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Stuart Dubbs
4550 W. Tilghman Street
Allentown  PA 18104
 Phone: 610-398-8111
Office Phone: 610-398-8111
Cell: 484-239-0950
Fax: 267-354-6247 
sdubbs@remaxcentralinc.com
Stuart Dubbs

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Real Estate with Perspective

The Best Paying Jobs for College Grads

November 8, 2016 1:48 am

The good news for recent college graduates is that with unemployment at a four-year low, there are plenty of jobs to be had. The bad news is that competition is stiff for the highest-paying positions.

Where are these coveted jobs, and how much do they pay? Employment counselors recommend several directions savvy degree-holders might take:

Purchasing Manager – Most companies hire purchasing professionals to acquire the goods and services they need to run their business. Candidates need to be personable as well as analytical, and a degree in business or economics is a plus. Annual starting salaries average $58,000.

Computer Hardware Engineer – Computer science majors can use their skills to design and modify computer parts that increase speed and efficiency. Starting salaries average $58,000 per year.

Biomedical Engineer – One of the fastest-growing fields today is biomedical engineering, which mixes medicine with biology, math, physics and chemistry to create equipment that solves medical problems. Median starting salary is $54,800.

Mathematicians – Mathematicians provide solutions for the problems businesses face, with numbers to back up their work. Starting salaries for people good at math average $56,400.

Sales Manager – These are the professionals who oversee a sales force, setting quotas, policies, and best practices, dividing the work into territories and monitoring goal achievement. Candidates with some sales background and a business management degree can expect starting salaries of $51,760.

Nuclear Engineer – While some nuclear engineers work in power plants, others explore uses for radiation and nuclear energy in medical and industrial applications. Qualified candidates will start at about $63,900.

Aerospace Engineer – Starting salaries for aerospace engineers, who design new developments for airplanes, spacecraft, and defense systems, are an average $59,400.

Petroleum Engineer – Hold onto your hats. Salaries for these math and science whizzes, who develop methods for extracting oil out of different areas, begin at an average of $93,000.

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Decorators Share: Transitioning from Fall to Winter

November 8, 2016 1:48 am

Decorating for seasonal transitions—spring to summer, summer to fall—is a trick many decorators use to stretch the longevity of their designs. Decorating for the transition from fall to winter is no exception.

There are many transitional trends this fall and winter. Real or faux marble accents, such as coasters or cutting boards, and statement pieces, such as side tables and wallpaper, are on the incline, Decorilla.com reports.

Coziness is necessary in fall and winter, and accessories that evoke this feeling are in. According to PopSugar.com’s Kate McKenna, decorating for coziness this year involves a mix of bold patterns, glossy metallics, soft neutrals and matte blacks.

Those matte blacks could translate into a full-on monochromatic design, especially as the holiday season sets in, predict the experts at Harding Botanicals, a Massachusetts-based company.

Rose quartz, which was named this year’s color of the year by Pantone, is another trend that eases effortlessly from fall to winter. The experts at Harding suggest pairing it with champagne, pearl or silver shades.
Come the holidays, red and green continue to be popular, this year with accents of blue and white, DecoratorsWisdom.com reports.

Experiment with motifs like silver tree shapes, blue, silver or white snowflakes and snowmen, the website recommends—or, combine accents like silver candlesticks and vases with natural arrangements of greens and berries.

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Plan Ahead for Winter Power Outages

November 8, 2016 1:48 am

With the snowy weather of winter comes a less beautiful seasonal sensation: power outages. To keep your family safe and cozy sans power, follow these tips:

Before the storm:
• Stock-up on batteries and flashlights.

• Evaluate the family's non-perishable food supply and restock if necessary.

• Review how to manually open the electric garage door.

• A practice run will help ensure a family knows how to properly locate and operate any equipment required during the power outage.

During/after:
• Never use a gas stove, oven or grill to heat a home.

• During the first few hours of the outage, keep the refrigerator and freezer closed. Snow can be used as ice to keep items cold in a cooler. 

• Choose mittens over gloves and wear layered loose clothing to stay warm.

• Always operate your portable generator outside of your home.

