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The Palm Beaches' News & Talk
 
 

Brian Mudd

Why you should remodel for you not ROI, The key to an elite credit score, Check your rewards programs & more:

 
Why you should remodel for you not ROI, The key to an elite credit score, Check your rewards programs & more:

Remodel for you, not for resale...  There isn't any typical remodel that's currently adding ROI:

 

Bottom Line:  If you’ve been doing, or hiring someone to do major home improvement projects, you may have noticed something…  It’s expensive.  Raw material costs have been rising and with the return of the housing market so have the prices being charged by contractors. 

 

According to Remodeling magazine no major home improvement projects have netted a positive ROI over the last year that’s the first time that’s been the case since they started tracking data several years ago.  The best for ROI were:

 

  • Adding a deck:  87%
  • Attic conversion:  84%
  • Minor kitchen remodel:  83% (major kitchen remodel only 74%)
  • Basement conversion 76%
  • Bathroom remodel of 73%

And those are the best outcomes.  It’s worth noting those are average returns so naturally there are many that fair better and worse, so it’s not impossible to net positive ROI, but the odds aren’t in your favor.  So if you’re going to take on home improvement projects you should do the improvements for you in a way that you’ll appreciate the finished product, rather than doing them for anticipated ROI. 

 

Audio Report:  

 

 

There is a good chance you're not carrying a balance so double check your rewards:

 

Bottom Line:  By the numbers:

 

  • 56% of Americans who have credit cards don’t carry a balance
  • Just 26% of those who have a balance have been increasing debt the last two years

With that in mind… 44% of all people are using their credit cards in the ideal way.  Paying of their balances at the end of every month. 

 

I’ve long been a proponent of using credit cards in place of cash.  In other words charging whatever you can and paying it off at the end of the month.  It’s good for your credit score and it also, can be lucrative for you…  Provided you’ve done your homework and are using credit cards with excellent rewards programs for your user habits. 

 

Here’s an example:  In our home we charge every bill possible and pay them off at the end of each month.  Last year we received more than $1000 in cash back equivalents by doing so without paying any interest at any time. 

 

  • If you fly frequently find a card with the best miles program available 
  • If you eat out frequently find a card that provides the highest amount of cash back at restaurants (there are many that will pay up to 5% cash back)
  • Or Just find out the ones with the best overall cash back on purchases (this is the type I use)

Over the last two years rewards programs on credit cards have improved as the competition for those who have good credit has become fierce.  Spend a little time searching and evaluating credit card rewards programs.  It could be worth thousands to you.

 

Audio Report:  

 

 

The profile of those with elite credit:

 

Bottom Line:  Do you pay all of your bills on time and seemingly do everything right, yet still can’t get your credit score over 800?  What does it take to have elite credit? 

 

For most that are in the aforementioned category they assume it comes down to wealth.  They just aren’t wealthy enough to have credit lines big enough to get the next level of distinction.  That’s actually incorrect.  While you do have to have steady income, you don’t have to be rich. Here is the profile of the average person with elite (or over 800) credit scores:

  • The oldest average open credit account is 25 years old
  • The average overall line of credit that’s open is 11 years old

That’s it.  Not terribly complicated.  The biggest reason that those who pay their bills on time every time will never get to 800+ credit is being too efficient with lines of credit.  Many will payoff a line of credit and close the account out.  Doing so also limits the benefit of that account on your credit score.  Instead of closing out lines of credit you pay off it can be advantageous to leave those accounts open and occasionally use the line of credit to keep it’s reporting status.  You also want to minimize the tendency to bounce from bank to bank as that will also reduce your average account length.

 

Audio Report:

 



Wage theft is overblown but you also need to ensure you aren't doing it:

 

Bottom Line:  The term “wage theft” isn’t new but it has entered the news in a big way because of recent McDonalds lawsuits alleging the practice was/is taking place.  So what is wage theft?

 

It can vary but here are certain examples:

 

  • Having someone clock out at the scheduled time and then finish work
  • Having hourly employees stop at 40 hours even when the work requires additional time
  • Scheduling employees at begin work at a certain time and not allowing them to clock in until a later time when it’s busier

The first two are fairly evident I believe but I’ll drill down on the last I listed.  I saw this occur somewhat frequently when I work for a restaurant as a teenager.  It was commonplace to have waiters and waitress show up for work but only to clock when business picked up.  Some days if business didn’t pick up much people would be asked to go home after waiting around for awhile.  A court will rule on these types of situations but it’s pretty clear that employers won’t win.  So if you find that any of these situations occur in your business it would likely be in your best interest to rein them in...  Because you should but also because as this story gains more attention we’ll likely see more legal action involving other companies. 

 

Audio Report:



Quiznos is bankrupt but the stores aren’t:


Bottom Line:
  Quiznos became the 2nd restaurant chain to file for bankruptcy in a week (following Sbarro).  Here’s the thing, it’s unlikely we’ll see any impact.  When large companies file for bankruptcy it’s common to see a bunch of locations shut down fairly quickly (even if the company is trying to reorganize).  That’s unlikely to occur here.  Actually there shouldn’t be any visible impact at all.  There are more than 2100 Quiznos locations in the US, 6 in Palm BeachCounty, but only 7 are owned by the parent company (not the ones in our area). 


So while the parent’s future is a little cloudy the stores you may patronize shouldn’t see any change. 

 

Audio Report:

 

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