Archive for March, 2009

Should You Hire A Resume Writer?
March 31, 2009

Watch 6 p.m. story here

Googling “resume writers” might not get you the best results if you are thinking about hiring a resume writer.  Advertisements are all over the internet.  I easily found a website called “Top 10 Resume Writers,” but check this out… the company listed as the best is also a company listed on RipOffReport.com.  I consulted with the National Resume Writers Association on this, who was not pleased to see  its logo on that company website.   The Association does not allow any company to join as a member,  and says you can’t be sure someone is a member unless you check their website at  www.nrwaweb.com.

Sure you can write a resume on your own using the standard tips (don’t write in first person, don’t include personal information, make sure spelling is correct, etc) but if you can invest a few extra dollars, a professional can help land you an interview by making your resume stand out with clear well-written objectives and focuses. 

The National Resume Writers Association is a non-profit group.  Its writers can charge anywhere from $100 to $3,000 for a resume.  The more  expensive packages often include resume distribution and follow-up letters. 

For more information click here

Check out CareerBuilder.com for a quarterly job forecast on hiring manager trends for the next few months. Also, the Bureau of Labor Statistics releases updated figures every month on occupational job growth.

Don’t forget about tomorrow’s job fair in New Orleans.   For more information click here.  We also have one coming up at the end of April.

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Clinics Report More People Making Money From Selling Eggs
March 30, 2009

I attended a retreat in Lacombe this weekend, and this was a hot topic in a group discussion last night… so a special “hello” to anyone from that discussion reading this right now…

ai-cartoonSome people view selling your eggs/sperm as a miraculous gift of life for people who can’t conceive on their own and a way to make money.  But how far should science go when it comes to fertility?  And are we concerned we will exploit one segment of the population while creating a selective “designer” breed of children?

In any case, it seems to me this is becoming more of an issue as people are finding new ways to make money in today’s economy.

I would love to know what you think.

Watch 10 p.m. Story Here (coming soon)

Click here for Information on Fertility Institute of New Orleans

Click here for the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology

Home Show Has New Look- Twitter It!
March 26, 2009

homeshow5flogo2egif1Many of you have been to the Home and Garden Show at the Superdome for decades, but this year’s show has a different look.  In the past the show has been produced by an international company, and the Homebuilders Association was a parter.  But now the  Homebuilders Association of Greater New Orleans has taken over and is trying to attract a younger market.  This year’s show will have an art walk,  pet fest obedience demonstrations, a tropical garden about three times bigger than before including a putting green, and 8 design rooms – 7 created by local designers and one by Ed Ross (from Bravo TV’s Top Designer).  Ed Ross will also be available for individual free consulting on your home decorating dilemas.

 Now I finally figured out this TWITTER thing and have signed up to follow the Home and Garden Show as organizers send the latest information about what’s going on from the inside.   It’s actually easier than I thought, for those of you who are postponing learning anything about it like I was….  you can  search for NolaHomeShow and  follow the updates too from the show this week.  You can also be my friend!

Touting itself as the “largest consumer home show in the southeastern U.S.”  The Home and Garden Show is at the Superdome today through Sunday.  It opens at 2 p.m. today, noon tomorrow, and 10 a.m. Saturday and Sunday.  The show lasts through 9 pm all 4 nights.

Admission is $10,   half -off for Entergy New Olreans customers (Print coupon here), 12 and under FREE

See Exhibitor List Here

I’m going this afternoon.  I’m in a never-ending project of renovating a house… many of you can relate!

Melanie

Used Car Auction
March 19, 2009

The City of New Orleans Department of Public Works will hold its second abandoned vehicle auction this year today starting at 9:00 a.m. at the Almonaster Auto Pound. It’s only the third such one since Hurricane Katrina. There will be 178 vehicles on the auction block, all of which have been discarded on neighborhood streets or left unclaimed by residents with excessive parking fines and fees. today’s auction will also have a new online bidding feature.  The funds collected during the auction will go into the city’s general fund.

Tax Season- Plain and Simple
March 12, 2009

I found this year’s tax information from Ted Stacey very helpful

(He’s the Director of Tax Services  at Bourgeois Bennett, LLC)

Watch story here

1. Hurricane Gustav losses – Since policy deductibles increased substantially since Katrina, most Gustav or Ike losses will not be covered by insurance. The good news is that your Gustav loss in excess of $100 is deductible as a casualty loss. Even better news is that you will be able to deduct that loss even if you do not itemize, thanks to a new law.

2. Real estate taxes – Taxpayers who do not itemize will still be able to deduct their real estate tax up to a maximum of $500 ($1,000 for a joint return). This is also new for 2008.

3. Louisiana – homeowners insurance premiums – Louisiana is allowing you to claim a credit of 7% of the amount you paid for homeowners insurance in 2008 on your primary residence. Condominium insurance and tenant homeowners insurance also qualify. You must reduce the premium by the Louisiana Citizens assessment (which is already allowed as a credit) and the cost of any rider for jewelry, antiques, etc.

