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Mortgage Rates, Pets

Easy Ways to Keep Your Pet Secure

Easy Ways to Keep Your Pet Secure

Michelle’s dogs

Lauren from L Bee and the Money Tree wrote recently about how her dog, Murray, decided to take a little jaunt around the neighbourhood at 11pm in the middle of the rain storm, leaving her a nervous wreck until she found him.

While this story ends well, it’s one we’ll all familiar with. I’ve been a victim of it myself. My dog Molly pulled the same trick on me last summer, except she was a full half mile away when she was found.

Dogs and cats disappear every day. Some estimate that 10 million are reported missing every year. If you own a pet, odds are, it’s going to give you the slip at some point in its life, and go missing. Hopefully your story will have the same happy ending mine and Lauren’s did, but to improve those odds, here are some ways you can keep your pet keep your pet from escaping, and help ensure it’s found quickly.

Secure Your Parameter

Many, many dogs will take any opportunity to go exploring their neighbourhood, and an open backyard gate the perfect temptation. To help protect against this possibility, install an automatic closing device on your gates to ensure that if they are left open for any reason, they’ll close on their own.

In addition to this, consider installing an underground electric fence, which will deter against fence digging and wandering out of an open gate. I have one installed around the parameter of my property, and my dog Molly has rarely wandered off. The cost of one of these fences can be as low as a few hundred dollars, and is money well spent. There are even options available for cats!

Register Your Pet

In most cities, dogs are required to be registered, and will receive an ID tag to attach to their collar. This ID tag will contain a ID number and toll free number to call. Anyone who finds a dog with an ID tag, will have a way of getting in contact with the owner.

One caveat to this method: Don’t forget to update your pet’s info when you move! Otherwise, your contact information will be out of date and the people who found your pet will have no way of getting in contact with you. Registrations are typically inexpensive, renewable yearly and often required by law.

Microchip Your Pet

This is a great option for both cats and dogs, and is widely available at your local vet’s office. Instead of an ID tag, the vet will insert a small microchip underneath your pet’s skin. The chip will be readable by a scanner that most vet’s offices and animal shelters are equipped with. This is particularly beneficial if a pet is found by animal control.

It also has the benefit of always being with your pet, even if they slip out of their collar and have no tags on them. As I mentioned above, don’t forget to update this information when you move! This isn’t typically expensive, it cost me $10 to have my dog Molly microchipped at the SPCA.

Have a “Go” Plan

Sometimes, despite your best intentions, your pet ends up missing. In these situations, having a plan in place to recover your pet could mean the difference between a few hours of searching and a few weeks. Have a “Lost Pet” poster prepared and saved on your computer, so that you can easily and quickly print out several posters to put up around the neighbourhood. Become acquainted with the local lost pets Facebook groups and message boards so you can quickly and easily get the word out to the local community. Finally, don’t forget to call your local shelter and vet’s offices with a description of your pet, in case animal control or a concerned citizen turns him or her in. By quickly publicizing the fact that you are looking for your pet, you increase the number of people keeping an eye out, thus increasing the chances your pet will be found.

No one likes to think about the fact that some day, you might be trudging the streets of your neighbourhood, calling your pet’s name. By taking these simple and inexpensive precautions  you can minimize the chance of harm coming to your pet, and increase the odds of a happy ending to your pet’s adventure.

Have you ever lost a pet? I want to know!

 

The post Easy Ways to Keep Your Pet Secure appeared first on Making Sense Of Cents.

Source: makingsenseofcents.com

Apartment Decorating, Pets

5 Dire Mistakes People Make Moving Their Pets to a New Place

Lightspruch/iStock

Moving involves so many tasks: planning, packing, hiring movers, enlisting emotional and physical help, and lots more. Moving with pets can add even more to your to-do list.