“Having a backup power solution ready ahead of a utility power outage prevents most of the headaches that go with living without power. With backup power, families won't necessarily need to worry about potentially dangerous temperatures, for example,” says Melissa Thomas, marketing assistant manager, Briggs & Stratton Standby power. “This gives families the security they desire to comfortably ride out long winter months.”

The most popular backup power solutions are portable generators and permanently-installed standby generator systems. Both types of backup power can keep a home's lights, the furnace and necessary appliances working in the event of a weather-related power outage or other emergency. Understanding the differences and capabilities between the two options makes selecting the best generator for a family's needs much easier.

Portable Generators: Immediate Backup Power Supply
Portable generators are generally low maintenance, compact and easily maneuverable on the property. These units are typically powered by gasoline and work well as an immediate solution during a power outage.

Additionally, they are designed to provide reliable electricity to a few essential items and appliances such as a refrigerator, basic light circuits and portable electric heaters at the same time.

While portable generators can provide users with flexibility and comfort, they need to be used appropriately at all times in order to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Never run a portable generator inside a home or in a garage.

Standby Generators: High-Wattage Backup Power Supply
Families who want a backup power source that offers uninterrupted power should opt for a home standby generator system. Home standby generators need to be professionally installed, so homeowners should allow time for the installation process and associated costs.

These home generators are connected to the existing propane or natural gas line of a house. When utility power to a house is interrupted, the home generator automatically turns on within seconds. Home standby generators can power more of a home's high-wattage appliances, like the furnace, electric water heater, stove and clothes dryer.

Source: www.briggsandstratton.com

 

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One Home System Not to Overlook

November 7, 2016 1:48 am

Over 25 million houses in the U.S. have a septic system, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Proper maintenance of the septic system is essential, but often overlooked—out of sight, out of mind.

An un-maintained septic system can contaminate groundwater, harming the environment by releasing bacteria, household hazardous waste and viruses to local waterways, according to the EPA. Maintaining the system not only protects the environment and public health, it also saves homeowners from having to make costly repairs due to neglect.

The EPA’s tips for homeowners include:
Protect It and Inspect It – Homeowners should have their system inspected every three years by a qualified professional, or according to their state or local health department's recommendations. Tanks should be pumped when necessary—typically every three to five years.

Think at the Sink – Avoid pouring fats, grease and solids down the kitchen sink. These substances can clog the septic system’s pipes and drain field.

Don’t Overload the Commode – Do not flush foreign items, such as cat litter, coffee grounds, dental floss, disposable diapers/wipes and feminine hygiene products down the toilet. These can all clog, and potentially damage, the septic system.

Don’t Strain Your Drain – Be water-efficient by spreading out water use, including laundry and dishwasher loads throughout the day. Too much water at once can overload a system that hasn’t been pumped recently.
Shield Your Field – Remind guests not to park or drive on a system’s drain field, where the vehicle’s weight could damage buried pipes or disrupt underground flow.

Source: www.epa.gov/septicsmart.

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Millennials Move Past Gender Stereotypes When Shopping for Cars

November 7, 2016 1:48 am

Millennials continue to make waves as a generation like no other. New research from Edmunds.com shows that today's millennial car shoppers don't stick to the outdated (and oft illogical) stereotype that men should make important car-buying decisions while women stand by.

According to the study of 3,000 U.S. adults ages 18 - 65, more than 70 percent of both men and women feel self-assured during the car buying and negotiating process. However, when broken out by generation, Edmunds found that millennial men and women are more alike in their feelings toward car shopping than Gen Xers and baby boomers. For example, when asked if they believe if women are equal or better than men at car shopping, 64 percent of millennial women and 54 percent of millennial men agreed. When baby boomers were asked the same question, 67 percent of women agreed, while only 48 percent of men did, resulting in an opinion gap nearly twice as large.

Other noteworthy differences between millennials and older generations include:

Millennial men are more likely than older men to believe that women are equally or more logical than men during the car shopping process. There was a 15 percentage point gap in gender opinion for millennials (59 percent of men vs. 74 percent of women), compared to a 27-point gap among Generation Xers (52 percent of men vs. 79 percent of women).

