Category Archives: How to Buy Foreclosed Home

How to buy foreclosed home has articles on government foreclosures, bank foreclosures, pre foreclosures, court house step foreclosures, and more. You will learn how to invest in foreclosures using various real estate investment methods. There is in depth information on where to find foreclosure listings. You will learn how one type of foreclosure differs from another, and which one is best for your situation.  Where to find money to invest is also covered, as is how to find a good lender, and how to find a good real estate agent. Short sales are explained in detail. How to sell your foreclosure after you buy it is spelled out for you. There is also techniques on how to buy privately owned homes too.  The best foreclosure websites are revealed to you. How to find deals where no down payment is needed, and where closing costs can be paid for you.  Every aspect of the foreclosure process is spelled out for you.

Shower Faucet – Repair and Installation

Shower faucet - repair and installation
Does your shower faucet leak?

Does your shower faucet leak? Would you like to be able to fix it yourself without having to pay the high prices that plumbers charge?

Are you a real estate flipper or rehabber that would like to learn how to repair or replace a shower faucet yourself without having to hire someone to do it? Are you a handyman that would like to learn how to fix or replace a shower faucet to improve your value to your customers?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you will gain some useful knowledge here.

Plumbing Supplies and Tools Needed

Shower faucet - repair and installation
No job can begin without the right tools.

Before you can attempt any shower faucet repair on installation plumbing job, you have to have the right supplies and tools to do the job correctly.

Screwdrivers – Have both a Pillips head and a Slotted head screwdriver on hand.

Shower Socket Set  – For removing valves from their bases inside the wall.

Handle Puller – For removing stubborn handles that won’t budge by hand.

Adjustable Wrench – Many possible uses for this veratile tool.

Adjustable Pliers – Another versatile, must have tool.

Allen Wrench or Hex Wrench Set – for removal and installation of Allen or Hex screws.

Plumbers Putty – Provides adherance, and a watertight seal for handles, escutcheons, etc.

Teflon Tape – Provides a watertight seal for threaded valves, shower arm, and other connections.

Plumbers Grease or Lube – Slippery surface for rubber orings to allow for reinsertion of valves.

Flashlight – Shower access doors are often hidden in closets and other out of the way spaces.

Clean Towels/Rags – Useful to keep from scratching chrome surfaces while removing handles, shower heads, etc.

O Ring Pick – For removal of o rings from valves.

Putty Knife – To remove dirt and old plumbers putty from behind handles, etc.

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Finding the Cause of the Issue

Shower faucet - repair and installation
Certain clues will lead you to the cause of the leak.

Once you have the needed tools at the ready, it’s time to diagnose the problem. Although many showers also have bathtub faucets, I will cover only shower faucets here.

Normally the problem will be a leak of some sort. Leaks in showers can come  from the handle, or from the shower head.

The good news is, the solution for either leak is usually the same for any single handle shower faucet or valve. The cartridge will need to be replaced.

If, however, you have a hand held shower,  the leak may be due to worn out washers in the flexible tubing ends, at the diverter(if you have one), or at the shower head.

If the leak is coming from the shower head section of the hand held shower unit, the cartridge is the most likely culprit.

I suggest attempting to repair or replace the hand held unit before replacing the cartridge in the wall if it appears that the leak is coming from the flexible tubing, or from the diverter.  This will be easier, and cheaper in most cases than replacing the cartridge.

Turn the Water Off

Shower faucet - repair and installation
Turn the water off before you get started.

The first order of business is to find the water shut offs, and turn the water off.  The shut off valves are usually directly behind the wall where your shower handles are.

There is usually an access door that is in a closet or on a wall. Find the access door, open it, and look for the shut off valves.

You may need a flashlight. Shut both the hot and the cold sides off. If, for some reason you can’t locate these shut off valves, you will need to find the main shut off valve for the house and close that off.

The main shut off is normally in the basement, and near where the main water lines (usually copper) come into the house.

After the water is shut off, turn the shower faucet on to bleed any water that is left in the lines. This will keep the residual water to a minimum, and save you from getting splashed while working.


Replacing the Cartridge

Shower faucet - repair and installation
The shower cartridge is usually the cause of the leak.

Before you start to take the handle apart, close off the drain with a towel to ensure no parts fall down into it.  The make of the shower faucet you have will determine exactly how to take it apart.

Some, like Moen will have a button that you need to pry off with a screwdriver, and a screw that needs to be taken out.

There will likely be a sleeve that will either unscrew or pull out.  There may also be a retaining clip that needs to come off to proved access to the cartridge.

Once you have clear access to the cartridge, you simply take a pair of pliers and gently pull the cartridge out. You may have to work it back and forth to loosen it up before it will come out.

Take the cartridge into your local plumbing supply house, and purchase a new one.

For other faucets like Delta, you may need an Allen or Hex wrench to remove the Allen set screw on the handle to remove it. You will then have to either unscrew or remove the sleeve or jacket that is protecting the area with the cartridge.

There will be some variance depending on the model that you have. Effectively, you need to remove whatever is attached surrounding the cartridge to access the cartridge.

Once you have all of the pieces on the outside of the cartridge removed, you can and you can access the cartridge, you can gently loosen it with pliers, and pull it out.

With the cartridge out, inspect the area that contained the cartridge. Try to clean out any corrosion or dirt that may have effected the proper operation of the cartridge before you put the new cartridge in.

Delta has a lifetime warranty on their shower faucets, so as long as you bought the product, you may be able to get a replacement cartridge sent to you free of charge.

Otherwise you can buy a new cartridge by taking the old cartridge into your local plumbing supply house to match it up.

When installing the new cartridge, be sure that you match it up according to the directions that will be with the new cartridge.

Otherwise your hot side could become the cold side and vice versa, or you may experience new leaks. If this happens of course, you will have to go through the process again.

Once you have everything put back into place and secured, you can turn the water back on, and test your handiwork. If there are no leaks anywhere, and you have good water pressure, you are good to go. Keep a close eye on your repair for the next few days just to be on the safe side.

If you have questions regarding your particular make and model of shower faucet/valve, you can visit the maufacturers website for more information. If you have any paperwork or a box with the make and model number on it, this will be helpful.

If you’re not sure which make of faucet you have, look on the chrome plating around the faucet. The name is often embossed at the bottom or top of the chrome beneath or above the faucet.

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Installing a New Shower Faucet

Installing a New Shower Faucet

If you would like to upgrade the look of your shower without having to replace the shower valves in the wall behind the shower, you can do so by buying a new trim kit(shower handle, shower head, shower arm, and face plate). You will have to match up your existing trim with the new trim.

I recommend buying your new trim first if you can. Be sure though that you new trim will work with your old shower faucet set up. Your best bet is to stay with the same manufacturer of your existing faucet.

There are some types of trim that can match up with other manufacturers trim, but you will need to either go online to the manufacturers website, or to your local kitchen & bath store, or plumbing supply to determine your options.

If you go to your local stores, be sure to bring the old trim with you or take pictures of it first. If you have any old paperwork or boxes for your old trim bring that with you also.

Start by turning off the water. Look behind the wall where your shower trim is located for shut off valves. There should be an access door in that area.

This could be in a closet or another space. If you are unable to locate these valves, or if there aren’t any shut off valves, you will need to turn the water off at the main water valve coming into the house. If you find the shut off valves be sure to shut both sides off.

Next turn on the water at the shower to allow any water in the line to evacuate.  This will ensure that you will be dry during the job.

Take a wrench or a pair of pliers along with a small towel and remove the shower arm and shower head. The shower arm will unscrew from the wall. Be sure to use the towel so that you don’t scratch the chrome surfaces.

Remove the chrome face plate surrounding the single handle valve. You may need a screwdriver, or a wrench to remove it, depending on the make of the faucet.

Next remove the handle using either a screwdriver, or an Allen wrench. It is a good idea to also replace the valve while you are replacing the trim.

Simply pull the valve from the wall using a pair of pliers. You may have to loosen it by gently first by turning it slightly back and forth.

You are now ready to install the new shower faucet trim. Be sure to tape any threads with teflon tape before screwing your new shower arm into the wall, and for the other end where your new shower head will be added.

Also be sure to use a towel between the chrome and your tools to keep from scratching the surfaces.

Make sure to line up the new valve correctly before you insert it into the wall. You may need to coat the exterior of the valve with a bit of plumbers grease first to get it slippery.

Hold on to the instructions in case you run into a problem, or have a question. In most cases, this is a simple install.

Now that you have everything in place, turn the water back on and test to be sure that there are no leaks, and the operation of the new set up is working properly.  Keep a close eye on it for a few days.


When to Call the Plumber

Shower faucet - repair and installation
For some jobs, plumbers are worth their weight in gold.

If you want to do a complete makeover of your shower faucet, you will need to remove the entire valve from behind the wall, and possibly some shut off valves, piping, and joints.

This will likely entail some specialized work, knowledge, and tools. I don’t recommend this job for a DIYer (do it yourselfer).

This is a job for a plumber or a general contractor that is licensed and experienced with this type of work. You may have to pay a lot, but some things are just worth the money.

You may however, be able to purchase the trim yourself, and save the plumber’s mark up, if you so desire.

Shower faucet repair and installation is not that difficult as long as you have the needed tools, some basic knowledge, some patience, and access to a good plumbing supply or kitchen and bath store either online or offline.

Feel free to leave any questions or comments you may have. Also, feel free to like and share on your favorite social media.

Thanks for reading, and good luck with your shower repairs and replacements.





Bathroom Faucet – Repair and Installation

Is your bathroom faucet leaking from the spout, the handle, or the base? Are you ready to replace your bathroom faucet?

Would you like to know how to go about it so that you don’t have to pay a plumber a lot of money, and have a stranger trapesing through your personal space?

Are you a rehabber or a house flipper that wants to do some of the updating of your homes yourself? Or do you just want to know how to do it so you can teach your workers?

Do you work for a rehabber or a flipper? Are you a handyman that needs to know how to perform some plumbing repairs and replacements?

If any of these scenarios fit you, or if you know someone that it does, this information will be of benefit.

Plumbing Tools and Supplies Needed

bathroom faucet - repair and installation
Be sure you have the right tools to do the job.

Before you can attack any plumbing repair of replacement, you will need some tools and supplies. Some of these tools may not be needed, depending on the particular repair or job that you are attempting to undertake. But, to account for all possible situations, I will describe every tool that could possibly be needed for repair or replacement of a bathroom faucet.

If you are a rehabber, a handyman, a maintenance man, or any type of plumbing professional, you should of course have all of these tools and supplies.

Screwdrivers – Good idea to have both a Phillips Head, and a Slotted Head screwdriver handy.

Handle Puller – This handy tool makes it easy to remove a stubborn faucet handle.

Adjustable Wrench – A must have for loosening nuts and valves.

Pipe Wrench – This heavy duty tool is for jobs that require leverage and strength. Normally not needed for bathroom faucets, but may be needed for related shut off valves, or issues with pressure pipes.

Basin Wrench – For loosening and removing nuts from under the sink.

Socket Wrench – Useful for removing valves from faucet bodies.

Pliers or Adjustable Pliers – A must have for many possible uses.

Teflon Tape – Needed for water tight seal on threads, such as at the bottom of valves.

Plumbers Putty – Also provides a watertight seal. Many possible uses, but normally used to seal base of faucet to sink.

Seat Wrench – Shaped like a boomerang, this tool is used to remove seats from the base of the valve.

Seat Grinding or Polishing Tool – Used to smooth out the surface of a pitted or chipped valve seat.

Plumbers Grease or Lube – Used to provide a slippery surface to reinstall valves, and other uses.

