Monday, July 31, 2017

What Kind of Motor Oil Should I Use?

what oil for my car
For consumers who are looking for ways to save money, motor oil seems like a good place to cut some costs. While it’s a relatively low-cost item, you can quickly run up expenses by using the wrong oil. Read on to get answers to your questions about motor oil.

What motor oil do I need for my car?

Because engines vary so widely across makes and models, auto makers recommend specific types of motor oil for each vehicle. This information can be found in your owner’s manual, which you should always keep in your glove box.
Always ensure that the oil that’s going into your car is designed specifically for automotive use or it can cause permanent damage to your engine. If you lost your owner’s manual or you’re not sure what you need, check with the dealership where you bought your car and get their advice on what is best for your particular vehicle.

Synthetic oil vs. conventional: which is better?

Not all oil is created equal, so in order to keep your car running properly it’s important you know what you’re getting – and what you need. Many of today’s cars use lightweight synthetic oils that aren’t readily available on the store shelves. If you find yourself in need of a quart of oil between oil changes – or if you’re going to change the oil yourself – it’s important you check your owner’s manual and find out exactly what you need.
Remember that if your car uses synthetic oils, you shouldn’t use traditional oil, it can compromise the longevity and performance of your engine. However, it is fine to use synthetic oils in an older car that has previously only used conventional oil. It’s important that you read your owner’s manual and know what needs to go into your vehicle.

Should I buy cheap motor oil?

You don’t have to spend a fortune on motor oil; there are several ways to save money on motor oil without sacrificing the safety of your vehicle. They include:
  • Shop for oil at a wholesale club or at big-box discounters
  • Buy oil by the case, which usually offers some sort of discount
  • Join a rewards program at an automotive parts retailer, and you can typically earn rewards or get discounts on your future purchases
If you need multiple bottles of oil, it‘s cheaper to buy it in a one-gallon jug, although many people find such a big bottle difficult to handle. (You can always pour it into a smaller container when adding the oil to your vehicle, to keep from spilling it on the engine.)
You may find some great prices online, but look for a seller that offers free shipping. Since motor oil is a heavy liquid, you may find the shipping cost offsets any potential savings.
While we all want to save money, remember that it stops being a bargain the minute it causes damage to your vehicle. Knowing what to look for on the label can save you both time and money and give you peace of mind.
Now you know you have the right oil – but do you have the right car insurance? Learn more about the benefits of Nationwide auto insurance coverage, including auto insurance discounts.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Deck vs. Patio: What’s the Difference and Which One is Right for You?

deck vs patio
Two worthy outdoor opponents. One difficult question: deck or patio?
If you’re going to invest in an outdoor space, you want to carefully consider all of the factors. Learn the difference between a deck and patio, then use the deck vs. patio pros and cons charts below to help you decide.

The difference between a deck and patio

A deck is an open outdoor porch or platform without a roof that extends from a house. On the other hand, a patio is a paved area situated directly on the ground, which can either be attached or detached from a house.
Now that you know the difference between a patio and deck, use the charts below to help you decide which one is right for you.

Pros and cons of a deck

Pros of a deckCons of a deck
Higher resale value
There’s an 87% return on investment for a wooden deck on average, higher than all indoor home renovations.
More maintenance
Depending on the material, decks need to be power washed, stained and sealed every couple of years.
Works well on uneven terrain
Decks can be installed on any type of land, even if your yard is not level.
Shorter lifespan
Wood is more susceptible to weather and can rot over time, as well as fade and become discolored if not properly treated.
Good for a view
Since a deck can be built off the ground, it serves up a better view, which can increase your home’s value.
Possible permit
Many towns and cities have different terms and may require a permit before building a deck, which may mean a fee and waiting period.
Easily customizable
A wooden deck can be painted or stained to the color or shade you desire. It can even be stained to match the exterior design of your house.
While the price depends on the material, decks are usually more expensive, with an average cost of $30 per square foot for high-end decking material.
Comfortable in heat
If you live in a warmer climate and your home gets a lot of sunlight, wooden decks naturally absorb and retain less heat.
Weight restrictions
Consider weight when it comes to the design of your deck, specifically when you want to add a hot tub or outdoor kitchen.

