There is nothing like worldwide attention to drive interest in a region’s real estate market, and nothing drives World-wide attention like the Olympic Games. Since the announcement that Vancouver and Whistler would co-host the 2010 Olympics, The real estate market in the area between Vancouver and Whistler has been exciting to say the least.While the Whistler Real Estate Market is historically famous for its high priced homes and chronic staff housing shortages, much of that has dissipated over the last few years. Whistler Real Estate sales remain steady as its profile is further increased, and since, compared to options like Vail or Aspen, Whistler offers a competitive option in securing ski resort real estate.Further to the South, things are even more interesting. For decades, Squamish BC, a quiet industrial town at the end of the spectacular inlet of Howe Sound, lived in relative obscurity between it’s much more famous neighbours of Vancouver and Whistler. This quiet town of 15,000 was home to those who were tolerant of the commute to Whistler or Vancouver, forestry industry workers, and a few passionate outdoor recreationists.However, the fact that the next Winter Olympics will take place in venues both north and south of Squamish and a concurrent booming British Columbia economy, combined with a hot Vancouver housing market have boosted awareness of the Squamish Real Estate Market. Squamish is now attracting a great deal of interest as a place to live and invest in real estate. Housing developments are springing up or being planned all over this town, which has recently branded itself “The Outdoor Recreation Capital of Canada”.For decades, the spectacular Squamish waterfront has been dominated by industry, most notably a saw mill, a deep sea port, and a chemical plant. But the Sawmill is gone, and 1300 housing units are planned as part of “Waterfront Landing”, a development by Pridham that will see townhouses, apartment towers, and an impressive a waterfront walkway talk the place of a former sawmill.Further south, The District has also attained ownership of another 60 acres of oceanfront property – a former chemical site, which it hopes to develop as a park and residential area, with perhaps some light industry to provide local jobs.For many, Squamish’s key attraction, the one thing that by far sets it apart from just about any place on earth, is the incredible variety of outdoor recreation opportunities available in this town. Just the sheer number of outdoor recreation activities available is hard to comprehend and it is a challenge to even attempt to catalogue them all. The rock climbing, mountain biking, hiking, white water kayaking, ocean kayaking, kite surfing, wind surfing, and river rafting are all frequently described as “world class” in Squamish. Add to that three great golf courses, horseback riding, scuba diving, fishing, some road cycling and options for boat tours or air tours, and it is clear that many days of adventure can be fulfilled in Squamish, whether by resident or tourist. And of course, for those living in Squamish, a considerable bonus is the proximity to Whistler, putting world class downhill skiing a short drive away.Moving towards taking advantage of the growing tourism opportunities, The District of Squamish has just completed a Tourism Information Centre on the well-traveled Highway 99. The $6 million structure is known as the “The Adventure Centre”. The impressive, “saddle shaped” building contains a coffee shop and district offices as well as standard Tourist Information Offices.Real Estate in Squamish draws a great deal of interest from North Vancouver and with the commute from Squamish to Vancouver now shorter than from the Fraser Valley, there is a lot of interest from residents who are not sure they want to endure the daily slow drive from the Fraser Valley, the area to the east of Vancouver that has seen the greatest interest from the Vancouver based worker. And with its isolation, Squamish offers an escape from urban sprawl and an authentic small town feel.Squamish has seen a huge increase in prices, with eight $1,000,000 plus homes for sale at the current time, and it is predicted that in a couple years time, it will be quite common to see $1,000,000 homes. At the other end of the real estate market, Squamish remains the most affordable community between Maple Ridge and Whistler.Squamish market is also attracting young urban dwellers hoping to purchase reasonably priced homes in a favorite destination for recreation. Squamish is confident that it can sustain this growth and that it has every opportunity to become the service centre for places like Whistler and Pemberton, the other main towns in the Sea to Sky corridor. The addition of stores like Wal-Mart and Home Depot will inevitably make Squamish the place where people from Pemberton and Whistler go to shop, rather than having to drive the extra miles to North Vancouver.
Do Children Need Life Insurance?
