Wildfire Expert Pat Durland On How To Protect Your Home From Wildfires Interview

Wildfire season is upon us in the U.S., especially here in Northern California where we’re currently in one of the worst droughts we’ve ever experienced. Every time I turn the television on it seems they’re breaking into regularly scheduled programming to alert us of another wildfire taking off in a nearby city. If you’ve ever thought that your home is safe from wildfires, think again. All it takes is one ember from a fire just miles away, and you can lose your home, possessions, and everything you hold near and dear to your heart.

Thankfully there are simple steps you can take to protect your humble abode from wildfires! Renowned wildfire expert and wildlife consultant Pat Durland of Stone Creek Fire LLC joined me for an interview from Colorado to discuss just why wildfire exposure is increasing across America, who is at risk for wildfires, what those of us in California (and across the United States) can do to protect ourselves and our homes from wildfires and helpful organizations we all need to know about.

 

Renowned wildfire expert and wildlife consultant Pat Durland of Stone Creek Fire LLC  joined Candace Rose for an interview to discuss how to protect your home from wildfires this season.

Renowned wildfire expert and wildlife consultant Pat Durland of Stone Creek Fire LLC joined Candace Rose for an interview to discuss how to protect your home from wildfires this season.

 

 

 

 

Candace Rose: Why is wildfire exposure increasing across America?

Pat Durland: “There are two reasons – more people and then we’re seeing modern wildfires that are unlike what we’ve seen in the past. They burn with an intensity and are driven by strong winds and depositing hot embers miles from the main fire. Our exposure is increasing like we haven’t seen it before. We’re in a new era of modern wildfires that can be very destructive.”

 

Candace Rose: Who is most at risk for long-term wildfires?

Pat Durland: “The risk from a wildfire, and it’s important to remember that it’s not so much where you live, as how you live. If those embers from a wildfire a long ways away are dropping from the sky like wooden matches burning or being blown into your home and trying to make their way through openings and vents in your house, it’s stuff you need to take care of before the event. Unlike a tornado or a hurricane or a flood, we have an advantage with a wildfire because it’s a process of combustion and it needs heat and fuel to continue. Actually, we can modify the fuel in a localized area and control whether it occurs or not in a small area. We can’t change the path of a tornado, but we can change the path of a wildfire.”

 

Candace Rose: Which states and geographic regions are currently most at risk for wildfires and why?

Pat Durland: “Well, everybody in the United States goes through a wildfire season or a seasonal period of fire conditions and in the past we’ve kind of compartmentalized those things and that’s a problem because it surprised us. I think the better way to think about this is to realize that with the right conditions – mild winters, lack of rainfall, drought, wind conditions that any place in the U.S. at any particular time can be susceptible to severe fires and losses.”

 

Candace Rose: I live in California where we’re currently in one of the worst droughts ever. Is there anything those of us who live in the state can do to prevent wildfires?

Pat Durland: “Totally. The first thing I would suggest folks do because there’s a lot of misinformation on this subject, is go to a site. Sit down on your computer before you go outside and spend a little time educating yourself on what actually the facts are and how to identify and mitigate hazards. You can do that, the insurance companies are innovative and getting on board now, companies like USAA – go to their dot com site and do a search for wildfire (USAA.com); Firewise.org has checklists and online interactive training, and then there’s even an app for your phone called WDSpro that you can download, that’s the first thing to do.

Then go outside and look at the roof. You want a noncombustible roof that doesn’t have openings and cracks and is free of litter. You want to clean the litter out of your gutters that could ignite from embers. You want to make sure your screening on your attic vents and on your home vents is less than an eighth of an inch so embers can’t enter and ignite your house from the inside.

Then you want to move out into that five foot zone directly adjacent to your house and you want to replace wood mulch and flammable material with rock mulch or pavers and plants that don’t ignite by wildfires.

