Archives for June 2011

The biggest boomtowns of 2020

According to demographic projections, the total U.S. population will increase by 8.9 percent from 2010 to 2020, and some cities will experience booms. Utilizing figures from the 2010 census and other economic information, data analysis firm ProximityOne estimates that the top ten cities for growth over the next decade are Raleigh-Cary, N.C.; Kennewick-Pasco-Richland, Wash; Austin-Round Rock, Texas; Provo-Orem, Utah; Hinesville-Fort Stewart, Georgia; Logan, Utah-Idaho; Grand Junction, Colorado; McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, Texas; Idaho Falls, Idaho; and Charlotte-Gastonia-Concord, N.C. and S.C.

It’s projected that these boomtowns will see between 26.4 to 35.7 percent growth in population due to low unemployment (relative to the national average) and affordable housing.

Of 366 metro areas, 43 may see population loss. The top ten losers include Flint, Mich; Jackson, Mich; Crestview-Fort Walton Beach-Destin, Fla; Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, Ohio-Pa; Kokomo, Ind; Pine Bluff, Ark; Steubenville-Wierton, W. Va-Ohio; Mansfield, Ohio; Detroit-Warren-Livonia, Mich; and Danville, Ill. Most of these cities are located in the former Rust Belt, where industries like steel making, vehicle manufacturing, and other heavy manufacturing once thrived.

America’s Composition [infographic]

The United States prides itself on its cultural diversity. I certainly enjoy seeing many different faces and hearing different accents throughout my day.

It’s a little scary that 18,000 people are classified as “unknown.” I wonder if they are secret aliens? This infographic only shows numbers for people entering the country in 2008…so there could be millions of unknown people here by now!

Although today’s infographic may not have much information, I find it very engaging to see all the different backgrounds of people in the United States. It certainly blew my mind how many countries are represented in the United States by such strong numbers


click for larger view

What Do People Think About Walking Away From a Mortgage?

If you have already formed an opinion about whether it’s OK to ditch a mortgage or not, you’re not alone in being opinionated. Everyone has an opinion on this, from renters to homeowners and from the young to the old. In total, 25 percent of renters think it’s okay to walk away from a mortgage. Homeowners aren’t as hip to ditching, though. Among those who own homes, only 17 percent think it’s OK to stop paying.

Is It a Moral Issue?

Some homeowners believe that whether or not to pay is a moral issue. Their own ethics come into play, telling them that someone who signed a contract should see it through, regardless of how home prices have fallen. The mortgage industry loves that—they are really playing up the idea that paying is a moral obligation.

What people believe about this issue often comes down to their age and gender. To see what age groups and genders believe it’s OK to walk away, click on the graphic. Men and women aren’t as far apart on this issue as you may think. Many people of both genders believe that if your financial circumstances are dire, it may be OK to ditch that mortgage. Do you agree with your peers? Click on the graphic to see.


If you or someone you know would like a professional consultation in regards to a short sale or mortgage concerns. Please let me know.

Music Review: Sarah McLaughlin – Laws Of Illusion

sarah-mclachlan-laws-of-illusion-music-cdIt has been seven years since Sarah McLachlan’s last full-length non-seasonal studio album Afterglow. Listening to much of Laws Of Illusion it’s like she never went away. The opening track “Awakenings” seems to kick off an aggressive, more rock-oriented approach, but the album quickly settles into the kind of ethereal folk-edged pop music Sarah McLachlan fans know and love. She is an artist with a truly distinctive sound and approach. Instead of any radical changes in direction, she simply returns to remind us who Sarah is and that she has not gone away.

Sarah McLachlan’s gorgeous, controlled vocals with that distinctive melancholy catch continue to enchant even casual listeners of her music. Simple, exposed songs like “Forgiveness” and “Rivers of Love” showcase the beauty of her voice as it moves across the song like a languidly flowing stream. “Bring On the Wonder” alters the approach by adding new age style echo. The effect is quite beautiful if fleeting at under two minutes.

