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U.S. News & World Report Releases Best Nursing Homes 2013

U.S. News & World Report Releases Best Nursing Homes 2013

–Ratings highlight top nursing homes in each state, metro area–

WASHINGTON, Feb. 26, 2013, U.S. News & World Report today released its fifth annual Best Nursing Homes ratings, highlighting the top nursing homes in each state and nearly 100 major metropolitan areas. The ratings cover more than 15,000 nursing homes nationwide and are freely available at http://www.usnews.com/best-nursing-homes.

More than 3 million Americans will spend at least part of 2013 in a nursing home. Too often, they and their families will encounter great difficulty in choosing the right nursing home. Best Nursing Homes will simplify their work by helping them pick a home with a strong track record, whether they live in California, which has twice as many highly rated homes as any other state, or in a region where good nursing homes may be few and far between.

Articles and a step-by-step video walk consumers through selecting a nursing home. Advice includes:

  • Visit homes at different times and on different days of the week to make sure residents are occupied throughout the day;
  • Look for signs that staff has a close relationship with residents, such as calling them by name and making sure they eat;
  • Ask to see inspection reports, then ask how any safety or health problems were resolved;
  • Review hidden costs, such as physical therapy or dentist appointments.

Best Nursing Homes also provides advice on spotting warning signs of bad care and how to pay for care. The articles and searchable database of ratings are exclusive to the website and aren’t expected to appear in print.

To create Best Nursing Homes, U.S. News drew on data from Nursing Home Compare, run by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the federal agency that sets and enforces standards for nursing homes. U.S. News awarded the “Best Nursing Home” designation to homes that recently earned an overall rating of five stars, the agency’s highest. Each home is also rated separately on quality of care, health-inspections record, and level of nurse staffing.

“Using trustworthy data, we’ve built a consumer-friendly tool to help seniors and their families confront one of life’s most difficult and anxious transitions,” says Avery Comarow , U.S. News Health Rankings Editor. “Best Nursing Homes makes it easier for consumers to identify nursing homes that can best meet their needs in terms of location, quality of care, staffing, and more. All seniors deserve the best nursing care available, and we’ve made sure the information they need is at their fingertips.”

About U.S. News & World Report
U.S. News & World Report is a multi-platform publisher of news and analysis, which includes the digital-only U.S. News Weekly magazine, www.usnews.com, and www.rankingsandreviews.com. Focusing on Health, Personal Finance, Education, Travel, Cars, and Public Service/Opinion, U.S. News has earned a reputation as the leading provider of service news and information that improves the quality of life of its readers. U.S. News & World Report’s signature franchise includes its News You Can Use® brand of journalism and its annual “Best” series of consumer web guides and publications, which include rankings of colleges, graduate schools, hospitals, mutual funds, health plans, and more.

SOURCE: U.S. News & World Report

 

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Assets Credit Economics Finance Money Personal Finance Savings Wealth

Just Over Half of Americans Have More Emergency Savings Than Credit Card Debt

Just Over Half of Americans Have More Emergency Savings Than Credit Card Debt

NEW YORK, Feb. 25, 2013, Only 55% of Americans have more emergency savings than credit card debt, according to research published today by Bankrate.com (NYSE: RATE). Last year, Bankrate found that 54% of Americans had more emergency savings than credit card debt; the figure was 52% in 2011.

“Consumers may be deleveraging, but the proportion of people with more emergency savings than credit card debt hasn’t changed much,” said Greg McBride , CFA, Bankrate.com’s senior financial analyst. “Given the poll’s 3.5% margin of error, one can make the argument that consumers haven’t moved the needle at all over the past 24 months.”

Bankrate also announced that its Financial Security Index dropped from 98.6 in January to 96.8 in February, surrendering most of the improvement that took place from December to January. A reading of 100 means consumers’ feelings of financial security are unchanged from one year ago; the index has been below 100 – indicative of deteriorating financial security – in 25 of the 27 months since its inception.

Thanks to rebounding home prices and the buoyant stock market, net worth was the only component to improve from January to February. Job security, savings, debt and overall financial situation all declined. When consumers were asked whether they are feeling better, worse or about the same now versus one year ago, net worth was also the only component to register in positive territory. Among the highest-income households (income of $75,000 per year or more), all five components declined over the past month.

