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Smartphone Apps That You Can Really Use!

by Rob Zwemmer

The smartphone has certainly evolved over the past few years... oh yes, it still makes phone calls too. It is now a virtual on-the-go computer that keeps you on time, informed, productive and entertained. With the right apps you can even turn your device into a helpful money management tool. Check out these apps for your iPhone or Android smartphone, and review the tips on how to download safely.

  1. Mint (iPhone, Android) Mint brings all of your financial accounts together and organizes them into categories so you know how you spend your money. It can help you create a budget, and will help keep your financial goals on track with handy tips, tools and alerts
  2. Sig Fig (iPhone, Android) Syncs your 401(k), IRA, brokerage and other investment accounts so you can track them together in real time. Sig Fig also analyzes your accounts to create investment charts and generate weekly portfolio reports and investment advice.
  3. Manilla (iPhone, Android) Manilla acts as your mobile mailbox by managing your bills in one secure location. The app receives, stores, and alerts you about statements from cell phone providers, credit card companies, magazine subscription services, and more.
  4. Credit Karma (iPhone) This app provides free credit scores and credit monitoring. With Credit Karma, you can view your score and find out when your credit standing has changed. The app also helps you be more credit-conscious by giving you credit report cards complete with information about the factors affecting your score.

App Security

Protect your personal information and privacy when downloading apps:

  • Download apps from reputable sources, such as iTunes or Google Play
  • Check out the customer ratings and reviews
  • Select apps with higher numbers of downloads
  • Research the app developer
  • Review the app permissions. These outline what information the app has access to once downloaded
  • Password-protect your phone and applications in case of a lost or stolen device

 

 

A Great Economic Forecast…

by Rob Zwemmer

After this week’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting, there was left no doubt as to the Fed's dual commitment to keeping long-term interest rates down and encouraging economic growth. No changes to the Fed's current bond-buying program were made during this week’s FOMC meeting. The Fed's monthly purchase of $85 billion in bonds and MBS works by boosting bond prices, which typically helps with keeping mortgage rates lower. The Fed reaffirmed its position that it will not withdraw or reduce monetary easing until the unemployment rate is substantially lower.


Fed predictions for the national unemployment rate improved; December's outlook for 2013 estimated the unemployment rate at between 7.4 to 7.7 percent; the Fed now expects unemployment rates of 7.3 to 7.5 percent by the end of this year. February's jobs report likely influenced this revision as the unemployment rate fell from 7.8 to 7.7 percent.
Lower unemployment rates suggest that more people will be financially prepared for buying homes or refinancing their existing mortgage loans, and the unemployment rate is also expected to fall due to growing numbers of baby boomers leaving the workforce.


Lower Inflation Rates Boost Consumer Purchasing Power. The Fed slightly revised its December forecast for 2013 economic growth of between 2.3 to 3.0 percent. The Fed now predicts economic growth to range between 2.3 and 2.8 percent in 2013, but negative influences including a higher payroll tax and government spending cuts are expected to slow the rate of economic growth. Concerning inflation, the Fed expects an inflation rate of between 1.3 and 1.7 percent this year and for inflation to remain below 2 percent through 2015.
Lower inflation rates allow consumers more discretionary spending power, which can further boost the economy and improve consumer confidence in making big ticket purchases including homes and related items and services in California and nationally.

The History of the Microwave Oven

by Rob Zwemmer

It is one of those common everyday conveniences that we have come to depend on and perhaps take a little for granted. You may remember the time when the microwave didn’t exist, or when it was that space-age appliance one of your neighbors owned and took up one corner of the kitchen. In 1946, Dr. Percy Spencer was quite intrigued when he was testing the Magnetron, a new vacuum tube, when all of a sudden the candy bar in his pocket melted. This amazed him so much that he thought he would try another experiment with popcorn kernels. He placed the kernels in front of the magnetron and to his surprise they started popping. It was the next day that Spencer decided to put an egg next to the magnetron. When he did, the egg began trembling because of the pressure inside due to the rapidly rising temperature. When a colleague of Spencer's decided to get a better look at the shaking egg, the egg exploded all over him. These incidents led Spencer to the conclusion that low-density microwave energy was causing these foods to cook very rapidly. His curiosity and fascination took him to whole other level of experimentation. Spencer took a metal box and cut out an opening that he could feed the microwave energy through. Once the energy was in the box it was unable to escape, so this created a high-density electromagnetic field. This caused the temperature of any food put inside the box to rise quite rapidly. These experiments revolutionized the way food is cooked and was the basis of what would become the common microwave oven.

Did you know the first microwave oven weighed approximately 750 pounds and stood almost 6 feet high? By 1975, it exceeded gas range sales and became a staple in most kitchens.

Displaying blog entries 1-3 of 3

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