Gameday For Heroes

Today is Game Day, Auburn vs. Alabama, #1 vs. #4, the “Game of the Century”. I’d like to take a moment to put this into perspective. One team wins and one loses. There will be a lot of Facebook posting and smack-talking, 2nd guessing by the armchair quarterbacks while one fan base enjoys the victory and another feels the agony of defeat and thinks about what could have been.

However, not all of America will be watching this game. Yesterday, I called a Colonel with the 7th Special Forces Group stationed at Eglin AFB, to ask if he had someone under his command who would like tickets to this game. He told me he was in the Atlanta airport on his way to Texas to meet the family and attend the funeral, today on Game Day, of one of his soldiers that was recently killed by an IED in Kandahar, Afghanistan, on his first deployment.

This really hits home and puts things into perspective. Win or lose the fans are so passionate that some will call in sick to work on Monday because they are so devastated. Over the years I have seen trees set on fire and poisoned, fights break out post-game and more, all over a simple game of football while our young men and women are putting their lives on the line, risking death and life-altering injury to fight against terrorism and keep our country safe.

Four years ago, my wife Jana and I started Gameday For Heroes as a community service project of our local Auburn Club. We raised funds and bought six season tickets that were designated for wounded heroes. Then our club members began donating tickets they weren’t using and these went to not only wounded, but active duty and veterans to experience the college Gameday atmosphere. We invited them to tailgate with us and quickly realized how great a way this is to give back.

We received great feedback from the military that participated. Some told us it provided a great bonding time with their families, especially after long deployments away. Others with PTSD have stated that being at a game helped them with the fear of crowds and loud noises. All are most appreciative for the donors that make it possible for them to attend a game. Many have never been to a college game before and experienced the pageantry and festivities that may only be seen on a college football campus.

Gameday For Heroes has since grown rapidly and has sent military to college games in over 30 colleges. Last year alone, over 2,900 tickets were donated for  military to attend  regular season games, and also four BCS bowl games.

Military can visit our website and request tickets to college sporting events – football, basketball, baseball and more… Unfortunately, we have many more requests than we do tickets but hopefully as the word about this program spreads more requests will be granted.

Having tickets donated to the big rivalry games is a rarity, although we are fortunate to be sending military to Auburn vs. Alabama, Texas A&M vs. Missouri and Michigan vs. Ohio State today

However, when fans of just about any schools have tickets they are not using and tell us via the website they would like to donate them, we have a database full of military that would love to use those tickets. We can provide the donor with a tax letter for the face value of the tickets donated.

Want to get involved? How can you help?

  • If you are a season ticket holder or know any college season ticket holders, spread the word about Gameday For Heroes. Consider hosting a Gameday For Heroes tailgate or other event.

 

  • Consider buying and donating season tickets for your favorite school. You will know that military are benefiting and attending the games and sitting in seats provided by you.

 

  • Consider making a monetary donation to help support the program. Gameday For Heroes is a 100% volunteer run organization without any paid staff.  However, there are expenses associated with operations such as website and database, shipping, marketing, etc… that must be covered. We are a 501-c-3 organization and donations are deductible for tax purposes.

 

  • Help sponsor a fundraising event in your city.

 

If you would like to get involved or learn more, visit us at www.gamedayforheroes.org or contact me at mike@gamedayforheroes.org.

 

Most importantly, say a prayer for the family in Texas that is burying  a son, and a brother today.  He lost his life defending us and our freedom so that we can do things like put 87,451 fans into a stadium and watch a game take place.  And the next time you see a service member, thank them for their service!!

Tips to Keep Your Home Cooler Year Round

Florida weather is often unpredictable and keeping your home cool throughout the year is a priority. The following tips and tricks will help your central air conditioner work more efficiently, saving energy and money at the same time. Most of them are incredibly simple and can save you up to $500 each year!

central AC ventTip 1 – Use Fans

The first thing that you can do to help your central air conditioner work at its peak is to make use of fans. Ceiling fans are often preferred because they help to circulate the air throughout the room, but box fans or even whole-home fans can work, too. Make sure that the fans are all turned on so that the air in every room can circulate. Air cools as it moves, so the more that the air is moving around in your home, the less work your air conditioner must do to keep it that way. This not only saves you money, but it increases the longevity of your unit at the same time.