Millennial men and women feel nearly equal levels of self-assurance and empowerment during the car shopping process, with a gap of only one percent and two percent respectively between the genders. This gap widens within the older generations, to eight percent for Gen Xers and 14 percent for boomers.

When it comes time to close the deal and purchase the vehicle, millennial men are more confident in women than men in older generations. Sixty percent of millennial men say that women are stronger negotiators versus 50 percent of Gen X men and 49 percent of boomer men.

"Gender inequality has been in our society for a very long time," says Lacey Plache, chief economist at Edmunds. "Shifting gender roles have been a main catalyst for lowering gender inequality, but this change is still in motion, and the differences aren't fully dissolved yet. As this continues to decrease on a societal level, we'll see its impact manifested in major industries like automotive, but until gender inequality is completely gone, the old-fashion notion that men control the garage will still linger." 

Source: Edmunds.com

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Traveling Baby Boomers Head to New Destinations, Study Shows

November 7, 2016 1:48 am

A new study by AARP focuses on the travel plans of baby boomers. While travel has always been an objective for older Americans, the AARP study shows that 99 percent of Americans age 50 and up are traveling for fun, with the majority planning at least one leisure trip in 2017, and the average boomer planning a whopping five or more leisure trips throughout the upcoming year.

So where are they heading?

Within the U.S., boomers still favor the predictable choices: Florida, California and Las Vegas. But things are shifting among international-bound boomers, with Latin America taking center stage as Europe moves to the back burner.

According to AARP's study, the top five destinations for international boomer travel include:
  • Mexico
  • The Caribbean
  • England/UK/Ireland
  • Central/South America
  • Italy  
Source: AARP

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How to Make Mornings More Tolerable

November 4, 2016 1:39 am

Waking up on the right side of the bed comes naturally to some people. For the rest of us, mornings can be painful. Morning person or not, however, your habits upon rising have a lot to do with how the rest of your day will go. Here are some painless ways to turn your mornings into good beginnings:

1. Wake up gradually. Bolting out of bed to a loud, jarring alarm is not the way you want to begin your day. Set the option on your smartphone alarm for ascending sound, so that your alarm starts off quietly and gradually builds, gently rousing you from sleep.

2. Make coffee time sacred. Instead of hitting the snooze button for an extra 10 minutes of poor sleep, take that time to sit quietly with your coffee, tea, cocoa or whatever your morning poison happens to be. The few moments of peace will ease you into the day.

3. Gather your thoughts. Meditate, pray, journal, etc. This will help calm and focus your mind. The frenetic pace of the day is lurking around the corner, so here’s your one chance to get grounded.

4. Exercise. Even if you’ve had a bad night’s sleep and still feel exhausted, getting a workout or a walk in will wake you right up. Exercise boosts your serotonin and energy levels and will always put you in a better mood to face the day.

5. Eliminate decisions. Even the smallest decisions can seem overwhelming in the morning when you’re rushing to get out the door. Save yourself some angst by figuring out what you’re going to wear and bring for lunch the night before. Do the same for the kiddos, too.

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5 Easy Ways to Improve Your Money Management

November 4, 2016 1:39 am

If you’ve been hit recently with a late fee or two, or thought you’d paid that overdue gas bill when you hadn’t, your money management skills may need a boost.

Consumer finance pros at Business Insider suggest five easy ways to make managing your money easier:

Automate your finances to simplify control – Sign up for auto-pay, and monthly payments are automatically charged to your credit card or paid from your checking account. Even if you prefer to pay off the full amounts due each month, signing up to have the minimums automatically paid will ensure you won’t be faced with late fees if you fail to make a payment on time.

Put due dates in your calendar – For bills you can’t automate – such as rent or utilities – enter reminders in your daily calendar a week before payments are due.

Sign up for text or email reminders – As an alternative to writing reminders in your calendar, check with your credit card company, mortgage servicer, auto loan servicer and/or student loan servicer about getting alerts for your due dates. Getting digital reminders can help you stay on top of payments.

