Build a School To Suit Commiunity Needs


Classrooms busting at the seems is often the sign of a school district in need of expansion. Whether it’s a new building down the road or an addition to an existing facility, construction takes time and patience. Before hiring a company to tackle the project, consider three important factors.

Budget

Public school building comes from a capital fund and that fund is not busting at the seems. It’s not as easy as selecting a design and moving forward. As a government building, the educational construction company must understand how to work within a government budget and regulations.  This requires the firm to think about simplicity and functionality while also maintaining quality and safety.

Time Management

Schools are built only after a high demand is needed. So, it’s important that the company understand efficiency.  Opening schools mid-year proves problematic as students and teachers cannot simply be taken from one school and dropped into a new building. Contractors are responsible for ensuring that the doors can open a few weeks prior to school. The administration needs time to set up the facility, and teachers need a chance to acclimate to a new environment. If this occurs, students can be welcomed into their new home with open arms and less stress.

Design

The building’s layout needs to suit the community needs as well as the city codes. Society is changing. In the past, no one considered safety an issue. Recent legislation and events have brought increased attention to the safety of school layouts and design. Consider the number of access points and the flow of student traffic. What form of protection is offered to students and staff?

Along with safety, consider how the space is being used. It’s helpful to find multiple uses for areas and rooms. Does the space make students feel comfortable and happy? Does the plan prevent future changes, or is it open to expansion? Flexibility is important since student numbers change throughout the years.

With eager eyes, the students will watch the creation of the new school. It’s a home away from home.

What Should You Be Looking for in a Mortgage Lender?

Most people pour a lot of careful thought into the home they buy, and that’s as it should be. However, they don’t put nearly enough energy into choosing the right mortgage lender.

Choosing a Lender

Your mortgage will be a part of your life and your finances for the next 15-30 years, so it’s important to evaluate all your options. Here’s a closer look at what sets a top mortgage lender:

  • An awesome reputation. Read plenty of online reviews about the lender you’re considering to get a good feel for what to expect. Also, ask your lending agent for references you can interview about their experiences.
  • Exceptional responsiveness. The right lender won’t just be willing to take you on as a client. They’ll also be responsive to your questions, quick to return phone calls, and eager to make the process as easy on you as possible.
  • Reasonable interest rates. Look for a mortgage lender with competitive rates. Even a difference of half a percent can really add up over the years.

Benefits of Private Lenders

Consider choosing a privately owned mortgage lender with a reputation for attentive customer service and excellence. (Sun West Mortgage is a great example.) Such a lender will be able to strike an ideal balance between personable and practical as far as what you’re looking for — the absolute best of both worlds!

Lost Your Income? Here Are 6 Ways That Can Get Out of a Financial Crisis

Picture this: You now live alone in an apartment after coming out of school and landing your first job. You’re ecstatic with your newfound freedom. You’re elated to cater to your needs including paying rent and taking care of bills. Everything seems to be going well for you.

Then, like the proverbial cookie, everything crumbles. You get laid off from your job, and all your dreams come crashing. You can’t take your retirement savings because, well, you didn’t work long enough to save anything.

Now, you don’t have a sustainable income, but your expenses remain the same. The end of the month is just around the corner. Your rent, electricity and other utility bills will soon be due. You also need food. And you’ve exhausted your savings. Reality hits hard. For the first time, you are worried about how you’re going to keep a roof over your head.

Look, you may think you have everything figured out, but it is inevitable to avoid a financial crisis. The good thing is, there is a way you can get emergency financial assistance to help with your bills until you get back on your feet. Let’s look at some of the options you have.

  1. General resources

There are government agencies as well as charities that aid in providing food, basic utilities as well as housing for people with low income and in dire need of help. While these programs exist, it’s difficult and applies to them. It is a hassle to get yourself into these programs.

But not anymore. In your area of residence, you can check out general resources that could connect you with a handful of government agencies and charities to aid in financial assistance. General resources could come in the form of phone lines or even websites to help link you up with a reliable program or charity, with no hassles whatsoever.

  1. Take advantage of government benefits

These benefits are often put up on benefits.gov. This is the first place you need to be whenever you hit by the financial crisis you can’t manage. The website is managed by the government and you can link up with various government programs within your area and state.

If you need a particular government program to help you with your needs, you get to choose a category such as healthcare or disaster relief. Using relevant filters on the site it is easier to find the ideal program by agency, state or even category.

If you’re lost, you can use the “benefits finder” on the site to locate the relevant programs designed to meet your needs. Sometimes you’ll hit a dead end in your search because some of the programs are not specifically designed for you.

  1. Community Action Agencies

If you want to become self-sufficient you can employ the use of Community Action Agencies (CAA). This program is a non-profit organization whose initial objective was to help combat war on poverty in 1964.

Since then it has helped people in the financial crisis (on a short-term basis) to get back on their feet. The agency provides help by meeting your transportation, housing, energy bills, and other related costs.

