Make sure you work with somebody you trust and that you know the risks – getting out of a brokered CD before maturity can be expensive.
Finally, check some of the personal finance blogs on the Web. These people do a great job of searching out the best CD rates and spreading the word.
Valued Customers Get the Best CD Rates
Finally, financial institutions offer the best CD rates to their best customers. To qualify for their best CD rates, you may need to meet a minimum investment requirement. Find out how much it would take to secure a higher rate. If you can afford it, take advantage. Sometimes it helps to consolidate your business with fewer providers – just remember to keep your accounts within FDIC insurance limits.
If CD’s are sounding good to you, let’s take a step back and look at some pitfalls.
First, you need to lock your money up. If you want to get it back before the CD matures, you should know that you may have to pay a penalty. Ask your bank exactly what the penalty will be.
Next, if safety is important to you, make sure that your bank is FDIC insured. Look for the phrase “Member FDIC” or the FDIC logo.
Remember that credit unions are not FDIC insured, rather they are insured by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA)– so they won’t be in the FDIC’s database. NCUA insurance is just as strong as FDIC insurance in my opinion.
Finally, remember that because the risk level is relatively low, your reward might also be relatively low. There are various types of risk, including the risk of losing your money and the risk of losing purchasing power. CD investors have a relatively low risk of losing their money (due to a banking system failure).
However, CD investors have a relatively higher risk of losing purchasing power over the long-term. Long-term investors should at least familiarize themselves with the alternatives and risks associated with other investments.
Article Source : Justin Pritchard (

Monday, September 3, 2012

How To Find A Good Financial Planner

1. Anyone can call himself a planner.
To avoid amateurs, hire a planner who's earned special credentials (such as a Certified Financial Planner or Personal Financial Specialist designation) by meeting training standards or having a certain level of experience.
2. Planning is more than investing.
Not all planners offer comprehensive services. Some just give investment advice or focus on one aspect of planning, such as insurance or taxes.
3. Expand your choices.
When hiring a planner, interview at least three pros to find the one who can deliver the services you need and who's compatible with your style.
4. Personal references are a good place to start - but not the last stop.
A reference from a friend or family member is a great way to search for a financial planner. But make sure you've got similar needs as the person who's giving the referral. Go to groups like the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards  and the Financial Planning Association  for additional references.
5. Understand how your planner is getting paid.
The three most common set-ups are: Fee-only, fee-based, and commission-based. Fee-only planners don't get commissions for the products they sell - fees are for the advice they give. Fee-based planners may receive commission on some products they sell, but most of their money comes from a fee you pay them. Commission-based planners are paid by the companies whose products they sell.
6. Check credentials.
Check to see if a planner's record is tarnished by disciplinary problems or complaints. Groups that award credentials or state agencies keep tabs on planners and can provide help.
7. Get references.
Ask a planner for two or more of his clients - then follow up and call to find out how a planner performs in specific circumstances, such as during a financial crisis.
8. Express yourself.
The quality of a planner's advice is correlated to how well he or she knows you. Make sure a planner asks questions about your finances, goals, risk tolerance and philosophy. If they don't ask, they probably aren't paying adequate attention.
9. Know what they're selling.
Find out what financial products a planner sells and how much he or his firm earns for making a sale. Be wary of planners who push one product - say, one family of mutual funds or one kind of insurance - as they may not give you the unbiased or comprehensive advice you need.
10. Know yourself.
The best planner will take his cues from you. Before you hire someone, identify the financial goals you want to meet, your assets and liabilities, your risk tolerance, and investment style. Are you self-directed or do you want specialized help?
Interested in a Great Financial Planner?
Check out Old Harbor Financial and let Bruce Help you develop a plan that works!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

What To Know About Insured CDs

Consumers searching for relatively low-risk investments often turn to Insured CD's. A CD is a special type of deposit account with a bank or thrift institution that typically offers a higher rate of interest than a regular savings account. Like all bank deposit products, CDs feature federal deposit insurance up to $250,000, per insured bank, for each account ownership category.

