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HOW TO ... GUIDE A Special Supplement to The Valley News and The Herald-Journal. Copyright August 2012

HOW TO CHOOSE A FINANCIAL PLANNER

HOW TO CHOOSE PAINT

HOW TO CHOOSE TIRES

HOW TO GET STARTED IN YOUR COLLEGE CAREER

HOW TO CHOOSE A PHOTOGRPAHER

HOW TO CHOOSE ASSISTED LIVING FACILITY

HOW TO CHOOSE A CARPET CLEANER

HOW TO CHOOSE A MATTRESS


Comsumer Guide

2 August 2012

The Valley News/Herald-Journal

How to . . .

. . .Choose Tires There are countless varieties of tires available. Choosing the best one for your vehicle can be difficult. First, determine whether you require a passenger or light truck tire. Passenger tires are sufficient for most car owners and many pick-up and SUV owners. However, some pick-up and SUV vehicles require more robust light truck tires for hauling heavy loads and driving on rough road conditions. The second step is to determine your own driving needs and what benefits you hope to get from the tires, such as long mileage, wet traction, winter/snow traction, superior handling, ride comfort, fuel efficiency, and noise levels. This will help you narrow your focus. New tires should be the same size, and have the same load capacity and speed rating as the original tires. This information is printed on the tire. If it is too difficult to read what is written on the tire, check the tire information placard which is usually attached to the edge of the driver’s door. Install the same type of tire on all four wheels to ensure proper handling. WHEN TO REPLACE TIRES Tires are manufactured with “wear bars.” The bar becomes exposed when there is less than 1.6 mm of tread depth remaining on your tire. Tires must be replaced when the wear bar is visible.

You could also try the penny test: place a penny in the tire’s groove with the Queen’s crown facing down - if you can see the top of the Queen’s crown, then the tire needs replacing. TIRE MAINTENANCE Tires are often the most neglected parts of a vehicle. And yet, they are among the most important and easily cared for. By adopting these few simple tire maintenance practices, you can increase your vehicle’s fuel efficiency, reduce harmful emissions, save money and make your vehicle safer. Measure your tire pressure monthly using a good quality tire gauge. A visual inspection is not sufficient to detect under or over-inflation problems. Have your tires aligned annually. Tires should be balanced approximately every 10 000 miles, or when drivers feel a vibration. Rotate your tires regularly. Monitor tread wear and replace tires when your tire tread is worn out. Conduct a visual check for embedded stones, glass and other foreign objects that could work their way into the tire and cause a leak. RIDE CONTROL Many things affect vehicles in motion. Weight distribution, speed, road conditions and wind are some factors that affect how vehicles travel down the highway. Under all these variables however, the vehicle suspension system including the shocks, struts and

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springs must be in good condition. Worn suspension components may reduce the stability of the vehicle and reduce driver control. They may also accelerate wear on other suspension components. Below are some of the warning signs of worn shocks and struts. If you experience any of these signs, you should have your shocks inspected immediately. After 50,000 miles, you should have your shocks inspected whenever your brakes are inspected. A good rule of thumb is to have your shocks inspected once a year or every 12,000 miles. • Steering Wheel Vibrates • Car Veers in Side Winds • Excessive Bounce on Rough Surfaces • Oil Leaks from Shocks or Struts • Nose-Diving When Braking • Excessive Lean or Sway on Turns • Uneven Tire Wear • Dented or Damaged Housing You may have also heard about the “bounce test” as see TIRES, Page 10

The Right Tires for Your Car The proper tires will optimize your vehicle’s gas mileage and performance. We have a comprehensive selection of in-stock and specialorder tires from every major manufacturer, all at competitive prices. Talk to our experts today about the right tires for your car. 120823-49671


How to . . .

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Comsumer Guide

. . .Choose An Interior Designer By Mike Dunn For a task as important as redecorating your home, it might be wise to enlist some professional help. After all, this is your home and you will have to live with the results for potentially a long time. So how do you go about hiring an interior designer? The obvious choice is to look in the paper to review the qualifications and type of work they have done in the past. Another way is to seek out business owners, friends and family members who have hired an interior designer in the past. Ask them for a referral, especially if they had a positive experience, and also for any tips they might have to offer. If you don't have anyone to request referrals from, that's not a problem. Go to different showrooms and ask who is responsible for a design that you particularly like. You could get referrals that way. Another great resource is the American Society of Interior Decorators (ASID). Local designers

will be listed online and can be found by visiting www.asid.org. This next issue is important. Decide how you want the redecorating to go before talking to a designer. Be open to suggestions, but determine in your mind the direction you want to go. How can you be sure of what direction you want the project to go? You first have to know what you like. Take some time to look at pictures in magazines, advertisements and furniture showrooms. This will give you an idea of the style you prefer. This will help both you and the designer to launch ahead with some plans and ideas and it will also help to keep the two of you on the same page. Anticipate ahead of time what the designer will need and be prepared. Designers will ask things like who the space is being designed for and what activities will go on there, and they will want a time frame and a budget as well. The more information you can provide, the more successful your designer will be in meet see DESIGN, Page 11

