Time to Spring Clean your Financial House? It will make a difference!!

Presented by Jonathan S Merckens, CFP Spring is in the air. As the flowers come into bloom and the temperature ticks upward, you may experience a feeling of renewal. That’s often what spurs people to do their spring cleaning—and it’s a great idea. But while you’re at it, why not do some cleaning in your “financial house,” too? Even if you recently took a look at your finances as you prepared for tax season, there still may be some
items that could use attention. The following list touches on five commonly neglected areas.

Credit cards

Review the terms and conditions of your credit cards. Legislation that took effect in July 2010 caused credit card companies to alter their business practices. Across the board, interest rates have increased and some credit limits have dropped. In addition, some card companies have begun to charge additional transaction fees and implemented
new service charges. These seemingly small changes can add up to real money, so you want to be aware of them.

You were likely notified of any changes impacting your cards, but if you’re like many people, you probably didn’t pay much attention to the notice you received. While card companies must disclose changes to their terms prior to enactment, it’s your responsibility to review the terms (or the notice, if you didn’t throw it away immediately) to stay
informed. You may also find them on your bank website or obtain them by calling its Customer Service department.

You may discover that you’re not happy with the new terms of some cards. Your first instinct may be to terminate the agreement, but be careful about hastily closing accounts. This can lower your credit score, especially if you close older accounts with lengthy credit histories. Rather than close an account, use the card for small purchases and pay off the balance quickly. This will maintain your credit score and keep the card company from closing your account for nonuse. In some instances, you may be able to negotiate better terms. Check with your bank to find out.

Bank fees and services

Banks have new rules limiting what they can charge for certain services (e.g., overdraft protection and fees). As a result, many have instituted new charges or increased others to make up for potential profit loss. Your bank may have quietly announced some new or
higher fees that you may not be aware of. Of course, it’s a good practice to read all bank notifications carefully, but you can catch up now by looking into whether your bank has instituted or increased:
• Monthly maintenance charges
• Check and deposit return charges
• ATM/electronic fund transfer fees
Review every account, even if they all reside with the same bank. The terms can vary from institution to institution and from account to account within the same institution.

Credit report and score

A good credit rating can be critical. Businesses inspect your credit history when evaluating your applications for credit, insurance, employment, and even leases. With so much in the balance, it is important to check your credit report for accuracy at least annually and to watch for credit fraud.

Fortunately, it’s easy to check your report, as you are entitled to one free annual report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies— Equifax, Transunion, and Experian. You may consider using a website such as annualcreditreport.com to gather this information, but be sure you choose a site that doesn’t charge you for the report itself. You may also use a credit monitoring service or site, but be wary of the terms of service.


Take the pulse of your investment accounts regularly. This includes reviewing your insurance policies, annuity contracts, retirement plans, and educational savings accounts. Are you on track to achieve your goals? Do you need to make adjustments? Discuss your investment allocation, risk tolerance, and objectives with your financial professional.

Emergency fund

If you don’t have one already, starting an emergency fund should be on your spring cleaning to-do list. The standard is to have three months of expenses readily available in case you and your family encounter the unexpected (e.g., job loss is the most common unexpected event). Because it may take longer to find employment or to recover from a
financial setback in the current economic environment, if you already have an emergency fund, you may want to increase your savings to six months of expenses.
Everyone’s fund varies, based on the particular situation and on factors such as:
• Family size
• Current debt
• Insurance coverage
By planning ahead, the smaller emergencies (e.g., replacing a broken hot water heater) can be easily covered. Remember, it’s far better to have an emergency fund and never need it than to experience the reverse scenario.
These financial spring cleaning to-dos will take some time, but having them checked off your list will free you up to enjoy the season. You’ll feel more relieved, knowing that you’ve taken some important steps in helping to secure your economic future.

Jonathan S Merckens is a financial planner practicing at 1287 Ridge Rd, Ste. B, Hinckley, OH 44233. He offers securities and advisory services as a registered representative and investment adviser representative of Commonwealth Financial Network®, a member firm of FINRA/SIPC and a Registered Investment Adviser.
Contact him at (330) 591-9311 or Jonathan@GrahamAssoc.com.

© 2011 Commonwealth Financial Network®

Quality Custom Cabinetry built by Local Craftsmen

By Jeff Daso

With the latest computer design technology we will create a design, draft perspectives, elevations, and a floorplan to help you visualize your dream
remodel. As technology advances, so do kitchens’ design and efficiency so this give you the best of both worlds.

Our cabinets are crafted from premium material in the manner of ? fine furniture. Doors and other components are constructed from select hardwoods, or colorful laminates, in a wide variety of style, with a full list of features. Our exclusive state of the art Customer guard ? finish goes above and beyond industry standards, providing a deep silky smooth finish that is as tough as it is beautiful. We will design your cabinets around your kitchen not design your kitchen around certain cabinet sizes and limitations. Whether you are building or remodeling; quality craftsmanship will give you a better longer lasting product.

More than a decade ago I began building cabinetry out of a small garage for friends and family. I quickly realized my passion for making furniture and the rewarding conclusion of installing a project that I had built. With a dedication to my craft and passion for my work, word spread and my business quickly grew. Today, Daso’s Custom Cabinetry is no longer making cabinetry out of a garage; we have a 10,000 square foot manufacturing and ? finishing facility with a showroom. We currently employ over 20 people, majority have been with us since the beginning and we all share that same passion that began in that small garage over 10 years ago. We are certainly not the largest cabinetry company in the in the area but what I will claim is our quality of workmanship with customer service that is setting a new standard in the cabinetry industry and we are here to stay.

