Happy Holidays from Todd Martin

I’ll help you buy or sell your home in Louisville, KY. If you’re looking to buy a home, I’ll help you pick the right home. If you’re thinking about selling, call me and I’ll tell you what price your home is most likely to sell for. Click here to search all available homes on my website.

Hey folks, we just wanted to take a break from our normal video blog to tell you how grateful we are to have you as a subscriber. It means a lot that you have been following us over the last few years and I am very thankful and appreciative of all of your great questions. Keep 'em coming in 2015!

So from our team to yours, we wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Enjoy the blooper reel at the end of our video, as you see, we like to have fun around here.

How we helped Rich sell his condo with our patience and good advice

"My condo was very difficult to sell. It had been on the market last year but we took it off and then put it back on with Todd Martin. It was shown a lot of times and it was in an older building but there was just always something wrong that the buyers objected to. It was never the same issue either. Todd and Keith were very patient and advised me to stick with one contingency deal that I originally thought wasn’t going to follow through, however the advice turned out to be good advice! I really liked the web listing and how it showed how many times someone looked at it and how many times it was shown. It was very helpful information and I don’t think I could have asked for more help!"

How to Avoid Costly Mistakes When Negotiating

I’ll help you buy or sell your home in Louisville, KY. If you’re looking to buy a home, I’ll help you pick the right home. If you’re thinking about selling, call me and I’ll tell you what price your home is most likely to sell for. Click here to search all available homes on my website.

When a buyer is searching for a home and they find one they like, they'll submit an offer to the seller. From there, the negotiating begins. Today, we want to walk you through the steps of this process.

Price and conditions: The first things that will be discussed are the price and conditions of the property. Essentially, the offer includes what the buyer intends to buy the home for IF a few things are done beforehand. The buyer may ask for the appliances to be included in the sale or for the sellers to help cover part of the closing costs of the sale. 

Inspections and repairs: During this phase of negotiations, the buyer will come in and have inspections done on the property. It may be a full home inspection or various other inspections to look at particular parts of the house. The buyer has the option to inspect whatever they want to, in order to ensure they know what they're paying for. If there is anything that comes up that needs to be addressed, the buyer will put it on paper and let the seller know. As a seller, you can take care of all the repairs, split the repairs with the buyer, lower the price of your home, or do nothing at all. 

Survey: As a buyer, you have the option to do a survey on the property. This ensures the property lines and boundaries are where they are supposed to be and you don't have any encroachments. If a problem is found, make sure it's taken care of prior to closing.

Appraisal: Finally, the bank is going to do an appraisal once the property is purchased. Once the appraisal comes back, there will be no problems if it is at the contract price. If the appraisal is below the contract price, another negotiation will need to take place during the contract phase.

Hopefully this short explanation of negotiations during the contract phase will help you get the most out of your real estate transaction. If you need assistance, or have any questions about real estate, don't hesitate to give us a call or shoot us an email. We would be please to help!

The Benefits of a Comparable Market Analysis

I’ll help you buy or sell your home in Louisville, KY. If you’re looking to buy a home, I’ll help you pick the right home for you. If you’re thinking about selling, call me and I’ll tell you what price your home is most likely to sell for. Click here to search all available homes on my website.

No two homes are alike, which is why pricing a home for sale can be so challenging.

You may have an idea of what your home is worth on the open market, but in order to sell it, you’ll have to support your price to buyers with comparable homes – other similar nearby homes that have sold recently or are currently for sale.

To help determine the right asking price for your home, your real estate professional should prepare a comparative or comparable market analysis, or CMA.

The CMA is a professional report that real estate agents give to their clients. CMAs are generated by a computer program from your agent’s multiple listing service, (MLS). 

The MLS is available to members only, and they pay a fee to get access to the service’s public and proprietary data, including tax information, sold transactions, and listings input by all cooperating MLS members

Your agent puts search perimeters into the CMA program for homes for sale or those that have recently sold that are most similar to your home. This information is sorted according to fields of information such as neighborhood or zip code, number of bedrooms, number of baths, age of the home, square footage, price range, sold dates within 3-6 months, and other data.

The program then creates a report that tells the agent which homes most similar to yours have sold recently and which homes are for sale.

Having a CMA report done for your home is key to pricing it well and making sure you have a smooth transaction. If you have any question about CMA's or anything else real estate related, please give us a call or send us an email. We'd love to help out.

How we helped Mike purchase a new home by going above and beyond in the home search process

"He was very persistent in tracking down the property that met all of our requirements. We were out of town and I know on one occasion, Todd went and viewed properties on his own time without us to save us having to drive all the way down to Louisville to look at something that might not meet our needs which was a huge help. If we were to sell this property or buy another in that area I would definitely use Todd again and would highly recommend him to anyone else in the area."

How we helped first time home buyer Cory with our great negotiation skills

"Todd helped me find my first home. We had been looking for about 3 weeks or so until we found one we liked. After we found it, it was an easy and quick process.Todd did a lot of work in negotiating with the seller to get some of the prices down and to split the closing costs which we really appreciated."

Keep Your Emotions in Check When Buying a Home

I’ll help you buy or sell your home in Louisville, KY. If you’re looking to buy a home, I’ll help you pick the right home for you. If you’re thinking about selling, call me and I’ll tell you what price your home is most likely to sell for. Click here to search all available homes on my website.

Want to break your heart and your bank account at the same time? Then buy a new home based on the fact that you've fallen in love with it! Needless to say, you should never do this! In some cases, when you fall in love with the "pretty face" of a house, you fail to look underneath and find problems like bad wiring, leaky roofs, bad foundations, etc. This is an extremely expensive way to buy a home! A funny and sad example of this is shown in the 1986 film, The Money Pit, starring Tom Hanks and Shelley Long. They make the mistake of falling in love with a home and think they're getting a $1,000,000 property for only $200,000. Once they get into the home, they find out it'll cost a million to repair it! It's got wood rot, a bad roof, bad plumbing, bad electricity, even bad raccoons! Well, that's Hollywood exaggeration, of course. After all, The Money Pit was a comedy. But, when things like that happen to you, it's no joke. Repairs can cost you a lot of money and heartache, not to mention dangerously rising blood pressure! So, again, never ever fall in love with a house at first sight! Easier said than done, you say? How do you avoid this tendency? Below, I offer some solutions to the problem!

Solution 1: Get Cold Hard Facts about the Home! 

