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570 Lake Cook Road Suite 101
Deerfield, IL 60015
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Archive

Tip of the Month



VOL. 9, ISSUE 6   •   NOVEMBER, 2016
Top Party Schools
Three of the top 10 party schools in the nation are in the Big Ten, according the Princeton Review's 2017 college rankings. The top 10 colleges are:

1. University of Wisconsin-Madison
2. West Virginia University
3. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
4. Lehigh University
5. Bucknell University
6. University of Iowa
7. University of Mississippi
8, Syracuse University
9. Tulane University
10. Colgate University.
READ MORE...


VOL. 8, ISSUE 8   •   JANUARY, 2016
Florida Top State Where Americans Want to Live
According to recent Harris poll, Americans like beaches: Florida, California and Hawaii are the top three states other than their own where Americans would most like to live. However, not everyone agrees: California is also the #1 state where Americans say they would not like to live.

The top 5 states where Americans would like to live are:
1. Florida
2. California
3. Hawaii
4. Colorado
5. New York.
READ MORE...


VOL. 8, ISSUE 4   •   SEPTEMBER, 2015
Beloit College Mindset 2015
Since 1998, Beloit College in Wisconsin has released a list of cultural touchstones for incoming freshmen. The idea was to make it easier for professors to understand and relate to their students. Among this year's revelations of The Beloit College Mindset List for incoming freshman:
  • The following people have not been alive in their lifetimes: Princess Diana, Mother Teresa, Notorious B.I.G. and Jacques Cousteau.
  • Hybrid cars have always been mass-produced.
  • Google has always been around.
  • "South Park" has always been on TV.
  • Paul McCartney and Elton John have always been Sir Paul and Sir Elton.
  • "The Lion King" has always been on Broadway. READ MORE...


  • VOL. 7, ISSUE 10   •   MARCH, 2015
    Top 10 Books of All Time
    According to a Harris poll, most people say their favorite book is a treasured classic. The top 10 favorite books of all time are:
    1. The Bible
    2. Gone with the Wind
    3. The Harry Potter series
    4. The Lord of the Rings series
    5. To Kill a Mockingbird
    6. Moby Dick
    7. Catcher in the Rye
    8. Little Women
    9. The Grapes of Wrath
    10. The Great Gatsby
      READ MORE...


    VOL. 7, ISSUE 7   •   DECEMBER, 2014
    Top 10 Movies of All Time
    When it comes to movies, it appears that the oldies are the goodies. The movie review site Rotten Tomatoes listed the 100 movies that got the highest viewer reviews, and eight of the top 10 came out in 1950 or before. The top 10 are:
    1. "The Wizard of Oz" (1939)
    2. "Citizen Kane" 1941
    3. "The Godfather" (1972)
    4. "The Third Man" (1949)
    5. "A Hard Day's Night" (1964)
    6. "Modern Times" (1936)
    7. "All About Eve" (1950)
    8. "Metropolis" (1927)
    9. "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari" (1920)
    10. "Laura" (1944). READ MORE...


    VOL. 7, ISSUE 3   •   AUGUST, 2014
    Where Grads are Going
    Recent grads -- defined as those up to three years past graduation -- are moving to places all over the world. According to LinkedIn, the 10 most popular destination for new graduates are:

  • Paris
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Minneapolis
  • Madrid
  • New York
  • Chicago
  • London
  • San Francisco
  • Bangalore, India
  • Sao Paulo, Brazil. READ MORE...


  • VOL. 6, ISSUE 9   •   FEBRUARY, 2014
    America's Favorite Movie Stars
    Tom Hanks is back on top as America's favorite movie star, according to a survey of U.S. adults. Hanks, who held the title in 2002, 2003 and 2004, pushed 2013 winner Denzel Washington down to second place. Filling out the top 10 are:

    3. Jennifer Lawrence
    4. Julia Roberts
    5. Sandra Bullock
    6. Johnny Depp
    7. John Wayne
    8. Clint Eastwood
    9. Brad Pitt and Meryl Streep (tie).
    READ MORE...


    VOL. 6, ISSUE 8   •   JANUARY, 2014
    Smartest Dog Breeds
    When it comes to brains, not all dogs are created equal. Although helping any dog achieve its potential requires a commitment of time and effort on the part of the owner, some dogs have more raw material to work with. According to the website vetstreet.com, the five most intelligent dog breeds are:

    1. Border collie
    2. German shepherd dog
    3. Poodle
    4. Australian shepherd
    5. Golden retriever.
    READ MORE...


