Business & Finance

Westlake store replicates Polish shopping experience

My husband, Rick Holton, and myself, both longtime residents of Westlake, are excited to announce the opening of our new Polish pottery shop in Williamsburg Square. For over ten years, we have been one of the leading distributors of this hand-painted stoneware from the small town of Boleslawiec, Poland. 

What began with ten pieces on our dining room table has amassed into an inventory surpassing 30,000 pieces. This has been a home-based business for the past ten years of distributing Polish Pottery to more than 225 kitchen/gourmet shops throughout the United States.

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Volume 3, Issue 12, Posted 2:19 PM, 06.14.2011

Pat Catan's helps fund cancer research

Pat Catan’s made its annual donation to the American Cancer Society on May 25 in a presentation at their Westlake store. The craft supplies store donates 5% of the net proceeds from the sales of its VIP Memberships to ACS. This year's check totaled nearly $18,000.

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Volume 3, Issue 11, Posted 3:20 PM, 06.01.2011

Top traits hiring managers are seeking from candidates

Recently I heard from three of the people who have just landed new jobs. Each did a terrific job of networking, putting together customized resumes that focused on key accomplishments and truly separated themselves from other candidates during the interview process.

In addition to doing the right things during a job search, candidates in today’s very competitive job market must have the “right stuff.” OK…so what is that?

From conversations with dozens of recruiters and hiring managers, I have compiled a list of the top traits that “ideal candidates” are expected to possess:

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Volume 3, Issue 10, Posted 9:15 PM, 05.17.2011

Popular baseball camp returns to Westlake

The Phil Bova Baseball Camp will return to Westlake June 20-24, its second year in the city after years of instruction at Baldwin Wallace College.The camp welcomes boys, ages 7-14, from across Northeastern Ohio and instructs them on the fundamentals of baseball.

Students will be divided into groups and assigned coaches. The first half of each day will be spent rotating between six separate training stations: hitting, run-downs, cut-offs, bunting, fielding and pitchers covering first base. Afternoon games will put training into practice. Each day ends with individualized instruction specific to each student’s preferred position on the field.

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Volume 3, Issue 10, Posted 9:15 PM, 05.17.2011

Kids with disabilities can blossom at area camps

Camp Happiness is a seven-week program which provides summer day camp experiences to children and young adults ages 5-21 with cognitive and other developmental disabilities. Camp is from June 20 - August 5, 2011. We offer three sites in the Greater Cleveland area.

Each site provides and enhances social, spiritual, recreational and educational opportunities, as well as the opportunity to make new friends, swim, go on community field trips, play fun games and create exciting arts and crafts! 

Camp Happiness is operated by Catholic Charities Health and Human Services, Disability Services. Children of all faith traditions are welcome.

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Volume 3, Issue 10, Posted 9:14 PM, 05.17.2011

Effective networking: Its easier than you think

Although the general consensus is that most jobs are found via networking, very few job seekers actually understand (or are comfortable executing) what it takes to do this effectively.

When I ask job seekers, “How many people are in your network and how often are you speaking or communicating with them?” they admit that little to no time has been spent working their network.

The bottom line for making networking work is to help those in your network help you. That’s basically it…really.

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Volume 3, Issue 8, Posted 6:33 PM, 04.19.2011

Savannah under new ownership

New owners took over The Savannah Bar and Grille on April 1. Doug Lufkin, an experienced chef by trade, will now run the Westlake blues-infused restaurant, catering and entertainment destination.
Lufkin plans to keep The Savannah Bar and Grille’s offerings identical to what its customers have grown to know and love – including the familiar staff. The menu remains similar and live music will continue seven days a week.

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Volume 3, Issue 7, Posted 3:12 PM, 04.05.2011

Westlake cleaning company works to ease burden on families facing cancer

Two years ago, Mike Fransko, owner of The Cleaning Authority Cleveland in Westlake, learned about Cleaning For A Reason, a national non-profit organization that works with cleaning businesses to offer cancer patients free house cleanings, and decided to get involved.

