What To Look For in a Home Loan

New home and keys

Shopping for a mortgage probably doesn’t top your list of fun things to do this week, but it’s not something that should be rushed. Want to get a good deal on a home loan? Here are four important things you should be looking for during your comparison shopping.

The Interest Rate Isn’t Everything

If you only focus on the interest rate, you’re going to end up with a mortgage that costs you more than you want to pay. Why? Because home loans also come with fees or closing costs. That’s why interest rates are also advertised with the loan’s annual percentage rate (APR), which is the cost of the loan over one year including interest and fees. Unfortunately, there is no standard for which fees must be included in the APR so don’t assume that number paints the whole story.

Comparing loan offers can be tricky because one lender may have a lower rate but higher fees. Mortgage lenders are required to disclose most loan costs on the Good Faith Estimate (GFE) which explains fees associated with the loan. The GFE can be used to effectively compare mortgage offers.

Adjustable Rate vs Fixed Rate

For most homeowners, a fixed rate mortgage makes the most sense. This means your interest rate will stay the same for the life of the loan and your monthly payments will be unchanged. With an adjustable rate loan, you may get a lower rate (and lower payments) initially, but mortgage rates are on the rise. When your loan resets, your interest rate can go up along with your payments. This can make your mortgage unaffordable.

There are some situations in which an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) makes sense:
Know If You’re Paying Points

  • You are planning to sell your home before your rate resets.
  • You are expecting your income to rise significantly.
  • You are planning to refinance into a new loan in a few years. This may be the case if you have bad or fair credit when you get the mortgage but are taking steps to boost your credit score over time.

One point or discount point is equal to 1% of the principal amount of your loan. With a $200,000 loan, a discount point is $2,000. These points are a form of prepaid interest or fees that lower the interest rate on your mortgage. The more points you pay, the lower your interest rate — but it’s not always a great deal.

You can pay anywhere from 0 to 4 points on a home loan, but whether you should pay points depends on whether you have that much money to put down at closing and how long you’re going to live in the house. The longer you plan to stay in the home, the more you will save in the long-run by paying points. If you plan to sell in a few years or you want the lowest possible closing costs, look for a loan without discount points.

Are You Stuck with Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)?

If your down payment is less than 20%, chances are you’re going to be paying for mortgage insurance. Mortgage insurance protects the lender if you default on the loan and it’s typically a payment you must pay in addition to your monthly mortgage payment until you reach 20% equity. As you can imagine, PMI isn’t cheap. Depending on your loan, you can expect the monthly PMI to be anywhere from $115 to $150 or more.

If you can’t put down 20% but you don’t want to pay PMI, there are alternatives:

  • Get a second mortgage or 80-20 mortgage. This means taking out a first home loan for 80% of the home’s value, avoiding the PMI, and taking out a second loan that brings you up to the sales price.
  • Lender programs without PMI. Some lenders advertise loans with no private mortgage insurance and low down payments. One example is Bank of America, which has partnered with Freddie Mac and Self-Help Ventures Fund.
  • USDA loans don’t have PMI, but there is an upfront insurance premium instead. The good news is this fee is much lower than PMI and it can be financed into your mortgage. You do need to buy a home that’s USDA-eligible.
  • VA loans don’t have PMI either. In fact, VA loans are almost always the best solution for eligible borrowers. VA loans do have a funding fee that depends on service credit, down payment, and whether it’s your first time using your VA loan entitlement, but the fee is still lower than PMI and can be rolled into your loan.

How a Nutritionist Helps Their Client

Doctor nutritionist with fruits

As our society becomes more and more health-conscious, more people than ever are turning to a professional nutritionist in order to gain insight into how certain foods affect our bodies. A trained and licensed nutritionist can help you lose weight, treat physical and emotional ailments and help you increase your energy levels.

If you are considering visiting a nutritionist, be sure to find one who is properly trained and can work with you over a long period of time. Adjusting your dietary habits in order to be as healthy as possible is a process and you will need to meet with your nutritionist regularly in order to track your progress.

Weight Loss

Today, many people turn to a nutritionist in order to lose weight in a healthy, consistent and permanent way. By understanding how different foods affect our individual bodies, we can determine which foods we should avoid as well as which foods to stock up on.

Before you visit a nutritionist for weight loss, you should record your meals in a journal for several weeks. Be honest about your portion sizes and make sure that you include drinks and snacks as well. Then, your nutritionist will analyze your eating habits and determine how these habits affect your weight. They will make suggestions to you that will help you come up with a diet plan that is both healthy and effective.

If you are looking to permanently lose weight, a nutritionist is the best way to go.  Many chiropractors are also nutritionists. While many people manage to lose weight with fad diets and calorie restrictions, these solutions rarely keep the weight off for a long period of time. The body’s metabolism and the way it converts certain foods into body fat is a very complex science that only a licensed nutritionist understands. With their experience and expertise, they can help you lose weight and keep that weight off for good.

