RE/MAX 440
Maureen Fitzgerald
731 W Skippack Pike
Blue Bell  PA 19422
 Phone: 215-643-3200 1824
Office Phone: 215-643-3200
Cell: 215-530-6438
Fax: 267-354-6880 
mfitzgerald@remaxcentralinc.com
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Maureen Fitzgerald

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Leadership Lessons for the Up and Coming

June 1, 2017 1:45 am

Those just entering their careers have a long road ahead of them. With the average American now working well into their 60s, young college graduates and interns have decades to fine tune their leadership skills.

Randy Rupp, CEO of Rehmann financial services firm, has 35 years of business behind him. Rupp first started at Rehmann as an intern in 1981, and steadily worked his way to the top. Reflecting on his accomplishments, Rupp shares suggestions for today's interns and young professionals.

Believe in yourself, and in change

Rupp’s first piece of advice: when someone tells you "You can do anything you set your mind to," believe it. Foster these three characteristics:
- A willingness to learn;
- A "can-do" mentality;
- An acceptance of change.

"If I could advise students of anything, it would be that you really have to capitalize on change," says Rupp. Although it may be absolutely terrifying, do not fear the unknown. "Change is becoming normal. Don't become delayed or frustrated by it — plan for it, capitalize on it and accept it."

Reverse engineer successful colleagues

Try to identify the elements of successful firm leaders so that you can emulate them. "It's rare to find a person unwilling to talk about their climb to the top," Rupp says. But rather than simply emulating influential people, you must also integrate those habits into your lifestyle. "Someone who's achieved success can probably tell you something about how to get there. Learning from them is good, but adding your own twist will help you plot a course of action for your own career."

Look for extra leg room

Finally, Rupp suggests students and young professionals look for internships or full-time positions that offer multiple paths. "You really want some leg room, professionally speaking," Rupp said. "Some studies suggest young professionals will change jobs four times before they reach 32 years of age. It's not surprising: there are many exciting fields out there." As an intern, Rupp had the opportunity to work in audit and tax, and was consistently included in client meetings and presentations. The variation prevented him from feeling stagnant. "Variety is the spice of life," he said. "But no one ever said that variety couldn't come from within the same firm."

SOURCE: Rehmann

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Prepare for Entertaining Inside and Out

June 1, 2017 1:45 am

(Family Features)--With warm weather comes an overwhelming urge to get outside and enjoy it. From barbecues and cookouts to ice cream parties and poolside hangouts, summertime is a popular excuse to kick up your feet and invite your friends and family over to celebrate together.

Now is the perfect time to give your deck or patio area a little TLC before inviting the masses. Follow these tips to revamp and refresh your home's exterior and interior ahead of hosting your next summer event.

Get your gardening gloves on. A little color goes a long way for a bed of plants and flowers. Plant some bright flowers along your patio or consider growing functional, edible plants that look and taste great. Gardening is a fun summer project that can add beauty to your home's exterior lounging areas. If gardening isn't your thing, fresh-cut flowers in a vase as a centerpiece can do the trick.

Ready the deck and home exterior. Fungus on the deck isn't appealing, nor are mildew stains, dirt or weather-beaten patches. Pressure wash your deck then re-stain it with a matching color and finish, and apply a wood preservative to help prevent water damage and discoloration. In addition, it might be time to give dull shutters and doors a fresh coat of paint to prevent them from looking washed out.

Remove mold and mildew. Mold and mildew can form on the exterior siding and trim of your home, as well as on patio furniture, flower pots and swimming pools. It's important to regularly clean the outside of your house as well as your outdoor furniture and accessories that may have been stored away all winter. It's easy to remove mold or mildew with a garden hose, a long-handled brush and a mixture of a 1/2 cup of Clorox Regular-Bleach per each gallon of water.

Stop the spread of fungal disease in gardens. Fungal diseases can be deadly to plants and wildlife. When used as directed, bleach is a simple but powerful tool that can be used to help stop the spread of fungal diseases. It can also keep cut flowers alive longer when you add a few drops to a water-filled vase.

Clean up the bathroom and kitchen. Don't forget about indoor spaces. When hosting friends, it's likely that you or a guest will need to visit the kitchen to prepare a side dish or grab another drink and bathroom visits are inevitable. Clean up any loose items and use a disinfecting wipe on hard surfaces like countertops, door handles and light switches.