“We’ve done close to 50 free cleanings through Cleaning For A Reason since getting involved and it has been a joy to be able to lighten some of the burden for these families through something as simple as cleaning their homes,” said Mike. “This year, I decided we needed to do more.”

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Volume 3, Issue 7, Posted 3:21 PM, 04.05.2011

Social networking tips for jobseekers

So you have a Twitter account, Facebook page and a LinkedIn profile. Are you using them as tools to help you to get re-employed? Or is your online presence creating the wrong personal brand/image and eliminating you from contention for being seriously considered as a candidate?

Consider this, from a potential employer's frame of reference – if he can find and read all of this information about you, so can his boss and his company’s best client. So he must be very cognizant of the image you have chosen to portray online. If what can easily be seen or read about you online might embarrass his company, why would he consider hiring you?

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Volume 3, Issue 6, Posted 9:57 AM, 03.22.2011

Westlake salon offering discounted services to benefit The Gathering Place

Bella Capelli Sanctuario in Westlake will participate for the first time in the nationwide Spa Week event. The concept is simple: full-service spa services, normally costing from $75 to $200, for just $50, for one week only.   

“We are excited to be a part of Spa Week. Offering discounted spa services helps us make the spa experience an affordable part of a healthy lifestyle, and it supports our overall mission of offering clients a highly individualized service in a peaceful and inspiring atmosphere,” says Sandy Borrelli, co-owner of Bella Capelli Sanctuario.

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Volume 3, Issue 6, Posted 9:53 AM, 03.22.2011

Pie bakery expands to Westlake

Gray House Pies, the local, award-winning pie bakery, is expanding into Westlake. With an opening planned for March 1, Gray House Pies brings to the area a second location at 26075 Detroit Road.

This new shop will have seating for customers to stop in and enjoy slices of favorites such as Caramel Apple or Maple Bacon Pecan. There are also savory selections, such as traditional quiches and single-serving “pub pies.”

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Volume 3, Issue 4, Posted 9:59 AM, 02.22.2011

Six reasons to purchase a home in today's climate

Whether you’re a first time buyer or looking to move up, excellent news is brimming on the real estate horizon. As a cautious consumer, you can probably come up with several reasons NOT to venture into the home buying market. But what you might not know is that the devastation caused by the mortgage crisis DID produce a silver lining.

Today you can be more certain than ever that you will be able to afford the home you buy, and that the mortgage product and rates are the best available to you. So if you’ve been putting off looking for the home of your dreams, waiting for the market to improve, here are six great reasons to consider taking the plunge!

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Volume 3, Issue 3, Posted 3:53 PM, 01.21.2011

Free assistance for Westside job seekers offered

Cleveland’s Westside region, like so many other communities in the Greater Cleveland area, has been hard hit by job loss and the difficulties that arise during extended unemployment. Some job seekers who are new to the current job market are facing challenges as they try to navigate the high-tech process of job searching.

Whether they are recent college graduates, a mom trying to go back into the workforce, or a senior with many years of experience, tracking down and successfully applying for jobs is more complex than in years past. Sadly, many types of jobs in our area have been lost forever and trying to transition to a new career is adding to the stress of job searching.

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Volume 3, Issue 1, Posted 11:29 AM, 01.05.2011

Tips for the more 'experienced' job seeker

Perception is everything, as the saying goes, and that applies to many things – including job seeking. Let’s talk about how to use your age, if you are 45+ years old, to your advantage when seeking employment.

Many of the people with whom I’ve done transition coaching have fallen into the trap of feeling that being “older” was something of a curse when it came to seeking employment.

Not so! And here are some tips/strategies for you to consider using to get past the fact that you are older:

Don’t apologize for your age, just present specific accomplishments rather than how long you have been working. The adage of “you’re not older, you are just wiser” is the key. You are not “old,” you are experienced!

