Coupling Finances: What All Newlyweds Should Know

(NewsUSA) – Coupling finances.It’s a catchphrase that’s been described as perhaps the first "I do" for newlyweds, and it’s especially relevant as we head into wedding season. Because as much as you may think no two people have ever been more in love than you are – hey, look at the size of that engagement ring! – the truth is that it could be less than smooth sailing ahead if you’re not on the same page when it comes to financial matters."Couples have a very hard time talking about money," Joan Atwood, a Hofstra University professor of marriage and family therapy bemoaned on an NPR "Money Coach" segment on the issue. "I would say it’s the last taboo."Ready to break it? Read on.* Set common goals. You probably discussed this in a dreamy sort of way while dating. You know, a large house with a swimming pool … yearly vacations. But turning those reveries into reality requires habitually saving to pay for them and finance your later retirement years – not to mention deciding whether both partners contribute equally or based on salaries."The median ages for brides and grooms are 29 and 31, respectively, these days," said Andrew Peterson, a vice president at Fidelity Investments (fidelity.com). "So while people may come into a marriage with their own assets, they need to take some time after the wedding to sit down and start getting organized as a couple."* Be transparent. There’s no law that says you have to put all your cash into a joint savings account – some couples do, some don’t – but at the very least you’d be "less than truthful" by not divulging any outstanding debts. And then figuring out, together, how to pay them down.* Safely store your information. Quick: What’s your new spouse’s Social Security number? And what other vital information don’t you know if a sudden need arises?Exactly.To truly mark your financial coupling, you might consider using an online service like FidSafe.com that lets you store, access and share all your new family’s important records and documents anywhere via a web browser or iOS app.Not only is it free and simple to use with handy checklists, but even before it was officially introduced two years ago by Fidelity – Get it? "Fid Safe" – Barron’s magazine gave the service five stars for being what it called "the first cloud-based safe deposit box we’ve seen that’s secure enough to organize everything from financial statements, insurance policies, and real estate records to a will, IRA benefits, and even passwords.""With all the other things on their to-do lists, newlyweds typically don’t focus on all the important financial and other documents they need to begin married life on a solid footing," said Peterson. "This makes things easier for them from the start, as well as through the years as they have even more joint documents to retain – including those related to perhaps buying a house and having children."You get up to 5GB of storage, which leaves plenty of space left over once you download your new marriage license and the receipt for that engagement ring.* Investigate this option. Do you both get health insurance through your employer? Congrats. You may have just saved yourselves some money if it works out it’s less expensive for one of you to be on the other’s plan rather than pay for both. 

New AI Platform Protects Musicians’ Work

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Any music artist – regardless of his or her level of fame – will tell you that chief among their many concerns about the business is guarding against copyright infringement and protecting the work.
DigiTrax Entertainment, a leader in the use of artificial intelligence in the music industry, recognizes this and has found a way to harness the analytical power of AI to help protect musicians from copyright infringement.
The new DigiTrax product, Music Fact Reports, can act as a personal CSI lab for forensic musicology, according to Joseph Vangieri, CEO of DigiTrax Entertainment.
“We believe Music Fact Reports will be a major step forward for rights holders,” Mr. Vangieri says in a statement announcing the launch of Music Fact Reports.
The Music Fact Reports program helps individual musicians by saving them the hassle, time, and expense of hiring a professional forensic musicologist to conduct an analysis before deciding whether a copyright infringement case is worth pursuing with a lawyer.
The program also can be used by copyright lawyers to evaluate the strength of potential cases, and by publishers seeking to confirm the originality of a contracted musical work.
The Music Fact Reports program works on the power of artificial intelligence by extracting sequences from pieces of music and comparing them to other works using music theory-based algorithms.
“We are working towards a future in which analyzed sequences of data for all copyrighted pieces of music are stored in a database that can be accessed and searched to detect levels of extrinsic similarity instantly,” says DigiTrax Chief Technical Officer Marcus Matusiak in a statement announcing the Music Fact Reports launch.
The Music Fact Reports program is currently being used by attorney Richard Wolfe of Wolfe Law in Miami, Florida, to pursue a copyright-infringement case involving instrumental music.
“I think the technology is cutting-edge for purposes of identifying substantial similarity in two pieces of music in terms of rhythms, beats, and extrinsic similarity,” says Mr. Wolfe.
To promote the launch of the Music Fact Reports program and showcase its potential, DigiTrax engineers have developed Music Fact Reports for the top 10 copyright infringement cases of all time, Mr. Vangieri says.
Visit MusicFactReports.com for the reports on the Top 10 music-copyright-infringement cases, and for more information about how DigiTrax helps protect musicians.