When it comes to summer entertaining, all you need is a quick refresh before you kick back with loved ones in a clean, relaxing space.  

Source: Clorox

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Top Tips for Cleaner Air Every Day

May 31, 2017 1:45 am

We all work hard to keep our home clean, right? But how often do you think about the cleanliness of the air you breathe? One of the top culprits of dirty air is your car, but there are many things you can do to ensure you’re having the smallest negative impact on air quality as possible. Below is a roundup of rules from Georgia's Clean Air Force.

The 30-Second Rule. Nearly four million gallons of gas are wasted each year by unnecessary idling. Idling can allow harmful deposits to form inside of an engine, damaging vital components. Turn your engine off if you will be idling for 30 seconds or more.

It's Cool to Pool. Telecommuting or carpooling to work is an effective way to contribute to cleaner air and to save money. The average vehicle releases 10,000 pounds of carbon dioxide annually. Teaming up with some colleagues and carpooling to work can cut down on harmful emissions. If you have a shorter commute, pledge to walk or ride your bike to work once a week.

Get Pumped About Cleaner Air. Underinflated tires produce more drag, requiring your engine to work harder. Underinflated tires decrease fuel efficiency and can produce harmful emissions. Properly inflated tires can improve gas mileage up to 3.3% annually and extend the life of your tires, according to U.S. Department of Energy.

Refuel in the Cool. Hot temperatures combined with gasoline fumes create harmful ground-level ozone. Experts recommend that motorists refuel in the evening when temperatures are cooler and gasoline evaporates at a less rapid rate. Also, don't forget to tighten your gas cap. Each year, 147 million gallons of gasoline vaporize due to loose, damaged or missing gas caps.

There's an App for That. There are many smartphone apps to help motorists find the most efficient travel routes, including apps that help motorists avoid left turns, which can be a major source of idling.

SOURCE: Georgia's Clean Air Force

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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5 Tips for Easing Spring Migraines

May 31, 2017 1:45 am

Nothing kills your spring like a throbbing migraine. Thousands of Americans suffer from these debilitating headaches, which can keep you out of work, dampen your social life, and more.

Here are some tips from the Mayo Clinic and USA Medical to help lessen migraines:

Routines matter. Try to keep the same sleeping and eating schedule every day.

Eat fresh. Avoid foods that are processed because they may contain nitrates, too much salt and other ingredients that trigger migraines.

Skip the bar. Limit your alcohol intake.

Ohhhhm. Make a habit of muscle relaxation exercises such as yoga or meditation.

Headache hitting? Stay in the dark. Rest in a dark, quiet room and apply gentle pressure to pain points.

Source: USA Medical

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Advice for Grads: Act Like a Leader

May 26, 2017 1:33 am

Newly minted college grads usually have one overarching goal: find a job. While most are understandably consumed with where to work and what kind of salary they may be able to score, some say that those first entering the workforce should also be thinking about how to become an exemplary leader.

"When you're looking for that first job, keep in mind that 97 percent of employers believe that leadership development should begin by age 21," says Jim Kouzes, coauthor along with Barry Posner of the sixth edition of The Leadership Challenge: How to Make Extraordinary Things Happen in Organizations (www.leadershipchallenge.com). "If you haven't started your leadership development by now, you should. You probably won't be in an 'official' leadership position immediately, but from your very first day, you can set the example for others, inspire others, challenge yourself to improve, collaborate with others, and encourage others to do their best."

Kouzes and Posner emphasize that leadership is not about a title and delegating to others - it’s about relationships, credibility, passion and conviction, and ultimately about what you do.

"Everyone has the capacity to be a leader," says Posner. "It's not some mystical inborn quality. It's an observable pattern of practices and behaviors, and a definable set of skills and abilities. As one young leader told us, 'You never know where one step will take you. And you never know where the next one will lead. The difference in being a leader is that you take that step.'"

Kouzes and Posner’s research led them to develop the following Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership®:

Model the Way. Exemplary leaders know that if they want to gain commitment and achieve the highest standards, they must be models of the behavior they expect of others. Eloquent speeches about common values, however, aren't nearly enough. Leaders' deeds are far more important than their words, so words and deeds must be consistent.

