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Top 5 Considerations Startup Business Loans

If you want to start your own company it will take a little money to get started and on your feet. Banks put many things into consideration when you ask them for money for startup business loans. Here are five of the most important considerations when you want money from a bank for a loan for your new company.

1.When you want to get money from a bank the first thing they will consider with startup business loans is your credit. You should have a healthy credit score that looks great. If your credit is bad it tells a lender that you do not repay your debts and this may stop you from getting a line of credit.

2.Experience is a big factor when you are hoping for startup business loans. You should have years of experience in the line of work you want to start your own business and you should be able to convince the bank you are the right person to open the company. A bank may think you have the best idea ever but if they do not think you are skilled enough for the company to generate revenue or to manage the business they will not lend you any money.

3.Assets are another factor that lenders want to see. When you are trying to secure startup business loans you should have some assets worth money that the bank can secure if they feel they need it. If you have nothing worth any value and you are asking for money to begin your own business you will probably be turned away. Banks want to see you are serious and when you secure assets with the money they know you are.

4.Gather some money down for the startup business loans. The best way to show a lender that you are serious about your new company is by having a healthy chunk of money as a down payment. When you have 20% to 25% down payment for your startup business a bank is more willing to talk to you. A good size down payment may even make a bank look past your bad credit.

5.If all of the factors above do not fall in your favor you might try and find someone who can co-sign a loan with you. A lender will want to know if you have someone who will back you that you are good for the money. This person will need to have good credit but they can be considered as a silent partner in your endeavors. In most cases a friend or family member is the best person to ask to cosign startup business loans.

If you are looking for money for startup business loans you should consider many things. A bank will want to know that you are financially in a good position, qualified to run the business, why the business will do well and many more things. Securing a loan is important but you may need a down payment, good credit, assets, or even a co-signer.

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A Desire to Live Debt-Free Spurs Many New Year’s Resolutions


(NewsUSA) – With the start of a new decade just around the corner, Americans are feeling optimistic about their current and future financial situation, but reducing the burden of personal debt will be a priority for many who acknowledge they bit off more than they could chew in 2019.According to Fidelity Investments’ 2020 New Year Financial Resolutions Study, 82 percent of respondents said they’re in a similar or better financial position than last year. Perhaps surprisingly, most credited their success to their own good habits – saving more (47 percent) and budgeting (29 percent) – rather than their investment gains (18 percent) from a stock market that made one high after another. Less than 25 percent put it down to having been able to work more hours in a strong economy.And, as the study makes clear, they want to keep the momentum going.Of the 67 percent considering making a financial resolution, "saving more" and "paying down debt" topped the list, respectively, at 53 percent and 51 percent."Living a debt-free life was the biggest motivator for them," said Melissa Ridolfi, Fidelity’s vice president of retirement and college products.Heck, given the choice between the classic New Year’s resolution of losing five pounds or socking away $5,000, a resounding 84 percent in the national survey of 3,012 adults opted for savings.But you want to know some of the biggest and smallest mistakes or setbacks they fessed up to, right? See if you can relate to any of these:* Dining out too much (36 percent).* Spending too much on non-essentials like unused apps, streaming media services, and subscription retail boxes (29 percent).* Taking on debt or adding to existing debt (28 percent).*Splurging on something they couldn’t really afford (28 percent).* Unexpected medical expenses (24 percent).* Failing to save as much for retirement as they should (18 percent).So with all the interest in getting a grip on debt, who seems to be faring the best at it?Boomers, the study found, with 29 percent crediting being better off financially at year’s end to having refinanced, paid off, or reduced debts or loans. Generation X, the next oldest, trailed at 21 percent, followed by 19 percent of millennials, and just 6 percent of Generation Z."Boomers are getting the message that the closer they get to retirement, the more essential it becomes to get their debt under control to make the most out of retirement savings," Ridolfi said.Certainly there’s no law that says you have to make a New Year’s resolution – financial or otherwise – but even a huge chunk of those surveyed who weren’t contemplating explicitly doing so still said they were planning on, say, building up emergency funds. As for what you might call the "traditionalists" out there? Fidelity has some tried-and-true tips that can help ensure your financial vows don’t wind up being among the 80 percent of all resolutions that U.S. News says, alas, fail by the second week of February.The firm also has an impressive, free online "Moments" tool designed to help you plan for lifestyle changes or react to a myriad of curveballs – i.e., the unexpected medical expenses cited as a big setback in the study – that life throws at you. And accessing the Fidelity Retirement Score gives you a quick look at where you stand with your savings.Oh, and here’s one last thing to see if you can relate to: Seventy-eight percent of those surveyed predicted they’d be even better off financially in 2020.



Get Professionally Fit in 2020 With Expert Online Leadership Training


(NewsUSA) – As 2020 approaches, make the new year and new decade the time to turn heads in your profession by boosting your leadership skills.Making a commitment to your professional fitness doesn’t have to take a bite out of your bottom line, either.The Professional Development Academy, an online leadership training company with top-notch faculty from business, industry, and government, offers programs in areas including high performance leadership, frontline information technology leadership, and maximizing your personal brand, all for a fraction of the cost of a traditional MBA program and easily accessible at your convenience.The Professional Development Academy Faculty includes individuals who are proven outstanding leaders in a range of fields, including Colin Powell, former Secretary of State and retired 4-star general; Cheryl Smith, IT expert and former CIO of McKesson Corp.; and Peter H. Thomas, one of the most savvy and successful entrepreneurs of the modern era, whose six-decade career highlights include founding Century 21 Real Estate Canada, and the Four Seasons Resort in Scottsdale, Arizona, along with developing emerging companies such as Dogtopia.Some top tips from the Professional Development Academy experts:"Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier," says General Powell. When you bring an optimistic attitude to the office every day, others will follow your lead. The Professional Development Academy curriculum includes practical insights from Powell and other world-known thought leaders highlighting the power of a positive mindset.Smith notes that the best leaders don’t just dictate, they listen."Ask for feedback," she emphasizes. "Then listen and learn." Constructive and critical feedback can feel harsh, but it can provide tremendous insight for future growth.Finally, be true to your values, says Peter Thomas."To be truly successful, ensure your decisions at work align with your core values. When your values are clear, your decisions will be easier," he says, and "be open to opportunities and be ready to move on them."Starting in 2020, the Professional Development Academy is partnering with Peter H. Thomas to launch the Peter Thomas High Performance Leadership Academy, a 12-week course divided into "learning bursts" that can be completed in 4-5 hours per week at any time to suit busy schedules. The course is designed to share Thomas’s secrets for success at nurturing an entrepreneurial spirit in conjunction with a values-based life.For more can’t-miss ways to boost your leadership skills in 2020, visit the Professional Development Academy at pdaleadership.com