Tip 2 – Check Vents

Another thing that you can do is check the vents throughout your home. Make sure that the ones in large rooms are completely open while the ones in smaller rooms are open only enough to allow for a comfortable temperature. Similarly, it is important to ensure that drapes, pots containing plants, furniture and other objects are not blocking these vents. This can significantly restrict airflow and make your central air conditioner work harder to cool your home. There are attachments that can be added to floor registers that will allow you to direct airflow away from large objects or those that cannot be moved.

Tip 3 – Use Blinds and Drapes

Although the Florida sunshine is beautiful and almost everyone who lives here enjoys the view, using blinds and drapes to block out the sun during the hottest parts of the day can drastically decrease the temperature in your home. In fact, it is possible to reduce the temperature inside a home by as much as 10 degrees – even during the summer – simply by keeping the sunlight out. While standard blinds and curtains are better than nothing at all, investing in those that are designed to keep UV rays at bay and block heat is preferable.

Tip 4 – Wait Until Sundown to Run ‘Hot’ Appliances

Finally, many homeowners fail to recognize the amount of heat that is generated by the appliances in their homes. Dishwashers, clothes dryers and ovens all generate tons of heat regardless of how well they are vented. Dishwashers, especially, add a significant amount of humidity to the air. If at all possible, wait until after sundown to run these appliances in order to reduce the amount of heat and humidity in your home. If you must dry clothes or use the oven during the day, make sure that you have a good ventilation system installed and that it is running at the same time.

If you believe that the airflow in your home is restricted or your central air conditioner is not running as it should despite following all of these tips, we here at A Superior Air Conditioning can help. Simply give us a call and we will send our friendly technicians to your home to solve any HVAC issue you may have.

Cool Winds and Hot Deals!

Hot Deal #1 Cute Beach house with gulf views – $239,900

Updated 3BD/2BA home with 1400 sq ft, granite counters in kitchen/baths
Nice SS appliances, newer cabinets, tile throughout living/dining/kitchen
Enclosed sun porch, outdoor deck with gulf views, nice size lot
(Courtesy of Beachy Beach)

Hot Deal #2 Desirable gulf front townhome with NO HOA fees – $580,000

Lovely 4BD/2-1/2BA home with 1650 sq ft, enclosed sun porch
Nicely decorated, sold fully furnished, features 30 ft sea wall in place
2 bedrooms open to patio with gorgeous gulf views, nice rear lawn
(Courtesy of Beachy Beach)

Hot Deal #3 Martinique home with private pool – $270,000

3BD/2BA home with 1687 sq ft, has a first floor bedroom with pool access
Single car garage, great cul-de-sac location with nice yard
Neighborhood is gated, features tennis, walking trails, pool, & playground
(Courtesy of Beachy Beach)

Two Truths, One Lie – Finance Style

Have you ever played the icebreaker game, “Two Truths, One Lie?” 

As far as icebreakers go, this is a good one and eye opening! In fact, there is a current game show with the premise.

This is how it works:

Everyone goes around the room and says three statements. Two are true, and one is false. Today, let’s play with a couple of different hot topics in finance and see if you can spot the lie.

 

Mortgages

  1. If you have no FICO score, you can still get a mortgage
  2. Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) does not protect me (the buyer)
  3. As a rule of thumb, you should be 80 or older in order to get a reverse mortgage

Credit Cards

  1. Buying with credit makes us feel the same as buying with cash
  2. Credit cards were invented in 1950
  3. Credit cards are considered unsecured debt

Estate Planning

  1. Over 50% of Americans have no estate plan, no will and no medical directives
  2. Dying without a will is known as “an intestinal death”
  3. Not everyone needs to hide their money from the “death tax”

—————————————————————————————————————————

Mortgages

  1. If you have no FICO score, you can still get a mortgage
    True; it is a lot easier with a credit history, but manual underwriting is an option
  2. Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) does not protect me (the buyer)
    True, PMI protects the lender from you (the buyer) not ponying up
  3. As a rule of thumb, you should be 80 or older in order to get a reverse mortgage
    False, it’s age 62…still old, though.

