Columns

Vail Daily column: Financial tips for single parents

July 28, 2016 — 

Parenting is never an easy job — and, unfortunately, it can be especially difficult if you’re doing it on your own. As a single parent, you face many challenges, not the least of which are the financial ones. But by following the suggestions below, you may be able to make life easier — for you and your children.

• Create a safety net. On any given day, you could incur an unexpected — and unexpectedly large — expense, such as major car repair, a new furnace or a toothache-inducing bill from your dentist. Your daily cash flow may not be enough to cover these bills, and you won’t want to tap into some of your long-term investments or retirement accounts. So you’ll need to build a safety net, or emergency fund, containing three to six months’ worth of living expenses, held in a liquid, low-risk account.

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Vail Daily column: The time is now to address affordable workforce housing

July 28, 2016 — 

A friend sent me a newspaper column that focused on the community impacts resulting from a lack of workforce housing along the Oregon coast. It outlined the case of tourism-driven communities whose housing crisis can’t be solved by the free-market alone and whose communities are negatively impacted by the lack of affordable housing options.

Importantly, the communities along the Oregon coast recognize that “it’s not just tourism-based businesses that are running into this problem. The hospitals are saying doctors and nurses aren’t coming because they can’t find affordable housing. Teachers are saying the same thing. Builders are not building for the low-income market. They are going for the least risk and highest reward. Someone building million dollar homes isn’t going to suddenly say, ‘Oh, out of the goodness of my heart, I’ll build a $200,000 home.’”

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Time flies, no matter what

July 27, 2016 — 

Time flies, whether we are having fun or not. I mean, here we are already at the end of July. Seven months have passed since the beginning of the year. I am not sure about you, but for me, the time has absolutely flown by.

I had a conversation with a gentleman today. He has three children, and the youngest one is a 9-month-old daughter. He passionately shared how he feels about his wife and children, but he lamented on how fast they all seem to be growing up and changing — especially his 9-month-old daughter.

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Vail Daily column: What's left unsaid

July 26, 2016 — 

There are approximately 1,025,109 words in the English language. It is the richest of all languages — or, perhaps, simply the most verbose. For those of you keeping score, linguists cite Taki Taki, a Creole dialect spoken mainly in Suriname, as having the fewest, with a scant 350.

Presuming there are about 500 words on a standard written page, if we were to use all 1,025,109 English words in a single document without a single repetition, we would have to deforest a substantial copse of larch, pine or hemlock. Once more, for the scorekeepers among you, 1,025,109 words would take up 2,050 pages — the King James Bible is about 1,200 pages and the United States tax code is about 74,000 — but, of course, simply strung together, all 1,025109 words would make no sense. To have meaning, you would have to arrange them with their proper verbs, particles and adverbs. And to make it interesting, you would have to recruit a Shakespeare, Milton or Lahiri.

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Stuck in the 'on' position

July 25, 2016 — 

The fight or flight response has served humans and animals well.

The term “fight or flight” describes an automatic physiological response in the body in which humans and animals quickly summon great amounts energy in order to cope with a threat of survival —usually that of becoming prey or becoming injured. In situations where we are faced with danger, the body becomes flooded with hormones that elevate heart rate, increase blood pressure, boost energy and prepare the body to deal with the problem.

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Vail Daily column: Can America afford to have a ceremonial president?

July 25, 2016 — 

In normal times, the report this week that Donald Trump wanted John Kasich to be the real president would have made more of a splash.

According to Kasich aides, the Trump campaign desperately wanted the Ohio governor to be his running mate. Kasich, out of concern for his eternal soul or his political future, resisted the idea. But the Trump campaign pressed harder. At one point Donald Trump Jr. reached out with an amazing offer, according to the New York Times: How would Kasich like to be the most powerful vice president in American history? If elected, Trump would put Kasich in charge of two broad areas of policy making.

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Vail Daily column: Is your business elevating the Vail experience?

July 24, 2016 — 

I was recently talking with a couple from Florida who were visiting Vail for the first time. Joe and Suzie explained to me that they were not skiers, but had decided to spend a few weeks in Vail because of the wonderful summers in Colorado’s High Country. During our visit they mentioned to me they were having a fantastic vacation and truly enjoying the wonderful weather, the beautiful scenery and the plethora of hiking, biking and sight-seeing in our valley.