Pros and cons of a patio

A patio is a paved area situated directly on the ground, which can either be attached or detached from a house.
Pros of a patioCons of a patio
Less expensive
Installing a patio flush to the ground can cost much less than a deck. At about $5 a square foot, concrete is usually the least expensive option.
Not for uneven terrain
Patios are best suited for even ground and the cost of creating a level foundation is very high.
Easy maintenance
Patios don’t require regular maintenance. While you may choose to seal your patio, it’s not necessary, since pavers and stone patios are extremely durable.
Prone to cracks
There’s more risk of a patio cracking if the soil under the concrete was not properly prepared. Cracking is also more likely in areas of extreme temperatures.
More privacy
Patios are lower to the ground and have more flexibility in design and landscaping to provide privacy.
Slipping risk
In colder areas, ice can easily form on a patio’s surface and raise the risk of falling.
Long lifespan
A quality patio can last more than 25 years and maintain its value without much upkeep.
Susceptible to stains
Once a patio’s surface is stained with food, drink or natural stains such as leaves, it’s difficult to clean.
No permits
Installing a patio doesn’t typically require a building permit or inspections.
More construction
Patios may require more intensive construction and can take longer to install, particularly in areas with a lot of ground movement and where reinforcement is necessary.
If you add a deck or patio to your home, it’s a good idea to make sure you have the necessary property coverage. Learn how a home insurance check-up can ensure your policy is up-to-date and help you stay protected.
If you’re still in renovation mode after deciding on an outdoor space, check out 10 more improvements that can add value to your home

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

6 Tips for Safe Online Banking

is online banking safe
More than half of U.S. adults bank online, according to Pew Research Center, and about a third of them bank via cell phone. Given the popularity, it’s important to ask; Is online banking safe?
Despite concerns about identity theft, online banking is as safe as any other banking transaction, says Murray W. Kenyon, senior vice president of technology risk management for BITS Financial Services Roundtable. However, when consumers conduct transactions online, they need to be conscious of their decisions because certain online behaviors can put them at risk, he adds.
Here are six online banking security tips to help keep your money and identity safe:

1.Change your password regularly

The best thing consumers can do to protect themselves is to change their passwords every 90 days, Kenyon says. Never use a word and always use a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers and special characters. Words are too easy to guess, particularly if they’re related to your persona, such as your mother’s maiden name, the street where you live or your pet’s name.
The longer the password, the better, Kenyon adds. Many government agencies require passwords to be at least 14 characters. Kenyon offers this tip for creating a long password that is easy to remember: Pick a well-known verse and add numbers and letters to it that will be easy to remember. Make your password even harder to crack by replacing letters with special characters.

2. Refrain from using public computers or Wi-Fi when banking online

Anytime you are using public Wi-Fi, you have to assume that someone can access your browser history and your password. So if you are doing anything that requires you to log in, such as banking or reading email, you are putting yourself at risk, Kenyon says. This applies even if you have your email or other password-protected sites set up to automatically insert your password for you and log in.

3. Check your bank statement regularly

Check your bank statement each month, Kenyon suggests. Even though banks are highly skilled at recognizing fraud, particularly with credit cards, they might not always be able to catch every questionable transaction among every customer, so you should be sure to review your statement monthly.

4. Use licensed anti-virus software

Even Mac users need to invest in good anti-virus software, Kenyon says. Be sure to check for updates frequently. Either set your computer to check for updates automatically and alert you or plan to check yourself every Saturday or Sunday morning. But, Kenyon warns, don’t set your computer to download the update automatically. Downloading manually provides the best protection from malware and viruses.

5. Disconnect your Internet when not using it

Computers that are always connected to the Internet are vulnerable. Most consumers get their internet through their cable company and the Wi-Fi is always on. Be sure your Wi-Fi is password-protected, Kenyon states, and if you can, it’s a good idea to disconnect your computer from the Wi-Fi when you’re not using it.

6. Type your bank URL every time instead of using email links

Never click on a URL in an email, even if it looks like it’s from a trusted source, Kenyon says. “The email and link might look very legitimate but it could take you somewhere you don’t want to go,” he says. Always retype the URL into your computer before using it or bookmark your bank’s actual authenticated site, especially if you are using it for an online transaction or to provide sensitive information.
For more online banking security tips on protecting your accounts, as well as a cyber-security quiz to test your digital habits, visit Nationwide’s cyber security resource center. Nationwide Financial is a member of the Financial Services Roundtable.

