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Janine VanLuvanee
701 W. Market Street
Perkasie  PA 18944
 Phone: 267-259-2810
Office Phone: 215-453-7653
Cell: 267-259-2810
Fax: 267-354-6259 
jvanluvanee@remax440.com
Janine VanLuvanee

My Blog

How Will You Pay Yourself in Retirement?

March 22, 2016 1:19 am

Depends on who you ask, according to research conducted by Ameriprise Financial. The financial services provider recently posed the question to both pre-retirees and retirees in a study, revealing contrasting confidence levels between the two.

According to study findings, 85 percent of retirees have a plan in place to pay themselves in retirement, and thus feel at ease; just 53 percent of pre-retirees have developed a retirement plan, and feel less confident that they’ve saved enough money to last their lifetime.

“Figuring out how to recreate a paycheck in retirement can be one of the most daunting challenges investors face,” says Marcy Keckler, vice president of Financial Advice Strategy at Ameriprise. “Add to it recent market volatility, and it’s easy to see why pre-retirees who have not developed a retirement income plan feel less confident that they’ll have the money they need to cover their expenses.”

Despite this, 73 percent of pre-retirees cited in the study said they plan to retire at age 65.

“The good news,” says Keckler, “is that they still have time to take action. By putting a plan in place now, while they’re still earning a traditional paycheck, they may be able to achieve similar levels of confidence as their older peers.”

In a shift from previous generations, pre-retirees today are relying less on pensions and more on 401(k)s and IRAs, which places the burden on the individual, rather than his or her employer, to save for retirement. It’s likely the next wave of retirees will need to spend more time calculating optimal withdrawal rates and exploring guaranteed sources of income.

Tax treatment of investments is one of the most important considerations when deciding how or when to draw income. As retirees reach their 70½ birthdays, Required Minimum Distributions (RMD) will dictate how much money they must withdraw from their retirement accounts annually. Retirees may face penalties if distributions are not taken or calculated incorrectly; therefore, it’s crucial to consider these tax rules when formulating retirement income plans.

The majority of retirees surveyed in the study relied on financial professionals to design their plans.

“When transitioning from a pre-retiree to a retiree, figuring out how to spend your savings can be an overwhelming process,” Keckler says. “A financial advisor can serve as a critical source of information to help you develop a tailored, comprehensive plan to fit your retirement income needs.”

Source: Ameriprise Financial, Inc.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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5 Habits for Greener Living

March 22, 2016 1:19 am

(Family Features)—Adopting just one environmentally-conscious habit can make a world of difference—really! The majority of individuals who make choices that help preserve natural resources report feeling happier when doing so, according to a study by packaging product manufacturer Tetra Pak.

“We believe that even simple lifestyle behaviors have the power to make a big impact, on both a personal and global scale,” says Elisabeth Comere, director of Environment and Government Affairs for Tetra Pak. “The combined benefit of the small actions we take, from taking shorter showers to choosing products in renewable packaging—made of natural resources that can be replenished over time—can benefit the world around us while making us happier.” 

Comere recommends starting with one of the following lifestyle changes:

1. Conserve resources, including water. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates cutting your shower by just one minute will save two and a half gallons of water. Over time, that savings adds up: 75 gallons per month and nearly 1,000 gallons over the course of a year.

2. Choose products in renewable packaging. Choosing food and beverage products in renewable packaging is a natural extension of environmentally-friendly habits, such as recycling or composting. From milk and soup to water and juice, you can find food products packaged in cartons—primarily made from paper, a renewable resource from growing forests.

3. Buy only what you can consume. At the grocery store, it's easy to over-shop, especially if you're hungry. Buy only what you need, and seek groceries that are considered renewable, such as fruits and vegetables.

4. Use reusable containers. These days, hectic lifestyles are the norm and that often means meals and beverages on the go. When possible, rely on reusable drink and food containers instead of disposable ones.

5. Whenever you can, bike or walk instead of driving. According to data compiled by National Geographic, it takes nearly 13 gallons of water to produce each gallon of gasoline. Using alternative modes of transportation, or car pooling, can help cut water and energy demands.

Adopting just one of these renewable habits can help preserve the planet's resources while fast-tracking levels of happiness. Which of these green changes will you make?

Source: Tetra Pak

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Spring Reset: Colors and Ideas to Refresh Your Home

March 22, 2016 1:19 am

There’s no season like springtime to refresh, renew (and redo!) your home—and one of the simplest ways to breathe new life into it is with a fresh color palette.

“Spring embodies the saying ‘Out with the old, in with the new,’ and provides the opportunity for consumers to apply this mantra in a favorite room in their home,” says Katie Reynolds, an Atlanta-based design expert for Ace Hardware. “This is the perfect time of year to use unexpected pops of color and experiment with fresh, new design ideas."

