Tip of the Day

This page was updated on November 8, 2021.

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August 14, 2021

Recently I was consulting with some people who wanted to buy a home, but they were in a unique financial situation - new small business owners, not long history of income, no downpayment available, etc.  I gave them some names of trusted lenders and sent them on their way.  Well, they came back to me and were completely confused - information from all the lenders was conflicting - some was helpful to their situation, some was not.

I asked a very knowledgeable real estate broker friend who told me that a lot has changed in the mortgage lending world in the past several years and what it boils down to pretty much are the policies and procedures at each individual mortgage lender.  Sure, there are some standard practices and terms that all are required by law to follow, but much of it depends on the individual lender.

Bottom line:  If you want to buy a home, be sure to shop around multiple lenders to see who will not only give you the best rate, but the best terms for your mortgage.  Also, mortgage lending is constantly changing, so it is very important that you find an experienced and knowledgeable lender - I would estimate someone (and their company) who has been in the business continuously for at least 10 years and has multiple excellent ratings/reviews from their clients.

If ever in doubt, contact a real estate attorney for assistance.



May 29, 2021


Recently I had a friend who contacted me for assistance getting a warranty claim honored on a popular brand name, flat-screen TV she'd purchased about 4 months prior from the local (big-name national) electronics store.  Unfortunately, the 30-day store return policy was no longer in effect, but she contacted the store anyway and they said she would have to coordinate the replacement through the manufacturer.  She kept getting the usual customer-no-service runaround from the manufacturer for weeks and the local store refused to let her speak with a manger for assistance.  I suggested she contact one of our colleagues at the state Attorney General's Consumer Protection office for assistance, but by that time, the manufacturer finally coughed up a warranty replacement authorization letter and she was good to go, but not after over a month of back-and-forth and headaches.

So the question here is, should she have purchased one of those no-questions-asked extended warranties?  Well, that depends.  

In general, if an electronic device is going to go out on you, it will usually do so within a store's return policy window.  Problem solved in such cases.  In all other cases, you have to deal with the manufacturer and rarely is customer service high on their list of priorities, sad to say.  My opinion is if all your documentation is in order and you have followed their return/replacement process, if they don't respond with a solution within a reasonable amount of time, usually 2 weeks, I'm turning it over to the AG's office.  A letter from the AG almost always pulls the chair right out from under those customer-no-service slugs and they snap to!  Read more about enlisting the assistance of the AG's office below under:  HOW TO GET YOUR CONSUMER PROBLEM/ISSUE RESOLVED QUICKLY

Okay, I understand that everyone's time is valuable and time well-spent is money and who wants to go through the hassles described above if a simple thing like an extended warranty would've solved the problem quickly and easily.  I would generally agree, but as most of us know, those extended warranties are ridiculously and unnecessarily expensive, sometimes 30% or even more of the item's purchase price!!!  They are almost pure profit for the retailer since most electronics fail out-of-the-box or within the store's return policy time frame.  So what do you do??  

Well, some credit cards extend or double an item's warranty if purchased with that card and they make it sound like a really good deal, but once you read the mouseprint, there are a lot of stipulations involved and again, you'll be dealing with some unknown entity in who knows what country to get your issue resolved.  Renowned consumer advocate Clark Howard has a good article about this here.

Consider purchasing your item at one of the membership clubs like Sam's or Costco.  I've found that most of their extended warranty plans are more reasonably priced and the in-store customer service is generally better than a regular retail store (since you're paying to be a member) and you can almost always find the GM out on the floor somewhere and can bend his ear if his people aren't helping you.

If you're not a member of either one of those, consider investing in a membership - I think you will find it useful and cost efficient in the long run.  I've been a member of Sam's for 35 years and I must say, they have been unbelievably generous and helpful with their product and manpower donations to a couple of local charities with which I'm involved.  Ditto for Walmart.  I've only been a member of Costco for 3 years, but so far, their customer service has been great and I like their store and product offerings.



UPDATED May 29, 2021

Ok, fellow agents, I want to address advertising, pictures and roofs.  Even in this blistering hot market, you STILL NEED TO POST PICTURES OF THE HOUSE on the MLS, even if it is empty.  Yeah, this should be a no-brainer, but as I've been searching for a house, I've been shocked by the number of houses that had no or only a handful of very unprofessional pictures.  Of course, if I can't see what  house looks like on the inside, I am going to wonder:

  1. Is the agent too lazy to take pictures?
  2. Is the agent too technically incompetent to take and post pictures?
  3. Is there something wrong with the house that the agent/owner doesn't want the public to see?