When we moved a couple of years ago, I never really considered how our two Lab mixes, Coco and Cookie, would handle it. That was a big mistake. I looked up a few tips online and tried my best to put them into practice. But, for the first few days in the new house, my dogs were stressed and anxious, got into fights with each other and barked all the time—all unusual behavior.

After a couple of weeks, they started to adjust, and their anxiety subsided. But it got me wondering what I could have done to make this move less traumatic for them.

moving with pets
My two dogs

Erica Sweeney

To help keep your animals calm and safe when moving to a new place, we’ve highlighted some top mistakes pet owners make in the process. Here are some moves that experts say pet owners should avoid if they want a smooth transition.

1. Keeping pets around on moving day

Moving day will probably be chaotic, so boarding pets, or having them stay elsewhere for the day or overnight, is a good idea, says Nicole Ellis, a pet expert and certified professional dog trainer with the online pet sitter and dog walker network Rover.

Cats can be confined to a specific room in the old or new place to keep them away from the activity, says Mikel Delgado, a cat behavior expert at Rover. She suggests placing a sign on the closed door that reads, “Cat Inside: Please Do Not Open Door,” to prevent escapes.

We boarded our dogs for a few days during our move, which gave us time to start unpacking and get their things set up before bringing them home. Knowing they were safe and out of the way made the move less stressful.

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Watch: For Floors’ Sake! Smart Tips for Housetraining Your Puppy

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2. Washing pets’ things before the move

Familiar smells ease pets’ anxiety, Ellis and Delgado say. It may seem like a good idea to wash your pets’ belongings or buy them new things before a move for a fresh start, but don’t.

Beds, blankets, toys, litter boxes, and food and water bowls bring the scent of the old home into the new one, and this substantially reduces pets’ stress and helps them adjust, they say.

Delgado also suggests not packing pets’ items until the last minute, so they’ll feel at home while you’re preparing to move.

3. Not keeping an eye on them in their new environment

Once you’ve moved, Ellis recommends watching your pets closely as they explore their new place—and checking (inside and outside) for possible escape routes. For instance, even if your new house has a fence, “Dogs can jump higher than we are often aware, so keeping them company outside is always safest,” she says.

She also suggests walking them around the neighborhood one step at a time to ease them into new sights and sounds, which can be overwhelming.

Another tip: Introduce yourself and your pet to neighbors. Give your number to neighbors and explain that your pets are still adjusting to a new place, so if they’re barking too much, neighbors can politely tell you.

4. Changing their setup too much

For cats, “Home turf is everything,” Delgado says. Cats are territorial and feel safest in familiar spaces; moving can cause unusual behavior, such as hiding, fearfulness, and being more vocal. Setting up a “safe room” with your cats’ necessary and favorite things for the first few hours, days, or even weeks helps them adjust.

Once cats get comfortable and are acting like their normal selves, they can be free to explore the rest of the house, Delgado says.

Ellis recommends arranging beds, crates, and toys as close to the old setup as possible. Giving dogs a sense of familiarity with where their stuff is located makes them feel more at home.

This is a tip I found online that seemed to work for us. We placed our dogs’ beds next to the couch in the living room of the new home, similar to where they had been in the old home, and put their water bowl in a similar spot in the kitchen. I also didn’t wash their favorite blankets and bedcovers before we moved, even though it was tempting.

5. Changing your pets’ routine

Routines are important for both dogs and cats, so sticking to regular feeding schedules, walk times, play activities, and other familiar tasks creates stability.

“They really rely on their favorite blankets, beds, and scratching posts to feel safe, and routine is very important to cats,” Delgado says.

Our dogs love their routine. They wake up at 6 a.m. every morning, ready to go outside to use the bathroom and then have breakfast. We kept up this schedule in the new house.

The bottom line is that settling pets into a new place will take time. How much depends on the individual animal, the pet experts say. Ellis urges pet parents to have medical records, microchip numbers, and current photos on hand, in case a pet gets lost.