Then out in your main landscape area, you want to look and keep it lean, clean and green and make sure that if there is an ember ignition that you don’t have fuels that are going to bring those flames to your house because flame contact to a house is a bad deal.”

Wildfire expert, Pat Durland shares simple tips so you can protect your home from wildfires. Candace Rose interview

Wildfire expert, Pat Durland shares simple tips so you can protect your home from wildfires.

 

 

Candace Rose: How do vegetation and landscaping ignite structures?

Pat Durland: “Well, basically through what we’ve talked about – that ember attack thing, so we want to harden our house against ember attacks, so those embers that land don’t have anything to ignite and they just burn out on their own on a noncombustible roof or in a metal gutter for instance. Then we want to break those wicks of dry grass and fuel and dry bushes that would lead a surface fire in flames to the house.

We can keep the embers from igniting the house and keep a surface fire at 30 or 100 feet from the house, we’ve given our house and our property and our valuables a great opportunity and a highly likely probability that if the fire department doesn’t show up and you’re not home, it will still be there when the smoke clears even after an intense wildfire.”

 

Candace Rose: Do you have any additional tips or information you’d like to share?

Pat Durland: “Well, it boils down to paying attention and acting. Once you understand what we’re talking about here and what’s going to ignite, it pretty much boils down to stuff you can do on the weekend. It’s yard work and as one guy put it to me, he said three words -‘Maintenance, Maintenance, Maintenance’. If you can’t do that, some people can’t, but you may have landscapers or you may have other resources in your community that can help you do that, and this becomes a community event. That’s when instead of one home being protected, we’ll have a wildfire in an area and everybody’s home survives.”

 

Candace Rose: Well, thank you so much for the great wildfire prevention tips, Pat. Where can we go for more information?

Pat Durland: “For more information online: USAA.com, Firewise.org. In California, FireSafeCouncil.org provides assistance to homeowners and communities.”

Bridal and Jewelry Expert Adelaide Polk-Bauman Talks 2015 Millennial Wedding Trends, Diamond Jewelry, Wedding Destinations and More with Candace Rose

With the 2015 wedding season officially upon us, now is the perfect time for brides to start planning their wedding, and guests to search for the perfect gift. Weddings have definitely changed over the years, especially for millennials who are now coming of age and saying “I Do”. The millennial generation is unlike other generations, and according to reports, the one thing they fear most is being ordinary.

When it comes to style, jewelry, and wedding destinations, millennials love to showcase their values and put their own personal flair to their big day. Bridal and jewelry expert, Adelaide Polk-Bauman joined me for an interview recently to discuss the most important things to millennials when planning their wedding. She dished on everything from wedding registries to diamond jewelry and accessories, choosing the perfect gift for the wedding party, unique destinations millennials are opting to hold their wedding ceremony, and other great trends.

Bridal and jewelry expert Adelaide Polk-Bauman joined Candace Rose for an interview to discuss the top 2015 wedding trends for millennials!

Bridal and jewelry expert Adelaide Polk-Bauman joined Candace Rose for an interview to discuss the top 2015 wedding trends for millennials!

 

 

 

 

Candace Rose: What is the most important thing to millennials when planning their wedding?

Adelaide Polk-Bauman: “Well, the millennial generation is unlike any generation that’s come before it and it’s really pioneering all these things in the bridal wedding day landscape. I think the most important thing is that millennials have an opportunity to showcase their values through the purchases that they make through retailers. This is really changing up the scene when it comes to gift registries.”

Candace Rose: What are some modern and trending registry categories that are breaking tradition?

Adelaide Polk-Bauman: “This is the digital age. Social media, crowd source funding is very important, so whether that means through being able to give back or embrace charities that are important or other sort of big investment pieces in a couple’s life. They’re doing this through online resources such as Crowdrise – a great website resource, also the I Do Foundation, which has a laundry list of vetted charities to be able to support.

The give back component is very important to millennials and being able to buy products from and being able to support brands that not only support charities, but really have it at their core of their philosophy. This give back mentality is very important right now.”