    VOL. 6, ISSUE 5   •   OCTOBER, 2013
    Beloit College Mindset
    Every year since 1998, Beloit College in Wisconsin has released a list to help its professors understand the cultural context of their incoming students. According to The Beloit College Mindset List, for kids entering college in 2013:
    • GM means genetically modified food.
    • A tablet is no longer something you take for a headache.
    • Spray paint has never been sold legally in Chicago.
    • They have always been able to use USB ports.
    • Tour buses have never been able to drive in front of the White House. READ MORE...


    VOL. 5, ISSUE 12   •   MAY, 2013
    Best College Towns in America
    The American Institute of Economic Research evaluates college towns across the country in terms of the size and makeup of the student population, but also in terms of the cost of living, the unemployment rate, entrepreneurial and cultural activity, and more. Based on this research, here are the top 10 college towns in America:

    1. Ithaca, N.Y. (Cornell University and Ithaca College)
    2. Ames, Iowa (Iowa State University)
    3. State College, Pa. (Penn State)
    4. Iowa City, Iowa (University of Iowa)
    5. Corvallis, Ore. (Oregon State University)
    6. Champaign-Urbana, Ill. (University of Illinois)
    7. Lafayette, Ind. (Purdue University, Harrison College)
    8. Lawrence, Kan. (University of Kansas)
    9. Morgantown, W.Va. (University of West Virginia)
    10. Columbia, Mo. (University of Missouri).
    READ MORE...


    VOL. 5, ISSUE 10   •   MARCH, 2013
    Most Popular TV Stars
    Ellen DeGeneres, star of her own daytime talk show, has danced her way into the hearts of American television viewers. She is the most popular TV star in the country, according to a poll by Netscape. Rounding out the top five are:

    2. Mark Harmon
    3. Jon Stewart
    4. Jay Leno
    5. Jim Parsons.
    READ MORE...


    VOL. 5, ISSUE 4   •   SEPTEMBER, 2012
    The Class of 2016
    Want to feel old? Check out the Beloit College Mindset List, compiled every fall by the Wisconsin college to give professors an idea of what incoming freshmen have experienced in their lifetimes. For this year's freshmen:
    • The ceiling of the Sistine Chapel has always been restored.
    • Cal Ripken Jr., not Lou Gehrig, has always held baseball's record for consecutive games played.
    • People have always rolled their luggage rather than carrying it.
    • Arianna Huffington has always been a liberal.
    • The Secretary of State has usually been a woman.
    • Stephen Breyer has always been on the U.S. Supreme Court.
    • There have always been blue M&Ms.
    For the complete list, go to http://www.beloit.edu/mindset/2016/.
    READ MORE...


    VOL. 5, ISSUE 3   •   AUGUST, 2012
    Most Hackable Passwords
    Choosing your password and changing it regularly are the most important things you can do to safeguard your online identity. Yet many people don't take this important step.

    An Internet security expert recently identified the most hackable passwords. If you have chosen one of these, change it right now:
    1. Password
    2. 123456
    3. 12345678
    4. 1234
    5. qwerty.
    READ MORE...


    VOL. 5, ISSUE 1   •   JUNE, 2012
    The Cost of Ballpark Brew
    If you want a beer while watching the Red Sox at Fenway Park, you might need to hit the ATM. Fenway has the highest beer price in Major League Baseball: $7.25 for a 12-ounce cup, or 60 cents an ounce. Other places where beer prices are high? Busch Stadium, where Cardinals fans pay 56 cents an ounce, and the Rogers Centre, home of the Toronto Blue Jays, where a brew is 51 cents an ounce.

    On the other hand, Diamondbacks fans at Chase Field pay only $4 for a 14-ounce cup, or 29 cents an ounce. The price is 32 cents an ounce at Angels Stadium in Anaheim, and 34 cents an ounce at Coors Field in Denver, according to the website SaveonBrew.com.
    READ MORE...


    VOL. 4, ISSUE 12   •   MAY, 2012
    Top U.S. Stores
    According to Consumer Reports, U.S. shoppers rate Costco as the top shopping experience based on a combination of price, location and products. Rounding out the top 10 stores are:

    2. Kohl's
    3. J.C. Penney
    4. Target
    5. Macy's
    6. Meijer
    7. Sears
    8. Sam's Club
    9. Kmart
    10. Walmart.
    READ MORE...


    VOL. 4, ISSUE 10   •   MARCH, 2012
    Authors List Top 10 Books
    J. Peder Zane, editor of Norton's Remarkable Reads, asked 125 famous writers to list their favorite books. Based on their responses, the Top 10 Books of all time are:
    1. Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy
    2. Madame Bovary," by Gustave Flaubert
    3. War and Peace, by Leo Tolstoy
    4. Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov
    5. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
    6. Hamlet, by William Shakespeare
    7. The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
    8. In Search of Lost Time, by Marcel Proust
    9. The Stories of Anton Chekhov, by Anton Chekhov
    10. Middlemarch, by George Eliot. READ MORE...


