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Peter Cerruti
440 South West End Blvd, RT 309
Quakertown  PA 18951
 Phone: 215-429-7273
Office Phone: 215-538-4400
Fax: 267-354-6992 
petecerruti@yahoo.com
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Peter Cerruti

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Safely Operate Your Portable Generator

October 20, 2014 1:50 am

(Family Features) In a variety of situations, portable generators can supply temporary or remote electric power. From emergencies to recreational and construction activities, portable generators become a welcome addition to any instance when power is needed. For outdoor events such as tailgating, hunting and camping, an inverter generator is a quiet, reliable option. These temporary power sources can be used to power televisions, radios, small appliances, fans and space heaters. However, it is important for operators to understand that there are risks involved when operating a portable generator.

"Portable generators are helpful in various situations, but the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning caused by their improper use are very real," said Joe Harding, representative for Portable Generator Manufacturers' Association (PGMA).

Before using one of these helpful devices at your next event, there are a few things to remember in order to keep friends and family safe.

  • Do not run portable generators inside homes, garages, basements, crawlspaces, sheds or other partially-enclosed spaces, even if using fans or opening doors and windows. Carbon monoxide can quickly build up in these spaces and linger for hours, even after the generator has shut off.
  • Only operate a portable generator outside, far away from windows, doors and vents to reduce the risk of carbon monoxide gas accumulating and potentially being drawn toward occupied spaces.
  • Install battery-operated carbon monoxide alarms or plug-in alarms with battery backup according to the manufacturer's instructions. Smoke alarms cannot detect carbon monoxide gas.
  • Always place your portable generator downwind and point the engine exhaust away from occupied spaces.
  • The symptoms of low-level carbon monoxide poisoning can be similar to those caused by other illness such as cold, flu or food poisoning. If you suspect you or a family member are experiencing any of these symptoms due to carbon monoxide poisoning, get outside to fresh air immediately and call 911 for emergency medical attention.
  • Always refer to the generator owner's manual for further information about safe operation and potential hazards.
Regardless of the events requiring the use of portable generators, safety precautions should be considered in order to reduce risks of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Source: PGMA

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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7 Cardinal Rules to Retirement Planning

October 17, 2014 1:50 am

An onslaught of retiring baby boomers; the uncertain duration of Social Security funding; difficulty with workplace retirement accounts like 401(k)s—even if these factors were stronger than they are now, you’d still have a heavy burden in managing your finances during retirement, says financial planner Carl Edwards.

“Financial planning for retirement has always been a daunting prospect; the current landscape simply makes your preparation that much more crucial in using your assets well,” says Edwards, a highly credentialed consultant and owner of C.E. Wealth Group, (http://www.cewealth.com).

“Many advisors and clients rely too much on single product lines. This misuse often gives products and the financial industry in general a bad name. Advisors who are restricted in the types of financial products they can offer or understand may not provide the best advice. Independent and credentialed planners, on the other hand, don’t have their hands tied in what they can offer clients and may provide better advice.”

Edwards reviews seven essential points that everyone should know regarding retirement planning.

• Avoid trying to time the market. Markets often move in cycles and some investors believe that they can boost their investment returns by buying at the bottom and selling at the top. The problem is that investors are terrible at correctly predicting market movements and multiple studies have shown that market timers usually end up with significantly smaller retirement savings than buy-and-hold investors. While it can be stressful to see your portfolio plummet during a market correction, it’s important to stay calm and focus on your long-term strategy.

• Use risk-appropriate financial vehicles. Retiring can be a risky business. The days of relying on employer-provided pension plans are largely over and retirees now have to deal with risks including investment, inflation, healthcare, longevity and others. Though the total elimination of risk isn’t possible, we can manage many of them through competent retirement planning and a clear understanding of factors like your goals, time horizon and financial circumstances.

• Invest in the most tax-efficient manner. Taxes can take a big bite out of investment returns, which is why we stress tax-efficient planning with our clients. While taxes are just one piece of the overall financial puzzle, it’s important to structure your investments so that you are able to keep what you earn.