O Ring Pick – Used to remove o rings from valves.

Allen or Hex Wrench Set – For Allen or hex screws in single handle faucets.

Putty Knife – For scraping surfaces.

Buckets and Sponges – Always have these handy for those untimely leaks, spills, and drips.

Diagnosing the Issue

bathroom faucet - repair and installation
First find out where leak is coming from.

2 Handle – Hot & Cold (4 inch Centerset Bathroom Faucets)

The most common issue with bathroom faucets is of course a leak. Where the leak is coming from though is the most important thing to consider, and will determine how you go about the repair.

Before you attempt to repair your bathroom faucet however, you should locate the main water shut off valve for the house.

This is normally in the basement. Look for a shut off handle that is in close proximity to pipes(usually copper)coming into the house.

By knowing where the main shut off is, you can protect yourself from a calamity that could happen while attempting a repair, such as from a busted or corroded pipe, a shoddy valve or supply line or any number of other unforeseen circumstances.

If all else fails, you can shut the water off at the main to stop any leak.

Leaking from faucet or spout 

Close the drain stop so that you will not lose any screws or other parts down the drain.

When you experience a leak from the faucet or spout, put your finger under the leak or drip from the spout. If the water is warm or hot, it is most likely coming from the hot side.

If the water from the drip is cool or cold, it is likely coming from the cold side.

You next step is to look under that sink for a shut off valve that corresponds to either the hot or the cold side, depending on the temperature of the water from the drip.

Be sure that the shut off valve under that sink is securely shut off.

If after turning the shut off valve off under the sink, you still have drips or leaks, you will need to turn the water off at the main shut off valve that comes into the house.

This is usually in the basement. Once the water is shut off turn the faucet handle at the top of the sink to the on position to bleed any residual water in the line.

Next, take a slotted head screwdriver and pry the H or C button off the handle to expose the top of screw. You should see the top of a Philips head screw or a Slotted head screw.

bathroom faucet - repair and installation
Leaks from spout usually come from a chipped or pitted valve seat or a bad cartridge.

Unscrew the screw using the appropriate screwdriver, and remove the handle from the valve. If you have trouble removing the handle, you should put a handle puller into service.

Once the handle is removed, you should see the top part of the valve. Unscrew the valve from the base of the faucet using a wrench or pair of pliers. Inspect the bottom of the valve.

You will likely see the seat washer is furrowed or damaged, or missing. The cause of this furrowed or damaged seat washer is the valve seat that it sits on.

Be sure that the base of the valve is not damaged. If not, you can either attempt to remove the seat from the faucet, or grind down the seat with your seat grinding tool to smooth out the surface of the valve seat. To remove the valve seat use the seat wrench.

If you are successful in grinding down the valve seat, you will only need to replace the seat washer.

If you are not familiar with the sizes of these washers, bring the entire valve into the plumbing supply or hardware store, so you can buy the correct size.

If you removed the seat, you will need to bring the seat and the valve into the plumbing supply or hardward store to get the correct seat and seat washer.

Reinstall the seat and/or seat washer, and the valve. Put the handle back on the top of the valve and screw the handle to the top of the valve. Put the H or C button back on.

Many newer faucets do not have seats or seat washers.  These faucets are designed so that the entire valve or cartridge will need to be replaced. You can usually tell by the fact that the valves or cartridges are made of plastic.

Turn the water on from the shut off valve under the sink. Turn the water on at the faucet on the side that you just worked on.

Check to make sure that there are no leaks either under the sink, or at the faucet at the top of the sink.

This should fix the leak, and if you have done things correctly, 9 times out of 10 you should be good to go. If is doesn’t fix the leak, recheck things to be sure they are on, or screwed in properly. If this still hasn’t fixed the leak, it is likely time to buy a new faucet, or call a plumber.

Leaking from handle

If the leak is coming from under the handle, shut the water off under the sink from the side where the leak at the handle is.

Remove the handle by prying off the H or C button, unscrewing the screw at the top of the handle, and removing the handle. Again, if the handle doesn’t come off on it’s own, you will need a handle puller help you do the job.

Remove the handle, unscrew the valve, and inspect the o ring (a black rubber ring) on the side of the valve. Chances are good that the o ring is flattened, damaged, or missing. Using your O Ring pick or an ice pick, remove the o ring from the valve.

bathroom faucet - repair and installation
Your local plumbing supply or hardware store will have the parts and tools you need.

Take the old o ring into the plumbing supply or hardware store, and match up it’s size to buy a new one. You may have to buy a package of several different sized o rings in order to get the one you need.

It’s a good idea to also bring in the valve to be sure you buy the right sized o ring.

Reapply the new o ring onto the valve. Coat the outside of the o ring with plumbers grease or lube. Reinsert the valve into the body of the faucet. Reinstall the handle, and the button. Turn the water back on from under the sink, or at the main if needed, and check to see if there are any leaks.

This should fix the leak at the handle. If it does not, recheck everything to be sure it is on and affixed correctly. If the leak continues, you can try replacing the entire valve. This should only be needed if the valve is old or damaged. If this still doesn’t fix the issue, it’s time to buy a new faucet.

Leak from the base of the faucet

If you have a leak from the base or the bottom of the faucet where it meets the sink, it is normally caused by a hole in the body of the faucet.

It is possible though that the leak could be eminating from one of the valves. You will need to shut the water off under the sink for both the hot and cold side.

Once the water is off, you will need to unhook the supply lines that lead up to the bottom of the faucet from the shut off valves.

It is easier to unscrew the supply lines at the shut off valve than to attempt to where they attach at the bottom of the faucet. You will then need to remove the nuts that secure the faucet to the sink.

These are found under the sink. You may need a Basin Wrench that adjusts to give you leverage. Pull the faucet off and inspect the entire body of the faucet.

If all this checks out ok, you can try to put a rim of plumbers putty on the inside rim of the faucet where it will meet the sink.

Reattach everything and test. If leaks still appear, it’s time to look for a new faucet.  If you see severe corrosion, or a hole, or both, it’s time to buy a new faucet. If the faucet appears to be in good shape, you should look to see if one of the valves may be causing the issue.

Inspect the valves, and the surrounding area for evidence of deterioration. If you find problems with the valve or valves, replace them, reattach everything, and test.  If this doesn’t fix the problem, which it should, again it’s time to find a new faucet.


bathroom faucet - repair and installation
Single handle bath faucets require different repair techniques.

Single Handle 4″ Centerset Bathroom Faucets

Single handle faucets such as Moen, and Delta, two of the most popular brands, require different repair techniques than the 2 handle faucets described above.

Close the drain stop so you will not lose any screws or other parts down the drain.

Moen, for instance uses a cartridge to control these faucets. If you experience a leak from either the spout, or from the handle, you will need to buy a new valve.  It is relatively easy to replace the valve. Shut the water off under the sink.

Using your Allen or Hex wrench, unscrew the screw that is on the body of the faucet.  This may be under the Moen emblem, depending on the faucet model.  Pull the handle off the faucet. Unscrew the screw that is holding the various pieces in place.

Remove or unscrew the various pieces, including the retaining clip to get to the cartridge. Remember the sequence that these pieces are placed in the faucet.

Once all of the pieces are removed(there may be one piece or several), use a pair of pliers to pull the cartridge out from the body of the faucet.

Remember the position of the cartridge when you pull it out.  Clean the area of any debris or dirt. Take the cartridge to your plumbing supply to be sure you buy the exact one. Install the new cartridge. Replace all of the pieces, and screws in the proper order.

Turn the faucet back on from under the sink. This should fix any leak. If it doesn’t, inspect to be sure everything is in it’s proper place, and installed correctly. If so, and you still have a leak, time to seek a new faucet.

Delta faucets use a ball, and a set of washers, springs, and o rings.  Turn the water off under the sink, both sides. Use your Allen or hex wrench to remove  the Allen or hex screw holding the handle onto the faucet.

Pull the handle off the faucet. You may need a special Delta tool that comes with their repair kits in order to unscrew the large retaining nut, and access the interior of the faucet.

Purchase the complete repair kit, and remove the large retaining nut. Pull out the black piece that has the arrow shape in the middle. Then remove the ball, and the washers and springs. Pay attention to the position of these pieces.

Replace the old pieces with the new pieces. Reattach, and turn the water back on to test. This repair should fix both a leak from spout as well as a leak from the handle of the faucet.

If it does not, time to shop for another faucet.

There are other brands of single handle bathroom faucets. Most of the repairs will be similar to these described above, but some will not.

Look for the instructions included with the faucet, if you have still have them. If not, go to the manufacturers website for repair instructions, or check Google, and YouTube for more possible information.


How to Replace a Bathroom Faucet

Replacing a bathroom faucet is usually more involved than repairing a bathroom faucet. It is however, not difficult in most cases.  First, shut the water off on both sides under the sink.

Once the water is shut off, go up to the top of the sink and turn both the hot and cold sides on to bleed the lines. This will minimize the amount of water that will be left in the lines.

bathroom faucet - repair and installation
If all else fails, a plumber is just a phone call or an email away.

Then, unscrew the supply lines at the shut off valves. Next, from underneath,unscrew any nuts or bolts that are securing the faucet to the sink.  You may need your basin wrench in order to do it.

Then, also from underneath remove the connector on the drain stopper.

This may require unscrewing a nut at the drain stopper to remove the small rod and ball.

(Note: Your faucet may not have a drain stopper open and close mechanism. If so, disregard this part.)

Depending on the type of faucet, you may also have to unscrew the knob at the top of the drain stop rod, and pull the rod out.   Next, unscrew the nut on the P trap that holds the drain stop assembly.  The P trap is usually white plastic, and the drain assembly is usually chrome.

Then, at the center of the sink, remove the drain stop assembly by prying the edges until it comes loose. It may take a little elbow grease if there is hardened plumbers putty.

Then unscrew the rim, and pull the assembly out from underneath.  Next, from the top, gently pry the base of the faucet from the sink. Pull the faucet off the sink.

Clean the surface of the sink to remove all dirt, hardened plumbers putty, etc.  I recommend buying new supply lines unless your existing supply lines are new or next to new.

Be sure to take your old supply lines into the plumbing supply so that you can match the size at the bottom connection for your new supply lines, as this size can vary. The top side of the supply line is always the same size.

Take your new faucet, and apply a ring of plumbers putty around the inside edge of the base of the faucet where it will sit on the sink to give a watertight seal, and provide added adherence.

Next, take some teflon tape, and wrap a few times around the faucet supply line threads. The teflon tape will provide a watertight seal.

From the top of the sink, feed the supply lines through the holes on the sink.  From under the sink, screw in the nuts that secure the faucet to the sink.

Insert your drain stop assembly into the hole in the sink, and connect it to the rod so that it opens and closes properly.

Reattach the drain assembly to the P trap. You may need a new washer for the inside of the P trap nut to ensure a watertight seal. If the P trap is old, it may also be a good idea to replace it, as well.

Note: If you buy the exact same faucet, you may be able to continue to use the same drain assembly, although it likely won’t look good with your new faucet.

Then, apply some teflon tape to the threads on the shut off valves.  Attach the bottom of the supply lines to the shut off valves. Be sure that all of your supply line connections are nice and tight.

Turn the water back on at the shut off valves. Go to the top and turn the water on at your new faucet to test. Be sure there are no leaks anywhere.

Also, check to be sure the drain stop assembly is opening and closing properly. Also, be sure that your new faucet is securely fastened to the sink.

Keep a close eye on your new bathroom faucet installation for the first few days to be sure there are no leaks, or other issues.