Now is a great time to update your kitchen or bathroom; we are here to guide you through the process and make your remodel dreams come true. Call to set up an appointment and visit our showroom.

330.730.7740 or 800.380.9156


We are very pleased with our new kitchen. The cabinets were made to look like furniture and they make our kitchen look so warm and inviting. Jeff and his team did a fantastic job with design and craftmanship. We would highly recommend Daso!
~Jen and Matt from Sagamore Hills OH

Improve… Don’t Move!

Spring is here and for many homeowners that means it is time to clean out, fix up and remodel the house. Now, more homeowners are opting to stay in their homes and create a “new” living environment tailored to their tastes and needs with some well-planned changes.

Envision a New Look

With just a few minor updates you can make a world of difference:
• Give your entrance a fresh appearance by installing a new front
door or painting the existing door.
• Update your home’s interior with crown molding, chair rails and trim.
• Bring new life to your kitchen by replacing counter tops and
installing new cabinet hardware or buying new cabinets.
Attempt to define which of the following alternatives below represent the best approach for your project.

The General Contractor

Many home improvements may not require professional design services and can be handled by an experienced remodeling contractor. Be sure to deal with a professional. Even small jobs need careful planning, as their successful completion is important to you.

The Design/Build Contractor

Design/build is a concept developed to benefit the homeowner with his or her remodeling project by providing both quality design and construction services within the same company.

Holland Remodeling & Building, LLC is a full service construction and remodeling company, serving businesses and homeowners in Northeast Ohio. For all the honey dos around your house, from tree removal to installing doors, Holland Remodeling and Building now offers Handyman Services. Holland also works with insurance companies, providing fast reliable services for fire, water, and storm damage for commercial and residential buildings. We stand behind our work. Our experts make every effort to provide
our customers with the highest quality craftsmanship and attention to detail we would demand in our own homes.

The first step for our customers is to meet with our experts and discuss their needs. We at Holland Remodeling & Building determine what value is expected. Our goal is to exceed your expectations. The key is understanding the desired end result.

“Your satisfaction is our number one priority.
When quality matters, count on Holland
Remodeling & Building.” ~ Kurt Karhoff, owner

Expert Reveals the Truth Behind Nutrition & Supplementation…

By Joshua Trentine, OVERLOAD Fitness

Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food
– Hippocrates summarizes my position on supplements, including the use of vitamins, minerals, herbs/botanicals, powders, shakes, bars, and sports performance supplementation. Before we look closer at legitimate health benefits of supplementation, it’s important to remember that a supplement is something added to complete a thing, make up for a deficiency, or extend or strengthen a whole. A supplement usually doesn’t provide any additional
benefit, enhancement or protective effect if there is not a deficiency.

Americans spend over $20 billion a year on supplements. Most of this money is wasted. This multi-billion dollar industry is fueled by marketing hype, unrealistic expectations, poorly applied or incomplete science, and the consumers’ thirst for the next magic pill. I would rather see that $20 billion put into small family farms, which are the backbone of a community, a nation and a society. A landscape of family farms is settled, balanced, stable, and generally sustainable. This lifestyle provides the greatest opportunity for nutrient dense food and for optimal health.

Why don’t we follow Hippocrates’ advice? That is the billion dollar question. Any and every vital element for our health or performance is or was once present in man’s food supply. In theory, we should be able to obtain any and every nutrient we need for optimal health from the food we eat; however, this is nearly impossible as our food supply has become nutritionally depleted by current food processing and farming practices.

In 1936, some astute scientists revealed that nutrients and trace minerals necessary for healthy plants were not added back into the soil by commercial fertilizers. For example, in 80 years, the amount of calcium in apples has dropped 48%, phosphorous 84%, iron 96%, and magnesium 82%. The significant drops in mineral levels and vitamin reductions are
occurring in all of our fresh food. In addition to our fruits and vegetables, the same process is happening with our chicken, beef, rice, etc.

In today’s society, we start with a nutrient depleted food supply. The food is then processed to remove the enzymes and allow for a longer shelf life. Lastly, the food is cooked and/or placed in the microwave, which further inactivates many of the nutrients and food factors. What’s the answer? Food supplements, right? Maybe, but let’s look at a few steps that should be taken prior to deciding on supplementation:

We should keep in mind the golden rule when it comes to the optimization of our nutrition supply: “how it is in nature (or its closest form) is how it should be.” The first step any concerned consumer should take to fortify their diet is to consider their food supply. Fresh produce and meats from a small organic farm or local farmers market are far more nutrient dense than frozen products in Wal-Mart.

Next, take these organically grown foods and prepare them in ways that will provide the most nutrient density. For example, one may drink a daily green juice to boost nutrient density. Remember our rule about how it is in nature? When we begin to isolate certain food parts we can’t project the
final outcome. Modern science still does not trump Mother Nature. When foods are eaten in their organic, unprocessed form, or in close concentrate form, we receive benefits of synergy, balanced nutrient profiles, and associated enzymes for proper absorption. We simply can’t dump in massive amounts of “food parts” and believe we can derive optimal benefit as this may lead to a greater imbalance in the system.

Finally, if we believe we might require a specific nutrient that has gone deficient in our food supply, use reliable lab and testing procedures before taking random supplements; more often than not this will throw the system off further. Your nutritionist or M.D. may look at blood work or even hair tissue mineral analysis before recommending a prescription of a supplement. The body is dynamic and specific needs vary based on quality and choice of foods, current metabolic/hormonal state, and the time of year. Regular testing is indicated when a person is consuming supplements as food “parts.”

For more information on supplementing your diet or specific nutrient testing, contact info@overloadfitness.com or visit www.overloadfitness.com.