The survey was conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International (PSRAI) and can be seen in its entirety here:

http://www.bankrate.com/finance/consumer-index/financial-security-charts-0213.aspx

PSRAI obtained telephone interviews with a nationally representative sample of 1,004 adults living in the continental United States. Interviews were conducted by landline (500) and cell phone (504, including 254 without a landline phone) in English by Princeton Data Source from February 7-10, 2013. Statistical results are weighted to correct known demographic discrepancies. The margin of sampling error for the complete set of weighted data is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

About Bankrate, Inc.

Bankrate is a leading publisher, aggregator, and distributor of personal finance content on the Internet. Bankrate provides consumers with proprietary, fully researched, comprehensive, independent and objective personal finance editorial content across multiple vertical categories including mortgages, deposits, insurance, credit cards, and other categories, such as retirement, automobile loans, and taxes. The Bankrate network includes Bankrate.com, our flagship website, and other owned and operated personal finance websites, including CreditCards.com, Interest.com, Bankaholic.com, Mortgage-calc.com, CreditCardGuide.com, Nationwide Card Services, InsuranceQuotes.com, CarInsuranceQuotes.com, InsureMe, Bankrate.com.cn, CreditCards.ca, NetQuote.com, and CD.com. Bankrate aggregates rate information from over 4,800 institutions on more than 300 financial products. With coverage of nearly 600 local markets in all 50 U.S. states, Bankrate generates over 172,000 distinct rate tables capturing on average over three million pieces of information daily. Bankrate develops and provides web services to over 80 co-branded websites with online partners, including some of the most trusted and frequently visited personal finance sites on the Internet such as Yahoo!, AOL, CNBC, and Bloomberg. In addition, Bankrate licenses editorial content to over 500 newspapers on a daily basis including The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, and The Boston Globe.

For more information:

Ted Rossman
Public Relations Manager
Bankrate, Inc.
ted.rossman@bankrate.com
(917) 368-8635

SOURCE:

Bankrate, Inc.
http://www.bankrate.com

 

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Assets Finance Financial Analysis Mortgages Real Estate Wealth

Nearly 2 Million American Homeowners Freed From Negative Equity In 2012

Nearly 2 Million American Homeowners Freed From Negative Equity In 2012

Phoenix, Los Angeles and Miami Metros Had Most Homeowners Freed Last Year, According to Zillow; At Least 1 Million Additional Homeowners Nationwide Expected To Be Freed In 2013

SEATTLE, Feb. 21, 2013, Negative equity continued to fall in the fourth quarter of 2012, dropping to 27.5 percent of all homeowners with a mortgage, compared with 31.1 percent one year ago, according to the fourth quarter Zillow® Negative Equity Reporti. Almost 2 million American homeowners were freed from negative equity over the course of the year.

Approximately 13.8 million homeowners with a mortgage were in negative equity, or “underwater,” at the end of the fourth quarter, owing more on their mortgages than their homes are worth. That was down from 15.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2011. American homeowners with a mortgage were collectively underwater by more than $1 trillion at the end of 2012.

In 2012, national home values rose 5.9 percent year-over-year, according to the Zillow Home Value Index (ZHVI)ii, to a median value of $157,400. This jump in home values, coupled with sustained high foreclosure rates, were the main drivers for receding negative equity. Among the nation’s 30 largest metro areas, those with the highest number of homeowners freed from negative equity last year were Phoenix (135,099 homeowners freed in 2012); Los Angeles (72,936 homeowners freed in 2012); Miami-Fort Lauderdale (70,484 homeowners freed in 2012); Dallas-Fort Worth (59,461 homeowners freed in 2012); and Riverside, Calif. (58,417 homeowners freed in 2012).

New this quarter, the Zillow Negative Equity Forecastiii predicts the negative equity rate among all homeowners with a mortgage will fall to at least 25.5 percent by the fourth quarter of 2013, freeing more than 999,000 additional homeowners nationwide. Of the 30 largest metro areas, the majority of these newly freed homeowners are anticipated to come from: Los Angeles (72,696 homeowners freed in 2013); Riverside (62,407 homeowners freed in 2013); Phoenix (43,044 homeowners freed in 2013); Sacramento (33,356 homeowners freed in 2013); and Dallas-Fort Worth (31,434 homeowners freed in 2013).

Zillow forecasts negative equity by applying anticipated appreciation or depreciation rates to a home, according to the most current metro and national Zillow Home Value Forecasts, and by assuming all other factors remain constant.

