- Sponsored by GAF - If you don't care about blowing tens of thousands of dollars on upgrades that add little or nothing to your house's value, you might as well stop reading this and go Google "Pokemon Go" for updates on the latest weird mishaps to befall distracted players. But if you do care -- and you'd especially better if you intend to ever sell -- then Remodeling magazine's annual Cost vs. Value Report for 2016 is must reading.
Still there? Thought so.
So let's begin by acknowledging what's perhaps the report's biggest takeaway: All the academics and real-estate pros are right to "tout the value of projects that promote curb appeal." Read on to see why, and where else your money is or isn't well spent.
* Worth it: a new front door.
You're looking at returns on investment of 91.1 percent for a steel one and 82.3 percent for a more upscale (and expensive) fiberglass one. Of course, a fresh coat of paint on your existing door can help spiff things up too.
* Not worth it: upscale bathroom remodeling.
You may think everyone shares your dream of a huge bathroom with a whirlpool tub, heated towel bars, and stone countertops. Not so, warns Patsy O'Neill, a sales associate with Sotheby's in Montclair, New Jersey: "You could spend $60,000 or so on it, and it still might not suit a buyer's taste." Which helps explain why it has one of the worst returns on investment.
* Worth it: fiberglass attic insulation.
A huge win for greenies. The magazine finally agreed to add an energy-efficiency project, and it topped the list by recouping 116.9 percent of its cost.
* Not worth it: composite deck addition.
Another also-ran -- and, no, Alaska didn't skew the results. But be aware that sometimes even the seemingly coolest upgrades may simply be out of whack for a particular neighborhood. "You can turn your house into a palace, but the payoff will be small if it's the only mansion on the block," Craig Webb, Remodeling's editor-in-chief, tells Time.com.
* Worth it: a new roof.
"Buyers pay a premium for one already in place," according to Credit.com. No kidding. A perennial Remodeling magazine A-lister, it's the ultimate curb appeal enhancer when you consider that your roof is the first thing prospective buyers notice even before exiting their cars.
And if yours looks like something out of "Twister"? "It's a huge turn-off," says O'Neill, "and makes buyers predisposed to find even more things they don't like." If your roof needs replacing, check out the Value Collection Lifetime Designer Shingles
from GAF (gaf.com), North America's largest roofing manufacturer, which have the look of luxury shingles at a very affordable price. And remember: Don't be afraid to use a new roof as the "negotiating tool" with buyers that Credit.com says it is.
Watch the video here
* Not worth it: an upscale master suite.
Those same "taste" issues aside, returns of only about half your investment make this yet another expensive miss.
- This article is a paid advertisement. The content was provided by One Reverse Mortgage.
Today's reverse mortgage has more uses than you may realize. In fact, many financial advisors are now recommending this loan to their older clients. Why?
A reverse mortgage allows you to access a portion of your home equity and use the funds to pay off your current mortgage.* Any remaining money can be used for anything. The program has a variety of products to meet specific goals.
The fixed rate loan allows you to receive a lump sum or monthly distributions. The purchase loan product allows you to purchase a home without a required monthly mortgage payment as long as you live there.* However, according to One Reverse Mortgage
, a leading lender in the reverse mortgage industry since 2007, the most popular and beneficial loan option is the line of credit, which has the potential to grow in value over time.
It's a fact that people today are living longer; and studies show that many are not financially prepared for retirement. According to an article from Time Magazine, one in three Americans does not have any money saved for retirement.**
The reverse mortgage line of credit addresses these concerns. It isn't just for people who have an immediate need. It is even more beneficial as a retirement tool because the line of credit product can actually extend the life of your retirement savings and give you access to more money later. Another smart way to utilize it is to live off the proceeds to delay using other benefits to give them time to increase in value. The greatest feature of the reverse mortgage line of credit is that the available funds increase in value over time when left untouched. It can be a perfect safety net for future expenses - both planned and unexpected.
The mission of One Reverse Mortgage is to educate people about this program and how it can be best used in retirement. The experts at One Reverse Mortgage are licensed professionals and the company operates nationwide. It also has an A rating with the Better Business Bureau.
For more information, visit www.onereversemortgage.com
* Homeowner is still responsible for taxes, insurance and property maintenance.