Monday, July 24, 2017

How to Be a Friendly Neighbor

neighborhood etiquette
A plate of cookies can go a long way.
“Getting to know people is a peacemaking strategy,” says Laura Jeffords, an Asheville, N.C. community mediator who is on the board of the National Association for Community Mediation (NAFCM).

Starting off as a friendly neighbor

Making friendly overtures to newcomers sets the tone for your own relationship and can shape the culture of the entire neighborhood, says Jeffords, especially in changing or growing areas popular with families escaping cities, retirees seeking peace and quiet and longtime residents who expect to raise livestock or pets on their land.

Dialogue can help set neighborhood etiquette

People with different backgrounds, lifestyles and cultures often have different expectations about what it means to be a respectful, friendly neighbor, she says. Someone who wants to be left alone may not be happy to open the front door on Saturday morning and be faced with small talk from neighbors out for a walk. Conversely, newcomers seeking friends may misconstrue neighborly boundaries as standoffishness.
All of that is often unsaid, and that’s why conversations help defuse conflicts before they even start, says Jeffords. “The ultimate goal is for everyone to live peacefully in the neighborhood,” she says. A great conversation starter is to ask what the neighbor wants from living in the neighborhood. You can find mutual aspirations and bond over shared hopes.

Look over ordinances and rules

Review municipal ordinances and homeowners’ association rules to understand what’s OK before complaining. Homeowners’ associations regulations can dictate details right down to visitor parking and when it’s all right to water flowers. Municipal noise and nuisance ordinances usually outline what activities are allowed when. If your neighbor revs up the leaf blower at 8 a.m. on Saturdays, exactly when the law says he can, he’s perfectly within his rights.

How to approach a neighbor with a complaint

If a problem emerges, approach your neighbor with the expectation that you can easily work out a solution instead of expecting pushback. Jeffords says that a common problem of afternoon noise – from barking dogs, children playing outdoors or construction – can be disruptive to some.
Neighbors may not realize how disruptive the noise is for you. Explain the impact of the noise and ask how your families can arrive at a solution. Most people, are sympathetic and will offer a compromise, such as keeping a dog inside in the afternoon. After all, they’ll expect the same courtesy when they make requests of you. Common disputes, according to NAFCM records, include pets, pet noise, trash and traffic.
Jeffords’ tips for handling such disputes: Anticipate and try to mitigate the impact of traffic, congestion, parking and inconveniences if you run a home-based business that involves deliveries or a stream of clients to your house. Even regular meetings of a book club can cause difficulties if neighbors can’t easily get into their own driveways. Set rules and expectations for business operations and guests to minimize the impact on your neighbors.

Home improvement neighborhood etiquette

Home improvement projects inflict a heightened level of disruption, especially in city neighborhoods. Before your project starts, review neighborhood regulations and rules with the contractor. You might even draw up a courtesy sheet and ask the contractor to give it to all subcontractors so they know what disruptions are allowed, and when.
Clue your neighbors into the project schedule so they can plan accordingly.
Walk the project site daily and pick up debris that might end up in neighbors’ yards, especially important when they have pets or small children. When it’s all over, invite your patient neighbors over for an open house so they can see what all the fuss was about.

Find easy ways you can help your neighbors out

It’s always smart to turn your daily activities into an advantage for your neighbors. If you’re always catching the delivery van, offer to hold packages for neighbors with 9-to-5 jobs. If you’re nitpicky about your garden, offer to water your neighbors’ plants while they’re away for the weekend. If your neighbors are going to be away for an extended period, offer to look after their house. There are a few things a neighbor can do to help keep a house safe when the owners are away.
Having an open dialogue about neighborhood etiquette and offering a few friendly gestures can go a long way. That’s the kind of give-and-take that brings neighbors, and entire neighborhoods, together.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