Identifying and Treating Nutrient Deficiencies

Many people are deficient in certain nutrients because their diets are not varied enough. It can be hard to determine which nutrients we are deficient in without turning to a professional nutritionist.

If you are deficient in essential vitamins like B, C, and D, your physical health will begin to suffer. Common vitamin deficiency symptoms include headaches, fatigue, irritability, and a difficulty fighting off infections.

With a good nutritionist, you can learn which nutrients you are deficient in and develop a diet plan that will ensure that you receive adequate amounts of all the necessary nutrients that your body relies on to stay healthy.

Treating Symptoms of Depression

Clinical depression is an extremely common emotional disorder that leaves people feeling unmotivated, hopeless, and fatigued. Often, depression can be a sign that the body is lacking in proper nutrients.

A nutritionist is trained to determine which nutrients your body needs in order to fight depression. Certain nutrients like magnesium and vitamin B can fight depression by sending signals to the brain that uplift the mood.

Weight Gain

While many people seek out a nutritionist in order to lose weight, some people actually wish to gain weight. Some people want to gain weight because they are unhappy with their skinny shape and other people wish to gain weight in order to build muscle mass.

A trained nutritionist knows how to help you gain weight in a healthy way. They can guide you to make smart food choices and develop meal plans for you that will ensure that you can gain weight in a way that will not lead to common problems like raised cholesterol levels and heart problems.

Manage Food Sensitivities and Allergies

Many people are intolerant or allergic to certain foods like gluten or dairy. When someone has a food intolerance or an allergy, it can be hard to get proper nutrition while avoiding these foods. That’s why they turn to a nutritionist for food allergy treatment.

With a nutritionist, people who have food sensitivities and allergies can develop meal plans that will ensure that they get the proper amount of nutrition each day while avoiding the foods to which they are intolerant.


As you can see, visiting a proper nutritionist is about so much more than just losing weight. A nutritionist has a deep understanding of how different foods affect the body and how the metabolism functions. They can help you develop a meal plan that will keep your body and mind in a healthy state.

The Importance of Screening Employees For Drugs

Marijuana Home Drug Test

Drug abuse problems tend to seep into the work place. With Americans spending billions of dollars to fuel their drug abuse every year, employers should encourage their employees to remain drug-free. Employers should also consider implementing drug tests to prevent accidents and theft in the work place. On site drug screening, both before and during employment, decreases the number of drug users in the workplace and, in turn, helps establish a safe working environment and increase productivity.

Pre employment drug screening will most often occur upon employment. Employers also administer drug tests when there has been an accident in the work place. Employers are usually responsible for paying medical bills when employees have been injured on the job. However, if the drug test is positive, employers are not necessarily expected to be responsible for the negligence of their employee.

Sometimes there is reasonable cause to administer a drug test to an employee, usually only if they exhibit strong signs of drug abuse. Screening in this way is sometimes necessary, but people usually want to steer clear of singling anyone out.

Random drug testing (where all employees are selected randomly by a computer program) is altogether the most efficient method. Administering drug tests in this way is much more effective than other methods. Not only are drug-abusing employees unable to prepare for the drug screen, but, by allowing a computer to select these employees, employers can monitor drug use from the bottom of the totem pole all the way up the line to the executives.

Urine samples are perhaps the most commonly used form of drug screening because urine can reveal use of seven compounds:

  • Cocaine
  • Amphetamines
  • Oxycodone
  • Methadone
  • THC
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Opiates

Testing oral fluids may be a quicker method that also makes it harder to cheat the test. There are some drugs that cannot be revealed in this kind of test (but this technology is still improving). Although hair samples don’t reveal the use of benzodiazepines, they do provide information on drug use ninety days prior to the test’s administration (however, analyzing hair samples is the costlier option).

Even though urine can reveal use of all of these drugs, urine tests are easier to manipulate than other forms of testing, so employers shouldn’t write these other tests off entirely. However, if employers plan to use urine samples, they may want to consider having someone supervise sample collections.

There are many reasons why employers should incorporate mandatory drug screenings for their employees (some of which have already been mentioned):

  • Abide by regulations. While not all industries are required to screen for illegal drug use, some industries are required to do so. Those working in industries like transportation, health care, and education are most often required to take regular drug tests.
  • Maintain a safe working environment. Usually the main reason for drug screening is to prevent injuries in the work place. Those who operate machinery, do manual labor, and drive for a living are often required to pass a drug test. Accidents happen, but employers need to ensure that employees aren’t putting fellow co-workers or customers in any clear danger.
  • Higher productivity. The business world is highly competitive, and employees who abuse drugs are one-third less productive than non-users. Employers simply cannot afford to waste time and company resources paying employees who get less done than their sober counterparts.
  • Give incentive for not using drugs. By establishing a drug-free workplace, employers can use jobs as incentive for avoiding illegal drug use.
  • Improve the community and help rehabilitate employees. The integrity of a company can rely heavily on the performance of its employees. Not only does this help instill faith in the company, but it helps in addressing the drug abuse problem among members of the community. When employees fail drug tests, not only are their jobs in jeopardy, but it can help bring drug abuse problems to the surface and force them to face up to those problems.