**Kirkham, Elyssa. "1 in 3 Americans Has Saved $0 for Retirement." Time Magazine. 14 March 2016. http://time.com/money/4258451/retirement-savings-survey
Equal Housing Lender. Listed in all 50 states. One Reverse Mortgage NMLS #2052
These materials are not from HUD or FHA and were not approved by HUD or a government agency.
- Sponsored News - Family time can be scarce these days, with activities and distractions pulling parents and kids in every direction. But a family-friendly television network, INSP, wants to change that. In an increasingly polluted television environment, they are one network trying to offer a breath of clean air.
Building its alternative one show at a time, INSP recently kicked off "Destination Fridays," a trio of programs that are appropriate for audiences of all ages. "State Plate," starring Taylor Hicks (of American Idol fame), is the newest original series to join INSP's Friday lineup. Each episode features the cuisine of a particular state. During the show, Hicks visits farms, ranches, markets, festivals, and other diverse and unusual locales as he assembles a plate of the most popular foods in each state.
For example, viewers can expect to learn about crab cakes in Maryland, peach treats in Georgia, potatoes in Idaho, and chili in Texas, along with the interesting history and often humorous stories behind each state's food traditions.
Joining "State Plate" on Fridays is "Handcrafted America
." Host Jill Wagner journeys across the country, introducing viewers to unique, gifted, and entertaining artisans who preserve and build on traditional skills as they make arts and crafts the old-fashioned way - by hand.
"Destination Fridays" kicks off each week with "Cash Cowboys." The show features Scott Cozens, a journeyman electrician- turned-lawyer, and Sheldon Smithens, a third-generation antiques dealer and auctioneer. Together, the pair rummage through barns, basements, attics, sheds, flea markets, and more in search of hidden treasure, sporting their signature cowboy hats and Western gear. The hook: They will buy anything -- from motorbikes to folk art memorabilia -- in hopes of turning a profit.
But these cowboys aren't just about the money; they have a passion for the past, the thrill of the chase, and the surprise of the unexpected gem. From the producers of "American Pickers," the series has tested well with INSP's core family audiences, and promises to entertain fans of antique and "picker" shows as well.
"Destination Fridays" begins at 8:00PM ET each week with "Cash Cowboys"; "State Plate" follows at 9:00PM ET, and "Handcrafted America" at 9:30PM ET. For more information, visit insp.com.
- Sponsored News - As Americans age, one element seems to be key for their mental and physical health: optimism. That's the finding suggested by a new Humana survey, which asked Americans age 60 and over how they perceive the importance of various wellness traits.
Although the survey uncovered many perspectives, the findings about optimism suggest a possible link between a "glass half full" mentality and mental and physical health:
* Older Americans who rated themselves as very optimistic about aging tended to be the most active physically, socially and in their communities.
* They also reported a much lower number of physically unhealthy days per month on average: 2.84 for the most optimistic, compared to 12.55 physically unhealthy days for the least optimistic
* The most optimistic also felt on average 12 years younger than their actual age (those who are least optimistic felt on average 7 years older than their actual age).
The survey also asked respondents to rate how they feel about the depiction of people age 60 and over in pop culture: in film, television, commercials and so on. Overwhelmingly, the respondents perceived these media portrayals of their own demographic as inaccurate, rating the accuracy level as, on average, 5 or less on a 10-point scale. Those aging Americans who do feel that media accurately portrays them think about aging more than the average and have a higher level of fear about aging than their peers.
Humana also recently partnered with The University of Southern California (USC) to take a first-ever look into society's views of aging in America through the lens of film. The USC study
reveals that characters aged 60 and over are underrepresented in film, and that those characters who do appear face demeaning or ageist references. Key findings from the study include:
* Just 11 percent of characters evaluated were aged 60 and over; U.S. Census data shows that 18.5 percent of the population is aged 60 and over.
* Out of 57 films that featured a leading or supporting senior character, 30 featured ageist comments -- that's more than half of the films. Quotes included characters being called "a relic," "a frail old woman" and "a senile old man."
* Only 29.1 percent of on-screen characters engaged with technology, whereas 84 percent of aging Americans report that they use the internet weekly.
Taken together, these findings feed into growing evidence that suggest that ageism is a social determinant of health and may negatively impact health outcomes for aging Americans. Societal views and negative media portrayals can cause aging Americans to feel invisible. These negative perceptions may dampen optimistic outlooks and impact physical and emotional health.