6 Tips for Trading in a Car (and Getting a Good Deal)

car trade in deals
Buying a new vehicle is an exciting prospect for car owners. Who doesn’t like the thought of driving away in a shiny new model with the latest bells and whistles? But for some, stepping into a dealership can be daunting. Options seem endless and confusing, and negotiating can be stressful.
On top of that, there’s the issue of what to do with your current car. It’s true that selling a used car yourself is often more profitable than a trade-in. But there are also advantages to trading that car to the dealer, including paying less in sales tax. By subtracting the trade-in amount from the new car price, “You would only pay sales tax on the difference that’s left,” says Lauren Fix, an automotive expert known as the Car Coach.
Once a decision is made to trade your used vehicle, there are a number steps you can take to help get you the best deal from the car dealership. Here are 6 tips to help you get a fair deal on your trade-in car:

1. Stage your car

Some car experts advocate taking your car ‘as is’ to the dealer – they can tell if it’s in good shape regardless. But others believe a thorough cleaning reflects on how you treated the car overall, and can give you an extra edge.
“Stage it,” says Fix. “Get all the junk out of the vehicle. Have the car washed, waxed and vacuumed, because the dealer is going to walk around it and make a determination on its value when you bring it in.” Clean the engine, too, so when you pop the hood you don’t see grime and grease.

2. Fix the dings

Lauren Fix also advises getting small, exterior dings fixed. “You want to make the car look as new as you can,” she says. This goes only for cars with less than 50,000 miles, she adds, because vehicles with high mileage typically go to auction, where appearance is not so important.

3. Have receipts handy

The first step should start when you initially acquire the car: keeping records and receipts. If so, when the day arrives to finally trade your vehicle, you can show the dealer receipts for all the purchases and repair work done on the car. If the dealer questions the condition of a certain engine part or area of the car, you can back up your side with a receipt. “Even though the dealer might throw those receipts out later, it says you took care of the car and ‘here’s proof,’” says Fix.

4. Do some competitive research

Another important step to take before arriving at the dealer is to do your homework. Visit multiple websites and check the value of similar vehicles with the same mileage while monitoring ecommerce sites to follow your car model’s auction price. “Print out that information,” says Fix. “The first offer you get from the dealer is going to be low.” When you counter-offer with a higher price you can say, “here’s the paperwork to back that up,’” she says.

5. Look for promotions

Be aware that a dealership’s offer on your trade-in can be affected by several factors, including current inventory and the likelihood the car will sell. Look for dealers who may be offering special promotions with trade-ins, or visit at the end of the month when sales quotas need to be met. It’s always recommended to get quotes from competing dealerships to find the best deal.
Walking into the dealership with a folder of receipts and research on your car’s market value can help you establish a price for your trade-in up front. “You can make a straight-up deal,” says Fix. “‘I want to sell you this truck for $10,000,’ and put that money into the new car.” This puts the business of trade-in haggling to rest and allows you to focus on your main goal: finding the new car you want.

6. Prepare to walk

Finally, if the deal doesn’t make you happy, don’t be afraid to walk away. “Never be pressured to sign on the bottom line,” says Fix.
These trade-in tips can help you get a fair price for your old car. But what should you look for when buying your next car? Here are some key tips for buying a new car.

Monday, July 17, 2017

How Ridesharing is Changing the Future of Car Ownership

Ridesharing and auto industry trends
Since the post-World War II years – dating back at least to the 1950s – Americans have been in love with the automobile. Coming of driving age and earning that all-important driver’s license became a rite of passage that has been the focal point of many a teenager’s existence. But today, that love affair with the automobile is slipping away. As a growing number of consumers look for transportation solutions versus driving experiences, some experts say the entire model of how we approach car ownership is changing.
“Fundamentally, people’s desire for mobility is unchanged,” said Rich Sampson of the Community Transportation Association of America. “They want to get where they’re going as safely, quickly and affordably as possible.”
But technology, which has changed how we access everything from music to mobility, is also changing the way we look at transportation, how we access it and what we do once we’re inside a car.
“What ridesharing, and the technology that underscores it, has accomplished is presenting new ways to make decisions about which mode of mobility is best suited to meet our needs at any given moment,” Sampson says.