Drug abuse is a common behavior among Americans. Employers who abide by drug testing regulations can benefit the company by receiving discounts and additional worker’s compensation benefits. In most states, drug-abusing employees can also be eliminated from receiving unemployment compensation. However, drug screening may prove a necessary element of hiring and maintaining a staff, regardless of the regulations.

The Health Benefits of Chicken Protein Powder

Brown eggs on bown and red ceramic spoon with white powder

organic chicken breast protein powderProtein powders are commonly used by body builders and endurance athletes. The products are also helpful when someone is recovering from an illness or an injury. There are many different types of protein powders that offer an instant nutritional boost to daily dietary intake. Benefits vary between each. However, many may not be aware of protein powder made from chicken and the advantages of this type of supplement. These advantages include more nutrition, a lack of side effects and better taste

Abundance of Protein

Products must provide a high concentration of protein in order to be useful. Chicken protein powder contains more protein than other commonly produced powders, which include casein, soy protein isolate or whey protein isolate. Each 30 gram serving contains 25 grams of protein. Chicken protein powder is pure and does not contain money-wasting fillers. The nutritional content in one serving is comparable to a chicken breast.

Supplies Necessary Amino Acids

Unlike other protein powder products, protein powder made using chicken contains many of the essential amino acids, which the body needs to repair itself or thrive. The list of amino acids that the product contains include:

  • Histidine
  • Isoleucine
  • Leucine
  • Lysine
  • Methionine
  • Phenylalanine
  • Threonine
  • Tryptophan
  • Valine

Chicken protein powder additionally provides the amino acids which are manufactured in small quantities within the body. However, during stressful conditions, depletion soon occurs. Supplementation with chicken protein powder boosts levels of:

  • Arginine
  • Cysteine
  • Glutamine
  • Glycine
  • Tyrosine

Vital Minerals

The body needs nutrition in the form of minerals to accomplish various cellular functions. Chicken breast protein powder supplies iron in order for the body to create the hemoglobin contained within red blood cells and the myoglobin found in muscle cells. The product provides the perfect balance of potassium and sodium, which are necessary for smooth, striated and cardiac muscle function. Zinc works in conjunction with the body’s immune system to enable cell growth and reproduction for tissue healing.

No Gastrointestinal Side Effects

Protein powders made from casein or whey often cause abdominal discomfort from excessive gas production and subsequent bloating. Anyone having gluten intolerance, food allergies or milk product sensitivities are especially prone to these symptoms, as the proteins come from dairy products. Continued use may cause gastrointestinal damage. On the other hand, chicken protein is free of diary, gluten or potentially harmful fillers. Chicken is hypoallergenic and does not cause gastrointestinal upset.

Readily Digested

The way the body absorbs different proteins varies. Casein-based products are not absorbed as quickly compared to other protein sources. The body absorbs chicken protein quickly, which makes the product highly digestible.

Better Taste

Most people do not buy protein powders for the taste. Nevertheless, many are created with added flavor enhancers due to the lack of flavor or due to general unpleasant taste. As the protein powder contains real chicken, the product generally tastes better. The nutritional supplement is also easily incorporated into a variety of recipes. There are even new developments in organic chicken breast protein powder.

Consider using chicken protein powder to provide a nutritional boost to:

  • Broccoli
  • Brown rice
  • Chili
  • Frittatas
  • Gravy
  • Pizza
  • Smoothies
  • Waffles

Advances in Hearing Aid Technology

Deaf man makes a hearing test

Over the years, there has been considerable advancement in the technology of hearing aids. The times where hearing impaired people had to deal with huge, noticeable, clunky hearing aids is definitely a thing of the past. Although the basic idea of hearing aids has always been comprised of the same parts, a microphone, processor, receiver, and power source, has remained, the way the technology works has changed considerably.

There are plenty of options of hearing aids, but with advancements in technology, the majority of them are tiny enough that nobody even has to know they’re there. With the digital age, the components of a hearing aid have advanced to the point that there are no wires and the devices are tiny enough to fit comfortably into the ear canal and discreetly over the ear. The majority of the technology is found in the portion of a hearing aid known as the processor. Thanks to technological improvements over the years, the processor is able to be programmed by an audiologist to offer just the right volume and other features based on the individual’s needs. A hearing aid can be programmed while connected to a computer and by using special software from the manufacturer of the devices.