Most bathroom faucet repairs, are fairly simple. However, on occasion, you may run into issues that are difficult to deal with. Bathroom faucet installations are a bit more involved, but usually not difficult.

If you have any questions about either repairs or installations for your bathroom faucet, you can usually find the answer online on Google, and/or on YouTube or on the manufacturers website. If you deem it still too involved, risky. or difficult, you can always call a plumber.

Feel free to leave any questions, or comments below. I will be happy to respond to all inquiries.  Also, feel free to like and share on your favorite social media. Thanks for reading Bathroom Faucet – Repair and Installation.  Tom


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How to Buy Gold and Silver Online

how to buy gold and silver online
Now is the time to buy gold and silver.

Learning how to buy gold and silver online can prove enormously beneficial to you. There are many reasons for buying gold and silver. I will go over why gold, and silver are sound investments.

I will also cover what to look for when buying precious metals online to ensure you are getting the best prices, and to also ensure that you are dealing with legitimate, trustworthy companies.

I will also list and recommend some very reputable online companies that have a proven track record in providing gold and silver bullion, as well as gold and silver coins.

I will also provide information as to whether you should take delivery of your precious metals, or if it’s better to allow them to be stored for you. How to buy gold and silver online is critical to ensuring a great investment.

The Case for Gold and Silver

How to buy gold and silver online
Gold and silver coins have stood the test of time.

There are many reasons why buying, and holding gold and silver is a very smart financial, and investment move.

Buying precious metals is a hedge against inflation.  The US central bankers, and others of the world are price fixers. They print money to control the price of the dollar, and interest rates.

When they print money based on nothing, basicaly out of thin air, and increase the supply of money, it devalues money. Many economists are predicting an imminent collapse of the US Dollar, which could take with it the rest of the world’s currencies.

The more inflation that is created, the more important it is to own gold and silver. These precious metals will always have value, and will become even more valuable during an inflationary economic condition.

The price of gold and silver is not correlated to the price of stocks and bonds.  In a stock market crash situation, and it’s likely resulting economic depression, the value of money, and stocks will greatly decrease.

Buy gold & silver safely with Golden Eagle Coins.

The people holding precious metals will rise above the turmoil, as gold and silver always have, and always will.

If the price of stocks and bonds go up, gold and silver give you an insurance policy despite not being worth as much as the rising stocks and bonds in this current market scenario.

If the price of stocks and bonds go down, your gold and silver will maintain it’s value, and will cover you if all else fails. Either scenario, you will be glad you own it.

Gold and Silver are real money. They provide purchasing protection. The world’s currencies are simply paper that is backed by nothing, and is merely a promise to pay. Once these currencies lose value, and based on history, they will. there will be a rush to own gold and silver.

Gold and silver is very liquid.  This means they can be utilized almost immediately for any product or service that you may need or want.

Buy Gold Online at dealer cost – Golden Eagle Coins

how to buy gold and silver online
Gold and silver is your safe haven against even unlikely catastrophic events.

Gold and silver have been around as a medium of exchange for thousands of years, and have inherent value.

In other words, they have their own value, compared to paper money which has none, in and of itself.

Gold and Silver are safe havens to protect against catastrophy. Since all of the world’s currency or money supply are fiat currencies.  Fiat currencies are national currencies that are backed by nothing of value. Fiat currencies have always failed historically.

There have been no exceptions. Every single country that has ever adopted this non backed method of exchange has had it fail eventually.  The average life span of a fiat currency is 27 years.

Only currencies that are backed by gold or silver, or use gold and silver as a medium of exchange have thrived during times of both in good economic times and bad.

If this scenario happens, or I should say when this scenario happens when the fiat system fails, the central bankers will look back to see what worked before.

They will see that gold and silver, and gold and silver backed currencies worked well, and will gravitate back to a system based on these precious metals. Those that are holding these precious metals will benefit greatly.

Owning gold and silver will allow you to sleep better at night. Due to the fact that owning precious metals protects you and your loved ones from virtually any negative economic condition, you will be less stressed, and this will allow you to sleep better at night.

Buy gold & silver safely with Golden Eagle Coins.

This may be the best reason to learn how to buy gold and silver online.  What price can you put on your peace of mind, and good health?

Buying Gold and Silver Online

how to buy gold and silver online
Buying gold and silver online is easy and convenient.

We know that owning gold and silver is a sound investment idea. And we know and like that many things can be purchased online from the comfort of our homes or offices.

We also like the convenience that our online purchases can be brought right to our door without our having to leave the comfort of our homes or offices, should we so choose.

When buying gold and silver online, it is important that we buy from a reputable company or dealer that can be trusted. We want to know that our purchases are very high quality, precisely what we order without any variances or substitutions, and are fulfilled, and shipped within a reasonable amount of time.

But how do I know that the online dealer that I want to buy from is reputable, and trustworthy, I can hear you asking?

The best rule of thumb to ensure that you will get exactly what you pay for, and within a reasonable amount of time is to stay away from the small time, lesser known, or unknown dealers. Only buy from the big, well known, established gold and silver dealers.

The larger online dealers pay a lot of money on their websites, and their website security. They also spend a good deal of money on insurance to protect themselves, and their customers against any unforeseen circumstance.

Many of these smaller dealers are not spending a lot of money on their businesses, and may not have good protection for your personal information. This lack of spending and protection enables them to offer lower prices to you.

You may have to pay a small amount more with the big guys compared with the smaller upstarts, but knowing that your purchase is protected, will be exactly what you ordered, and will get to you in a timely fashion is a small price to pay.

Buy Gold Online at dealer cost – Golden Eagle Coins

This is not to say that all smaller companies are not trustworthy. Many younger, smaller sites/companies are fine, reputable dealers. After all, everyone has to start somewhere. But, when considering smaller dealers, caveat emptor, buyer beware.

Your best defense against a bad online experience is to always be sure that your online gold and silver dealer has an A+ Better Business Bureau, BBB rating.


Where to Buy Gold and Silver Online

how to buy gold and silver online
Gold coins may also have numismatic value.


Golden Eagle Coins

Pros – Great selection of coins, and bullion. Low prices. Quick, accurate delivery. Responsive customer service. Established online business. In business since 1974.  A+ BBB rating.  Can also shop by phone – 800 #.  Require signatures for delivery. Free shipping on orders of $99 or more.

Cons – Packaging on rare occasion could be a bit better.


Pros – Great selection. Get new product quickly. Accept Credit Cards, Personal Checks, Bank Wire, Money Orders. Ship to 50 different countries. Have Ebay store which is good for small orders, and getting delivery quickly.  Good reputation. A+ BBB rating.

Cons – Not the cheapest place to buy. Can take several weeks to receive order. Charges sales tax in Oklahoma, and New York.


Provident Metals

Pros – Good prices on product, and shipping. Good selection. Accept Credit Cards, Personal Checks, Bank Wire, Money Orders. Low shipping costs make smaller buys more cost effective.

Free shipping on orders of $99 or more. Can order 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Orders also can be placed by phone.  A+ BBB rating.

Cons – Charge sales tax in Texas. Not international. Sell to U.S. and Canada only.


Texas Precious Metals

Pros – Good prices. Free shipping. No order minimums. Fast delivery. Accept Credit Card/Debit Card, Bank Wire, or Cash(Pickup only from store location). Accept Limit Orders. A+ BBB rating.

Cons – Selection limited. Personal or Bank Pay Check not allowed. Tax charged in state of Texas. Relatively new business, started in 2011.


Gainesville Coins

Pros – Very good product prices. Very good selection. Well established business with A+ BBB rating. Have online learning center.

Cons – Have high shipping prices. Only accept Bank Wire or Credit Card. Charge sales tax in state of Florida.


Monarch Precious Metals

Pros – Good selection. Good prices. Can search by size.  A+ BBB rating.

Cons – Run out of gold bullion on occasion. Don’t stock American Gold Eagles coins or Buffalos.


Regal Assets

Pros – Great reputation. A+ BBB rating. Excellent selection. Orders filled and shipped quickly. Good prices. Also offer cryptocurrencies.

Have other additional investment options, such as IRA’s and other retirement programs. Can handle large accounts. Have segregated storage facilities on site. Great customer service.

Cons – Corporate clients given priority over personal clients. This situation does not always manifest in a bad customer experience, but could affect supply of an item, or service to the client.

Agents are paid on commission, and may lead customers to numismatics and other products where they make more for sales.

Buy gold & silver safely with Golden Eagle Coins.


Is it Better to Take Delivery or Store Off Site

how to buy gold and silver online
One option to store your precious metals is in a safe deposit box in a bank vault.

An oft discussed topic when buying gold and silver is if it is better to take delivery of the precious metals and store at home or a personal private location.

Or if is it better to have your precious metals stored at a dealer provided storage facility or another secure location such as a safe deposit box in a bank’s storage vault.

My personal preference is to take delivery of my gold and silver, and store in an easily accessible secure location at or near my home or office.

Although the chances of a catastrophic occurence are very unlikely, I am concerned that if this worst case scenario were to happen, it may be difficult to get my hands on my stock of precious metals in a timely manner, if it is stored in a distant location.

Based on this logic, I believe it is best to store half or less of one’s precious metals in a remote location, and the rest should be kept in a very secure closely proximate place, such as a safe or vault where ability to access is not difficult.


How to Buy Gold and Silver Online

There are many good reasons to learn how to buy  gold and silver online. It is a hedge against inflation. It is very liquid, can be turned into cash or used for purchases of products or services easily if needed.

Gold and silver are real money. It is a protection against a currency collapse. It is protection against a catastrophic event. Gold and silver have always been accepted, and always will be.

Gold and silver is purchased online by thousands and thousands of people everyday. It is very convenient to shop and buy online, and have our purchases delivered right to our door.

It is important to buy online from a reputable company or dealer that has an A+ BBB rating, has been in business for at least a few years, and has a large presence.

Other factors to look for include a good selection, timely delivery, and low prices.

Some of the better known, and reputable online gold and silver dealers include: Apmex, Provident Metals, Texas Precious Metals, Gainesville Coins, Monarch Precious Metals, and Regal Assets.

You can choose to take delivery of your gold and silver and store it as you see fit. If you do take delivery, it is wise to invest in a safe or a vault to provide security, and allow you to sleep well at night.

You may also choose to have your precious metals stored at a remote location provided by a dealer, or even at a safe deposit box at a bank. Or you may choose to do both.

That is, keep some of your stock of precious metals close by, and some stored at a remote location.

Buy Gold Online at dealer cost – Golden Eagle Coins

Feel free to leave your comments, questions, or tips below.  Also, feel free to like and share on your favorite social media. Thanks for reading How to Buy Gold and Silver Online. Tom

Top 10 Domain Hosts

Top 10 Domain Hosts
Professionally designed website hosting is yours for a low price.

Listed here for your viewing pleasure are the top 10 domain hosts. You are setting up your domain, and your website, and you need to pick out a domain name, get it registered, and find hosting.

Scroll down for top 10 domain hosts.

The good news is, hosting is very affordable. Buying a domain name is also quite affordable, and setting up your website is also not expensive in most cases.

There are many web hosting companies. Besides hosting services most domain hosts will also provide other services, such as domain searching and purchase, cloud hosting, wordpress hosting, vps hosting, and dedicated server hosting.

I will explain what the various services are, and how they can help you. I will also list the top 10 domain hosts.

Domain Names

Top 10 Domain Hosts
Your website starts with your domain name.

When you set up your website, the first thing you need to do is choose a domain name. Your domain name will be unique to you. No two people have the same domain name.