    VOL. 4, ISSUE 8   •   JANUARY, 2012
    World's Top Tourist Sites
    According to Travel and Leisure, the United States dominated the tourist trade in 2010. The top 10 tourist attractions in the world were:
    1. Times Square, New York, visited by 39 million tourists a year.
    2. Central Park, New York, 38 million visitors.
    3. Union Station, Washington, D.C, 37 million.
    4. The Las Vegas Strip, 29.5 million.
    5. Niagara Falls, New York and Ontario, Canada, 22.5 million.
    6. Grand Central Terminal, New York, 21.6 million.
    7. Faneuil Hall Marketplace, Boston, 18 million.
    8. Disney World's Magic Kingdom, Orlando, Fla., 17 million.
    9. Disneyland, Anaheim, Calif., 16 million.
    10. Grand Bazaar, Istanbul, 15 million.
    READ MORE...


    VOL. 4, ISSUE 7   •   DECEMBER, 2011
    We All Scream for Ice Cream
    The most popular ice cream flavor in America is chocolate, according to a recent Harris Poll. Twenty-eight percent of respondents named chocolate, which edged out vanilla.

    After these two perennial favorites, the rest of the top 10 were:

    3. Cookie dough/cookies and cream
    4. Butter pecan and Swiss almond (tie)
    6. Mint chocolate chip
    7. Strawberry
    8. Rocky road
    9. Coffee
    10. Peanut butter.
    READ MORE...


    VOL. 4, ISSUE 6   •   NOVEMBER, 2011
    The Really High Cost of College
    The national average tuition and fees at a private four-year college was $27,293 in 2010, according to the College Board. This is significantly more than the average of $7,605 for public four-year colleges and $2,713 for public two-year colleges. But it is a lot less than the cost of attending one of the most-expensive U.S. colleges. According to Forbes, the costliest colleges in 2010-2011 are:
  • Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, N.Y.; tuition $45,212; total cost of attendance $58,334
  • University of Chicago; tuition $42,041; total cost $57,590
  • The New School, New York; tuition $37,610; total cost $57,199
  • Washington University, St. Louis; tuition $41,992; total cost $56,930
  • Columbia University, New York; tuition $45,290; total cost $56,681. READ MORE...


  • VOL. 4, ISSUE 2   •   JULY, 2011
    Top Names for CEOs
    If your name is Peter, you have a lot in common with some business bigwigs. According to the business networking site LinkdIn, Peter is the most common name for male CEOs, both in the United States and around the world. Deborah tops the list for women

    The top five names for male CEOs are:
    1. Peter
    2. Bob
    3. Jack
    4. Bruce
    5. Fred.

    The most common names for female CEOs are:
    1. Deborah
    2. Sally
    3. Debra
    4. Cynthia
    5. Carolyn.
    READ MORE...


    VOL. 3, ISSUE 11   •   APRIL, 2011
    Beware the IRS Email Scam
    It's that time of year again -- time for a fake email from the IRS. The email might say that you can get your refund immediately if you provide your bank information, or it might ask for some additional financial information for completing your return. Whatever the request, though, it is a fake.

    The IRS very rarely sends emails, and it never asks for information via email or telephone. If the IRS wants information from you, you will get a letter.

    In general, you should be very cautious about providing personal or financial information in response to email requests. Scammers can make an email look very official. Always double-check with your bank or other institution. It's better to be safe than sorry.
    READ MORE...


    VOL. 3, ISSUE 8   •   JANUARY, 2011
    Best Airlines
    Jet Blue Airways is the best economy airline, while Continental leads the way in the premium seating area, according to the 2010 Zagat survey of airline passengers. The survey also named Southwest Airlines as the best value.

    Following JetBlue in the economy airline category were Southwest, Continental, AirTran Airways and Delta Airlines.

    After Continental, the airlines receiving top marks for premium service were American Airlines, Delta, United Airlines and AirTran.

    Travelers also ranked Portland International as the nation's best airport. The worst: New York's LaGuardia, which has held down the bottom spot since 2007.
    READ MORE...


    VOL. 3, ISSUE 7   •   DECEMBER, 2010
    Year-End Tax Tips
    As the holiday season finally winds to a close and you get ready to ring in the new year, April is probably the furthest thing from your mind. But if you act soon, you may be able to keep more of your money when the tax man comes.