Life insurance on children (and babies) has always seemed very controversial to most people we spoke with. After all, why would you get life insurance on a brand new person who’s likeliness of dying prematurely is virtually nil? Particularly in the United States of America where people are living longer not shorter and infant mortality is at an all-time low. For that matter, why even get life insurance on anyone. Aren’t the odds in our favor now a day? If they were not, the insurance companies would be raising rates not lowering them (bet you did not know that insurance rates could ever go down).Then the question may not be, do children need life coverage but does anyone need life coverage? The answer is, unfortunately, still yes. And we say unfortunately because people are still dying in considerable numbers and families are being greatly affected by, not only the personal loss, but also the financial loss that occurs when a loved one is gone.Since we have established that a financial burden still exist when an adult dies (if you don’t then stop reading), then you may now understand our reason for taking out an insurance on a child. Yes, losing a child (God forbid!) may not create a great financial burden on parents when they are little but when the child grows up and starts a family on his or her own, then, at that point their death may create a financial burden on the own children and spouse or other dependents. If you, as a parent of that child, you did get insurance when the child was young and when no health problems existed, then you have, essentially, protected your child’s insurability. And, if you got your child a policy that would allow him or her to multiply the coverage later in life with a special rider, then you now have compounded their insurability benefit.The insurability you gave your child can be priceless! An example: Imagine that you take a $100,000 insurance policy on your 10 year old child (or sooner) and that policy included options to buy more coverage by just filling out a form – no exam needed, no medical records to order, no MIB check… Now, 15 years later, at age 25, your child finds out that he has some medical issue(s). His medial issue is manageable so everything seems fine. He gets married. He has two kids then the spouse of your child becomes concerned that if anything happened to him or her the family would be in financial troubles. The spouse of your child sets an appointment with an agent who, after asking medical questions, tells your now grown child that he/she may only qualify for an expensive policy. Since the price is too high, your child and his/her spouse decide to do nothing. They just cannot afford any coverage! Until… your child remembers about the policy you had purchased for him/her when they were little. Looking at the policy, not only is it affordable but it also includes provisions to increase coverage with no medical questions. Although the total amount of insurance that the policy will provide may not be exactly what your child needs, it sure beats zero insurance coverage. A sigh of relief!!!And now, as a parent, you are the hero of the family! And guess what, your child will do the same for his/her children. Now you are also the wise grandparent that keeps on coming to the rescue of the family.Our advice is simple. When your child is little, take as much life insurance on him or her as is allowed by insurance companies and, by all means, make sure the policy offers option to increase face value later on in life without any medical questions or MIB check or any checks at all.We hope this article will help you make wiser decisions when selecting any life insurance for your child. We wish you and your family long life, health and success. Feel free to always ask us questions.
Do Not Choose An Online Fitness Program To Lose Weight
Many people choose to lose weight by getting involved with an online fitness program. They figure it makes sense to either grab a few ideas from YouTube or blogs, or buy health fitness books to learn how to get started on their road to a whole new body.The internet has become the ultimate tool in gathering knowledge, and it’s become so important many of us cannot imagine life without it. When it comes to the area of health and fitness however, the internet is a double-edge sword. The net allows you to learn about almost any health and fitness program that has ever been designed… the problem is that the net allows you to learn about almost any health and fitness program that has ever been designed – get it?It’s like how Life Coach Anthony Robbins describes society’s thinking nowadays, “We’re drowning in information but we’re starving for wisdom.” Having options always beats not having any, but when you have thousands of options to choose from – analysis paralysis can set in. This is where we become inundated with information and choose to do nothing because we’re not sure what the right course of action is.The other end of the stick is possible as well, choosing exercise training programs that promise quick weight loss and realizing that the “best weight loss program” you thought you were buying was an attainable but unsustainable model. Too many of these programs make weight loss an overly complicated process, and stress unnatural movements along with unnatural methods to lose weight or get in shape.The key to remember when you’re searching fitness programs is to remember that they stress “fitness” and not weight loss. Although many people believe fitness programs will help them lose weight, and you will, they are not designed for weight loss. If they are designed at all (many programs are thrown together using rehashed ideas), they are created to help you get fit and in shape – that’s it, plain and simple.The truth, whether you want to believe or not, is that movement, even something as simple as walking for 25 minutes every day, and making whole food the main part of your diet will help you lose weight and keep it off. Instead, we stay worrying about pills, smoothies or our resting heart rate in relation to the output of energy during a workout – this may work for some people, but it obviously doesn’t work for the majority.The U.S. is now the world’s fattest country and the only good news is that the growth rate of the obese and overweight has begun to slow. We now need to stop that growth pattern altogether and put it in reverse. The challenge is that America has become complacent – too many of its citizens have created environments that revolve around eating and sitting.Think about it: what is the normal routine of the average hard-working person? They come home, eat dinner with the family (many times they eat while watching TV and not at the dinner table) and afterward retire to the living room to watch their favorite television programs. It’s no secret that the average American watches TV 7 hours a day. The average workday is 9 hours if you add half an hour to and from work, and if 7 hours are spent watching TV, with the average time slept being 8 hours – that’s a full 24 hour cycle, where’s the time spent on making sure your body is well nourished and conditioned for maximum use?Significant weight loss can only occur when you cut your calories and up your energy output, through exercising or work that requires manual labor. What people need to understand is that they can eat MORE whole food, which will give them the feeling of being full, and still take in fewer calories that way than by eating less processed foods and starving throughout the day.An online fitness program is 1/3 of the weight loss equation, with food and mental preparation making up the rest. We don’t have time to cover the last two here but food does matter and how you think is going to determine how much weight you’ll lose and whether or not you’ll be able to keep it off long term.When deciding on an online fitness program to add to your overall health plan, be sure to include these features:• Stresses working out in “advantageous positions” only – you want to keep your joints and spine healthy at all times. Too many programs uses exercises that do more harm than good – be on the lookout for programs that cause you to lift heavy weight in a position that can potentially harm you.
• Uses intensity for short periods of time to build muscle and endurance
• Uses aerobics to build heart power
• Uses correct stretching principles to create flexibilityObviously, there’s more to this with fitness but these basic features will help a long way in choosing which program you will be able to benefit from most. Just remember, fitness programs do help you lose weight but they are not weight loss programs, and choose your fitness program wisely so as to get the most benefit from the time and energy you will be spending.Searching the net for ideas on health and fitness can be a daunting task, but when you know WHAT to look for, the process just becomes that much easier. Knowing what you’re looking for will help you acquire the program that best meets your needs, instead of an online fitness program that will end up on one of your external hard drives – never to be or heard from again.
Conducting Pre-Employment Reference Inquiries and Background Investigations
Reference and background inquiries allow an employer to verify information provided by the applicant. Companies who make proper and judicious use of the information gathered as a result of a thorough background investigation typically reduce exposure to employee fraud, theft, embezzlement, turnover, unqualified employees, negligent hiring claims and violence in the workplace.The following are the most important aspects that makeup a background investigation. Additionally, how the information can be used to significantly reduce employee difficulties and employment litigation is also discussed:EMPLOYER REFERENCES-Checking past employers is used primarily to verify information provided by the applicant on resumes and applications such as dates of employment, job title, compensation, reasons for separation, and re-hire status. With even a small amount of information provided by a past or current employer, you may be able to gauge an applicant’s skill, ability and honesty or perhaps areas such as attendance problems, violent behavior, and manageability.· Required element in the defense of negligent hiring claims (regardless of whether or not the reference shares information).EDUCATION VERIFICATION-An important integrity check. Surveys suggest that as many as 1 in 3 resumes and applications contain inaccurate education assertions and that more than 500,000 Americans have bought their academic degrees. This area contains the second highest rate of inaccuracy, behind salary. This check verifies education commiserate with position requirements.· This is one of the easiest checks to pursue.· This may include industry specific certifications and other non-degree-oriented training.PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL REFERENCES-Similar to screening employer references and great for gaining an insight into some personality traits of the applicant.· Addresses of friends and family that are in other states, or are otherwise a great distance away, may also indicate that the candidate had lived in that area. This is important regarding criminal record checks.DEPARTMENT OF MOTOR VEHICLE REPORTS-May verify the type, status, validity, and restrictions of the applicant’s driver’s license. Can also be used to verify information provided by the candidate such as current address, date of birth and license endorsements.