• Complete a cash flow analysis.
Retirement will involve major changes to your finances. Sources and timing of income will change and financial priorities may shift as you start generating income from retirement savings. A cash flow analysis will identify spending patterns and help ensure that you have enough income to support your retirement lifestyle.

• Guarantee your required income. For many retirees, having income that is not subject to market fluctuations is an important part of their retirement plan. Many will have at least some level of guaranteed income from Social Security or defined benefit pension plans. However, if you are worried that your expenses exceed your guaranteed income, a financial advisor can help you explore options for additional streams of income for life. Guarantees are subject to the paying ability of the income provider.

• Utilize longevity planning.
Today’s retirees are living longer than ever and many worry about outliving their assets. Longevity planning is about preparing for a happy, comfortable and independent retirement and can help ensure that your wealth lasts as long as you need it to.

• Consider the effects of inflation.
Inflation is one of the biggest issues facing retirees because they are disproportionately affected by rising prices. Escalating food, fuel and medical costs can devastate a retirement portfolio unless these costs have been factored into your planning. Positioning your retirement portfolio to fight inflation is critical to ensuring adequate income in retirement.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Six Ways to Save on Halloween

October 17, 2014 1:50 am

Did you know that Americans will spend a projected $75 per person in their household for Halloween this year? While that number might seem steep, particularly if you have kids who plan to dress up, there are plenty of ways to save money on costumes, candy, decor, and more. Follow these tips from authority credit expert Creditnet.com to avoid getting spooked by your credit card bill this Halloween.

1. Use Rewards Credit Cards

Many credit cards offer rewards or points for spending on everyday purchases. You can earn significant amounts of cash back, points, or miles just by buying candy and pumpkins from the grocery store, costumes online, or even DIY costume supplies from your local market. Halloween is a great time to maximize these credit card rewards and earn extra money on your Halloween expenses.

2. Consider Homemade Costumes


If you are at all crafty, get creative when preparing costumes for your family. In most cases, DIY Halloween costumes can be had for a fraction of the cost of their store-bought counterparts, and are often way more fun to put together. If you have kids who are old enough, get them in on the act of making their own costumes. Look to websites and online forums for inspiration to make easy costumes with plenty of personality.

3. Think Second-Hand

Kids' consignment stores are a great resource for Halloween costumes, especially since they are typically only worn once. You can find tons of adorable costumes in like-new condition, especially for younger children. Online yard sale sites are also a great place to look. And check with friends with older kids -- they may have hand-me-downs in the basement or garage. Shopping thrift stores for the components to a costume is also a smart way to save money.

4. Scour Your Own Basement

Do you have kid costumes from previous years that you can repurpose? Even small items like fairy wings or superhero masks can mean big savings if you don't need to buy these pieces again. You can also sell or trade old costumes to earn money to spend on new duds for this year's holiday. Consider organizing a swap with neighbors to get new-to-you costumes for free.

5. Think Outside the Candy Box

Non-candy treats to hand out to trick-or-treaters, such as pencils, erasers, rubber spiders, and other trinkets, are often much less expensive than candy. Another upside is that you can often return the items that don't get handed out. If you do decide to hand out candy, look for printable coupons. The day or two before the holiday is often the best time to buy.

6. Plan Ahead

If you are a newlywed, have a new home, or are otherwise low on Halloween decor, think ahead for next year by buying holiday items at deep discounts on November 1. By stocking your basement ahead of time, you'll have everything you need for next year at a fraction of the cost.

Source: Creditnet.co

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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How to Bring Your Halloween Home Décor Back from the Dead

October 17, 2014 1:50 am

(BPT) - Halloween has its fair share of iconic symbols: ghosts, witches, mummies and pumpkins, just to name a few. But if your home decor is becoming just as iconic, it may be time to change it up and take your decorating in a new direction.

There are many directions you can go with a decoration theme. Certainly, the colors of black and orange can be integrated into the decor with the use of pumpkins or candles; these items still scream Halloween and can be displayed elegantly.