When I talk about "cold, hard facts," I'm talking about getting the house evaluated by a certified home inspector. It's well worth the money to have this job done because the inspector will cast the objective eye you lack on the property. He or she will evaluate every aspect of a house - roof, plumbing, wiring, foundation, etc. And then, that inspector will provide you with a written report that may range anywhere from 20 to 50 pages. It will give you a point-by-point summary of what needs to be corrected. The cost of a home inspection varies with the region of the country. Nationally, they range from $200 to $400. But, for the investment of, say, $200, you prevent yourself from losing thousands of dollars in repairs in two ways. One, you can simply walk away from the deal. Or, two, you can require that the seller fix all items before you sign a contract! Bonus: Often, you can ask that the seller pay for the home inspection!

Solution 2: Cool Off and Take Your Time!

Infatuation with a home is fun and exciting, and you can have the overwhelming temptation to buy an attractive home practically "on the spot." My advice - walk away and come back several hours later, especially after you've viewed other properties! By then, it's likely you'll have a more objective eye.

Solution 3: Keep It Simple! 

By this I mean you should stick within your price range. You want the best home at the best price within your means! So, if you see an outwardly gorgeous home at $10,000 above your price limit, say, "I love you, but you're way too pricey for me!" and walk away from the temptation! 

Solution 4: Rely on Your Realtor! 

At heart, I and other professional realtors like me, want you to have a home that meets your needs in the best way possible. That means preventing you from buying a home that's in substandard shape and/or beyond your means. To be perfectly blunt about it, I rely on great word of mouth from satisfied customers to make the most of my real estate career. So, you have my promise that I'll do my absolute best to get you into the house of your affordable dreams! 

Need that objective eye to help you make a smart home-buying decision? Contact us today!

How Can You Protect Yourself as a Buyer?

I’ll help you buy or sell your home in Louisville, KY. If you’re looking to buy a home, I’ll help you pick the right home for you. If you’re thinking about selling, call me and I’ll tell you what price your home is most likely to sell for. Click here to search all available homes on my website.

When making one of the most important financial decisions of your life, it's important to take certain steps to ensure you are protected. Here are 5 ways to make sure the home buying process goes just the way you want it to:
  • Find an advisor: Work with a licensed Realtor so you have an experienced person working with your interests in mind. It's our job make the process as smooth as possible for you.
  • Get an approval letter: Before you start your home search, you need to see a lender and get approved for a loan. We have some great lenders and programs we can get you familiar with if you're interested. Visit www.briancurlhomeloans.com and start your approval process. The worst thing we can do is show you a home you are unable to purchase. 
  • Get a home inspection: It's common to have an inspector take a look at the home when writing an offer. Whether you're a first-time buyer or a seasoned pro, an inspection is a good idea because they will find things you won't. This will save you time, money, and energy down the road. Visit  www.haystackinspections.com and schedule an inspection!
  • Buy title insurance: Like health or auto insurance, you never know if you're going to need it until something happens. Title insurance stays with you for the life of your purchase and, should you ever have to use it, the title company must defend you with their money.
  •  Home warranty: This can protect you before you have to make a major homeowners claim. This, like a home inspection, will save you a lot of trouble down the road.
These are just a handful of the ways you can protect yourself as a buyer. If you would like more advice on how to ensure a smooth transaction, give us a call. We are always available to make your life a little easier.

How to get a Loan in Today's Market

I’ll help you buy or sell your home in Louisville, KY. If you’re looking to buy a home, I’ll help you pick the right home for you. If you’re thinking about selling, call me and I’ll tell you what price your home is most likely to sell for. Click here to search all available homes on my website.

Getting a Loan in Today’s Environment Is Easier Than Most People Think

We often get asked about the ease of getting mortgages and it’s an understandable question given the roller-coaster ride our industry has faced since 2007. But today, things are a lot different than they were just a few years ago. Banks are still particular but they are not afraid of lending. In fact, they have plenty of money to lend.

The real question is “how has the process changed?” and also whether or not it is actually difficult to obtain a mortgage. And the answers will surprise you. Not only is the process to obtain a mortgage easier than most people seem to think but also it is really not too much more a changed process than a few years ago.

Banks Are Simply More Cautious
It used to be that most people could walk into a bank, present their ID and almost literally walk out with a bank note and keys in hand. Well, ok not exactly but it was almost that easy and credit scores were not as important as they are today. What has changed is that banks now take extra precautions to ensure borrowers’ financial viability and ability to repay the loan. There has never been a more thorough documentation process involved and for good reason.

Today, a borrower must show that they are responsible citizens that are worthy of paying back their debts. They must have a credit score of 620 or higher and income must be proven with at least 2 months’ pay stubs, two yeas of employment on record and 2 years of tax returns to corroborate the financials. Bank statements are also required as part of the process.

The bottom line is this: if you pay your bills on time, can prove a reasonable income level and a low enough debt-to-income ratio that supports the mortgage you are looking to obtain, chances are you will be approved. Making payments on time is critical as it is the primary source of information that lenders will review when they look at your credit report.

Many Loans Offer Low or No Down Payment
As far as the ease of being able to actually obtain the home, a lot of people are unsure of lenders’ down payment requirements these days. The truth is there are many programs out there that allow buyers to put only 3%, 5% or even NO money down. Depending on which program and financing options you select, there are benefits offered to military veterans, people seeking homes in certain areas in the outskirts of the city and also income-based low down payment programs as well.

One of the most popular financing options that many buyers choose is FHA financing which requires just 3.5% down on the purchase of a home. Since this option is not limited just to first-time buyers it is a great choice for many buyers.

Buyers Can Contribute to a Smoother Process
Some of the things that buyers can do to prepare in advance and to help the financing process go as smoothly as possible include preparing two years of tax returns, employment pay stubs and the two most recent months of bank statements. In addition, retirement statements, divorce decrees and rental histories showing responsible repayment habits.

Now is a great time to buy a home! Don’t let the rumors out there discourage you from starting the process. Lenders are lending. Right now homeowners are able to function in a home for far less than it would cost to rent each month. In fact, it often costs less to move into a home than it does to move into a rental unit, considering the first and last month’s rent and security deposit.

If you would like to explore your options, we invite you to contact us today! We look forward to making your real estate dreams become a reality.

The Dangers of Zillow and Trulia

I’ll help you buy or sell your home in Louisville, KY. If you’re looking to buy a home, I’ll help you pick the right home for you. If you’re thinking about selling, call me and I’ll tell you what price your home is most likely to sell for. Click here to search all available homes on my website.

