Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Mortgage News Network

How much of the devastation caused by the "Housing Bubble and Unethical Lending" practices would have never reached these levels if there were open discussions and proactive education aimed at consumers and professionals for the sole purpose of their protection their well being?
One such proactive forum has began and is developing into the center for both consumer and professional discussions. Founded by industry expert Joe Littell; The Mortgage News Network was founded upon the fundamental principal that, "All Real Estate Financing Information Concerning the American Public, Must be Made Available to the Public".
Mortgage News Network is an accurate source of information whose purpose is to inform and educate for the betterment of everyone. We are committed to providing resources, assistance and expert data to Consumers and Real Estate Professionals who wish to become increasingly prolific in the Art of Real Estate.
We discuss topics like the one mentioned by renowned money manager Peter Lynch, who explains in the "Ignore the Headlines" article in the February 25th issue of Time Magazine that that the inevitable rise in interest rates may extinguish a borrower's advantage to get into more house, for a lower rate. A half point worsening to rate on a $220k home could mean $20k+ less that one would qualify for with the same payment. It's a little more complicated if one is selling their home but if you are buying or refinancing there may be no better time.
Many people will wait to see how others react before they choose to refinance or purchase a home. This is called paralysis by analysis and is detrimental to the individual and the economy. Reason being is that there are thousands of opportunities out there and once the fear of the recession loosens its grip, there will be a stampede to make a move. Hopefully, by then it won't be too late. Rates may decrease a fraction as may home values but then again, so will the inventory and the quality of the properties as well as the money lost due to renting and lack of tax benefits one gets from being a home owner....
Weigh the pro's and the con's and make sure that you talk with an expert who cares about your outcome and will council you with no obligation. The right expert will keep you from losing thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours of wasted time.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A Great Online Education is at Your Finger tips

Have you ever thought about enhancing your education by going back to school? If so, you probably have wondered whether you should go your local college or university. If you haven't been to one recently, let me paint you a picture.
There are usually acres of buildings, jammed parking lots, and lots of other students. You might have to commute for miles in terrible traffic, and then find it impossible to park near your classes. You may spend hours traipsing back and forth across campus, lugging 30 pounds of books on your back. You stand in line to register your classes, only to find that they are all full. Or if your class is available, it's at 7:00 a.m. or 9 p.m. If you have a family to juggle, it gets worse -- the kids get sick you get to miss classes. And most of the students closely resemble your youngest child, making you feel like a dinosaur.
Does the above scenario fill you with dread? Could it be the reason you haven't pursued higher education before now? What if you could achieve your educational goals without leaving the comfort of your own home, and maybe even do it cheaper?
If this is music to your ears, you should consider getting an online education. All you really need is a computer, an internet connection, and the desire to learn. No traffic nightmares, no weather worries. No scheduling conflicts or babysitter problems, and you can even go to school in your pajamas. Wow! That's my idea of school. You take the classes you need at the times you want, at your own speed, and still achieve your chosen goals.
Online education does not mean that the classes are easier, it just means that they are easier to take. You will still have to study, do homework, write papers, take midterms and final exams. Yes, you do have to work! But the good news is, you can do it in the comfort and convenience of your own home.
The advantages of getting an online education are virtually endless. If you have ever considered getting more education to improve your chances of landing a job, or making more money, or maybe even changing careers completely, now is the time to do it. There really is no excuse for not pursuing the wonderful opportunities available through distance education.
For many people this is all the motivation they need to get going. However, it is important that you know your limitations. If it's impossible for you to have quiet time on a regular basis, if you find it difficult to focus with all the insanity going on around you, or if you just can't discipline yourself to do the job, then distance education might not be for you.
However, if you are adept at managing the ins and outs of your personal life while dealing with the demands of going to school, you should be able to juggle the extra balls that an online degree program might toss at you.
During the past 10 years, distance education has finally come into its own, and now many programs are even eligible for federal financial aid such as grants and loans. So it's entirely possible for you to attend school without breaking the bank. You can find classes and online education programs in a large variety of topics, starting with getting your GED and going all the way up to masters degrees and Doctoral programs.
Some online schools have brick and mortar campuses and some don't. Some require occasional meetings with students and teachers, also called limited residence requirements. Many have no such requirements, and your education is simply based upon the classes you complete successfully. Some schools require you to attend online live or prerecorded lectures or interactive classes, while others just give you the class materials online and let you take exams when you are ready.
It is important that you research the options thoroughly and carefully. Whether you're planning to take trade courses, business classes or any type of higher education, make sure the distance learning program is accredited by the appropriate agency in your state. There's nothing worse than wasting your time, money and energy to get an education that you won't get credit for, unless of course you are doing it just for fun.
What you need to do first is decide what career you want to pursue or what subject you want to study or, then look for the online education learning program that's best suited to meet your needs. Whether you want to learn web design, culinary arts, business management or something else, you'll be able to find a distance learning program that will give you what you need.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Education: Remember The Days Of The Old Schoolyard?