Next-generation ownership

Part of the shift in consumers’ view of car ownership comes from a new generation of drivers who are more interested in getting their hands on the latest technologies than getting behind the wheel of a car. For them, car ownership simply doesn’t hold the appeal it had for previous generations.
Arun Sundararajan, a professor of information, operations and management sciences at New York University, told the Los Angeles Times, “People below the age of 30 are much more likely to identify with their mobile and computing devices than their cars.”
According to a study from the U.S. research firm Penn Schoen Berland, more than half of Millennials surveyed are open to sharing rides with others; the only thing they are more likely to share than car rides are books. One-third of them are willing to rent out their vehicles, and where the idea of a first car once dominated teenage obsessions, today these people are more focused on the latest technology and devices.
According to the Washington Post, only about half of Millennials today get their driver’s licenses before the age of 18.
What still exists, however, is the need to get from point A to point B, and for that they turn to the growing number of alternative forms of transportation, such as the ridesharing industry.
A 2015 study by Frank N. Magid Associates found that 18% of respondents aged 18 to 64 had used a ridesharing service, and 22% said they would delay buying a new car because of the availability of such transportation services. In a single year the usage of ride-hailing services jumped from just 5% in 2014 to 18% in 2015.
From all outside appearances, Millennials are well on their way to creating a lifestyle that chooses shared rides over ownership – and that could change the future of the automotive industry.

Sharing the Road, Sharing the Ride

Of course, sharing rides isn’t exactly a new idea. In the paper Ridesharing in North America: Past, Present, and Future, Nelson D. Chan and Susan A. Shaheen of the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California Berkeley show the evolution of ridesharing, which they break down into five eras:
  1. World War II car-sharing or carpooling clubs
  2. Carpooling in response to the 1970s energy crisis
  3. Early organized ridesharing schemes
  4. Reliable ridesharing systems
  5. Technology-enabled ride-matching services
Before there were apps to hail a car, there were posts on Facebook to catch a ride. Before that there were hand-written requests on bulletin boards at work or at the local coffeehouse from people looking for ways to reach their destinations.
While the purpose behind the request hasn’t changed, what has changed is how those requests are made, thanks to the marriage of technology and transportation.
Millennials are the first generation to lead us into a new, tech-driven culture in which they increasingly telecommute for work. They are more likely to use public transportation, live in cities or urban areas and be comfortable connecting digitally instead of meeting in person.
Data shows that Millenials are also more likely to rent than to buy. All of those factors point to a dwindling demand in car ownership. In fact, Gary Silberg, KPMG’s national sector lead partner for the automotive industry, says that two-car households  could soon become a thing of the past.
“Right now in the U.S., 57% of households have two or more cars,” he says. “But I think we’re going to see that change. We’re getting to the point where maybe you only need one car instead of two.”
He predicts that by 2040, the number of two-car households will decrease to 43% and will continue sliding.
As more on-demand and ride-hailing and car-sharing services become available, the cost of ownership becomes more difficult to justify, he pointed out. Services can be used to pick up children from soccer practice, take us to concerts and even to run errands. In downtown areas where parking is typically expensive and hard to find, ride-sharing services can prove less costly than parking and often much more convenient.
“In urban areas, the cost of vehicle ownership tends to be much higher, and other alternatives, ranging from bikes to mass transit to mobility on demand, are much cheaper and more convenient,” says Silberg.

Global ridesharing trend

America is far from alone in experiencing a shift away from the traditional ownership model. Car-sharing services now are available in more than 1,000 cities around the world. In addition, some car manufacturers have rolled out their own car-sharing services, forced to begin rethinking how they approach consumers.

Auto industry trend: the emergence of driverless cars

Auto industry insiders say as many as 10 million driverless cars could be on the road by 2020 and KPMG’s Silberg says that, too, could affect both auto ownership and traffic issues such as congestion and parking.
Imagine a driverless car that can be summoned by an app, deliver the passenger to their desired location and then move on to the next passenger. Instead of sitting in a parking garage, perhaps that car – sans a human driver – stays on the road throughout the day, picking up passengers and carrying them to their destination.
“If we share cars, the economy of owning a car will decline,” Silberg says. “The rationale for ownership is changing.”
Researchers including UC Berkeley’s Chan and Shaheen agree the model is changing, but it is because of a perfect storm of factors, not because of one single catalyst.
Chan says that automakers are already adjusting to some of these auto industry trends and are “beginning to view themselves not as auto manufacturers, but mobility providers.”
“It should be interesting to see what automakers continue to do,” he says. “As they continue to innovate and collaborate with other providers, agencies and researchers, passenger transportation is going to continue to change in major ways, reducing the need for car ownership and driving alone.”
Want more insight into the future of transportation? Learn the impact connected cars could have on how we get around.