From m Ideas s to o Installation • Hardwood Floors • Carpet • Ceramic/Porcelain Tile • Sheet Vinyl • Counter Tops • Window Treatments • Benjamin Moore Paint • Norwalk Furniture • Home Accessories

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Once you have made the decision that your carpet needs more cleaning than that provided with regular vacuuming, the next question that you have to ask yourself is- are you going to hire the services of a professional carpet cleaning firm or are you going to tackle the task on your own, with rented equipment and with cleaning agents bought off the shelf? Some help in deciding: Remember a professional carpet cleaner knows his job. A competent service person will: - Save you time and trouble. - Use heavier ,more effective equipment. -Be trained and more experienced. -Recognize fiber and fabric type. -Know the right cleaning method

for a particular stain. -Get the work done faster and more efficiently. In the end, the price may not be much more that the cost of doing it yourself. There are a variety of methods professionals use: Hot Water extraction or “steam cleaning” Portable or truck mounted equipment is used to spray heated detergent solution into the carpet pile at a high pressure and immediately extracted along with the suspended soil particles. In this method, detergent solution is released onto the carpet through openings in a rotary brush, whose rotary action converts the solution into foam and works it see CARPET, Page 10

How to . . .

Carpet Cleaning

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. . .Choose A Carpet Cleaner

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August 2012 3


Comsumer Guide

How to . . .

4 August 2012

The Valley News/Herald-Journal

. . .Buy An Innerspring Mattress The variety of mattresses on the market today seems endless. There are so many types to choose from: memory foam, latex foam, inflatable, innerspring, and hybrid types that combine elements of all of these! Innerspring mattresses are the most popular mattress on the market and tend to be the most affordable. A decent innerspring mattress will cost anywhere from $600 to $2000. The basic construction of all innerspring mattresses is the same. There are two elements: coils and upholstery. The coils determine how firm and stable the mattress is; the upholstery will determine how comfortable it is. Innerspring mattresses typically wear out more quickly than other types of mattresses and should be replaced every 10 years. Here are a few things to consider the next time you are shopping for an innerspring mattress: THE BIGGEST MATTRESS MYTH The old adage “hard is better” is truly a myth. No single sleep surface is right for everyone. There are four basic upholstery ‘comfort levels’ for an innerspring mattress: Ultra plush: a very soft-feeling surface Plush: Firmer than the ultra plush, but less firm than cushion firm

Cushion firm: firmer than the ultra plush, but softer than firm Firm: the hardest of the comfort levels The comfort level of a mattress differs from its support level. Support level has to do with the coil count and coil construction. The proper support can be achieved in all of the different comfort levels as long as the mattress is of quality construction. THE SUPPORT SYSTEM The heart of an innerspring mattress is its coils. In the past, “coil count” used to be emphasized as a main selling point, i.e. the more coils a mattress had, the more supportive it would be. Today, this is not necessarily true. There are two basic types of coil systems: interlocking and independent. Interlocking coil mattresses actually require fewer coils because the coils are tied together with wire. Because the coils are linked together as one unit, an interlocking coil mattress is going to offer more support. Independent coil mattresses require more coils because each one must work on its own to support you. The main benefit of an independent coil mattress is that it is less prone to movement if your partner is getting in and out of bed. This can be an important factor to consider if you’re a

light sleeper. Of course, the quality of steel and thickness of the wire used to make each coil are also important characteristics. Here’s an industry secret: nowadays almost all of the major mattress brands (think the big “S’s”) get their coils from the same manufacturer. Quality coils are usually tempered with heat or electricity. This process makes the coils more likely to return to their original shape when compressed. The thickness of the wire used is also an important factor. The thicker the metal, the firmer the support and the more durable the mattress. Manufacturers of the better mattresses use a 13 gauge wire. The lower the gauge wire number, the thicker the coil. THE VALUE Most people sleep about one-third of their lives. What else do you do for that amount of time that affects the other two-thirds of your life? Value is relative, but when you think of using an item everyday – 365 days a year for 10 years, a good quality mattress for $800 is costing you less than 26 cents per day. Your goal when you arrive at the mattress store is to quickly determine which two or three innerspring see MATTRESS, Page 10