    You have until Dec. 31 to make expenditures that could end up as deductions on your income tax return. For example
    • Medical deductions. If you have had a lot of medical deductions this year and you expect to itemize those deductions, get any appropriate medical care this month, so you can add it to the total.
    • Charitable deductions. Contributions to your favorite charity must be made by Dec. 31 in order to be deducted on your return for this year. Remember, though, that you can deduct contributions made by credit card before the end of the year, even if you don't pay the bill until next year.
    • Mortgage interest deduction. Make your January mortgage payment by Dec. 31, and you can deduct an extra month's mortgage interest.
    READ MORE...


    VOL. 3, ISSUE 4   •   SEPTEMBER, 2010
    Egg Safety
    The recent recall of eggs contaminated with salmonella has sent shivers through kitchens everywhere, and reopened the question of when eggs are safe to eat. Raw eggs should never be considered safe, and even pasteurized egg products should not be eaten raw. In general, experts agree, you should follow some basic safety procedures when they are cooking with eggs:
    • Wash your hands after you handle eggs, and wash down your counter and any utensils you used.
    • When you are using eggs in baked foods such as casseroles, make sure the internal temperature of the food is at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Egg dishes such as a quiche should be cooked or reheated to at least 165 degrees.
    • Cook fried or poached eggs until the yolks are hard. Runny yolks are not safe to eat.
    • Raw eggs can keep in the refrigerator for about a month. After that, throw them out. READ MORE...


    VOL. 3, ISSUE 1   •   JUNE, 2010
    Where the Money Is
    It should not be a surprise, but if you want to make the big bucks, be a doctor. Unless you're a woman. And stay away from the restaurant industry unless you want to starve.

    Forbes recently released the best- and worst-paying jobs in America, based on the May 2009 salary survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The top five jobs are: surgeon, with an average annual pay of $219,770; anesthesiologist, $211,750; oral and maxillofacial surgeon, $210,710; orthodontist, $206,190; and obstetrician/gynecologist, $204,470. At the other end of the spectrum are: food preparation and serving worker, $18,120; fast food cook, $18,230; dishwasher, $18,330; shampooer, $18.890; and dining room and cafeteria attendant and bartender, $18,900.

    The situation is somewhat different for women, who make an average of 80 percent of what men make. The top-paying job for a woman is chief executive officer, with an annual salary of $81,000, followed by pharmacist, $76,500; lawyer, $75,500; computer information systems manager, $73,500; and computer software engineer, $68,000.
    READ MORE...


    VOL. 2, ISSUE 12   •   MAY, 2010
    Wild Things
    During the spring or summer months, you may find a baby bird, bunny, opossum, deer or some other animal alone in your yard. What should you do? According to The Humane Society of the United States, do not be too quick to do anything. Many parents leave their babies alone, sometimes for long periods.

    For example, mothers sometimes visit baby deer or rabbits only a few times a day, so they do not draw predators to their young. Unless there is evidence that a predator has disturbed the area, you can probably watch and wait for the mom to come back. On the other hand, young raccoons are rarely left alone, so if you see a baby raccoon and do not observe a parent for a while, it is probably orphaned.

    You can return uninjured baby birds to the nest; the parents will not reject them because of human touch. If the nest is destroyed or you cannot reach it, you can hang a woven basket, like you might get at a craft shop, near where the nest was, according to the Humane Society.

    If the animal is injured or if you have watched for a while and you believe the baby is an orphan, call your local humane society, animal control office or wildlife rehabilitator for help.

    READ MORE...


    VOL. 2, ISSUE 11   •   APRIL, 2010
    Ideas for Your Tax Refund
    If you got a tax refund this year, the Choose to Save national public savings education program has five suggestions for ways you can put that money to work to build your long-term financial security:

    1. Reduce the amount you pay in interest by making an extra mortgage or credit card payment.
    2. Buy a U.S. savings bond. Bonds are for sale at most banks and credit unions, or online at www.savingsbonds.gov.
    3. Set up an automatic payroll deduction saving plan, and use your refund as seed money.
    4. Contribute to a traditional IRA.
    5. Contribute to a Roth IRA.
    READ MORE...


    VOL. 2, ISSUE 10   •   MARCH, 2010
    Last-Minute Tax Tips
    T.S. Eliot declared that April is the cruelest month, and everyone filing an income tax return would probably agree. But there are still a few things you can do to ease the pain.

    You have until April 15 to make a contribution to some tax-deferred savings vehicles, such as an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) or a Simplified Employer Plan (SEP). The amount that you can contribute depends on several factors, including your age and income level.