Your domain name can be anything you want. Normally it is related to you, or whatever your website will be about, as long as the domain name is available.

In choosing a domain name, you will also have to choose an extension. The most desireable extension is .com  If the domain name you have chosen with the dot com extension is not available, you will have to either choose a different domain name, or you can try to keep the same domain name with a different extension, such as .org, .net, .biz or .info, to name a few.

Once you know that your domain name and extension is available, you need to registar that domain name and extension. In order to registar a domain name, you must buy the right to use that domain name for a period of years.

You can choose to purchase the right to use your domain for a period of one year, two years, or longer. In most cases you will pay for one year at a time.

Your domain name will stay in your possession as long as you continue to purchase the use of it.  You will always have the opportunity to renew your domain name in advance of your expiration date.

Hosting Services

Once you have chosen your domain name and extension, and have registered, and purchased it, you then need to obtain web hosting. Web hosting is basicly a place to park your website. It is a home for your website where you can store your email, your files, and your images.

In addition to the parking, and storage of your website, the hosting company also puts your site on the internet so that it can be viewed by others. Your website will be housed in a shared server, unless you choose to purchase a virtual server, or a dedicated server which are more expensive than a shared server.

When you are just starting out, a shared server should be more than adequate to meet your needs. These servers are located in a specially designed building called a data center.

The data center is manned 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and is manned by highly trained technicians. It is built with security and resilience as a priority. It also has back up systems built in to make sure that your website is always working, and available for access.

There are 3 standard or traditional types of hosting. Shared hosting, Vitual or VPS hosting, and Dedicated hosting.

Top 10 Domain Hosts
Shared hosting is the most common type of hosting.

Shared Hosting

Shared hosting is the most basic or common of the hosting types or services. Initially you will likely only need shared hosting. It comes with all the necessities like WordPress hosting, file, image, and email storage, webbuilders etc.

But, as the name implies it is shared with other people’s websites, and as a result can affect it’s operation, speed, etc. due to such things as a surge in web traffic.

It is not optimum, but more than adequate in most cases for a new website. A good analogy for shared hosting is from real estate. It is like living in an apartment building.

You have access to all of the facilities you need, but you are subject to some of the issues that living in the same builiding with a lot of other people can bring, and you have little if any control over what you can do within the confines of the apartment.

Top 10 Domain Hosts
Virtual hosting offers more benefits than shared hosting.

VPS or Virtual Hosting 

VPS stands for virtual private server. This type of web hosting is a step up from  the shared hosting. It provides more freedom, flexibility, and speed for you, the website owner, yet does not offer complete freedom, and has some limitations.

You have more control. You can install whatever programs you like. It is more flexible than the shared hosting. However, you are still sharing the property.

A good analogy for VPS or Virtual Hosting is like having a townhouse or a condo. You have much more freedom, space, and flexibility than living in an apartment on the inside of your townhouse, yet you are limited to what you can do on the outside of the building.  And, you still have to share the building with a few others.

Dedicated Hosting

Dedicated hosting means you have your own server that is not shared with anyone else. You have complete control, freedom, and more speed and efficiencies compared to the other types of hosting.

This is well suited for businesses, and companies that have a lot of traffic, and other activity, and need space and power in order to run an impressive, and profitable enterprise. With dedicated hosting you never have to worry about somebody doing something that could take down your website, or your app.

A good analogy for dedicated hosting is of course having your own home where you have complete control, more freedom, space, and are not subject to anyone else, as you don’t have to share with anyone. You are free to decide what to do with your property on both the inside, and the outside.

Top 10 Domain Hosts
Cloud hosting provides many benefits including low costs.

Cloud Hosting

As it’s name implies, cloud hosting is housed and maintained in a separate 3rd party location, or in the cloud.  Computer maintenance and infrastructure are eliminated, or greatly decreased with cloud hosting.

This saves money, time, and allows IT departments to focus on their foundational businesses.

Cloud hosting is optimum because it is practically unlimited. Unlike traditional hosting cloud hosting has unlimited bandwidth, unlimited space, and unlimited ram(random access memory) which prevents it from slowing. Cloud hosting is becoming more and more popular because it is reliable, safer, more secure, and faster.

Cloud hosting also has a lower overall cost of ownership, no IT maintenance costs, productivity anywhere, easily upgraded, off site data storage, disaster assistance, and it is always up.

Top 10 Domain Hosts

All of these hosting sites have shared hosting, and more. Click on the link or banner for complete information. Here are your top 10 domain hosts.

Blue Host


Just Host


Start Logic



A2 Hosting

managed wordpress hosting



Domain names for just 88 cents!


Dream Host

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Site Ground

Web Hosting


Glow Host

Hosting for 1 Cent!


Mocha Host


It is easy to get your new website up and running. You can get all of your domain names, and your hosting needs taken care of in one place.

If you want to make a living online, click here for my number one recommendation.

Feel free to leave your comments, questions, or tips below.  Also, feel free to like and share on your favorite social media. Thanks for reading Top 10 Domain Hosts. Tom

Average Retirement Savings Age

Average Retirement Savings Age
Most people start saving for retirement later rather than sooner.

Have you ever wondered at what is the average retirement savings age? Have you ever wondered how much money most people have for retirement at different ages?

What retirement vehicles or savings plans do most people take advantage of, if any? What are the best savings plans for retirement?

Are there retirement savings plans that are available that don’t require hiring a retirement planner? Are there retirement plans that can be started with very little or even zero money?

I will answer all of these questions for you, and provide information on retirement savings that may surprise you.

 Average Retirement Savings Age

Average retirement savings age
A full third of people have zero saved for retirement at age 65.

I have often wondered what the average retirement savings age is.  Should I have started saving for retirement in my 20’s in order to ensure a comfortable retirement? Would starting in my 30’s be soon enough? How about 40’s? 50’s? Later?

You may be surprised to learn that one third of Americans never save for retirement. That is 33 1/3% of Americans never start to save for retirement, and have zero money saved for retirement once they reach retirement age, around age 65.

Broken down by gender, 30% of men have no retirement savings, and 38% of women have no retirement savings.

56% of Americans have less than $10,000 saved for retirement. That is more than half of the population of the USA have less than $10 grand saved for retirement.

However, the news is somewhat better for those that do save for retirement, although perhaps still not enough to ensure a long, comfortable retirement.

Average, and median retirement savings by age:

20’s: The average retirement savings numbers for those in their twenties is $31,000 according to retirement research, and financial investment companies. This number is skewed high due to some that have significant savings.

The median or the most common middle amount of retirement savings for twenty somethings is about $500. The goal is to have one year’s salary saved by the time age 30 is reached.

The average salary for a 20 something is approximately $40,000 per year. Again, this number is skewed higher. The median income is in the $20,000 area.

30’s: The average retirement savings numbers for those in their thirties is approximately $42,000 with a dramatic increase with those in their later 30’s. The median or the most common middle amount of retirement savings for thirty somethings is about $4,200.

Investment companies recommend that by the time age 40 is reached, you should have three times your salary in retirement savings in order to stay on track for a sufficient retirement.

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40’s: The average retirement savings numbers for those in their forties is approximately $75,000 with less for the early 40’s and more for the later 40’s. The median or the most common middle amount of retirement savings for forty somethings is about  $6,200.

The financial industry advises that once you hit the mid century mark of 50, you should have 4 to 5 times your salary saved for retirement, so that you are on pace for a reasonably cozy retirement.

50’s: The average retirement savings numbers for those in their fifties is approximately $140,000,  again with more for those in their later 50’s, and less for those in their early 50’s.

The median or the most common middle amount of retirement savings for fifty somethings is about $11,000.

The retirement planning experts profess that by the time you hit your sixties, you should have accumulated some 6 times your wages, so that you can have a stress free retirement.

60’s: The average retirement savings numbers for those in their sixties (60-65) is approximately $175,000  The median or the most common middle amount of retirement savings for sixty to sixty-five somethings is in the  $,19,000 range.

The ideal recommended amount for retirement is $1 Million Dollars which the vast majority of Americans fall woefully short of.

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Best Age to Start Saving for Retirement

Average retirement savings age.
The best age to start saving for retirement is whatever age you are now.

The best age to start saving for retirement is the day that you start working and start making making money. Possibly this is better stated as, as soon as you possibly can.

For most people this is around sixteen years old. You may be thinking that at 16 you are not making enough money to put any away for retirement. Besides, at sixteen you still have a long time before you retire.

The good news is, there are painless ways to save for retirement even at the beginning of your work life. Time is your greatest ally when it comes to saving, and planning for retirement. The sooner you get started, the easier it can be.

But what if you are older, I can hear you saying? What if you are 50, and you haven’t saved much money, if any?

The best age for you is whatever age you are. Just get started. As long as you have some source of income, you can get started saving for your retirement right away.

Even if you are 60 years young or a bit older, you can still accumulate some significant retirement funds within 6 or 8 years if you take action now, and are consistent.

This is especially important if your occupation does not provide a retirement plan that you can take advantage of. However, even if you do have a retirement plan at work, you can do a lot to supplement it with your own efforts.

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How to Free Up Money for Investing for Your Retirement

Average retirement savings age.
Small savings can add up to big savings over time.

The best way to free up money for investing for your retirement is to make more money. If your prospects for that promotion and raise at work are non existent, and you don’t think you can make more money elsewhere, there is always the possibility of taking a part-time job.

There are part-time jobs that are available both online, and offline. You may not even have to leave home to supplement your income, if you can work online.

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If you are already worked to a frazzle, and cherish every moment of your time off, your best bet is to tighten your belt. Look for things that you are spending money on that you don’t need, or are more than your need that you can do without.

If possible, you may be able to sell your existing home, and downsize to a less expensive home, condo, or apartment to free up some proceeds.  Or, consider refinancing your current mortgage to lower your monthly payments.

Maybe you can get by with one car instead of two.  Or sell the big family gas guzzler, and buy a fuel efficient economy car.

Perhaps form a carpool group to commute to work instead of driving and burning gas everyday. Shop at discount stores instead of paying full retail for groceries, clothes, and other items.

Do without that $6 cup of latte at the corner coffee shop in the morning. Make coffee at home instead.

Do you really need cable tv with it’s 200+ channels?  Save money by getting by with basic cable, or eliminate it altogether. You can get your news, weather, sports, and even movies right online.

Try to focus on things that you need versus things that you want. With a little discipline, you might be surprised how much extra money you can release for retirement savings, and other things.

Painless Ways to Build Retirement Funds

average retirement savings age
Some savings programs like Acorns won’t cause you any pain.

There are many great ways to plan for retirement. Unfortunately, most of these ways require at least some money in order to get started with them. You can also take advantage of retirement plans at work if you are lucky enough to have a job that offers one.

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But what if you have little or no money? What if you have a job that doesn’t offer a retirement program for it’s employees? Is there anything I can do to get started saving for retirement that doesn’t cost a lot to get started, is simple, and easy to understand, and that is not bothersome to set up?

The answer is a resounding yes. There are some simple, easy, trouble free things you can do right away to get started on your way to helping your finances for your later years even if you don’t make a lot of money, and are on a very tight budget.

The least painful way to begin is with microsavings investing programs like Acorns. The way Acorns works is by linking to your credit card and bank account, and rounding up what your purchase amount is (spare change) to the nearest whole number, and investing the difference in a professionally managed retirement account that Acorns has set up for you.

Acorns charges a reasonable $1 a month flat fee for account balances up to $5000. For accounts larger than $5000, a yearly fee of 0.25% is added.