Here’s How CDs Work: When you purchase a CD, you commit to deposit a fixed sum of money for a fixed period of time – six months, one year, five years, or more – and, in exchange, the issuing bank pays you interest, typically at regular intervals. When you cash in or redeem your CD at maturity, you receive the money you originally invested plus any accrued interest. But if you redeem your CD before it matures, you may have to pay an "early withdrawal" penalty or forfeit a portion of the interest you earned. If the issuing bank fails during the term of the CD, the principal balance of the CD, together with interest accrued at the time of the bank’s closure, is insured by the FDIC up to the applicable deposit insurance limit.

Types of CDs Vary: At one time, all fixed interest CD's pay interest until they reached maturity. Fixed-rate CDs, often referred to as “traditional” CDs, are still the most common. However, more and more banks are offering a greater variety of CD products with a broad range of non-traditional features.  For instance, consumers can now find a growing number of banks offering CDs with little or no penalty for early withdrawals, with special redemption features in the event the depositor dies or with provisions giving the bank the right to “call,” or accelerate the CD maturity.  In addition, many banks are offering CDs with variable interest rates based on either a pre-set schedule or tied to the performance of a specified market index (such as the S&P 500 or the Dow Jones Industrial Average). These latter CDs are often referred to as index-linked, market-linked, equity-linked, or structured CDs.

CD Accounts Established at an Insured Bank: The most common way to acquire a CD is by opening an account at an FDIC-insured bank.  In such cases, the consumer, as the primary depositor named on the CD, can communicate directly with the bank about the account, review and confirm the terms of the account agreement, and obtain assurances that the CD is fully protected by FDIC deposit insurance.

Brokered or Agency CDs: Consumers also purchase CDs through brokerage firms or by using an agent. Common situations involve the use of traditional stock brokerage firms and those firms specializing in the sale of CDs, known as "deposit brokers." Although brokered CDs can be placed directly in the name of an individual depositor, it is more common for brokers to establish co-mingled deposit accounts representing the funds of multiple customers.

A consumer with significant funds to deposit may use a broker to make deposits at multiple banks, thereby maximizing the consumer’s FDIC insurance coverage. In addition, consumers may be attracted to CDs sold by a broker who has made significant deposits in a bank on behalf of multiple depositors and, therefore, is able to negotiate higher CD interest rates than the individual consumer. Be aware, however, that CDs sold by brokers sometimes can be complex and carry more risks than traditional CDs sold directly by banks. An incompetent or unscrupulous broker could mislead or defraud its customers, resulting in loss or theft of the consumers’ funds. Since FDIC insurance coverage only applies if the broker in fact properly establishes and maintains the CD account on your behalf with your funds, it is very important to verify that you are dealing with a reputable broker when purchasing a CD. If the broker mishandles or misappropriates your deposit, your only recourse is against the broker.


Before you consider purchasing a CD from your bank or brokerage firm, make sure you fully understand all of its terms. Carefully read the disclosure statements, including any fine print. And don’t let the promise of high yields deter you from asking detailed questions – and demanding answers – before you invest. The following are issues you should address and other tips that can help you assess what features make sense for you:
  1. Make sure you are acquiring a CD issued by an FDIC-insured bank – Not all companies with bank-sounding names are actually banks that are insured by the FDIC. To verify that an institution is FDIC-insured, you can use the FDIC’s Bank Find  or call the FDIC toll-free at 1(877) 275-3342 (8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday). The hearing impaired line is 1(800) 925-4618.

    If you are purchasing a CD from a broker, you will have to rely on the broker's promise to place your funds into a CD account at an FDIC-insured bank. If the broker breaks this promise, and never places your funds into a bank, you will not be insured by the FDIC.

  2. Make sure you are acquiring a “deposit” that is insurable by the FDIC – Since some banks offer both deposit as well as non-deposit investment products, it is important to confirm that you are purchasing an insured “deposit.” Before establishing a CD account, make sure that the issuing bank has clearly identified the account as a “deposit” which is subject to FDIC deposit insurance. If you are purchasing the CD through a broker, you should review the account agreement and other supporting documentation to confirm these facts.

