Bette McTamney
Bette McTamney
4092 Skippack Pike, P.O. Box 880  Skippack, PA 19474
Phone: 610-584-1160 1505 |Office Phone: 610-584-1160 | Fax: 267-354-6985
Cell: 610-256-9619 | bmctamney@remax440.com

My Blog

Summertime Homeowner's Insurance Considerations

June 27, 2014 1:18 am

The summer season means poolside weekends, outdoor recreation and long-awaited travel plans. While you’re out having fun in the sun, be sure your homeowner’s insurance applies to seasonal hazards, which can put you in the red if you don’t have adequate coverage. Keep these areas in mind:

• Pool Insurance – Pool accidents are much more common than you think – and if they happen in your backyard, you’ll be liable. Protect yourself from paying sky-high medical expenses or going through legal proceedings by ensuring you have the right amount of coverage. For a maximum safeguard, adopt an umbrella policy.

• Home Rental – If you’re planning to rent out your home for vacation use, be certain you meet all insurance requirements: some allow short-term rentals under your regular policy, but others may call for more coverage. Additionally, long-term rentals can cost up to 25 percent more. Regular rentals (not for vacation use) will not be covered.

• Vacation Rentals – If you’re the renter, speak with your agent about whether your homeowner’s insurance covers damage where you’re renting. If you’re booking through an online portal, check to see if there’s a policy in place for unforeseen events.

Source: Bankrate

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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5 Financial Risks to Consider in Retirement

June 27, 2014 1:18 am

Most people don’t know that 80 percent of mountain-climbing accidents don’t occur on the way to the summit – they happen on the way down, says financial expert and extreme sports enthusiast David Rosell.

Although arriving at the top of the mountain is considered by many mountaineers to be one of life’s greatest accomplishments, I can tell you firsthand that summiting is not the ultimate goal for climbers,” says Rosell, CEO of Rosell Wealth Management and author of “Failure is NOT an Option,” (www.DavidRosell.com).

“They know that most climbing accidents and deaths occur on the descent. With this in mind, they will tell you that their objective is to reach the summit and get back down alive to see their family and friends. They understand that the second half of their journey presents the greatest risk and requires the most planning.”

“Likewise, we need to think of retirement as the descent from the financial mountain, which can be treacherous.”

Retirees and pre-retirees need to evolve from the traditional view of retirement, especially with so much legitimate concern about an unprecedented retirement crisis on our immediate horizon, he says. According to a 2013 report by the National Institute on Retirement Security, 45 percent of working-age American households have no retirement savings.

That’s on top of the 3.5 million baby boomers who have been retiring each year, and will continue to do so for more than a decade.

To help his clients thrive while experiencing descending their own financial mountains, Rosell briefly touches upon five major financial risks many experience during retirement.

• Inflation: During the second half of your financial journey, it’s critical that you’re able to maintain your purchasing power. Inflation simply means that every year your money buys a little – or a lot – less than it did the year before. Currently, inflation is 3.5 percent, which doesn’t sound like much. However, even if the rate holds steady and doesn’t increase, prices will have doubled in 20 years.

• Longevity: According to U.S. Census Bureau figures, the over-80 population is increasing five times faster than the overall population. By 2030, the demographics of 32 states will resemble those of Florida today. With more golden years to play, you’ll want the funding to make them fun! “Today,” Rosell says, “going gray means time to play.”

• Health/long-term care: Sadly, the escalating costs associated with long-term care during retirement can make the possibility of outliving one’s retirement income a reality for many. Statistics reveal that as we age, there’s an increased probability of our eventually needing assistance with basic daily activities. The truth is that most of us will need long-term care in our later years.

• Market risk: Economic recessions have occurred throughout the history of modern economics and always will, averaging one almost every nine years. If the market loses 50 percent one year and then increases 50 percent the following year, where are you? Many people get this wrong; after the fall and subsequent rise of 50 percent, you will have lost 25 percent. "This happened twice in the last decade," Rosell says.

• The sequence of returns: Gains or losses, or the order in which you receive your returns, can have a major impact on your retirement portfolio. It can mean the difference between having enough income in retirement and running out of money too soon. Be careful when an analysis states that you should achieve your goals by obtaining a specific rate of return. In most cases, this statement has not accounted for the sequence of returns.

“These are by no means the only tricky slopes that may have an affect on your retirement,” Rosell says. “Just as you have worked a lifetime to have money for your golden years, now is the time to manage your wealth wisely."

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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4 Ways to Express True Personality Through Design

June 26, 2014 12:42 am

How do people typically define you? As calm and collected, energetic, or mysterious? Now, take a step back and think of how people describe your home -- are the characteristics in sync? For a house to truly become a home, it must have a soul that mirrors the authenticity and individuality of the homeowner.

Decor&You provides some tips and ideas to help create a home that truly reflects your personality.