Reynolds, along with fellow Ace design experts Nathan Fischer and Julia Richard, list these spring shades to try:

• Pink is having a moment! Pair blush tones with crisp whites—the combination will make a big impact in any room. Mix in as an accent by painting a dresser or chest in a soft pink shade.

Turquoise never seems to go out of style. Use it sparingly to highlight other subtler colors in any room.

• Bright shades of coral will bring your home to life. Paint coral on an eye-catching accent wall or introduce it through tabletop accessories. Pair with neutral clay-brown tones to even out its intensity.

To take these on-trend shades to the next level, incorporate these five elements, says Reynolds, Fischer and Richard:

• Vintage Accessories (Birdcages, Lanterns)
• Wall Prints
• Mirrored Accents (Lamps, Side Tables)
• Zebrawood (Cabinet, Chest)
• French Doors

Spring is the perfect time of year to press “reset.” Draw inspiration from the tips above to reset your home this season. You may find these colors have staying power!

Source: Ace Hardware

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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8 Tips That Could Get You to Millionaire Status

March 21, 2016 1:16 am

About 5 percent of the adult population in the U.S.—or about one in 20 people—are millionaires. Entrepreneur and investor John Rampton is one of them. Rampton, who achieved millionaire status early in life, has made some savvy decisions along the way. As he recently told Inc. Magazine, he credits these eight frugal habits for helping him achieve and maintain his goal:

1. Live within your means – The more we make, the more we tend to upgrade. But, points out Rampton, Warren Buffet still lives in the small Omaha home he purchased in 1958. Do without a McMansion or a luxury car and let your money work for you instead. 

2. Don’t pay full price – Shop at discount and big box stores and look for bargains on near-new merchandise via sites like eBay and Craigslist. You’ll find you can buy quality goods without paying full retail price.

3. Cut out unnecessary expenses – Pare your cable expense. Cut the daily latte. Never pay ATM fees. Small savings add up to more funds for saving and investing.

4. Rent or sell your stuff – Sell clothing and other things you no longer want at consignment shops or online. Take in a roommate or rent out a spare bedroom. Rent out extra garage space. It’s quick, easy cash you can use to help you climb the ladder.

5. Leave the plastic at home – Being out without a credit card helps you curb expenses and avoid impulse buys. Limit the amount of cash you keep in your wallet so you are not tempted to go overboard.

6. Don’t waste money trying to get rich quick – Studies show that 16 percent of the wealthy gamble on sports each week, versus 52 percent of the poor. Nine percent play the lottery each week, as opposed to 77 percent of the poor. Don’t waste money on any get-rich-quick promise because they rarely, if ever, pan out.

7. Go green – Recycle cans and cardboard. Consider carpooling or taking public transportation to work instead of driving yourself. Reduce heating and cooling bills by adjusting your thermostat, and spring for energy-saving appliances.

8. Get a side job – Besides earning you extra income, having a side gig is a good way to keep you out of stores and restaurants in your spare time.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Your Household: 6 DIY Drain Tips

March 21, 2016 1:16 am

(Family Features)—When it comes to clearing household clogs, don't be afraid to do it yourself! The tips below will help you handle the most common clogs, without the need for a professional plumber.

For hair-clogged drains, use an entire bottle of a product specifically formulated for hair clog removal. Be sure the product is safe for all types of pipes. Instructions vary by product, but generally, allow the product to work for a few minutes, and then run hot water down the drain to rinse it away.

If possible, transfer water that won’t drain and any lingering dregs in the sink basin into a bucket. Carefully remove stoppers or strainers from the drain. If you're removing screws, store them somewhere safe so they don't fall down the drain.

If you need to remove stopper parts from under the sink, keep a bucket underneath the pipes. Remove any building up from the stopper or strainers, and then run water to flush down remaining material and test the flow.

For clogged toilets, the best tool is a plunger with a flange, which is a smaller opening on the bottom of the plunger that resembles a cup. Place the plunger into the toilet drain straight and vertical. Create a tight seal with the drain, with the plunger fully submerged in water.

Plunge gently at first, then vigorously, in an up and down motion. If the clog remains, or the toilet still isn't flushing properly, a drain snake or a closet auger can help.

To keep clogs from occurring in the future, perform maintenance periodically. Certain down-the-drain products can help keep pipes clean, prevent new clogs from forming and keep drains smelling fresh. These can be found at any local hardware or home improvement store.

Source: Liquid-Plumr

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Breaking Down Spring Home Project Costs

March 21, 2016 1:16 am

(Family Features)—Before you grab your toolkit or enlist the help of a professional for spring projects this season, do your wallet a favor and conduct some research.