  3. Make sure that the principal amount of the CD is not subject to contractual risk – A financial product cannot qualify as a CD, or any “deposit” for that matter, if it has contractual contingencies. To be a CD, the account agreement must unconditionally obligate the issuing bank to repay the full principal amount of the deposit upon the CD’s maturity.  If an account agreement places conditions on the repayment at maturity of the entire principal balance, or otherwise places the principal at risk for any reason other than the CD’s early redemption, then the product is not a deposit insured by the FDIC, but an investment. In the event of bank failure, customer claims for repayment of amounts due on such non-deposit investments are not insured by the FDIC, but are considered a general creditor claim of the failed bank for which there is usually no return or repayment.

  4. Find out when the CD matures and if there are any provisions for automatic renewal at maturity – As simple as this sounds, many consumers fail to confirm the maturity dates for their CDs and are later shocked to learn that they have tied up their money for five, ten, or even twenty years. Before you purchase a CD, review the account agreement to confirm the maturity date in writing. Also, find out if the CD will automatically renew at maturity if you do not withdraw the money. If that is the case, find out if the automatic renewal will be at the "old" interest rate or the current rate at the time of the renewal. If market rates have increased, it may not be to your benefit to renew at the old rate.

  5. You may want to consider “laddering” your CD purchases over different time periods – In establishing CD account(s), be mindful of your potential need for access to the deposited funds prior to maturity. For instance, say you have $100,000 to invest. Although you would like to maximize your earnings, you may be hesitant about investing all of the money on a long term basis. Instead of putting it all into a five-year CD just to get a high, long-term interest rate, you could place $20,000 in a CD that matures in a year, $20,000 in a CD that matures in two years, and so on, which means you will have a CD maturing every year for five years. If you don’t need access to the funds at a CD’s maturity, you could roll each maturing CD into a new 5-year CD. With this strategy you may avoid having to pay an early withdrawal penalty when you need access to some of the $100,000 originally invested in the CD accounts.

  6. Research any penalties for early withdrawal – Be sure to review your CD account agreement to determine how much you will have to pay if you redeem your CD before maturity. Most CDs will require a depositor to pay a penalty for an early withdrawal. In some cases, the account agreement may provide for a waiver of the early withdrawal fee in the event of the depositor’s death, but there are no laws or regulations requiring banks to make such accommodation.

  7. Investigate any call features – Some index-linked and other long-term, high-yield CDs have "call" features, meaning that the issuing bank may choose to terminate – or call – the CD after only one year or some other fixed period of time. A callable CD could undermine the depositor’s ability to lock in an attractive interest rate, since a bank could decide to call its high-yield CDs when interest rates fall. Only an issuing bank may call a CD, not the depositor.

  8. Understand the difference between call features and maturity – Don’t assume that a "federally insured one-year non-callable" CD matures in one year. That language simply may mean that an issuing bank has agreed that for the first year of a multi-year CD it will not exercise its call rights. If you have any doubt, ask the issuing bank or brokerage firm to explain the CD’s call features and to confirm when the CD matures.

  9. Confirm the terms relating to the accrual and payment of interest on your CD – You should carefully review your CD account agreement and any supporting documentation for the terms relating to interest rate accrual. You will want to confirm the specific rate of interest and whether the rate is fixed or variable.  You should also note how often the bank pays interest – for example, monthly, semi-annually or only at maturity – and how you will be paid – for example, by check or by an electronic transfer of funds.

    For an index-linked or other variable rate CD, you will want to understand when and how the interest rate can change over the term of the CD.  For index-linked CDs, in particular, the contract terms for computing interest can be highly complex and technical, so be very careful to ensure you understand the risks you are assuming before investing in this type of product.

    You should also know exactly when interest accrues on your CD. Remember, the FDIC’s obligation to insured depositors is limited to payment of “principal and accrued interest” through the date of the issuing bank’s failure up to the applicable insurance limit. If interest is not accrued on the day of a bank’s failure, then the interest will not be eligible for FDIC deposit insurance coverage.

    This is an especially important issue for index-linked CDs, which often provide that interest accrues only at the CD’s maturity. For such CDs, if the bank fails prior to maturity, deposit insurance would only be available for the principal balance, but not for the unaccrued interest which is considered “conditional” and not earned. So, for instance, if interest on a five-year, index-linked CD is payable only upon maturity, and the issuing bank fails one day prior to maturity, FDIC insurance would pay the depositor 100 percent of the CD’s principal balance (up to the applicable deposit insurance limit) and zero for any interest.