The Benefits of Shopping Small This Holiday Season


(NewsUSA) – Small Business Saturday casts a national spotlight each year on independently-owned businesses, which includes a wide variety of shopping options, from the mom-and-pop storefronts in your local community to home-based e-commerce businesses. Since its inception in 2010, Small Business Saturday spending has reached an estimated $103 billion, according to American Express.Motivated by the potential for growth, small businesses across the country are taking advantage of this movement with more enthusiasm year after year, given strong consumer response. GS1 US, an information standards organization that helps small brands identify their products for commerce, recently spoke with small business owners who have run successful Small Business Saturday campaigns. They discussed three big benefits to buying from small businesses this holiday season. Unique Products Consumers are hungry for a wide variety of unique products, which provides prime motivation for shoppers to support small businesses."People shop small because it makes them feel good. It allows people to discover interesting products, and feel like they are helping a real person, as opposed to a big corporation," says Andrew Jacobs, CEO of JAM Paper and Envelope, an e-commerce paper company.According to a study by the NFIB and American Express last year, nearly two-thirds of online shoppers (65 percent) are likely to seek out small, independently-owned retailers. This helps unique products from small brands compete right alongside products from larger, well-known brands."It’s so important for small businesses to be recognized in order to compete with big businesses," says Lisa Burginger, founder of Qubits Toy, Inc., a company that makes colorful building sets for kids. "For our company, it’s our busiest time of the year." Community Support For many consumers, shopping small is driven by the desire to support their local communities. When consumers spend $100 at a local business, roughly $68 stays in their local economy, according to a recent Civics Economy study. The local impact, which helps benefit food, service and civic organizations within the community, could be 50 percent larger than a similar purchase from a regional or national retailer."I believe people want to support their communities," says Allison White, founder of Scout Cart, a unique personal utility cart company. "They often know the owners of local small businesses and these small businesses often provide employment opportunities for the young adults in our families." True Connections Small businesses can use the extra consumer attention to nurture brand loyalty beyond just one day. According to the 2018 Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey, 96 percent of consumers who reported shopping on Small Business Saturday say the day makes them want to shop "small" all year long, not just during the holiday season."Small businesses can give you special services, discounts, and one-to-one customer service that big businesses can’t always offer," says Burginger.Increasingly, shopping is about a shared experience – the small businesses that create memorable moments for consumers will likely experience growth."The next generation is looking for more than just a product, they want an experience," says Travis Wayne, product manager, TEKLYNX, a barcode software company that is certified as a GS1 US Solution Partner, a program that helps small businesses find qualified partners to help them reach more consumers."When you walk into a hardware store, for example, or if you shop online, it’s more about personalizing that experience and ensuring that the consumers get what they need. Some businesses teach instructional courses on a product, or supply some kind of educational information. It’s about going above and beyond consumer expectations with the hopes of increasing the sale and maintaining a customer for life."Taking advantage of Small Business Saturday is ultimately just one way small brands are setting themselves up for growth. Beyond the holiday season, businesses of all sizes need to think strategically to succeed in a competitive retail landscape. Visit www.gs1us.org/small-business to access research from GS1 US on the ambitions and challenges of small businesses, watch videos featuring entrepreneurs, and learn more about their growth journeys. 


How to Buy A House Without Draining Your Savings


(NewsUSA) – Erin, who works at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, had been toying with the idea of buying her first home. She was 32 years old, and was very aware that the Durham housing market was heating up."I figured if I was going to buy a house, I’d better do it sooner rather than later because prices just kept going up," explains Erin.However, with only $7,000 in savings at the time, she felt she didn’t have enough money for a down payment. But the timing became a dilemma for her. Should she wait to save more money for a house that would probably cost more in a year? Or, use all her savings to buy a house now – at the risk of leaving herself with no funds for a rainy day or future expenses?The answer came when Erin visited the new home of a friend who had used a down payment assistance program to purchase her house. Her friend explained how down payment assistance programs give first-time homebuyers money to pay for a portion or all of their down payment, with some programs even helping with closing costs. Free money for eligible borrowers While there are more than 2,500 down payment assistance programs available throughout the country, Erin decided to apply for the same state-offered program her friend had used.The program, called North Carolina 1st Home Advantage Down Payment, makes homeownership more affordable for state residents. It offers down payment assistance of up to 5 percent for FHA, VA and USDA loans, and up to 3 percent for a conventional loan. And because Erin had a decent credit score and met the program’s income limit, she qualified.Erin received down payment help in the form of a zero-percent, deferred second mortgage. As long as she doesn’t sell or refinance the house for 15 years, her down payment assistance will be forgiven, meaning she won’t have to pay it back.Let the house hunting begin! Once Erin knew she was eligible for help with her down payment, she earnestly began her home search. She found a historical 3-bedroom, 1-bath home that was built in 1925. The price of the home was $152,000. She used conventional financing with private mortgage insurance because she was putting less than 20 percent down. With her 3-percent down payment assistance ($4,560), Erin successfully purchased her home in 2016."And, I didn’t have to use all my savings!" says Erin. Plus, she’s built up equity over the last two years due to home values going up.Aside from the financial perks of owning her own home, Erin enjoys other benefits. "I’ve got so much more space for the money than when I was renting," says Erin. "And I like being a permanent part of the neighborhood and getting to know my neighbors."For more homebuyer resources, visit readynest.com.To find down payment assistance programs in your area, visit downpaymentresource.com/ 


Save Money, Live Luxuriously with Yacht Co-ownership


(NewsUSA) -Are you a yacht owner who wants to enjoy time on the water, but doesn’t want to keep up with the work and expense of full-time ownership? Consider shared (fractional) ownership through a cooperative instead. It offers "all of the luxury and none of the hassle" according to yacht co-op and management company Saveene.Many yacht owners or would-be owners hesitate at the additional expenses of luxury boating beyond the purchase of the boat itself, such as cleaning, upkeep, marina fees, and paying a crew. Saveene offers options for fractional purchases that are flexible and cost-saving. The more fractions you purchase, the more yacht usage you have.For example, a 10 percent purchase equals approximately 4 weeks of yachting time each year; 20 percent entitles you to 8 weeks.Other advantages of fractional ownership include:– Flexibility. Saveene fractional owners can purchase up to 10 fractions per yacht, and Saveene helps them sell these fractions if they choose or owners can sell their own fractions if they choose.Several styles of yachts are available, ranging from 40 feet to 90 feet; all are outfitted with luxurious rooms and amenities. A handy online scheduling tool lets fractional owners choose outings of a few hours, day trips, or overnight excursions.– Fun. Sit back and relax. The Saveene team will schedule and prepare your yacht for your arrival, and a professional crew and concierge will help plan the perfect outing for one or two passengers, a larger group of friends, business associates, or extended family with a range of ages. Fractional owners can bring their own food and beverages or Saveene yachts can accommodate a caterer or chef.– Finance. With fractional ownership, you can enjoy periodic luxury boating without worrying about the day-to-day costs of maintenance, repairs, insurance, or storage that come with owning a yacht outright. So why pay 100 percent of the cost plus 10 percent of the cost for maintenance when you only use 10 percent to 50 percent of the yacht?Also, if you wish to purchase 100 percent of the yacht, you can. In this case, Saveene can manage your yacht. A tax write-off option is also available with Saveene. In addition, a maintenance-free option is also available. Yes, this means no monthly payments.Here’s an example of how fractional co-op ownership works: Mr. Smith purchases a 10 percent interest in a 4-stateroom fractional yacht for $89,980. This gets him approximately 3-4 weeks a year of yachting. If that doesn’t seem like enough, he can buy more. If he decides to give it up, he sells his fraction through Saveene or himself.Saveene offers a range of yacht co-op choices to fit any budget, and the Florida-based location means great yachting weather all year round.Visit saveene.com for more information. 