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Volume 3, Issue 1, Posted 8:41 PM, 12.16.2010

Bay couple creates unique homemade toys

Since 1999, parents Kenn and Marnie Louis have been hard at work in the basement of their Bay Village home. It is there (as well as in the attic), that the couple design and produce a doll that combines technology with nature, called a GrowBot.
GrowBots are made from fleece, felt and fabric – using locally-sourced and sustainable products whenever possible. Since each doll is made by hand, no two are alike. This connection entices many parents, especially given the mass-produced toy recalls of the last decade. According to Kenn, they “find that people really respond well to the fact that our stuff is not just made in America but made in Bay Village, Ohio.”

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Volume 2, Issue 25, Posted 1:23 PM, 12.10.2010

Thai restaurant opens in former Dining With Panos spot

Three years after opening their first Thai restaurant in Sandusky, the owners of Siam Orchid are very excited about the recent opening of their second location at Kensington Square in Westlake.

Oh Markthuam and Ek Nitedthunyakij emigrated from Bangkok, Thailand, in 2002. They worked in a Thai restaurant in Boston for four years before moving to Ohio and opening their own restaurant in Sandusky. Encouraged by the success of that eatery, the couple moved to Westlake earlier this year to open their second location.

“We chose Westlake because it is a thriving area with a growing population and ample opportunity to present our unique style of Thai cuisine,” said owner Ek Nitedthunyakij. “Westlake is overflowing with new ideas and ambition and there is an environment here that we want to be a part of because we believe that we can flourish as well as contribute to the community's success.”

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Volume 2, Issue 24, Posted 2:04 PM, 11.24.2010

Renowned chef and author to speak at LWV event

World-renowned chef and cooking school founder Loretta Paganini is the featured speaker at the League of Women Voters’ “First Thursdays” public meeting series now in its eighth season. The theme of the series is “Women Who Know Their Place,” celebrating highly successful women.

The event is set for Thursday, Dec. 2, 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., at Trinity Commons at Trinity Cathedral, 2230 Euclid Ave., Cleveland. Chef Paganini’s talk is titled, “A Woman’s Place is Running the Kitchen.” The public is invited to attend at no charge, with free parking behind the Cathedral off Prospect Ave.

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Volume 2, Issue 23, Posted 10:53 AM, 11.14.2010

Local CPA firm relocates to former Shoreline office space

Furrer & Associates Inc., a full service CPA firm serving the west side of Cleveland, recently moved to 28045 Clemens Road, Suite B in Westlake. This office park, located next to Five Seasons is now owned by Clemens Road Real Estate Holdings LLC, associated with Stephen J. Furrer, CPA. Saratoga of Ohio Ltd. owned the building previously and their company, Shoreline Contractors Inc. moved out with the sale of the building. 

After seven years in the Westlake Woods office park, Furrer & Associates relocated in July 2010. In order to better suit the needs of a growing accounting practice, the space underwent a two-month construction renovation. Additionally, a new parking lot was put in to support the three other tenants also in the office park.

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Volume 2, Issue 20, Posted 4:53 PM, 09.28.2010

Speech therapy private practice opens in Westlake

Lakeshore Speech Therapy LLC, a speech-language therapy private practice serving the west side of Cleveland, recently opened an office in Westlake at 24865 Detroit Road, Suite #2. 

Lakeshore Speech Therapy is co-owned by my partner Ellen Spear and myself. Together we have over 30 years of experience working with children and adults in a variety of settings including hospitals, schools, and long-term care. We opened Lakeshore Speech Therapy in 2009 to provide speech therapy services in clients' homes and quickly expanded to our newly-opened Westlake location.

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Volume 2, Issue 17, Posted 10:24 PM, 07.18.2010

New diner opens in Bay

Bay Diner, located at 660 Dover Center Rd., is now open for business. Owner Mike Petrillo and his staff are working hard to create a clean, cozy and friendly atmosphere in the former Hoagies Grille location in Bay.  

Bay Diner is a great spot for early birds looking for breakfast, opening at 7 a.m. Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. Saturday and 7 a.m. on Sunday. Breakfast is served until 11 a.m. daily, with lunch and dinner following. The full-service diner is open until 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and until 2 p.m. on Sunday.  