Inspire a Shared Vision. People talk about their personal-best leadership experiences as times when they imagined an exciting, highly attractive future for their organization. To enlist in a shared vision, people must believe that leaders understand their needs and have their interests at heart. Leaders forge a unity of purpose by showing constituents how the dream is for the common good.

Challenge the Process. Every single personal-best leadership case involved a change from the status quo. Not one person claimed to have achieved a personal best by keeping things the same. Leaders venture out. They also know that innovation and change involve experimenting and taking risks. One way of dealing with the potential risks and failures of experimentation is to approach change through incremental steps and small wins. Try, fail, learn. That's the leader's mantra.

Enable Others to Act. Achieving greatness requires a team effort. Leaders foster collaboration and build trust. The more people trust their leaders, and each other, the more they take risks, make changes, and keep moving ahead. When leaders enable people to feel strong and capable, they'll give it their all and exceed their own expectations.

Encourage the Heart. The climb to the top is arduous and steep. People become exhausted, frustrated, and disenchanted. They're often tempted to give up. Genuine acts of caring uplift the spirits and draw people forward. Recognizing contributions can be one-to-one or with many people. It can come from dramatic gestures or simple actions. It's part of the leader's job to show appreciation for people's contributions and to create a culture of celebrating values and victories.

"There are many opportunities to make these five practices part of your life, while you're working at a temporary job, before you get a position in your desired field or even before you have a paying job at all," says Kouzes. "You can inspire others right now. You can encourage others. You can shake up the status quo and take some risks. These are the hallmarks of exemplary leaders."

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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The Cheapest (and Priciest) Places to Live

May 26, 2017 1:33 am

Strapped for cash and struggling to live in your current locale? You may want to consider making a move. A new study from GoBankingRates.com shook down the most and least expensive cities across the country. Below are the results.

Top 5 Cheapest Places to Live

- Virginia Beach, Va.
- San Antonio, Texas
- Oklahoma City, Okla.
- Omaha, Neb.
- Arlington, Texas

Top 5 Most Expensive Places to Live

- San Francisco
- Los Angeles
- Oakland, Calif.
- New York City
- Anaheim, Calif.

Looking for a bit more info? The study shows that Virginia Beach, Va., has the highest median income ($66,634) of the 15 best cities for saving money. Of the cheapest cities to live, Wichita, Kan., has the lowest median list price ($137,250).  

At $4,500, San Francisco, the worst city for saving money, has the highest median monthly rent of any city included in the study. San Francisco also has the highest average gas price ($3.16) and highest median home listing price ($1,195,000). Bakersfield, Calif., has a 10.9 percent unemployment rate, the highest of any city in the study.

Of all the cities examined, Honolulu, Hawaii, has the highest average monthly cost of groceries ($490.53).

Source: http://www.gobankingrates.com

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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How to Avoid a Home Robbery This Summer

May 26, 2017 1:33 am

Nothing will stunt the joy of summer faster than a home robbery. But as homeowners head out on daytrips or long vacations, their homes are ripe for robbers casing neighborhoods for empty houses.

"According to the FBI, summer is the peak season for burglaries as people head outdoors and on vacation," said Melina Engel, vice president of marketing with SimpliSafe.

SimpliSafe offers the following tips to help keep your home secure all season long.

Have someone mow your lawn. There's nothing like bushy grass to flag that you're out of town.

Put a "stop" on your mail. Skip the online shopping before you go away. If something slips through the cracks, have a friend or neighbor keep an eye out for packages and mail piling up. Packages on doorsteps are ripe for the picking and can clue that you may be away.

Put your lights on an automatic timer, and not just one light. Rotate them so it gives the impression that someone is home.

Install a motion-sensitive floodlight to scare off critters and potential burglars alike.

Be careful about open windows. As warm weather arrives and windows fly open, don't forget to close and lock each one, especially on the ground floor, before you hit the road.

Get to know your neighbors. If you're not already on a friendly basis with your neighbors, now is the perfect time to dust off your tollhouse cookie recipe and swing by with a sweet treat and your contact info, in case they spot something suspicious.

Source: SimpliSafe

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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The 10 Worst Money Mistakes You Can Make

May 25, 2017 1:30 am

Successful money managers share a simple strategy: spend less than you make over a long period of time and invest the difference.

