National Save for Retirement Week is observed Oct. 18–24 this year. And this week has some weight behind it, as it is recognized by the U.S. Senate for its importance in encouraging Americans to prepare themselves financially for retirement. Are you doing all you can?
Many of your peers aren’t. About a third of working adults have no retirement savings or pension, according to a survey by the Federal Reserve. And more than half of workers report that the total value of their household’s savings and investments, excluding the value of their primary home and any defined benefit plan (such as a traditional pension), is less than $25,000, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute’s retirement confidence survey this year.Learn more »
Excellent customer service needs be at the heart of your business model if you wish to be successful. No matter the size, location or industry segment of your business, it is paramount to provide good customer service to all types of customers, including potential, new and existing customers.
A continual focus on providing consistently excellent customer service can take extra resources, time and money. Consider customer service as a point of differentiation for your business, as excellent customer service can generate positive word-of-mouth, keep your customers happy, and increase the likelihood of first-time customers becoming repeat customers and eventually advocates for your business. At its core, good customer service can help a business grow and succeed.Learn more »
We have all had those conversations haven’t we? You know, that kind of conversation where we are encouraged or asked to step up and make a donation to or to support “a really good cause.”
And there are a lot of “really good causes” out there aren’t there? I mean everything from Breast Cancer Awareness, PanCan.org that supports pancreatic cancer research, The American Heart Association, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, Make-A-Wish, Denver Rescue Mission, Children’s Hospital, American Diabetes Foundation, National Jewish Research Hospital, St. Jude’s, Girl Scouts of America, Boy Scouts of America, your local elementary school wrapping paper drive, Wounded Warrior Project, AMVETS, human trafficking, domestic violence, The Salvation Army, Red Cross, your church’s mission trips and other church programs, and millions of other “really good causes” that we can get behind in some way.Learn more »
Images of an American teenager traveling Europe on someone else’s dime for nine months might not match that of local Battle Mountain High School senior Andrea Arroyo. Arroyo was the fortunate recipient of a 2014 Rotary scholarship to spend her junior year on an acclaimed exchange program. Based out of Vienna, Arroyo had the opportunity to venture beyond Austria to Germany, Hungary, Belgium, France, Spain, Czech Republic, Monaco, Andorra and Italy, enabling her to experience a variety of cultures, expand her linguistics and sample delectable treats.
‘SERVICE ABOVE SELF’Learn more »
The aspen are turning. The maple and choke cherry are aflame. The nights are dipping into the low 40s and even 30s. You may think, it’s a forest out there. The White River National Forest to be precise. And while you’d be right, you’d also be mistaken.
In point of fact, it’s a jungle out there.Learn more »
With Ski & Snowboard Club Vail’s on-snow season just a few weeks away and me now in my 14th and final year as executive director, I find myself reflecting on my early days as a coach almost 30 years ago at what was then Ski Club Vail. At the time, I was teaching kids how to ski better and faster, but as my career unfolded I realized what the club provided was so much more than that. Our motto, “for the kids,” expresses the reason the club exists. I am grateful that my years at SSCV have allowed me to serve the kids of the community and support the mission and vision of SSCV.
The following are among the most important initiatives being pursued by club to serve the kids of our community.Learn more »
In our world of Western medicine, being outside the boundaries of the norm is considered to be a bad thing and, as such, must be treated and corrected or you may be labeled “disabled.” The federal government has established guidelines for nearly every aspect of our health, and our culture has set guidelines to be as perfect looking as movie stars and models.
As you gain weight, lose hair, need to wear glasses or even just age, you drift further and further away from those guidelines and become out of favor in the public’s eye. Could this be happening in the field of medical services? Is it possible that as you age the method of care giving, whether intentionally or unintentionally, is slanted towards the young, creating a bias towards older patients?Learn more »
As we finish the last of our full summer schedule of events, I want to express thanks, pleasure and satisfaction that the business community has once again prospered from the concerted efforts of the town of Vail, Vail Resorts and all of the business partners who contributed to make Vail and Beaver Creek as vibrant as ever.