Perfect Combinations

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Vail Daily column: Bristlecone pine is the elder of the forest

July 23, 2016 — 

Long ago, before the discovery of the Eagle Valley and even before the rise of Egyptian pharaohs, a young seed drifted on the wind and landed in the Rocky Mountains. This young seed took hold of the bare mineral soil, surviving the cold winters and strong winds when other seeds from far away could not. Long roots spread around the seed like an underground web, catching water as it flowed downhill and a thick, sturdy trunk packed with resin locked out ice and rot. Many years passed until this young seed grew into a tree, with waxy, bottle-brush needles in fascicles of five and dark purple cones. Soon, this tree was towering above the rest, like an elder watching over their family, as a mature, fully-grown bristlecone pine.

Resilient Species

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Vail Daily column: Political climate may keep rates low

July 22, 2016 — 

To say the world could collectively use a good dose of Valium right now would likely be an understatement. Indeed, the summer of 2016 could be viewed as the summer of world’s collective discontent.

Politically, our nation has never been so divided, about the only thing everyone can agree on is their favorite candidate is the lesser of the evils. Racial tensions are high. Concerns about terrorist attacks lurk on everyone’s mind. Other countries view our elections as a circus and have to wonder what is next, and are facing ongoing social and economic issues of their own.

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Vail Daily column: How important is negotiation on selling side?

July 22, 2016 — 

Dear Joan,

I have been told it is very important to choose a Realtor who is an excellent negotiator when you are buying a home, or any property, for that matter. That point makes perfect sense to me, since you want your agent to negotiate the very lowest price, and most inclusions possible, when you are buying a house.

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Vail Daily column: Manufacturing jobs important to a diversified economy

July 21, 2016 — 

According to the Alliance for American Manufacturing, more than 6 million U.S. manufacturing jobs vanished between 1998 and 2010. Colorado lost more than 52 thousand manufacturing jobs since 2001. These middle-class jobs provided workers with a good way of life and, with their loss, entire communities have been devastated. Although manufacturing continues to struggle, there are signs of recovery and success stories in places including the Vail Valley.

We continue to work hard to ensure the Vail Valley has a diverse, year-round economy with a variety of strong industry sectors. The Eagle County economic development plan outlines the strategies and tactics, including marketing our valley and building a business-friendly environment in which businesses can succeed.

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Vail Daily column: Investing: A marathon, not a sprint

July 21, 2016 — 

In two weeks, the 2016 Summer Olympics begin in Rio de Janeiro. One of the most compelling events is the marathon, a 26.2-mile endurance contest with roots dating back to ancient Greece. It may be that we’ve kept our interest in the marathon because it can teach us much about life — and it certainly has lessons for investors.

In fact, if you were to compare investing to an Olympic sport, it would be much closer to a marathon than a sprint.

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Vail Daily column: Making the most of what we have

July 20, 2016 — 

Have you ever heard that saying, “Use it or lose it?” It is probably one of those messages we have all heard time and time again — so much so that maybe it has lost some of the power or meaning or we have conditioned ourselves to ignore it.

When we do not use our creativity, our minds can become dull. When we do not work out, our muscles can atrophy or shrink. We either “use it or lose it.”

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Vail Daily column: Adhesion contracts

July 19, 2016 — 

We’ve all been through the drill. The excitement of buying a new home — or a new car, or any number of new things — is tempered by the heap of paper stacked before you when you go to finalize the thing, like Jack’s proverbial beanstalk reaching to the sky.

Incredulous, you say something like, “Am I really supposed to read all of this?” to the closing agent, “let alone try and understand it?”

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Vail Daily column: 'You know what happens when you assume ... '

July 17, 2016 — 

Prone to believing that I understood situations better than I actually did, I would frequently hear the refrain from my folks: “You know what happens when you assume … you make (a donkey) out of you and me.” The family nature of this publication takes a bit of the zing out of the saying, but its poignancy still remains. It is one of my favorite expressions, not because of the wordplay, but because of the truth. In these troubled times, the dastardly nature of assumptions is increasingly evident. Taking the time to listen and to understand instead of rushing to judgment could save us all a great deal of heartache …and maybe even our lives.

