With the recent volatility in the
stock market and derivative markets,
many investors are taking a
second look at the residential real
estate market. We answer 4 of the
most common questions for those
looking to invest in real estate.
Is now a good time to invest?
Yes, because now is the time you
can get a great deal. Interest rates
are at historic lows, inventory is
high, prices are low, and sellers are motivated. It is a textbook
But, won’t prices continue to fall?
Maybe. Some analysts expect prices to fall until the middle of 2009,
but there are no guarantees. If things turn around quickly, you could
be left on the sidelines while prices begin to appreciate again. More
likely, you will miss out on some of the other current advantages,
such as rock-bottom mortgage rates, which will likely dry up before
the market completely rebounds. A .5% rate increase over a 30-year
loan would more than offset any money you would save by waiting
another 6 months to buy.
How long will I have to wait before I can make money?
Since 1890, housing prices have never dipped more than 4 consecutive
years. Over that stretch of time, we have seen dozens of price
drops. They usually last 2-3 years but--in some cases--last 4 years.
Additionally, there has never been a decade in which homes were
less expensive at the end than they were at the beginning. In other
words, even decades that experience a 4-year price skid end up
being profitable for investors.
Is it possible to delay the effects
of aging without spending
a fortune on surgery? Yes!
In recent studies, test subjects were able to identify the
age of a person from up to 500 feet away, simply by analyzing
the way the person walked. Take a few minutes
each day to stretch out and improve your flexibility. Pay
special attention to your back and legs, which tend to
ossify with age.
Improve your tone
By simply whitening your teeth, tanning your face, and
eliminating the gray from your hair, you can shave years
off your appearance. When dying your hair, add highlights
to achieve the texture and variety of naturally colored
Make daily time to work on your looks
The real difference between you today and you 20 years
ago is that you used to spend a lot more time thinking
about your looks. These days, kids, jobs, and community
obligations take precedence over your desire to look
young and attractive. Wake up 10-15 minutes earlier,
and you can avoid this false choice.
Update your accessories
It would be nice if you could redo your wardrobe every
few months, but that’s not going to happen. On the other
hand, you can update your accessories every few
months. A new pair of earrings or the right set of eyeglasses
can really update your look. Look for small, inexpensive
ways to implement the trends of today into
your existing wardrobe.
keys over to your
has an important
upgrade for your
car that may calm
There’s a whole
world of secret food
and recipes at
some of the most
franchises. Join us
as we peel back the
curtain. (page 3)
Do the people closest
to you know
how much you care
about them? We
share some timetested
tips for making
loved ones feel
loved. (page 2)
Look 10 Years
Time to Buy
Real Estate Reader
Here are some simple ways to let the people
close to you know how special they are.
Write a note...just because
In most long-term relationships, we assume
the other person knows how much we care
about them and why we enjoy spending time
with them. Wrong! Most people are tremendously
insecure and constantly curious
about the motives of their loved ones. Take
the time to put your thoughts down on
paper. It can be simple, as long as it is heartfelt.
In fact, a few words scribbled on a pad
of paper will look much more sincere than a
proper greeting card.
Say “yes” when you would usually say
If you make yourself available to loved
ones, they will call upon you to do things
you’d rather not do. This is a sign of a true
friend; we don’t ask acquaintances to help
us move into our new home or drop us off at
the airport. Instead of quickly saying “no” or
finding reasons why someone else would be
better for the job, understand that your
friend probably wouldn’t ask you unless
he/she was in a jam. Do whatever you can to
say “yes.” The more difficult the favor, the
more meaningful a positive response will
be. Let your loved ones see that they take
precedence over everything else in your life.
Stop keeping score
In every relationship, there are inequities.
Maybe you have paid for the last 3 dinners
out, or maybe you always end up driving
while your friend rides shotgun. You may be
tempted to point out the inequity (and,
sometimes, it’s necessary to prevent you
from resenting your loved one altogether)
but, in general, it’s a good idea to let these
things go. There is a good chance that you
take more than you give in some area of the
relationship. Nobody is perfect, and if all it
costs you to spend time with your best friend
or favorite uncle is an extra dinner bill here
and there, it’s worth it.
We often think of our best friends as the
ones who help us through tough times. If
this was true, (continued on page 3)
Decorating a child’s room can be
tricky. On one hand, you want the room
to be a source of creativity and inspiration.
On the other hand, you don’t want
it to look like...well...a kid designed it.
We reveal the blueprint for designing a
room that pleases parents and kids,
Keep the basics simple
Children change their decorating tastes dramatically from one year to the
next. Resist the urge to spend big bucks on expensive novelty furniture. The
bed shaped like a car may be great right now, but there’s no way your kid
will sleep in it 2 years from now. Instead, invest in simple, durable basics,
such as classic, wooden bed frames. You can still add authentic style with
cheaper decorations, such as posters, paint, and bedding.