• Choose Your Hues: One of the simplest and most inexpensive ways to see yourself within the walls of your home is by choosing colors and hues that correspond with your personality. For instance, a very calm and tranquil person may consider using watery colors, such as pale blues and greens. Meanwhile, an energetic person may want to play with bright tones, such as pinks and turquoise with white accents. Conversely, a dramatic, yet sophisticated person can opt for rich and deep shades such as an eggplant purple or maroon. After you decide on the color schemes, it's key to take a moment and envision yourself living within the realms of those colors.

• Celebrate Your Prized Possessions: From family heirlooms to trophies, everyone has belongings with priceless personal value. To help reflect your history and achievements, utilize these items as focal points in the home. One way to do that is by devoting an entire wall to built-in cubbies which will help put items on display. These pieces can set the foundation for a room's color schemes, furniture, and overall style, while simultaneously celebrating you.

• Echo Your Lifestyle: Does your home typically serve as the safe haven for you to unwind and relax in after a long day; or, does it transform into a venue for hosting parties and gatherings for family and friends? To create a cozy atmosphere, focus on simplicity by pursuing neutral colors and textures. Comfortable seating, ottomans, dim lighting, and matching blankets help to ensure a relaxed attitude. For an extravagant and inviting room, don't be afraid to go bold with intricate details. Especially in dining or sitting rooms, statement pieces, such as an elegant chandelier, aid in keeping the room lively and stimulating. Slipcovers with varying patterns for sofas and chairs are also a great way to constantly keep guests 'wow-ed' and allow you to alter a room to fit all occasions.

• Signature Scents: Prior to investing in air fresheners or candles, try identifying the activities and environments that make you happiest. Scents have the potential to serve as a powerful memory trigger, so choose smells corresponding with enjoyable times. Perhaps you love to cook or bake -- try out a vanilla, cookie, pumpkin spice, or cinnamon air freshener, candle, or oil diffuser. For someone who loves the outdoors -- pick a grass, breeze, or beach scent that helps bring the outdoors inside. With so many different options available, the perfect scent could be the final step in embodying yourself within your home.

Source: Decor&You

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Laying a Good Foundation for Home Improvement Success

June 26, 2014 12:42 am

(BPT) - You've probably heard the saying: "Your home is your castle." But if your current home - or the home you're thinking of buying - feels more like the servant's quarters than the royal palace, you may need to plan a renovation. At times like these it's easy to give in to your excitement and get the project moving forward, but take a moment to plan your overall strategy. You'll find that, much like your future castle, your renovation project will benefit from a solid foundation.

You can build your foundation by accomplishing these important tasks:

Talk to a renovation specialist. Acquiring a renovation loan allows you to finance your new home mortgage and your renovation plans into a single loan. And an important aspect of the renovation loan to remember is that the loan is based on the value of the home after it's been improved. If you are renovating your existing home, you can use the loan to refinance your existing mortgage and make the renovation updates. Speaking with a renovation lender can help you build your financial foundation for your renovation project.

Shop around for the right contractor. If you plan to use a contractor for your project, it's important to select the right one. But how do you decide on a contractor? Research is important. Many contractors will provide you with a couple of references but this isn't always a fool-proof solution. These references could be relatives or friends of the contractor.

References can be helpful but don't rely on it exclusively. Dig deeper by traveling to the site of the contractor's current job. Are the clients happy? Has the contractor's work met expectations and budget? Has the contractor finished benchmarks on time? These are all important questions to ask. You can also inquire about the contractor's work on social media and professional referral websites.

Finalize your vision. Selecting the proper renovation specialist and contractor are key to your project, but both of these professionals will be able to provide you better service if you have a vision for what the project entails. You may not know exactly how much the project will cost, but you should have a budget in mind. If your contractor asks questions about layout or wall preferences, be ready to make the decisions and guide him or her toward your goals. Approaching the project with a plan will eliminate miscommunication and regrets later.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Seven Things It Pays to Spend More For

June 26, 2014 12:42 am

These days, when every penny counts, it’s tempting to try to save a few bucks when you shop for the things you need. But, said financial services expert Kristen Frost, author of The Frugal Girl, there are some times when being cheap costs you more in the end.

“Paying more for an item that will last longer makes better financial sense,” she said.

Cross suggests you buy the best you can afford when shopping for these items:

Kitchen tools – Cheaply made kitchen tools tend to warp, dull, and stop performing well far sooner than quality tools.

Furniture
– Unlike the cheap stuff, which is frequently made of particle board, good furniture will last a lifetime and can always be refinished. If you can’t afford new, look for good used furniture at garage sales or on Craig’s List.

Paint – Cheap paint may seem like a bargain, but it isn’t if it takes two or three coats to cover well.