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Comsumer Guide

August 2012 5

Picking a professional photographer can be a challenging task, and in the age of digital imaging, there are more and more “pros” to choose from. So how do you decide? First, view a portfolio, perhaps starting with online photos, and then, if you like what you see, meet in person to view portraits with the photographer. Images should reflect the subject matter that you want to hire the photographer to make pictures of. In other words, just because a photographer takes great landscape and nature shots does not mean he or she is a great portrait photographer. If you want studio photography, ask to see samples. Good wedding photography is increasingly expensive, so ask to see LOTS of samples, including finished albums. Ask to see paper portraits, not just onscreen pieces. Screen images may not be a good representation of the actual product you will purchase in the end. Natural light photography is different than flash photography, so ask to see examples of both. Studio lighting requires much more technical skill than on-camera flash, and provides a much more professional look, so ask your photographer what types of flash he or she uses. Next, find a photographer who is a good collaborator. I have been making images for over 11 years, and my first goal when talking to a customer is to listen to what types of images they want. Then, it is my job using technical skill and artistic flair to achieve those ideal images with my clients. If you interview a photographer and they don’t want to listen to your ideas, my advice is to find a different person to make your images. Price is often a consideration when choosing a photographer, and while I don’t believe you need to choose the most expensive Studio, I also think that when you

choose based ONLY upon price, you often get what you pay for. Don’t expect custom ideas, sets, props, and treatment if you are only willing to pay bargain-basement prices. True photographers care greatly about the quality of the images they make, they spend long hours educating themselves, and many dollars purchasing quality equipment to produce those images. They know that images of loved ones are often-times our most precious keepsakes, and they will instruct you in proper portrait care to make those images last a lifetime. You don’t need to spend a small fortune on yearly family portraits, but you shouldn’t let price drive your decision entirely. Go for quality. As a client once told me, “When you pay peanuts, you get stuck with a monkey.” I do believe the photographer you choose should have their pricing policies clearly spelled out to you in writing before you hire them, however. Finally, choose a photographer with whom you feel a connection—a meeting of the minds. Find a person that has all the technical skills and artistic feel to their work that you want, who makes you feel listened to and important, and that you want to work with for several hours. Senior portrait photography requires a certain chemistry and comfort level between photographer and client. This advice goes double for wedding photography. You will be spending one entire day with this person photographing very personal, emotional moments. If you are unhappy with the personality of your photographer in any scenario, it will show in your faces and in the finished portraits. If you would like to learn more about my photography philosophy, please contact me, Tracy, at Images by Tracy Lovett. I’d love to answer any other questions you may have!

How to . . .

. . .Choose A Photographer

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Comsumer Guide

. . .Save Energy By Replacing Doors New exterior doors often fit and insulate better than older types. If you have older doors in your home, replacing them might be a good investment, resulting in lower heating and cooling costs. If you’re building a new home, you should consider buying the most energyefficient doors possible. When selecting doors for energy efficiency, it’s important to first consider their energy performance ratings in relation to your climate and home’s design. This will help narrow your selection.

The Valley News/Herald-Journal

Give Your Home the Look of Luxury with an Energy Saving Exterior Door

buying or replacing patio doors, keep in mind that swinging doors offer a much tighter seal than sliding types. Also, with a sliding glass door, it’s impossible to stop all air leakage around the weatherstripping and still be able to use the door. After years of use, the weatherstripping wears down so air leakage increases as the door ages. If the manufacturer has made it possible to do so, you can replace worn weatherstripping on sliding glass doors. Installation

Types of Doors One common type of exteriour door has steel skin with a polyurethane foam insulation core. It usually includes a magnetic strip(similar to a refrigerator door magnetic seal) as weatherstripping. If installed correctly and if the door is not bent, this type of door needs no further weatherstripping. Glass or patio doors, especially slikding glass doors, lose heat much faster than other types of doors because glass is a very poor insulator. Most modern glass doors with metal frames have thermal break, which is a plastic insulator between inner an douter parts of the frae. Models with several layer of glass, low-emissivity coatings, and/or low-conductivity gases between the glass panes are a good investment, especially in extreme climates. Over the long run, the additional cost is paid back many ties over in energy savings. When

When you buy a door, it will probably be a pre-hung frame. Prehung doors usually come with wood or steel frames. You will need to remove an existing door frame from the rough opening before you install a pre-hung door. The door frame must be as square as possible, so that the door seals tightly to the jamb and swings properly. Before adding the interior trim, apply an expanding foam caulking to seal the new door frame to the rough opening and threshold. This will help prevent air from getting around the door seals and into the house. Apply carefully, especially with a wood frame, to avoid having the foam force the frame out of the square. If needed, you’ll also want to add weatherstripping. Check the weatherstripping on your exterior doors annually to see if it needs replacement.

Barrington Craftsman Oak 3 Panel Door The Barrington® Fiberglass Door Collection represents the essence of luxury and performance in a fiberglass door. What makes this product unique is its distinct raised moulding and authentic wood door appearance. It is available in both Mahogany and Oak wood-grain texture. This product will not dent and resists splitting, cracking and warping.

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How to . . .

6 August 2012

203 W.Oak, Red Oak, IA • 712-623-2575


Comsumer Guide

The Valley News/Herald-Journal

How to . . .