New Job Benefits Could Provide Employees Relief from Student Debt

When joining a new company, there are often perks to consider: a company car, maybe a 401(k) plan.

With Millennials now making up the lion’s share of the workforce, a number of companies are betting that helping to pay off student debt is the next game-changer when it comes to attracting and retaining the best and the brightest.

It’s not a bad wager. Total education debt stood at a staggering $1.52 trillion at the end of March. And while the perk is by no means reserved only for millennials, it’s not lost on anyone that the average student loan borrower will have graduated this year saddled with more than $37,000 in debt.

The Hidden Side of Hemophilia: So Much More Than A Bleeding Disorder

(NewsUSA) – Almost everyone has heard of hemophilia, a rare disease in which the blood fails to clot properly. But most people only think of bleeding when it comes to naming its symptoms.In fact, at any given time, many people who have hemophilia or a bleeding disorder may struggle with a combination of dozens of symptoms, including daily pain, joint and mobility issues, anxiety, and depression. These symptoms represent the hidden side of hemophilia.But symptoms aren’t the only misunderstood aspect of hemophilia. Common misconceptions include that it’s contagious and that it can be outgrown. In fact, hemophilia is a genetic disorder that requires lifelong management of all symptoms – the mental as well as the physical.In a survey conducted by myhemophiliateam.com (a website dedicated to social networking, education, and online support for hemophilia patients and those who know them and care for them), approximately two-thirds (65 percent) of bleeding-disorder patients said they suffer from depression. The survey also found that more than half (56 percent) of patients regularly experience pain related to their condition. However, only 38 percent of those who reported pain said they feel their pain symptoms are being addressed. Chronic, untreated pain can promote depression and anxiety in hemophilia and bleeding-disorder patients.Because of the complex nature of hemophilia and bleeding disorders, patients stand to benefit from choosing service providers that understand their unique challenges, such as National Cornerstone Healthcare Services (NCHS), a wholesaler and specialty pharmacy that specializes in hemophilia and bleeding disorders.Specialty pharmacies go beyond the services provided by a traditional pharmacy, functioning as a valued member of a patient’s care team by providing a comprehensive suite of services and expertise while allowing patients to experience the comfort, convenience, and independence that home infusion offers. In addition to providing discreet delivery of medications for the treatment of hemophilia, specialty pharmacies may provide reimbursement expertise, extensive patient resources, education, and support to help patients manage all their symptoms more effectively.Since there’s a lot to know when it comes to hemophilia and bleeding disorders, it’s important to choose wisely when it comes to service providers. Working with a qualified specialty pharmacy can help provide services designed to treat the whole patient, including resources to help with anxiety, pain management, and mental health.For more information about managing hemophilia and bleeding disorders, and to find out how NCHS can function as an extension of a hemophilia patient’s health care team, visit www.nchswecare.com

Birth Control and Blood Clot Risks

(NewsUSA) – There are more than 60 million women of child-bearing age in the United States, and the majority of them report using some form of birth control. In fact, the birth control pill is their number one choice. While research shows that birth control pills are safe and effective, just like any other medication, they can pose some risks, which is why all women should carefully evaluate their risks when considering birth control options.One risk associated with birth control pills or any form of hormonal birth control that contains estrogen, including the pill, patch, or ring, is a life-threatening blood clot. The use of birth control pills with estrogen increases a woman’s risk for blood clots three-fold, and some of the newer birth control pills women use pose a risk two-times greater than older birth control pills. The use of patches and rings containing estrogen poses a risk double that of birth control pills. Women with a clotting disorder, a previous blood clot, or a family history of blood clots are at an even greater risk.Women considering the use of hormonal birth control should know their risk for blood clots and take these steps to reduce their risk:* Complete the Risk Assessment on the website www.womenandbloodclots.org and discuss their results and birth control options with their doctor* Talk to their doctor about any personal or family history of blood clots, and their existing risk for blood clotsRecognize Blood Clots Signs & SymptomsIt is important to recognize the signs and symptoms of blood clots in the legs or arms. If you can recognize these signs and symptoms, you may be able to help save your life, or the life of a friend or family member:* Swelling* Pain or tenderness not caused by an injury* Skin that is warm to the touch, red, or discoloredBlood clots in the legs or arms that are left untreated, or that break apart and travel to your lung can be deadly. Symptoms of a blood clot in your lung may include:* Difficulty breathing* Chest pain that worsens with a deep breath or cough, coughing up blood* Faster than normal or irregular heartbeatSeek immediate medical attention if you experience any of these signs or symptoms.In recognition of National Women’s Health Week, the National Blood Clot Alliance and the Alexandra L. Rowan Memorial Foundation are providing women with essential information about birth control and blood clot risks by urging them to visit www.womenandbloodclots.org