“As home values continue to rise and more homeowners are pulled out of negative equity in 2013, the positive effects on the housing market will be numerous. Freed from negative equity, homeowners will have more flexibility, and some will likely choose to list their home for sale, helping to ease inventory constraints and moderating sometimes dramatic, demand-driven price increases in some markets,” said Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Stan Humphries . “But negative equity is still very high, and millions of homeowners have a very long way to go to get back above water, even with current robust levels of home value appreciation in most areas. As a result, negative equity will remain a major factor in the market for the foreseeable future.”

These results are from the fourth quarter edition of the Zillow Negative Equity Report, which looks at current outstanding loan amounts for individual owner-occupied homes and compares them to those homes’ current estimated values. Loan data is provided by TransUnion®, a global leader in credit and information management. This is the only report that uses current outstanding loan balances on all mortgages when calculating negative equity. Other reports estimate current outstanding loan balance based on the most recent loan on a property (i.e., the original loan amount at time of purchase or refinance).

Metropolitan Area

Q4 2012: % of Homeowners w/ Mortgages in Negative Equity

# of Homeowners Freed From Negative Equity in 2012

Q4 2013: Forecasted Negative Equity Rate

Minimum # of Homeowners Expected to be Freed From Negative   Equity in 2013iv

UNITED STATES

27.5%

1,908,732

25.5%

999,601

New York

19.4%

17,394

19.1%

6,513

Los Angeles

24.3%

72,936

20.0%

72,696

Chicago

36.9%

41,208

37.3%

N/A

Dallas-Fort Worth,

Texas

24.2%

59,461

21.3%

31,434

Philadelphia

23.8%

1,462

23.1%

7,356

Washington, DC

28.0%

45,207

25.8%

24,911

Miami-

Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

39.6%

70,484

37.0%

23,674

Atlanta

49.5%

49,827

47.9%

17,255

Boston

16.9%

30,495

15.6%

10,765

San Francisco

23.3%

39,496

19.5%

25,776

Detroit

43.4%

57,396

41.4%

17,197

Riverside, Calif.

43.8%

58,417

34.5%

62,407

Phoenix

40.4%

135,099

34.8%

43,044

Seattle

33.5%

32,457

29.9%

23,441

Minneapolis-St. Paul,

Minn.

34.6%

29,518

32.8%

12,808

San Diego

28.3%

31,894

23.4%

22,788

Tampa, Fla.

41.5%

34,359

40.0%

7,775

St. Louis

26.9%

23,348

27.0%

N/A

Baltimore

27.7%

11,529

26.5%

6,265

Denver

20.0%

53,848

18.0%

10,509

Pittsburgh

14.0%

8,767

13.2%

3,403

Portland, Ore.

28.0%

26,355

24.7%

13,799

Sacramento, 

Calif.

41.7%

32,195

32.9%

33,356

Orlando, Fla.

45.3%

32,650

43.3%

7,286

Cincinnati

27.2%

16,034

26.8%

1,830

Cleveland

29.8%

13,818

29.1%

2,965

Las Vegas

59.2%

36,876

56.7%

8,435

San Jose

16.1%

17,330

13.2%

8,062

Columbus

28.8%

19,905

27.7%

3,620

Charlotte

33.0%

13,513

32.9%

325

About Zillow:
Zillow, Inc. (NASDAQ: Z) operates the largest home-related marketplaces on mobile and the Web, with a complementary portfolio of brands and products that help people find vital information about homes, and connect with the best local professionals. In addition, Zillow operates an industry-leading economics and analytics bureau led by Zillow’s Chief Economist Dr. Stan Humphries. Dr. Humphries and his team of economists and data analysts produce extensive housing data and research covering more than 350 markets at Zillow Real Estate Research. The Zillow, Inc. portfolio includes Zillow.com®, Zillow Mobile, Zillow Mortgage Marketplace, Zillow Rentals, Zillow Digs™, Postlets®, Diverse Solutions®, Buyfolio™, Mortech™ and HotPads™. The company is headquartered in Seattle.

Zillow.com, Zillow, Zestimate, Postlets and Diverse Solutions are registered trademarks of Zillow, Inc. Buyfolio, Mortech, HotPads and Digs are trademarks of Zillow, Inc.