Credit Cards

  1. Buying with credit makes us feel the same as buying with cash
    False; with credit cards, we focus on benefits and cash makes us focus on cost
  2. Credit cards were invented in 1950
    True; the first credit card (as it is known today) was created in 1950 with the Diner Club card
  3. Credit cards are considered unsecured debt
    True; unsecured debt means that they can’t come get your stuff (unlike a mortgage or car loan, which are secured)

Estate Planning

  1. Over 50% of Americans have no estate plan, no will and no medical directives
    True; what is your estate plan?
  2. Dying without a will is known as “an intestinal death”
    False; an estate would be “intestate” and has nothing to do with death-by-Taco-Bell
  3. Not everyone needs to hide their money from the “death tax”
    True; only estates worth more than $5.25M (for 2013) need to be thinking about estate taxes

Want to learn more fun finance facts? Go to DanHinzCoaching.com, and follow me on Twitter and Facebook.

As a financial coach, I am focused on increasing the financial literacy of Bay County and Florida. If you, or someone you know, would like to get out of debt, avoid bankruptcy, or become more responsible with money, contact me for more information on personal coaching, classes, and seminars.

Getting Ready for Year End

Can you believe we are 5 weeks away from the end of 2013?  It is time to start gearing up for taxes, purging files, and all the other things that invite procrastination.  If you are like most people  this time of the year, your filing cabinet drawers are begging for mercy, hoping you don’t stuff in one more file or receipt!

You might find yourself asking ….. How long should I keep my files?

First and foremost, in regards to taxes, you must keep all your records for 7 years.

When it comes to business files, depending on the business you are in, there may be some gray area, however, sticking to the 7 year rule, is a good rule of thumb.

If your office space is small a good tip is to keep one year prior and current year on site.  If necessary, you can use a storage room or building to hold the other years’ records.

What should you keep?  EVERYTHING. 

Well not everything, but it’s my policy to keep  AP files down to a minimum.  Keep the invoice with the check stub stapled to it, but toss out a statement, a payment envelope, and any extra baggage that comes with your invoice, such as coupons you won’t use, etc.

If you are interested in backing up your paper files – keep an eye on us – we have some options coming up that will be announced soon.  If you can’t wait – email us now.

As far as taxes go………….meet with your bookkeeper or accountant now to review where you are financially.  Should you make a contribution to an IRA?  Should you buy a piece of equipment?  Are you ok to just leave status quo as it is?  Have you spent enough money on your business this year – or have you spent too much?  Have you paid your tax liabilities? – are you prepared, do you know the proper forms to file at year end?

All of these questions are excellent for your bookkeeper.  If you don’t have one, please give us a call and we will be glad to set up a year end review to make sure you are on track and ready for 2014!

Lauree Adams, Owner

Adams Business Solutions

lauree@adamsbusinesssolutions.com  / 850-319-4205

An Idea Camp Success Story with Gulf Coast Theatre Students

If you haven’t been to an IdeaCamp with the Panama City Beach Chamber of Commerce, you are missing out.  These interactive events designed after “Bar Camps” offer a laid back way for community members to share, learn and network in a local restaurant.   A handful of speakers share their experiences and “ideas”, hoping to connect and inspire with their audience.  Connections are made and often cool things happen, as did with Gulf Coast Theatre Department.

A couple months back, Jason Hedden, Associate Professor of Theatre in the Division of Visual and Performing Arts at Gulf Coast State College shared about what his applied theatre class was up to, a concept he called “Rehearsal for Reality.”

The way his students would “rehearse for reality” would be to use theatre techniques such as improvisation in non-traditional settings as a training tool for sales, customer service and effective communication.

They started with other Gulf Coast State College students such as those in the fields of physical therapy and micro-biology.