Fiber: Nature’s Way of Making You Feel Your Best

(NewsUSA) – Having enough daily fiber in your diet has become increasingly important because fiber helps support a smoother, more functional digestive system, provides stronger immunity, and promotes overall well-being*.But did you know that even though you make an effort to eat healthy, you may still have trouble reaching your daily fiber requirement?Many Americans average only half of the recommended 25 to 30 grams of dietary fiber per day, according to the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics. Yet the current average daily intake of fiber is 15 grams, as the typical diet includes many foods with high calories, such as white bread, doughnuts, sodas, juices and red meat, to name a few.It is impractical, however, to think that you can get your daily fiber requirement from food alone, even though you can find it in edible plants, including many fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes. For example, you would need to eat about 10 apples or bananas every day to obtain your daily fiber requirement.It’s a startling statistic that the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates only about five percent of Americans reach the recommended level of dietary fiber requirements. An unfortunate result is a substantial burden on the health care system and on the individual health of Americans. This is known as the "fiber gap" as limited fiber intake has been associated with colon cancer and metabolic syndrome.The "fiber gap" exists for two reasons: people think fiber supplements are primarily for maintaining a regular digestive system, and traditional forms of fiber supplements on the market, such as powder or capsules, are inconvenient to take."Dietary fiber is known for keeping our bodies regular," says Michael Epstein, M.D., FACG, AGAF, a leading gastroenterologist and Chief Medical Advisor of IM HealthScience, LLC."Most importantly, it’s essential that you get enough fiber in your diet. One way to do that is to supplement your daily intake of dietary fiber with natural, prebiotic fiber supplements. Many of my patients like the convenience and ease of taking the Fiber Choice line of chewable and gummy products."Fiber Choice – A Convenient, Prebiotic SolutionThe Fiber Choice brand of chewables and gummies is made of inulin [pronounced: in-yoo-lin], a natural fiber found in many fruits and vegetables. Inulin works by helping to build healthy, good bacteria in the colon, while keeping food moving through the digestive system. This action has a beneficial and favorable effect of softening stools and improving bowel function.Research shows that the digestive system does more than digest food; it plays a central role in the immune system. The healthy bacteria that live in the digestive tract promote immune system function, so it’s important to nourish the body with fiber. Inulin has secondary benefits, too, of possibly lowering cholesterol, balancing blood chemistry and regulating appetite, which can help reduce calorie intake and play a supporting role in weight management.But getting enough fiber in one’s diet can be a challenge.So try these tips to increase the amount of fiber in your diet:•  Make your grains whole. Read labels and swap out conventional grains for whole wheat when buying bread and pasta products, and choose brown rice over white.•  Make your veggies green. Green vegetables, including beans, spinach, cabbage, and asparagus are good sources of dietary fiber.•  Go bananas. Many types of fruit are high in fiber, but bananas are an especially rich source. Add mashed bananas to muffins, smoothies, or a bowl of oatmeal as a way to increase fiber intake.•  Add a supplement. Sometimes eating enough fiber-rich foods is a challenge. So choose a dietary fiber supplement with prebiotic effects, such as the fiber found in Fiber Choice, which has been designed to promote the same health benefits as the fiber found naturally in foods. Fiber Choice chewables or gummies are gluten-free, sugar-free, and taste great in several fruity flavors – and they are easy and convenient to take anywhere and anytime. Among all other fiber products on the market, only Fiber Choice gummies contain pectin, which is derived principally from citrus and apples.For more information about the benefits of dietary fiber and how fiber supplements can be part of a healthy eating plan, visit www.fiberchoice.com.The usual adult dosage with Fiber Choice Chewable tablets is two tablets up to three times a day and for Fiber Choice Fiber Gummies is two gummies up to six per day.The product is available in major retailers, such as CVS/pharmacy, Walmart, Target, and many grocery stores, and can also be purchased online at Amazon.*THESE STATEMENTS HAVE NOT BEEN EVALUATED BY THE FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION. THIS PRODUCT IS NOT INTENDED TO DIAGNOSE, TREAT, CURE OR PREVENT ANY DISEASE.   