Fall means the last of the trees are shedding their leaves for the weight of the snow that will surely come and the business community starts to shift its sights toward the upcoming ski season so let’s quickly look back at the short, but event filled summer season that the Vail Valley enjoyed this year.Learn more »
What is a pine nut? Pine nuts come from pine trees, which are conifers or cone producing trees. But pine nuts aren’t actually nuts at all; they are seeds! All pine trees have edible seeds that develop in their cones, but only about 20 species of pine produce seeds large enough to be worth the time and effort to harvest, and all 20 species are found in the Northern Hemisphere.
In the United States, we find pine nuts, or seeds, mostly in the southwest. Here in Colorado, edible pine seeds are found in pinyon pine trees. When the cone is young, it will be green in color. They turn yellow when they fully mature, between 18 months and two years, and then the cone will open. Pine seeds remain attached to the scales of the cone after opening, encased in a thin shell. In the wild, these seeds are dispersed by the pinyon jay which plucks them from the cones and uses them as a food source. Some of these seeds are then left unused or dropped, which allows the pinyon pine to reproduce.Learn more »
Would you say this is a terrible time of year to put a home on the market in the Vail Valley? I know school has just started and so families are probably not moving and ski season is at least three months away to bring in people from out of the area. Hunting season is on, but I doubt many hunters are looking for a house in town. We don’t have to sell now, but due to changes in our family’s circumstances, it would be best if we did sell and move in the immediate future. Do you have any words of encouragement for my situation?Learn more »
Colorado is made up of many fantastic rivers. Just when you think you’ve found your favorite place to hike or fish or paddle, a new river reveals another secret fishing hole or cascading waterfall. In Colorado, rivers flow from the mountains to the vast plains and through desert canyons. Put simply, they are the soul of Colorado.
Yet only one river in Colorado is protected by the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, the Cache la Poudre. Not all rivers are eligible for Wild and Scenic designation, as they must demonstrate they have especially remarkable values that are worthy of protection. Here in Eagle County, we have the opportunity to add another pristine river to the list — Deep Creek.Learn more »
On Sept. 17, Federal Reserve Chairwomen Janet Yellen announced that the Federal Reserve Board would leave the short-term lending rate or the Federal Funds rate unchanged and at a whopping 0.25 percent. Thank goodness?! Or wait, is this actually bad news? What exactly the Federal Reserve Board does and what the Federal Funds rate is can be confusing and really unknown.
Since December of 2008, the Fed Funds interest rate has been at nearly 0 percent, or 0.25 percent to be exact. The Federal Open Market Committee, chaired by Yellen sets the rate. In recent speeches, Yellen and other Federal Reserve Board members have indicated that the rate will most likely increase sooner than later. Economists and business people alike thought that the first rate increase in over seven years may have come two weeks ago, but to no avail. But what does this mean for the average consumer and especially the average consumer with a residential real estate mortgage?Learn more »
What’s the biggest obstacle to your ability to invest successfully? Is it the ups and downs of the markets? The fact that you weren’t born rich? Actually, the chief hurdle you face is something you control: Your own emotions. Emotions can lead to a variety of ill-advised investment behaviors, such as these:
Cutting losses: Declines in the financial markets can lead some investors to try to “cut their losses” by selling investments whose price has declined. Yet when prices have dropped, it may actually be a good time to buy investments, not sell them, especially when the investments are still fundamentally sound.Learn more »
Welcome, fall! The changing of seasons to fall is a great time to relax from our summer pursuits, mentally prepare for the coming winter and reflect on where we’ve been and where we are going.
The changing leaves rustle hoarsely in the wind, dazzle our eyes, drop onto our favorite trails and create nutrients for the fish on our secret stretches of river. These places provided us nourishment through the summer and remind us of how lucky we are to call the mountains home. We have the luxury of quick access to land that provides relaxed time in relative quiet, where one can hear only birds, crickets and wind in the trees. In the Eagle Valley, we are blessed with natural spaces devoid of noise, power lines and other human-made structures.Learn more »
Whenever I am traveling for business or for pleasure, as I board my flight and am greeted by the flight attendant with a, “Welcome aboard. How are you doing?” my response is always the same: “I am ready for the best flight ever!”