But the author of ESI Money, an online blog written by a reclusive “50-something retiree who has amassed a sizable net worth,” suggests a list of the 10 worst things you can do to sabotage your financial independence:

Not having an emergency fund – Emergencies arise in every life, and not being prepared to cover them can throw you into debt. A rule of thumb is to sock away six months of living expenses.

Not having a will – Money Magazine reports 57 percent of Americans don’t have a will, including 69 percent of parents with kids under 18. But without a will, the state  decides what happens with your finances. Make a will and update it regularly as your life situation changes.

Not having enough insurance – Like an emergency fund, insurance can protect or replace your assets in the event of almost any misfortune. In addition to life insurance, you should have health, auto, homeowner or renter’s, long-term disability, and, arguably, long-term care insurance.

Marrying the wrong person – Spouses should have similar financial goals and habits. If one is a spendthrift, you’re in trouble. It’s a good idea to discuss your financial objectives before you tie the knot.

Not saving – Putting money aside is essential if you are going to be able to invest. Experts suggest saving 10 percent of your salary.

Buying too much house – It’s well-known that Warren Buffet lives in the same modest home he purchased many years ago. Don’t buy a home that requires a mortgage that is more than twice your household’s annual realized income.

Waiting to invest – the factors that determine how well your investments turn out are the amount you invest, the return rate, and how long you are invested. The longer you wait to invest, the more you are costing yourself.

Being in debt – paying interest on debt can cost you big-time over the years. Avoid it like the plague.

Not maximizing your career – Develop and execute a plan to make the most of your working life. Your earning potential is dependent on your good health and initiative.

Overspending – It’s tempting to splurge, but develop a budget and stick with it.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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How to Help Your Team Enjoy Their Summer

May 25, 2017 1:30 am

As a business owner, you’ve likely witnessed your employees “checking out” for the summer. Rather than fight against this, encourage your workers to enjoy the summer sun as much as possible so when they are in the office, they are focused and productive. How can you help your employees? According to an OfficeTeam survey, workers surveyed said they're most interested in flexible schedules (39 percent) and the ability to leave early on Fridays (30 percent).

OfficeTeam offers managers five tips to help staff make the most of summer at work:

Perk up. Give employees more control over how they spend their time by offering flexible schedules and occasionally letting them leave early on Fridays. Just make sure policies are clear so business can continue as usual.

Rally for rest. Remind workers to take time off, and set an example by doing so yourself.  

Venture out. Holding meetings outdoors or while taking a walk is a great way to get fresh air while accomplishing business objectives.  

Have some fun. Plan an ice cream break, picnic or group outing. Employees will appreciate being able to relax and bond with colleagues in a non-work setting.  

Dress down. Allow staff who aren't customer- or client-facing to wear more casual attire, as long as it doesn't detract from work. You might even consider instituting themed Fridays where Hawaiian shirts or sports apparel are encouraged.

Source: http://www.officeteam.com

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Making Sure Your HVAC is Ready for Action

May 23, 2017 1:27 am

As temperatures rise, our thermostats get lowered. Make sure your HVAC system is up for the challenge with some simple maintenance checks from Baltimore-based Winstar Home Services.

Replace your air filters: Air filters work overtime in the winter, so be sure to replace your filters. Dirty air filters make your HVAC system work harder than it needs to. This puts strain on the system, which can cause bigger issues and lead to higher utility bills.

Check and clear your unit's drainage line: Most HVAC units have a drainage line at the base of the cabinet. In order for the unit to run properly, the hole needs to be clear. To make sure the drainage line works properly, use a paper clip or a wire to ensure the hole is clear of any obstructions.

Check your ductwork for issues: Your home's ductwork, or ventilation system, can often be the cause of poorly distributed air, which means you're spending more money on cool air that isn't making its way into your house. Check for leaky connections and return vents, damaged or fallen insulation, and ensure your vents (both incoming and outgoing) are not blocked or obstructed by rugs or furnishings.

Test your unit: Turn on your AC and let in run briefly to see how it performs. If there are any problems, address them right away.

Make sure you conduct these tests before temperatures hit their peak.

SOURCE: Winstar Home Services

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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