HomeAdvisor’s most recent True Cost Report found that 38 percent of homeowners don't know how much it will cost to hire a professional for home projects, and nearly 70 percent are concerned about overpaying as a consequence of not having reliable cost information.

If you’ve got any of these projects on the agenda this spring, keep in mind these tips.

Repairing the roof: Maintaining the roof protects a home from the elements and can raise property values. Small repairs keep a roof in good shape for several years and help avoid costly damages. Most homeowners assume repairing a roof can be costly. In fact, the average roof fix only costs $550, according to the True Cost Report.

Remodeling a kitchen: Kitchen remodels boost a home's resale value and add functionality to the most utilized space in a home. Many factors go into remodeling a kitchen, including flooring, plumbing, appliances and electrical, so bear in mind these additional costs when budgeting.

Remodeling a bathroom: Homeowners can choose from different types of bathroom remodels, depending on style preferences and budget. The average cost of remodeling a bathroom is $9,000, says HomeAdvisor.

Painting the home's exterior: Painting the home's exterior not only boosts its curb appeal, but it also acts as a home's primary defense against weather, insects, and other damage. Consider your region’s climate before selecting a color and/or finish.

Installing landscaping: Landscaping can dramatically change the look of a house and property. Adding landscaping such as an outdoor patio, flowers or shrubs can increase the value of a home. The True Cost Report points to an average cost of $2,938 for landscaping.

Source: HomeAdvisor

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Student Loan Borrowers: 4 Tips to Avoid Scams

March 18, 2016 12:55 am

To date, there are over 43 million student loan borrowers in the United States, owing a total of nearly $1.3 trillion dollars of debt. Many of them, who are already at risk financially, could become targets of debt relief scammers.

“It’s hard enough to finance school, get through it and then manage your debt load once you leave,” says Bruce McClary, spokesperson for the National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC®). “Unfortunately, being targeted for student loan-related scams is one more thing graduates may have to deal with.”

To fend off these types of scams, McClary and the NFCC advise the following guidelines:

1. Remember looks can be deceiving. Official-looking emails or websites are intended to lead people into thinking they are legitimate. One way to verify that correspondence is from a reputable organization is by checking their Web addresses and looking for reviews or complaints online.

It’s also worth noting that the Department of Education’s Web pages end in .gov, not .com. Bear in mind, also, that the government doesn’t send out email or use advertising to encourage students to take out loans or borrowers to consolidate debt.

2. Verify before trusting. The same rules for protecting personal information in all other aspects of life also apply to student loans. Don’t provide information, especially a Federal Student Aid PIN, to someone who calls or writes. Instead, ask for a case number, then call the creditor, bank, credit union, credit card company or lender using their published number. This verifies that they are actually trying to reach out regarding a problem with an account.

3. Urgency is a red flag. Whenever pressed to make a quick decision involving a “special offer,” step away and take a hard look at the deal and who is presenting it. Scammers use urgency the same way magicians use distractions—to focus attention away from what they don’t want others to see.

4. Don’t buy into “instant” solutions. While there are many programs that offer debt forgiveness or cancellation, borrowers need to apply to them directly. There aren’t any middlemen who can negotiate special deals.

However, there are certified counselors, like those who work with nonprofit NFCC member agencies, who can help identify opportunities for debt relief and provide guidance toward the right option based on an individual’s unique financial situation. Anyone seeking assistance with student loan debt is encouraged to reach out for counseling by contacting the NFCC at 877-406-6322 or online at studentloanhelp.org

If you suspect that your student loan information has been compromised, call the Department of Education’s Office of Inspector General Hotline 1-800-MIS-USED.

Source: NFCC

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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How to Prevent Tree Roots from Damaging Your Property

March 18, 2016 12:55 am

Trees are hardy plants, and their roots fight back against man-made limits around them. In urban and suburban landscapes, tree roots are often forced to grow between buildings or under driveways and walkways—and they can cause costly damage if left unchecked.

“Before you plant a new tree in your yard, you need to understand how a tree could damage your property, and take appropriate measures to prevent that damage,” says Tchukki Andersen, a board-certified Master Arborist and staff arborist with the Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA).

Woody tree roots thicken as they grow, gradually pushing shallow roots toward the surface. Since soil near the surface is best suited for root growth, most tree roots are just below the surface, placing them directly in conflict with man-made obstacles. Where the soil is covered by a solid driveway or patio, upward growing roots will grow against the underside of the pavement or pavers.

“Most damage is found six feet or less from the tree, since roots become smaller and less damaging the further they are from the trunk,” says Andersen. “Keep this in mind before you plant. That small sapling could become a large shade tree with roots spreading 30 or 40 feet outward from the trunk.”