New Research Shows Big Opportunities for Small Businesses


(NewsUSA) – Today’s technology has changed the shopping experience. While many of us still enjoy trying on clothes at our favorite department store, we also relish the ability to buy specific and unique items through an e-commerce app, or research product details via our smartphone.The changing nature of retail has opened tremendous opportunities for small businesses in the past decade. According to new research, "Charting the Growth Journey: From Product to Profitable Business" from GS1 US, a not-for-profit product identification and standards organization, the most successful small businesses are those that develop diverse strategies for growth. Specifically, small brands that demonstrate a solid understanding of retailer requirements and seek the expert advice and services of external partners are better equipped to take advantage of today’s "always open" shopping environment.There are three ways small brands are finding growth opportunities in today’s rapidly-evolving retail landscape: They focus on their product, build a complete channel strategy, and partner with professionals to accelerate success.Focusing on the product Small business owners are often driven by a passion for bringing their unique product to market. According to the study, 61 percent of respondents cite customer demand for personalized services and products as a top trend. Almost as many (58 percent) anticipate that changing customer habits – such as where they make purchases (online or in-store) – will impact their brand’s growth."Building the story, the brand, and trust, is critical. Otherwise, it’s a race to the bottom on cost," says Steve Lange, co-founder of It’s All Good, a line of clean personal care products.Focusing on customers and their needs is important, but finding the right balance and managing diverse business challenges such as lack of time and resources, are major concerns for many of the brands that participated in the study.Building a complete channel strategy Small businesses must look beyond the immediate pressures of starting a business to position themselves with the right retail channels for their products. These can include online marketplaces, national retailers, local retailers, kiosks, craft fairs, or their own stores or websites. High-growth leaders (respondents who experienced 25 percent or more growth in the past year) know the importance of channel mix and leverage an average of 3.1 channels to sell their products, while laggards (those with revenue declines in the past 12 months) report using just 1.3 channels.Proving credibility to retailers is also a major hurdle for small brands. The study found that 59 percent of leaders see a direct correlation between providing complete product information (such as images, product origins, and more) in their online listings with the number of products sold. Additionally, 57 percent of these same growth leaders indicated that using UPCs in their product listings helps customers more easily find their products online."Incomplete product information and UPCs show a lack of experience to potential retail partners. It’s important to understand that you need consistency from retailer to retailer," says Erik Elfstrum, founder and CEO, pureLYFT, an all-natural caffeine alternative beverage.Partnering with professionals Seeking outside business support was also identified as an important growth factor among small brands. Such partnerships help them build a more sustainable business model and offer opportunities for expansion. The study found that more than half (55 percent) of high-growth leaders agree that partnering with a retail broker or consultant has been critical to growing the business. Specifically, 83 percent of small brands that leverage online marketplaces and national retailers say partners (such as barcode services, software providers, business consultants and more) improve their understanding of product information and its impact on their business.For help finding the right partners to support growth, many small businesses have found credible options through the GS1 US Solution Partner Program, a network of certified solution providers that provide guidance and a range of services to support retailer requirements.More information can be found at www.gs1us.org/what-we-do/partners.Ultimately, it’s a new world for shoppers and businesses alike. The research shows that maintaining a holistic view of the opportunities available to small businesses is a major contributor to long-term growth. To learn more and for the full research report, visit www.gs1us.org/small-business.


Knowing If It’s Alzheimer’s Or Just Typical Age-Related Changes


(NewsUSA) – Maybe your mom forgot where she parked her car. Or maybe you had to resort to describing "the thing that gets the creases out of clothes" to a salesperson because you couldn’t remember the word "iron."In either case, part of you may have been worried it could be … Alzheimer’s disease. With good reason.Every 65 seconds, someone in the U.S. joins the more than 5 million Americans now living with this fatal brain disease, which slowly destroys memory and thinking skills before ultimately making even a simple thing like swallowing impossible. And with no current cure, it’s no wonder a recent poll found that no other life-threatening condition – not cancer, not strokes – instills more fear among those 65 and older."One in three seniors dies with Alzheimer’s or another dementia," says a spokesperson for the association. "But it isn’t just a disease of old age. Approximately 200,000 Americans under age 65 have younger-onset Alzheimer’s disease."To help raise awareness and critical funds for care, support and research, the Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s will be held through November in more than 600 communities nationwide. It’s the largest event of its kind, and the financial services firm Edward Jones has committed to raising $12 million over five years as its national presenting sponsor."This is about empathy," says the firm’s Ken Cella. "And not just for the estimated 150,000 Edward Jones clients suffering from Alzheimer’s, or another dementia, and those upending their lives to care for them."Given all the understandable fear surrounding the disease, it’s important to distinguish between what may be early symptoms of Alzheimer’s or another dementia and the typical age-related changes most everyone experiences now and then:* Memory loss that disrupts daily life. One of the most common signs, especially in the early stage, is forgetting recently learned information. (A typical age-related change: Sometimes forgetting appointments or names, but remembering them later.)* Difficulty completing familiar tasks. They may have trouble driving to a familiar location or remembering the rules of a favorite game. (A typical age-related change: Occasionally needing help recording a TV show.)* Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships. Vision problems can be a symptom for some. That may lead to difficulty with balance or trouble reading, and they may also have problems judging distance and determining color or contrast that cause issues with driving. (A typical age-related change: Vision changes related to cataracts.)* Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps. They may put things in unusual places – and even accuse others of stealing, especially as the disease progresses. (A typical age-related change: Occasionally misplacing things and retracing steps to find them.)* Withdrawal from work or social activities. They may experience changes in the ability to hold or follow a conversation, which can cause them to withdraw from hobbies, social activities or other engagements. (A typical age-related change: Sometimes feeling uninterested in family or social obligations.)* Changes in mood and personality. They can become confused, suspicious, depressed, fearful or anxious. They may also be easily upset at home, with friends, or when out of their comfort zone. (A typical age-related change: Developing very specific ways of doing things and becoming irritable when a routine is disrupted.)If you notice one or more signs, the Alzheimer’s Association advises consulting a doctor. For more info, visit alz.org/10signs. 