Candace Rose: What do millennials look for when choosing gifts for their bridal party and what are some of the gifts they are presenting?

Adelaide Polk-Bauman: “The engagement period is so much longer than it’s ever been before, it’s really unbelievable. When you think about your bridal party, they do so much to help plan this big day, and so naturally it’s important that the bride and groom be able to give back.

What better than a gift of love? Diamond pieces of jewelry are Forevermark (please see video above for details). My favorite trend actually is this personalized nameplate, sort of a twist on a pendant. Millennials love that personalization. This is a really great gift idea. I always say diamond ear studs are the perfect go-to gift for any woman. Millennials are now starting to take a twist off of that and do ear cuffs which come in so many different styles and designs. They’re fashion forward, but there are also some that are a little bit more classic. It’s kind of a fun twist on the ear stud!

Lastly, I love this, men are embracing diamonds! It’s not enough anymore that you gift the one you love a diamond engagement ring, but the men want to see a little bit of bling in their wedding band, so we’re seeing that take form in many different ways.

Also, something for the groomsmen, we’re looking at cufflinks now, little Forevermark cufflinks are very, very popular.”

Candace Rose: What are some of the unique destinations millennials are opting to hold their weddings?

Adelaide Polk-Bauman: “Well, millennials are known for being creative, but also very smart. They’re choosing these locations that are destinations that actually come with the full package requiring very little decor to them – so think castles (romantic castles indoors), but also outdoors like the midwest, beautiful sunset over mountains – fun and amazing. Lots of outdoor sort of places, think caves, tree tops, tree houses and of course the typical beach, but it’s really running the gamut of breathtaking places for a backdrop for all of the social media photos that take place, as we know on the wedding day.”

Candace Rose: Are there any other wedding trends we need to know about?

Adelaide Polk-Bauman: “Well, of course it’s the digital age, so embracing high tech gadgets – we’re seeing a lot of that crop up on the registries, personalizing the home. We’re seeing a lot of recycled materials made into home goods and into art.

The best resource for diamond and bridal wedding day trends and tips would be ForeverMark.com.”

Invest In Your Future And Give To Charity With Swell Investing

We know how important it is to invest in our future and to give back to those in need or less fortunate. Did you now that there is a new investment startup that is targeting millennials looking to invest in causes and issues they care about? With Swell Investing you can make money and give to four different charities that will help end poverty, fight cancer, uphold human rights and improve education. 

Financial expert, Liam Monaghan of Swell Investing and Pacific Life President Khanh T. Tran joined me for an interview this week to discuss how Swell Investing was created, how their investment company works, whether or not you can earmark the charity your money will be put with, why their model appeals to millennials, and much more!

 

Financial expert Liam Monaghan and Pacific Life President Khanh T. Tran joined Candace Rose for an interview to discuss Swell Investing and how you can invest in your future and give to charity!

Financial expert Liam Monaghan and Pacific Life President Khanh T. Tran joined Candace Rose for an interview to discuss Swell Investing and how you can invest in your future and give to charity!

 

 

Candace Rose: Mr. Tran, lets start with you. What did you think when this idea for Swell Investing was first starting out?

Khanh T. Tran: “Well, this idea was something that we came up with three years ago. The simplicity of it was quite surprising in the sense that we thought – giving, investing had been around forever, why hasn’t anyone done this? But as you can see, it took us three years to really bring it to market because there’s a lot of work behind the scenes, in terms of setting it up, making sure that it works right, refining it. To me, and to us around here, the analogy I use is what we’ve created here is simply the similar things as putting wheels on suitcases. Both of those have been around for a while as well, but it took someone like us at Pacific Life, and Liam and his partner in terms of the other gentleman David to bring this about. We since have developed it and brought it to market.”

Candace Rose: Liam, can you tell us exactly how this works?