Some homeowners, masons and landscapers manage intrusive roots by grinding down or removing them. This can be expensive, and is harmful to the tree. Wounding a tree's roots creates points of entry for pathogens, leaving a tree vulnerable to disease. Cutting major roots also reduces a tree's ability to absorb nutrients and water, leaving it more susceptible to drought. In addition, cutting roots can reduce a tree's structural support, which increases the danger the tree will topple onto your house in high winds.

When cutting problem tree roots, remember:

• The farther you cut from the trunk, the less threat to the tree’s health, and the less danger of creating a hazard.

• Avoid cutting roots greater than 2 inches in diameter.

• Prune roots back to a side or sinker root (one that is growing downward) when possible.

• Roots recover from being severed when you cut them cleanly with a saw, instead of breaking them, and mulch and water well after pruning.

• Consult a qualified arborist when cutting within a distance equal to five times the trunk diameter to the trunk.

To avoid cutting tree roots altogether:

• Installing physical root guides and barriers that redirect tree roots down and away from hardscapes with minimal impact on the tree.

• Curve new hardscape features, such as a driveway or patio, around the tree roots.

• Suspend hardscape features on small pilings to bridge over roots.

Ultimately, the best way to keep the trees and their roots on your property from causing damage is to select species that match site conditions, Andersen says, and to avoid planting large shade trees within 12 feet of hardscapes. In areas within five to seven feet of a paved area or structure, plant trees that grow to a mature height of less than 30 feet. In areas within seven to 10 feet of a paved area or structure, plant trees that grow to a mature height of less than 50 feet. Reserve trees that mature to higher than 50 feet for areas with at least 12 feet of clearance around the trunk; this allows adequate space for the roots.

A professional arborist can assess your landscape and work with you to determine the best trees to plant.

Source: TCIA

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Remodeling and Relationships: Compromise Is Key

March 18, 2016 12:55 am

Remodeling a home shared with a spouse or significant other can (understandably) place strain on the relationship, given the expense and time involved. But in most cases, the end result is worth it—in fact, remodelers who’ve completed their projects said they feel happier and more comfortable in their newly renovated spaces, according to a recently released survey by Houzz (www.houzz.com).

If you’re undertaking a remodel with your partner, be wary of these common sources of tension:

• Agreeing on Finishes, Materials and Products – Thirty-four percent of respondents to the Houzz survey cited this as a top point of contention during a remodel.

• Communicating with One Another – Thirty percent of respondents to the survey cited this as a top point of contention during a remodel. (Seven percent of respondents admitted to tossing something belonging to their partner without their knowledge!)

• Agreeing on Design and Style – Twenty-nine percent of respondents to the survey cited this as a top point of contention during a remodel. When it comes to style compromises, just 20 percent of respondents had the same style preference as their partner.

The good news is, the majority of couples addressed these challenges through compromise, according to the survey. Remodelers who’ve been through the process recommend establishing a budget from the get-go, and coming to terms with what you both want prior to starting any project.

Source: Houzz

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Parents: 5 Ways to Teach Responsibility to Children

March 17, 2016 12:52 am

Raising well-behaved and conscientious kids is one of the joys of parenthood—but given the mercurial nature of young children, it is not always an easy task.

The lifestyle editors at ABC News recently interviewed a panel of child-rearing experts, including early childhood education professors from several universities. They suggest five tips to help you raise responsible children:

1. Give Them Chores Early – Studies have found that one good predictor of a child’s success is that they begin helping with chores by the age of two or three, beginning with putting away their toys. Doing household chores instills a sense of cooperation with others and trains them to take pride in accomplishment.

2. Make Your Expectations Clear – Set clearly stated rules about what you expect of your children and the consequences of not living up to them—and follow through. If your child is expected to be responsible for getting his own things to and from school every day, for instance, then don’t go running to school to deliver the book report he left behind on the kitchen table.

3. Set a Good Example – Give your child plenty of opportunity to observe your own responsible behavior—keeping appointments, doing household chores, volunteering and more. Children observe more than we sometimes think they do, but talk to your child about what you are doing—and why—as you go through your daily routine.

4. Reinforce Responsible Behavior – When your child exhibits responsible behavior, reinforce it. Tell your child how good it makes you feel when she sets the table or takes out the trash without being asked. Reward her good behavior by having extra story time or playing a favorite board game.

5. Expect Them to Make Mistakes – Children’s operating systems are not fully developed. They may be forgetful or easily distracted—and sometimes stubborn or defiant. If a chore is neglected, offer a firm reminder and refer back to number two or four above to manage the situation.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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