  10. Beware of advertised CD rates far above the competition – As the saying goes “If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”  Often when interest rates for a “CD” are advertised well above the industry average, the product advertised is either not a CD deposit (and not FDIC-insured) or a CD offered as part of a marketing ploy to sell another financial product (e.g., a life insurance policy or an annuity). In either case any money invested could be at risk.

    For instance, a broker may advertise in the local newspaper a 5 percent interest rate on a six-month bank CD. When a customer calls for more information, he or she is told to come to the office to discuss the details. It is not unusual for the customer to then be told that the bank is paying only 5 percent on the first $1,000 of the deposit for a limited period of time — not 5 percent on the entire balance for the full CD term.

    Another situation to beware of occurs when a deposit broker markets a CD for which the issuing bank will pay a market interest rate, and the broker will use its own funds to add to the rate of return paid to the consumer. When the CD matures, there is no similar offer on a new CD and the depositor could be steered into purchasing a non-insured investment that may be a poor choice for the consumer but very lucrative for the sellers.

    The worst case scenario is that an unscrupulous broker is simply trying to scam you into relinquishing your funds to them based on the promise of a high rate of return on insured deposit. 

  11. Confirm that any CDs acquired from a broker and titled in the broker’s name have been properly established as a “fiduciary account” – Fiduciary accounts are deposit accounts owned by one party, but held in a fiduciary capacity as the deposits of another. If a deposit account satisfies the FDIC disclosure and recordkeeping requirements for fiduciary accounts, then the funds in that account will be insured on a “pass-through” basis as the deposits of the account owner.  Accordingly, if your brokered CD is titled in the name of the broker, and not in your name, you should confirm that the deposit account records indicate that the CD is held by the broker on behalf of others (e.g., ABC Investments Client Account or ABC Investments, as Broker). You will also need to confirm that the records maintained by the broker or the bank identify your ownership interest in the account. If these requirements are met, then your share of the CD may qualify for up to $250,000 of FDIC insurance coverage.

  12. For brokered CDs, confirm that your CD account balance, together with any other deposits held by you at the same issuing bank, are fully protected by FDIC deposit insurance – If you purchase a brokered CD issued by a bank where you already have deposits held in the same ownership capacity, your deposit insurance coverage will be determined by adding together the account balances, including accrued interest, for the brokered CD and the account(s) you opened directly with the bank. If the combined balance of the brokered CD deposit and your personally established account(s) is close to or exceeds $250,000 per bank, you should know that in advance, so you can take action to avoid having uninsured funds at that bank.

  13. Ask whether your broker can sell your CD – Deposit brokers sometimes advertise that their brokered CDs do not have a prepayment penalty for early withdrawal. That representation is made because the deposit broker will try to resell the CD on the secondary market if you want to redeem it before maturity. If interest rates have fallen since you purchased your CD and demand is high, you may be able to sell the CD for a profit. But if interest rates have risen, there may be less demand for your lower-yielding CD. That means you may have to sell the CD at a discount and lose some of your original deposit. As noted previously, any loss resulting from the purchase or sale of CDs on the secondary market is not covered by FDIC deposit insurance.

  14. Find out about any additional features – For example, some CDs offer a death benefit that allows a CD owner’s estate to redeem the CD and withdraw the principal and accrued interest without penalty when the owner dies.

If you have a complaint about a CD you purchased through a bank, try to resolve your complaint directly with an officer of the bank before involving an outside agency. Financial institutions value their customers and most will be helpful. If you are unable to resolve the matter with the financial institution, use the following guidelines to determine where to direct your complaint.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Personal Financial Planning, What You Should Know !

Personal financial planning covers a wide variety of money topics including budgeting, expenses, debt, saving, retirement and insurance among others. Understanding how each of these topics work together and affect each other is important for laying the groundwork for a solid financial foundation for you and your family.