. . .Choose Paint Simplistically, premium quality paint saves you work and money. If you only need to paint your house once every five years instead of every second year, you can see that paying even twice as much for quality paint in the long run will be less expensive both in terms of money and your effort. All paint companies make different grades of paints to meet different application requirements. Premium or quality paints provide the best coverage, durability and ease of working. Other paint grades with names like professional grade, architectural grade or professional grade will work but won’t do as good a job as true premium quality paint. But what makes quality paint and how can you tell quality paint from paint that isn’t quite as good since the names don’t really tell you much? Quality paints contain both the best pigments and binders, but in

addition, they contain more of these solids than lower quality paints, and it’s the solids that remain behind after the paint has dried. Economy paints provide hiding by using less pigment then extending it with fillers like clay or calcium carbonate that will have good hiding capability initially but lose their hiding capabilities over time - particularly when exposed to weather. Telling quality paint from lesser quality •If you are comparing paint from a single manufacturer, price and name are usually good indicators. Manufacturers need to charge more for their premium quality paint since it contains more of more costly ingredients. However, price is a good indicator of quality since, a manufacturer isn’t going to charge more for a lesser quality paint (or label it as a premium paint when it’s see PAINT, Page 10

August 2012 7

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. . . Plan Newspaper Advertising A new business opens. The owner has combined good quality products with reasonable prices. Now the store waits for the public to come in and buy. He waits and waits, and then waits some more. The few people that did come in the store during the first few weeks he is open are not even aware of what type of merchandise he sold. The storeowner begins to panic. He has invested hundreds of thousands of dollars. His financial future is at stake. He decides to advertise his new business. He places an ad in the local paper and on a local radio station. "Now Open" are the catchy phrase words he decides to use proclaiming his store is now ready to serve the public. Still, very few people come into the store. He begins to question if he made the right decision to put his entire financial future

into this new store. The problem described here happens over and over each week in towns across America. The people who have invested money and time into establishing a local business don't spend time planning how to protect and build the business through advertising. Here are some tips: Consistency is important in advertising. Regardless of what product or service you sell, consistent advertising helps build a reputation for your business. Following is an example of how this works. If you are going to list your home for sale, which real estate office are you going to use? Unless you have a friend at different office, you are likely to choose the office that seems most aggressive in wanting to sell your home. This is probably the real estate office that has the frequent and large ads in the paper. Another reason to be consistent in

advertising is the needs of consumers constantly change. As an example, a family of four has another child and now is a family of five. Not everyone comfortably fits in the 4-door sedan any longer. They decide to upgrade to a mini-van or SUV. Where do they buy their new vehicle? It will likely be from the auto dealer who they perceive has a good selection of vehicles that are reasonably priced. Often, they will also consider the reputation of the dealer and the quality of their service department. This perception is formed over time through advertising. It may also be influenced by which dealer has the best sale going on this week. A consistent advertising program influences each perception. How do retailers develop an advertising budget? Research shows that less than half of independently owned businesses do any sort of planned budgeting

for advertising. Many of these businesses only budget for the upcoming month. Good business practice dictates planning is essential to yield good return from the retailer's advertising budget. Many advertisers base their advertising strategy on end of the year whims or, worse yet, on last year's advertising expense. With increased competition for local businesses from national chains, mail order, cable TV and e-business aggressive businesses that expect continued sales growth must exercise initiative in their future advertising and promotion planning. If they want to grow, they have to have an aggressive advertising plan. Businesses have developed many different ways to establish advertising budgets. The basis for these formulas include: ■ Industry Averages see ADV, Page 10

How to . . .

By DAVE BARAGREY


Comsumer Guide

. . .Choose A Financial Planner #1: 10 Questions To Ask When Choosing A Financial Planner By: Rosemary A. Els, CFP® You may be considering seeking help from a financial planner for a number of reasons, whether it’s deciding to buy a new home, planning for retirement or your children’s education, or simply not having the time or expertise to organize your finances. Whatever your need, working with a financial planner can be a helpful step in securing your financial future. The questions below have been prepared to help you choose the financial planner who’s right for you. What experience do you have? Find out how long the planner has been in practice and the number and types of companies with which he or she has been associated. Ask the planner to describe his work experience and how it relates to his current financial planning practice. Choose a planner who has a minimum of three years’ experience counseling individuals on their financial needs. What are your qualifications? The term “financial planner” is used by many financial professionals. Ask the planner what qualifies her to offer financial planning advice and whether she holds a financial planning certification such as the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ or CFP® marks. What services do you offer? The services financial planners offer depends on a number of factors including their credentials, registrations, and areas of expertise. Financial planners cannot sell insurance or securities products such as mutual funds or stocks without the proper registrations, or give investment advice in most states unless registered with state or