Yes, There May Be A Positive to Come Out of the Student Debt Crisis


(NewsUSA) – Are all those stories about crippling student debt having an effect on college campuses? Just ask post-Millennials now trying – albeit not always successfully – to avoid being saddled with the same heavy burden of debt as their predecessors.According to Fidelity Investments’ new "College Savings: Lessons Learned Study," not only did 83 percent of current college students surveyed consider what their total costs would be before matriculating – just 69 percent of recent graduates had such foresight – but 39 percent of them said the potential price tag was such "a huge factor" that they purposely limited their choice of schools to the most affordable. Only 32 percent of recent graduates, alas, had shown similar restraint."It seems today’s college students are perhaps more aware of the financial situation they entered into than those who graduated before them," said Melissa Ridolfi, Fidelity’s vice president of retirement and college leadership. "That’s a positive development."All told, student debt in the U.S. now totals more than $1.5 trillion – second only to mortgage debt, Forbes reported. And the 69 percent or so of the Class of 2018 who took out student loans graduated with an average debt balance of $29,800.So you can understand why recent graduates would be so stressed out over whether they’d ever be able to pay off their loans that they’re now having second thoughts about their decisions:* 40 percent said that while they don’t regret going to college, they would’ve made different choices in hindsight.* Only 14 percent felt the value of their education was worth more than the money they’d spent.Oh, and future college students should listen up for this sage advice from the more than 4,000 respondents surveyed – all recent graduates, current undergraduates, and parents of either or both – on what would’ve done wonders to ease their own stress levels."When asked ‘If you knew then what you know now when it comes to school selection, what would you do differently?’ the number one answer for all respondents was ‘I would’ve started saving earlier,’" Ridolfi said.Which logically brings us to another key finding of the study: Only 17 percent of current students and recent graduates had taken advantage, prior to college, of what’s arguably one of the best ways to fund higher education: 529 savings plans.Unlike regular bank savings accounts, they provide a tax-advantaged way to save money to cover tuition, books and other education-related expenses at most accredited two- and four-year colleges, universities and vocational-technical schools.The key phrase being "tax-advantaged." Meaning, earnings grow federal income tax-deferred and withdrawals for qualified expenses are free from federal (and, in many places, state) income taxes – thus affording the opportunity to have even more saved for college.Significantly, Ridolfi said families using a 529 plan managed by Fidelity have been starting to sock money away earlier than ever before, with contributions beginning on average when the child is about age six and a half. Thirty-six percent of Fidelity 529s are even opened for beneficiaries under – yes – age 2.You say a child hasn’t even uttered his or her first complete sentence before they’re two? Probably not. But just so you’re not bushwhacked when they suddenly hit their late teens, free online resources like Fidelity’s College Savings Learning Center and College Savings Quick Check – a calculator that even shows you the impact of saving a few dollars more a month – can help prepare you for what lies ahead.Think of them as your own first baby steps.


Technician Education Can Fuel Financial Success


(NewsUSA) – It doesn’t take a college degree to understand that a four-year education may not be the end-all and be-all it once was, according to a new survey of U.S. high school students. With rising costs for higher education, and the way it equates to a career, more high school students say costs will be a "deciding factor in which college they attend or whether they end up going at all," according to the Washington D.C.-based nonprofit College Savings Foundation.The survey, which is in its 10th year, found that of the 500 students polled, this year saw the highest percentage (55 percent) say they are thinking about technical schools and career schools in the same way they look at traditional universities.This is good news for technical schools (most notably transportation technology and repair), that to date have had trouble attracting students through their doors."There is more computer code in today’s cars than there was used to put a man on the moon," says Jennifer Maher, chief executive officer of the TechForce Foundation, a nonprofit organization that supports students through their education into successful careers as professional technicians. "These are skilled, well-paying, technical jobs."To put this into perspective, according to Motor Authority, a Ford GT has more than 10 millon lines of code and the new Ford F150 pickup has more than 150 million lines of code. Compare that to the shuttle’s primary flight software, which contains approximately 400,000 lines of code, and it becomes easy to see the necessity of skilled technicians and the job security the industry represents.According to data from the 2020 AutoCare FactBook, the auto care industry added approximately 41,500 jobs in 2018, and automotive repair and maintenance showed the greatest increase in average hourly wages among technician jobs from 2009 to 2018.More good news: The demand for skilled technicians continues to rise as older technicians retire. Additionally, those numbers increase as technicians move into other industries, and new positions open up. To this point, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the replacement rate plus the growth rate will translate to 78,200 per year from 2016 to 2026.TechForce’s publicity campaign, "Because I’m a Tech," encourages technicians to share their stories about how they have succeeded in skilled technician careers. Some of their comments: "I bought my first house at age 27;" "I get to do something I love every day;" "I have a good work/life balance and have time for my hobbies."To that end, you can check out Tech Force’s "Get Hands On" video contest that is part of its current campaign.To see how beneficial a technical career can be, click here.Technician jobs can be an ideal alternative for many nontraditional learners who can think outside the box, and who enjoy working with their hands and solving problems. Plus, there’s the fact that technicians can learn their skills as soon as two years after high school and put them to use right away without the time and expense of a traditional, four-year college degree.TechForce’s FutureTech Roadmap to the transportation technology career highlights some of the traits that make for well-paid, successful technicians and how parents and students can identify these valuable skills.Middle School: Sixth graders to eighth graders who like to tinker; those who fix the wobbly bike wheel or design the winning car in the scouts’ soapbox derby, may benefit from a technical school rather than a traditional college education.High School: The high schooler who helps design and build the sets for the school play may be the next great technician. Also, students with diagnoses of ADHD who learn best with hands-on lessons and struggle with lengthy, desk-bound assignments are ideally suited to many technician careers.Post-Secondary School: High school graduates with a strong interest in science and technology can launch fulfilling careers with training at an ASE-certified program. The more certifications and degrees earned, the higher the tech’s earning potential from future employers.For more information about pathways to rewarding careers as transportation technicians, visit Techforce.org


How One Furniture Manufacturer Goes ‘Beyond Sustainability’