The theatre students served as simulated patients to help train the students entering the medical field.

After these exercises proved successful, Hedden proposed to his fellow chamber members an opportunity to partner with them in their prospective businesses and several took him up on the offer.

A local retail establishment had the theatre students do some “secret shopping” and helped the shop owner improve the quality of experience for their customers.

In addition, after being ignited with Hedden’s enthusiasm at IdeaCamp, two Real Estate companies also signed up for the opportunity.  Both Keller Williams Success Realty and Beachy Beach Real Estate had welcomed the students in their offices for simulated buyer and seller meetings.

This IdeaCamp success story is proof that cool things happen when people get together to share, learn and network in a no pressure setting.  The next IdeaCamp is scheduled for Nov. 21st from 5:30 to 7:30 pm at Carrabba’s Italian Grill in Panama City Beach.  The event is FREE to Panama City Beach Chamber members and includes light eats, a free drink ticket for up to 50 participants and an opportunity to win door prizes like swag from local businesses or even a FREE ROUND TRIP flight from Southwest Airlines.

To register for the next IdeaCamp, click HERE or visit their FACEBOOK page to stay up to date with Ideacamp happenings.

If your business or organization is interested in the “Rehearsal for Reality” project with Gulf Coast Theatre students, contact Jason Hedden at jhedden@gulfcoast.edu or 850-769-1551 ext 2889

You can also catch the Gulf Coast Theatre Department live in action starting this upcoming Friday the 15th for their opening weekend of the hit musical Les Miserables.  To buy tickets and to learn more about the theatre department, you can visit the website or stay tuned to their FACEBOOK page.

 

 

 

 

Increasing the Longevity of Your Central AC Unit

Every homeowner who has ever had to purchase a new central AC unit knows that they are expensive. For this reason, it is important for homeowners to keep in mind a list of ways that they can increase the longevity of these units. There are some simple, easy steps that you can take to make sure that your AC continues to work just as well 15 years from now as it does today.

Air-Conditioning-RepairBuy the Right Size

One of the main problems that you can face with your central AC unit is simply having the wrong size unit. If the unit is too small for your large house, then it has to work overtime in order to keep the area cool – and it may not do a very good job, at that. This means that you can expect it to break down much more quickly. The same can be said for units that are too large for smaller homes; these will cycle on and off more quickly than normal, thus increasing the wear and tear on internal parts. In either case, choosing the wrong size will take years off of your AC unit’s lifespan.

Proper Maintenance

Although you’ve likely heard it time and time again, this point cannot be stressed enough. The regular maintenance of your central AC unit is the single most important thing you can do to increase its longevity. This starts at home with things like using the correct filters, changing them often, and keeping the outdoor components of your AC clean and free of debris. An annual inspection is also recommended as this can catch any potential problems early and prevent major repairs down the road. If your air conditioner is not in optimal condition each season, it will undoubtedly wear much faster than it normally would.

Use Ceiling Fans when Applicable

While many people are turning away from ceiling fans because they present several cleaning challenges, these can actually help to extend the life of your central air conditioner. First and foremost, running ceiling fans helps to evenly distribute the cooled air throughout your home and help your unit run more efficiently. Additionally, when it is not terribly hot and humid, you may feel comfortable when you shut off your AC and simply enjoy the breeze created by the fans. This can also help your air conditioner last.

Create Good Airflow and Check Thermostat Positioning

Finally it is important to ensure that each and every room of your home has adequate airflow. There is no point in opening registers wide in every single room since smaller rooms need less cooled air than larger ones. Thus, take the time to go through your home and close off registers that are not being used, open those that deliver air to the biggest, most used rooms, and see how you feel the most comfortable. Finally, be sure that the thermostat is not positioned directly in front a vent or in a location where bright sunlight will ‘trick’ it into registering that it is much warmer than it actually is.

If you have questions about the size of your central AC unit, are experiencing issues or would like to schedule an appointment for a knowledgeable professional to come to your home to inspect your unit, please do not hesitate to call us at A Superior Air Conditioning today!