Need Help Advertising? “NewsUSA & Its Staff Can Help Manana!'”

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – These days, there are several ways to get your company’s message out: stating the company mission (the equivalent of a business resume) on its website, employing a public relations firm to garner exposure through earned media, or advertising — that is, if you have the money to pay for it.
The problem is that small, niche companies need the same exposure (if not more) than the Fortune 500 companies, but are hamstrung by limited resources.
Fortunately, advertising doesn’t have to be exclusively PR-centric, but can be a blend of traditional and effective strategies, according to PR News.
In this way, Washington D.C.-based NewsUSA does exceptionally well by specializing in writing matte releases — feature articles that help to fill space in newspapers and online media — for its clients.
NewsUSA guarantees product placement (around 1,000-1,400 placements per story) for its clients in various media outlets around the world, including television sites and hundreds of digital and print newspapers.
“NewsUSA’s strength is that it has all these contracts and relationships with newspapers and online media sources that have been built over years and can be trusted for writing and editorial,” said Rick Smith, CEO of NewsUSA. “In terms of mass marketing to the consumer, for some of the budgets that these companies have, there just aren’t a lot of options. That’s where NewsUSA comes in.”
For NewsUSA client Security Equipment Corporation (Sabre), it granted access to media outlets that the company wouldn’t have had otherwise.
“As a first-time user of NewsUSA, I was pleasantly surprised, not only with the number of placements we got, but the quality of our placements,” said Marisa McKay, marketing manager for Sabre. “Our content was placed in high-profile publications that we wouldn’t have been able to afford if we had to buy traditional advertising space.”
As a result, the family-owned and -operated manufacturer of the top brand of pepper spray had three stories distributed to more than 3,600 news outlets, both online and in print, for a total reach of more than 90 million readers nationwide. The ad value equivalency of the campaign was more than $1.1 million.
Another client, Star Clippers, also saw a huge return on investment when it engaged NewsUSA to write five stories about its ultimate cruising vacation alternative — a tall ship mega-yacht experience aboard authentic re-creations of the classic sailing clipper ships that ruled the waves during the 1800s.
In return, Star Clippers garnered more than 6,000 placements that reached more than 319 million readers nationwide, for a total ad equivalency of $3.8 million.
For more information, visit www.newsusaadvantage.com.

A Primer for First-Time Homebuyers

(NewsUSA) – Sponsored by GAF – Finally ready to take the plunge? Join the club.After having waited on the sidelines for what seemed like forever, first-time homebuyers last year made 38 percent of all U.S. single-family home purchases – the biggest share since 2000 – and the 2.07 million new or existing houses they bought ended up being 7 percent more than in 2016, Bloomberg.com reported."Pent-up demand" is how the news site described it, citing Millennials as one of the driving forces.But the market for house-hunting newbies like yourself has changed considerably from that most recent high mark of nearly two decades ago. And you know what they say: "Forewarned is forearmed." Read on.* Inventory is tight.So tight, in fact – especially for lower-priced starter-homes – that, as the Wall Street Journal wrote, even "buyers in historically calm markets such as Boise, Idaho, and Minneapolis are facing bidding wars, prompting them to dig deep into their coffers to win deals."Not into bidding wars? Well, there’s always Little Rock, Arkansas.Unlike Denver, Seattle and San Francisco – which LendingTree named the "most challenging" cities in the nation for first-time buyers – Little Rock was rated a veritable paradise for house hunters.* There’s still a lot of all-cash buyers out there, so don’t be afraid to get creative.Though the number of all-cash transactions peaked at 40 percent in 2011 and 2012 – with savvy investors still taking advantage of the subprime mortgage crisis by buying up homes many then rented out – last year’s 28.8 percent figure remains above normal. (One reason for the tight inventory: "Investors (are) making too much money as landlords to sell," according to MarketWatch.com.)Granted, you’re at a disadvantage if someone else waves $500,000 in cash in front of a seller even if you arrive pre-approved for a mortgage. However, HDTV.com tells the story of a couple who got a "great deal" on their Denver home – yes, Denver – by adding a contingency to their $300,000 bid that they’d pay $1,000 over any other competing offer up to a maximum of $329,000."Although unconventional," the site admitted, "a creative strategy like this can be very effective in today’s market."* Don’t automatically reject a fixer-upper because you’re not handy enough to fix things like the roof.Everyone knows you can save a bundle by buying a house that needs work, but some things – including electrical system overhauls and extensive roof repairs – are safer left to the pros. So the question becomes this: How far ahead would you come out, financially, after deducting those costs from the house’s likely post-renovation market value?"An attractive roof is the ultimate curb enhancer, so it’s important to figure that into your calculations," said Patsy O’Neill, a sales associate with Sotheby’s in Montclair, New Jersey.You can play around with different looks (i.e., Victorian vs. ranch) by using the free Virtual Home Remodeler launched by GAF (gaf.com), North America’s largest roofing manufacturer. And the website’s GAF Master Elite Contractor database can help you find the most reputable and adequately insured professionals in your area.* You may be being watched.Literally.With owners leerier these days of strangers walking through their properties, they’re increasingly employing devices capable of tracking prospective buyers’ conversations and actions.Yes, it can be creepy. The bigger danger, though, as MarketWatch.com noted, is that – if you don’t watch what you’re saying – there’s "a real risk" of tipping your hand enough that you wind up overpaying. 