The Friday night perch dinner has been a hit with customers, along with the wide variety of menu selections, including appetizers, wraps, salads, sandwiches, dinners and desserts. The diner is now offering a Saturday night rib special as well.

To check it out yourself, stop by the newest diner in Bay located next to Kiddie Kollege in the Dover Commons plaza.

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Volume 2, Issue 16, Posted 9:59 PM, 08.10.2010

New owners reenergize bowling alley

As new owners of Bay Lanes Bowling Center in Bay Village, my husband, Mark, and I are working hard to create a fun, family-friendly atmosphere where kids, teens and adults can come bowl, eat and have loads of fun at extremely affordable prices. 
After years working in college admissions, Mark decided to leave his former position and take over Bay Lanes to fulfill his dream of owning his own business while still working with kids and families.

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Volume 2, Issue 15, Posted 10:56 AM, 07.24.2010

Westlake store owner living his dream and helping the less fortunate

With over 20 years of experience and expertise in the wine industry, Nick Nasrallah of Bay Village dreamed of having a place where people would feel comfortable shopping, while giving them the opportunity to browse wines they wouldn't see elsewhere. To realize his dream, in 2000 he established The Fine Wine and Tobacco in Westlake.

"There are great values from small wineries that people just don't know about." Nick says. "I try to bring in as many low-production, high quality wines as possible." These wines are showcased at bi-weekly wine tastings held at the store, with a portion of the proceeds from each event donated to various charities. Nick and his son, Tony, have given several thousands of dollars to local organizations, including Building Hope in the City, and other charities that aim to benefit the less fortunate.
An upcoming wine tasting will be held on Saturday, July 17 and will benefit the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure, a three-day, sixty-mile walk to raise awareness and funds for breast cancer research. The tasting will feature over 30 wines from around the world, and a portion of the $25 admission will be donated. Patrons will also be able to make private donations.

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Volume 2, Issue 14, Posted 7:38 PM, 07.10.2010

How to keep your laptop secure

You can’t beat the convenience of checking e-mail and hopping on the Internet at Wi-Fi hotspots found in airports, coffee shops, bookstores, and even in some major parks. For the uninitiated, Wi-Fi hotspots are areas where you can use your wireless laptop to surf the Web and check e-mail.  

But the question you have to ask yourself is, just how safe is it to connect? With the proliferation of hackers, viruses and identity theft at an all time high, you are smart to be concerned. Wi-Fi spots are very attractive to hackers because they can use what’s called an “evil twin” connection to access your laptop.   

An evil twin is a wireless hotspot set up by a hacker to lure people from a nearby, legitimate hotspot. For example, when you log in at your favorite coffee shop, you might actually be logging onto the evil twin Internet connection set up by the innocent-looking person working on a laptop at the next table.  

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Volume 2, Issue 12, Posted 4:17 PM, 05.27.2010

The cycle of spam

Ever wonder where those spam email messages you receive come from, and how they got your email address? Spammers use a combination of technology, persistence and trickery to obtain email addresses and avoid detection.

The best ways to protect yourself from spammers and the scams they often promote is to be selective with the websites on which you post your email address and to ignore messages from companies that you've never heard of or seem suspicious.


“Spiders" – Also known as robots or scrapers, these software programs crawl the Web and online discussion groups, grabbing email addresses and domain names. Online directories and popular sites, such as AOL and eBay, are favorite targets.
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Volume 2, Issue 10, Posted 10:22 AM, 04.16.2010

Proper disposal of all things electronic

As much as you’d like to, it’s really not safe to just throw away old computers, network equipment, or any electronics like TVs, cell phones, and DVD players. These items contain toxic chemicals, like arsenic and mercury, that can harm the environment if disposed of improperly.

How do you dispose of these things properly? Check out these two tips:


This is the most environmentally friendly of the disposal methods. Find another use for your old equipment. For example, you might be able to use an old PC as a firewall, run a basic program like an older voicemail system, or make it a toy for your kids or grandkids to beat up.