    If you just can't quite get it together to file on time, you can file for a four-month extension and put the whole thing off until Aug. 15. However, you still have to pay your total tax liability by April 15.

    If you are outside the country on April 15, you may be eligible for an automatic two-month filing extension. And if you are serving in the military in a combat zone, you may get an even longer extension. For more information, visit the IRS Web site.
    READ MORE...


    VOL. 2, ISSUE 9   •   FEBRUARY, 2010
    Spring Cleaning for Your Paperwork
    It is spring cleaning time, time to scrub up and open the house to get rid of winter's gloom. While you are cleaning, don't forget to give your personal papers a going-over, too.

    Your first step, if you have not already done so, is to gather all your personal papers together in safe place, like a filing cabinet or storage boxes in a closet. You probably should use a safe or safe-deposit box to store some things, like your will, the deed to your house, the title to your car, citizenship or naturalization papers, etc. But keep copies of these documents at home with other personal papers, such as canceled checks and bank statements, copies of your tax returns, insurance coverage information, receipts and warranty information on major purchases, etc.

    Put this paperwork in clearly marked file folders or binders. Then go through these files at least once a year. Update them with new information where applicable, and remove and shred outdated information. Finally, make sure you tell a trusted friend or family member where to find these papers, in case something happens to you.

    READ MORE...


    VOL. 2, ISSUE 7   •   DECEMBER, 2009
    The holidays are here, with their lights and presents and getting together with friends. But don't let disaster wreck your season.

    Practice fire safety. If you use candles for decoration, don't leave them unattended or put them close to anything flammable. Unplug outdoor lights when you are not home, and don't leave your tree lit unless you are nearby.

    Be careful about drinking and driving. The combination of winter weather, busy roads and lots of people celebrating can be lethal. Don't drink and drive, and don't drive when you are tired or distracted.

    Don't make your house an invitation to intruders. Burglars know that lots of people are away during the holidays. If you are gone, leave lights on, have your paper and mail taken in, and ask a neighbor or friend to check in on your house periodically. You also might want to let the local police know you will be away.

    Finally, let your insurance agent know if you have something very valuable under the tree. That diamond necklace, for example, should be covered from the time you leave the shop; don't wait until Christmas morning.
    READ MORE...


    VOL. 2, ISSUE 6   •   NOVEMBER, 2009
    Get Your Car Ready for Winter
    The time to get your car ready for the snow and ice and cold is long before you are stranded by the side of the road in a 5-degree windchill. When you are winterizing your car, pay special attention to the following areas:

    • Exhaust system. Make sure there are no cracks or visible defects in your exhaust system, including your muffler and tailpipe.

    • Fluids. You should flush and replace your radiator fluids at least every two years or 30,000 miles. Use antifreeze that can stand up to the lowest temperatures. And don't forget to check the windshield washer fluid. If you run out, or if it freezes up, you could be unable to clear snow and salt from your windshield.

    • Battery. Check your battery charge and, if it is starting to weaken, consider getting a new battery. Cold weather is very hard on batteries, and they can give up the ghost with little warning. Also, check that your connections are solid and not corroded.

    • Tires. Make sure your tires are properly inflated and have sufficient tread. If you live in a very hilly, very snowy area, you might want to consider installing snow tires. Be sure to check the spare, while you're at it.

    • Engine. Winter is a good time for a tuneup, and maybe new spark plugs. Check the belts and hoses. You also might want to consider changing your oil and using a winter weight.

    • Windshield wipers. Make sure your windshield wipers are strong enough to handle snow, and that they do a good job of clearing the windshield.

    • Emergency gear. Especially if you drive a lot or in rural areas, you should carry emergency gear in your trunk. Include jumper cables, blankets, a working flashlight and backup batteries, a small shovel in case you get stuck and have to dig out, some kitty litter to provide traction. You also might want to carry a small can of de-icer in your purse or briefcase, in case your car locks freeze.

    Finally, check your windshield fluid regularly, and keep your gas tank more than half full to keep fuel lines from freezing. Use extra caution driving in winter weather, and give yourself plenty of extra time to get where you're going.
    READ MORE...


    VOL. 2, ISSUE 5   •   OCTOBER, 2009
    Most Dangerous Jobs
    It turns out that the cable TV show "Deadliest Catch" is right. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, commercial fisherman are the most likely of all occupations to be killed on the job. The DoL's Top 10 dangerous jobs are:
    1. Commercial fishermen
    2. Loggers
    3. Aircraft pilots and flight engineers
    4. Farmers and ranchers
    5. Garbage and recycling collectors
    6. Roofers
    7. Electrical line workers
    8. Truck drivers and traveling salespeople
    9. Taxi drivers and chauffeurs. READ MORE...