A recent news story that gripped the nation was about a high school girl who was killed while meeting somebody at her school. Her body was found dumped in a city miles away. You hear these stories all the time. We have become numb to them. But how did it ever get this way? When did we start living in a world where our kids couldn't walk home from school and be safe? When did we have to prevent kids from going out to the schoolyards during lunch and keep them locked up in the building? When did we have to start bringing metal detectors into schools to make sure that kids didn't bring in concealed weapons? If you're wondering where this article is going, based on the title, an old Cat Stevens song, it's about school safety, or the lack of it.
The truth is, schools are no longer safe. That probably is no surprise to anyone since our world has become a mass of murder and mayhem. The days when a child who even looked at a teacher wrong and was sent home for a week are over. Now, students have more rights to behave like animals than ever before. The end result is that the school your child is attending is not as safe as the school you attended.
So what can be done about it? What IS being done about it? The schools themselves say everything that can be done is being done. The parents say not enough. The truth is, they're probably both right.
Part of, if not all of the problem with school safety are the students themselves. Because of new laws like No Child Left Behind and all the existing local laws about how kids have to be in school, even though there are a number of children who clearly don't belong in a public school with other children, they have to be there. For one thing, the local police don't want these kids roaming the streets terrorizing store owners, which they commonly do. So these sometimes violent children are mixed into a social class containing kids who are in no way equipped to deal with these thugs. The end result is these kids get hurt, sometimes seriously. Preventing them from going to the playgrounds during lunch only delays the inevitable. And in some cases, these kids are beaten up and assaulted right in the schools themselves.
But the problem gets worse. How many times do we hear on the news about a kid or a group of kids bringing guns into schools and shooting up their classmates and even a few teachers along the way? And this isn't just limited to schools in urban areas. Many times we hear of shootings in very high class neighborhoods. These are always the ones that shock us the most.
But they shouldn't.
Kids are kids, no matter where they live. They are all subjected to the same violence on TV. They all read the same things in the paper and they all have the same basic problems that kids have, fitting in with others. When a kid can't fit in, many times the abuse he takes brings him to the point of doing things that he wouldn't normally do.
If there was an answer to this problem, it would have been found already. The parents say the schools should have tougher safeguards. The schools say the parents should spend more time raising their kids and less time doing whatever it is they're doing.
They're probably both right.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Public Relations - Understanding Educated Gambling