Humana wants to help aging Americans defy stereotypes, age with optimism and take steps to achieve their best health. To learn more about Humana's commitment to healthy aging, visit StartWithHealthy.Humana.com.
- Sponsored News - In only minutes, you can ensure your Christmas tree will meet the "merry and bright" standard. Your holiday lighting dreams can surpass expectations with just a bit of advance planning.
"Test Your Lights" Tuesday begins November 22 and runs every Tuesday through Christmas. Mark your calendar to test your holiday lights.
"There's nothing more frustrating than gathering the family to decorate the tree or house only to find some of your light sets don't work," says John DeCosmo, CEO of Ulta-Lit Technologies, maker of the LightKeeper Pro, a one-of-a-kind tool that not only finds the bad bulb on a string of lights but also illuminates the rest of the working bulbs.
"With just a few pulls of the trigger, you can reclaim your special family moment and become the hero who saves Christmas," DeCosmo says.
At $19.99, the LightKeeper Pro is both economical and eco-friendly. In many, many instances, users save money by reducing the need to replace an entire string of lights simply because of a couple of bad bulbs. Old sets of lights don't need to end up in a landfill.
Ask for help -- at no charge: Should your holiday lights darken, Ulta-Lit's lighting pros answer questions every day between Thanksgiving and Christmas at (888) 858-2548. To better assist they also take calls year-round during standard business hours. Or, refer to the Ulta-Lit website at Ulta-Lit
With over 100 years of experience with light sets, here are some tips from the pros:
* Measure: Using your two hands, touch your pointer fingertip to your other pointer fingertip. Then take your thumb tip to your other thumb tip. Bring all four tips together to create a maximum 1/8" diamond. While standing no less than 10 feet away from your lit tree, peek through that diamond and scan the tree from side to side, top to bottom. This will assist in finding dark spots where you may want to add more lights for a fully lit tree.
* Quality vs. price: Commercial-grade light sets are more reliable for outdoor use because of their durability and thicker insulation.
* Decide on LED vs. incandescent: LEDs are more expensive than incandescent lights, but they last longer. The use of a tree with 1,000 incandescent bulbs can cost $10 over an average holiday season, while the same tree with LEDs would cost approximately $1.50.
* Replace and repair: If you notice one or two unlit bulbs within a section that is primarily operating properly, replace those bulbs ASAP. Two burned-out bulbs can decrease the lifespan of the light set by 39 percent, four burned-out bulbs by 67 percent.
- Sponsored News - Carrying drinks conveniently and discreetly remains a challenge, but the latest design from Genie Bags
can grant the wish of anyone looking to carry and tap into the drink of your choice while on the go.
The "T-Bag" is a new patent-pending tea, water (or other beverage) - dispensing backpack. It's easy to use, effective, refillable and discreet; just lift the flap, open the spout, and quench your thirst at will. The backpack is available in camouflage or khaki in a durable nylon fabric that complements a range of casual outfits appropriate for a vast variety of activities. The straps are designed to be easy to adjust and comfortable to wear. The target audience for the T-Bag includes college students, athletes on the go, busy moms, and friends meeting to catch up.
The T-Bag joins the Genie Bags product line of elegant and functional beverage-carrier handbags: Cosmo, NY Nights, and Pinot. Each holds the beverage of your choice in a safe, durable, stylish carrier.
The unique design of the T-Bags allows for a discreet, stylish and practical transport vehicle for any beverage to a concert, sports event, movie theater, or anywhere else where it might be convenient or otherwise difficult to bring your drink of choice.
The line of T-Bags and Genie Bags were the invention of entrepreneur Beth Walters, a consummate designer with a flair for innovation and design and a desire for instant gratification when it comes to accessing her beverage of choice. Her motivation: a desire to combine necessity and convenience while maintaining class and dignity. But the added value of the Genie Bags line includes the potential for significant cost savings. The money you save can add up by bringing your own 2-liters of liquid to an event instead of paying a marked-up drink price set by the venue, and you don't have to wait for a waiter.
Another benefit that comes with buying a Genie Bag: supporting a worthy cause. A portion of all sales of Genie Bags goes to help support disabled veterans and others in need through a partnership between Genie Bags and the Gift of Health Foundation.
For more details and product information, visit geniebags.com or contact email@example.com.