These community action agencies are funded through government programs in the form of grants. This money is channeled all the way down to local groups in towns and cities across the country. There are many of these agencies set around in the country and states.

All you need is find the one that serves your area for financial assistance or emergency aid such as food, shelter, and clothing. Some of CAAs provide healthcare services and food aid as well. Even sometimes childcare, job training, and education. So far over 16 million people have benefited from community action networks, and another 3 million families get help each year.

  1. The 2-1-1 program

If you can’t get national assistance or emergency aid from community action agencies within your area, you can connect with aid programs such as the 2-1-1 program to help cater to your financial needs. The good thing with this program is, it helps you find:

  • Food banks
  • Utility, housing aid, and shelter assistance
  • Disaster and emergency relief
  • Education and job training
  • Veteran services
  • Vaccinations, healthcare, and epidemics, etc.
  • Special needs, mental illness and support groups for people
  • Alcohol and drug addictions

If you want to find assistance from these programs, call 2-1-1. You’ll have a specialist on hand to help you cater to your program needs. If you want to enter a 2-1-1 program in your area, all you need to do is enter your address at 211.org and you’ll be connected with a program that caters specifically to your area.

  1. Lost income

When you are laid off from your job you can get into financial crisis. The same can happen when your work hours are cut, or a disaster has wiped out your business or even when you succumb to an injury that leaves you incapacitated and unable to work.

There are programs to help you recover from your lost income. They are designed to get you back on track with your finances. Some of these include:

Unemployment insurance – If you’ve lost your income you can always file for unemployment benefits and this program will help refund your lost wages every week for a limited of time.

Job training – If you don’t have work or need training for a better job The U.S. Department of Labor will help run several programs that can help you achieve this goal. Across the country, you can find training centers to help search for jobs for unemployed people.

  • Workers compensation– There are programs that will help compensate you lost income in case of an injury or illness that you got while working.
  • Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) – If you are permanently disabled and unable to work for the rest of the year you can enroll in a social security disability insurance to access disability benefits. The less wealthy people can access SSI, but if you’ve worked long enough to acquire work credits you are eligible for SSDI.
  • Tax credits– If you want to supplement your income, especially if you are working and not earning enough to sustain you, you can claim your tax credits when filing for taxes.
  • Disaster relief– A disaster has hit your business? You can get disaster relief benefits as a victim of disaster to recover your lost income.

Government aid or programs can help you get back on your feet again if you’ve lost your income and have no way to sufficiently get back on track. You can also get grants to cover any emergency expenses, emergency bad credit loans that are unpaid also including regular bills and medical bills, etc.

  1. Housing

Perhaps one of the scariest things about being in a financial crisis is not having the ability to pay your house rent. It can put you in a dire situation that could see you put out on the streets if you fail to pay. If you’re cash-strapped and you need money to meet your monthly rent payments, there are government-funded programs that could help with that, including:

  • Section 8 vouchers– If you can’t afford to pay your monthly rent you can enroll in a housing program aptly referred to as section 8. The program will help raise the amount you can pay for rent. The housing choice voucher program is government-regulated.
  • Low-income housing– You can also get subsidized housing through the low-income housing program enables a landlord to lower rent to low-income tenants.
  • Rural housing aid– If you live in the rural areas and want to avoid foreclosure, you can seek help with your rent through rural housing aid.
  • Local programs– You can get housing subsidies through local programs with the help of other charitable groups and non-profit organizations with your rent assistance.
  • Volunteers of America– As a religious non-profit organization helps people with disabilities, veterans, seniors, as well as families in dire need, get affordable housing.

Conclusion

There are other government programs and charities that can help provide financial assistance in other areas including childcare and education, healthcare, food, utilities and also housing.

All these government programs are designed to help you cope with your financial crisis and get back on your feet. But in the eventuality, you need financial assistance to say, due to a major health problem car crash or house fire, you can always use your emergency fund to cushion yourself during those moments your finances hit a dead end.

If you’re not prepared for a financial crisis, do so now. You never know what could happen to your finances when you least expect.

5 Smart Investing Tips for Moms

Investing could be a pretty big word, especially for busy moms with no time to learn about its principles. But investing is actually just like parenting, it can feel complicated and overwhelming especially at first. There are peculiar terms to learn, plenty of decisions to make, and there’s that great big fear of not making it right.

Being intimidated with investing is totally normal, but investing and growing your money is essential to secure your family’s future. Nowadays, leaving your money in the bank is not a smart move, skyrocketing inflation rates eat up your hard earned money leaving you less of the amount you initially put in.

So whether you’re saving up for a home, your child’s education, or a dream vacation, here are 5 smart investing tips for you to follow:

Be clear on your investment goal

The importance of specifying the goal of your investment can’t be emphasized enough. It drives your decisions and your strategies in your investments. Without determining your goals, it would be harder for you to pick the right investment and create the best investment plan for you and your family. Investment goals could be as simple as fight inflation, and save money for a vacation to as important as building fund for your child’s education and your retirement.