Liam Monaghan: “The goal of Swell is to help you invest to make money and make a difference. The first part, the invest to make money part – the way we do that is we create investment models. The goal of those models is to perform alongside the U.S. Stock Market or the S&P 500.

The second part, the make a difference part is where it gets really interesting. We do that in two ways, the first way is that the investment models we create are comprised of the companies whose foundations have given the most to specific causes. The four causes that we have are uphold human rights, end poverty, fight cancer, and improve education. The companies that give the most to those causes are the ones included in our models.

The second way that we help make a difference is that 20% of all our revenue is given to charities that champion those same causes. That’s why at Swell we say we help you invest to make money and to make a difference.”

Candace Rose: Can I earmark the types of charities that my money will be put with?

Liam Monaghan: “Sure. Swell Investing has a great giving program. Our four models, we support four particular charities: United Way, Susan G. Komen, American Association of People with Disabilities, and of course Jumpstart for Kids. Those are the four that initially are a part of our giving program, we’ll be expanding that over time to include more charities, and we’ll also be expanding to more causes and creating new investment models that support those causes.”

Candace Rose: Mr. Tran, can you see other investment companies starting to use this model in the future?

Khanh T. Tran: “Well, we haven’t seen anything yet, but we would expect over time as we have success here, obviously anything successful will likely be copied, but it’s not as easy as you think about bringing this to the marketplace. It took us three years to get here and we believe that we’ll have a head start. To the benefit of investors and benefit of causes, certainly those who follow us will give the market the opportunity to do that, so we hope that will happen, but we we expect that we’ll stay ahead of our competition.”

Candace Rose: Liam, why do you think this model appeals to millennials out there?

Liam Monaghan: “We think it’ll actually appeal to people with what we call the millennial mindset, so those people who are high on values when they make investments or their purchasing decisions. They also look to technology and innovation as a type of qualities that they want to support. We actually think that it could appeal to a broad range of people. We know that millennials definitely value those qualities so we see them at the forefront, but we know that a lot of people that we affectionately call gifters who have actually created investment models for their children and for their grandchildren. We know that there is a wide range of appeal out there beyond millennials but we think that it can be popular amongst a lot of different investors.

Khanh T. Tran: “Liam is referring to me when he says ‘not millennials, and millennial mindset perhaps and gifters’. I have three children who qualify to be millennials, and how I see this is an opportunity for them to learn about investing, and learn about the companies they invest in and what good those companies do and learn about giving back. I think there’s a broad range of appeal here.”

Candace Rose: Where can we go for more information on this topic?  

Khanh T. Tran: “There’s several places you can go to – the first place you can start with is the website SwellInvesting.com.”

Liam Monaghan: “The other places you can find out more – you can like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @SwellInvesting.”

JP Morgan Chase Senior Economist Jim Glassman Talks 2015 Chase Business Leaders Outlook

For the last five years JP Morgan Chase has been surveying 2,000 small and middle market business leaders annually for their annual Chase Business Leaders Outlook. The 2015 Chase Business Leaders Outlook (which was released yesterday) disclosed that “small businesses’ optimism about the national economy is at its highest in three years”. JP Morgan Chase Senior Economist Jim Glassman joined me for an interview yesterday to discuss the 2015 Chase Business Leaders Outlook, how the economy is impacting employment, wages, healthcare and tax regulations and how social media and mobile devices are changing the way businesses are being managed. 

JP Morgan Chase Senior Economist Jim Glassman joined Candace Rose for an interview on Tuesday, April 21, 2015 to discuss the 2015 Chase Business Leaders Outlook. Image courtesy of Chase.com

JP Morgan Chase Senior Economist Jim Glassman joined Candace Rose for an interview on Tuesday, April 21, 2015 to discuss the 2015 Chase Business Leaders Outlook. Image courtesy of Chase.com

 

 

 

 

Candace Rose: Can you tell us about the 2015 Chase Business Leaders Outlook?