At the very basic level of personal finance you are dealing with a budget; you make money and then you spend that money. Even if you haven’t created a detailed and written budget you continue to budget on a daily basis. When you are faced with spending money on something you think about it and realize that by spending that money you will not be able to spend that same money on something else.
The problem that stems from not having a detailed budget is that we are faced with so many financial decisions it is nearly impossible to keep track of and remember everything. This lack of understanding can lead to overspending, debt problems or even the inability to adequately plan for your future.
When you create a budget you begin to see a clear picture of how much money you have, what you spend it on and how much, if any is left over. Once you can see the inflows and outflows of your money you can optimize your spending so that necessary items are sure to be covered while cutting back on wasteful spending that will allow you to save money.

Cutting Expenses

After you have created a budget you can begin to see where expenses may need to be reduced in order to meet your goals. For some people this means eating out less and for others it could mean getting rid of that extra vehicle. Whatever the case may be, everyone has an area or two where money can be saved by reducing some basic expenses.

Getting Out of Debt

Even after creating a sound budget and cutting unnecessary expenses you may still find yourself with lingering debt to get rid of. Financial leverage, or using credit and taking on debt by itself isn’t necessarily a bad thing but there are two kinds of debt: good debt and bad debt.
When you borrow money to purchase a home you are taking on a lot of debt, but lower interest rates and the purchase of an asset that can increase in value is an acceptable form of debt. On the other hand when you go to the mall and have yourself a shopping spree using your credit card with a 24% annual interest rate without paying it off in full right away is bad debt.
Getting out of debt doesn’t have to be difficult but it is essential in reaching a state of financial independence. The first thing to do when you find yourself in debt is to pay more than the minimum monthly payment. If you only pay the minimum each month it will often take decades to repay the debt and cost a small fortune in interest. Once you are paying more than the minimum you should look to lower your interest rate. High interest rates will make getting out from under the debt even more difficult.

Saving for Retirement

With fewer companies offering full pension plans and the uncertainty of Social Security it has become more important than ever to save and plan for your own retirement. Unfortunately many people feel that they simply don’t have enough money left over each month to save.
Retirement savings needs to become a priority instead of an afterthought. The Internal Revenue Service has made saving for retirement even more attractive with special tax-advantaged accounts such as employer 401(k) plans, individual retirement accounts and special retirement accounts for the self-employed. These allow for tax deductions, credits and even tax free earnings on retirement savings.
Whether you are just out of college and have 40 years until retirement or you plan on retiring next year it is never too late to plan and to maximize your retirement savings.


So you have created a budget, cut expenses, eliminated your credit card debt and have begun to save for retirement, so you are all set, right? You have definitely come a long way but there is one more important aspect of your finances that you need to consider.
Insurance is important because you have worked hard to build a solid financial footing for you and your family so it needs to be protected. Accidents and disasters can and do happen and if you aren’t adequately insured it could leave you in financial ruin.
Some insurance policies are required and everyone should have these types of coverage but there are many other types of insurance policies that are probably not needed and you could be wasting precious dollars that could be put to work elsewhere. There is a fine line between having enough insurance and being over-insured.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Bumper Sticker Printing in Orlando

Bumper stickers are a very common category of custom stickers which can be seen on almost every bumper of any means of transportation. One of the notable aspects of bumper stickers is its relentless design and matchless print stock which impacts its outlook. But main purpose of using bumper stickers is to get attention whatever the matter may be so they must have a great appearance to get notice and be more attractive on the spot. Only a custom design can give good look to a sticker of any type as well as a quality stock and professional design do wonder. You can test out many of customized bumper stickers and window decals in variety of designs, colors and styles but most of the more artistic styles get your eyes more than a usual or typical type of custom stickers. 

Bumper stickers are adhesive in nature, and stick on the bumpers. Design of the bumper stickers may be of company slogan or anything else. Window decals are also another very famous form of stickers, but most common thing among bumper stickers and window decals is their appearance, they both have always a great manifestation and really well groomed due to their confounding colors, overwhelming design templates and great print stock. No doubt printing stock plays also very important role in enhancing their outlook. A good quality printing stock can have better results and can stand more long time as compare to a poor quality stock. There are a long list of printing stock in use for printing bumper stickers, window decals and car stickers. But all of them have different results. 