Make cleaning up easy
If you want your children to keep their rooms clean, make it easy on them.
Opt for one big comforter, instead of several layers of bedding, so your child
can make his or her bed quickly. Put big, flexible storage bins under the bed,
so your child can clean items off the floor in a hurry. Use area rugs in heavily-
trafficked parts of the room to make cleaning spills easier.
Involve the kids
Young children are very suggestible. If you involve them in the process of
redesigning their room, they’ll identify with the room more. They’ll keep it
cleaner, and they’ll like it longer. Sure, they’ll make some lousy decisions--
maybe choosing bedding that clashes with the paint color--but, in the end,
it’s better to let kids make some mistakes than to have them feel like their
room is not really their own.
You don’t need a theme
Luckily, the themed room has been going out of style for a while now. It’s a
little outdated to make a whole room about a single interest, such as trains or
fairies. Children’s rooms today are typically more eclectically styled to
account for the increasingly varied interests of young children.
Let your children fill in the blanks
Fill your child’s room with bulletin boards, white boards, and magnet boards,
giving him/her an opportunity to personalize the room on a daily basis.
Hott New Productt Parental Controls for Teen Drivers
Any parent who has handed the car keys over to
their teenager knows how frightening that
experience can be. Ford Motor Co. is using the
power of technology to soothe the nerves of
worried parents. A new feature called MyKey
will be available on select 2010 models. The
feature allows parents to customize the limitations
of the vehicle. For instance, a parent could
set the car’s top speed at 75 mph or restrict the
volume of the car stereo to 65% of its maximum
volume. The feature will be showing up
in cars and trucks throughout Ford’s 2010 line
late this summer.
Decorating Tips for Kids’ Rooms Making
If you’ve gotten bored with the
usual options at fast-food outlets
near you, it may be time to exercise
some off-the-menu options.
Nearly every restaurant has
them—little, secret items or
upgrades available only to the
customers who know to ask for
them. Here are some of our
McDonald’s has offered 3 flavors of milkshakes for
decades now. What most people don’t know is that there
is actually a secret 4th flavor—the “Neopolitan
Milkshake”, which is a swirl of all 3 flavors. McDonald’s
will also add Big Mac sauce to your French fries at most
locations, upon request.
menu is just
the beginning. True
fans know that the
real magic occurs
when you customize
your burger and fries
can ask to have their burger made “protein-style”,
and the bun will be replaced with crispy lettuce. On the
other end of the spectrum, you can ask to have your burger
and/or fries made “animal-style.” In the burger edition,
that means a mustard-grilled patty, grilled onions, pickles,
and extra spread. In the fries, you get cheese melted over
the top with sauce and grilled onions poured over that.
Find out more about In-n-Out’s secret menu at:
Witty observers have
often pointed out the
irony of Starbucks sizing
system. The smallest
official size is
called a “tall.” If that’s
a tall, what’s a
Starbucks offers an off-menu, smaller size, called the
“short cup.” Caffeine fiends also will be happy to find out
there are 2 popular off-menu, caffeine upgrades. “The
Red Eye” is a cup of coffee with a shot of espresso mixed
in; “The Black Eye” contains 2 shots.
Jamba Juice is known for its
healthy smoothies, which
probably explains why these
dessert smoothies have never
been officially offered and
their nutritional contents never
published. However, Jamba
Juice’s tastiest (and fattiest)
smoothies are available upon
special request. The most popular
secret smoothie is the
“PB+J”, which reportedly
tastes very similar to the sandwich. Other fan favorites are
the “White Gummy Bear” and the “Strawberry
As the world becomes increasingly connected,
more people are looking to international
news sources for breaking news and
unique perspectives. Unfortunately, most
foreign news sources are written in foreign
languages. Google to the rescue! Now,
Google Reader (a free online tool for viewing
RSS feeds) can automatically translate
any website into English. Simply sign up for a free Google Reader account,
add the foreign site, and select the “translate into my language” option in
the feed settings.
(continued from page 2) our best friends
would be our doctors and lawyers. In reality,
our best friends are the people who make us
laugh, smile, and celebrate. Look for opportunities
to celebrate your friends’ success.
The smaller the victory, the more meaningful
it will be that you took the time to celebrate.
Did your daughter just ace a difficult
test? Take her out for a celebratory ice cream
sundae. Did your best friend just win his fantasy
football league? Buy him a round at
your favorite sports bar. Let the people in
your life know that you are their #1 fan.
Cracking the Code: Secret Menus
Tech Tip: Putting the “World” in World Wide Web