That usually generates a smile from the flight attendant and any of the crew who may be paying attention. And sometimes I can even see a sense of pride as their body language and facial expressions shift.Learn more »
This is the first of a three-part series.
In a college psychology class, I was introduced to Erik Erikson’s eight stages of psychosocial development. In all honesty, I was not too intrigued with the subject matter. Being classified into a predetermined order of life was offensive to me. That I now find myself immersed in a career and passion for the last two stages of development — generativity vs. stagnation (35 to 65 years) and integrity vs. despair (65 and older) — is ironic.Learn more »
Editor’s note: This is the third of three parts.
In the first two parts of this series, we looked at what to do immediately after a loved one dies, who to contact and beginning to gather and organize what has been left behind. In this part of the series, we will look at locating relevant documents and successfully administering the deceased’s estate.Learn more »
While I enjoy almost every day of my job, one of the most difficult challenges I encounter is discussing plans for end of life with family members of our clients and my contemporaries. Not only is the subject emotionally trying, but bringing up the subject matter with loved ones can also create much anxiety.
In our life, we are required to handle many stressful situations. The most stressful, the one that is a life-altering situation, is dealing with the passing of a loved one. This creates so much stress that it is imperative that multiple discussions be held with specific people in order to make certain that all aspects of this situation run as smoothly as possible. This stress often redefines our very core.Learn more »
Business, Bogeys and Bragging Rights: That is the name of the golf tournament that occurred back on Aug. 21. The event was hosted jointly by the Vail Recreation District and Vail Chamber & Business Association. The proceeds benefit the Tom Slaughter Jr. Memorial Youth Recreation Grant. To quote many people in the valley, “There is something to fun to do just about every day.” This was an extremely fun event and has raised over $10,000 for the Tom Slaughter grant. The fund directly helps local area youth participate in VRD programs that they might not be able to afford.
Use of MulligansLearn more »
At its essence, science is the study of how the universe and all the things in it work. Mathematics is the language used to reveal and relate what scientists discover by helping them find relationships in the world. At its most basic, math is a tool that reinforces scientific discoveries. If we think about math as the language of science, then the beautiful marriage of numbers and nature is something that shouldn’t surprise us.
0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55 ... a one-of-a-kind sequence! Are you familiar with it? Can you find the pattern? Known as the Fibonacci sequence for its discoverer Leonardo (Fibonacci) Pisano, who is known as one of the greatest European mathematicians of the middle ages, these numbers appear almost everywhere you look, if you have the eyes to see them. Fibonacci first discovered this sequence while observing the exponential breeding patterns of his domestic rabbits! He noticed that after each proceeding month, the breeding pairs of rabbits grew from 1 pair (0 plus 1) to 2 pairs (1 plus 1) to 3 pairs (1 plus 2) to five pairs (2 plus 3) and so on. He later found this sequence of numbers to be ubiquitous in nature: The growth of branches on trees and shrubs follow the Fibonacci pattern, the arrangements of rose petals occur in fives and eights, pinecone scales grow in swirls of eights and 13s, many plants arrange their leaves in a sequence of threes, fives and eights and the seeds of sunflower heads grow in 21s, 34s, 55s or higher!Learn more »
I am getting ready to list my house and I am concerned about what commission amount the listing broker will charge. I have interviewed three Realtors so far and I seem to just be getting more confused about what services the broker provides and if it is worth paying the top commission or if I should choose someone who I can reason with and get them to reduce their percentage. I would appreciate your thoughts on this. Thanks for any help.Learn more »
The old adage that if it’s not broken, Washington is sure to come fix it has never been truer come Oct. 3. The feds will be out in force that day tripping over each other to make the fragile housing recovery even more shaky. But they’re from the government and they sure think they’re here to help and protect innocent consumers from said consumers’ apparently feeble minds and spendthrift ways.