· Essential if the applicant will drive on company time or use company vehicles.· May indicate a history of substance abuse.· Required element in the defense of negligent hiring claims.SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER TRACE-A specialized report that may indicate a social security number’s validity or uncover aliases and other people using the same number. Generally includes a candidate’s current and previously reported addresses for comparison to an application.· Previous addresses should be used in the criminal history check.· Required element in defense of negligent hiring claims.CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECKS-Make a thorough criminal background check. It is not uncommon for employers to be sued for an employee’s illegal acts. Do not check arrest histories, only records of criminal convictions. Compare to application to determine a candidate’s honesty. You should not immediately disqualify a candidate for convictions, unless they are not included on the application. Convictions must recent and job related (i.e. driver applicant with a DWI conviction or a retail candidate convicted of shoplifting or theft).The criminal background check is essential in considering a candidate’s character, integrity, history of violent behavior, and suitability for the job. It is best to visit the appropriate county’s Clerk of Court criminal records office in person but you can also reach them by phone, fax, computer or mail.· Past performance is indicative of future results.· Required element in the defense of negligent hiring claims.· If you should find information that causes you not to hire an individual, keep a copy for your records.PRE-EMPLOYMENT CREDIT CHECK-Also called a PEER report by credit reporting bureaus. This report is similar to a standard consumer credit report. It may contain secured and unsecured loan, revolving credit (credit card) and other debt information, as well as payment history. It may include information from public record sources such as judgments, liens, and bankruptcies.· Used to gauge a candidate’s fiscal responsibility and financial pressures.· May also include information from the less expensive Social Security Trace.FEDERAL AND STATE LICENSE VERIFICATION-Used when an applicant must have a license for the job. Verifies the validity, type and status of required licensing.· Complaints and administrative actions regarding licensed individuals may also be available.· Required element in the defense of negligent hiring claims.HONESTY, ATTITUDE AND PERSONALITY TESTING-Although not a background or reference investigation, these tests have a definite place in the pre-hire process. These surveys measure a candidate’s attitude regarding honesty, ethics, substance abuse, reliability, work and supervisors.· These test typically cost between $6-$10 per candidate.· Over 45% of Fortune 100 Companies use profile testing at some level in their organization.DRUG SCREENING-Again, tests for the use of illicit drug use also have a definite place in the pre-hire process. Many studies have linked drug use in the workplace to higher than average losses. According to one such study, the average theft incident per employee with a substance addiction is 6.3 times higher than to the average theft incident committed by a non-addicted employee. OSHA has recently re-released information indicating that employees in companies with drug screening programs are 4 times less likely to have job related accidents, equating to greater productivity and profits.· Required element in the defense of negligent hiring claims (especially when employees operate machinery, drive on company time or use company vehicles).Keep in mind, the results from these reports must be compared against provided information in order to measure an applicant’s honesty. Hiring a dishonest candidate is never a good decision.There are many more sources for background and reference investigations than have been included here; a licensed private investigation agency specializing in pre-employment investigations may be able to help you identify and obtain any additional needs.As in all aspects of the hiring process, federal and state laws may govern how you use or share information obtained while conducting these and other checks; always maintain documentation generated as a result of these reports.Furthermore, all positions do not require every check or screening process included; for example, a waiter’s position in a restaurant may not warrant the expense of a credit check, motor vehicle report or psychological profile testing.Some Important Considerations:· All employers should seriously consider a comprehensive drug-screening program.· Any time a state or federal license is required for the position, a license verification check must be completed.· Background investigations for jobs requiring access to cash, financial records, and valuable merchandise (jewelry, weapons, electronics, etc.) should include a pre-employment credit check, with check-ups performed semi-annually.· Department of Motor Vehicle Records should be checked semi-annually.· Criminal Background checks should be completed once a year.· Additional investigation components should be verified when an employee is promoted.There are many other checks and resources available to the public that can be used to uncover possible sources of fraud, theft, and dishonesty. The components listed above are the most common elements of a background investigation and are not meant to be an exhaustive study. The services of a competent investigations company should be sought to discuss additional options.