This week's blog is all about popular websites that are available to the public for use to begin their home search, and why they aren't necessarily a one-stop shop for all your real estate needs. If you haven't been following real estate news recently, the big story is that popular home search website Zillow has purchased its biggest competitor, Trulia, for a sum of $3.5 billion.
Here is a Bloomberg article on the acquisition that explains all the details of the merger if you are interested. 

Since the acquisition, many people are now worried that the merger of these two sites will change the real estate business, and negatively affect real estate brokers. Here's an article that touches on the subject.

We now have 2 large sites coming together to give data to the public. It sounds great on paper, but the problem with the data that these sites are providing is that it's not always very accurate. These sites aren't synced with the local MLS, like ours is, so we are seeing a lot of inaccuracies in their information. To get a truly accurate value, you need somebody who personally knows your local market to give you a valuation. You can't rely on a website to do the same thing a real person can.

When clients of ours search for homes on these sites instead of on sites that are fed directly from the local MLS like our own, we run into problems. We have had clients send us listings they are interested in from Zillow or Trulia, only to find out that these homes have already gone under contract or sold. You need to be careful on these sites, because they really do have a lag in time and you could be falling in love with a house that has long since been gone.

Another problem with these sites stems from home valuations. People want to know the value of their specific home, but all these sites do is use an algorithm to determine the approximate value of your home. There are a lot of things they don't take into account that figures into your home's value. Their inaccuracies in estimations will come back to haunt you, and you won't get nearly as much money for your home as you could if you hired an agent to value your home.

The first step to take to avoid these mistakes is searching on a website that has a real MLS base to it like our own. We would also encourage you to talk to an agent to get a true and accurate valuation for your home. If you have any questions at all or know somebody who is looking to buy or sell a home in Louisville, please don't keep us a secret. We are here to help and would love to assist you with any and all of your real estate needs.

Go farther and play harder with your summer big kid toys

Go%20farther%20and%20play%20harder%20with%20your%20summer%20big%20kid%20toys The summer season is a great time to bring out the big kid toys. Out come the boats, lawn mowers, four wheelers, dirt bikes and all-terrain vehicles for plenty of fun and excitement all summer long.

While summer doesn't have all the freezing, thawing or salt of colder months, which can cause a bit of havoc on equipment, it's still a good idea to protect your toys and gear from the elements so they go farther, and you can play harder.

As you bring all your machinery out this summer, keep in mind these care tips:

* Water and metal don't mix - Heading out on the ATV, dirt bike and four wheeler isn't much fun if there isn't a large mud puddle to splash through. By the end of the day, it should be hard to determine exactly what color the dirt bike started out as. But once the day has ended, don't just leave your equipment on the driveway. Give everything a good wash and then carefully dry it as well. This is a good way to keep rust from developing, and it allows you to quickly spot any damage that might have occurred to the finish.

* Added protection - These machines are designed for hard use, but you can give them an even stronger layer of protection with a LINE-X Spray-On Protective Coating. These coatings are resistant to corrosion, abrasion, chemicals, protect against UV and water damage, provide a non-skid surface and give your toys additional strength and durability for longer play. Find a LINE-X franchise dealer at www.LINE-X.com.
Go%20farther%20and%20play%20harder%20with%20your%20summer%20big%20kid%20toys * Keep the insides clean as well - Just like your car, your lawn mower, boat and four wheeler also need regular maintenance to keep the engines running well. Always consult your owner's manual first to determine what kind of gasoline is needed, and what other maintenance items might be necessary. For example, grease, filter replacement, spark plug and batteries are items that should be reviewed and checked.

* Storage - If you're using your toys frequently all summer long, it probably isn't in your best interest to constantly be putting the machines back into storage and out of the elements. But it is a good idea to find a protected location out of the sun, rain and hail, which can help protect the framework and structure of the machines. For boats, a boat cover helps tremendously, and for lawn mowers, ATVs and dirt bikes, a storage shed or space in the garage works well.

Giving your gear a little protection will go a long way to help you enjoy the equipment all summer long, and well into next year. Use these tips to keep everything in tip-top shape so you can go farther and play harder.

Courtesy of BPT

​Advice for small businesses poised to hire their first employee

(BPT) - For small-business owners, hiring a first employee is a significant milestone - one that directly affects the company's growth, future success and culture. Hiring staff means enhancing your business' ability to grow, but it also presents unique challenges.

From affirming that the person you hire has the credentials to do the job and is the right personality fit for your organization, to ensuring you don't run afoul of payroll taxes, workers' compensation and other legal requirements, making that first hire requires a lot of preparation. When you're getting ready to make that first all-important hire, keep some guidelines in mind:

Understand costs

You hire a first employee to help your business grow, but the costs associated with that growth can be significant. It's important to weigh carefully the benefits of hiring against the related costs. According to the Small Business Association, these can include:

* Wages and taxes, including unemployment, Medicare and Social Security taxes

* Workers compensation insurance

* Recruiting and training expenses

* Benefits

* Payroll management

* Equipment, including software licenses and data plans, to help an employee do his or her job

Seeking candidates

Finding the right employee for your small business can also be a challenge. While professional hiring services can do the legwork for you, most small-business owners manage the hiring process themselves. You'll need to consider where to advertise for candidates, what professional requirements you'll want them to meet, what wage you'll offer and how you'll handle the interview process.

"We work with thousands of entrepreneurs and how to set wages is a frequent topic of interest," says Michael Alter, president and CEO of SurePayroll, Inc., a Paychex company. Alter co-founded SurePayroll, and since then it has grown from a small business of four people to a company that employs more than 200 people. "As payroll providers, we know that wages are set by the market, not the employer. Researching and offering a competitive wage will help you to attract and keep the right candidate."

Another critical component to consider is fit. A comprehensive pre-employment screening can help you make better hiring decisions. In addition to reviewing candidates' resumes and references, your screening may include a background check, drug screening, behavioral assessments and skills testing.

Prepare for payroll

No one works for love alone. Your new employee will expect to be paid on time each pay period with the appropriate amount of withholdings taken out of his or her check. Managing payroll, however, can be costly and time-consuming; a small business with 10 or fewer employees may spend up to $2,600 per year on direct labor for payroll, according to SurePayroll. What's more, if you don't know or understand tax laws and requirements, you could find your company facing IRS penalties.