And then I'm going to pass on that house and move on to the next one.  Of course, all those questions lead to other, follow-on questions/assumptions and none of them are good.  

If you do take pictures, make sure they are:

  1. Professionally done or at least professional-looking, meaning they are:
  2. In focus
  3. Level
  4. Square
  5. Not cut off
  6. Filtering adjusted to reflect correct lighting, i.e., not over-yellow
  7. Showing ALL aspects of the inside AND outside of the house (and that includes the garage and porch!!).

Okay, regarding roofs:  I know agents aren't supposed to be experts on materials, workmanship, plumbing, electrical, foundations, etc., but here's something you really should know:  Is the roof a Class 4 roof, when was it installed, and is there paperwork to prove it?  Why?  Because a Class 4 roof can mean a significant discount on your home's insurance premium.  Recently my State Farm agent asked me that question and informed me that a Class 4 roof is worth a 36% (yes, thirty six percent) discount!!  How great a selling point do you think that would be??

C'mon, it's not hard - familiarize yourself with the RPCD form and KNOW YOUR PRODUCT!!!



April 19, 2021

If you listen to the radio or watch TV, you see adds with big, high-profile celebrities telling you that you need to buy gold an silver as hedges against currency inflation, civil unrest, etc., etc.  Well, I fell into that trap decades ago and bought some very pricey, investment grade (aka numismatic or collectable) coins.  20 years later I decided to sell them and you how much profit I made?  0%   Actually, I lost money due to inflation.  Yep, even though the price of gold per ounce was the same as when I purchased the coins, they had not gained in value at all.  Meanwhile, investments made in the stock market had done significantly better. 

Now, my point here is not to necessarily focus on value, even though that is a factor.  What I want you to ask yourself, is once you buy these things, how are you going to liquidate them if you suddenly need the cash (greenbacks)?  Sure, there a lot of places around that buy gold and silver, but do you really think they will give you what you paid for them, especially if the price of gold or silver per ounce is less than what it was when you bought the coins?  

And another thing, if society and our monetary system does collapse to the point where gold and silver will be the only currency, do you really want to be walking around with those items in your pocket and trying to barter with them for food, supplies, etc.??  No, if things are that bad, people aren't going to care about gold or silver - the currency of choice will be cans of soup, bottles of water, bags of beans and rice, bullets and firearms.

So, if you must invest in precious metals for crises purposes, I would suggest you consider small denomination silver coins that are not numismatic (collectible).



March 6, 2021

Thanks to New York Gov. Cuomo (D) and some other governors and their debacles with nursing homes, this issue now has national attention.

The best way for me to relate this issue to you is via a personal story:

The daughter of a long-time senior estate management client of mine recently moved her mom to her home state so they could be closer together.  She found her mom a very nice apartment at a very nice assisted living community only about 1 mile from her place.  Of course, as in most states, because of Covid, the daughter was not allowed into the building to visit her mom, check up on her, verify that she was being properly cared for, eating well, etc., etc.  Even though the community was one of the nicest and most expensive in the area, the daughter repeatedly had difficulty getting the staff to respond to her calls, questions, etc.  (Even during non-Covid times, that is not unusual).  The mother, who had mild-to-medium cognitive impairment, (mostly short term memory loss) wasn't a reliable source of feedback, either.  So, the daughter had to hire a 3rd party "sitter," who was allowed into the community to assist her mom and provide her (the daughter) with intel reports.