My advice to widows and orphans is hide in the cellar and cower under the stairs if the Consumer Finance Protection bureau comes a knocking offering to protect your nest egg. My advice to homebuyers and homeowners if you are planning to get a mortgage is to apply before Oct. 3. You don’t have to close your loan before then, but you need to apply.Learn more »
Is more better? Most everyone wants more: more customers, more profits, more time, more something. In reality, it’s a tricky question that doesn’t have an easy yes or no answer.
Maybe more isn’t better; instead, maybe better is better. Most everyone strives for better: Better relationships, better businesses, better communities, better something. In reality, we can likely agree that better is better, even while we disagree on the definition of better.Learn more »
If you work for a fairly sizable company, then you may be entering your open enrollment season, when you can add or adjust your employer-sponsored benefits. While you probably should review all of your benefits, you may want to pay special attention to your life insurance to determine if you and your family are adequately protected.
How much life insurance do you need? You may hear that you require anywhere from seven to 10 times your annual income in life insurance coverage, but this rule of thumb might not be appropriate for everyone; the amount of insurance you need will depend on your individual situation. To help determine if a “gap” exists between the amount of insurance you have from your employer and the amount you need, your first step is to identify all those expenses that your family would face alone if you were gone. Here are some to consider:Learn more »
With so many looking for jobs and the opportunities out there limited, many are considering opening their own business. Working for yourself, setting your own hours and calling the shots are appealing. But what about managing your money? Working for yourself offers flexibility, but it also presents unique financial challenges.
Whether you are currently an independent contractor in today’s work force, or just considering making the leap to entrepreneur, here are four quick tips to help you plan your financial future.Learn more »
Thanks again for all of the great feedback regarding this column. I sincerely appreciate the emails and am thankful for the opportunity to exchange thoughts and ideas with you all as we discuss, debate and challenge some of the concepts in my articles.
One common message that has come through over the years is that many of you enjoy the positive message that I share, but you say it would be really great if I could go beyond the concept or philosophy and get into the “how” of actually doing something.Learn more »
All my friend could talk about was a new truck. In our early 20s, I really couldn’t understand the obsession. The truck itself cost nearly $50,000 back then. My friend could easily fly into a rant about how the truck would be great for towing ... towing what I have no idea. He planned to haul various imaginary “loads” with his truck. The hypothetical uses of the truck were endless. The guy was serving tables and pouring drinks.
It wasn’t months after I heard him first speak this desire that I saw him drive up to work in one of the nicest lifted show trucks I had ever seen in my life.Learn more »
Editor’s note: This is the second of three parts.
In the first part of this series, we looked at what to do immediately after someone dies. In this part, we will discuss who to contact, the intended goals of so doing, and organizing and making sense of what has been left behind.Learn more »
At some point in our lives most of us were taught about the five senses: sight, smell, taste, touch and hearing. Each of these senses are hard-wired into our nervous system and thus into our brain.
Music has the potential to evoke emotions, assist in recalling memories and even sooth an agitated person. Music is an incarnation of pure will. Often, music has a subconscious effect that makes us to tap our feet, hum, sing or use our muscles to move our body. Music is primal and perhaps that is why it has the ability to tap into and aid in Alzheimer’s disease therapies.Learn more »
As a native of California’s wine country, I expected that moving to Colorado meant embracing snow and mountains, and leaving vineyards behind. So when I saw grapes spanning Interstate 70 on my way to Vail, I could hardly believe my eyes. I was even more surprised to learn that not only does Colorado have a wine industry, that industry also has a decent history. In fact, wine grapes were first brought to Colorado in the 1900s by miners, though the industry virtually disappeared as a result of prohibition. It experienced a second birth beginning in the 1960s and is currently at an all-time high, with approximately 100 wineries operating in the Rocky Mountains and the Front Range.
Producing any great food or beverage begins with using great ingredients, and wine is no exception. The high elevation and cold weather, characteristic of much of Colorado, pose some challenges for farmers who seek to grow the perfect crop. The key to success is planting in places where there is adequate drainage and a more moderate climate. Rivers running through valleys help regulate dramatic weather changes, and make places such as the Grand Valley, North Fork Valley and Gunnison valley ideal for grape production in Colorado.Learn more »