Still very reasonable. Your Acorns account is insured by the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) for $500,000

Acorns also offers you a free $5 to get started, and you can earn a $5 referral bonus every time you tell others about Acorns and they join from your referral link. Your referral will also get a free $5 to sign up.

It is not required to tell others about Acorns. If you choose, you can simply join, and take advantage of it’s great features.

Average retirement savings age
One acorn can grow into a might oak

You can also add to your Acorns account at anytime, and you can also set up a monthly withdrawal through your bank account or debit/credit card to automatically add to your Acorns holdings.

Acorns also provides other managed accounts once your balance reaches certain levels. These accounts are optional.

If you think that investing such small amounts of money will never add up to anything substantial, think again.

These micro savings accounts are very popular, especially among millenials. Over 2 million millenials are members of Acorns. You need not be a millenial though to take advantage of this brilliant program.

The sooner you get started the better, and like with any retirement program, the more time you have until retirement, the better opportunity you will have to generate large sums of funds.

The beauty of this plan is that you will never miss the money that you automatically invest in Acorns. You will also be able to benefit from the investment strategies of the professional management they provide.

Some of the investments that Acorns uses pay dividends. These dividends are reinvested for you to help your balances to grow even faster.

Acorns can be taken advantage of no matter what other investments you may have. The way I look at it is, the more you can save for retirement, especially if you won’t miss the money, the better.

Click here to get $5 to join Acorns!

My Favorite Retirement Investment

average retirement savings age
DRIPs or dividend reinvestment plans are an excellent retirement saving option

If you have a little money that you can use for a retirement investment, I highly recommend No Fee DRIPs. No Fee DRIPs are dividend reinvestment plans or programs.

For around $100 minimum, you can invest in one of these DRIP programs that automatically reinvest the dividend for you into more stock in the company.

The No Fee DRIPs charge no fees to get started or for subsequent investments within the DRIP. The only fees are charged if you choose to sell the investment.

You can choose to reinvest some of the dividend in more stock, and take a partial dividend payout. Or, you can choose to take the entire dividend payout. Or, you can choose to have the entire dividend reinvested in more stock for you.

This works on the principle of compound interest, which is a very powerful wealth building concept.

Learn more about DRIPs here.

Think about how quickly the last year, two years, five years went by. It won’t be long before you are nearing your retirement age. What you do today can have a profound effect on your later life.

You don’t ever want to have to say, “I didn’t plan to fail, I just failed to plan. “

Feel free to leave your comments, questions, or tips below.  Also, feel free to like and share on your favorite social media. Thanks for reading Average Retirement Savings Age, Tom

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How to Commodities

how to commodities
Commodities are agricultural product raw materials

How to Commodities.  What are commodities? What are futures? Are they the same? The short answer is yes. Some may argue that they mean subtly different things, but for the majority of intents and purposes they are one and the same, but at the very least they are interrelated.

Technically they could be construed differently but I believe, as do many others that they are the same thing. So what are commodities? Commodities are defined as a primary agricultural product raw material that can be bought and sold, such as or wheat, corn, or soybeans.

Although commodities have been traded as far back as 17 century Japan where rice tickets were traded, the US commoditiy markets started in 1848, which is the year the CBOT, Chicago Board of Trade came into being. .Commodities are also known of as derivitives.

Commodity markets or futures markets were set up to help the farmer of the commodity which initially was only grains, specifically corn, wheat, and soybeans.

The idea is that if the price today is acceptable to the farmer of a commodity, but he will not be able to deliver his crop for months down the road, he can lock in a price that he can make a profit with by utilizing the futures market.

The farmer sells futures contracts for delivery in the future for the equivalent amount of his expected harvest. So, even if the price of the commodity goes down in the mean time, he is assured of getting his price when he is ready to harvest and sell his crop. This is also known as hedging his risk.

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The negative aspect for the farmer by hedging his risk with futures is that the price he agrees on will be the most he can realize when he is ready to deliver.

In other words, if the price of the commodity that he provides goes above the price he agreed to, he will lose out on the extra profit.

Now, if he utilized options on futures, he could participate in an upswing in prices.

Who Trades Futures

how to commodities
Hogs, lean hogs, and pork bellies are traded on the futures exchanges.

Only 3 percent of futures contracts traded are transacted by those that actually provide the specific commodity. The rest, 97% are traded by speculators, or investors.  Speculators or investors are those that are looking to make a profit by trading commodities/futures.

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Futures are often used by financial managers that have or manage large financial instrument portfolios in order to offset their risk, and maximize their return potential.

The sad truth is that only 15% of farmers use the commodity markets at all. This is despite the fact that these markets were designed for them, and can greatly enhance their ablity to stay in business and to prosper, if utilized properly.

A common denominator among many farmers that have been unable to maintain their farms, is they did not take advantage of the commodity/futures markets.

Speculators provide a very important service to the smooth operation of the futures markets. They provide liquidity. This liquidity allows for the ability to buy or sell futures easily as another speculator is there to take the other side of the trade.

Speculating in futures is a very risky proposition. It is estimated that 90% of investors lose money in the futures markets. 90%! However, many people have become very wealthy from trading these markets.  These markets are highly leveraged, which means a small amount of money can turn into a large loss or a large gain.

Bottom line is, you better know exactly what you are doing before you tread here in commodities. My intention is not to scare you away from futures, but to make you understand people can and do lose money.

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How to Commodities/Futures

How to Commodities
Commodities can be researched and traded online

In order to learn how to trade futures we must first understand more about them. There are two main types of futures. Futures that are traded for physical delivery are the agricultural types such as corn, wheat, soybeans, and others.

Financial futures, on the other hand, are settled in cash, or cash delivery. These types include stocks, bonds, indices, currencies, and others.

Futures are traded at commodity exchanges. The most well known, and largest of which is the Chicago Board of Trade, or CBOT.  The Chicago Mercantile Exchange, also known as the Merc, is also a well known, heavily utilized exchange.

There are also commodity exchanges in New York, Philadelphia, Kansas City, and elsewhere in the U.S. Many other countries also have exchanges where futures are traded.

Within these exchanges are pits or trading areas where a specific commodity is bought and sold. If you have ever seen one of the trading pits in action, it looks very chaotic, and unorganized. In reality though, it is anything but chaotic, and unorganized.

The traders in these pits are placing orders that come primarily from commodity brokers for their clients.  These clients can be speculators or those involved in the underlying commodity such as farmers, grain merchants, and others.

Speculators or investors utilize many of the commodity trading tools that their commodity brokers supply. These trading tools include both technical, and fundamental information about a specific commodity.

Technical tools include charts that show prices, open interest, volume, moving averages, convergence/divergence, and other indicators.

Fundamental analysis includes news reports, farm reports, weather reports, and other information that can affect the supply and demand, outlook, and prices of a certain commodity.

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Speculators normally use a combination of technical analysis, and fundamental analysis, to guide them in their trading decisions.

Important commodity/futures trading terms:

Contracts:  These are what are bought and sold in the futures market and represent a certain quantity of the commodity that is traded.

Volume: represents the total amount of futures contracts that have been bought, and those that have been sold in one day.

Open Interest: the total amount of pending or outstanding contracts that are currently held by those in this market at the end of the day.

The various commodities that have futures markets include (heaviest traded):

Agricultural: rice, corn, wheat, soybeans, soybean oil, oats, cotton, coffee, sugar, orange juice

Livestock and Meat: live cattle, feeder cattle, lean hogs, pork bellies

Energy: heating oil, crude oil, gasoline, natural gas

Metals: gold, silver, platinum, palladium, copper

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Commodity Brokers

How to Commodities
Commodity brokers facilitate trading of speculators

Commodity brokers are the folks that facilitate the trades that all traders make. There are full service brokers, discount brokers, and those that provide both full service, and discounted brokerage services.

Brokers have different rules, and qualifications for their clients. Normally, the full service brokers will provide many tools, and also help you with determing which trades to make.

The online discounted brokers may have some tools to assist you, but you are on your own when it comes time to decide what, and when to trade.

Some brokers may even let you place dummy trades, where no money is at stake but the conditions are the same as with a normal trade.

There are different fees involved with brokers. Even discounted brokers may have additional fees, so make sure you know and understand how you will be charged before you open up an account with any broker.

Commodity trading used to be the playground for the rich, and it still is, however, it is now possible for those with less substantial means to trade commodities. Some exchanges offer ‘mini contracts’ that require smaller monetary commitments than the typical futures contracts.

Also, trading options on futures can be less risky and less expensive than trading actual futures.

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Learn Before You Earn

How to Commodities
The more you learn, the more you earn.

If you are just getting started with how to commodities, and you have a strong interest or passion in this exciting area, I strongly suggest you invest in your commodities education before you even consider becoming a trader.

You will be better served to spend money and time learning the ins and outs until you feel comfortable with futures, before you spend money on actual trades.

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You can request basic commodity trading learning materials from many brokerage firms free of charge. You can of course also go online to find many excellent commodity education sources.

I suggest you try to find a mentor that has been, and is successful doing what you want to do, making money trading commodities.

The very best mentor that I have come across is the great Larry Williams. He is one of the most knowledgeable, and successful traders in this arena, and he has many years of experience.

Larry forgets more about how to commodities/futures than I know. He has written books, has online courses, and has a membership program that has a lot of members.

A trading coach may be the optimum way to learn to trade commodities. In order to take advantage of a trading coach, you should have a good, basic foundational knowledge of commodities going in.

Find someone that is already successful doing what you want to do, and emulate them.  Knowledge is power.

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From Humble Beginnings to High Finance

The commodity markets started as a way for a farmer to sell his crops at a local market.  They slowly evolved to include futures as a way for him to hedge his risk.

As time went on, more types of farm products were added in these markets. Soon other farm products such as cattle, and hogs were traded in the commodity markets.

Eventually energy products like crude oil, and metals like silver, and gold were included in the futures markets.

Today a myriad of financial instruments are also traded in the futures markets in exchanges all over the world.

Despite the fact that commodity markets were brought about to benefit the farmer, only 15% of farmers use these markets to assist their business.

Only 3% of all the contracts traded, are by those that perform delivery of the commodity. The other 97% of contracts bought and sold are done so by speculators.

Speculators normally use a combination of fundamental analysis, and technical analysis to determine what, where, and how to trade.

Commodity brokers provide various services to facilitate trades for their clients. There are discount online brokers that provide little support, and charge smaller fees, as well as full service brokers, usually off line that provide a good deal of support in exchange for larger commissions, and other fees.

In this highly risky playground of the rich, it is wise to educate yourself thoroughly in commodities, and futures, before you attempt to undertake an active trading strategy.

Feel free to leave your comments, questions, or tips below.  Also, feel free to like and share on your favorite social media. Thanks for reading How to Commodities. Tom

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How to Commodities

Gun Safes for Sale

Gun Safes for Sale

gun safes for sale
Gun safes are the best way to protect your family, and your guns, and allow for quick access.

As of the year 2017 over 42% of American households own one or more guns. The number of guns manufactured per year in the U.S. is over 9 million. This necessitates  gun safes for sale.

According to the Congressional Research Service 2017 April report there are 300 million firearms available for possession, and transfer to, by people in the United States.

This is almost 1 gun for every US citizen, as our population is 327 million plus. There is also a direct correlation between the increase in the amount of guns legally owned, and the decrease in violent crime.

Perhaps you are a hunter that owns hunting rifles, and accessories. You may be a sport shooter that has guns for shooting skeet, or for other competitive or leisure shooting sports or activities.

Or you may be a homeowner that simply  wants to protect your family, and your possessions.

Or you may be a combination or all three. Whatever the reason you own guns, you know it is imperative that these guns should be protected, kept from the curious hands of youngsters, and available to you in a moments notice should you need them to shield yourself, your family, and your home in a crisis.