Bumper stickers like other stickers may come on white or colored printing paper. Vinyl stock is also in use for bumper stickers printing. Be clear vinyl stock also have options of clear vinyl stock and solid vinyl stock and have different results and life time. Similarly many printing techniques and methods are in use for making a print of stickers. Here you can use digital and offset printing techniques to get more outstanding appearance for your bumper stickers because use of quality stock and latest techniques of printing at the same time results into a very pleasant outlet of stickers.  They become more spectacular when they are designed by professional designers and adorned via gloss and matte finish techniques. These things not only increase their standing time by giving the more flexibility to bear each weather condition but also improve their shine. 

Print out of self adhesive custom stickers on variety of printing stuff is not an easy job, but professional printers are doing this very frequently. You have the ability to get customized printing results by putting your suggestion and print ideas or design ideas for your required stickers. In fact stickers adorned and designed by professional have an astonishing appearance then an ordinary print template selection.  They use different print techniques and print sticks to give a custom shape, more over embossing and de-bossing also in use for giving more elegance touch to stickers.  These print and design services can be purchased from any of well known printer. Hundred of online printers are services with quality printing services now these days. PrintingHost is one of them, here you can purchase and cut down your required stickers in custom shapes, colors and design at very affordable rates. 

All of custom stickers of any form are printed on a glossy white, outdoor vinyl material. Window decals and car stickers become more attractive and sturdy after getting print on vinyl printing stock because this printing stock (solid vinyl and clear vinyl) is waterproof in nature, flexible to peel as stickers printed on vinyl backed with a lay-flat liner that peels and unpeels austerely. The vivid colored window decals, car stickers, bumper stickers on vinyl print stock are made to hold up outdoor marketing tasks for years, and are the latest production of high quality outdoor promotional and advertising tool, as well as the most frequently used product for broadening industry message which they  have to offer or launch. This means that custom stickers will be durable and the colors will stay true for years to come, whether indoors or outdoors if they are well designed by using a good quality print stock.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

How To Choose Trade Show Display Boards

Seeing is believing. Visual aids, such as presentation and display boards, add impact to your message. Whether you use presentation boards as a silent sales tool or to complement a verbal pitch, they reinforce your communication efforts. Small businesses can use presentation and display boards in a number of ways:
  1. Tabletop or booth display at tradeshows
  2. Visual aid in a sales presentation
  3. Tool for in-house meetings
  4. Silent salesperson in your company showroom or office

Keep the design simple

Whether you're using your presentation board in a sales meeting or setting up a display board at a tradeshow, the same design rules apply. The overall design should be clean and simple — think big, bold images and big titles that read like headlines.
Try: For design dos and don'ts, check out the "Deadly Sins of Visual Presentation" and "10 Tips for Designing Effective Presentation Visuals".

Choose tradeshow display boards

Having a display board containing product or service information at your tradeshow booth is one of the most effective ways to communicate your message. Attendees can browse the information on the display board while the booth host demonstrates or discusses the product. Choose from one of many varieties of tabletop display boards.
Try: Portable foldable displays are one the most convenient for tradeshows that require air travel. Wave boards made from flexible plastic roll up and slide into a tube for easy transporting. Fabric pop-up displays are also easy to install by attaching them to a lightweight aluminum frame.

Print your own sales presentations

It isn't always cost-effective to have presentation boards professionally printed for sales calls. Presentation boards can look professional and neat if you do them yourself. By having a stock of blank display boards on hand, you can affix posters and artwork to them.
Try: Find a variety of tri-fold sized blank display boards at To create a great display or storyboard, head to your nearest FedExKinko's store for four-color large format prints that can be pasted to the storyboard. Avery Sign Kits lets you print display boards using your desktop printer.

Use presentation boards for meetings

For in-house meetings or brainstorming sessions, use blank display boards and jot down ideas as they come up.
Try: Dry-erase boards and chalkboards are available at If you have a lot of notes or prefer to save brainstorming notes, try easel pads available at

Find additional uses for tradeshow displays

Put your tradeshow display boards to use even when you aren't at a tradeshow. Large stand-alone tradeshow booth panels do double duty as a visual communication tool when displayed in your office lobby or showroom.
Try: Pop-up tradeshow booths are available from Trade Shows For Less.