"For a more sophisticated look, combine dark red arrangements of roses, cover them in black hat veiling so you see the roses through the veil and tie them together with black satin ribbon," Gary LaVasser, academic director in set and exhibit design at The Art Institute of California, suggests. "If you want to go a little further, place the arrangement on an inexpensive black placemat and drip dark red nail polish from a few rose petals onto the placemat. It will look like the roses are bleeding."

LaVasser also has these tips for alternative but sophisticated Halloween decor:
  • Use vintage Halloween toys from the 1930s, 40s or 50s as part of the design. If they are worn they'll have more character. Combine them with garlands of silk fall leaves available at most craft stores, tree branches or wheat and place on mantels or dining tables.
  • Paint objects black that are normally not this color. For example, jack-o-lanterns are orange so spray them black for a twist on a familiar item. Also, consider painting real flowers black. To make objects more interesting, select different black textures such as matte, glitter, satin, gloss or metallic paints.
  • The colors of fall are rich earth tones and these colors are also tied to Halloween. Add a little "punch" by using a deep purple color - it can be an interesting contrast to oranges and gold tones. Also consider using metallic gold, copper and pewter colors. You can paint leaves or pumpkins with these shades as well. 
  • Look for inspiration among different cultures and learn how they celebrate certain holidays or Halloween. A Latino tradition is Day of the Dead, which is observed on November 1st and 2nd. It celebrates family and friends who have passed and the decor includes folk art, candles, colorful flowers and bright ribbons.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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The Least Expensive Fall and Thanksgiving Travel Destinations

October 15, 2014 1:50 am

Against the backdrop of rising airfares, new research from Fly.com reveals travelers can still save money this Thanksgiving and fall. But, to do so, travelers will need to fly westward.

Fly.com’s data study, which compared the average cost of flights to popular fall vacation spots in 2013 against 2014 prices, found that – with the exception of Dallas – the only destinations experiencing cheaper fares this fall are located in the western United States.

Surprisingly Hawaii, which is often associated with expensive airfares, offers the best deals for the Thanksgiving and post-Thanksgiving travel periods. In contrast, Florida’s continued popularity over the fall has played a role in rising fares. For instance, flights to Tampa between December 1-21 cost 25 percent more in 2014 compared with last year.

The Fly.com study also revealed that flights to popular fall destinations cost an average $105 more during the Thanksgiving travel period, but drop $123 post-Thanksgiving.

“To borrow the words of American author Horace Greeley, it is time to ‘go west,’” said Warren Chang, vice president and general manager, Fly.com. “For anyone still looking to use up their vacation days without breaking the bank, the West Coast and Mountain states offer something for every taste. There are also some amazing hotel deals out there for Hawaii and Los Angeles that can save travelers even more money.”

Source: Fly.com

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Keep Your Dog Safe on Halloween

October 15, 2014 1:50 am

(Family Features) Including pets in your family's Halloween festivities can be a fun addition to your celebration. However, with all the excitement comes the chance for pets to get into danger or trouble. You can head off potential problems and enjoy an evening of fun with some safety tips and smart planning.

Keeping your pet away from candy and other Halloween treats is especially important because so many favorites include chocolate, which is potentially toxic for dogs. It's also an ideal time to practice obedience commands with your four-legged friends, as crowds of unfamiliar people, costumes and lots of open doors can create temptations too hard to resist.

To include your furry family members while still keeping them safe during the fun, follow these guidelines.