- Sponsored News - Women are often the primary health care decision-makers for their families, but they are far from confident about their ability to pay for health care costs and choose the right insurance plan. According to the Aflac
2016 Open Enrollment Survey, more than 1 in 10 women say they live paycheck to paycheck and nearly half have less than $500 saved. The 2016 Aflac WorkForces Report also revealed that only 26 percent of working women feel prepared to pay the out-of-pocket expenses from an unexpected serious illness or accident.
Given women's state of financial vulnerability, open enrollment for benefits selection can be challenging, especially due to rising health care expenses and high-deductible health plans that shift costs from insurers to policyholders. Three-quarters of women
say that they find reading about benefits options can be long, complicated or stressful, and 40 percent say their benefits enrollment process makes them feel frustrated, anxious or confused.
To be confident about their benefits selections, 69 percent of women say they need more information, help, money or time before their next open enrollment period. Doing a little homework before choosing a health insurance plan can give you peace of mind and save you money, because more than half of women estimate that they have wasted up to $750 because of mistakes they have made during open enrollment.
Here are four tips to make this year's open enrollment process more successful:
1. Carefully review and compare benefits information. Many insurance plans may undergo significant changes every year. Understanding what your plan covers and what out-of-pocket costs you'll have to pay helps cast a safety net against an unexpected illness or injury.
2. Calculate your annual health care costs by reviewing how much you spent last year on monthly premiums and the expenses your insurance didn't cover. Those costs can add up if you have a high-deductible health plan.
3. Consider adding voluntary insurance to your plan for more financial protection. Accident, critical illness and hospital insurance plans help pay for what major medical insurance doesn't, as well as other expenses that continue to roll in if you're too ill or injured to work.
4. Ask questions of your employer's human resources staff or insurance consultants. They can help you understand your benefits coverage and make the best decisions during open enrollment.
To learn more about choosing the right health benefits, visit Aflac.com.
- Sponsored News - Fitness, dance, MMA studios, spas and gyms looking for the next big trend may start to heat things up with FitBomb's new specialized fitness sauna. The Studio Fitbomb far infrared sauna from Hi-Q Fitness
is available for literally hundreds of health and fitness centers after its successful debut placement in Cabana Spas.
"The addition of the Studio FitBomb far infrared sauna has already given us a huge boost in client interest," says Cabana Spas owner Glen Harrod. "We had enough interest from paying customers that we may have nearly paid for the cost of the unit before it even arrived."
The new patent-pending Studio FitBomb has many key features, including strategically-placed "D" rings throughout the interior of the sauna that allows three customers to exercise simultaneously.
Think Hot-Yoga, Pilates, and flexibility training for dance students or Martial Arts or anaerobic exercise with bands attached to "D" rings on the floor, the walls and the ceiling for building muscle in an infrared-heated, healthy tool that fits three at a time. "With three clients for every half-hour time slot, paying an average of $1 per minute, profits can build quickly," according to FitBomb inventor and author of "Heat Shock," David Floyd.
"If you just charge half that price, you generate as much as $700 for each 8-hour day in the Studio FitBomb," says Floyd.
The benefits of the far infrared sauna include reducing the risk of injury by pre-heating your body, and improving the ability of muscles to flex, move and stretch, making it an ideal complement to any spa, gym or health and fitness facility. The heated system of the sauna is proven and even the FDA accepted it for its powerful relief of pain and muscle soreness while simultaneously detoxifying the body through sweat.
In addition, using a sauna such as the FitBomb can promote greater strength and fitness by encouraging the release of human growth hormones and a muscle-building (heat shock) protein.
The FitBomb infrared fitness saunas also feature a 36"-screen TV so participants can watch pre-recorded routines. You can watch and learn martial arts, dance, yoga, and almost any exercise routine you can imagine with our proprietary instruction videos, activated by FitBomb's proprietary mobile application.
But the Studio FitBomb is designed for more than just fitness fanatics; the far infrared sauna complements a spa setting, where it may be used as part of a program to detoxify the skin and body, promote relaxation, and reduce stress. Every FitBomb is handicap-accessible, ADA-compliant so anyone, regardless of age, physical handicap or injury now has access to the FitBomb tools that help them achieve explosive health, fitness and therapy goals. Any business lacking the available size requirements (the Studio measures 7' by 9' wide) can achieve similar benefits using similar features in our smaller FitBomb varieties.