In the past, outsourcing payroll wasn't always a practical option for small businesses with just one or two employees. Today, an online service such as SurePayroll can help small business owners manage their own payroll affordably, accurately and efficiently by paying employees and paying and filing payroll taxes. These services handle all the calculations for paying employees; calculating, paying and filing federal, state and local payroll taxes anywhere in the country; and notifying tax authorities of new hires. Mobile payroll apps also allow owners to run payroll on the go anytime, anywhere. Visit www.SurePayroll.com to learn more.

Next steps after hiring

In addition to completing necessary payroll tax forms, benefit enrollment forms and employee information files, you'll need to complete a New Hire Reporting form that helps state and federal agencies track down parents in regard to child support payments.

You'll also need to set up a storage system; the IRS requires all companies keep employment tax records for at least four years. Additional post-hiring tasks will include:

* Verifying an employee's eligibility to work. Federal law requires employers to verify that an employee can legally work in the U.S. You'll need to complete and submit an Employment Eligibility Verification Form within three days of making a hire.

* Fulfill your obligations under your state's new hire reporting program. Federal law requires all employers to report all new hires to the state within 20 days of hiring.

* Secure workers' compensation insurance.

* Establish a bookkeeping system.

Hiring that first employee can be exciting and challenging. Fortunately, with some planning and the help of online tools, you can ensure the hiring process goes smoothly, and each worker who joins your team contributes to your business' continued growth.

Courtesy of BPT

The most-overlooked financial planning tool that's free to everyone

The%20most-overlooked%20financial%20planning%20tool What did you do with that envelope that used to arrive once a year with estimates of your future Social Security benefits? You might have reviewed the information. You may have even filed the statement away as a reference. Now, this powerful financial planning tool is as close as the nearest computer.

"Often, people don't think of their Social Security statement when thinking of their financial well-being," says Rod Griffin, director of public education for Experian. "But your statement can be a valuable financial planning tool."

Your SSA statement is now available online at www.socialsecurity.gov/mystatement. It provides an estimate of the amount of Social Security benefits you could receive upon retiring, but it can also help you with retirement savings strategies, estate planning and making decisions about disability insurance.

Retirement saving

Knowing how much your Social Security payments will be can help you better understand how much you'll need to save in other vehicles to fund your lifestyle during retirement. After reviewing your statement online, you may decide to adjust your 401(k) contributions, open an IRA or seek other avenues for funding your retirement.

The statement can also help you work with your current employer to ensure they're withholding the appropriate amounts.

Estate planning

Your online statement will also give you an estimate of how much your survivors might be eligible for if you die. This information covers both spouses and minor dependent children.

"This could be useful information when you're planning how you will financially take care of your loved ones if you pass away," Griffin says.

Estate planning often involves considering what sources of income will be available to survivors, and knowing how much Social Security benefits yours could be eligible for can help in the planning process.

Disability decisions

According to the SSA, 62 is the earliest age people can collect a reduced Social Security retirement payment, and the full retirement age is 67 for people born after 1960. But a 20-year-old worker has a three in 10 chance of becoming disabled before reaching retirement age, and the average age of people receiving Social Security disability benefits is just 53 years old.

If you have a health problem that you know will lead to disability, knowing how much you could expect to receive from Social Security may help you make decisions about how much disability insurance you'll need.

With the availability to access your Social Security earnings and benefit information online, it's easier than ever to make use of this important financial planning tool. The SSA uses Experian's fraud prevention services to securely authenticate and safeguard the identities of people accessing their earnings and benefits information online.

To access your statement, go to www.socialsecurity.gov/mystatement, create an account and provide the information as prompted. You'll be able to access your benefit information and even see a history of your annual earnings for every year.

For more information on how to live financially smart, go to www.livecreditsmart.com.

Courtesy of BPT

Details on carpet stain removal

Carpet stain removal can be a daunting task. It should also be done with much care and precaution to prevent damage on the carpet. While using the vacuum cleaner will do fine, it will only remove the dirt. Stains are different, thus, they should be treated differently.

Regardless of the approach employed in removing the stains, it is best to act immediately and quickly. If you wait in doing the cleaning, you risk ruining your carpet for good. Whether oil, wax, solid or liquid substances are spilled on the carpet, you need to grab a clean cloth to remove the solid substances or what can be removed from the stain.

Then you have to blot out as much of the stain as possible. If a liquid substance spilled the carpet, there might occur wicking. Wicking means that the liquid substances have pooled at the bottom of your carpet. Hence, it will weaken the fiber of your carpet, causing the stain to spread and resurface; and eventually, serious damage is done on your carpet.

To prevent wicking, you need to cover the area with a thick dry cloth, and weigh it down with thick books or something that is heavy. Leave it overnight and remove the stain as normal in the following day.

In the morning, when you are certain that no more liquid or staining material will come out, blot out the stain using a dampen cloth or sponge. Avoid scrubbing the carpet as it would weaken the fiber and cause the stain to spread to other areas.

Blotting the stain gently will remove the stain without causing further damage to the carpet. If the stain remains after blotting it with water, you may want to squirt mild dish washing liquid onto it to clean. Blot the stain gently and let it sit for an hour before you blot again with a cool damp sponge or cloth until the stain is totally removed.

There are many carpet stain removal products available in the market in case you do not like to use dishwashing liquid detergent. Commercial products designed for removing stains vary based on what types of stains on your carpet.

For them to be effective, you need to figure out what type of stains your carpet has. If it is greasy like oils for cooking, body, automotive or moisturizing, use grease-based stain removal products.

If the stains are acid-based like coffee or urine, your choices are oil-based or acid-based products. In oil-based, the stains are dissolved, while in acid-based, the chemical quality of the spots are changed in order to make them easy to remove.

If you are not certain on the type of stain your carpet has, choose the all-purpose type of carpet stain removal product.

In all your undertakings, it is best to test the carpet stain removal product in a corner of the carpet or in any out-of-the-way area of the carpet, lest, you may risk creating a faded spot that may look more hideous than the stain itself.

by Rudy Silva


Financial tips for new graduates

Financial%20tips%20for%20new%20graduates If you are a new graduate, a college degree is just the first step in the new direction your life will be taking. A new career, potentially a new community to live in and a bit of cash in your pocket to spend - there are a lot of changes happening.