The best way to accomplish this, is with gun safes.  I will also tell you the different types of gun safes, what makes one gun safe superior to another, and the different locks that are available on gun safes.

I will also make recommendations to you for the best quality gun safes that provide the best value.

Gun Safe Types

gun safes for sale
Gun cabinets are a less expensive way to safely store your long guns.

The two primary gun safe types are gun safes, and gun cabinets for rifles or long guns, and handgun safes. Within these two types are many different variations.

The rifle or long gun safes, and gun cabinets are larger for obvious reasons. There are different interior configurations.

Depending on how many guns you want to store, you can find a gun safe to accommodate them.

Many long gun safe interiors, in addition, have shelves for storage of ammunition, accessories, and other valuables.

Also, some of these safes offer the ability to store more items on the inside of the safe door.

As these safes can take up a good deal of space, they may need to be placed in a basement, garage, or other area that offers plenty of room.

The new ‘front of the bed’ or ‘under bed’ gun safe that sits on the floor and extends the width of the bed has become a popular model in recent years.

This convenient position allows for quick access to your long guns in the event of a home invasion, or other crisis.

gun safes for sale
A good hand gun safe allows for quick access, and provides protection.

Handgun safes or gun boxes are a different animal altogether. These much smaller safes are designed for storage of handguns or pistols, and for quick access.

Most handgun safes only offer enough space to store one or two handguns, and perhaps some ammunition, along with very limited space for accessories.

Handgun safes can be bolted to the inside of a drawer, bolted on a floor (under a bed within close reach is a popular spot), or really anywhere there is a little room, clear access, and ideally the ability to secure it to a surface.

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What Makes a Good Gun Safe

Gun safes come in many shapes, sizes, types, interiors, and with various types of locks.  Your main considerations for a gun safe is fire protection, burglary protection, and locks that control the exterior door.

Generally speaking, the better the fire protection, burglary protection, interior climate control, and lock, the better the safe.

Fire Protection

Buying a safe that includes fire protection is a very real, smart, and important decision. In the United States alone, fires cause over $6 billion dollars worth of property damage every year.  A home structure fire occurs every 85 seconds.

Ideally, you want a fire rated safe that has the UL listing or designation, or the Intertek ETL Gun Safe Fire Label. UL stands for Underwriters Laboratory.

Gun safes for sale
Fire protection is an important consideration in a gun safe.

UL 1 Hour and 2 Hour Fire Labels.

U.L. Label/Class 350°F-one hour, and UL Label/Class 350°F-two hour. For the One Hour designation, the safe will maintain an interior temperature less than 350°F when exposed to fire for a period of one hour at 1700°F.

For the Two Hour designation, the safe will maintain an interior temperature less than 350°F  for a period of two hours when exposed to fire at 1850°F.

The safe must also pass all requirements for the Fire Endurance Test, the Fire/Impact Test, and the Explosion Hazard Test.

Intertek ETL Gun Safe Fire Labels

Intertek ETL is the safe industry’s leading independent testing laboratory for fire ratings of gun safes.  They have a stringent 45 minute, 90 minute, and 2 hour fire rating.

If you don’t see either the UL label or the ETL label on the ‘fire’ safe, you can not be certain that any fire testing was done reliably, and it could well mean inferior fire protection.

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Burglary Protection

A burglary safe is designed to resist and deter a break in of the safe. There are also safes that are built with both fire protection and burglary protection.

gun safes for sale
Strong burglary protection is important for any safe.

A fire rating on a safe is a test classification, as opposed to a burglary rating on a safe which is a construction classification.

These different ratings were established by the insurance industry to provide a standard of protection.

The various typical Burglary Protection Classes are:
(Minimum characteristics)

B Rate: 1/4″  thick steel body, 1/2″ thick steel door

C Rate:  1/2″ thick steel body, 1″ thick steel door

TL-15: The requirements for a TL-15 are a UL listed Group ll combination lock, or type 1 electronic lock. Body walls of at least 12 gauge open hearth steel or material equivalent to it.

Door at least 3/16″ open hearth steel or material equivalent to it. These safes also have fire protection.

TL-30: The requirements for a TL 30 are U.L. listed Group 2M, 1,1R combination lock or Type 1 electronic lock. Safe body walls of at least 1″ open hearth steel with a minimum tensile strength of 50,000 P.S.I.

Safe weight must be 750 pounds minimum, or comes with instructions for anchoring in a larger safe, concrete blocks, or on the premises where used.

The TL-15, and TL-30 designation safes are primarily utilized in a commercial application.

gun safes for sale
Gun safe interiors include gun racks, shelving, lighting, dehumidifiers, and pistol holders.

Gun Safe Interiors

Gun safe interiors are designed to accommodate a certain number of long guns, so that they can be stored upright.

There is often, depending on the size of the safe, additional shelving, and interior compartments along with the long gun storage configurations.

The inside of the exterior door can be ordered to contain more storage capability such as for handguns, and accessories. There are also interior climate control options.

Using a dehumidifier to keep the moisture away from your guns is a popular choice.  In addition to gun storage, gun safes are also often used to store and protect other valuable such as cash, coins, and jewelry.

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gun safes for sale
Electronic key pad locks allow for quick entry to your gun safe.

There are many different types of locks that control the exterior door of your gun safe, as well as different locks for any interior compartments you may want to include, although most interior compartments are controlled by a single key lock.

The old stand by combination lock is still used on many safes, but the electronic key pad lock has overtaken it as the lock of choice.

The electronic key pad lock allows for quicker access, and offers additional features that the simple combination lock doesn’t.

The electronic key pad lock can either be a basic lock with a single input code capability, or it can have multiple functions such as multiple user, time delay, dual custody, and armored car override.  Most electronic key pad locks come with a battery power source.

Some electronic key pad locks are available with External A/C Power: Provides power for unlimited use with battery power as backup.

Another popular lock with gun safes is the biometric lock. The biometric lock can be opened by simply inserting your hand into an opening. It works by being programmed to identify fingerprints, and allows for quick entry into the safe.

This will limit entry only to those preprogrammed for it, and can be very valuable when you need to get to your guns right away, such as during a break in at night, or other crisis situation when remembering your code, or fumbling around for your keys can be difficult, noisey, and time consuming.

These biometric locks normally can be programmed to allow for multiple users to access the safe, so that you can permit family members admittance to your safe, if you so choose.

Gun Safe Recommendations

gun safes for sale
I recommend American Security Gun Safes for quality and value.

There are many fine gun safe manufacturers, and many very good quality gun safes on the market today. By making a recommendation I am by no means attempting to downgrade the other makers of gun safes. Two of the best known gun safe companies are Browning, and Fort Knox.

However, from my 20 some years in the safe business, I have been able to experience many of these gun safes, and one brand in particular stands out to me as far as quality of workmanship both on their safes, and their locks. Many safe manufacturers don’t make their own locks.

They must add the lock from a different company, which makes you, the consumer, have the added hassle of dealing with two separate companies, one for the safe, and one for the lock, for warranties, and support.

The company I recommend does make their own locks. This company also has an 800 phone number on the safe direct to the 24 hour a day, 7 day a week, and 365 day a year service department to support both their safes and their locks.

The other great feature to this company is they build their safes right here in the good ole US of A. They have a huge factory, and have been in business for many years.

They are one of the oldest and most respected safe manufacturers not just in the US, but the entire world.

They also have a great selection of safes and locks, and accessories. The name of this phenomenal safe company is Amsec, which is short for American Security. So, whether you are looking for gun safes for sale, a gun cabinet, a handgun safe, or any other type of safe, You won’t do better than Amsec.

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All Gun Owners Need a Gun Safe

gun safes for sale
Gun safes are a necessity for hunters, and other gun enthusiasts.

American households own more guns than ever before. It is a documented fact that the proliferation of legal gun ownership has a correlation to the decrease in violent crime.

Gun owners may be hunters, sport shooters, or keep their guns for protection of their family, and home, or a combination of all three.

Your guns should be protected, kept from the curious hands of youngsters, and available to you in a moments notice in the event of a crisis situation.

There are rifle or long gun safes for sale, gun cabinets, and handgun safes.  The long gun or rifle gun safes have different interior configurations which are based on the amount of guns that need to be stored.

Based on their large size, and weight, these safes need a good bit or room to be placed in like a basement or garage.

Handgun or pistol safes or gun boxes are much smaller, and generally can only hold one or two handguns, and a small amount of ammunition, and accessories.

These safes take up little room, and can be placed, and bolted to a drawer, or to the floor.

A good gun safe will have UL listed or ETL listed fire protection, and B rate, C rate, TL-15, or TL-30 burglary protection. The various locks available on gun safes include combination locks, key locks, electronic key pad locks, and biometric locks.

Gun safes for sale are available with various interiors. These interiors can be ordered to accommodate a certain number of long guns.

They can also have shelving, and interior compartments for storage of accessories, and other valuables. A dehumidifier is also an option.

There are many great gun safe companies out there. Two of the best known are Browning, and Fort Knox. My highest recommendation for quality, and value goes to Amsec, or American Security Products Company, a US company.

Amsec has a complete line of quality gun safes for sale, handgun safes, home safes, commercial safes, and accessories.

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Feel free to leave your comments, questions, or tips below.  Also, feel free to like and share on your favorite social media. Thanks for reading gun Safes for Sale, Tom

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Gun safes for sale

Kitchen Faucet – Repair and Installation

Kitchen Faucet – Repair and Installation

Your kitchen faucet has evolved over the years to include many different varieties, finishes, features, and extras. Yet, the functionality and installation of your kitchen faucet has remained mostly unchanged.

“Kitchens sell houses” is a statement that many Realtors live by, and the type of faucet you have in your kitchen may seem like an insignificant consideration.

Truth be told however, it can mean the difference in selling your home quickly and for top dollar, and never getting an offer.

As a Realtor for many years, I have studied the buying habits of people quite closely. It is true that kitchens sell homes. It is also true that if the woman does not like the kitchen faucet, it is a safe bet that it will be on to the next home on the list.

This is true even despite the fact that changing out a kitchen faucet is not, in most cases, a big job.

I will describe how to fix a leaky kitchen faucet, how to replace a kitchen faucet, and when to know it’s time to call a plumber to do the job for you.

kitchen faucet - repair and installation
Some kitchen faucet repairs are easily fixed.

How to Fix a Leaking Faucet

Plumbers can be expensive, sometimes very expensive. Many plumbing repairs are relatively simple, and inexpensively accomplished.

Many of these repairs can be done by the homeowner given a few basic tools, and some plumbing knowledge. There is however, a limit to what the uninformed, ill prepared homeowner should undertake.

The first thing we need to know is where the faucet leak is coming from. Is it coming from the base of the faucet? Is it coming from the handle? Is it coming from the nozzle or spout?

Two Handle Faucet Leak from Nozzle/Spout

Is the leak coming from the nozzle? (Single handle or two handle faucet) This is the most common kitchen faucet leak. If it is a two handle faucet where there is one handle for the cold side, and one handle from the hot side, and the leak is coming from the nozzle, put your finger under the nozzle to see if the drip water is cold or warm to hot.

This is also applicable for most two handle bathroom faucets.

If the water is warm to hot, you know that the leak is coming from the hot handle. Conversely, if the leak is cool or cold water, you know the leak is coming from the cold handle.

In this type of leak where the water is dripping from the nozzle on a two separate handle faucet, the most likely culprit is a  valve seat washer and/or the valve seat.

Once you have determined which side the leak is coming from, go under the sink, and close the shut off valve on the corresponding side.