For more information about the Studio FitBomb, contact Hi-Q Fitness LLC at 888-589-7286. Or visit our FitBomb distributor website at luxsauna.com or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Sponsored News - What is it about families and reality TV that have us tuning in on a regular basis? Is it watching a family dynamic unfold? Is it the drama? Whatever it is, UP TV's "Bringing Up Bates"
has families hooked.
The series stars the Tennessee-based Bates Family, Gil and Kelly Jo, and their 19 children. Over the course of four seasons, viewers have watched the Bates family experience the joys of marriage proposals to health scares to baby showers, as this ever-growing family continues to navigate life's triumphs and challenges.
Matriarch Kelly Jo has brought up the Bateses a certain way, but viewers have followed Erin Paine, Whitney Bates and Alyssa Webster in their journey through motherhood as they navigate their own way of parenting. In the final episodes this season, fans will see the much-anticipated arrivals of the two newest Bates grandbabies. For Erin, who has a new lullaby piano album coming out soon, growing up in a large family as one of the older children helped her to learn responsibility at an early age. This, she says, has translated to her everyday life.
"Having a little one that comes running to you for comfort, love, and affection, in addition to giving it, is a priceless treasure," she says.
Whitney Bates, youngest of the three new moms, admits that as a young mother, she has a lot to learn, but relishes the time she gets to spend with Bradley and Kaci Lynn.
"Being a mother to me means investing in my children's lives and getting to love them more than you ever imagined was even possible." For an only child, marrying into a family of 19 can be a bit of a culture shock, but Whitney says at the end of the day, watching the Bates' interact with one another helped prepare her for motherhood.
"When little problems, loud noises, inconveniences or arguments come up, they [the Bates] learned to work through them," she says.
As for Alyssa, motherhood, she says, has definitely taken her by surprise.
"I don't think anyone can ever fully prepare themselves for it [motherhood], but growing up with so many younger siblings was like taking a beginner course on parenting times 10!"
Currently expecting her second child, Alyssa says she hopes to raise a generation that has "character and shows kindness to others," while accepting the inherent challenges that come with being a parent.
"Motherhood is one of the greatest blessings I have ever experienced," she says, "but it requires a lot of dedication and patience."
"Bringing Up Bates" airs Thursdays at 9 pm ET on the family-focused network, UP TV.
For more information, please visit www.uptv.com
- Sponsored News - Biotech stocks tend to have their ups and downs among the investment community. However, the biotech industry is enjoying a shot in the arm with news of biologics flooding the wires.
Biologics, say experts, are different from traditional drugs because they are manufactured in a living system, such as a microorganism or plant or animal cells, rather than with synthesized chemicals. And because of the strides made in this biotechnology specialty, it is attracting the attention of the pharma big boys.
All the major players are looking to capture their share of a market that IMS Health analysts estimate will rise to $390 billion by 2020. In short, if the analysts are right, biologics will command nearly one-third of all spending on drugs in the next few years. Couple this with a marketing plan to the public that underscores biologics as natural derivatives instead of man-made, and it's easy to see why so much money is being poured into this area.
With patent expirations drawing near, and companies looking to get a leg up on their competition, big pharma will be looking to boutique firms in this space to get an edge on next-generation therapies.
Enter Endonovo Therapeutics
(OTCQB: ENDV), a biotechnology company that is developing a bioelectronic approach to regenerative medicine through its premier platform, Cytotronics. While most biologics are formed using recombinant DNA technology, "Endonovo is falling back on its technology, which dates back to research at NASA seeking to develop stem cells and medical devices to treat potential injuries that astronauts might encounter during long term missions in outer space." In this way, the company is using Time-Varying Electromagnetic Field (TVEMF) technology to increase the therapeutic properties of stem cells. This, says the company, is accomplished through stimulation of magnetically induced electrical field pathways of cells and tissues.
Endonovo CEO Alan Collier describes the technology as "effectively training cells to secrete therapeutic proteins." The secreted proteins can include those commonly used in biologics, such as G-CSF (granulocyte-colony stimulating factor), GM-CSF (granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor), erythropoietin and interleukins that are used in angiogenesis, antigentargeting, promoting white blood cell growth to fight infections, and more.
Endonovo's mission is two-fold: to validate the potential of injecting "enhanced" or "trained" stem cells, but also to deliver a cocktail of therapeutic proteins that could exert their influence over inflammation while promoting tissue healing.
For more information on the company and its work, please visit www.endonovo.com