College graduates carry an average of $25,250 in student loan debt, according to The Project on Student Debt, by The Institute for College Access and Success. Compiled with this debt are the potential expenses of job searching, moving, a professional wardrobe and a new car or bus pass. But receiving that first paycheck - and subsequent paychecks - can lead to bad financial management if not properly handled, says John Vaccaro, senior vice president from Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual).

"New graduates should curb their urge to spend freely and think about their future goals to avoid financial setbacks like credit card debt and spending beyond their means," Vaccaro says.
To help prevent new graduates from sinking deeper into the debt hole, and to look ahead to saving for retirement, Vaccaro has some financial planning tips to help grads get the most out of their new paychecks.

* Develop a budget - Almost half of Americans report they're living paycheck to paycheck, according to a CareerBuilder Survey. New graduates should create a budget, including all expenses from rent/house payments, to haircut costs and weekly groceries. Also include space for savings - if possible. Categorize each expense into a necessity category and a discretionary spending category, which will help highlight areas where expenses could be cut - if needed. For example, are payments for cable or satellite TV necessary, or could you survive with free local TV and a less expensive subscription for wireless or mail delivery movie rentals? Setting up a budget can help a new graduate determine if more money from a paycheck can be put into savings.

* Look into work benefits - The first job is a learning experience for many in figuring out benefits and making them work. Recent graduates should take advantage of any employer offered retirement plans like 401(k)s as soon as they qualify. For younger new grads, the combination of time and potential for a retirement account to grow are powerful in planning for retirement down the road. Health, life and disability income insurance are also good benefit options to research. If your company doesn't offer these kinds of benefits, consider obtaining coverage independently.

* Pay off the right debts first - Debt can occur in a lot of different forms for new graduates. Car payments, student loans, mortgages and credit card accumulations are a few of the more common forms of debt. It's a good idea to pay off those debts that have the highest interest rates and are not tax deductible first. Ideally, a person should have enough savings on hand to pay off a short term debt, like credit card purchases, on a monthly basis.

* Rein in spending habits - Look yourself in the mirror and identify your spending habits. If you like to impulse buy, try forcing yourself to delay impulse purchases by 24 hours. Also determine if your spending habits are influenced in any way by emotional factors or peer pressure. Once these habits are identified, it's easier to establish ways to circumvent bad financial decisions.

Courtesy of BPT

Moving? Make sure your possessions are protected

Moving%3F%20Make%20sure%20your%20possessions%20are%20protected The average American makes 11.7 moves during a lifetime, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That's about one in six people pulling up stakes each year.
With so many on the move to new homes, new cities and new opportunities, it's important to protect household items while in transit or in storage before arrival at the new location, according to Charles Valinotti, head of product and underwriting with insurer QBE.

Your homeowner's insurance policy will protect your personal possessions, whether they're located in your home or in a moving truck. However, Valinotti cautions that there may be a time limit attached to the coverage, such as a 30-day period, and your policy may only cover up to certain dollar limits on property being moved or stored.

"Ask your agent to explain the level of coverage, what exactly is covered and confirm that your items are insured if you have to store them," he says.

Other points to keep in mind as you hit the road:

* If you're using a professional moving company or shipper, verify that they're insured and bonded to cover damage they may be responsible for. Valinotti says to keep in mind most movers limit their responsibility to basic damage amounts. "You may want to check into buying additional insurance to make sure you're adequately covered during your move."

* If you're packing and moving yourself with a rented truck, take a look at your auto insurance policy. Many policies will cover rental trucks, but only up to a certain weight. "Don't assume your policy covers you when you're behind the wheel of a 26-foot, 13,000-pound moving truck," he says.

* In a self-move, careful packing is critical, as well as keeping your property locked up and secured along the way.

* Note the condition of your items being relocated. Then if you have a claim, the condition of your possessions will be documented.

* Know the value of high-dollar items that will be making the move. "Make a complete list of everything," Valinotti suggests. "Take photos and, if necessary, get appraisals of these items before the move."

Valinotti says before a move is a good time to review your overall insurance coverage to make sure you're adequately covered and whether you need to increase your limits. "A good look at insurance coverage every couple of years is something everyone should do," he says. "And you don't have to wait until you're ready to pack up and relocate."

Courtesy of BPT

A small business owner's guide for choosing a fast, quality print vendor

Guide%20for%20choosing%20a%20print%20vendor Long gone are the days when ordering business cards or banners for trade shows required multiple visits to a print shop, followed by a lengthy wait to get the job done. Digital printing technology has dramatically improved the process, and that's great news for small business owners who need quality print products to help build their brand and their business - especially in a pinch.

"Broader access to quality printing and services such as same day pickup have made it easier for small business owners to build brand identity with the print products that are their tools of the trade," says Karen Post, the "branding diva" and author of "Brand Turnaround."

Before the advent of digital printing, small business owners would be hard pressed to find a print vendor willing to take small orders, fast turnarounds or requests for customization. Now, print vendors are plentiful, and with so many of them vying for your business, it can be difficult to know which one offers the best services and the best deals.

Post offers some tips for choosing the right print vendor for your small-business needs:

* Check out a vendor's capabilities. Does the print shop or online vendor offer all the types of materials you might need for your business? Does the vendor only do business cards and photo cards? Or can they also offer postcards, signs, banners, invitations, announcements, stamps, labels, calendars and note cards? Choosing a vendor with broad capabilities can help streamline your printing tasks by allowing you to get everything done in one place, rather than farming out pieces of work to different vendors. This can also help enhance your company's brand identity by maintaining a consistent execution along with similar look and feel for all your collateral materials.

* How important is face time? Being able to walk into a store and speak with a qualified printing professional face-to-face. Talking to experts in your neighborhood, such as the Certified Print Pros at Staples Copy & Print affords you the opportunity of consulting in person about your print job - and the chance to build a lasting business relationship with a professional who will become familiar with your business needs.

* Can the vendor provide samples? And are they up to your standards? Your print vendor should be able to produce quality samples of a variety of products in multiple formats. Reviewing samples can help you determine quickly if a vendor will be able to meet your quality requirements. Asking for proofs of your job can also help you catch any last minute errors or changes before the final product is produced.

* How quickly can the vendor produce? While digital printing and the Internet have greatly reduced the time lapse between placing an order and receiving it; you'll still likely wait days for your product if you order from an online vendor. Sometimes you need it for an event immediately. Staples Copy & Print Centers now offer same-day service. You can order your print products online at www.staples.com and pick them up at your local center in as little as four hours.