Find out how much money you can invest

After getting clear on your goal, you have to review your financials and check on how much money you are willing to invest. The amount of money to be invested is also extremely important in choosing your investment. One key deciding factor to consider is your need for liquidity. If you set aside money for investment, make sure you won’t be needing it anytime soon as you can’t just pull off your investment any time you want, which brings us to the next important step.

Create an acceptable time frame for each investment

Investments can be divided into three categories in terms of the time your money stays in the investment. These are (1) Short term: typically 1-2 years (2) Medium Term: typically 3 -8 years (3) Long term investments: typically more than 8 years. Knowing your timeframe can help you narrow down on the type of investment you’re going to put your money on. Since different investments require different time span to provide returns, establishing acceptable time frame is a smart move.

Know your risk tolerance

Risk tolerance is simply how comfortable you are to lose money. The higher the risk tolerance the higher money you’re willing to lose money. Knowing your risk tolerance will help you understand which investments fit your personality. Usually, higher risk investments have the greatest potential for higher returns, while low-risk investments yield low-interest rates. You have to recognize your tolerance for fluctuations so as to prevent getting burnt out on checking the progress of your investments every now and then.

Pick your investment vehicle

Investment vehicle is the term used for investment products that would help you get to your investment goals. There are a lot of investment vehicles out there but the most popular ones are stocks, bonds, starting a business, and real estate.

Stocksare shares of a company you can buy and earn from the stock price increase and dividends. They are extremely volatile but can be extremely profitable as well. Going into the stock market requires time and knowledge of the stock market terms and principles for your investment to really grow.

Bonds, on the other hand, are debt instruments wherein you can loan money to a corporation in exchange for periodic interest payments plus the initial investment amount at the end of the bond contract or the bond maturity. They are considered safe investments due to the guarantee that you will not lose your investment. However, bonds only yield low-interest rates.

Starting a businesscould be a very exciting venture with millions of possibilities for your money. Starting a business can be extremely profitable but can sometimes be time consuming and exhausting. Starting a business has its own risks and you need to really give time for the business to thrive especially in times of market fluctuations.

Real estateis a smart investment choice for the long term and can gain continuous potential cash flow. A lot of real estate investors have become millionaires, proving real estate to be a very promising venture. But some people would turn their back on real estate because they think you need millions to earn millions. But in reality, you can start your real estate business even with a small amount. You can start by renting out part of your property or one of your properties you don’t usually use for monthly cash flow. You can also opt to buy foreclosed houses cheap and sell them high after simple renovations. Buying land is also an investment as its value is guaranteed to appraise in the long the run where you can sell your property twice or thrice the price you bought it. In this age, you can own a property in less than a million and pay for the rest in monthly affordable instalments. You can rent out these properties for cash flow and return right away.

Investing is truly like parenting-you make time to learn to do it right, you do it, you make mistakes, you learn again. But all your efforts and hardships will definitely pay off at the end when you watch your investments (and your child) grow.

 

Frugal Vacation Tips for Families

Everyone has fond memories of their family vacations as a child. Whether you headed to the beach to soak up some rays, hit the trails for a camping trip, or went to your favorite theme park, there’s something out there for everyone to enjoy family time. If you aren’t careful, however, vacations can get quite expensive. Here are some tips to help your family save money only our next big vacation.

Know when to Fly

Flights can be one of the most expensive aspects of a vacation. If you know where to look and are diligent about searching around for the right price, however, you can often find great deals on your airfare. If you’re flying during a school break, avoid flying the first and last days of vacation, which tend to be the most expensive. You may also want to plan your vacation around the off-season, which tends to carry lower airfare than any other time and may help you score some cheaply-priced seats.

Look for Free Activities

Check out the area where you plan to stay to see if you can find deals or free, kid-friendly activities. Many larger cities offer completely free museum admission, which can provide you with ample things to do that won’t cost an arm and a leg.

Go All-Inclusive

All-inclusive resorts are great for those who are looking for money saving vacations for their families. With an all-inclusive, you know exactly what your vacation is going to cost well in advance of when you step on the resort. With all-inclusive resorts, you don’t have to worry about paying for your meals, alcohol, or activities because they’re added right into the cost of your trip. This can save you money, time, and a headache while on your vacation and allow you to enjoy relaxing with your family.

Consider Rentals

Renting a condo or home for your vacation can save money in many ways. You can get a larger place and go in on costs with other family members or friends, and it’s often cheaper than staying in a hotel for the week. With a house rental, you can also bring your own food, which can offer huge savings over eating out every night while you’re on vacation.

Steer Clear of Souvenirs

Souvenir shops are often tourist traps and should be avoided if you want to save money. Not only do they often carry items you’ll likely throw out or put in a box and forget about once you return home, but they also often carry a much higher price tag than if you were to buy a similar item elsewhere. If you want a souvenir while you’re on vacation, keep maps, ticket stubs, or photos to preserve the memory of your trip.

Your family vacation doesn’t have to be an expensive affair. Use these tips and see significant money savings on your next trip.