Friday, July 14, 2017

How to Manage Small Business Risks

The business you are building has been an all-consuming priority, a labor of love. You’ve devoted time and trouble to get the business up and running. Your creativity keeps it growing. You’re a rock of commitment.
It’s exactly because you’re so devoted to the business, though, that you might be overlooking business risk factors that are obvious to others.
Experts call it “confirmation bias.” People see what they want to see, filtering out facts and observations that contradict what they want to believe. It’s a universal affliction, doubly dangerous when you’re making decisions about your company, because you’re shaping your financial future as well as that of your family and your company.
The odds of success are with you, at least if your company is big enough to have employees. The Small Business Administration reports that about two-thirds of businesses with employees make it for at least two years, and about half survive to their five-year anniversary.  Small business survival rates are remarkably consistent, changing little in boom times or recessions, regardless of the type of business or industry.
That makes you, the owner, one of your company’s biggest wild cards. Here’s how to manage business risks as well as the risk you represent to your company.

Head in the clouds, feet on the ground

Eric Sowatsky, a senior manager with accounting and consulting firm Yeo & Yeo, headquartered in Saginaw, Mich., says the entrepreneurs he works with bring energy and enthusiasm to their concepts—along with a determination to overcome barriers to success.
Sowatsky seeks to be a voice of reason for his clients without being a buzzkill, asking questions designed to uncover small business risk factors that have the greatest chance of derailing the venture.
He starts where all entrepreneurs should start: with a business plan. He and Emilia DiMenco, president and CEO of the Women’s Business Development Center, which provides business advice and financing to startups and established businesses alike, agree that solid business plans are important.
Entrepreneurs, says DiMenco, “must have a business plan that includes their business goals and objectives and that addresses potential barriers and market realities.” That means being realistic about the likelihood of success and being careful not to be so in love with your ideas that you underestimate the competition and other market realities.

Talk to partners about business risk management

Neutralize the risk factor that is your enthusiasm by having a tough-questions session with a business partner, peer group or advisor who knows you well, recommends Sowatsky. If they’ve seen you manage business decisions and deal with the repercussions, they will provide the dose of common sense that you probably need.
“You want someone with experience who can point out things you haven’t thought about and possibly say, ‘That’s a great idea, but I don’t see how that’s a valid business right now,’” says Sowatsky.

Checks and balances for business risks

Business advisors agree that starting a company requires an assessment of your family’s financial future so you can create a buffer zone.
How you structure your venture will dictate the risk you take on. Many business owners choose to incorporate because it creates an element of distance between their family’s finances and the company’s operations. Informal partnerships can be vulnerable because one partner might be sued for another’s actions. This is a key topic to review with a business advisor or attorney.

Have small business insurance to help cover business risk

Small business insurance is an elemental expense, experts say. Business insurance covers errors, omissions and other liabilities that are created simply because the company exists.
As your company grows, you’ll have to cover the lives and ability to work of key players, such as the partners or top executives.  If one key player dies or cannot work, the policy covers the cost of bringing on a replacement and, depending on the particulars, might also cover the cost of business continuation, such as consulting to recover lost information. Assess how your own death or disability might affect the company’s ability to operate and your family income, and insure accordingly.
In addition, stay ahead of risks to help avoid the damage they can cause before they occur. Find out if your insurance includes access to risk management resources. While a business continuity plan can help prepare you for the unexpected, other loss control tactics like ergonomic programs, routine safety meetings or maintenance inspections can reduce risks you may not have considered. Taking these precautions can help protect both your bottom line and your reputation.