Pets may show signs of stress and anxiety for several days, but there should be signs of improvement, Delgado says. If not, or if pets aren’t eating, call the vet.

The post 5 Dire Mistakes People Make Moving Their Pets to a New Place appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

Source: realtor.com

Pets

How to Cope with Money Worries: Advice from a Psychologist

Money troubles can be difficult to talk about because they stir up intense emotions, such as guilt, anxiety, and fear. But they’re too important to ignore for both your financial and mental health.

Whether you have a friend or family member dealing with a financial problem or your own money challenges, it’s a sensitive topic. I interviewed Dr. Jade Wu, a clinical psychologist specializing in health psychology, for tips to help manage money worries. Jade also hosts QDT's Savvy Psychologist podcast, where she uses evidence-based research to helps listeners be happier and healthier.

On the Money Girl podcast, Jade and I discuss a variety of topics, including:

  • How to use empathy and open-ended questions in financial discussions
  • The importance of creating a safe space when talking about money
  • Why accomplishing a small financial step is a worthy goal
  • How to evaluate your own emotions before starting a money conversation
  • Whether you’re helping or enabling someone by lending money
  • How to ask others for financial help when you need it
  • Tips to get better sleep even when you're worried about money

[Listen to the interview using the embedded audio player or on Apple PodcastsSoundCloudStitcher, and Spotify]

When the worry window closes, do your best to move on with your day and stop worrying.

One of my favorite tips that Jade recommends is to use a “worry window”—giving yourself a set time, such as 30 minutes each day, when you allow yourself to dwell on your money problems. When the worry window closes, do your best to move on with your day and stop worrying. 

It’s also helpful to have a list of financial worries that are and are not in your control. When you fixate on something that’s not in your control, such as the pandemic or economy, shift your focus to something you can control. That might be making an appointment with a financial advisor, creating a financial plan, or looking for a new job. Creating solutions to your problems or getting expert advice is the key to solving them.

While you might have a lot to be concerned about, acknowledge that many worries simply aren't in your control. Putting boundaries around your worry and turning your attention to actionable solutions will help you improve your financial life and overall well-being.  

Source: quickanddirtytips.com

Investing, Pets

Who invented the index fund? A brief (true) history of index funds

Pop quiz! If I asked you, “Who invented the index fund?” what would your answer be? I’ll bet most of you don’t know and don’t care. But those who do care would probably answer, “John Bogle, founder of The Vanguard Group.” And that’s what I would have answered too until a few weeks ago.

But, it turns out, this answer is false.

Yes, Bogle founded the first publicly-available index fund. And yes, Bogle is responsible for popularizing and promoting index funds as the “common sense” investment answer for the average person. For this, he deserves much praise.

But Bogle did not invent index funds. In fact, for a long time he was opposed to the very idea of them!

John Bogle did not invent index funds

Recently, while writing the investing lesson for my upcoming Audible course about the basics of financial independence, I found myself deep down a rabbit hole. What started as a simple Google search to verify that Bogle was indeed the creator of index funds led me to a “secret history” of which I’d been completely unaware.

In this article, I’ve done my best to assemble the bits and pieces I discovered while tracking down the origins of index funds. I’m sure I’ve made some mistakes here. (If you spot an error or know of additional info that should be included, drop me a line.)

Here then, is a brief history of index funds.

What are index funds? An index fund is a low-cost, low-maintenance mutual fund designed to follow the price fluctuations of a stock-market index, such as the S&P 500. They’re an excellent choice for the average investor.

The Case for an Unmanaged Investment Company

In the January 1960 issue of the Financial Analysts Journal, Edward Renshaw and Paul Feldstein published an article entitled, “The Case for an Unmanaged Investment Company.”

The case for an unmanaged investment company

Here’s how the paper began:

“The problem of choice and supervision which originally created a need for investment companies has so mushroomed these institutions that today a case can be made for creating a new investment institution, what we have chosen to call an “unmanaged investment company” — in other words a company dedicated to the task of following a representative average.”

