Family Fitness Fun!

Getting fit as a family can be fun and exciting!

Today is Family Health & Fitness Day, and in an effort to achieve healthier lifestyles, here are 10 ways your family can get fit together, courtesy about.com:

1. Make it a friendly competition. Some kids (and adults!) are inspired by the chance to strut their stuff and prove their prowess. Turn walks into races or backyard ball-tossing into real games with score-keeping. Make a dance party into an American Idol-styled event with points awarded for the best moves. Who in your family can take the most steps in a day, do the most push-ups, or twist into the most complicated yoga pose? You might be surprised! Do keep your child’s temperament in mind, though; this strategy will backfire with kids who are sensitive about their abilities, or who simply don’t care about winners and losers.)

2. Step up to the silly factor. If you’re dancing, go all out with crazy costumes and crazier moves. If you’re taking a family walk, tell jokes or sing goofy songs as you go. If someone needs a new winter hat, pick up one of those funny fleeces that makes the wearer look like a court jester or a spiky-headed dinosaur. Who wouldn’t want an excuse to go outside in a get-up like that?

3. Hip hip, hooray for fitness fun! Make up a family cheer and perform it whenever someone achieves a fitness-related goal. Too dorky? The point is to support each other and celebrate wins big and small. And that includes mom’s and dad’s successes, too. If parents run in a race or make a great out at a softball game, play it up!

4. Be newbies together. As a family, choose a new sport and learn it together. Martial arts, horseback riding, and dance are especially well-suited to varying ages and skill levels. Or teach each other your favorite fitness activities. Kids love to reverse roles and be the instructor. Set aside a family workout time once or twice a week and take turns taking the lead!

5. Get a pet. If you have a dog, or are considering one, these family members provide a real reminder and encouraging reason to get up and move every day. Many cats and rabbits enjoy some active playtime too.

6. Do it for a good cause. Especially if your family has been personally affected by a particular issue, a run, walk, or even a car wash that benefits a beloved charity can provide just the inspiration you need for some family physical activity. Plus, you can’t beat the extra feel-good message you’re sharing with your kids.

7. Gather a group for fitness fun. Sure, you love spending time together as a family – but mixing it up a bit can be motivating too. Plan an active outing (i.e. swimming, biking, sledding, etc.) with another family. Team up to walk to school together. Invite a few of your child’s pals over for a backyard ball game or trip to the playground. Activity loves company!

8. Treat yourself to a toy. Yes, you can get plenty of physical activity with free or affordable equipment – or none at all – but a special new toy or game is a gift that keeps on giving. Next time you’re shopping for a birthday or holiday present, pick up one that encourages activity.

9. Go thematic. Take a cue from teachers and build a whole “unit” around your child’s favorite activity, sport, or athlete. Devote an afternoon to basketball, say, with themed crafts, foods, books, and of course, active games. Plan it the way you would a birthday party – only without all the extra guests!

10. Go outside. If all else fails, kick everyone out of the house and wait for inspiration to strike. You’re much more likely to find it outdoors than in.

And The Nominees Are…

Ernst & Haas Supervisors (left to right) Sal Lopez, Jaime Martin, Jeannine Riley, and Lorenzo Alatorre were all nominated for the Apartment Association's Property Manager of the Year!

On Tuesday, the Ernst & Haas staff attended the Apartment Association’s annual recognition breakfast and trade show, which featured hundreds of vendors and numerous seminars relating to property management, at the Long Beach Convention Center.

At the recognition breakfast, Property Supervisors Sal Lopez, Jaime Martin, Jeannine Riley, and Lorenzo Alatorre were nominated for Property Manager of the Year, each receiving medals of appreciation.

Also attending the recognition breakfast was Office Manager Mia Renteria, Accounts Receivable Melissa Camacho, and Property Supervisors Frank Figueroa and Luis Hernandez.

Congratulations to all our nominees! Keep up the good work!

FREE Fresh&Easy Barbecue

Fresh&Easy will be hosting a free barbecue tomorrow from 5-7 p.m.

Fresh&Easy, located at Atlantic Ave. and 33rd St. in Long Beach, will host a FREE barbecue tomorrow, September 16 from 5-7 p.m.

In addition to award-winning grill master Bigmista dishing out free Fresh&Easy barbecued items, raffles and giveaways will also take place.

Credit Crazies

Like most other property management firms, Ernst & Haas has its own set of criteria that applicants must meet in order to become one of our tenants. In addition to an applicant having no evictions on their rental history, and their monthly income being two-and-a-half times the monthly rent, we also ask that their credit score be at least 580 in order for their application to be considered.

Unfortunately, it’s very common for an applicant that has a clean rental record and a decent monthly income to not qualify due to low credit. “But I don’t understand, I pay my bills on time!” and “I don’t have high balances on my credit cards! Why is my credit so low?” are common reactions we receive here at the office.

According to www.bankrate.com, most people are well aware that items such as bankruptcies, foreclosures, and late and missed payments are some major ways to lower a person’s credit score. But most people aren’t aware of the less dramatic items that can scare lenders – and lower one’s credit. Here are 6 small, but very influential items that can affect your credit greatly:

1. Multiplying Lines of Credit: Opening one new card is normal. Opening three in a short amount of time, however, could signal something bad is going on in your financial life. The one thing issuers don’t want to see is that you’re asking everyone in town to lend you money.