  • To quickly make storyboards for a client presentation, use spray adhesive on visuals and affix them to blank foam-core display boards.
  • To convey your message, limit text to essential information that gets the message across and support it with visuals such as photos, graphs or charts. Too much text will make the viewer lose interest.
  • When giving a verbal presentation with visual backup, make sure to put only brief titles or subject headings on the display board with the supporting photos or charts. Putting too much information on the display board can make people lose track of what you're saying because they're too distracted by reading your visual presentation.

Promotional Bumper Sticker Advertising

Eye-catching bumper stickers are an easy way to get your business’ motto, message or contact information in front of a wide range of potential customers. Staying up-to-date with terms that cover the designs, adhesives and styles of promotional bumper stickers will help you create an advertising tool to convey the proper, professional image. Learn about terms including “static vinyl,” “backing sheet imprint” and “zip strips” to design promotional stickers that will both represent your business and generate business.

Backing sheet imprint

Add another promotional benefit to your bumper stickers with a backing sheet imprint. While customers typically remove and toss the backing of the sticker after applying it, printing a coupon, mini flyer or upcoming sales information on the paper will give them reason to keep it and give you another opportunity to advertise.
Try: Absorbent Printing offers backing sheet imprint services on its line of vinyl coated bumper stickers.

Bulk Sticker Promotion

Finding a low cost mass production sticker company that still provides great quality is hard to come by and garbage sticker companies are a dime a dozen. Ordering 5,000 or even 10,000 stickers for your business can be very effective by allowing you to quickly market your campaign almost anywhere, anytime. You can even pass them out to employees to re-pass out to friends which can start a chain reaction of marketing.
Try: Sticker Mammoth offers backing sheet imprint services on its line of vinyl coated bumper stickers.

Paper proof

Be sure to ask for a paper proof before printing promotional bumper stickers to check for typographical errors and ensure that your company logo and design match your original vision.
Try: Read more about the benefits of paper proofs and discover the meanings of other industry terms on the Promo Peddler website.

Zip strips

Customers may be more willing to add a bumper sticker to their vehicle if they know they're easy to remove. Zip strips feature adhesives for easy removal without the hassle of adhesive removers and razor blades.
Try: Check out different styles and sizes of zip strip style bumper stickers through the photos and descriptions at Extra-Mile.

Static vinyl

Present customers with promotional stickers that stick without adhesives. Static vinyl stickers are easy to remove without leaving the typical sticker residue.
Try: Branders offers static vinyl bumper stickers in assorted sizes and shapes for a dynamic look.

Magnetic bumper stickers

Promotional bumper stickers with magnetic backings are the easiest to place, reposition and remove from metal bumpers and car trunks. Be sure to advise customers to remove and clean beneath magnetic bumper stickers about once a week to reduce the possibility of rust formation.
Try: Find styles and discover additional features of magnetic bumper stickers through the photos and descriptions on the Victory Store website.

Window stickers

Give customers the option of promotional bumper stickers or promotional window stickers. Static vinyl window stickers are not only easy to position, but are also more prominent to viewers than traditional bumper stickers.
Try: See different styles and sizes of window stickers on the ePromos website to get design ideas.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Table Top Display Benefits at Trade Show Events

As we well know that trade shows are getting increased fame since it stands as the best promotional tool for business. Trade shows and events can occur anywhere and it is not possible for us to know it each and every time. Sometimes we may hear it later, so at that time we rush to get the displays during last minute. At those anxious moments, it is not possible to implement a big booth with proper structure and items so it is better to look for the compact trade show displays so that you can easily transport it. But at the same it should be professional, attractive and should save your money. Trade show display that satisfies these conditions is none other than table top displays since it is quite compact in size and makes your product more visible in trade shows. Below reasons states the reasons to opt for them

It is the exhibit that suits for all budgets and available in small and large sizes. You can easily assemble and also you can switch over to different information based on your company needs.
  • It helps to incorporate your brand, theme and logo with exact color scheme and consistency. As said above you can set up your booth in the last minute easily without any stress.
  • You can point out your company or product in a better way by using table top exhibits and also it makes people to come to your booth to notice your products.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Advertising Advice You Can Live With

The main aim of advertisers is to communicate and influence the prospective customers to buy a particular brand’s product. Often they also advertise in order to improve the brand image. For this purposes every major medium and advertising tool is used to deliver their message. Some of the key mediums like television, radio, cinema, magazines, newspapers, video games, the Internet and billboards are used extensively.