The fundamental problem facing individual investors in 1960 was that there were too many mutual-fund companies: over 250 of them. “Given so much choice,” the authors wrote, “it does not seem likely that the inexperienced investor or the person who lacks time and information to supervise his own portfolio will be any better able to choose a better than average portfolio of investment company stocks.”

Mutual funds (or “investment companies”) were created to make things easier for average people like you and me. They provided easy diversification, simplifying the entire investment process. Individual investors no longer had to build a portfolio of stocks. They could buy mutual fund shares instead, and the mutual-fund manager would take care of everything else. So convenient!

But with 250 funds to choose from in 1960, the paradox of choice was rearing its head once more. How could the average person know which fund to buy?

When this paper was published in 1960, there were approximately 250 mutual funds for investors to choose from. Today, there are nearly 10,000.

The solution suggested in this paper was an “unmanaged investment company”, one that didn’t try to beat the market but only tried to match it. “While investing in the Dow Jones Industrial average, for instance, would mean foregoing the possibility of doing better than average,” the authors wrote, “it would also mean tha the investor would be assured of never doing significantly worse.”

The paper also pointed out that an unmanaged fund would offer other benefits, including lower costs and psychological comfort.

The authors’ conclusion will sound familiar to anyone who has ever read an article or book praising the virtues of index funds.

“The evidence presented in this paper supports the view that the average investors in investment companies would be better off if a representative market average were followed. The perplexing question that must be raised is why has the unmanaged investment company not come into being?”

The Case for Mutual Fund Management

With the benefit of hindsight, we know that Renshaw and Feldstein were prescient. They were on to something. At the time, though, their idea seemed far-fetched. Rebuttals weren’t long in coming.

The May 1960 issue of the Financial Analysts Journal included a counter-point from John B. Armstrong, “the pen-name of a man who has spent many years in the security field and in the study and analysis of mutual funds.” Armstrong’s article — entitled “The Case for Mutual Fund Management” argued vehemently against the notion of unmanaged investment companies.

The case for mutual fund management

“Market averages can be a dangerous instrument for evaluating investment management results,” Armstrong wrote.

What’s more, he said, even if we were to grant the premise of the earlier paper — which he wasn’t prepared to do — “this argument appears to be fallacious on practical grounds.” The bookkeeping and logistics for maintaining an unmanaged mutual fund would be a nightmare. The costs would be high. And besides, the technology (in 1960) to run such a fund didn’t exist.

And besides, Armstrong said, “the idea of an ‘unmanaged fund’ has been tried before, and found unsuccessful.” In the early 1930s, a type of proto-index fund was popular for a short time (accounting for 80% of all mutual fund investments in 1931!) before being abandoned as “undesirable”.

“The careful and prudent Financial Analyst, moreover, realizes full well that investing is an art — not a science,” Armstrong concluded. For this reason — and many others — individual investors should be confident to buy into managed mutual funds.

So, just who was the author of this piece? Who was John B. Armstrong? His real name was John Bogle, and he was an assistant manager for Wellington Management Company. Bogle’s article was nominated for industry awards in 1960. People loved it.

The Secret History of Index Funds

Bogle may not have liked the idea of unmanaged investment companies, but other people did. A handful of visionaries saw the promise — but they couldn’t see how to put that promise into action. In his Investment News article about the secret history of index mutual funds, Stephen Mihm describes how the dream of an unmanaged fund became reality.

In 1964, mechanical engineer John Andrew McQuown took a job with Wells Fargo heading up the “Investment Decision Making Project”, an attempt to apply scientific principles to investing. (Remember: Just four years earlier, Bogle had written that “investing is an art — not a science”.) McQuown and his team — which included a slew of folks now famous in investing circles — spent years trying to puzzle out the science of investing. But they kept reaching dead ends.

After six years of work, the team’s biggest insight was this: Not a single professional portfolio manager could consistently beat the S&P 500.

