August 30, 2012
If you have an FHA home loan, but don’t have the equity; credit; or income to refinance and save money, the FHA Streamline Refinance Program may be your new best friend. It could save you hundreds of dollars each month on your mortgage payment.
And if your current FHA loan was endorsed on or before May 31, 2009, your savings could be greatly increased, thanks to a recent change in FHA mortgage insurance premiums.
FHA streamline refinancing has been available since the early 1980s but given the drop in interest rates over the past few years, and changes in FHA mortgage insurance rates, the savings for homeowners are potentially huge.
August 28, 2012
Navigating the ever-confusing medical system is enough to leave you frustrated and exhausted these days. One of the biggest pains is getting an improper medical charge fixed. A recent study by the American Medical Association found that one in 10 bills paid by private health insurance have mistakes. That’s means you need to be extra diligent when you receive a doctor’s bill or Explanation of Benefits from your health insurance company. The Today Show took a look at how to handle a bad charge on a medical bill on its LifeInc.com website.
A few key tips:
1. Understand your insurance coverage. Knowing your deductibles and co-pays — things you should check before you receive treatment (if possible) — will help you spot when something might be amiss, according to the Healthcare Billing & Management Association.
2. Keep track of what services you have received and what you’ve paid and keep the records.
3. When you receive an “Explanation of Benefits” form from your insurer, don’t just file it or toss it in the trash. Be sure to read it, and if something is not being paid for, find out why. Otherwise, you could be financially responsible.
4. Don’t just pay a bill if you think something should be covered by your insurance. Some medical offices send out statements that look like bills, before receiving an insurance payment. Check any statements against your Explanation of Benefits.
Click here to read more in the full article on LifeInc.
August 21, 2012
If you thought drinking red wine could make you a little tipsy, well, yes it can do that, but over time, the opposite might actually be true. A new study shows that resveratrol, a chemical compound found in red wine, might improve balance. Scientists at the American Chemical Society have presented research showing that vino can actually help improve senior mobility and prevent falls.
Lead researcher Dr. Jane Cavanaugh, of Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, said: “Our study suggests a natural compound like resveratrol, which can be obtained either through dietary supplementation or diet itself, could actually decrease some of the motor deficiencies seen in our aging population.
Researchers fed young and old laboratory mice a resveratrol rich diet for eight weeks. Periodically, they measured the mice’ ability to navigate a steel mesh balance beam, counting the number of times each took a misstep. At first, older mice had a much tougher time keeping their balance, but in the 4th week, the senior mice were able to stay on the beam longer.
Falling is a major problem for seniors as they age. One in three Americans over the age of 65 have trouble walking and maintaining their balance, according to the American Geriatrics Society. Research at Cayuga Medical Center showed that one-quarter of adults who experience a hip fracture died the following year.
There is one hiccup. An average sized 150 pound person would have to drink 700 four ounce glasses of red wine to get enough resveretrol for any benefits. But don’t be discouraged, scientists are looking at ways to create man-made compounds that can mimic resveratrol’s effects without requiring such a massive dose.
Past research has also suggested that red wine can lead to a longer life.
August 17, 2012
You may have heard the stories of people who’ve taken the sleeping pill Ambien waking up in the morning with no recollection of an eating binge or, even more scary, a nighttime car ride to who knows where. Well, make no mistake about it, driving and sleeping pills don’t mix. ABC News reporter Lisa Stark recently put herself to the test in one of the most advanced driving simulators in the country at the University of Iowa.
With 60 million prescriptions for sleeping pills handed out in the U.S. every year, there is increasing reason for concern. **Click on the video above to get an eye opening view of just how dangerous it can be to drive after taking such a common medication.
Read more from ABC News.
August 8, 2012
A baby’s laugh. A steak sizzling. How about the sound of a soda being cracked open and poured into a glass? These are among the most powerful audio triggers that capture your attention in commercials, according to marketing expert Martin Lindstrom. In his new, best selling book Buy-ology, Lindstrom exposes tricks of the advertising trade that get you, the consumer, to buy more.
TIME Magazine recently profiled Lindstrom and his “neural marketing” research, which he uses to help Fortune 500 companies, like Pepsi and Disney, attract customers. It’s a scientific way to measure consumer reaction to advertising. People are exposed to ads while hooked up to machines that monitor brain activity, pupil dilation, sweat responses and flickers in facial muscles, all of which are markers of emotion.