federal authorities. What is your approach to financial planning? Ask about the type of clients and financial situations the planner typically works with. Some planners prefer to develop one plan by bringing together all of your financial goals. Others provide advice on specific areas, as you may need it. Ask the planner if he requires you to have a certain net worth before working with you and if he will implement financial recommendations or refer you to others. Will you be the only person working with me? The financial planner may work with you alone or be assisted by others. You may want to meet everyone who will be working with you. If the planner works with professionals outside her own practice, get a list of their names to check backgrounds. How will I pay for your services? As part of your financial planning agreement, the financial planner should clearly tell you in writing how he will be paid for the services to be provided. Planners can be paid in several ways including salary, fees, commissions or a combination of these methods. How much do you typically charge? While the amount you pay the planner will depend on your particular needs, the planner should be able to provide you with an estimate of possible costs based on the work to be performed. Could anyone besides me benefit from your recommendations? Ask the planner if she has business relationships or partnerships that could affect her professional judgment while working with you. For example, financial planners see FINANCIAL, Page 11

Always here... for you!

The Valley News/Herald-Journal

Rosemary A. Els, CFP®

Look for the CFP marks. Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. owns these certification marks in the U.S., which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board’s initial and ongoing certification requirements.

They stand for Quality Service, Ethical Practices, Professional Conduct, and Knowledgeable Strategies. 120802-46646

How to . . .

8 August 2012

Rosemary Els, CFP® *Financial Advisor 122 W. Washington St. Clarinda, IA 51632 712-542-1180 rels@sagepointadvisor.com

*Securities and advisory services offered through SagePoint Financial, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC. Insurance Services offered through Town & Country Financial Services, who is not affiliated with SagePoint Financial, Inc.


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ANGELS CARE HOME HEALTH

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As people age, options for those needing long-term care can be both expensive and traumatic for people who are forced to uproot their lives. In-home care is a convenient and comfortable option that offers the perfect compromise – professionals who can travel to the home of the patient. Choosing an in-home care provider is an important decision and it is really about finding the provider that offers the right mix of services for your needs. For example, at Angels Care Home Health, patients have access to skilled services, including nursing; physical, occupational and speech therapies; falls prevention; wound care; disease management and education; as well as medication management and education. There are many options available, ask your friend or loved one’s primary care physician to assist you

narrowing down your choices. Also, know what it costs. For qualified Medicare patients, inhome care is 100 percent covered. For others that don’t qualify, make sure you understand what services you will be paying for. You do not want to pay for services that are not required. Most importantly, when you are making a decision, make sure that you select a company that you can trust. The staff will be in and out of your home and ingrained into your life, so it is important that you obtain recommendations from other people who have been in a similar situation. Remember, when it comes to your health, you are in the driver’s seat. By finding the right match, you will experience the benefits of companionship, comfort, care and cost savings that make in-home care such a popular choice.

How to . . .

. . .Choose A College Going to college can be an exciting yet scary time for anyone. Whether you are leaving for college for the first time, returning to college to finish a degree, or starting later in life you need to remember that support is always available. No matter why you are attending college, you need to take several steps to assure you get the most out of your college experience. Assess Your Interests and Skills When considering starting college or going back to college you need a plan. Statistics show that degree seeking college students are more successful and have higher retention rates than those students who attend college ‘undecided’. Many resources are available to help students determine interests and career paths. Iowa has a comprehensive website for students and adults of all ages and interest (www.ihaveaplaniowa.gov). This offers great resources and assessments to help guide you on a path meant specifically for you. Know Your Learning Style Everyone’s learning style is different and universities and colleges cater to many different learning styles. Some institutions offer only online learning while others offer a combination of learning options. Research the institution and your goals within the institution to make sure they match with your learning style. Research the Institution and Visit the campus Do your homework! Consider every aspect of the college or colleges you are interested in attending. Consider distance, career goals, campus life, course delivery (online, hybrid, face-to-face, video classes), extracurricular interests and cost. Weigh your options with your future plans to make the best decision for

you. Visit the college. Talk to the advisors and faculty. Meet with other students. Ask questions. Attending college, whether for the first time or as a returning student, is one of the biggest investments you will make. Do your research to assure you are spending your money and time wisely. Complete the Application Process Each University, College, or Community College has a different application process. When researching colleges, make sure you pay close attention to the application process. Some institutions require essays, references, and extensive forms while others have a more simple process. Some institutions charge an application fee while others do not. Know the institution you are interested in and their specific process. It will be worth it in the end. Request All Transcripts When applying to any higher learning institution, you will be required to submit all transcripts from any learning institutions you have attended. You will need your high school transcript or GED transcript as well as any transcripts for college classes you have taken in the past. Many institutions will not release your transcripts if you owe them money so make sure you know your account status for all institutions in which you request transcripts. Also, keep in mind some higher learning institutions charge a transcript fee. Take Any Required Placement Tests Most institutions require some sort of testing before you can takes classes. The testing required can range from the SAT / ACT, to a program specific test to the

see COLLEGE, Page 10

Page/Fremont County Center in Shenandoah R 712.246.1499 Clarinda Campus in Clarinda R 712.542.5117 or 800.521.2073

August 2012 9

How to . . .

