RE/MAX 440
John F. O'Hara

John F. O'Hara
731 W Skippack Pike  Blue Bell  PA 19422
Phone:  610-277-4060
Office:  215-643-3200
Cell:  267-481-1786
Fax:  267-354-6973

My Blog

What Questions Should You Ask a Disaster Response Contractor?

March 6, 2015 12:24 am

When disaster strikes, I know that property owners need to make a lot of decisions quickly and under pressure.

Effective disaster remediation involves a lot of moving parts: remediation specialists, insurance companies, local codes, state codes, documentation and more-and all of this has to happen in an atmosphere charged with emotion and stress.

Edward White, a SERVPRO professional based in western Connecticut says efficiency is key when you are dealing with disaster remediation because it saves customers money and it makes restoration work more effective.

White utilizes SERVPRO's proprietary DryBook(tm) tool, which helps him improve efficiency and maintain cost controls to keep his client's projects in or under budget.

He says since remediation projects must be managed to both industry- and insurance-company standards, tools like DryBook helps White track and document progress on restoration, cleanup and repair services.

No matter what remediation or restoration company you choose, White says property owners can avoid regulatory headaches and paperwork pitfalls in the aftermath of a disaster by asking the following questions:
1. Does your remediation company deliver a product that meets:
- Standards set by The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC)?

- Most major insurance companies, including cycle times and deadline requirements?
2. Does your remediation company have a system in place to ensure accurate, complete and convenient benchmarking of each step of the remediation process, including:
- Capturing and updating data, including job diary notes, electronically real-time on the jobsite, with simultaneous updates saved at the central office?

- Using e-signatures to help eliminate lost paperwork and the need to scan documents?

- Providing a complete record of the damage and remediation efforts in images, with descriptions, start-to-finish?
3. Does your contractor have the ability, on-the-spot, to:
- Identify the right equipment for the job, based on the damage description?

- Validate the use of each piece of equipment, automatically, as part of the remediation records?
For more renovation or remediation information, visit www.servpro.com.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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The Next Phase of the American Dream: Growing and Preserving Your Wealth

March 5, 2015 2:24 am

Ever since the financial crisis of 2008, many pundits and experts have openly doubted the viability of achieving the American dream.

With homeownership, job opportunity and retirement security in decline, an Allstate/National Journal Heartland Monitor poll shows that most Americans agree with what the experts have said. Seven in 10 think that tomorrow’s adults – today’s kids – will have less financial security than adults today.

“There are several long-term issues we need to address, including our estimated $17.3 trillion debt, a legacy that our children are poised to inherit; but I think the United States will be stable for the next 10 years, and maybe longer if we get our financial house in order,” says Stephen Ng, founder and president of Stephen Ng Financial Group, (www.stephenngfg.com).

“Many Americans who’ve worked their entire lives for a comfortable, if not luxurious, retirement want to know their money will be there – that’s their dream.”

Ng is an international financial planner with certifications in 19 states. He’s passionate about teaching sound wealth practices to both clients and his community. Here are three important tips every pre-retiree and retiree should know to help preserve their wealth.
  • Go to an independent retirement-planning advisor. Financial planning can be confusing. For most retirees who are not professionals, the numbers, rules and terminology can seem like a foreign language. An independent advisor, who is licensed in multiple products – insurance, annuities and more – allows for a higher degree of objectivity, tailoring options for a client’s specific needs. He or she will not be bound to a corporate agenda or limited in their knowledge. Also, talk to the person who will be the architect of your financial future. Find out his or her values. How do they feel about their job? Are they patient in explaining your options? Do you trust your advisor?
  • Pre-retirees: know your start-date options for retirement. Be aware that in most cases, withdrawals from tax-deferred retirement plans before age 59½ may be subject to a 10 percent federal income tax penalty. The latest date to begin required minimum distributions is usually April 1 of the year after you turn age 70½. In most cases, withdrawals are taxed as ordinary income. There are 10 common planning options, some of which are funded by employers. They are the defined benefit pension; money purchase pension; profit-sharing plan; savings plan; employee stock ownership plan; tax-sheltered annuities, or 403(b) plans; individual retirement accounts; self-employed plans; simplified employee pensions; Savings Incentive Match Plans for Employees; and annuity contracts.
  • Make sure you feel good about your annuity. An annuity is a contract with an insurance company in which you make one or more payments in exchange for a future income stream in retirement. The funds in an annuity accumulate tax-deferred, regardless of which type of annuity you choose. Fixed annuity contracts are issued with guaranteed minimum interest rates. Although the rate may be adjusted, it should never fall below a guaranteed minimum rate specified in the contract. Keep in mind that annuity guarantees are subject to the claims-paying ability of the insurance company and contain fees and charges which are not limited to sales and surrender charges. All withdrawals of tax-deferred earnings are subject to current income tax, and, if made prior to age 59½, may also be subject to a 10 percent federal income tax penalty. Additionally, if purchased within a qualified plan, an annuity will provide no further tax deferral features. The contract, when redeemed, may be worth more or less than the total amount invested.
“This may be plenty of information to take in for now, but this is only the tip of the iceberg,” Ng says. “Don’t be afraid to ask questions. And, the more education you have about your own money, the better.”

Source: www.stephenngfg.com

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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