    VOL. 2, ISSUE 4   •   SEPTEMBER, 2009
    The Class of 2013
    Each year Beloit College publishes its Mindset List, which gives insight into the cultural forces that have shaped young people entering college in that year. Most members of the class of 2013 were born in 1991.
    • Martha Graham, Pan American Airways, Michael Landon, Dr. Seuss and Freddie Mercury have always been dead, and Dan Rostenkowski, Jack Kevorkian and Mike Tyson have always been felons.
    • They have not used a card catalog to find a book in the library, and they always have been able to read books on an electronic screen.
    • They always have had chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream, Berry Berry Kix and blue Jell-O.
    • There has never been a KGB.
    • The Atlanta Braves have always been managed by Bobby Cox, and Phil Jackson has been winning basketball championships.
    • "Womyn" and "waitperson" have always been in the dictionary.
    READ MORE...


    VOL. 2, ISSUE 3   •   AUGUST, 2009
    Top North American Vacation Spots
    Mickey Mouse's home tops the list of top vacation sports in North America, according to Forbes Traveler. The Top 10 travel destinations are:

    1. Orlando
    2. New York
    3. Las Vegas
    4. San Francisco
    5. Los Angeles
    6. The Maya Riviera in Mexico
    7. Chicago
    8. South Florida
    9. Oahu
    10. The Bahamas
      READ MORE...


    VOL. 2, ISSUE 2   •   JULY, 2009
    World Wildlife Fund Conservation Tips
    The World Wildlife Fund has released a list of 10 things you can do to further the cause of conservation in your everyday life:
  • Don't buy anything made of tropical hardwood unless it has a Forest Stewardship Council label.
  • See if your electric power provider offers the option to buy power from renewable sources such as wind, solar and biomass.
  • Replace your incandescent light bulbs with energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulbs.
  • Replace your regular showerheads with low-flow showerheads.
  • Plant local species of trees.
  • Buy seafood with the Marine Stewardship Council label.
  • Avoid perfumed air fresheners.
  • Buy organic fruits and vegetables, and clothes and other things made from organic cotton.
  • Wrap an insulating jacket around your water heater.
  • Choose a car that gets at least 30 miles per gallon. READ MORE...


  • VOL. 1, ISSUE 12   •   MAY, 2009
    Top Cars for 2009
    Consumer Reports magazine has released its coveted "Top Picks" among cars for 2009. The winners are:

  • Best small sedan: Hyundai Elantra SE
  • Best family sedan: Honda Accord
  • Best upscale sedan: Infiniti G37
  • Best midsize SUV: Toyota Highlander
  • Best small SUV: Toyota RAV4
  • Best pickup: Chevrolet Avalanche
  • Best minivan: Toyota Sienna
  • Most fun to drive: Mazda MX-5 Miata
  • Greenest car: Toyota Prius
  • Best value: Toyota Prius
  • Best vehicle overall: Lexus LS 460. READ MORE...


  • VOL. 3, ISSUE 11   •   APRIL, 2011
    Beware of IRS Phishing Scam
    If you get an email that says it is from the IRS, you can be certain of one thing: It is not. According to the IRS, it does not initiate contact through email, and it does not ask for personal or financial information through email.

    However, there are people who go "phishing" for such information by pretending to be the IRS. They send an email that instructs the reader to go to an IRS site or open an attachment. The email might say, for example, that the reader is due a refund or could be audited unless he or she provides the requested information.

    If you receive such an email, the IRS says, don't open it; that could infect your computer. Instead, forward the email to the IRS at phishing@irs.gov. Then delete the message.

    If you fear that you already have provided information to a phony site, visit the Identity Theft page at www.irs.gov.
    READ MORE...


    VOL. 1, ISSUE 10   •   MARCH, 2009
    Top 10 Cities for Vacation Value
    If you want to get away but don't want to spend a ton of cash, set your GPS for Orlando. According to Hotwire.com, the home of the Magic Kingdom is the best vacation value in the country for 2009, based on the cost of hotel, airfare, rental cars and entertainment. Rounding out the top 10 are:

    2. Atlanta
    3. Denver
    4. Dallas-Fort Worth
    5. Phoenix
    6. Houston
    7. Los Angeles
    8. Tampa
    9. Washington, D.C.
    10. Chicago
    READ MORE...


    VOL. 1, ISSUE 9   •   FEBRUARY, 2009
    FAFSA Alert
    Well over $100 billion in financial aid is awarded to U.S students every year. If you and your student want a piece of that pie, it is best to act early.