Make sure it is shut tight. You can also shut the water off at the main, to be sure.  The main shut off valve is normally located close to where the water line comes into the house. Usually in a basement.

With the water shut off,  turn on the faucet to bleed the line of any residual water. Once this is done, you will need a screwdriver to pry the H or C button off the top of the handle.

You will then need either a phillips head screw driver or a slotted head screwdriver to unscrew the screw that is holding the handle on to the .

Then remove the handle (you may need a handle puller if it is stubborn). You will then need a pair of pliers or an adjustable wrench to remove the valve from its base.

Once you have removed the valve, turn it upside down, and you should see a black washer at the valve’s base. It will likely have a large furrow in it, or it may be even more damaged.

If you place your finger in the hole in the faucet, you should feel a raised seat that has chips in it, or has an uneven surface. At this point you have some options.

You can buy a seat resurfacing tool at your local plumbing supply, and a new seat washer. (Be sure to bring the seat washer or the entire valve in to make sure you get the right size)

Use the tool to smooth out the pitted, uneven seat. Replace the seat washer, and reinstall the valve, and the handle. Turn the water back on, and see if the leak is fixed.

Another option is to buy a seat removing tool at your local plumbing supply store. This tool is usually less than 10-12 dollars.  Remove the seat at the bottom of the hole opening in your faucet.

Bring the seat back into the plumbing supply store, and buy a new seat, and seat washer. Install the new seat into the hole in the faucet.

Replace the old seat washer with the new seat washer, and reinstall the valve back into the opening in the sink, and reinstall the handle. Turn the water back on under the sink, turn the water on at the handle, and see if this fixed the leak.

You can also try replacing the entire valve, but if the new seat and washer didn’t fix the leak, it is not likely that a new valve will either, at least not for the long term.

The new washer at the base should work for a while, until the pitted seat forms a new furrow in the washer, and allows the water to leak through again to the nozzle.

If none of these options fix the leak, it is time to look for a new faucet.

Two Handle Faucet Leak at Handle

If you have a leak coming from the handle itself, it is usually an o-ring on the valve that is to blame. Follow the steps above, remove the valve, and either remove the o-ring on the valve and take it to your local plumbing supply for a new one, or take the entire valve into the plumbing supply for a new o-ring.

You may want to pick up on o-ring pic at the plumbing supply or hardware store, but a pin can also do the job. It is a good idea once you have the valve out, to inspect the seat washer to see if it may need to be replaced also.

In addition to the new o-ring, you will need a little plumbers grease to apply to the outside of the new o-ring to ensure easy reinstallation of the valve.

This should stop the leak, but if not, you can try a new valve. If a new valve doesn’t work, it’s time to look for a new faucet.

Single Handle Faucet Leak from Nozzle

kitchen faucet
Single handle kitchen faucets leaks are fixed by a repair kit or a new cartridge.

If you have a single handle faucet where the water temperature, and volume is conrtolled by a single handle, and the leak is coming from nozzle, you are likely in need of a new single handle repair kit or a new cartridge, depending on the make and model.

Go under the sink, and shut the water off on both sides, the hot side, and cold side. Depending on the maker of the faucet, you should be able to unscrew the nozzle at or near the base of the faucet.

If you use a wrench, use a cloth between the wrench and the faucet to keep from scratching the finish of the faucet. You will also need an hex key set or an allen wrench if your faucet has an allen screw at the back of the handle, which many do.

This should reveal a ball with a stem on it, some rubber barrel type washers, and springs. Note how they are installed, then remove all of these, note the manufacturer of your faucet (you may even want to take a picture of the faucet), and take them to your local plumbing supply.  Buy the correct repair kit, install it, and reattach the faucet nozzle. Turn the water on under the sink, and see if the leak is fixed.

If it isn’t, check to be sure you have the correct repair kit.  If you do have the correct repair kit, and it doesn’t fix your leak, it is time to look at a new faucet.

This is the set up for many single handle kitchen faucets like Delta, and others.

Some single handle kitchen faucets like Moen use a cartridge instead of the ball and stem, rubber washers, and springs. You should approach the repair in the same way, and replace the entire cartridge if applicable.

Single Handle Faucet Leak at Base of Handle

If there is a leak coming from the base area(at bottom of single handle), it is usually an o-ring that goes around the inner section of the base, and the inner wall of the faucet. These o-rings, depending on the manufacturer are usually included in the repair kit.

There also may be a ball with a stem on it that may be the culprit, and may need to be replaced. Again, it depends on the maker of the faucet. Best rule of thumb is to replace the simple, inexpensive parts first, and try the other parts if not successful with the simple ones.

If you have a leak coming from the very bottom of the faucet. (Usually a large rectangular piece that runs along the sink) Follow the instruction above about turning off the water to the faucet. Go underneath the sink, and you will see two or three nuts that secure the faucet to the base of the sink.

Unscrew these nuts, and pull the faucet away from the sink at the top. (You may have to unscrew the water supply lines that are attached at the bottom of the faucet.)

Gently pry the rectangular base away from the faucet. Inspect the rectangular base to make sure there are no cracks, holes, or deterioration.

If not, clean any residue on the area of the sink where the faucet base was sitting. Buy some plumber’s putty from your local plumbing supply, or hardware store. Apply a ring of plumber’s putty around the inside bottom of the base. Reattach, and tighten the nuts that you loosened. Also reattach any supply lines you may have undone.

This should fix the leak. If it doesn’t, it’s time to look for a new faucet.

How to Replace a Kitchen Faucet

kitchen faucet - repair and installation
Most kitchen faucet replacements are not difficult

Replacing a kitchen faucet with a new kitchen faucet is, in most cases, a relatively easy job. This is assuming that the shut off valves under the sink that the control the hot, and cold lines are working properly, and not deteriorating.

This is also assuming that your supply connections under the sink are not soldered together. If you encounter soldering, it’s probably time to call a plumber.

If the supply line valves are working fine, and looking fine, and there is no soldering to the bottom of the faucet,  go ahead and shut the supply valves off.

You may also want to shut the water off at the main just in case. With a pair of pliers, or an adjustable wrench, unscrew the supply lines from the shut off valves, and from the bottom of the faucet.

You will also need to unhook/unscrew any sprayers your faucet may have.

You may also need a plumber’s wrench with a swivel head to help remove the nuts that secure the faucet to the sink. This will depend on the amount of space you have underneath to access the faucet.

Don’t discard the supply lines as you will need to take those with you when you buy your new faucet, so that you will know the size of the thread on the shut off valves for your new supply lines.  I strongly suggest you buy new supply lines even if the existing supply lines look fine.

Supply lines are normally inexpensive, and you don’t want to risk that your existing supply lines are worn out from the inside from being under pressure. You may have to change them anyway depending on the size of the new faucet hook ups.

Unscrew the nuts that are holding the base of the faucet to the sink from underneath.  This should release the faucet from the sink. You may have to pry the base of the faucet from the sink using a putty knife or a slotted head screwdriver.

Once you have the faucet free from the sink, you can either take the entire faucet with supply lines with you into the plumbing supply or home store to buy your new faucet. This will allow you to buy a faucet that will fit your existing sink dimensions.

If you would rather take measurements, or if you want to buy your faucet online, just measure the distance from the middle of the main holes (hot side to cold side) on the sink or from the middle of the holes on the faucet. This distance is usually 8 inches, but it can vary depending on the faucet brand, and type.

At this point you just need to know what type of new faucet you would like to buy. Most plumbing supply stores, and home stores will have displays set up for you, and knowledgable sales people to help you find a faucet that will provide the look and the features that you want, at a price that you can afford.

Be sure to also pick up some new supply lines, and a tub of plumbers putty for reinstallation of the faucet. Apply the plumbers putty around the inside of the base of the faucet to keep any residual water from leaking on to your counter tops.

A roll of teflon tape to put around the threads of the shut off valves, and around the threads of the hook ups to the faucet is also a good idea. The teflon tape will ensure a leak proof seal.

Prices for new kitchen faucets range from about $25 to as much as $4000. It is very possible to find a good quality kitchen faucet for under $50. I would stay away from generic brands, and stick with a good brand name faucet that will have a warranty, and that will have parts available should you encounter a problem.


Your Options

kitchen faucet
By learning to repair and install your own kitchen faucet, you can save big charges by your local plumber.

With a few tools, a little know how, and some determination, you can fix, and install a kitchen faucet. You can also check out some good YouTube videos on the topic for more information, and advice.  If, however, you find the task daunting, finding someone to fix or install the faucet for you is only a phone call away.

To save money, you should buy the faucet yourself, and then have the plumber, or handyman install it for you.  In most cases you will save the plumber’s mark up this way.

Feel free to leave your comments, questions, or tips below.  Also, feel free to like and share on your favorite social media. Thanks for reading. Tom

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When Can I Collect Social Security

When can I collect social security
Many Americans have saved nothing for retirement.

When can I collect Social Security is a question many people ask as they hit their 50’s and beyond. For those of us that are nearing retirement age, having a retirement plan in place is vitally important.

The Economic Policy Institute reports that the vast majority of Americans have less than $1,000 in savings, and half of all Americans have put away nothing at all for retirement, even in retirement savings vehicles such as 401k’s, and Individual Retirement Accounts or IRA’s.

35% of American adults have only $400 in a savings account, and 34% have no savings at all. Less than 13% of Americans have a pension plan in place.

In a survey by Bankrate, 22% of Americans said their biggest financial regret was not getting started saving for retirement earlier. So, how will seniors, and almost seniors deal with this?  According to Gallup Polls and others, many Americans expect to rely more heavily on Social Security, and contributions from children, and other relatives.

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History of Social Security

Originally called the Economic Security Act, the title was changed as Congress considered the bill, Social Security Act was signed into law by FDR, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt on August 14, 1935. This act was designed as a social insurance program to provide a continuing income for retired workers 65 years of age or older.

When can I collect social security
FDR signed the Social Security Act into law in 1935

Social Security taxes were collected for the first time in January of 1937, and the first lump sum, one-time payments were made in the same month.  January 1940 was the beginning of on-going, regular benefit payments. Originally, only the primary worker was paid Social Security benefits.

The first person to get Social Security benefits was a man by the name of Ernest Ackerman, whom received a lump sum payment of .17 cents in 1937.

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A law change in 1939 included survivors, and the spouses and children of retirees to collect benefits. In 1956 Social Security Disability benefits were also added.  The original 1935 law also included the first unemployment compensation program, Aid to Dependent Children program, and health and welfare aid to various states.

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Cost of living allowances, COLA, became law in 1972, and was initially paid in 1975. Before this, it took a special act of Congress to increase benefits, and happened on an irregular basis.

November 1936 is when Social Security numbers were first issued. Since this time over 453 million numbers have been issued.  From 1937, when payments were first issued, until 2009, Social Security has taken in $13.8 Trillion Dollars, and paid out $11.3 Trillion Dollars.

By law, the the Social Security Trust Funds program assets must be invested in securities guaranteeing both principal and interest. These Trust Funds hold a mix of both short-term and long-term government bonds.

The Trust Funds can hold both ‘special obligation’ securities issued only to federal trust funds, and regular Treasury securities. The majority of the securities in the Social Security Trust Funds are ‘special obligation’ type securities.

In 2015, the program paid benefits to more than 60 million people, made up of 43 million retired workers along with their  dependents, 6 million survivors of deceased workers, plus 11 million disability claimants, and their dependents.

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Current State of Social Security

When can I collect Social Security
Many think that Social Security is on a free fall.