Comsumer Guide . . .Choose the Right In-Home Care Provider


10 August 2012

TIRES

How to . . .

Continued from Page 2

a means of self-inspection. To perform a bounce test, push your front bumper as low to the pavement as possible and let go. A car with healthy shocks should rebound into place quickly. If the front of the car “bounces” up and down

MATTRESS Continued from Page 4

mattress sets are in the value "sweet spot". Each manufacturer makes a "standard" line of mattresses and a "premium" line. Generally speaking, around the $699 price point you enter into the world of "premium" mattresses offering more comfort and durability. Your ultimate goal is to find an entry level "premium" mattress set. At $699-$799 you can

CARPET Continued from Page 3

into the carpet. Once dry, vacuuming removes the residue containing loose, encapsulated soil. Combination of hot water and shampoo As the name implies, this method used the hot water and extraction method and shampoo. This method is especially effective for cleaning highly soiled carpets with heavy soil buildup. The process has two

Comsumer Guide more than twice before settling back into place, it may have worn shocks. Even if you don’t experience any of these warning signs, there is no substitute for a thorough inspection by a qualified professional. Driving with worn shocks and struts is as risky as driving on bald tires or using brakes that are past their prime.

get a queen mattress set that feels great, with guts every bit as firm and durable as a $3000+ mattress. Remember that good health and sleep are closely linked! An investment in a good sleep surface is an investment in your health. Spend at least 15 minutes lying on each mattress in store. Trust your instincts and let your body make the final decision about your purchase.

steps: -Shampoo using rotary brush to loosen soil. -Hot water extraction using water rather than detergent solution to remove shampoo. Some units may combine both steps. It is usually expensive because of added labor costs. Tip: For residential cleaning, hot water extraction on its own is usually powerful enough to clean most carpets and rugs.

ADV Continued from Page 7

■ Last year's advertising expense ■ What they have always done ■ A percent of store sales minus rent (higher rent equals smaller advertising budget) ■ A percent of sales depending upon profit margin ■ What uncle Jasper told them they should spend The formula that many businesses have found to be useful is the floating percent of sales based upon margin of profit. This works best for businesses that sell a product and can identify the cost of goods. The premise for this formula is relatively simple. The higher the margin of profit, the higher the percent of sales your business can afford to spend. The steps to use this formula follow: 1. Establish sales projections for upcoming months. These projections should carefully developed using true and realistic evaluations of the market. Begin with last year's sales figures. Each of the following factors needs to be considered when forecasting sales for upcoming months. Adjust by the influence of: ■ Market size changes - Is your com-

munity growing? Are you expanding into new markets? ■ Market share changes - Has a competitor changed ownership and become more aggressive obtaining some of your customers? Are you after more market share this year? Has a new large competitor entered the market and taken customers from you. ■ Price changes Has the price of the product sold increased or decreased? ■ Product line changes - Is your store handling a different blend of merchandise? Have you dropped a brand that Wal-Mart carries? Have you expanded a product line? 2. Determine the average Gross Margin of Profit (GMP). This is very simply the cost of merchandise divided by store sales. Subtract this percent from 100%. The balance is the gross margin of profit. Example: Store sales were $500,000. Cost of merchandise was $300,000. The Gross Margin of Profit is 40%. Our advice is to plan a consistent advertising program, then plan additional advertising during the peak selling seasons. Copyright © 2005 Publishers-Edge

The Valley News/Herald-Journal

COLLEGE Continued from Page 9 Compass Test. Some institutions use these scores as an admission requirement to the college or specific program while some use them as a placement indicator for specific classes. Do your homework and be prepared to take any tests necessary. Apply for Financial Aid How will you pay for your education? To most students this is the most critical component of the application process. College education costs are on the rise and you must be prepared to pay for them. While many options are available, the main funding source is the Federal Student Aid Program (www.fafsa.gov). This program awards grants and loans to qualifying students based on financial need. Other funding sources come from scholarships (know your deadlines!), and private loans or investments. The cost of attending college can varies for each insti-