The first single from Laws Of Illusion is “Loving You Is Easy”, makes me wonder if Sarah listened to Supertramp as a kid, has an upbeat, almost breezy feel, that is quite refreshing. “Out of Tune” applies Sarah McLachlan’s sound to the sense of love providing an oasis from the stresses of the rest of the world. “Heartbreak” makes light of being chased down by sadness. Ultimately Sarah McLachlan tells heartbreak to “find some other fool.” The melancholy seems not too far away, but for the few moments of these songs the smile behind the voice is entrancing.

If you are already a Sarah McLachlan, you really can’t go wrong picking up (possibly downloading it from your favorite online retailer) Laws Of Illusion. It is a collection of songs filled with clever lyrics and bathed in the beauty of her voice. At times however, the whole collection moves and meanders so languidly it may cause the attention of the listener to wander as well. This is not unique to this album in Sarah McLachlan’s catalog. If you are a long-term fan, that aspect of her music will be familiar territory indeed. With Pierre Marchand, Sarah McLachlan’s producer and collaborator for over 20 years, at hand, Laws Of Illusion is another solid statement of her unique position as an artist who has both influenced strongly the entire genre of adult pop and remains distinctive in her own sound.

Mobile apps help shoppers save

Deferring gratification is no longer a personal matter as financial institutions are intentionally putting savings on the frontal lobes of their customers. Putnam Investments is helping its 401(k) plan participants save money for retirement with a new Apple iPhone app.

Consumers use their iPhone to scan bar codes and check prices. The app combines comparison prices with retirement account information, calculating how future retirement income can benefit. For example, if the customer is shopping for an HDTV priced at $1,738.64, the app will find the same product at $1,299.99. You would save $439 by purchasing the less expensive tv, and if you put that amount into your 401(k), you’d reap an additional $11.16 per month in retirement.

Todd Barnhart, director of retail deposits for PNC Bank, says that people need “a visible reminder” to save. PNC offers customers an online virtual wallet with a mobile banking app. When participants have a little extra cash, they can tap the pig icon and transfer money automatically from checking to savings.

The apps offered by Putnam and PNC attempt to make saving for the future (college, vacations, retirement) simple and habitual. And you can expect more mobile apps that encourage delayed gratification to hit the market soon.

That’s What THAY Say

Read the Hunch blog enough, and you’ll be able to pick out airplane aisle and window seaters while you wait to board. In just five minutes of small talk, you can make a good guess about whether a stranger uses a Mac or a PC. And here’s a fun one: Go to a catered business meeting and try to figure out who’s liberal, conservative, or middle of the road.

Hunch correlations are the result of millions of answers to Teach Hunch About You (THAY) questions. They’re based on hard numbers supplied by a diverse group of people all over the world. If they confirm a stereotype, don’t shoot the messenger or our infographical friends at Column Five Media. Point your finger (or cursor) at the thousands of Hunch users who teach us what THAYs say.


‘Glee’ Infographic: The Tangled Web of Flirting, Dating and Love Diamonds


Seattle has the smallest-size families

Out of America’s 50 biggest metropolitan cities, Seattle has the smallest-size families on average and one of the lowest rates of single-parent homes, according to data gathered from the 2010 U.S. Census Bureau. The emerald city also boasts the third-highest rate of singles living alone and the third-highest number of households where unrelated individuals room together or cohabit.

Richard Morrill, a Seattle demographer and University of Washington geography professor emeritus, says that the trends make sense. The city is characteristically “low on religion and high on tolerance for the unconventional.” Additionally, single parent households may find the cost of city living beyond their means and therefore move out to the suburbs where housing is typically more affordable.

As far as the state is concerned, Washingtonians are getting older. The median age in Washington has gone up with every census since 1970 to 37.3 years. The number of residents 65 and older has swelled to 827,677, nearly double the figures of 1980.

Around the city, the trends are influencing the housing market as the building of town homes and condos outpace single-family houses.

Extraordinary Villa Amanzi In Thailand

With breathtaking views of the Amandan Sea, this stunning six-bedroom villa designed by Original Vision is a sight to behold. Built into a dramatic granite rock face and situated on the exclusive Millionaire’s Mile, the incredible Villa Amanzi in Phuket, Thailand sleeps up to 12 guests with daily rates of $2,000 – $4,500 per day. Soak in the photos below. The next time I have the opportunity to visit Thailand, how amazing would it be to stay here for a few nights!

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