Trick-or-treating together
  • Before hitting the streets, make sure your dog is socialized around kids, adults and other animals.
  • Bring water and treats to reward your dog for good behavior and reduce the desire to go for kids' candy.
  • Increase nighttime visibility with LED leashes, collars or harnesses.
Pawsitively good party manners
  • Before guests arrive, practice "leave it" or a similar command. This is useful to help pets avoid candy or food they might encounter on the ground. Trainers can help you get it down right.
  • Establish a rule that guests don't feed the dog candy or human food. A new interactive toy or long-lasting rawhide may keep your pup busy and out of temptation's way. Many ingredients commonly found in Halloween candy can be harmful to your pet. For example, xylitol, found in gum and candy can cause dangerously low blood sugar or liver disease in dogs. Chocolate can create a range of symptoms, from vomiting to abnormal heart rhythm to death. Even snacks that are healthy for humans, such as raisins, can cause a toxic reaction.
  • Prevent your dog from running out an open door by working on a "stay" command. Ask your dog to sit, and praise him when he obeys. While your dog is sitting, say "stay" and place your hand flat with your palm facing the dog. Wait 2-3 seconds then give your dog a treat. You can increase the time he stays by a couple of seconds every three repetitions, working up to 30 seconds.
  • If you aren't confident about your dog's abilities, keep him on a leash while the doorbell is ringing.
Costume comfort and safety
  • A costume should never constrain or bother your pet. If your pet isn't comfortable, try a strap-on costume that attaches loosely with snaps or around the pet.
  • Once a costume fits properly, make sure your pet won't trip on anything like a cape or ribbon. Check for little parts within chewing distance and keep identification tags on collars.
  • Throughout the evening, watch your pet and make adjustments as needed. You may need to cut or remove portions of the costume to increase a pet's comfort. The most important part of the evening is your pet's safety.
Source: PetSmart

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Winter Storm Prep: Your Home's Exterior

October 15, 2014 1:50 am

With forecasters anticipating a bitterly cold winter, take time now to prepare your home for weathering seasonal storms. Damage from a storm can be devastating to both the interior and exterior of your home, so it’s important to take precautions inside and out.

The Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) and the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) suggest taking these steps to protect your home’s exterior.

1. Clean out gutters. Remove leaves, sticks and other debris from gutters, so melting snow and ice can flow freely. This can prevent ice damming, a condition where water is unable to drain through the gutters and instead seeps into the house causing water to drip from the ceiling and walls.

2. Install gutter guards.
Gutter guards prevent debris from entering the gutter and interfering with the flow of water away from the house and into the ground.

3. Trim trees and remove dead branches. Ice, snow and wind could cause weak trees or branches to break and damage your home or car, or injure someone walking by your property.

4. Repair steps and handrails. Broken stairs and banisters can become lethal when covered with snow and ice.

5. Seal cracks and holes in outside walls and foundations. Use caulking to seal around any wall openings to prevent cold air and moisture from entering your home. Caulk and install weather stripping around windows and doors to prevent warm air from leaking out and cold air from blowing in.

Source: I.I.I.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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10 Easy Ways to Protect the Planet

October 14, 2014 1:50 am

Most people are aware that Mother Earth needs all the help it can get to avoid running out of resources. But going green doesn’t have to be a daunting task, ecologists maintain.

We can all lend a hand to help the planet beginning with these 10 simple tactics:

Launder in warm/cold water
– If every U.S. household switched the washer from hot cycle to warm/cold, we would save energy comparable to 100,000 barrels of oil a day.

Recycle glass
– Recycled glass reduces related air pollution by 20 percent and related water pollution by 50 percent. (Glass that isn’t recycled can take a million years to decompose.)

Go vegetarian one day a week
– It takes 25,000 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef.

Rethink bottled water
– It’s convenient, but 90 percent of plastic bottles are not recycled and can take thousands of years to decompose. Buy a reusable container and use it. (Surprise: EPA standards for tap water are stricter than FDA standards for bottled water.)

Use both sides of paper – American businesses throw away 21 million tons of paper annually. Before you pitch it, turn it over and use the reverse side as scratch pads – and when you’ve used both sides, don’t forget to recycle.

Use your cruise control – You paid for the extras, so use them. Using cruise control can save you up to 15 percent on gasoline, saving you money while you help the planet.

Recycle old cell phones – The average cell phone lasts around 18 months, which means 130 million phones will be retired each year. In landfills, these phones and their batteries introduce toxic substances into the environment. Retire yours into one of many reputable phone recycling programs, many of which benefit good causes.

Recycle old wire hangers – Many recycling programs won’t accept steel wire hangers – but the many dry cleaners will gladly take them back to use again.

Go to a car wash – They make more efficient use of water than we do when we wash our cars ourselves. We could save more than 8 billion gallons of water annually if we all used the car wash.