Gifts to Give on Administrative Professionals Day

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – With Administrative Professionals Day around the corner on April 25th, like many, you may be wondering what to give your secretary, assistant or other administrative worker. You’re not alone.
Many people are confused about what is appropriate and how much to spend. According to Laura Jennings, the CEO of bespoke gifting company knackshops.com, $50 is the average price point for a gift and it’s important to treat everyone equally.
“Salaries, titles, bonuses and office locations already build hierarchies,” she says. “Gifts are the perfect opportunity to say thank you to everyone.”
The best way to make your team members feel appreciated is to take the time to really think about the message you want your gift to convey. Jennings has three tips to help harness Administrative Professionals Day effectively:
1. Give items that stress the “professional” in Administrative Professional.
The workplace has thankfully evolved from the gender stereotyped world in which the original National Secretary’s Day was launched in 1952. It’s important to recognize all levels of professionalism in the office with appropriate gifts that express professional integrity. Leather journals, fine pens, and professional organization memberships are appropriate examples.
2. Think about giving gifts that add luxury, convenience or fun to a workday.
Your administrative professional may know almost everything about you; this is your opportunity to pay them the same compliment, while keeping it completely professional. Items such as desk accessories, water bottles, travel mugs, and other tools that add luxury, convenience or fun to anyone’s work day are a good place to start. But stay away from flowers: nothing ranked lower than flowers in terms of employees’ most requested employer gifts in the 2018 Business Gifting Satisfaction Report. You may want to consider gifts such as the The Sweet Life to beauty up their desk, Thanks-Olate Gift Set to say thanks, or Black Tie as a token of your appreciation, all available at knackshops.com.
3. Remember that food and wine are always appreciated.
Gifts of food (and wine, if you know they are fond of the grape) are universally acceptable in the business-gifting world and are something that employees tend to use and love.
“Make it memorable, by adding something useful like a tea towel, cheese knife, serving bowl, corkscrew or cheeseboard to your food gifts,” Jennings advises. Knackshops.com’s Carnivore’s Delight, Caffe Autentico and The Cheese Course are examples of decadent gifts that they’ll remember long after the food has been consumed.
Gift cards are appreciated by employees of all ages and genders, although particularly so for women over 40. The only downside is that research shows they may be quickly forgotten – less than 40 percent of employees say that gift cards are “very memorable.”
Lastly, data shows that a personally-addressed message is actually the most important element of your gift.
“It’s really about the story. A personally-addressed gift message can increase the memorability of a gift and turn it into a special moment,” Jennings says. “There is also nothing easier to do – and quicker – than dropping in a meaningful note.”

Retirement Score In America Hits Historical High

Americans are more financially prepared for retirement than they have been in quite some time – with special kudos to millennials for the amount of money they’ve been putting away.

Still, Fidelity Investments’ latest biennial Retirement Savings Assessment study (which is mostly upbeat), states that many of those surveyed remain “at risk” of not being able to fully cover essential expenses in retirement if they don’t turn things around.