TransUnion is a registered trademark of Trans Union LLC.

i The data in the Zillow Negative Equity Report incorporates mortgage data from TransUnion, a global leader in credit and information management, to calculate various statistics. The report includes, but is not limited to, negative equity, loan-to-value ratios, and delinquency rates. To calculate negative equity, the estimated value of a home is matched to all outstanding mortgage debt and lines of credit associated with the home, including home equity lines of credit and home equity loans. All personally identifying information (“PII”) is removed from the data by TransUnion before delivery to Zillow. Overall, this report covers over 800 metros, 2,300 counties, and 22,900 ZIP codes across the nation.

ii The Zillow Home Value Index is the median Zestimate® valuation for a given geographic area on a given day and includes the value of all single-family residences, condominiums and cooperatives, regardless of whether they sold within a given period. The Home Value Index at the national level includes data from over 80 million homes in almost 3,000 counties and over 850 core-based statistical areas. It is expressed in dollars and is for a particular geographic region.

iii The Zillow Home Value Forecast is a conservative estimate of what negative equity rates will be a year from now. To forecast negative equity, we take the current home value of a house and appreciate it by the Zillow Home Value Forecast (ZHVF) for the MSA in which the home is located. In cases where there is no ZHVF available, we use the historical rate of home appreciation, and for metros that don’t have a historical rate of appreciation we use the historical rate of inflation at the national level. For homes that are not located in a metropolitan area, we use the forecasted national rate of appreciation. To calculate the level of home equity a year from now, we use the forecasted home value and the current outstanding debt balance, where we make no assumptions about a homeowner’s debt level a year from now. We also make no assumptions about foreclosure activity in the coming year. Therefore, this forecast is a very conservative one, as homeowners will likely continue to pay down their debt throughout the year and homes will likely continue to be foreclosed on, and both of these factors will contribute to a lower negative equity rate. The Zillow Negative Equity Forecast can therefore be considered a higher bound estimate of negative equity.

iv Some metro areas may be marked “N/A” in this column. Home values are expected to continue to fall in these metros, which will lead to a net increase in the number of homeowners with a mortgage who are in negative equity. While some homeowners in this metro will be freed from negative equity, we expect more homeowners to enter negative equity in the coming year when looking strictly at home value changes and not considering pay downs in mortgage principal or foreclosure activity.

SOURCE:

Zillow, Inc.
http://www.zillow.com

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Financial News Information Personal Finance Retirement Savings Surveys Taxes Wealth

More U.S. Employers Likely to Add Roth Features to their Defined Contribution Plans in 2013

Aon Hewitt Survey Reveals More U.S. Employers Likely to Add Roth Features to their Defined Contribution Plans in 2013

‘Fiscal Cliff’ Provision Opens Door for Increased Roth 401(k) Adoption

LINCOLNSHIRE, Ill., Feb. 6, 2013, A new survey by Aon Hewitt, the global human resources solutions business of Aon plc (NYSE: AON), reveals an increasing number of U.S. employers are planning to add Roth features to their defined contribution (DC) plans in 2013. This comes on the heels of new legislation that makes it easier for DC investors to convert balances within their savings plan into Roth accounts.

Immediately following the passage of the American Tax Payer Relief Act of 2012—or so-called ‘fiscal cliff’ deal—Aon Hewitt conducted a pulse survey of more than 300 individuals representing large U.S. employers to determine the prevalence of Roth accounts and employers’ likely actions with respect to their plans over the next 12 months. According to Aon Hewitt’s findings, while almost half (49 percent) of respondents currently offer no Roth provisions, 29 percent of those that don’t offer Roth are very or somewhat likely to add this feature in the next 12 months. Of those new adopters, more than three-quarters (76 percent) will add both Roth contribution and in-plan conversion features.

“While employers have steadily been adopting Roth features in recent years, the new law, along with a better understanding of Roth by both participants and companies, will encourage more plan sponsors to add these options in the near-term,” said Patti Balthazor Bjork , director of Retirement Research at Aon Hewitt.

Aon Hewitt’s survey also found that employers that already have a Roth contribution option are likely to allow employees to make in-plan conversions to Roth accounts. Of those respondents that currently allow Roth contributions but do not offer in-plan conversions, more than half (53 percent) are very or somewhat likely to add this feature in the next 12 months.

For companies that already allow Roth contributions and in-plan conversions, more than three-quarters (79 percent) are very or somewhat likely to expand the eligibility for in-plan conversions, allowing them for previously non-distributable amounts.

“The new rules open the door for employers to allow expanded in-plan conversions, but it’s not a requirement,” explained Bjork. “However, it makes the Roth conversions more attractive for employees, so there will likely be increased interest and incentive for employers to offer them.”

Aon Hewitt’s retirement practice advises, designs and administers defined contribution benefits for hundreds of mid-sized and large plans. For more information visit aonhewitt.com.