* Check the vendor's reputation. Look for online reviews and testimonials about the print vendor you're considering. Does the online vendor you're thinking of have a lot of satisfied customers? If you'll be dealing with a print shop, is it affiliated with a company that has a strong reputation and brand identity such as Staples? You can learn a lot about how a company will do business with you based on how they've done business with others. In the end, you're looking for quality and convenience at reasonable costs.

Courtesy of BPT

How to design posters with the help of Adobe Photoshop

How%20To%20Design%20Posters%20With%20The%20Help%20Of%20Adobe%20Photoshop For expert artist and designers, the exciting thing about utilizing your personal computer is that most of these individuals can now combine the technology with the traditional art without compromising quality. Utilizing a computer program such as Adobe Photoshop will now allow you to do the same things that would have done by someone with a pencil and paper, however, much faster and with less wasted materials. Designers can now redraw and get rid of illustrations and images with the aid of this computer program, even in the last phase of the design process, without having to get more pencils and papers.

This goes for all amateur and professional designers, anyone who is making business marketing materials such as stickers, postcards and especially posters can now make use of the steps in this article to cut down on printing cost and especially on wasted materials.

You will also save plenty of time when it comes to correcting mistakes with the aid of these programs. To further improve your know how about these things, here are some of the fundamental steps that you can follow every time you are designing your print materials with the aid of the Adobe Photoshop.

The sketching in Photoshop

Most professional designers believe that the process of sketching is similar when it comes to traditional and digital art. The palette graphics of this program almost replicates the feeling of the drawing on paper materials. However, the drawing process in this program is not really as fast as the drawing process in paper materials. On the other side of the work sheet, you can make effects such as the halftones that cannot be drawn with the use of pencils and papers.

Preparing layers after you have finished with the sketching process

It is now the time for you to convert all the images in your print materials into sepia tones before you work on the color elements. The process of converting the images into sepia tones is a very easy task that you can do on your own. After that, you can utilize the sliders to colorize the lines into yellow or some other colors that you want. In sepia, the sketch lines usually yield halftones that are subtle, which makes it easier for you to view the image but retain its given form while in the coloring process.

Working with the lower layer

Always select a dominant dark type color that the secondary aspect can relate to without losing or decreasing the contrast in your print materials. It is a must for you to do this process so that you will not be lost in the details of all the given colors and images that are floating around your print materials.

Working with the top layer

Finally, the top layer is usually where you can work with the lines of the drawing in your poster printing by adjusting, refining and correcting them. This is also where you can work with the lighter colors to aid you smooth out uneven shapes. Once you are done coloring your poster design, the top layer is also, where you can get rid of the lines that will negatively affect your print materials.

Courtesy of BPT

Making wellness programs work for your wallet and lifestyle

(BPT) - By now you've probably heard the message loud and clear: Staying well through preventive steps is cheaper, healthier and easier for everyone than waiting until a health condition becomes an issue. From the government to your own employer, many organizations spend millions of dollars every year on wellness programs aimed at supporting individuals' efforts to stay healthy. These programs can be a great tool if they are easy to use, engaging, and provide reliable, understandable information on wellness.

Wellness programs aren't just for those with red flag factors for chronic diseases such as high blood pressure or tobacco use. Rather, wellness programs are beneficial to everyone including otherwise healthy people who may simply be trying to lead a healthier lifestyle by increased exercise, weight loss or managing stress.

In fact, the concept of "wellness" goes far beyond merely keeping up with your annual physical and taking medications to manage chronic conditions. Wellness encompasses eating right, regularly exercising, avoiding unhealthy activities such as smoking, and being an active participant in your health decision making progress.

Wellness programs, often provided through employer-sponsored health insurance or through employers themselves, provide participants with information and tools to help avoid illness and injury. But, the path to good health is different for everyone and it is important that programs are not only designed to help the right people at the right time but also to engage people in a personalized, impactful way.

For example, a wellness offering such as Health Dialog's WELLNESS Dialog program begins with an innovative Well-Being Assessment to better understand physical and emotional health, capacity for change, work-life satisfaction, and health risk. It then reports on personal strengths and opportunities, offers suggested goals and actions, provides people with the tools they need to realize their own personal lifestyle goals and incorporates fun group activities to engage participants for the long term.

In order to truly make a difference, a wellness program needs to be relevant to the people using it. Participating in a wellness program can be useful, as long as the program supports not only those who are well and maintaining their current level of health or improving it, but also those who are ill and managing their care.

If you would like the chance to make a wellness program work for you, here are a few steps and guidelines to help:

* Find out what your employer offers. Many support wellness programs through their health insurers, but others supplement those plans with specialized programs. Perhaps your employer offers free exercise or stress reduction classes, or offers a stipend for health club membership as part of your benefits. If your employer doesn't currently offer any kind of wellness program, ask for one - keeping employees healthy is in a company's best interest.

* Learn your program's tools. Most programs offer help lines that you can call and discuss your specific needs and concerns, and receive information on available tools to help you. Your plan administrator may also be able to provide information. Or you can check the program provider's website to learn more.

* Discuss your wellness program with your doctor and ask for his feedback on what tools might be of most use to you. Look for tools that address your specific needs, age and lifestyle. For example, if weight management is a concern, your wellness program's nutritional counseling might be helpful. If you're looking for ways to become more active, ask if your program offers advice on exercise.

* Take advantage of incentives. Some programs offer incentives for successful participation in weight loss or smoking cessation programs. These incentives are a great tool for tracking your progress and keeping yourself motivated to achieve your goals.

You can learn more about wellness programs like Health Dialog's at www.healthdialog.com or www.facebook.com/healthdialog.