Mihm writes:

As Mr. McQuown’s team hammered out ways of tracking the index without incurring heavy fees, another University of Chicago professor, Keith Shwayder, approached the team at Wells Fargo in the hopes they could create a portfolio that tracked the entire market. This wasn’t academic: Mr. Shwayder was part of the family that owned Samsonite Luggage, and he wanted to put $6 million of the company’s pension assets in a new index fund.

This was 1971. At first, the team at Wells Fargo crafted a fund that tracked all stocks traded on the New York Stock Exchange. This proved impractical — “a nightmare,” one team member later recalled — and eventually they created a fund that simply tracked the Standard & Poor’s 500. Two other institutional index funds popped up around this time: Batterymarch Financial Management; American National Bank. These other companies helped promote the idea of sampling: holding a selection of representative stocks in a particular index rather than every single stock.

Much to the surprise and dismay of skeptics, these early index funds worked. They did what they were designed to do. Big institutional investors such as Ford, Exxon, and AT&T began shifting pension money to index funds. But despite their promise, these new funds remained inaccessible to the average investor.

In the meantime, John Bogle had become even more enmeshed in the world of active fund management.

In a Forbes article about John Bogle’s epiphany, Rick Ferri writes that during the 1960s, Bogle bought into Go-Go investing, the aggressive pursuit of outsized gains. Eventually, he was promoted to CEO of Wellington Management as he led the company’s quest to make money through active trading.

The boom years soon passed, however, and the market sank into recession. Bogle lost his power and his position. He convinced Wellington Management to form a new company — The Vanguard Group — to handle day-to-day administrative tasks for the larger firm. In the beginning, Vanguard was explicitly not allowed to get into the mutual fund game.

About this time, Bogle dug deeper into unmanaged funds. He started to question his assumptions about the value of active management.

During the fifteen years since he’d argued “the case for mutual fund management”, Bogle had been an ardent, active fund manager. But in the mid-1970s, as he started Vanguard, he was analyzing mutual fund performance, and he came to the realization that “active funds underperformed the S&P 500 index on an average pre-tax margin by 1.5 percent. He also found that this shortfall was virtually identical to the costs incurred by fund investors during that period.”

This was Bogle’s a-ha moment.

Although Vanguard wasn’t allowed to manage its own mutual fund, Bogle found a loophole. He convinced the Wellington board to allow him to create an index fund, one that would be managed by an outside group of firms. On 31 December 1975, paperwork was filed with the S.E.C. to create the Vanguard First Index Investment Trust. Eight months later, on 31 August 1976, the world’s first public index fund was launched.

Bogle’s Folly

At the time, most investment professionals believed index funds were a foolish mistake. In fact, the First Index Investment Trust was derisively called “Bogle’s folly”. Nearly fifty years of history have proven otherwise. Warren Buffett – perhaps the world’s greatest investor – once said, “If a statue is ever erected to honor the person who has done the most for American investors, the hands-down choice should be Jack Bogle.”

In reality, Bogle’s folly was ignoring the idea of index funds — even arguing against the idea — for fifteen years. (In another article for Forbes, Rick Ferri interviewed Bogle about what he was thinking back then.)

Now, it’s perfectly possible that this “secret history” isn’t so secret, that it’s well-known among educated investors. Perhaps I’ve simply been blind to this info. It’s certainly true that I haven’t read any of Bogle’s books, so maybe he wrote about this and I simply missed it. But I don’t think so.

I do know this, however: On blogs and in the mass media, Bogle is usually touted as the “inventor” of index funds, and that simply isn’t true. That’s too bad. I think the facts — “Bogle opposed index funds, then became their greatest champion” — are more compelling than the apocryphal stories we keep parroting.

Note: I don’t doubt that I have some errors in this piece — and that I’ve left things out. If you have corrections, please let me know so that I can revise the article accordingly.

Source: getrichslowly.org