April is Cuyahoga County's "Recycle Your Computer Month," during which residents can recycle home computer and cell phone equipment. Accepted items include CPUs, monitors, keyboards, mice, printers, terminals, modems, cables, software, ink printer cartridges,  and cell phones and accessories.

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Volume 2, Issue 7, Posted 1:50 PM, 03.19.2010

Back to the basics

If watch the myriad investment programs on TV today you will notice a wide array of strategies and game plans to help you make the most of your investments. It is easy to become overwhelmed with all of the information and advice available today; however, it’s often best to stick to the basics when seeking consistent results.

As with a lot of things, once we feel we finally have a handle on the basics it’s easy to forget those simple things that got us started and instead chase after newer, more complicated ideas. To help you stay on track, let’s look at five investing basics to help you stay on track.

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Volume 2, Issue 6, Posted 8:42 AM, 02.22.2010

Are you making these security mistakes when surfing the web?

Does your computer ever run slow, act funny, or crash unexpectedly? Do you get a ton of pop-up ads, even when you are not actively surfing the web? Has your browser been “hijacked” and replaced with another unknown browser?

If so, your computer is infected with malicious spyware and viruses that can alter your computer, steal your confidential information, and disable the use of your PC, leaving you without a computer for hours or days while you get it fixed. And what’s worse –most times once your computer has been hit by these threats, it has to be completely wiped in order to fix it.

Unless you have a backup image (a snapshot of everything on the PC, exactly as it is), it will never quite be the same again. You may lose software programs that you downloaded, but don’t have the disk for, your icons won’t be where you remember them, and “little” things like your default printer could be all screwed up. It can be a nightmare. 
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Volume 2, Issue 6, Posted 1:20 PM, 03.02.2010

Facebook and Twitter users: Hackers are now using your friends' accounts to transmit viruses

 “Hey, I have this hilarious video of you dancing. Your face is so red. You should check it out!”

If you've received a message like that through a Facebook or MySpace friend, you may have been exposed to the "Koobface" virus. Here’s what’s going on…

Hackers have now made a cozy new home for themselves on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Disguised as one of your friends, they’ll send you a direct message with a video link attached. If you click on the link, you’re prompted to update your Flash player to see the video, and therein lies the virus – cloaked in a "flash_player.exe" file. Once installed, this  worm transforms your computer into a Zombie machine as part of a botnet (a network of computers that are controlled and used by the originator of the worm for unscrupulous purposes).

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Volume 2, Issue 4, Posted 1:23 PM, 02.19.2010

If disaster strikes, how fast could your company be back up and running?

You hear it all the time – back up your data, keep your virus protection current, and install and maintain a firewall to protect yourself from hackers and other online threats. However, while these precautions will certainly help you avoid problems, they CAN’T do anything if you don’t have a good backup and disaster recovery plan in place.

Are You A Sitting Duck?    

We all know that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure; yet, disaster recovery planning often takes a distant second to the daily deadlines and pressures of running a business. That means that most businesses, including your own, may end up offline and without your data after a simple lightening storm. 

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Volume 2, Issue 3, Posted 2:55 PM, 02.03.2010

Individual retirement accounts

IRAs. You have heard the acronym before, and you may even have an IRA, but what is it exactly? IRA is the acronym for Individual Retirement Account, and although you may have other retirement accounts, chances are that you will one day utilize an IRA. We will look at what each letter means and why an IRA can be essential to your investment planning.
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Volume 2, Issue 2, Posted 2:37 PM, 01.22.2010

Taking advantage of CollegeAdvantage 529 plans

With the new year we often refocus on financial goals for ourselves and our family, and one of those goals is often saving more money. 529 savings plans (also called CollegeAdvantage plans) offer a great way to save for your children’s or grandchildren’s college education, but there is a lot more to 529 plans than meets the eye.