4. First-time homebuyers – If you bought a principal residence in 2008 after April 8th, you may qualify for a credit of up to $7,500 on your federal return. Unfortunately, you have to pay the credit back over 15 years, beginning in 2010.

5. Economic stimulus check – If you didn’t get an economic stimulus check in 2008 because you filed your 2007 return after October 15th or you had too much income in 2007 to qualify, you have a second chance. You may qualify for a recovery rebate credit on your 2008 return, based on your 2008 income.

Other Deductions

 Automobile mileage – Most taxpayers know that they can deduct automobile expenses related to the business use of their automobile, but not all realize that they can also claim a deduction when they use their car to receive medical care and to perform charitable work.   For medical use, they can deduct 19 cents per mile for driving through June 30, 2008 and 27 cents per mile for the second half of the year, through December 31, 2008.   For charitable use, they can deduct 14 cents per mile for the whole year.   Don’t forget to include parking.

Medical expenses – If you have enough medical expenses to deduct them, don’t forget. You can include the medical expenses of your spouse and dependents. If you used a credit card, you deduct the expenses in the year you charged them, not the year you paid the card debt. You can deduct the cost of your health insurance. This includes the premiums for Medicare Part B and Part D, dental care policies, policies for replacement of lost or damaged contact lenses and long-term care insurance.  If you have to travel out of town to receive medical care, you may be able to deduct your meals and lodging. You can deduct the cost of your annual physical examination, even if you are not ill. Remember that you must reduce deductible expenses by any reimbursements received.

Charitable contributions – In addition to deducting your automobile use for charitable work, don’t forget to deduct your out-of-pocket expenses as well. Finally, you can still deduct the value of property you donate to charities, but the property must be in good condition or better. Keep a detailed list of the items donated (not just “three bags of clothes” and don’t be aggressive valuing them. Charity thrift shops sell clothes for as little as $5 a piece.

 Sales taxes – You can deduct the higher of your state income tax or sales tax. You can deduct your actual sales tax paid or use IRS tables. If you use the tables, you can add the sales tax paid on cars, boats, homes and home building material.

Home mortgage interest – Don’t forget you can deduct the following – The interest on your principal residence home mortgage if the money was borrowed to acquire or renovate the house.  You can also deduct the mortgage interest on a second home, including a boat if it has a galley, head and sleeping facilities. Finally, you can deduct the interest on a home equity loan of up to $100,000 regardless of what you used the money for.

Miscellaneous itemized deductions – Miscellaneous itemized deductions are deductible to the extent the exceed 2% of your income. If they do, don’t forget to include. The cost of preparing last year’s return.  Investment expenses.  The cost of your safe deposit box. Your unreimbursed employee business expenses.

And be sure you check out important information from the IRS here

Auto Industry 2009
March 11, 2009

autoIt’s expected to be the guideline for GM and Chrysler now… the new deal for Ford workers. 

Unionized workers have agreed on a pay freeze and benefits cut, as the company also ends its controversial jobs bank program that lets workers collect most of their pay. The concessions also allow Ford to make payments in stock to a union-run trust for retiree health care.

Meantime, if you’re looking for a deal on a new car, they’re not necessarily the cheapest, but Consumer Reports has come out with the 2009 list of cars that will give you the best bang for your buck.

If you can afford a monthly note right now, there are some great deals on cars out there. If you’re looking for a new one Click here for Best New Car Values of 2009

Email Addresses For Movie Location Selections
March 6, 2009

Hey guys! Sorry, there was a problem with the email links for the last blog.  Thanks for your emails!  I got such positive feedback on the movie story but several of you couldn’t access the email links to send photos of your houses.  Here’s who you should send them to:

Micah Haley (New Orleans Office of Film and Video) mhaley@cityofno.com

Dana Hanby (Locations Manager, featured in story) Danaaub@bellsouth.net

For more information on “cashing in” on the movie scene in New Orleans click here.

Have a great day!  ~Melanie

Can Your Property Be In a Movie?
March 5, 2009

So many of you ask why we can’t have more positive news in the media. Tonight we do.  Have you ever thought of renting your home for a movie?  You can make several thousand dollars and get an inside view of the industry.

Watch 5 pm story “Making Money from Movies”

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Mandeville Resident Billie Mayeux with James Gandolfini on the set of "Welcome to the Rileys"

If you’re interested in renting your house for a movie, the New Orleans Office of Film and Video asks that you email  5 to 20 pictures of the exterior, interior, and grounds…along with a one paragraph description about the physical characteristics.  Email Micah Haley at the New Orleans Office of Film and Video at Mhaley@cityofno.com 

Email Locations Manager Dana Hanby (featured in story) at danaaub@bellsouth.net

The Louisiana Entertainment Economic Impact Report just came out this week.  Scroll to the last few pages to see the lists of productions shot in the state, and how they have grown through the years.