Classic clothing pieces – Cheap is fine for trendy pieces, but buy quality pieces to stay in style and get years of use from your blazer, tuxedo, basic black dress or jacket.

Shoes – Because we spend so much time on our feet, we really should make ourselves comfy. Besides, more expensive shoes tend to last longer and provide better support for the arch and heel to keep your feet healthy.

Bed sheets – We spend a lot of time in bed, too, and good quality sheets provide a better feel and more comfort in every season. Basically, a higher thread count means a better sheet, but a thread count in the middle range is often all you need.

Toys – Simple but sturdy toys, like wooden blocks and Legos, cost more than their cheap counterparts. But children tend to be hard on their playthings, so buy quality toys that will provide imaginative play for many years.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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New Study Shows Homeowners Prefer a Home Protected With Fire Sprinklers

June 25, 2014 2:09 am

In a new national Harris Poll survey conducted on behalf of the nonprofit Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (HFSC), 74 percent of U.S. homeowners said they would be more likely to buy a home with fire sprinklers than one without. Seven in 10 said a sprinklered house has more value and nearly 8 in 10 (78 percent) said fire sprinklers provide the ultimate protection for residents.

New home construction across the country incorporates this feature, but homeowners of lived-in properties are also interested in a sprinklered home. Nearly 70 percent had their interest boosted when they learned smoke cannot set off a fire sprinkler. Additionally, nearly half say they have more confidence in homebuilders who offer sprinklers than those who do not.

The common myth that all fire sprinklers spray water at once when a fire breaks out remains a roadblock to homeowner interest. While new- construction owners often receive information about home safety features from their builder, collaboration with local officials and fire services is needed to educate all homeowners.

Source: HFSC

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Top 5 World's Best Places to Visit

June 25, 2014 2:09 am

Just in time for summer vacation, U.S. News & World Report recenty released its annual rankings of the World's Best Places to Visit. The new list features 25 of the most recommended vacation destinations by travel experts and consumers. Here are the World’s Top 5, plus Top 3 by region:

2014-15 Top 5 World's Best Places to Visit:

1. Paris
2. London
3. Barcelona
4. Maui
5. New York City

To view the remaining top 20, click here.

2014-15 Top 3 Best Places to Visit in the USA:

1. Maui
2. Yellowstone
3. Washington, D.C.

2014-15 Top 3 Best Places to Visit in the Caribbean:

1. U.S. Virgin Islands
2. Cayman Islands
3. St. Kitts & Nevis

2014-15 Top 3 Best Places to Visit in Europe:

1. Rome
2. Paris
3. Barcelona

Source: U.S. News and World Report

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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From Bears to Bugs: 10 Camping Safety Tips

June 25, 2014 2:09 am

Summer is here and camping is a great way for families, friends and the adventurous to get outdoors and enjoy the summer heat. From hiking, to swimming, to sitting around the campfire, camping should be enjoyed to the fullest.

These 10 summer camping tips will ensure you get the most out of your trip and stay safe this summer.

1. Water Safety
Many water-related accidents are preventable. Always wear a properly sized and fitted life jacket when boating; know your abilities as a swimmer and don't venture beyond your comfort level; use the buddy system; be aware of currents and learn what to do if caught in one; and always supervise children, even in very shallow water.

2. Protect Yourself from the Sun
With summer comes hot, hot heat! Sunburns can be incredibly painful and very serious. Don't forget to wear hats, sunglasses and apply sunscreen 20-30 minutes before going out in the sun and reapply often; make sure to use waterproof sunscreen if you plan to go in the water, but remember, it only lasts about 90 minutes when in water.

3. Keep Cool and Stay Hydrated

With summer heat, it's also extremely important to keep cool and hydrated to avoid heat exhaustion or stroke. Drink plenty of water throughout the day and pack extra water bottles in a cooler with lots of ice to keep them cold. Find a shady place to rest if you are getting too hot. Know the symptoms of heat exhaustion; excessive thirst, nausea, fainting, cool and clammy skin, weakness, muscle aches, heavy sweating, slow heartbeat and dizziness.

4. Avoiding Bears and Other Wildlife
Food attracts a variety of critters, so raccoons, skunks and even bears could make an appearance during your trip. Never store scented products or food in your tent; instead, lock it in your car, put it in a separate tent or string it up in a tree if you are camping in the bush. Don't leave garbage out in the open, store food in airtight containers and clean up immediately after eating - otherwise you may have some unwelcome visitors.

5. Transporting Food
Keeping perishable foods at the appropriate temperature is vital to avoiding illness. Eat fresh foods first and pack them in a cooler using plenty of ice to keep food from spoiling.

6. Build Campfires Responsibly
Check the official campground website beforehand to determine fire regulations. Use a fire pit if one is available, never leave the fire unattended and remember to fully extinguish it when you are done. If a fire pit is not available, create one well away from tent walls, plants, trees and other flammable objects.