(NewsUSA) – It’s no surprise that more companies are paying attention to their impact on their environment. However, some stand out by going beyond reducing their carbon footprints, to cultivating socially conscious corporate cultures in which making a positive impact is as important as making a profit.Humanscale, a leader in the design and manufacture of high-performance ergonomic office products, demonstrates how one company’s leadership can set the example.When it comes to environmental impact, "’less bad’ is not good enough," says Humanscale’s founder and CEO, Bob King."We took a look at our manufacturing and operational activities to understand our key impacts: energy, water, emissions, resource depletion, wildlife preservation, social responsibility and healthy materials," says King."In each area, we consider what it would take to go beyond sustainability to making a truly positive impact on the world around us. If a company can make a positive impact in all of these ways, it will be acting like a tree," he explains."While trees aim to grow, they’re self-sustaining and they replenish the environment. If we want to live at peace with the planet, then our factories must be like trees, our companies like a forest."Humanscale is set to release its annual Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Report in time to coordinate with Earth Overshoot Day, the date calculated to mark when humans have depleted Earth’s resources beyond its ability to regenerate these resources within a given year.Company achievements highlighted in the report include the use of solar energy for nearly 70 percent of electricity used by the company’s main manufacturing facility in 2018; reduction of normalized greenhouse gas emissions by 63 percent since 2011; and the use of rainwater for 100 percent of production water in the United States.In addition, in the last year, nearly 500 of Humanscale’s employees voluntarily completed more than 10,340 activities that involved saving energy, reducing water use, and cutting down on their emissions.Humanscale has also made material transparency a priority. Material transparency means labeling products, such as furniture, similar to food ingredient labels that clearly state what materials a product contains. Material transparency labels, such as Declare labels and Health Product Declarations (HPDs), identify potential toxins and unhealthy materials in products so consumers can make informed decisions before choosing these products for their homes or offices.Humanscale has taken the lead in this area. Their products contain no Red List chemicals, and as of December 2018, the company has published 60 percent of all Declare labels and 54 percent of all HPDs that exist in the entire furniture industry.In 2018, Humanscale received a BIFMA (Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturer’s Association) Level 3 (the highest level of that association’s certification) for all its products. The BIFMA is based on analysis of product manufacture, including water and energy use, emissions, chemicals, waste, and environmental design.For more information about Humanscale and its sustainability efforts, visit humanscale.com


If you’re feeling stressed and anxious, research says: feed the birds


(NewsUSA) – In today’s constant contact, cell-phone celebrated, digital world, most people can go days or even weeks without spending any time in natural sunlight. Instead, we eat breakfast inside, or on the go, only to race to an office, filled with artificial light and plastic plants, for 8 to 10 hours a day. It’s no wonder why Americans’ mental health is suffering.Compare that hectic routine to those memorable moments when you’re able to sit quietly, let the sunshine warm your face, hear the birds, and allow nature to envelope you. While everyone longs for less stress, actually relaxing can be dauntingly stressful!However, a new study out of the United Kingdom sheds light on one way people can de-stress: bird watching. The study finds that people who watch birds from their home have lower depression, anxiety, and stress compared to those that live in less leafy areas that have fewer birds. People "felt relaxed and connected to nature when they watched birds in their garden," researchers say. These feelings increased with the level of bird feeding in the yard, they add.Specifically, the number of birds people might see was directly associated with better mental health. "This study starts to unpick the role that some key components of nature play for our mental well-being. Birds around the home and nature in general, show great promise in preventive health care, making cities healthier, happier places to live.," says lead researcher Dr. Daniel Cox from the University of Exeter.Dr. Tina Phillips, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, agrees. "Overwhelmingly, studies show that people feed birds because it makes them feel more relaxed, that it’s something they’re interested in and ultimately something that makes them feel good."If you want to disconnect from the digital world and relieve some daily stress and anxiety, getting outside, bird watching could be the key to increasing your mindful, mental health. Since studies reveal the more birds you see, the less likely you are to be stressed and anxious, it’s important to attract as many birds as possible.The first step to attracting birds is to use an all-purpose tube feeder, which is the number one feeder choice, allowing birds to feed from multiple ports. Cole’s Wild Bird Products, Co. offers the Terrific Tube feeder, it’s made to last with state-of-the-art materials that prevent warping and discoloration and it features a "Quick Clean" removable base, so cleaning is super simple. Natural grip perch covers mimic the feel of a real branch, which encourages longer feeding times.Once you have the right feeder, you’ll need reliable seed that will bring birds to your backyard to deliver that dose of stress relief we all desire. According to Elaine Cole, President and owner of Cole’s, the quality of birdseed will determine how many feathered friends will flock to your backyard.Unlike other birdseed mixes, which typically contain cheap filler seed like milo and wheat, Cole’s selects only the top 1 to 2 percent of the highest quality seeds birds like to eat. Plus, Cole’s doesn’t add pesticides or chemicals, preferring instead to keep the seed as close to its natural state as possible."If you use inferior seed, you’re not going to like the results. Our seed is specifically formulated to attract the greatest number, variety, and species of birds. Birds are picky and birdseed matters. If you use cheap feed, they won’t hesitate look for something else they prefer. Birds are like people, give them what they like to eat and they’ll come back and bring their friends." Cole said.Since we’ve learned that the more birds we attract, the more stress-free we’ll be, it makes good sense to use the best bird feed you can buy. Cole’s Special Feeder, attracts the greatest number of wild birds than any other mix out there. Add Cole’s Blue Ribbon blend, which attracts the greatest variety of wild birds to the mix, and you’ve got the perfect prescription to help calm your anxiety and stress.At the heart of it, everyone wants less stress and anxiety. Once you start watching birds in action, they’ll engage your attention in a way that keeps you in the moment, a state that provides mental relief. Admiring their beauty, listening to their sweet song and enjoying their antics will calm your overactive mind and bring joy and renewal.For more information on top quality feed and feeders, please visit: Cole’s website