Human Shortcomings

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Vail Daily column: Help stop aquatic hitchhikers in Eagle County

July 17, 2016 — 

As enjoyers of our aquatic playgrounds in the summertime, most of us that fish and boat are aware that human activity has impacts. We’re probably less conscious that our own recreation practices may be leaving a mark. Invasive pests known as aquatic nuisance species are a growing threat to our water systems. These aquatic hitchhikers include disease-spreading bacteria, animals, and plants — some can be seen, others can’t. As non-native species they have no natural competition or predator, which makes it easy for them to spread rapidly and decimate our native species.

Worst Offenders

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Vail Daily column: Scatological specimens

July 16, 2016 — 

“Ewwwww!” The kids were clearly repulsed as I wantonly picked up piece after piece of what looked like elk scat, holding it out for them to get a closer look. In case you don’t know, scat is the scientific term for animal poop. And the study of animal poop, or scatology, can offer tremendous insight into the inner workings of the animal world, if you’ll pardon the pun.

The presence of a particular animal scat in an area can give us a lot of information. First of all, it can tell us what kinds of animals are around — something that could be pretty important to know, especially if you are camping or have young children or pets. Closer examination can tell us even more. What was the bear eating? Were the elk well hydrated? What was the owl’s prey?

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Vail Daily column: Move ahead or go slow with property purchase?

July 15, 2016 — 

Dear Joan,

I am thinking of putting in an offer to purchase a property, but I have a few reservations about the construction and condition of the home. I am also worried about qualifying for the loan, since it is at the very top of my price range. My Realtor is encouraging me to go ahead and put in the offer because I can get out of the contract for any reason”\ during the inspection period. I would like to take a little more time and check into several things before going forward. He says I may not need to check into anything if someone else buys it in the meantime. What are your thoughts?

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Vail Daily column: Workforce report provides insight to business challenges

July 14, 2016 — 

Vail Valley Economic Development released this year’s Eagle County Workforce Survey Report earlier this summer. It’s an annual survey of the business community gauging feedback and soliciting opinions from business owners and managers on a variety of economic issues and business challenges.

Some basics: this survey has been administered in Eagle County since 2006-’07. The survey asks employers about their business outlook, their employees, and their forecasts for the future. This year’s survey was administered between April 1 and May 6, with 128 businesses responding. This was an opt-in rather than a random sample or census survey, so a margin of error cannot be calculated. However, respondents were made up of small and large businesses representing a good cross section of Eagle County’s economy, so these results can be used to reliably assess trends affecting Eagle County businesses and our workforce.

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Vail Daily column: Small-business owners must protect their futures

July 14, 2016 — 

If you’re a small-business owner, then you think a lot about today. Is your cash flow sufficient ... today? Are your products and services competitive ... today? Are you confident in your marketing and advertising efforts ... today? And because you are so focused on today, you may be neglecting a key aspect of tomorrow — your retirement. Specifically, do you have a good retirement plan for yourself?

Given that your personal finances are so tied up with your business, your plans for the business will obviously greatly affect your financial situation when you retire. Whether you want to transfer the business to another family member, sell it outright to someone else or possibly wind it down, you’ll need to plan ahead and consult with your legal and tax advisors.

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Vail Daily column: Oh, what a feeling

July 13, 2016 — 

This is the third and final part of a series of columns that I have shared throughout the past three weeks looking at the power of words and the inspiration of visualization, and today we will complete the cycle as we discuss the positive energy found in shared feelings.

As a quick recap in case you missed the first two columns, we talked about the positive power and influence of maintaining a word bank that is filled with motivating and inspiration words. Replacing any negative words with words like love, kindness, forgiveness, peace, purity, simplicity, gratitude and praise.

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Vail Daily column: Law in the electronic age

July 12, 2016 — 

In one form or another, the law is as old as society itself. Pack animals that we are, rules and rights and sanctioned retribution developed as soon as man rose up on two legs. Law may, after all, be defined simply as the principles and regulations established in a community by some authority and applicable to its people. Laws have been around since we have been around.

If law is an evening star, the electronic age is the first twinkling light on the morning horizon. If the law emerged with man from the primordial inklings of social intercourse, the information age dates back — at its furthest — not more than forty years. The electronic age is a mere bud on the tallest limb of a very ancient spruce.