Traditionally, a 529 savings plan allows for a parent or grandparent to save money for a child’s higher education expenses. The money gifted is after-tax dollars and the account grows tax-deferred and if the funds in the account are used for qualified education expenses, the withdrawals are tax-free. There are generally no substitutes for tax-deferred growth and tax-free withdrawals, and utilizing these IRS allowances can immensely improve the value of the account. Additionally, if you are using a state-sponsored plan, such as the Ohio 529 plans (of which there are currently four), you may be entitled to a state tax-deduction from your tax returns.*

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Volume 2, Issue 1, Posted 6:42 PM, 01.07.2010

The state of your estate

Estate Planning. You may know the term, and some may even have an estate plan in place, but what is it really? What does it mean to have a plan for your estate? Isn’t estate planning only for the super rich? Or is it? In this article we will answer those and many more questions about estate planning, and while there is a lot of information here, there is still even more to be known. Hopefully this article can give you a clear picture of what an estate plan is and why you would need to take action.

I am a Financial Advisor, not an estate planning attorney, and all the experience in the world is no substitute for someone who practices estate planning law on a daily basis and with that in mind I have consulted Laura L. Noble, an estate planning attorney in Bay Village, for some help. If you need more information or to see how this article applies to your specific situation, be sure to contact an estate planning professional.

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Volume 1, Issue 8, Posted 8:36 AM, 12.03.2009

Financial Review: Interest you?

How do the rise and fall of our country's interest rates affect you and your portfolio? Even though there are myriad opinions on ‘what the rates will do’ over the next year or so, it is important that you understand what changes in interest rates mean for you.

Over the past year, we have seen the Federal Reserve lower rates to unprecedented levels in an effort to spur the economy. The intention is that lower rates will encourage us as consumers to spend more, borrow more, and therefore lead to greater revenue generation for companies who are selling goods and services. As an investor, there is an additional perspective on rates that is important.

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Volume 1, Issue 7, Posted 7:24 PM, 11.04.2009

Financial Review: Tough decisions...

These economic times have made a lot of us face some tough decisions in our lives. Everything from our spending habits, things we do for fun and our saving habits have come under scrutiny as we try to ensure our families' well-being. Whether facing a lay-off, reduced pay, or the concern of cut-backs at work you may have had to take a hard look at your budget, and many have had to decide where the money will come from for the necessities of life.

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Volume 1, Issue 5, Posted 6:52 PM, 10.20.2009

Do you have multiple retirement plans?

Each year, over 20 million people in the United States change jobs due to mergers, downsizing, and layoffs, as well as voluntary career changes, and millions more enter retirement. Whether you have recently retired or changed careers you may have one or several retirement plans at former employers, and because of the array of options you have, many individuals are inclined to not make a decision at all and leave the money in their former employers’ plans.
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Volume 1, Issue 4, Posted 9:37 AM, 09.25.2009

A conversation with your heirs

One of the challenges that many parents face as they grow older is talking to their adult children about inheritance, wealth, and the financial implications of their mortality. Unfortunately many parents feel they have time so they delay having the conversation. That can be a mistake. Openly communicating with your children may not solve all of the problems, but it can reduce family conflict and empower your children to act on your behalf, should it become necessary. Communicating openly can also help prepare your loved ones to become responsible inheritors.

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Volume 1, Issue 3, Posted 1:53 PM, 09.22.2009

Preparing a resume now and then

Especially in these tough economic times and with so many people out of work, changing careers, or trying to get their foot in the door of a company, it is important to keep your resume updated. If you have worked in one industry or company for many years and are now out of work, or are considering a whole new career, where do you start to create a new resume? What are employers looking for? How do you get their attention?

Some of the basics of a resume have changed quite a bit in the last 10 years. Here are some of the big differences in resumes prepared today compared to years ago:

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Volume 1, Issue 2, Posted 11:16 AM, 09.03.2009


Should You Convert To A Roth IRA?

If your income is $100,000 or less and you are single or married, filing jointly, you may be eligible to convert your traditional IRAs to a Roth IRA in order to take advantage of federally tax-free earnings in the future.  You will generally pay ordinary federal income tax (but not the 10% penalty tax) on the taxable amount that is converted. Your tax-free potential is maximized if you pay the taxes from your current income or personal savings, not your IRA.
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Volume 1, Issue 1, Posted 9:43 AM, 11.10.2008