7. Getting Lost - and Found!
Always tell someone where you are going. Have a set plan with a pre-determined meeting place if you get separated. Packing a whistle, cell phone and compass or GPS are always a good idea. Know what to do when you get lost and you'll always be found. Adventuresmart.ca is a great resource for information on how to stay safe outdoors.

8. Protect Against Insects
Prime mosquito-biting hours are usually from dusk to dawn, but ticks are out at all times, so become familiar with insect and tick repellent and apply regularly.

9. Prepare for the Weather
Check the weather forecast before you pack. Weather can be unpredictable, so make sure to pack for a range of temperatures and rain.

10. Bring the Right Gear
Plan in advance and bring only certified essentials — you don't want to be lugging around unnecessary equipment or faulty gear. Don't forget to pack: a pocketknife, first aid kit, extra clothing, water bottle, flashlight, extra trail food and matches and fire starters.

Whether you're a first-time camper or experienced explorer, remember to leave no trace that you were ever there so that the natural world will be there to appreciate for many years to come.

Stay safe, alert and aware - happy camping!

Source: Scouts Canada

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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7 Ways to Keep Headaches at Bay This Summer

June 24, 2014 1:33 am

During the summer, there is an increased chance of exposure to the triggers and other precipitating factors of headache. Vacations, air travel, the beach, picnics, and partying are not always fun times – especially if you are laid low with a migraine or other headache. The National Headache Foundation offers these helpful tips on avoiding these summer spoilers:

1. The sun can be especially bothersome if you have migraine. Looking directly or indirectly at the sun can trigger a migraine attack. Don't forget your shades – sunglasses, visors, or sun hat when you are out and enjoying the sunshine at the beach, tennis court, golf course, or a baseball game.

2. Changes in barometric pressure are well-known headache triggers. Watch out for those sudden thunderstorms and windy days – even in July.

3. Watch your fluids when you are at the beach or some other outdoor activity. Drinking plenty of water – not soda – will help prevent those "dehydration" headaches. You don't want to drink too many soft drinks containing caffeine, which can also contribute to your headaches.

4. Backyard barbecues and picnics may provide you with food items that you wouldn't normally eat. The sauces and dry rubs on those tasty ribs may contain monosodium glutamate (MSG) to which many headache sufferers are sensitive. The spread at a picnic may include aged cheeses, hot dogs and other meats with nitrates, and pickles – all items found on headache diets. And let's not forget the beer and cocktails served at those summer parties – watch your intake!

5. You've invited 50 friends to your July 4th celebration – and the stress is getting to you. Plan ahead and be organized – you don't want to spend the day of or the day after, in a dark, quiet room as you try to get rid of that migraine.

6. The joy of a long weekend or vacation can be quickly ruined by a headache. Try to stay on your normal sleep schedule. Oversleeping, not getting adequate sleep, or missing a meal can all contribute to a headache.

7. Everyone says "travel is no longer fun." Traveling by plane is particularly stressful. Who can tolerate the airport inconveniences, the long delays, and the lack of food service on these flights? Purchasing a healthy snack and a bottle of water prior to boarding may help you avoid a travel headache. Try to avoid alcoholic beverages before and during your flight – those cocktails will dehydrate you. Also, the oxygen on planes, although the cabins are pressurized, is never at normal levels. If you are burdened by "altitude headaches," your physician may offer some remedies to help prevent the headaches associated with air travel.

Source: National Headache Foundation

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Extend Your Home's Square Footage with an Outdoor Living Room

June 24, 2014 1:33 am

(Family Features) The arrival of summer, along with its sunny skies and beautiful weather, beckons homeowners to create a space to entertain guests and enjoy the great outdoors. Design an outdoor living room that merges style and function, and incorporates elements of indoor comfort.

Arrange away
Treat your outdoor area as you would your living room. If space is limited, use sectionals to create seating in whatever arrangement fits best. Finish the look by layering your favorite accessories, such as handcrafted trays, detailed lanterns and a colorful floral arrangement to create a cheerful centerpiece.

Tie it all together
To let you in on a little secret — outdoor rugs tie everything together and really bring a space to life. Simply layer a rug with a beautiful seating collection, colorful cushions and pillows, and you’ve got an outdoor area that makes everyone comfortable and happy.

Embrace the bold
Some might be afraid to create a statement outside because — it’s outside. But an outdoor living space lends itself to adventures with color and pattern, providing the opportunity to be bold and to go beyond your comfort zone. When shopping for the outdoors, remember — anything goes.

Serve in style
Al fresco entertaining always focuses on food, drinks and friends. A self-service food station or bar enhances the casual tone, freeing guests to grab refreshments whenever they please. This also allows you, the host, to focus on the fun at hand. Look for serving and drink carts that maximize space.

Source: Pier 1 Imports

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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