Kick Off Your College Financial Aid Game This Fall


(NewsUSA) – Fall is here, and high school seniors (and their parents) are in the thick of the college application process.But these days, the cost of tuition can seem daunting: 85 percent of parents believe the cost of college is more of a financial burden than in past years, according to a College Ave Student Loans survey of 1,072 parents conducted by Barnes & Noble College Insights. However, many families may not realize and take advantage of the range of financial aid opportunities and options available."Don’t let the ‘sticker price’ of a college sway you from applying," says Joe DePaulo, Co-Founder and CEO of College Ave Student Loans."The college ‘sticker price’ typically refers to the published annual cost of attendance for any given school, which includes tuition, fees, and an average estimate of other related costs like room and board. The actual price families will pay depends on how much financial aid they receive which will be unique for each family," he says.Start by filling out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). Some families skip this form because they think it is too much work for too little payoff. Don’t Fear the FAFSA By forgoing filling out this important government form, you could be leaving financial aid on the table. Some financial aid programs work on a first-come first-served basis, so getting it done as close to the October 1 start date maximizes the aid you might receive.There are other reasons to make sure the FAFSA is part of your fall financial aid game, according to College Ave Student Loans, a company offering simple and personalized private student loans:– More financial aid: Some schools won’t even consider you for merit aid unless you complete this important form.– More options: Students planning to apply for Federal Stafford Loans or Federal PLUS Loans must fill out the FAFSA first. Keep Applying to Scholarships Beyond the FAFSA, students and parents can round out their financial aid plan with scholarships. Many scholarships are available with rolling applications year-round and every little bit helps. College Ave Student Loans offers a monthly chance for students to win a $1,000 scholarship on their website. Build a Balanced College List College Ave recommends that you apply to a variety of schools. This will give you more opportunities to find a school that fits your budget financially, and one that may offer better financial aid.If scholarships, grants and federal loans in the student’s name don’t cover the full cost of tuition, College Ave Student Loans offers a simple, stress-free student loan process to help cover college costs. Students and parents can apply online and get a response in 3 minutes, with no application or origination fees.For more information about college financial aid planning, hints for filling out the FAFSA, and other loan opportunities, visit collegeavestudentloans.com.


Your neighborhood deer are gearing up for winter – Get ready


(NewsUSA) – Like many mammals, deer physically prepare for winter by better insulating their bodies. In the fall, deer gradually trade their summer coats for a warmer winter one, which is more substantial and has thicker, longer, darker hair called "guard hairs" to protect their fur and skin from rain and snow.Their winter coat naturally absorbs more sunlight and traps more body heat than their warm-weather coat, which provides an exceptional amount of protection from the cold. Deer also have oil-producing glands in their skin that help make their hair, water resistant, which is especially valuable in the snow. For even further insulation, their bodies naturally begin to retain more fat in winter, for even more protection.Deer alter their behavior to survive the harsh winter weather. They generally become less active, sometimes dropping their metabolism by half, which allows them to save energy. Deer can hunker down during particularly harsh winter weather and survive on their fat, but eventually they have to eat something, although their preferred food sources are long gone.Although amazing, deer do survive harsh winters when the vegetation they prefer is nearly impossible to find. Deer’s usual winter diet includes food that is not particularly nutritious, but it’s above the snow and available to feed on, like twigs, leaves, bark and evergreen shrubs and trees like yews and arborvitae. Arborvitae is a popular tree and a common backyard hedging solution that grows moderately fast and looks pretty around the perimeter of any yard. During a harsh winter, deer can decimate arborvitae trees, turning them into trees that look like lollipops!Because food is so scarce during winter and high deer populations mean more competition for food, deer are likely to be more resistant to efforts to repel them. They’ll return to areas, like your yard, where they found plentiful pickings in warm weather and be more inclined to stay put until your yard is stripped clean of all possible food sources. A single adult deer eats about 7 pounds of food a day and does usually occupy the same 3- to 4-square-mile area for their entire lives. That means if you’ve had deer in your yard before, it is more than likely your yard is already on their list to forage food this winter, so your shrubs and trees – your most expensive landscaping- is at risk this winter.To save your shrubs and trees from deer damage in winter and strike a blow against deer’s voracious appetites you’ll need a reliable, proven effective solution that’s easy to use in the cold months of winter. Your best defense against deer is the continual use of a proven-effective repellent, like easy-to-use Bobbex Deer Repellent, foliar spray. The product is an environmentally friendly, nontoxic and long-lasting deer deterrent that’s safe for people, pets, wildlife and aquatic life. Ingredients include putrescent eggs, fishmeal, fish oil, garlic, and other natural ingredients – all materials that offend a deer’s sensitive sense of smell and taste. Additional ingredients such as urea and Epsom contain natural fertilizer components which are actually beneficial for all plantings.Bobbex Deer mimics predator scents, which deer have an aversion to and is classified as a fear repellent, it also tastes terrible to deer, adding another layer of protection. Because it contains effective sticking agents, the repellent won’t wash off even in harsh winter weather. And it’s been 3rd party tested against 9 other like-repellents and is rated #1 for protection against deer browse.The experts at Bobbex recommend a steady course of repellent application in every season as deer shift their feeding patterns. Since we know deer learn from experience, maintaining repellent applications throughout the year will "school" them to continually bypass your yard in favor of less objectionable fare elsewhere.Left undeterred, deer can strip bare your landscape’s most expensive and susceptible plantings in winter, leaving you with an unattractive yard and high replacement costs when warm weather arrives. Preparing now and taking preventive steps against the ravages of deer can help ensure they’ll learn to leave your yard alone throughout the winter, and with continued use, you can keep them at bay, all year long.For more information, please visit www.bobbex.com 


Eco-Smart Company Keeps Landfills Free of Old Textile Fibers


(NewsUSA) – You probably don’t think much about the fate of old, worn-out uniforms from restaurants, stores, healthcare facilities, sports teams, and other industries. But the fact is that many end up in landfills. However, one company is doing its part to lessen this carbon footprint by repurposing these old uniforms into new.Eco Tek 360, a forward-thinking fiber technology company and a division of Global Fiber Technologies, Inc. a public company, (GFTX), has developed a proprietary technology that removes the fibers from fabrics that have reached the end of their useful life cycle. The fibers are extracted from a landfill-destined garment and used to create yarn, make new fabric, and then get sewn into fabric which is turned into "rejuvenated" uniforms. Each time the uniform comes back to the client, the process creates a true circular economy and reduces carbon footprints."It takes between 500 to 700 gallons of water to grow one pound of cotton and Eco Tek 360 can help save billions of gallons each year through utilization of its patent- pending process," says Chris Giordano, president and co-chairman of Global Fiber Technologies."We will take corporate uniforms at the end of their useful life that would otherwise head for disposal and re-purpose them back to the same company as sustainable, high quality uniforms for their employees," says Giordano."Our primary raw material is sourced from uniforms being disposed of by our corporate clients, allowing us to be competitive on price," says Paul Serbiak Global’s CEO.There are three steps to the ECOTEK process:- Recovery: Companies collect old uniforms and send them to Ecotek. Customers earn a credit towards new uniform purchases.- Rejuvenation: Rejuvenation is the heart of the Ecotek philosophy. The company uses a patented procedure to remove old fiber from fabric, restore it, and create new fabric. The rejuvenated fiber is soft, strong, and comfortable, and looks like new.- Re-creation: The fabric made from the rejuvenated fiber is then used to make new uniforms."The entire process takes place in the USA, ensuring fair labor practices and extremely high quality standards," according to the company. Ecotek will offer customized design in large and small batches with quick turnaround times.Buying uniforms made with rejuvenated fibers not only saves water and energy, it saves money, and allows employees to feel proud and look great with options for customized style and sizing.Surveys show that a majority of entry-level employees prefer to work for an environmentally friendly company and more than half of consumers prefer to buy from companies with a green reputation.For more information about how your company can go greener and look great doing it, visit https://globalfibertechnologies.com/ecotek-360/.