Jim Glassman: “We do a survey of leaders in the small business community every year at this time of the year. We’ve done this for about four or five years and this year’s survey is really quite encouraging. We find that leaders of the smaller business community are becoming much more optimistic about the outlook, and what’s interesting about that is we know that general recovery has been underway for the last six years, and yet most of our small business clients have been kind of skeptical, guarded. They haven’t really felt a lot of what’s been going on, so this survey is telling you that many more businesses are actually feeling the benefits of the general recovery that’s been underway for a while.

It’s interesting because as a result of this new optimism they’re doing things, they’re thinking about the future, they’re thinking about their staffing needs, they’re planning to hire more to retain people, to attract people. They say they’re planning to increase pay offers.

There is a challenge trying to find people with the right skills so they’re having to develop in-house training programs and working with community colleges/partnering with them. Some of the very small businesses who aren’t even affected by the Affordable Care Act are offering more health insurance coverage probably to maintain a competitive edge with a job market that is getting a lot better. It’s very promising because to me a lot of the recovery that we’ve been seeing so far is being felt by the large business community. The fact that small businesses are starting to feel it tells you the recovery probably is spreading. It’s getting deeper roots.”

 

Candace Rose: How is the economy impacting employment, wages, healthcare and tax regulations?

Jim Glassman: “It’s all promising because as the economy does better, as businesses feel more confident that their own business is going to be doing better it’s encouraging them to hire, and as they hire they’re finding they have to compete a little bit more aggressively and pay offers they intend to offer, increases that are bigger than what’s been going on.

For the worker it’s quite encouraging because the stronger the economy is the more need there is for work, the more opportunities people are going to find. We still have a ways to go to get back to a fully healthy, fully employed economy, but to me these are good signs that we are pretty much on the way and we’ve been seeing that in a lot of the news related to the job market.”

 

Candace Rose: How are social media and mobile devices changing the way businesses are being managed?

Jim Glassman: “It’s affecting everybody, frankly. Mobile technology and social network is giving businesses another vehicle to reach their audience and to fine tune, to sharpen the focus on the audience and the client base that they want. At the same time it’s helping them to get more information about what’s going on, so it’s enabling them to run business more efficiently. At the same time, I think it’s just as important this technology is giving them an opportunity to get responses from their customer base, get reactions to how people are seeing their business and what they think about their service, so it’s helping them when things go wrong to quickly address problems. Like a lot of technology, it’s helping to run business more efficiently, more effectively, keeping your cost down. It’s a very big positive I think, particularly for small businesses.”

 

Candace Rose: Where can we go for more information?

Jim Glassman: “If you want more color and information from the survey that we took, you can go to Chase.com/BusinessLeadersOutlook.”

Tax Expert Greg Rosica Talks New Tax Laws, Tax Breaks, Deductions and Most Common Filing Errors

With tax season upon us and April 15 (the filing deadline for U.S. federal income tax returns) just days away, now is the time to file your taxes if you haven’t done so already. EY Tax Guide author and tax partner Greg Rosica joined me for an interview this week to dish on what tax payers need to know about the recent tax law changes, he also dished on the various steps tax payers can take to make tax filing easier, green tax breaks and incentives, the most common filing errors and much more!

 

 

Tax expert Greg Rosica joined Candace Rose for an interview to dish on the new tax law changes, most common filing errors, tax breaks, the EY Tax Guide and much more!

Tax expert Greg Rosica joined Candace Rose for an interview to dish on the new tax law changes, most common filing errors, tax breaks, the EY Tax Guide and much more!

 

 

 

 

 

Candace Rose: What do taxpayers need to know about the recent tax law changes?

Greg Rosica: “Each year usually comes with new tax law changes, and this year isn’t any different, but not as many as we’ve had in prior years. There were some reenactments of some provisions that had expired during the year, but then they came back, which makes it very similar to the prior year. Something like a deduction that teachers can take for above the line school supplies that they buy, which is always nice to be able to take and help out their students and classrooms; as well as the deduction for sales tax came back in, so you can deduct either sales tax or your state income tax that you have (you choose between the two).