Flash forward a couple of months and sadly, Mom became ill and was hospitalized for a while then released to a skilled nursing facility (SNF) for rehab.  The daughter's problems getting feedback from that facility, and even the attending physician, were even worse, to the point she finally called me for advice.  In this situation, her mom's care was being paid for by Medicare while she was in the SNF, so that took the hospice option off the table.  After some thought and consulting with my expert on this issue, here's what we told the daughter:

  1. Depending upon the facility's policies, you may be able to get a sitter in there to evaluate and report on the situation.
  2. Since the mother's health is clearly declining, the daughter should inquire about "compassionate care" visits - most places allow that, but that is dependent upon the respective governmental oversight authority's and the facility's rules and regulations.  In most jurisdictions, the city/county/state departments of health have oversight over assisted living and nursing home communities.
  3. If neither of those are options, she should contact the respective county's areawide aging agency and ask to speak with the ombudsman who is assigned to that facility.  Most facilities are required to prominently and publicly display the ombudsman's contact information.
  4. Concurrently, she should contact the governmental oversight authority, explain her situation and inquire about the options available to her.  (Never assume an LTC community is telling you the truth about anything - sorry to be so cynical here.)
  5. Call any hospice provider and ask them to go evaluate the mother - they are at least able to do that and are generally very happy to do so because that business is very competitive and they are always looking for clients.  [Sidebar:  Hospice is a great option for such situations and contrary to popular belief, you don't need to be knocking on death's door to enlist their services.  Another client of mine was on it for 15 months and they were extremely helpful.  Hospice services are usually operated by private companies, hence the competition, but are 100% paid for my Medicare.  Hospice services must be ordered by a doctor and the patient's need for their services must be periodically re-assessed and the doctor's order renewed.  However, only about 50% of hospice's annual funding is used and this is because the public either doesn't know about hospice and their services, are not told about it by healthcare "professionals" or just don't really understand hospice's mission.]
  6. The final option would be to arrange for 24/7 sitters, get a doctor to approve her discharge from the SNF, get hospice involved immediately and move her back to her apartment at the assisted living.   With the hospice involved, sitters and in-house therapy, the mother would get the best care and the daughter would have significantly more control over the situation.  Obviously, all this would have to be coordinated  with both the SNF and assisted living communities, their respective staffs and their respective discharge and intake personnel, Medicare and the hospice provider of choice.  Yes, that's a tall order, but it can be done - you just have to keep after them to get the paperwork completed and even in some cases, you will have to hover over them to get it done and may have to hand deliver some of the paperwork yourself to the involved parties.  (Tip:  I've had many of them use the excuse, "Well, I faxed to to them" and then the recipient say, "Well, I never got it."  Ugh!  Who knows who's telling the truth??  It can get so frustrating because there is no ownership or follow-up by anyone.  Basically, they just don't care about you or your loved one, sad to say.  Yep, I've had to hand-walk the paperwork myself because some of the staff is that incompetent and lazy.)  For hospice provider suggestions, I would ask the assisted living community whom they recommend.  They usually have a couple of providers with whom they work closely and prefer and probably also know the ones who aren't as good, but the final decision is always up to the family -the facility cannot deny your access to your chosen hospice provider.  And, this option would also be enormously expensive - with the private sitters, her monthly rent and additional, private therapy, I estimated around $25,000 per month.  Yes, that's correct.  However, if she improved, the sitter hours and therapy sessions could potentially be scaled back, as necessary.

If you are facing a long-term care need, please see my "Long Term Care from the Inside Out " report on the Publications page of this website.  Two points I would like to reinforce here:

  • Anyone in an LTC community needs an advocate - spouse, family member, private senior case manager, guardian, etc., to check on their welfare no less and 3 times per week.
  • Fancy, new and expensive doesn't necessarily translate into better care from any aspect. 



March 6, 2021

The quick answer is a definitive 'NO.'  A friend recently got a new iPhone 12 Pro Max, a very nice piece of technology to be sure,.... and she was showing me how fast 5G was.  Yes, it was impressive!  I had been operating on a iPhone 7 for over 4 years and even though the battery was still at 94%, it was having other problems, so I broke down and bought an iPhone 12 Pro.  I hated to lay out all that money, but since I use it for business, I can partially write it off.  But it had a problem - I couldn't get the 5G indicator no matter where I went.  I went over to my friend's house and she had 5G, but I still couldn't get it on my phone.  After a little more digging, I found out why - my AT&T (hate to admit I patronize that company) cellular plan did not include 5G, but I could get it if I wanted to pay an additional $20 or so per month.  REALLY???  As if they don't soak me enough as it is....  So I gave it some thought and realized that I really don't need 5G or unlimited data.  Anytime I need to download larger files, I'm usually near a wi-fi signal and can do it over that route.  Think about it - just about any restaurant or store you go to has a public/guest wi-fi available, so why pay extra for 5G?  