Commonly, advertisements are seen on carts, airport, on the sides of buses, buss shelters, etc. Advertisements are cleverly placed at places where viewers can easily and regularly access visual, audio and printed information.

Mentioned below are some forms of advertising:

Advocacy Advertising: This type of advertising is done mainly for economic, political, or social issues. Advocate Advertising can be in the form of advertisement, message, or public communication. The aim of advertising through this medium is planned campaign to convince public and form their opinion on a specific issue.

Comparative Advertising: Comparative advertising works on comparison. One brand is directly or indirectly compared with another or even more conflicting brands. Major industries like airlines and automobile manufacturers these days use this technique.

Cooperative Advertising: Sharing is the key component here. Two parties share their advertising costs in this type of advertising.

Direct-Mail Advertising: Emails, catalogs, flyers, letters, and postcards are just a few of the direct-mail advertising options available. A lot of personal details are required to be known for this type of advertising.

Outdoor Advertising
: Billboards, wraps on the side of buildings, etc fall in the category of outdoor advertising. Outdoor advertising is extremely effective if implemented on busy located areas where a lot of travelers come and can buy the product from nearby.

Product Advertising: In this type of advertising, no selling of a specific product is done.

Point-of-Purchase Advertising: Incentives play a major role in this type. Promotional items like package and its presentation is done in a manner to attract customers so that they purchase the product.

Some Useful Advertising Ideas:

. Consistency: The message of the ad should be delivered in a constant way. Even style of business cards, letterheads of the company, envelops, etc should be standardized and not change often.

. Tools: Billboard ads can have the maximum impact when implemented with the right medium like TV, radio, newspapers, etc.

. Promotion: Focus should be on the benefits of the products rather than the features as it connects with the consumer’s emotional satisfaction.

Orlando Signs and Banners is a very effective outdoor advertising company located in Orlando Florida where they provide advertising services such as Signs, Banners, Car Wraps, Trade Show Displays and various other cost effective marketing services for small business.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Food Truck Craze in Orlando

The Food Truck Craze has struck Orlando hard and with tons of foodie groups arising around these delectable moving vehicles one has to ask how they do it. Well, they wrap there food trucks in specially designed graphics designed to please there followers with eye catching images of their Brand and usually with a menu to boot.

Food Truck Wrap

Food Truck Wraps are costly and can either make or break your mobile restaurant so you need to make sure your going to proceed this journey with a company that has proven themselves in this delicate area of mobile advertising.

Fortunate for those who do live in Orlando or are willing to make the long haul for quality there is a company waiting to provide the ultimate in service when it comes to these special wraps. Wraps For Less has been dominating the wraps business in Orlando for the last year and they have produced food truck wrap after food truck wrap leaving their competition rethinking there place in this market.

When it comes to food trucks, Wraps For Less has an unbeatable service that will give your Food Truck what it needs to survive in a tank full of sharks.

Best Deal on Bulk Stickers in Orlando

There's a new sticker company in Orlando, Florida pushing great quality with the best prices to match. These are no regular stickers folks, Orlando Stickers uses high quality,  3m removable vinyl material to produce their stickers so they will stick on anything from a wall to the back of your car!

Die Cut Stickers

 Another process that set them apart aside from the best price you can find in Orlando is there printing. Orlando Stickers uses a super high definition printer set on the highest resolution which means what they print comes out wicked vibrant and almost pops right out of the sticker.

There are many other companies out there printing stickers but nothing compares to Orlando Stickers for Quality, Customer Service and Price with the ability to pick the stickers up right in Orlando.

If you live in Orlando go check them out here -> Orlando Stickers <- and see for yourself why local is now the way to go for your sticker advertising needs.

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