Probably the bigger news that’s impacting almost everyone is the onset of the affordable care act, and really with the affordable care act did is require everyone to have a level of health insurance. Here are a few different situations that are going to impact everyones tax filing:

  1. Maybe you’re an employee and you got your insurance through your employer and place of work, in which case there’s a new box that you have to check on your tax return indicating that you do have that insurance.
  2. You purchased health insurance through the market place, and if you did that you probably received a form 1095 in the mail a few weeks ago, and you need to incorporate that into your tax return.
  3. You simply didn’t get insurance (and that was a requirement) so you’re subject to a penalty, so there’s a form that you need to fill out and a calculation that you need to do to figure out what that penalty is and be able to send that in or have that impact any kind of refund that you might have otherwise received.”

 

Candace Rose: What’s steps can taxpayers take now that can make tax filing easier?

Greg Rosica: “I think to try and make tax filing easier, you have to look for some type of resource to help you with, whether it’s going to a CPA or if you’re going to do it yourself, using a guide like the EY Tax Guide to help you go through and organize what your documents are to help you find the types of deductions that are appropriate to you, and to help really jog your memory by looking at a list of the 50 Most Overlooked Deductions that we have, as well as 25 of The Common Errors.

In the tax guide we list out in an index life situations that you might be in because each of the life situations has tax implications to it. Rather than you try to figure out the hundreds or thousands of deductions that are out there, what we do is kind of narrow those down so if you’re self employed or have a small business, the types of expenses you should be thinking about. If you bought a house, had a child during the year, what are the relevant deductions for that situation? We try to help narrow it down for you to make it a little bit easier.

Also, as you start, take out last year’s tax return because that’s going to help you out tremendously. There might be items on there that carry over such as a capital loss from last year that you can use this year, or simply just jog your memory as to certain types of income that you had or deductions that you were able to take that you might be entitled to this year as well.”

 

Candace Rose: How do taxpayers deal with green tax breaks and incentives, tax treatment of mutual funds, gift and estate tax planning?

Greg Rosica: “There’s lots of different things that can impact you. When it comes to green tax breaks – if you’ve bought certain home improvement items for your house that are energy efficient, you may be able to get some tax deductions for that. When it comes to things like a mutual fund and selling a mutual fund, it can be complicated if you’ve held it for a few years because you may actually otherwise pay a higher gain than you need to.

Things like taxes that you’ve paid each year on dividend reinvestment, capital gain reinvestments (where you didn’t actually take the money out) those actually increase your basis which decreases the tax and the gain when you ultimately sell those.”

 

Candace Rose: What are the most common tax filing errors and overlooked tax deductions?

Greg Rosica: “We have a list of 25 common errors that people make. Some are fairly simple and straightforward – like you’re so excited when you finish your return and you send it off and you forgot to sign it, or you didn’t sit down and really check your math if you did it manually or check the numbers that you inputed if you did it on a piece of software.

When you finish your return, give it a rest for a minute. Set it aside, come back the next day or later that day and do exactly what the IRS is going to do – compare your tax return to the information that’s been sent in to the IRS already. Things like a W-2 that your employers sent to the IRS or a 1099 that your bank sent to the IRS telling them how much interest they paid you. Those items you want to make sure you’ve incorporated those properly in your tax return. It’s clear and it’s minimize any chance of getting a notice from the IRS.”

 

Candace Rose: Where can we go for more information?

Greg Rosica: “The EY Tax Guide is available at any place where books are sold online or in traditional bookstores, as well as an e-book format that you can download. You can also go to our website at EY.com/EYTaxGuide where you’ll find out any new information that’s come out recently, as well as a list of the 50 most common overlooked deductions and the 25 most common errors.”