ICO Offers Investors a Chance to Cash in on Green Energy Plan


(NewsUSA) – Interest in alternative, environmentally-friendly energy sources continues to grow, and one company, Eco Smart Energies, offers investors a unique opportunity to get in on the ground floor of green energy with a pre-sale Initial Coin Offering (ICO) at renbdo.io to raise funds for the Renewable Energy Network Based on Decentralized Organization (RENBDO) project.The project involves the creation of a wind power farm and the installation of up to 52 wind turbines to produce green energy.During the 15-day, pre-sale period, 10 percent of the Renewable Energy Tokens (RETs) will be sold at a 50-percent discount via a cryptocurrency system. The discount will not be available after the pre-sale period. "Ownership of one RET is equivalent to owning one asset in Eco Smart Energies," according to a company press release."These turbines are capable of producing mechanical energy that can be transformed into electrical energy, using wind energy converters linked to power distributors," according to a company white paper.Cryptocurrency, an internet-based system for financial transactions, has the advantages of minimal processing fees, decentralization, and blockchain to confirm and provide security. The exchanges are quick and can be conducted on a global scale, which makes life easier for investors. According to a recent opinion piece on the Bloomberg website by former risk manager Aaron Brown, cryptocurrency is not without risk, but neither is investing, and "there are plausible scenarios in which crypto grows to become a significant part of the economy."Investors are seeing the potential of green energy companies and the convenience of cryptocurrency. Wind energy is one of the most strongly recommended alternatives to the use of fossil fuels, and Eco Smart gets investors involved in the environmental angle with an application that will allow the token owners not only to send or receive tokens, but also to view how much wind power is being produced from the turbines. "The token holders can also actively participate in issues that are related to the future of the wind farm," according to the company.Visit renbdo.io for more information about how cryptocurrency will shape the future and for investment opportunities. 


Women Say They’re Ready to Put Their Money to Work for Them


(NewsUSA) – More women than ever before are realizing they need to make their money grow for them.For decades, we’ve been hearing about an "investment gap" between males and females. And while it still exists, a whopping 72 percent of women in a new survey by Fidelity Investments said they’re ready to make bolder moves in the coming months – including investing more of their savings."Women tend to be the CFO of their household," says Kathy Murphy, president of personal investing at Fidelity. "They tend to pay the bills, they tend to make 80 percent of the purchasing decisions. This (investing) can be part of it."The point about investing more of savings is crucial. While 44 percent of females polled for the firm’s "2018 Women and Investing Study" were currently putting their money to work in the market beyond just retirement accounts – that compares to 59 percent of men -more than a third of all women reported having $50,000 or more still sitting in checking and savings accounts that pay a pittance in interest. And that third or so includes those who do invest outside of, say, company 401(k) plans.But if even $20,000 of that cash was invested in a conservative portfolio mix? Over five years, in a typical market, the money could potentially swell by $5,733 vs. $80 in a basic savings account (and potentially $2,961 in a typical five-year CD).Millennial women would seem to be taking those numbers most seriously, which accounts for much of the optimism underlying the report.Forty-eight percent of them are already investing their cash, as opposed to about 40 percent of both Baby Boomers and Gen Xers."This is the first time in the almost decade we’ve been doing this study that we’ve seen Millennial women on track to really lead the way," notes Murphy.Don’t misunderstand: No one’s saying people – men or women – shouldn’t keep at least enough cash on hand in savings to cover three to six months of living expenses. That’s a fundamental rule of thumb among financial advisors. And Murphy contends that women who do invest actually turn out to be "great" at it for this simple reason: They come up with a long-term plan based on their own or their family’s goals, and then they allow their investments to grow without tending to make the mistake of trying to time the market.Many online tools can help women looking to better manage their financial lives. Fidelity, for example, offers a free 10-minute "Financial Wellness" check-up that’s a first step in developing such a plan, and the firm also just launched a new "Demand More" site designed specifically for those with two X chromosomes. The latter, which is also free, includes personal stories from women like the 54-year-old with two grown children who "restarted her finances" after her divorce.As for why women lag men in investing, Murphy has her own theory: "Sixty-five percent of them equate it with picking stocks. But it’s not about that. It’s about having a financial plan and sticking to it." 


Payday for Instagram Users


(NewsUSA) – If you’ve spent any time obsessing about photos of your life, business, wardrobe, pet, or the last cupcake you ate, on Instagram, you understand that rush of excitement that comes when "Likes" pop up on your feed. Not only is it downright thrilling, but you can now cash in with Quantum Sponsor.Imagine getting paid just to post on Instagram about brands and local businesses you are interested in.Quantum Sponsor is the platform that’s making it happen. Unlike traditional talent agencies, Quantum Sponsor doesn’t require you to have millions of followers to participate – even a couple of hundred is just fine!Now, Aunt Suzie, who just started Instagram last month, can make money posting about her favorite new Clutch Coffee shop that opened down the street, and so can you.Both small businesses and Fortune 500 companies alike are using Quantum Sponsor to pay everyday Instagram users for posts.Most consumers today are overwhelmed by and tired of banner-style and traditional ads; they want to learn about products from other trusted consumers who are willing to share their interests and expertise.Quantum Sponsor’s new advertising platform pairs enthusiastic Instagrammers with clients who will hire them for paid promotions. Best of all, Quantum Sponsor is easy for both the Instagrammers and businesses."We want to give social media users the opportunity to earn money for the content they’ve created and the influence they’ve earned. So we made it easy. In doing so, we also created an effective, cost- saving tool for digital advertisers across all industries," says AJ Silverman, founder and CEO of Quantum Sponsor.Working with Quantum Sponsor streamlines the process of influencer selection, sponsorship, and payments.Here’s how it works: Instagrammers sign up as influencers on the Quantum Sponsor website. The website will tell them exactly how much money they’ll make for posts based on how engaged their followers are. Quantum Sponsor reviews and categorizes all influencers by audience interests, location, gender, and brand safety.Advertisers sign up as "sponsors," and create campaigns directly on the Quantum Sponsor platform, which will automatically send out email alerts and offers to influencers who match with the advertiser’s target audience.Influencers post and complete offers by leaving posts active for a minimum of seven days. Once offers are completed, influencers can withdraw their earnings with PayPal. Influencers can increase their earnings by posting interesting, engaging content but need to eliminate cruel or violent language in order to receive offers.Quantum Sponsor recognizes that digital influencers are the future of marketing, the new darlings of the Internet, and that advertisers who want social media followers, depend on them. This creates an opportunity for influencers to cash in while building their own personal brands – just by doing the things they love.Whether it’s sewing, surfing, or skin care, there is a potential marketing campaign to fit any interest.For more information on how to become an influencer and get paid to post, visit www.quantumsponsor.com.