    College students — and their parents — are probably familiar with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, form. This is the form that families fill out to determine the student's eligibility for federal aid, including grants, scholarships, work-study and low-cost loans.

    Usually, a student and his or her parents fill out the form before the student's freshman year. You can file a paper version, but it is most efficient to fill out the form online; go to www.fafsa.ed.gov. There are more than 100 questions on the form, but most can be answered by referring to your federal tax return. You can use the FAFSA form you fill out before your child's freshman year as the basis for the forms you file for the rest of the student's college years.

    You can fill out the FAFSA any time after January 1 for the school year that begins the following fall. Many schools distribute money on a first-come, first-served basis, so the sooner you file the form, the better your chances.

    READ MORE...


    VOL. 1, ISSUE 8   •   JANUARY, 2009
    Most Expensive Colleges
    If you are paying college tuition, or thinking about paying college tuition, you know that that the cost of college has been rising faster than the Consumer Price Index for years. But at some prestigious institutes of higher learning, that increase has gone into the stratosphere.

    The most expensive college in the United States in 2008-2009 was Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, N.Y., where students (or their parents) had to plunk down a whopping $40,350 in tuition alone. That does not even include room and board (an additional $13,104), books or essentials like pizza and spring break in Cancun.

    Of course, many students receive grants or scholarships to help offset the cost of tuition. But the most expensive schools still take a chunk out of any budget. Rounding out the most expensive colleges in 2008-2009 (Figures are tuition and room and board):

    2. George Washington University, Washington, D.C.: $50,357
    3. Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.: $50,275
    4. Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tenn.: $50,241
    5. University of Chicago: $50,189
    6. New York University: $50,182
    7. Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pa.: $49,804
    8. Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Md.: $49,560
    9. Boston College: $49,560
    10. Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y.: $49,470
    READ MORE...


    VOL. 2, ISSUE 2   •   JULY, 2009
    World Wildlife Fund Conservation Tips
    The World Wildlife Fund has released a list of 10 things you can do to further the cause of conservation in your everyday life:
  • Don't buy anything made of tropical hardwood unless it has a Forest Stewardship Council label.
  • See if your electric power provider offers the option to buy power from renewable sources such as wind, solar and biomass.
  • Replace your incandescent light bulbs with energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulbs.
  • Replace your regular showerheads with low-flow showerheads.
  • Plant local species of trees.
  • Buy seafood with the Marine Stewardship Council label.
  • Avoid perfumed air fresheners.
  • Buy organic fruits and vegetables, and clothes and other things made from organic cotton.
  • Wrap an insulating jacket around your water heater.
  • Choose a car that gets at least 30 miles per gallon. READ MORE...


  • VOL. 2, ISSUE 6   •   NOVEMBER, 2009
    Get Your Car Ready for Winter
    The time to get your car ready for the snow and ice and cold is long before you are stranded by the side of the road in a 5-degree windchill. When you are winterizing your car, pay special attention to the following areas:

    • Exhaust system. Make sure there are no cracks or visible defects in your exhaust system, including your muffler and tailpipe.

    • Fluids. You should flush and replace your radiator fluids at least every two years or 30,000 miles. Use antifreeze that can stand up to the lowest temperatures. And don't forget to check the windshield washer fluid. If you run out, or if it freezes up, you could be unable to clear snow and salt from your windshield.

    • Battery. Check your battery charge and, if it is starting to weaken, consider getting a new battery. Cold weather is very hard on batteries, and they can give up the ghost with little warning. Also, check that your connections are solid and not corroded.

    • Tires. Make sure your tires are properly inflated and have sufficient tread. If you live in a very hilly, very snowy area, you might want to consider installing snow tires. Be sure to check the spare, while you're at it.

    • Engine. Winter is a good time for a tuneup, and maybe new spark plugs. Check the belts and hoses. You also might want to consider changing your oil and using a winter weight.

    • Windshield wipers. Make sure your windshield wipers are strong enough to handle snow, and that they do a good job of clearing the windshield.

    • Emergency gear. Especially if you drive a lot or in rural areas, you should carry emergency gear in your trunk. Include jumper cables, blankets, a working flashlight and backup batteries, a small shovel in case you get stuck and have to dig out, some kitty litter to provide traction. You also might want to carry a small can of de-icer in your purse or briefcase, in case your car locks freeze.

    Finally, check your windshield fluid regularly, and keep your gas tank more than half full to keep fuel lines from freezing. Use extra caution driving in winter weather, and give yourself plenty of extra time to get where you're going.
    READ MORE...