PAINT Continued from Page 7

not), since their name is on the product. •If you want a more subjective test, the “touch test” is a hand’s on method that also works well. To do the “touch test, select your paint and have it thoroughly shaken. Then open the can put your thumb and index finger into the paint, and feel the texture of the paint on your fingers. Good quality paint will feel smooth and silky while lesser quality paint will have a hard, gritty feel. (Less expensive pigment materials like clay and talc can’t be ground as finely as the more expensive pigments giving the paint that gritty feel). Help your quality paint do its job Once you’ve found (and paid for) your quality paint, you know your work isn’t done yet. Even the best quality paint can’t overcome poor surface preparation so take the time to prepare the surface properly before you start painting. Clean, scrape and sand

tution so know what you can afford and how you will pay. Apply for Housing Living on-campus is a unique experience for many students. Know your options and deadlines for your institution and complete the application processes on time. Register for Classes Each institution has a process for registering for classes. Many institutions require all first time students to attend an orientation. Many institutions are moving to online registration. Your biggest step in this process is to talk to an academic advisor. Your advisor will lead you in the correct direction needed for your major and schedule. When you make the decision to attend college, whether as a first time student or returning student, you need to do your homework. Sometimes the process seems overwhelming. Just remember that many people can be available to help you along in the process.

the surface. Dirt and grease will prevent paint from adhering and putting a coat of new paint on top of cracked or peeling existing paint will actually cause all the paint to peel faster. •Use a primer-sealer to improve the paint’s hiding capability and provide a “tooth” for the new paint to adhere to. Primers also prevent uneven paint absorption and will even help lesser quality paints but when used with quality paint, your finished project will retain its good looks much longer. •End up with the best appearance by applying your paint at the rate recommended by the manufacturer; don’t thin the paint to try to get a little more coverage -(you just defeat the purpose of buying quality in the first place). Choosing good quality paint then taking the time to properly prepare the surface will mean your finished paint job won’t just look great, it will last a long time, - and that means you won’t need to paint again - for a long time.


Comsumer Guide

The Valley News/Herald-Journal

August 2012 11

How to . . .

. . .Take the Next Step with Assisted Living Many times individuals deny themselves opportunities for a vibrant life in order to stay at home. It is not easy to part with a house that has seen generations of children born, grow and bring grandchildren back for holidays! But… the best things in life aren’t things. Houses are no exception. Assisted living communities are like nothing civilization has experienced yet. They have become a much-needed bridge to a gap in aging; home to skilled care facility. Staying at home is not only unsafe at times, it’s boring! There is no doubt about it, having a friend to visit with is as good of medicine as any. The beauty of assisted living is individuals can still have the privacy of their apartment while having the convenience of accessible, qualified staff to attend to healthcare needs. Skilled care facilities are a beautiful thing too but if it’s not what you need, why live there? Furthermore, assisted living communities ward off serious injuries

and illnesses that prevent adults from having the option of assisted living. Depending on the company, there is a healthcare professional (Registered Nurse) on site or on call 24/7 for medical advice or attention if necessary. Staff working on-site around the clock is immediately available to residents in case of emergencies. A building compliant with state fire and health codes drastically improves quality and safety of the building in general. There are criteria outlined by the Department of Inspections and Appeals (D.I.A) to ensure residents are qualified physically for this setting, this is a safety precaution for residents and staff. Bottom line, if you no longer feel safe at home by yourself or if you are disconnected from your social life because of where you live, is it really worth staying when you have options? Assisted living done right provides a safe, dignified and enjoyable option to individuals who have identified they need some extra help.

Assisted Living Community 601 Harrison Street • Shenandoah, IA 712-246-2194 • www.windsor-manor.com

There’s Always Something to Do at Windsor Manor!

Our mission is to provide an atmosphere of respect, comfort and grace, where quality of life is of the utmost importance.

120823-47390

DESIGN Continued from Page 3

ing your expectations. Talk to at least three designers and get their input and cost estimates. You will be working closely with this person, so take personality into consideration along with other factors. Stay away from designers who seem to have their own agenda. They have their opinion about what would look good, but this is your home and your project. A good way to determine if a designer will work for you and with you is to ask how much you can be personally involved in the project. If the designer objects you may want to consider someone else. The right designer for you is the one who will make your ideas come alive.

FINANCIAL Continued from Page 8

who sell insurance policies, securities or mutual funds, have a business relationship with the companies that provide these financial products. The planner may also have other business relationships or partnerships that should be disclosed to you. Have you ever been publicly disciplined for any unlawful or unethical actions in your professional career? Several government and professional regulatory organizations, such as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), your state insurance and securities departments,

When interviewing, always ask to see a portfolio. Every designer worth hiring will have a portfolio of past projects along with professional credentials and client references. Don't be afraid to check out the information that is provided. One mark of a good designer is the ability to adapt to a variety of styles while working within the price range of his or her client. You want someone who not only reflects your style, but also does it within your budget. Also, make sure they are a qualified interior designer. Many states require a person to have training and licensed to be an interior designer. Remember that interior decorators are not the same as interior designers. A designer has more comprehensive training and is able to handle all aspects of your project, including such things as scheduling subcontractors.

