February 26, 2017

A parting of the ways—with perks

Shakespeare wrote that parting is such sweet sorrow. But it can certainly be more sorrowful than sweet if you are let go or resign from a company without reasonable recompense. To sugarcoat matters, a severance agreement may be offered on or before your last day at work. This agreement may include a package that provides various benefits and severance pay that’s separate from your final paycheck.

U.S. labor laws don’t typically obligate employers to pay severance, and you shouldn’t expect it if you’re being terminated for cause or are a low-level and at-will employee. However, many companies offer it and may be willing to up the ante on what’s included in your severance deal, say the experts.

Learn more about how to negotiate a severance package by reading my newest article for AARP The Magazine, which you can access here.

February 19, 2017

More homeowners heading to HELOCs

If you’re a homeowner who survived the real estate market downturn from a few years back, chances are the value of your home—and your equity in it—has increased. And therein lies an opportunity: the chance to tap into that equity in the form of a home equity line of credit (HELOC), which can be a great way to finance a home improvement project, pay down debt, help pay for college or even purchase a car.

This option has proved to be increasingly popular in recent years—in fact, for 17 consecutive quarters spanning 2012 through mid-2016, residential HELOC originations increased, according to ATTOM Data Solutions.

Learn more about the pros and cons of HELOCs by reading my latest real estate article for Newspaper Media Group by clicking here.

February 1, 2017

Portable power in a pinch

Emergency power generators sure come in handy during outages, natural disasters and situations when you’re removed from the grid. But traditional gasoline-powered units can be heavy and loud, produce harmful and smelly exhaust, and require maintenance and the storing of combustible fuel on your property. Fortunately, there’s a new breed of backup power generators: the portable power station, fueled by lithium batteries, which offers more convenient movability, recharging flexibility, and compatibility with your devices. And countless consumers stand to benefit—from homeowners to apartment dwellers, campers to tailgaters, and construction site workers to backyard partiers.

Read about this new technology in my latest story for The Costco Connection magazine, available here.