• Household Hazards, Holiday-Style

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    Almost as reliable a tradition at this time of year as reading “The Night Before Christmas” and watching “It’s a Wonderful Life” is — at least among public safety officials — issuing warnings about the household hazards that come with celebrating the holidays. And that’s likely to continue as the number of people in the U.S. who are injured at their homes from holiday-related accidents continues to grow dramatically. As the above video describes, the number who’ve ended up going to hospital emergency rooms has increased from 12,000 in 2009 to 15,000 in 2012. So it’s risen to about 250 per day, says the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

    The causes in 2012, uh, broke down to things like falling from ladders; leaving candles unattended; carelessly selecting and maintaining Christmas trees; and decorating under the influence of alcohol. If you’ve watched “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” you’ve already seen a kind of slapstick version of the CPSC’s list, but ER personnel would likely agree that the following list is a classic that bears another reading, and needs to be taken more …read more  

  • Mortgage Refinancing Without Resetting the Clock

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    By Scott Sheldon

    For many homeowners, the thought of refinancing can be less appealing because the clock resets each time you re-mortgage. Essentially, you could be turning back the clock to 30 years each time you refinance. In some circumstances, especially if you’re a few years away from paying off the debt in full, a refinance might not make sense. You’re in luck though. For the overwhelming majority of homeowners, there are ways to refinance without starting over a new loan term.

    A Real-Life Example: Let’s start with the most popular mortgage term, a traditional 30-year fixed-rate mortgage. Whether the purposes are strictly payment reduction, interest rate reduction or cash-out purposes, the loan-term will start over a new 360 months, no two ways about it.

    With rates near a low 4 percent, opportunities to reduce payment by virtue of rate reduction are still plentiful. When starting over a new term, and the payment is reduced, the key is to make the same payment on the …read more