2. A Housing Short Sale: “People are told short sales won’t hurt their credit, said Maxine Sweet, vice president of public education for credit bureau Experian. “But there is no such thing as a ‘short sale’ in terms of how the sale is reported to us. The way the account is closed out is that it is settled for a lesser amount than you agreed to pay originally. The status is ‘settled’ and it’s just as negative as a foreclosure.”

It’s advised that you negotiate so the lender doesn’t report the difference between your mortgage and what you repaid as “balance owed” on your credit report. Your credit score will take a hit, but this action will help soften the blow.

3. Someone Else’s Debt: Here’s something you might not know – when you co-sign to help someone else get a loan or credit card, that entire debt goes on your credit report. While the fact you’ve co-signed is neither good nor bad, it does mean that as far as the lender is concerned, you’re carrying that debt yourself. And it will be included in your existing debt load when you apply for a home mortgage, credit card, or any other form of credit. Oh, and if that person  you co-signed for stops paying, pays late, or misses payments, that bad behavior will likely show up on your credit report.

4. Minimum Payment: While creditors make money when you carry a balance, lenders who view your credit report don’t like to see you paying just the minimums. Paying minimums month after month suggests you’re under financial stress and that you can’t pay off the full balance. Your current and future lenders will see that as a giant red stop sign when it comes to granting additional credit.

5. A Lot of Inquiries: This is similar to soliciting a lot of new credit. When lending standards tightened, a lot of borrowers, especially subprime borrowers, were having trouble getting credit. That meant they had to apply multiple times to try and get what they wanted. Every time you allow a potential lender to pull your credit report, your score can take a small hit. The exact impact varies with the consumer, the score, and the number of inquiries.

6. Cash Advances: Cash advances in many cases indicate desperation. Usually, people don’t take out cash advances against a credit card because they want money sitting in the bank. Cash advances hurt in two major ways: First, the cash advance is immediately added to your debt balance, which lowers your available credit and can lower your credit score. Second, large card issuers regularly re-evaluate their customer’s behavior, meaning they pull your credit report, the FICO score, and your account history. And obviously your account history will show any cash advances and could potential affect your current standing with any given lender.

Protecting your credit and keeping your credit at a decent score may seem impossible, but it’s worth trying because once you put a dent in your score, it’s like trying to glue together a shattered China plate – it will never be the same again. Be responsible with your money and your credit usage and you’ll be on the right track!

We Will Never Forget

This Sunday marks the 10-year anniversary of September 11, 2001 and we can’t believe a decade has come and gone.

Putting politics and conspiracy theories aside, the events that took place that day forever changed our country. Most of us remember where we were and what we were doing that morning, and can recount it as if it happened yesterday. For some of us, September 11, 2001 was a day of sadness, disbelief, fear, and anger. Many of us watched as plane after plane plowed into various buildings, instantly killing those on board, as well as those in the buildings. Many of us couldn’t believe what we were watching, questioning who could be behind such violent acts. Many of us, for the first time in our lives, didn’t feel safe, and felt as though our very homes were under attack. And many of us immediately wanted justice and revenge on those that planned and played out the day’s events.

In the days and months following September 11, we heard powerful stories of heroes risking their lives to save others – whether it was trying to take down a plane’s hijackers, or running into a collapsing building. We heard personal stories of the last phone calls and emails family members and friends received from those whose lives were taken that day. And we saw images plastered on billboards, newspapers, and magazines reminding the world that “We Will Never Forget.”

What a bold statement – “We Will Never Forget.” But it’s been 10 years, and we haven’t forgotten. And even though it may not hurt nearly as bad as it did 10 years ago, September 11 will always have a bitter ring to it, a sting that reaches deep to the core.

This September 11, as we remember what took place 10 years ago, may you take some time to honor those that were lost and those that continue to fight for our freedom and safety.

A Historical Celebration

Labor Day is one of America’s most celebrated holidays. Just like the Fourth of July and Memorial Day, Labor Day also brings strong feelings of patriotism and well, lots of really good barbecued food!

Labor Day, which is observed the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It’s essentially an annual tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

There’s much debate, however, as to the origin of Labor Day. Some say Peter J. McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and co-founder of the American Federation of Labor, was first in suggesting a day to honor workers. Some, on the other hand, say that Matthew Maquire, later the secretary of Local 344 of the International Association of Machinists, proposed the holiday in 1882 while serving as a secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York. Regardless of who started the holiday, both men were on the same track in wanting to honor those that labor for our country.

The first Labor Day was observed on Tuesday, September 5, 1882 in New York City, in accordance with the plans of the Central Labor Union. In 1884, the first Monday in September was selected as  the selected holiday, as was originally proposed.

The form that the observance and celebration of Labor Day should take were outlined in the first proposal of the holiday – a street parade to exhibit to the public “the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations” of the community, followed by a festival for the recreation and amusement of the workers and their families. This became the pattern for celebrations of Labor Day. Speeches by prominent men and women were later introduced, as more emphasis was placed upon the economic and civic significance of the holiday.

The basis in which we celebrate Labor Day has changed drastically over the years, but what is celebrated still remains the same – the American worker. No matter how you choose to celebrate this year, we hope you celebrate responsibly and in a way that brings much rest and relaxation.

Ernst & Haas Management Co. will be closed Monday, September 5 in observance of Labor Day.

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