The technology is based on a concept that suggests the majority of human thinking takes place just below the level of controlled awareness. Turns out, what we hear can be just as powerful as what we see. For a more in-depth analysis from Lindstrom about the techniques he employes, watch the video above.
Proponents of this theory believe that this lower level of recognition is where the human brain makes determinations on what’s favorable and what isn’t. Therefore, marketing agencies spend millions of dollars in research to determine what sounds evoke pleasant thoughts, such as the sound of a baby laughing or a steak sizzling on the grill. It’s believed that hearing these types of sounds will help you remember a certain product in a pleasing way when you are shopping.
If the sound of all this trickery makes you feel curious, click here, for the full report on neural advertising in TIME Magazine.
July 26, 2012
By: Darrin Clouse
It’s no secret these days. Everyone is well aware of how easy it is to download your favorite music in less time than it takes to find your car keys. It’s a natural progression in our techno-hungry world, and music was destined to change as the ability to receive it and listen to it changed as well.
July 18, 2012
For many people, their dog is more than just a pet, they are part of the family. That’s why it’s particularly frightening to learn about the latest increase in dog napping cases across the country. What used to be a rare occurrence, is now a large black market scheme that’s putting pet owners on alert! Click here to learn more and watch this report on NBC news of this harrowing trend.
July 17, 2012
Shopping at one of the big warehouse club chains, like Sam’s Club, Costco and BJ’s, can be an afternoon adventure for some. Lots of good deals and super-sized products can lure you in to a purchasing frenzy. But is it worth the cost? Don’t look now, but you might not be saving as much as you thought.
CNBC reports that customers may believe they’re paying for a chance to save money, but some experts think membership fees actually cause consumers to spend more. Membership in these club stores does not come free; each requires you to pay before you purchase a single item. Sam’s Club charges $40 for basic membership, BJ’s $50, and Costco $55.
Part of the twist with warehouse clubs is you have to make up that initial investment, before you start saving money. Certainly, you can save money, but you may end up buying more than you need in the long run. There are good deals, though. According to a Consumers’ Checkbook survey published by the not-for-profit Center for the Study of Services, BJ’s prices were on average 29 percent lower, Costco’s 30 percent lower, and Sam’s 33 percent lower than the largest supermarket chains.
Lack of Selection
The trade-off is often a lack of selection. Warehouse clubs carry a relatively small array of items in a limited range of sizes. The Consumers’ Checkbook survey found that warehouse club shoppers would only be able to find about half of the products they buy at their regular supermarket. BJ’s carries roughly 7,200 individual items, Sam’s club about 4,900 items, and Costco around 4,000.
Click here to read more in the full report from CNBC.
July 2, 2012
It’s car buying season, so what better time to rank the best cars made in the the USA. It wasn’t too long ago that we weren’t even sure if the American car industry would survive, but now it’s putting out some highly praised vehicles on the road. J.D. Power and Associates recently released quality rankings, and US cars have made great strides.
There are also several Asian and European car brands that have vehicles assembled in the United States, Like the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord, but for pure, 100% “Made in America” there are several good choices to consider.
Here’s quick list of the Top 5:
1. Cadillac CTS
2. Buick LaCrosse
3. Ford Flex (Actually made in Canada– *Thanks to a CWN reader for pointing out this discrepancy)
4. Chrysler 300
5. Ford Focus
Other sources, like TotalCarScore.com, a website that ranks car models, can also provide information on car models.
June 25, 2012
Most of us have fallen victim to the embarrassment of rushing to post a comment on a friend’s Facebook picture, only to misspell a key word that causes nothing but confusion to the reader or announces your momentary illiteracy to the world.
For example, your friend posts a picture of her puppy, and of course you want to compliment her new pet. But instead, you end up telling her that she has a “really cute pappy.” No offense to your friend’s grandfather, but your intentions might be questioned.
Up until recently, your only option to correct the keystroke error was to publish a retraction message, clearing your name of the mistake…kind of. The original message still existed and was fair game for mockery.
Facebook finally recognized the problem, and now they have developed an option which allows you to edit the mistake, even after posting. Best of all, there’s no need to add a correction message. The fix is simple. All you need to do is hover your cursor around the top right corner of your message, and a pencil symbol will appear. Click on this, and you will be free to quickly edit your words, hopefully before anyone decides to have a good laugh at your expense or praise you for your unique admiration for “pappy.”