As an entry level position to PR, I found myself typing up a forecast by a major Public Relation's firm for a major pharmaceutical company of what life would be like in the year 2000. Market research predictions included telephones with monitors that could help you see people while you talked, fax machines that could transmit information over telephone wires, microwave ovens for reducing food defrosting time from hours to minutes and other devices that have certainly come to pass. In the lifestyle area, predictions proved less valid. Not only would Americans be enjoying longer lives, it foretold, but they would have shorter work weeks, more vacations and overall, a more leisurely lifestyle. An iota of truth, but mostly wishful thinking when we read 2005 front pages.
I will always remember being called to account because the final document the Client saw had several typos. Presentation counts in this field.
PR firms attempt to influence the major media who in turn help persuade viewers, listeners and readers to think or act in a particular way. The people who enter the profession and those in the media usually have a gift of gab, a facility with the written word, a decent IQ and a certain love affair with risk.
Fortune tellers don't make much money. But most PR firms charge a substantial amount of money to present their client, product or service in a positive light to the media. People are continuously reporting polls or surveys as if they are fact, when, in truth, often the questions asked are the reason for the results tendered. Trends are so swift these days, just when buzz begins, another bee is buzzing a different tune.
Here is the PR agency drill. A brainstorming session consists of several persons who try and identify a project, tag line or campaign hook that will capture the right response from the media while delivering the Client message. Then a qualified person writes the plan, another person interfaces with the Client and still other people "pitch" the media. Often times in large firms, a separate TV department usually has close ties with the producers of various programming. You can pitch the same story to ten different venues, and come up with ten different responses. It is an expensive process.
Since everyone is trying for the biggest hits first, and the spots are truly limited, the pitchers have to be focused and persistent. Then it becomes a numbers game. The more balls you throw, the more likely you are to get a strike. The more strikes you pitch, the more likely your team will win, and the competition will be beaten. The more consistent your story, the more believed you will be. The more you can afford to spend, the more you get to use credible spokespeople to help tell your story. It is a numbers game.
So by all means pitch "Oprah" first if you have a story that will hug her heart. Next work the syndicated morning shows. Then try the syndicated writers at the major news services when your news is hard and important. Talk to AOL when you have the money, or put it in the movie theatre, the newest venue for enlightening if not annoying a captive audience.
But you can also tell your story with incredible reach and exciting response if you
use syndicated articles publicity via a service which currently targets the Internet with your original article. Your message usually gets printed exactly as you tell it, or your captioned color illustration tells the story just the way you approved it. You've increased your chances of the public reading a product or service mention by making it more informational than promotional, and you've had the help of expert PR people with years of presentation skills behind them. Your story will stay on their editorial website for six months to a year, and you get quarterly usage reports to help impress you if you are the business owner or your Clients if you are an agency.
Best of all, the educated consumer gets to find you online and to learn something informational that can help them and their family live a better life. It seems likely that any marketer would find this a low-budget risk worth taking.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Parent Coaches and Educators Generating Publicity

Any new parenting coach or educator needs a solid publicity plan when starting a coaching practice. Publicity generating activities get the word out about you, what you do, and how you assist others. Yet, new small business owners have enough to organize and can easily push the overwhelm button. Organization is the key to quell overwhelm. The Publicity for Parenting Coaching Series will organize and help you plan your publicity campaign.
Step 1: Understand what publicity is and how it works
Publicity means generating any activity that gets the public's attention or stimulates their interest. So what stimulates interest? When I was raising children and read the printed Sunday newspapers, I read Community News, Comics, Dear Abby or Ann Landers columns. Growing up, my father read business news. My mother read lifestyle sections. The point is that publicity stories are human-interest stories, which are oriented by the usual demographics of gender, age, and community. You will design your public relations campaign according to the following factors, each of which will be discussed in this series:
  • Your audience
  • Your functional goal such as education, sales, information, inspiration, interaction
  • Your image and values
Publicity is communication designed to reach your audience. The specific function is to acquaint and adapt your audience to you. While publicity can bring sales, customers, or clients, the function of publicity is reaching the public with a message. Sometimes, small business owners confuse spreading the good word about business as being the same as marketing, which is campaign designed to solicit customers. Publicity and marketing are different means to different ends.
Publicity = spreading the good will and good word about business services or products
Marketing = spreading the benefits, function and product for sales or paying customers.
Publicity can result in sales, but has a different function and activity. You cannot control publicity and you don't always know the result of publicity, but one fact remains true: If you have a publicity plan and execute those steps with focus and consistent timing, you absolutely will get results. Publicity is powerful in its influence because you are sharing inspiration, newsworthy stories, or information that your audience will read because publicity has multiple functions:
  • Publicity can establish as an expert if you frame the story around the success of your results.
  • Publicity can educate your public about the importance of a process or product by explaining, offering benefits and results, or offering quotes, statistics or testimonials with the story lines.
  • Publicity shape opinion, sometimes through fact and sometimes through the emotional impact of the words, pictures or stories you share.
  • Publicity builds your credibility which can lead to further invitations and exposure.
In short, publicity creates your credibility, your reputation, within your community and with your audience. Poorly done public relations can discredit the value of your service or business. You don't have to appear as the expert because well-done publicity makes you appear like a knowledgeable person whom people would want to contact.