Adding up small business risks

Outlining small business risk factors isn’t a glamorous entrepreneurship exercise, but it can be turned into a chance to sharpen your financial acumen, says DiMenco. Investors and business partners expect to see risk management as part of your strategy, she says.
“What happens if Plan A doesn’t work? What’s your Plan B?” That’s the risk management mind-set that becomes second nature for seasoned business owners, says DiMenco. “What causes a business to fail is often not lack of profitability in the first year but poor cash management,” she says.
One way to minimize business risk all the way around is to consider your entrepreneurial venture as another phase in your career, not as a one-way exit from the corporate world, says E.J. Reedy, a senior research fellow with the Kauffman Foundation in Kansas City.
As you size up possibilities for a launch or expansion, explore how this step develops your skills and marketability, should you return to traditional employment.
For instance, winning and keeping customers makes you adept at “business development and customer service.” Shifting gears to offer what customers truly want—not just what you want to sell them—is “product innovation.”
The process of starting up and growing a company expands your network in new directions. “Exiting the company is not necessarily failure,” says Reedy. “There might be a business there, but not the business you want to do forever. Think of entrepreneurship as a phase of your career. “

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Flag Etiquette: When, Where, and How to Display the American Flag

American Flag Etiquette
The cardinal rule about displaying the American flag is to do it respectfully.
In 1924, a committee of Army and Navy representatives met with other nation groups to work out a code of flag etiquette, establishing a set of rules for displaying Old Glory.
The code, was approved by the committee on what became Flag Day, June 14.
Congress approved the U.S. Flag Code in 1942, establishing an official etiquette for the handling and display of the U.S. Flag.
The essential rules for displaying the flag include:
  • Don’t let the sun set on a flying flag. Flags can be displayed 24 hours a day, however, if they are illuminated in the dark.
  • When multiple flags are displayed on a single pole or lanyard, as with state or municipal flags, the U.S. flag should always be on top.
  • When flags are flown in a row, the American flag should always be on the observer’s far left.
  • When displayed during a parade with other flags, the American flag should always be to the observer’s left. The flag carrier should hold the flag to his or her right side.
  • When hoisting a flag on a flagpole, everyone should stand at attention facing the flag. People in uniform should salute as the flag is raised; non-uniformed observers should remove their hats and place their right hands over their hearts.
  • All-weather flags can be flown during rain, though they should be taken down in high winds.
  • Never dip the flag for a person, another flag or a vessel.
  • Don’t let the flag touch the ground. However, the schoolyard myth that any American flag that touches the ground must be burned is false. Soiled flags that are not beyond repair should be laundered and re-flown, flag experts say. There’s even a tradition among some commercial laundries and dry cleaners to do the cleaning for free.
  • Don’t fly the flag upside down except in an emergency such as a boat in distress.
  • Don’t use the flag to decorate shelves, railings or lecterns. That’s what bunting is for.
There are no limits on the size of displayed U.S. flags, and it’s fairly common nowadays to see flags that could cover most of a football field. But no flag displayed alongside of the U.S. flag should be larger.

Home display

For home display, the standard practice is to use a staff that angles upward from a home’s front wall, though it’s also appropriate to hang the flag horizontally. The staff should be held in place by a bracket or screw.
The homeowner should be careful not to let the flag touch the ground or the floor. The “union,” the field of stars, should always be positioned at the flag’s peak. When the flag is displayed against a wall, the union should be at the top left.
You can fly a flag from your car, with the staff firmly attached to the right side of the car.

Flying at half staff

The U.S. president or any state governor can order flags to be flown at half-staff and set the length of their remaining that way. The rule of thumb is 30 days for the death of a president or former president, 10 days for a vice president, a chief justice of the Supreme Court or the speaker of the House of Representatives.
On Memorial Day the flag should be flown at half-staff from sunrise until noon, when it should be raised to full staff, honoring the nation’s war heroes. Other days on which the flag is typically flown half-staff are September 11, Pearl Harbor Day (December 7), and Peace Officers Memorial Day (May 15). However, the flag should not be at half-staff for Veterans Day (November 11), which is a celebratory holiday.

Flag disposal

To retire or dispose of a damaged flag, Section 176 of the U.S. Flag Code says that when “The Flag…is…no longer a fitting emblem of display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning.” Respectfully place the folded flag at the center of a fire, being careful not let fragments of the flag drift away. Then bury the ashes.
Before you do this, however, be sure to check local ordinances about building fires. Also, check the material of the flag; burning nylon or other artificial fibers can create a health hazard. If you have no other option, check with patriotic organizations in your community, like VFW or the Boy Scouts, about leaving the damaged flag for them to dispose of.
Clearly, the rules for using the U.S. Flag are complex, often addressing issues of handling and treatment of the flag in microscopic detail. But the rules are a mark of the seriousness with which Americans treat their bond with their native land and the reverence they have for their national flag.