Tech Tools That Can Help Your Small Business Grow


(NewsUSA) – Since 1963, the president has proclaimed one week out of the year as National Small Business Week, recognizing the contributions of small U.S. businesses to our national economy. This year, the week of May 5 through May 11 will recognize entrepreneurship and innovation.To help celebrate the week, Marc Saltzman, business technology expert, partnered with KillerApps.com (Click here to view video) and three brands that have the tech tools and services to help small businesses grow by boosting productivity in the office or on the go.First up, a laptop. The Dell Latitude 7400 2-in-1 is a work companion that is not only powerful and secure, but beautiful and as close to frictionless as possible. It uses Dell’s new Express Sign-in to detect your presence, wake the system in about one second, and scan for facial recognition to log you in and begin working. When you step away, it will recognize that you’ve left and lock itself.The new Latitude is the world’s smallest commercial 14" 2-in-1 to easily take on the go. It delivers the longest battery life in its class at 24 hours, enabling days of unplugged productivity during travel.Next, printers are a must for business. The Color imageCLASS MF743Cdw is essential for small-to-medium businesses looking to print high-quality output while maximizing their productivity. A large, color touch display panel features intuitive, swipe technology. Perfect for producing vivid and vibrant output to meet the demands of any creative office, the MF743Cdw offers superb color duplex quality. Printers include a standard, three-year warranty backed by Canon’s service and support. In the spirit of the smart office, through the Canon Auto Replenishment Service, registered printers purchased at Canon Online Store automatically alert Canon when running low on toner and Canon automatically ships a new toner cartridge directly to the customer.To stay connected, Ooma Office offers a set of features carefully curated to meet the needs of small businesses, available through a straightforward fee of $19.95 a month per user with no contract required. Customers have their choice of hardware and receive advanced features such as a virtual receptionist, ring groups, call parking and multi-site access, which combine to make small businesses sound big. Ooma Office is easy to set up and can scale with your company.For more information, visit KillerApps.com


How Parents Can Have A Device-Free Meal with the Tap of A Button


(NewsUSA) – Technology, the pletho- ra of devices, such as smart phones and tablets, and social media have brought convenience to our finger- tips today in ways that we didn’t know were possible just a few years ago.It has made life easier for families and businesses in so many ways, more than we can count.But, with that immediate grat- ification we, as a society, have some serious consequences to con- sider and address.A new Comcast survey shows that the majority of parents across the country believe that disconnecting from devices during mealtime improves family bonding, with more than 2 in 5 (42 percent) not able to remember the last time their family had a device-free meal.However, children aren’t the only ones to blame: more than half (52 percent) of parents have been told by their children to put their cell phones away during meals. A new DeviceFreeDinner campaign featuring comedian Will Ferrell captures this very issue. Comcast offers a solution for parents called Xfinity xFi, a new way for users to personalize, monitor, and control their home Wi-Fi, including the ability to instantly pause Wi-Fi connectivity by user or device.The "pause device" feature is the most popular xFi function, with users tapping "pause" about five million times since launch, most often between the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m.Parents will be happy to learn that they are not alone in their concerns about screen time and its effects.Comcast’s nationwide study of parents, conducted by Wakefield Research, also found:* Dinnertime is bonding time -Nearly every (98 percent) parent surveyed agrees that disconnecting from devices during mealtime im- proves family bonding.* Millennial parents have an especially hard time remembering the last time they sat at the dinner table without a device at the table (49 percent), compared to Gen Xers (37 percent) and Boomers (33 percent).* Sneaking screen time – Par- ents admit to taking away their children’s devices an average of once per week and more than half (56 percent) have found their chil- dren trying to sneak their devices when they were banned from them.* Going to extremes to discon- nect – Nearly one-third (31 percent) of parents make their children leave their devices in a basket be- fore bedtime, while 14 percent go so far as to disconnect their modems to stop Wi-Fi usage.The American Academy of Pe- diatrics recommends that parents develop personalized plans for their children’s device use, warning that excessive screen time can displace important activities such as face-to-face interaction, familytime, outdoor play, exercise, and sleep."Technology should adapt to meet our customers’ needs, not the other way around," says Eric Schaefer, Senior Vice President of Internet and Communications Ser-vices for Comcast Cable. "With xFi’s ‘pause device’ feature, parents have the power to decide when it’s time for family members to connect with each other, rather than their devices."For more information about Comcast’s xFi, go to: www.xfinity.com/xfi


How to Protect Your Data in a Connected World


Five words or less(NewsUSA) – The phrase ‘six degrees of separation,’ suggests that only a minuscule measurement is what divides one person from another. Today, the Internet of Things (IoT) has decreased those degrees dramatically, connecting us not only to each other, but to everything from our fitness trackers to our coffee makers.
Consider this: according to a recent report by the Federal Trade Commission, the number of Internet-connected devices tops 25 billion worldwide. And that number is expected to double in the next five years, according to experts cited in the report.
In a world where everyone and everything is connected, digital security is a must-have, just as important as the lock on your front door or the keys to your house.
“Technology is revolutionizing the way consumers use cars, homes, work spaces and everyday items,” Rep. Darrell Issa, R- Calif., told USA Today in a recent interview. “These devices raise both opportunities and questions about regulatory policy, spectrum space, privacy and more.”
Underscoring Issa’s concerns are high-profile hacks, including one that took remote control of a Jeep on a busy highway. Experts warn who consumers need to understand that, although convenient, the IoT is an interconnected system, and security is needed to prevent a weakness in one device (like a SmartWatch) from becoming an open door to attack in another device (such as a connected car).
The good news is that sensitive industries such as banking, government, and healthcare have worked with companies like Gemalto, a global leader in digital security, to solve difficult security challenges. While most may not recognize the name “Gemalto,” experts say that almost everyone uses at least one or two of the company’s solutions, which are embedded in a wide variety of connected devices, credit cards, passports, and ID badges.
So, to ensure that your data is protected from hackers, Gemalto recommends the following tips:
* Secure the device. Sensitive devices need an added layer of protection, such as a SIM card or a tamper-resistant Secure Element that stores data in a safe place.
* Control the access. Implement two-factor authentication to ensure that only authorized people are granted access to the data.
* Secure the data. Ensure that sensitive data is encrypted and that encryption keys are stored in a separate and safe place.
For more information, please visit www.gemalto.com.


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