Use cotton swabs with paperboard spindles – If 10 percent of households switched back from plastic-spindled cotton swabs to those with paperboard spindles, the petroleum energy saved per year would be equivalent to150,000 gallons of gas.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Poll: Many Americans Neglect Online Security

October 14, 2014 1:50 am

A recent survey of Americans' personal online security habits shows large numbers of Americans are putting their devices and personal information at risk. The poll commissioned by the Digital Citizens Alliance and Blackfin Security shows that Americans open their devices up to unknown entities, download files of unknown origin at high rates, and even ignore best practices when they know they should do otherwise.

"The hackings of Home Depot, Target, and other large retailers may be lulling Americans into thinking that it's big corporations that are rogue operators' prime targets, but that's a mistake," said Adam Benson, Deputy Executive Director of the Digital Citizens Alliance. "Hackers want personal data - credit card numbers, passwords, Social Security numbers. They'll look for open windows - and the online behavior we see reflected in this survey tells us that millions of Americans are leaving the windows open, the doors unlocked, and even giving some hackers the key to get in."

Some of the major findings from the poll include:
  • Nearly one-third of Americans don't change their passwords enough, going as long as a year without updating them.
  • More than one-third use public WiFi that doesn't require a password.
  • Sixteen percent said that using two-factor authentication (which requires the user to have two types of credentials before being able to access an account) makes signing on too much of a burden, while another 23 percent didn't know what two-factor authentication is.
  • Sixty-two percent said they didn't always check or weren't sure if their downloaded movies, music, games, or books were legally authorized.
  • More than 35 percent of all Americans like, follow and connect with people they barely know or don't know on social media. While that can often be with a celebrity or influential figure, in some cases, people might be connecting with someone more interested in your habits than they are in your safety.
Source: Digital Citizens Alliance

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Winter Storm Prep: Your Home's Interior

October 14, 2014 1:50 am

With forecasters anticipating a bitterly cold winter, take time now to prepare your home for weathering seasonal storms. Damage from a storm can be devastating to both the interior and exterior of your home, so it’s important to take precautions inside and out.

The Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) and the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) suggest taking these steps to protect your home’s interior.

1. Keep the house warm.
Set the thermostat for at least 65 degrees – since the temperature inside the walls is substantially colder, a lower temperature will not keep the pipes from freezing.

2. Add extra insulation to attics, basements and crawl spaces. If too much heat escapes through the attic, it can cause snow or ice melt on the roof. Water can then re-freeze, causing more snow and ice to build up. This can result in an ice dam that causes significant roof damage. Well-insulated basements and crawl spaces will also help protect pipes from freezing. You may also consider insulating unfinished rooms, such as garages.

3. Provide a reliable back-up power source. In the event of a power outage, continuous power will keep your home warm and help prevent frozen pipes as well as help if you have a battery operated sump-pump. Consider purchasing a portable generator and follow installation and maintenance steps to ensure safety.

4. Have the heating system serviced. Furnaces, boilers and chimneys should be serviced at least once a year to prevent fire and smoke damage.

5. Check pipes. Look closely for cracks and leaks and have the pipes repaired immediately. Pipes in attics and crawl spaces should be protected with insulation or heat. Pipe insulation is available in fiberglass or foam sleeves.

Heating cables and tapes are also effective in preventing pipes from freezing. Select a heating cable with the UL label and a built-in thermostat that turns heat on when needed. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions closely.

6. Install an emergency pressure release valve in your plumbing system. This will protect the system against increased pressure caused by freezing pipes and can help prevent your pipes from bursting.

7. Remove combustible items placed near any heat sources. This includes wood stoves and space heaters.

8. Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and make sure they are working properly. Not only do residential fires increase in the winter, but so does carbon monoxide poisoning.

9. Learn how to shut the water off and know where your pipes are located. If your pipes freeze, time is of the essence. The quicker you can shut off the water or direct your plumber to the problem, the better chance you have to prevent pipes from bursting.

10. Hire a licensed contractor to look for structural damage. If damage is discovered, have it repaired now. Also, ask about ways to prevent water damage due to snow-related flooding. Plastic coatings for internal basement walls, sump pumps and other methods can prevent flood damage to your home and belongings.

Source: I.I.I.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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