Enroll in credit monitoring – Your credit score and credit report are important parts of your financial life, but keeping tabs on them may seem inconvenient or time-consuming. When you sign up for credit monitoring, the service will notify you if things on your credit report look suspicious, which could be a sign of identity theft. If you don’t enroll in a monitoring service, it’s a good idea to review your credit regularly – and if you see mistakes, dispute them.

Download a savings app – If you find it tough to save, download an app like Digit or Smarty Pig, which keep tabs on your accounts and analyze what you can put in a savings account. They can then automatically transfer money from your checking account into a savings account. Another app, called Acorns, will round your purchases to the nearest dollar and invest your spare change.

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Don’t Let the Holidays Sabotage Your Fitness

November 3, 2016 1:39 am

It all started with Halloween. We bought way more candy than there were trick-or-treaters, and tore a little hole in the bag and started sneaking some treats days before the holiday even rolled around. From there, we roll right into Thanksgiving and Christmas, and end up ringing in the new year with the dreaded extra 5 - 10 pounds.

Sure, we can simply accept this as part and parcel of enjoying the fall and winter holidays – after all, we’ve worked hard all year and deserve some fourth-quarter indulgence. But, it is actually possible to splurge a little while maintaining your physique, not to mention your overall health. Here are a few simple strategies to avoid a holiday health meltdown:

1. Make it convenient: Ever wonder how celebrities are able to stay in such great shape? Because it’s so easy for them! From personalized nutrition plans to live-in chefs and trainers, the keys to fitness are at their fingertips because their paychecks depend on it. Try to make diet and exercise convenient in your world, too—make healthy meals on Sunday that you can eat all week, develop a quick home-exercise routine for when you can’t get to the gym, and pick a work-out buddy to help keep you accountable.

2. Keep the leftovers on the move: Bring leftover candy and cookies to work, or donate them to a school. Stock up on take-out containers, and as you’re cleaning up holiday dinners, make a doggie bag for guests. Satisfy your holiday baked-goods craving by hosting a cookie swap, which provides built-in portion control.

3. Strategize party days: Who wants to avoid partaking in the festive foods and beverages of the season? No one! On days when there’s a party or family gathering on the calendar, get a workout in early before having a low-calorie, nutrient-packed breakfast and lunch. That way you can let loose a little later without blowing your calorie goal for the day.

4. Commit to your pillow: To add insult to injury, most of us tend to shortchange our sleep thanks to the hectic holiday pace. However, getting enough sleep is actually essential to avoiding weight gain. The more sleep deprived you are, the higher your levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which leads to weight gain. See what holiday-related activities can be cut from your to-do list in favor of getting more sleep, and don’t feel guilty about sneaking in a nap when you can. Your body—and your loved ones!—will thank you for it.

The biggest plus of staying healthy and fit during the holidays? No need to add “lose weight” to your new year’s resolution list!
 

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America's Greatest Small Cities Offer an Affordable Urban Lifestyle

November 3, 2016 1:39 am

Are you looking to move to a city, but worried about the high cost? A new study broke down the best (read: most affordable) small cities across the country. Look past the Big Apple and the Windy City and find a space in one of America's great urban underdogs.

Why a small city? Well, urbanites in smaller spots still enjoy the perks of a thriving city scene, but with a cheaper cost of living—generally speaking, that is. According to the Economic Policy Institute, a two-parent, two-child family would need to earn $49,114 a year “to secure an adequate but modest living standard” in Morristown, Tenn., compared with $106,493 in Washington.

To hunt down these small cities, WalletHub’s analysts compared 1,268 U.S. cities with populations between 25,000 and 100,000. The study's data set of 30 key metrics ranges from “housing costs” to “school-system quality” to “number of restaurants per capita.”    

Behold, the top 10 small cities in America:

1. Westfield, Ind.
2. Princeton, N.J.
3. Leawood, Kan.
4. Littleton, Colo.
5. Brookfield, Wisc.
6. Kirkland, Wash.
7. Holly Springs, N.C.
8. Milton, Mass.
9. Brentwood, Tenn.
10. Southlake, Texas

Source: WalletHub

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