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Vail Daily column: Vail's celebrates another great July 4

July 10, 2016 — 

As always, the July 4 parade was fabulous with the various floats, bands, dancers, cycles, the Precision Lawn Chair group and, of course, the ever-present political satirist Packy Walker, depicting both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. I did chuckle at the big hands and email zing! After the parade there was the tremendous inspiring musical event at the Ford Amphitheater and then at dusk the great fireworks from Golden Peak. Once again a great day in Vail.

That day caused me to stop and think — I have my two sisters (who live in South Carolina and Juneau, Alaska) and their two kids coming to Vail at the end of July. What can we do? What does Vail offer?

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Vail Daily column: Blue columbine is a source of pride for Colorado

July 9, 2016 — 

If you’ve been out hiking recently, then you have probably seen this striking flower blooming in the summer wind. The pale-blue to lavender sepals, the delicate white petals and the golden pistils is the signature look of Aquilegia caerulea, or, more affectionately, Colorado’s blue columbine.

This eye-popping flower was first spotted by Edwin James, a geographer and geologist way back in 1820. He was the first person to complete a recorded ascent of Pike’s Peak near present-day Colorado Springs as a part of the Stephen Harriman-Long Expedition. In his journal, he described blue columbine growing in “shady woods of pine and spruce within the mountains, rising sometimes to the height of 3 feet” (James et al., 2007). The mountaineer’s description is still true today, and these beautiful flowers can also be found in damp aspen meadows or in the cool shade of Ponderosa pine. Most notably, however, blue columbine is fairly tolerant of the harsh, subalpine environment and can even be found as high as 11,000 feet in elevation, basking in the full summer sun.

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Vail Daily column: Is my son ready to be a real estate agent?

July 8, 2016 — 

Dear Joan,

My son has had numerous jobs for several years ​since​ college, but never a career-type job. I had the pleasure of having a long discussion with him over the past holiday weekend. I think he may be ready to get a real job.

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Vail Daily column: A new wave of homebuyers may be coming

July 8, 2016 — 

The economic upheaval caused by the Great Recession caused some pretty dramatic changes in how Americans have viewed their living situation for nearly a decade now. Millions of consumers lost their homes to foreclosure and millions more had multiple late payments on mortgages, credit cards and car loans. As a result, the percentage of homeownership dropped to record levels and demand for rental housing soared.

Even as millions of people found jobs again and settled old debts, they found themselves still ineligible to buy a home or faced paying a much higher-than-expected interest rate due to low credit scores. If one had a short sale or a foreclosure, the quickest that one could get a federally-insured loan would be three-to-five years and the negative impacts of late payments or a foreclosure on ones credit score could linger for up to seven years.

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Vail Daily column: Nonprofit organizations key to community success

July 7, 2016 — 

Vail Valley Partnership has recently revamped our Nonprofit Network program designed to enhance the presence of nonprofit organizations in the Vail Valley.

There are many organizations doing great work to support out community. This is one of the ways the Vail Valley Partnership is working to connect our nonprofit community with additional resources to help it grow its organizations and to fulfill important missions within the community.

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Vail Daily column: How should investors respond to 'Brexit'?

July 7, 2016 — 

As you know by now, the United Kingdom has voted to leave the European Union. The Brexit vote is expected to have major implications for Britain’s trade and economic relationships — but how might it affect you, as an individual?

At first glance, you might be worried. After all, right after the results came in, we saw a sharp decline in stock markets around the world, including here in the United States. And we may well see more volatility in the near term. But by taking a step back and looking at the big picture, you might see that the outlook for investors is nowhere near as gloomy as you may have thought.

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Vail Daily column: Power of visualizing our future

July 6, 2016 — 

Last week we talked about the power of words and their ability to build up a person and provide us with hope and encouragement, or when used inappropriately, the way they can be so powerfully destructive.

This week I would like to build upon that and add in the power of visualization, specifically the power of a vision board. One of the things that inspires me and encourages me personally is when I visit a client or friend and he or she has a visible vision board somewhere on display at the home or office.

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Vail Daily column: Healthy lifestyle trumps bad genes

July 5, 2016 — 

Do you worry that because your parents passed away early or because diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Type 2 Diabetes or heart disease are prevalent within your family, you too will follow in suit?

This July Fourth is a perfect time to celebrate that you now have learned you have the ability to promote healthier genes. If you were under the misconception that your genes are what they are and that you have no influence on gene activity, then you may want to think again.

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