Courtesy of BPT

Why more people are installing saltwater pools

installing%20saltwater%20pools Hot summers send everyone scurrying into their pools to cool off, and the biggest new trend in swimming pools is salt water. First developed in Australia, saltwater pools offer several advantages over conventional chlorine and have become incredibly popular in the last decade.
People no longer have to tolerate the eye-burning, nose-curdling sting that comes from chlorine. Saltwater pools only have one-tenth the salt of ocean water and about one-third when compared to human tears. They are also gentler on the skin and hair than traditional chlorine pools. And pool owners don't have to purchase, store, and handle harsh chemicals, so maintenance is easier, more convenient, and saves time and money.
More chlorine pools are being converted to salt water and today there are more than 1.4 million saltwater pools in operation nationwide. An estimated 75 percent of all new in-ground pools are salt water, compared with only 15 percent in 2002, according to data published in Pool & Spa News.
Since the Evergreen Commons senior center in Holland, Mich., converted its 65,000-gallon pool to salt water, members have been pleased with the results. "The minute you walk into the pool area you notice a big difference," says Jodi Owczarski, the center's community relations director. "There is no longer that chemical smell. People also tell us that the water is much softer. In the old pool, people said they sometimes had to wash twice to get all those chemicals off, but in this pool, they only have to wash once. All in all, people have been thrilled with this new system."
In saltwater pools, chlorine is automatically produced as water passes through the generator. As the water exits the generator and enters the pool, the sanitizing chlorine reverts back to salt, and the process repeats itself, conserving salt and keeping sanitizer levels balanced.
installing%20saltwater%20pools Saltwater pools require less maintenance than traditional pools, but pool owners still should test weekly for pH and chlorine, and monthly for other water balance factors and for salt levels, which can drop due to splash-out, rain and filter back-washing. Most pool owners test their pool water themselves with test strips and periodically bring a sample in to a pool retailer for testing.
Anyone who has made the decision to move to a saltwater pool should make certain they use salt specifically designed for that use. An average 20,000 gallon pool requires 530 pounds of salt at startup; with quantities that large, even small amounts of contaminants within the salt can cause pool problems. That's why ultra-pure salt is best for salt water pools. Salt water systems can also save money in the long run over chlorine-based alternatives.
There have also been questions about the effect of salt water on pool construction materials, decks and surrounding structures. When pools are properly constructed and normal maintenance is followed, salt water has no effect on pool finishes, equipment and decks. Most materials are suitable for salt water pool construction, and most kinds of stone and decking materials will last if treated and sealed properly and periodically rinsed off.
If you're considering a saltwater pool, talk to a knowledgeable builder or retailer, or get some insight from other saltwater pool owners. You can also find more information at the Salt Institute website.

Courtesy of BPT

Millennials take new approach to work-life balance

(BPT) - More and more, Millennials are on the road for work. In an average month, one in four business-traveling Millennials travel overnight for work at least once per week.

As the line between "personal" and "business" grows thinner and thinner for this generation, Millennials are increasingly finding adventure through business. More than any other group, Millennial business travelers are more likely to add on extra days to their business trip for leisure travel (84 percent) according to the Hilton Garden Inn Discovery and Connection Survey. Millennials are funding these adventures through their business trips, too. The vast majority of this group (85 percent) is more likely to use reward points from their business travel to book a vacation, compared to a year ago.

Business travel across the nation is on the rise. According to the Global Business Travel Association, U.S. business travel is expected to grow 5.1 percent. As more Millennials hit the road for work, they are keeping top of mind a few, simple business travel perks to fulfill their appetite for personal adventure and discovery:

* Fly for free - Those flying for business can earn airline miles in their name. These business miles quickly add up, allowing travelers to upgrade seats or add another destination without accruing additional cost. Business travelers can then use these miles to bring a friend or loved one on the trip with them - quickly transitioning from business to family vacation or romantic getaway once the weekend hits.

* Earn hotel perks - Frequent stays in hotels offering rewards programs can grant business travelers benefits like free overnight stays, late checkout, and complimentary breakfast. These extras turn a business trip into much more, especially when additional nights are used to extend a business trip into a vacation.

Some hotels have seasonal programs, such as Hilton Garden Inn and Hilton HHonors Triple Your Trip promotion, which offers guests around the world the opportunity to earn double or triple HHonors' points while enjoying the signature Hilton Garden Inn Bed n' Breakfast deal that includes breakfast for each adult staying in the same room, and free meals for kids 12 and under.

* Discover local hidden gems - Cities often encourage business travelers to experience the local culture while in town and provide package deals with discounts to restaurants, tickets to local shows or events, helpful tips to find transportation in the city and even sightseeing opportunities to explore during free time. This becomes even more common when a city is hosting a large business gathering, such as an industry convention.

Millennials continue to be at the forefront of achieving work-life balance - utilizing business travel to discover new cities, explore local cultures, taste authentic cuisines and connect with new people across the country and around the globe.

Courtesy of BPT

Credit management tips for first-time professionals

Credit%20management%20tips%20for%20first-time%20professionals You've landed the right job, you're earning good money and your career is poised to take off. When everything is lining up in your professional life, it's natural - and smart - to think about financial planning and the future.

While you're working toward building an emergency fund, saving for a down payment on a house or car and setting aside something for retirement, don't overlook another important aspect of financial planning - looking after your credit. Even young professionals who have a grasp on other aspects of their finances may be unsure how credit fits into the mix.

Generally, people starting out in their careers have one of two experiences with credit: they've either never used it at all, or over used it (in the form of credit cards or student loans) to the extent that they're already deeply in debt. In either scenario, it can be difficult to know what you need to do to monitor your credit.

If you're a credit novice, congratulations! Your clean slate means you have a great opportunity to start out on the right foot. Your initial steps toward credit management should include:

* Obtain your credit report and familiarize yourself with what's on it.

* Educate yourself on how a credit score is calculated and what factors influence your score. These include: payment history for bills in your name, how much you owe, the length of your credit history and the variety of types of credit you use. Since you're a credit beginner, you'll need to start building a credit history.

* Start making small, judicious uses of credit. For example, you may choose to obtain a credit card and use it to make a modest purchase of a piece of technology or an appliance. Pay off the balance immediately. Or, if you need a new vehicle, an auto loan can help you build your credit history.

* Get into the habit of monitoring your credit regularly with a product like CreditReport.com, which offers its members valuable tools to help manage their credit for a monthly fee.

If you already have some credit history, the beginning of your career is a great time to review it and take steps to better manage your credit. Your regular tasks should include:

* Reviewing your credit history to get an idea of what you've done right so far, and what you need to improve.

* Learning what factors influence your credit score in both positive and negative ways. For example, paying down the balance on credit cards can improve your utilization ratio.

* Eliminating credit card debt and making responsible use of other types of credit, such as an auto loan or home mortgage.

The early days of your career can be a busy with a lot of adjustments, but it's also a ripe opportunity to plan for your financial future. Learning the benefits of monitoring your credit and seeing how it fits into your overall financial well-being is an important aspect to grasp early on.