Sign up for News Alerts: http://aon.mediaroom.com/index.php?s=58
Follow Aon Hewitt on Twitter @AonHewitt

About Aon Hewitt
Aon Hewitt is the global leader in human resource solutions. The company partners with organizations to solve their most complex benefits, talent and related financial challenges, and improve business performance. Aon Hewitt designs, implements, communicates and administers a wide range of human capital, retirement, investment management, health care, compensation and talent management strategies. With more than 29,000 professionals in 90 countries, Aon Hewitt makes the world a better place to work for clients and their employees. For more information on Aon Hewitt, please visit www.aonhewitt.com.

About Aon
Aon plc (NYSE: AON) is the leading global provider of risk management, insurance and reinsurance brokerage, and human resources solutions and outsourcing services. Through its more than 61,000 colleagues worldwide, Aon unites to empower results for clients in over 120 countries via innovative and effective risk and people solutions and through industry-leading global resources and technical expertise. Aon has been named repeatedly as the world’s best broker, best insurance intermediary, reinsurance intermediary, captives manager and best employee benefits consulting firm by multiple industry sources. Visit www.aon.com for more information on Aon and www.aon.com/manchesterunited to learn about Aon’s global partnership and shirt sponsorship with Manchester United.

MacKenzie Lucas , 847-442-2995, mackenzie.lucas@aonhewitt.com
Maurissa Kanter , 847-442-0952, maurissa.kanter@aonhewitt.com

SOURCE: Aon plc

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Finance Personal Finance Products and Services Wealth

2013 “Cost of Loving Index” Reflects Price Increase for Valentine’s Day Gifts

2013 “Cost of Loving Index” Reflects 2.4% Price Increase for Popular Valentine’s Day Gifts

Perfume price stinks, dinner for two serves up a decrease; Five other items are lovable with no price hike

HOUSTON, Feb. 4, 2013, While cost of living benefits for Social Security recipients increased 1.7 percent this year, consumers will be spending a total of 2.38 percent more for the most popular Valentine gifts, according to the annual “Cost of Loving Index.”

Compiled by Houston Asset Management, a Houston-based investment advisory firm, the Cost of Loving Index has been tracking the price of nine popular love-expressing gifts since 1990. This year it reveals increases for three items, one decrease and a lot of stability.

Spoiling your loved one with imported Chanel No. 5 perfume stinks at a skyrocketing increase of 14.04 percent. Those fancy Godiva chocolates in a heart-shaped box are a little less sweet at a cost of 5.26 percent more than last year, while the price of a designer silk tie increases 3.45 percent.

But the majority of gifts on the list remained the same price and you can spend about nine percent less expressing your affections with a candlelight dinner for two, which represents the only price decrease on the index.

“I don’t remember another year since the inception of our Cost of Loving Index 23 years ago when the majority of gifts we track stayed at the same price points,” said Bob Frater CFP®, CEO of Houston Asset Management. “Five of the nine gifts come in at the same price and that may reflect some stability in the market. But overall, since 1990 we have seen over a two and a half percent increase in these prices. That may not be so bad for true romantics.”

According to the National Retail Federation, last year the average American celebrating Valentine’s Day shelled out $126.03, up 8.5 percent over 2011. About 36 percent of them bought flowers and the Cost of Loving Index reveals a price of $129.07 for delivery of a dozen long-stemmed roses, the same as last year.

Highlights of the “2013 Cost of Loving Index” by Houston Asset Management

  • A $250 romantic candlelight dinner for two at a fancy restaurant is back to its 2011 level and dropped 9 percent
  • The cost of two tickets to a first-run movie and a Valentine’s Day greeting card remained the same
  • A toast with a bottle of Simi California Chardonnay is constant at $25.85
  • For a personal gift, the price of a silk designer nightie for her hasn’t changed since 2011 at $68 while the designer silk tie for him increased 3.45 percent after remaining constant for several years

About Houston Asset Management Inc.

Founded in 1980, Houston Asset Management is a full-service registered investment advisory firm offering financial planning and investment advisory services. The firm works in partnership with its clients to provide prompt and efficient solutions to problems and achievement of clients’ objectives. The experience level attained by the associates at Houston Asset Management averages more than 37 years. For more information visit www.houstonassetmgmt.com. Houston Asset Management is located at 1800 West Loop S, Ste 1980, Houston, TX 77027, (713) 629-1534. Securities offered through SagePoint Financial, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advisory services offered through Houston Asset Management, Inc. a registered investment advisor not affiliated with SagePoint Financial, Inc.

Contact:
Judi Martin
JM Group
713-299-5619
jmartin@jmghouston.com

SOURCE: Houston Asset Management Inc.