    VOL. 1, ISSUE 5   •   OCTOBER, 2008
    Avoiding Colds
    Colds and flu can happen any time of year, and they can lay you low. You probably won't be able to avoid ever getting sick, but there are some things you can do to reduce your risk of catching a bug:
    • Wash your hands regularly.
    • Cover your mouth with a tissue or handkerchief when you cough or sneeze. Kids don't always have a tissue handy, so some doctors suggest that parents teach children to sneeze into their elbow, to avoid getting germs on their hands.
    • Don't share drinks or silverware, especially with people who appear to be sick.
    • Replace your toothbrush regularly, especially after you have been sick, to avoid being exposed to germs on the bristles.
    • Drink more water — as much as eight to 12 glasses a day.
    • Eat properly and get enough sleep.
    • If you get sick, try to avoid coming into contact with people. Stay home from work if possible.
    READ MORE...


    VOL. 1, ISSUE 4   •   SEPTEMBER, 2008
    Top Party Schools of 2008
    When college officials talk about having top rankings, this is not necessarily what they have in mind. There are the top party schools in 2008, according to the Princeton Review's survey of college students around the country:

    1. University of Florida
    2. University of Mississippi
    3. Penn State University
    4. West Virginia University
    5. Ohio University
    6. Randolph-Macon College
    7. University of Georgia
    8. University of Texas
    9. University of California-Santa Barbara
    10. Florida State University
    11. University of New Hampshire
    12. University of Iowa
    13. University of Colorado
    14. Indiana University
    15. Tulane University
    16. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
    17. Arizona State University
    18. University of Tennessee
    19. University of Alabama
    20. Loyola University-New Orleans READ MORE...


    VOL. 1, ISSUE 3   •   AUGUST, 2008
    Finding Unclaimed Property
    Did you ever have the feeling that you were forgetting something important? It happens to everyone, and it can be costly. More often than you would think, people forget about money or property that belongs to them. Maybe they move and forget to close out a checking account, for example. This money eventually finds its way into the hands of the state -- where you can find and claim what belongs to you.

    Start by searching online for lost or unclaimed property and the state in which you are interested. In Illinois, for example, you will be referred to a section of the Illinois State Treasurer's site, called cashdash. You can follow the simple directions to see if the state of Illinois has any of your money.

    If so, the site includes instructions for claiming the money or property. Generally, the greater the value, the greater the requirements for claiming. At the very least, you will have to prove that you are the person whose money or property it is.

    You can check all the states in which you ever lived or worked. Usually, they will tell you not only whether you have unclaimed property, but also the general value of that property. You also can search on behalf of other people, including those who have died. At the very least, it can be interesting to see what is out there. And who knows -- you could end up with a little windfall!.
    READ MORE...


    VOL. 1, ISSUE 8   •   JANUARY, 2009
    Most Expensive Colleges
    If you are paying college tuition, or thinking about paying college tuition, you know that that the cost of college has been rising faster than the Consumer Price Index for years. But at some prestigious institutes of higher learning, that increase has gone into the stratosphere.

    The most expensive college in the United States in 2008-2009 was Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, N.Y., where students (or their parents) had to plunk down a whopping $40,350 in tuition alone. That does not even include room and board (an additional $13,104), books or essentials like pizza and spring break in Cancun.

    Of course, many students receive grants or scholarships to help offset the cost of tuition. But the most expensive schools still take a chunk out of any budget. Rounding out the most expensive colleges in 2008-2009 (Figures are tuition and room and board):

    2. George Washington University, Washington, D.C.: $50,357
    3. Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.: $50,275
    4. Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tenn.: $50,241
    5. University of Chicago: $50,189
    6. New York University: $50,182
    7. Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pa.: $49,804
    8. Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Md.: $49,560
    9. Boston College: $49,560
    10. Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y.: $49,470
    READ MORE...


    VOL. 1, ISSUE 1   •   JUNE, 2008
    Beware of Stimulus Check Scam
    Several consumer protection organizations have reported a new kind of Internet and phone scam that revolves around the IRS stimulus checks that are being sent out to U.S. taxpayers.

    The checks start arriving in mailboxes in May, but some scam artists are calling or emailing homes claiming to represent the IRS and offering to have the stimulus check directly deposited into the taxpayer's bank account. All they need is the number of the account. Of course, the stimulus check never shows up in the account, but the account balance often disappears.

    The IRS warns taxpayers that it does not contact them by phone or email about stimulus checks or any other matter. If you receive a phone call or email that claims to be from the IRS, you are being conned. If you are called, hang up. And if you receive an email, delete it. Don't open it or click on any links. You also can report the incident to the IRS.
    READ MORE...


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