Courtesy of BPT

Maintaining masculinity when living with prostate cancer side effects

(BPT) - One out of every six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime. The good news is when caught early, it is very treatable. According to the American Cancer Society, the five-year survival rate for prostate cancer is almost 100 percent because many men receive an early diagnosis.

Although survival rates are high, many prostate cancer patients experience some side effects to treatments of hormone therapy, chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery. These include bowel dysfunction, erectile dysfunction, fertility loss and urinary incontinence, commonly known as bladder leakage.

It is important for men to take an interest in their health and have their prostates checked by a physician to ensure that any abnormalities are properly diagnosed. Men often don't want to discuss prostate health or the side effects that sometimes accompany treatment because of social perceptions. The problem is that a lot of men don't know how common the side effects, such as bladder leakage, are.

This causes a stigma often associated with bladder leakage, and the USDA's National Institutes of Health reports that open communication between a man and his health care provider about his incontinence is key to maintaining a good quality of life. Men shouldn't feel like they are compromising their masculinity by discussing with their doctor any side effects they may be experiencing to their treatments for prostate cancer.

Some men with bladder leakage may refuse to go out in public and avoid social situations for fear of being embarrassed. Many men feel frustrated by and don't know how to properly manage this common condition, often relying on ineffective homemade or feminine products because they don't realize there are products available just for them.

Men want protection that is made just for them, and new Depend Guards and Shields are discreet products designed to fit a man's body. Depend Guards offer maximum absorbency for larger surges, and Depend Shields are ultra-thin with light absorbency for drips and dribbles. These products adhere to the inside of a man's underwear so men can be confident in their protection and get back to living an active lifestyle.

Despite experiencing one or more of the side effects to prostate cancer treatment, men should still feel like men while doing the things they love like watching the game with friends or playing with the kids in the backyard. With the right solutions, men experiencing any of these side effects can still enjoy an active lifestyle and renewed confidence.

Visit www.GuardYourManhood.com for tips about how to manage bladder leakage.

Courtesy of BPT

Reasons to consider using keyless entry deadbolt for your home

Are you thinking about using a keyless entry deadbolt for your home, but are not sure this is smart? Then you need to be aware of the many reasons why it is smart for anyone.

There are a number of reasons that you have to be aware of, but the following are the most essential reasons for you to know.

One: Security - When you use a keyless deadbolt, this will make your security much better for your family. No burglar is going to be able to just break into your home anymore.

They will have a very difficult or even impossible time trying to get in. These deadbolts are designed so they will be able to keep people out that you don't want in your home.

When you want to keep your family safe, security is the most important thing you can provide them against burglar danger. The only way to make sure that your family stays safe is to make sure that danger can't get into your home and this lock was designed to do just that.

Two: Convenience - You will not have to worry about losing your keys and not being able to get back into your house, when you have this type of lock for your home. With it being keyless, it is very simple for anyone in your family to get in and not get locked out.

Three: Prevents theft of your keys - Using a keyless door lock requires the use of your fingerprints for your family to get into their home. This means that you will be safe from someone taking your keys and using them to gain access to your home and they won't be able to make a copy of them either.

This will prevent anyone from being able to get into your home from the theft of your keys. That means better security and safety for your family, which is very important these days.

Four: Multiple users - You can choose to add as many people's fingerprints to the deadbolt system as you need to. Adding and removing fingerprints is really easy for any family to do.

This makes it simple for everyone in your family to have their fingerprints added so that they never have a problem getting into your home.

These are the main reasons that you want to consider using a keyless entry deadbolt for your home. There are many benefits to using this type of lock for your home, as you can see. Now, you just need to decide if this is the right type for your home, or if you prefer another type that may not offer these benefits for your family.

by: Jeff Schuman


While 'sitting kills,' new tips and technology keep people moving

It's common knowledge that an inactive and sedentary lifestyle is a sure way to trim years off your life. However, only recently has research been able to confirm that your job is a silent killer, assuming you're sitting at a desk for much of the day. And although many of us try to squeeze in a workout or two a week, the studies also indicate that it's not necessarily enough to offset the consequences of a sedentary lifestyle.

Experts say that the cure is very simple and recommend we aim for 10,000 daily steps as a goal and fulfill that goal by moving throughout the day. To be motivated and reminded of this goal, using a step counter is an easy way to keep yourself on the path of being consistently active and beating that silent killer.

Recent technology advancements in step counting have made these devices barely resemble the pedometers you grew up with. One of the market leaders in the new type of step counters is the Fitbit Wireless Activity Tracker.

The popularity of Fitbit trackers seems to be driven by their ability to create a fun fitness experience by providing a small, sleek, high-tech device (containing a 3D accelerometer and altimeter) with a fun and helpful online experience. The tracker is small and comfortable to wear (no one can see it), and the displays provide real-time stats on your fitness. The device wirelessly uploads, so people don't have to manually enter their information online. On Fitbit.com, users can set and track fitness goals, compete and share fitness achievements with friends, win badges for achieving daily and cumulative goals and track their progress in real time.

With the constant battle against the bulge, why not build healthy active habits now? Here are a few tips to build in a more active lifestyle without devoting hours each week to working out.

* Buy a step tracker that fits with your lifestyle and is easy for you to use. Find one with a real-time display to motivate you to move throughout the day. Track your steps for a week to get an accurate sense of your activity level.

* If you are consistently below 3,000 steps per day, track when and where you are most sedentary. If it is during the work hours, consider walking around for 5 minutes every hour. And if you are able to take breaks, try getting out for a walk rather than sitting.

* If you are in the 7,000 to 10,000 range daily, consider a few minor changes to build those extra steps and establish long-term healthy habits like parking farther away and taking the stairs instead of the elevator.

* Consider taking the stairs when you can, as studies have proven that regular stair climbing has significant health benefits. A good place to start is climbing three more flights of stairs than you usually do each day. Fitbit Ultra has a setting that tracks stair climbing so you can track this fitness metric as well as distance, steps and calories burned.

* Commit yourself to a long term stair-climbing goal, like climbing 10,000 stairs for a month or 100,000 stairs by Thanksgiving. While psychologist may disagree on how many days it takes to form a good habit, all would agree it takes more than a week's commitment. Fitbit.com can track how many steps you have taken daily, monthly or cumulatively.

Once you have established a goal that's easy to track, you'll be much more likely to reach the fitness level that will help you live a long and healthy life.

Courtesy of BPT