You may have heard that Social Security is going broke. This rumor simply isn’t true.  According to the 2017 Actuarial Status of Social Security Trust Funds, Social Security isn’t bankrupt or even running out of money. In fact it is currently running a surplus, and is said to be solvent until at least 2034.

You can rest assured that Social Security will be there when it’s time for younger baby boomers, Millenials, Generation Xers, and even younger generations to claim their benefits. There are, however, other schools of thought regarding how sustainable the Social Security Trust Fund really is.

Some feel that after 2034, due to the large amount of draw from the baby boomer generation, that going forward it could cause too large a burden on the system to continue to pay out in full.

Others argue, that due to the smaller family unit of recent, and current generations, as well as abortions reducing the number of potential claimants, that the demand for when can I collect Social Security will be less. This smaller demand should enable the program to continue with little if any reduction.

When Can I Collect Social Security

When can I collect social security
The later you wait to collect your social security, the larger the monthly amount

The soonest someone can collect Social Security benefits is age 62, as long as you have paid into the program for a minimum of 40 quarters, or approximately 10 years.  Full retirement age is 65 – 67 depending on your date of birth.

For each year you delay in taking your pay out, your benefit amount increases by about 8% until age 70.

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The latest someone can start to collect Social Security benefits is age 70.  If you elect to start taking your benefits at age 62, you will receive a reduced rate at 75% of the full monthly benefit.

The monthly amount you will receive will depend on how much you have paid into the system, and for how long.

If you are a spouse, you will receive 35% of your spouse’s benefit if they begin to take it at age 62. If your spouse waits until full retirement age, you are then entitled to 50% of your spouse’s monthly benefit. Only one spouse can take the spousal benefit.

You can also receive spousal benefits based on an ex-spouse’s benefits as long you were married for at least 10 years, divorced for at least 2, and not remarried, even if they have never filed for Social Security.  Widows, and widowers can collect survivor benefits starting at age 60.

You can also work and collect Social Security benefits starting at age 62. However, if you are under your full retirement age, your benefit will be reduced by $1 dollar for every $2 dollars you earn that is over the yearly limit amount, which for 2018 is $17,040

Your Social Security benefit income may increase as your work continues. Your income will be looked at every year, and you will be informed if there is an increase.

Starting with the month that you reach full retirement age, you can receive your benefits with no limits on your work earnings.  Earnings are considered wages from your job, or from your business, net earnings are taken into account.

Interest, investment income, annuities, pensions, veterans or other government retirement income are not counted.

For more information considering your Social Security, go to:

Other Retirement Plans

When can I collect social security
Social security was designed as a supplemental program

When can I collect Social Security was designed to be a supplementary program to your retirement savings, and/or your retirement pension. It was not designed to be a stand alone program.  The truth is though that Social Security is a stand alone program for many people because they have not saved for, or set up a retirement plan.

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“We didn’t plan to fail, we just failed to plan.”

I realize that it is not always easy to set up a plan, and stick to it. Life happens, and priorities dictate how the finances are handled. However, most of us, if we live within our means, and devote even a small amount of money monthly towards retirement, we can accumulate some funds that will assist in retirement.

Time is your biggest ally.  The sooner you get started with a focus on your retirement, the better chance you will have to provide yourself with a comfortable life in your later years.

If you have some years before you are ready to call it quits in the work a day world, I strongly suggest you attempt to set something up. Talk to a financial planner at your work if they offer a plan, or talk to a financial planner on your own, or someone else that you trust in the finance/retirement plan area.

If you just want to go about it on your own, I recommend you look at dividend stocks, and more specifically, DRIP stocks. DRIPs are dividend reinvestment programs.  Some publicly traded companies allow for their stock dividends to be automatically reinvested in the purchase of more stock, instead just paying out the dividend.

Many companies also offer No Fee DRIPs which allow you to automatically reinvest the dividend, and purchase more stock from the company for no fees. This terrific benefit can allow you to accumulate many shares of stock for virtually no additional fees.

DRIP stocks allow for you to take advantage of the power of compound interest.

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Know Your Options

When can I collect social security
As a spouse you can collect up to 50% of your spouse’s benefits

It is important to know when can I collect social security. The longer you can wait to begin, the larger your monthly benefit will be.  As a spouse you are entitled to receive up to 50% of your spouse’s benefits.  Even as an ex-spouse, you may be entitled to receive social security payments.

You can also work and receive Social Security benefits. Your benefit amount however, may be affected by the amount of your earnings.

Even though Social Security is the stand alone income for many people in their retirement years, it was not designed as such. Time is your greatest ally when considering your retirement plan.

If you have some years before you retire, you may want to consider setting up a retirement plan at work if possible, or on your own.  There are many options to consider, and perhaps the best is DRIP stocks.

With a little planning, and some forethought you can make your later years better than what you may have thought.

You never want to have to say, “I didn’t plan to fail, I just failed to plan.”

Feel free to leave your comments, questions, or tips below.  Also, feel free to like and share on your favorite social media. Thanks for reading When Can I Collect Social Security, Tom

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Best Stocks to Buy Now



The Best Stocks to Buy Now

The Best Stocks to Buy Now

The best stocks to buy now
Investing in the stock market can be like rolling the dice

Stock market investing can be a complex, time-consuming, frustrating process. The best stocks to buy now can also be simple, quick, and exhilarating process. It can provide great financial losses, and it can provide great financial rewards.

Stock market investing can be a source of great stress, sleepless nights, and worry. It can also be provide peace of mind, fulfillment, and happiness.

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Best Ways to Pick Stocks

The best stocks to buy now
Technology can help you research, and buy and sell stock

The two primary ways of picking stocks are: fundamental analysis, and technical analysis.

Fundamental Analysis. The fundamentals of a given stock or company are it’s financials. What are it’s business prospects? What are the chances for the business to grow? Is the sector it’s in improving, or in decline?

Is it a leader in it’s sector and market? Or does it lag behind it’s competitors? What is the condition of the overall economy? It is a defensive stock? Or is it a high risk, high reward play?

Fundamentals look at historic stock prices, price to earnings ratios, revenues, profits, cash holdings, research and development expenses, insider/management holdings, and many other factors to determine if it is a stock worth buying.

Technical Analysis Technical Analysis is the study of charts of companies/stocks. The most commonly used charts are price charts. These charts document a stock’s price movements over different periods of time.

In conjunction with these stock prices are many other gauges of a stock’s performance such as volatility, convergence/divergence, number of stocks bought, number of stocks sold, stock averages, momentum, and many other indicators used to predict whether a given stock’s price is likely to go up or down.

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World’s Best Stock Investor

The best stocks to buy now
Warren Buffet is a multi billionaire stock investor

Even if you’ve been living under a rock for the last 30 years, it is very likley that you have heard the name Warren Buffet. Known as the Oracle of Omaha, Warren Buffet is considered one of the very best, if not the best stock investor of all time. So, what is Mr. Buffet’s stock picking philosophy?

He says that he picks stocks based on being able to understand, and know the business that the company is in. He must also like the business that the company is in. It must have good fundamentals. He says that he will only sell if the fundamentals that he used when he picked the stock have changed for the worse.

He sets out to hold the stock forever, he says. He also adds to his positions quite often, and accumulates large enough stock holdings to be on the board of directors of many of these companies that he invests in. This philosophy has served him well, as his net worth is now in the $87 billion dollar range. Yes, that’s billion with a B.

How to Play the Market

The best stocks to buy now
Being bullish means you think the stock will rise in price

There are many different ways to play or invest in the stock market. Some of these ways are stock options, mutual funds, shorting the market, penny stocks, value stocks, foreign markets, stock index plays, futures, and others. There are long term plays, and short term plays.

Long term plays are stocks that you buy and hold. Because with this play you have a long term time horizon, you don’t worry about it’s short term stock price fluctuations. Normally, unless something drastic has happened to the company’s business, the stock is not sold.

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Short term plays are investments where the investor is looking to make a short term profit. His time horizon can be from a few minutes to a few months. Often these investors are willing to take a small profit, as long as their money is not tied up for extended periods.

The Best Stocks to Buy Now

The best stocks to buy now
Some people like to use a broker instead of trading stocks online

So, what are the best stocks to buy now? Should I be a value investor, a momentum investor? Should I try buying penny stocks? Should I buy the big name stocks like Apple, Coca-Cola, Proctor & Gamble? Does it matter which stock broker I use? Should I use an online broker, or should I deal with the old fashioned person to person approach?

There is much to consider in order to maximize your opportunities in the stock market. In my humble opinion, there is only one type of stock to invest in.

DRIP Stocks What are DRIP stocks? DRIP stands for dividend reinvestment plan, or dividend reinvestment program. These are stocks of which the company that offers them allow for a direct purchase of stock in the company, and for the dividend that they offer to be reinvested in more stock.

This is a powerful investment instrument because it ulitilizes the principle of compound interest. Albert Einstein once said about compound interest, “Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it, he who doesn’t pays it.”

DRIPs also allow you to reinvest part, all, or none of the dividend. It makes sense to reinvest as much of the dividend as possible, at least until you need to take some of the dividend income to live, as in retirement. The best stocks to buy now are No Fee DRIPs.

No Fee DRIPs

The best stocks to buy now
DRIP stocks are a smart long term play

The best type of DRIP stock to buy is the No Fee DRIP stock. This means that certain companies allow you to buy their stock without any brokerage or transaction fees, both for the initial purchase, and for the subsequent dividend reinvestment.

This means that you will be able to maximize your return, as you are not losing some of your investment in costly fees.

This can add up to a significant amount, especially with the powerful compound interest component. In order to speed up the process, additional, optional shares can be purchased, also for no fees.

There may be fees if you set up an automatic purchase through your bank account, and when selling shares.

DRIPs are considered more of a long term play, than a short term one. Generally speaking, the longer you can hold a DRIP the better as you will continue to automatically buy more shares of stock with the reinvestment of the dividend.

Although if enough money is invested, and reinvested, and the dividend is high enough, a considerable amount of shares can be accumulated within a relatively short time.

The only time I would ever consider selling a DRIP stock is if the company has dramatically decreased, or eliminated it’s dividend. This is not a common occurence, but it does happen from time to time. I would then find another DRIP stock to invest in with the proceeds of the sale.

List of No Fee DRIPs

Sleep or Excitement

The best stocks to buy now
Some stock investors like long term investments to be able to sleep well

Some stock investors love the excitement of investing in the stock market. I have seen many stock investors that seem to live for the excitement of the price swings in the market. One day they are up because their stocks are up in price, and the next day they are down in the dumps because their stocks are off.

There are also stock investors that are so heavily invested in the markets that their very existence, and that of their family depends on the performance of their stocks. Personally, I can’t see living this way.

It is difficult to consistently pick stocks well enough to ensure oneself a solid return. This is especially so, if someone is always buying, and selling. With the combination of high fees, and volatile stock prices, it is not an easy proposition to beat the market.

If I am always worried about whether or not my stocks perform to my needed expectations, my stress levels would be a lot higher. This could easily carry over to other areas of my life as well, such as relationships, health, and job performance.

Personally, I like to sleep at night. That’s why I like the peace of mind that DRIP stocks give me. I primarily invest only in DRIP stocks, and within DRIP stocks, I invest primarily in No Fee DRIPS.

No Fee DRIPs are the best stocks to buy now , they will be the best stocks to buy tomorrow, and for the foreseeable future. Which No Fee DRIPs will you invest in?

Feel free to leave your comments, questions, or tips below.  Also, feel free to like and share on your favorite social media. Thanks for reading The Best Stocks to Buy Now,  Tom

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List of No Fee DRIPs

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