In addition, there are more brands from which to choose than ever before. Many hearing aids are also capable of being paired up with a smartphone via Bluetooth and a special hearing device. This allows the individual to be able to better hear phone calls or music from their phone as they are streamed directly to their hearing aid.

One of the best technological advancements of today’s hearing aids is that there are directional microphones available for people who have hearing loss in both ears. Many people have a worse loss in one ear versus the other and as a result, they are excellent candidates for what’s known as a CROS hearing aid. With this type of hearing aid, the better ear uses the hearing aid and the worse one uses the receiver, a microphone that amazingly picks up sounds from the side in which the hearing is worse. The microphone will transmit sounds from that side to the ear that has the hearing aid, allowing for an overall better hearing experience.

People with nerve damage induced hearing loss have difficulty dealing with loud sounds because they tend to be painful to their ears. In that situation, if the individual is in a noisier situation, they can change the way sound is transmitted to their hearing aid by pressing a tiny button on their device. There are usually three modes: normal, comfort in noise, and conversation in noise. Comfort in noise mode can help when there are louder sounds that may cause distress. Conversation in noise mode is ideal for going out to dinner at a crowded restaurant where many people are talking and allows the individual to hear the people with whom they are dining. This technology is also known as digital noise reduction.

There is also technology known as impulse noise reduction. It is similar to digital noise reduction and works by softening any typically annoying white noise sound, such as the sound of someone typing on a keyboard.

In the past, a big issue with hearing aids was feedback. Feedback is a whistling sound that is present with a hearing aid that can be persistent and annoying, not to mention uncomfortable. However, with the technological advancements made in hearing devices over the years, there are now feedback management systems that can combat the issue by reducing the amount of amplification.

Perhaps most incredible is that there are now hearing aids that simply fit into the ear and don’t require batteries. There is a new extended wear type of hearing aid that sits in the ear canal on a daily basis that can even be worn while showering, swimming, and sleeping. In an incredible feat of technology, it doesn’t even require any daily maintenance. No doubt, even more advancements will be made in the area of hearing devices in the years to come that will allow an ear doctor to greatly improve the quality of the lives of individuals with hearing loss.

What Is ABS Plastic?

Plastic building blocks, isolated on white

Since coming into widespread usage in the early to middle years of the last century, plastics have become important materials in almost every industry. Of the plastics that are widely available on the market today, perhaps none is more widely used than acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, better known as ABS.

Properties of ABS Plastic

The reason that abs plastic enclosure fabricating has come into the wide use that it has is the fact that it has a relatively rare combination of physical properties. Despite being an amorphous polymer, it is both strong and relatively durable, a marked advantage over other plastics that are either excessively brittle or too weak for most applications. Differences in the exact production method can, however, alter these properties somewhat.

Another important property of ABS from a manufacturing perspective is its color, which in its raw form is white. Because of this entirely neutral coloration, ABS can easily be dyed to any color that is desired during the manufacturing process. This enhances the already substantial versatility of ABS, as it can easily be given permanent coloration rather than having to be painted to be a specific color.

How is ABS Made?

Being a polymer, ABS is made from a series of smaller molecules known as monomers. These monomers, which give ABS its unique properties, are usually combined in what is known as an emulsion process. In emulsion, monomers are placed in a solution with other chemicals and allowed to combine with each other, eventually resulting in a polymer. Emulsion manufacturing is not unique to ABS, and is in fact used to make several other common polymers. ABS can also be produced by another, less well-known process called continuous mass polymerization, in which the combination of monomers takes place in several stages.

Uses of ABS

Probably the most amazing thing about ABS plastic is the fact that it is used in so many different ways throughout so many different industries. In fact, you probably encounter ABS many times throughout the course of any given day without even realizing it. This durable plastic is used for everything from children’s toys to the plastic wheels on modern walk-behind lawnmowers. It is even used by kiosk manufacturers. In any application that requires impact resistance and durability at a reasonable cost, ABS can usually be found.

How are Products Manufactured From ABS?

The manufacturing of plastic products was one of the greatest emerging industries of the 20th century, producing many innovative methods for creating useful items out of raw plastic. When it comes to manufacturing products from ABS, the most common method is known as injection molding. In an injection molding process, pellets of a plastic such as ABS are melted and then injected into a mold under high pressure. When the plastic cools, the resulting product takes on the shape of the mold itself.

More recently, however, ABS has also become a key material used in new 3D printing technologies. Because it can be manipulated easily when it is heated to a high enough temperature, ABS is an ideal material for 3D printers that lay down layers of heated material that then cool to form a single three-dimensional object. ABS, being strong enough to be functional in many different applications yet printable in this fashion, has become one of the most commonly 3D printed materials. Unlike injection molding, which uses ABS pellets, 3D printing requires long spools of the raw material.