After the interviewing process is done, compare estimates but remember that the cheapest estimate might not come from the best designer to hire. Keep in mind that differences in each proposal reflect variables such as level of service and quality. Perhaps Kelly Gale Amen said it best. "People have to be aware of what the designer really does. If you just want merchandised goods, there are many people who can do that. But if you want a home that provides a cocoon for your emotions -- from joyful amusement to solace and serenity, then you have to choose the designer who is right for you." Choosing the right designer can mean all the difference to your project. Copyright © 2005 Publishers-Edge

and the CFP Board keep records on the disciplinary history of financial planners and advisers. Ask which organizations the planner is regulated by and contact those groups for disciplinary information.

based on a brochure provided by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards. For a free copy of this brochure, contact the CFP Board at 800-487-1497 or www.CFP.net. Founded in 1985, the CFP Board is a nonprofit certifying organization that owns the CFP® certification marks in the U.S. and benefits the public by fostering professional standards in personal financial planning. Securities and advisory services offered through SagePoint Financial, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC. Insurance Services offered through Town & Country Financial Services, who is not affiliated with SagePoint Financial, Inc. Town & Country Financial Services, 122 W. Washington, Clarinda, IA 51632. Phone 712-542-1180.

Can I have it in writing? Ask the planner for a written agreement detailing the services that will be provided. Keep this document in your files for future reference. Rosemary E. Els, CFP®, is a financial planner with SagePoint Financial, Inc. and specializes in general financial planning, insurance, investment planning, long term care, and retirement planning. Information in this article is


Comsumer Guide

How to . . .

12 August 2012

The Valley News/Herald-Journal

. . .Select A Wine What compels you to purchase the wine you currently consume? Is it habit? Do you purchase the same wine without ever trying anything new? Let’s start at the very beginning: wine appeals to your senses. Your sight, smell, taste and touch all play an important part in wine selection. At Wabash Wine Company we will test your senses the moment you walk into the tasting room. Wine is a very sensuous experience if it is the right wine for you; if is the wrong wine, it is just a bad experience, and wine doesn’t have to be that for you. Sight White wines range in color from nearly colorless to an intense golden hue. Fill your wine glass halfway and tilt the glass away from you. Have a piece of white paper behind the glass and you will get a

true color analysis. Pale wines tend to come from cooler regions while darker wines come from warmer climates. The exceptions are very sweet and fruit wines. White wines should be clear and bright, never cloudy or hazy. Small, colorless crystals at the bottom of the glass are harmless tartrate deposits. Red wines will range in color from pink to almost black. The grape variety plays an important role in the color. Red wines are the reverse of whites; as reds age, the color becomes paler. Examine a red wine as you would a white, but with a red you look at the rim of the wine for the true color. Warmer climates produce deeper colored reds. The way it is aged will also affect its color. Smell Lift your wine glass & swirl the wine around. Place your

nose in the center of the glass and take a series of short sniffs. Wines have been identified to have over 500 aromatic compounds, which are derived from the grape varieties, the fermentation process, and the maturation process. Wine that is cold will have little aroma. Aroma and bouquet actually refer to 2 different things. The aroma is used to describe smells associated with the grape. The bouquet is the part of the wine’s smell derived from its development while it’s in the bottle. Over time, your wine smell memory bank can grow to encompass hundreds of the wonderful aromas that range from floral, spicy, fruity, nutty, to caramel and wood, to mention a few. As you swirl your glass you will see legs appear. This is wine clinging to the sides of the glass. Legs are an indication of high alcohol content or

sugar content, or both. Dancing legs are fun to watch when swirling, but really have no other purpose. Taste Take a sip of wine into your mouth with a little bit of air. Make sure you have enough to cover your entire tongue so all your taste buds are covered. How does the wine feel? Is it a thin wine or full-bodied? Your tongue will give you information regarding the tannins, acidity, sweetness and alcohol content. How long the wine lingers in your mouth is also important. It is an individual preference as to how sweet, how much acid, or how high of tannins you like in your wines. That is where the feel of the wine comes into play, how each wine feels on your tongue. Over time your wine palate changes and what you once really loved in a wine, you now may wish for some-

thing different. At Wabash Wine Company you can try different types of wines, all made here at our winery. Depending upon current inventories, we will have from 7 to 12 different selections to try. Wines can be purchased by the bottle, or by the glass. The wine industry in Iowa is exploding with a wealth of award-winning wines. We are proud of our Chancellor and Bluebird Express wines which recently won Silver and Bronze awards at the 2011 Mid-America Wine Competition. We hope that you will consider stopping by the winery to try our native Iowa wines, enjoy the facility, and find your next new favorite wine. So, “All Aboard!” Wabash Wine Company, Joe & Shelly Skahill, proprietors

800 West Ferguson Road, Shenandoah, Iowa www.wabashwinecompany.com

712-246-3009

Thee wineryy hass severall optionss forr weddings,, showers,, rehearsall dinners,, postt weddingg parties.... orr youu couldd evenn havee yourr weddingg inn thee Caboosee Courtyard.. Calll too bookk yourr speciall event.

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