Now I'm sure you are raising the public wi-fi security question, as well you should.  Anyone today should be using a PAID (not free) VPN for all their Internet activity, no matter where you are.  If you don't know what a VPN is, just search for info and explanatory videos.  A VPN provides and extra layer of security for your Internet activities.  You should never, ever, login to a public wi-fi network without first enabling the VPN.  (I leave mine on all the time, even when accessing the Internet over cellular.)  Even at home over a wired Internet connection I would say it is a good idea to enable your VPN - there are other reasons for this.  Some better ones are Express VPN, Nord VPN, Norton VPN, etc.



UPDATED:  September 6, 2021

All right all you corporate weenie managers and personnel (HR) bean counters, here's the scoop from the business high priest of the church of the painful truth:

Even with unemployment at around 7-8% and the Covid pandemic still looming large, a lot of businesses (mostly service-related) are having serious difficulty finding people to fill open positions at their businesses.  I know this because I get out and about quite a bit and talk to business owners and my company helps fill open positions, when needed, and I have very high demand right now.

Here are your two reasons for the labor shortage:  Government stimulus money and inflation.

First, government stimulus money.  It's really this simple:  As long as the government keeps extending unemployment benefits and sending out additional payments of hundreds of dollars weekly ad infinitum (look it up publik skool grajeeats), people are not going to look for work if they are making more money by sitting on their lazy arses collecting gubbment checks than they would if they were working a regular job.  Are you listening you dim bulb politicians??

Second, inflation.  If you were paying attention in your 10th grade government/civics class, you would remember that you cannot get out of debt by printing more money, in fact, that only makes matters worse as it causes inflation and devalues the dollar.  In other words,  the purchasing power of your dollar becomes less.  Consider that to have the same purchasing power $100 had in 1913, you would have to have around $2,700 today.  Think about that.  With the government continuing to rack up TRILLIONS of dollars of debt per year, it's only going to get worse.

Why the Dollar Is Worth So Much Less Than It Used to Be

Now, a lot of companies base what they pay their employees on wage studies for similar jobs in their respective areas.  That's nice, but those models are lagging indicators and do not reflect real-time or real life economic activity.  For example, as of June 28, 2021, the cost of gasoline has gone up almost 48% (90 cents per gallon in my area) since the 2020 general election, where Biden obtained the Presidency and on his first days in office signed executive orders and other documents that is having a very deleterious effect on jobs in that industry, our domestic energy production and energy independence that Trump, like him or not, for the first time ever in America history, achieved through his energy policies.  Even though promising NOT to raise taxes on the middle and lower classes, Biden's policies that have caused our energy prices to go up is essentially a de facto tax increase on the entire population because it causes the prices of just about everything to go up because getting goods to market is dependent upon transportation and transportation costs have gone up 48% and who do manufacturers and transportation companies pass those increased expenses along to?  You guessed it, you, the end-line consumer.  Sorry, but I needed to digress there to make an important point.

So what do you do?  Simple, PAY YOUR EMPLOYEES MORE!!  Yeah, I know no employer wants to hear that and who wants to compete with the federal government's printing presses??  Who can??  Well, speaking from experience, if you want to attract and retain good, dependable and loyal employees, you are going to have to pay 30 - 35% more than the prevailing wage for that position AND offer a very attractive package of benefits at very little or no out-of-pocket cost to the employee.  Ok, I'll wait while all you HR naval gazers and management weenies clean up the coffee you just spit out or get up off the floor.....  Yeah, you're probably going to have to pass along some of that added expense to the consumers or take a pay cut yourself or cut back on distributions to shareholders, but you shouldn't be trying to get filthy rich off the backs for your employees either - aside from being unethical, it's just plain wrong and you know it.  And, by building a better and higher-quality workforce, you will attract and retain more customers and clients and that means more sales and income!

Consider this:  Why would someone want to work for you doing a hard labor job when they can go to just about any convenience store close to their home and make $17+ per hour and with great benefits??  Think about it and get real about your compensation package, otherwise, you can keep paying employment agencies their 100%+ premium for their services.  Do the long term math on that and see how it fits into your budget.

A few more thoughts on this:  So, for several years we've all heard politicians clamoring for $15/hr minimum wage.  Well, now in the age of Covid (and all the free gubbment money), a lot of places are paying that much or more, yet STILL no one wants to work, so now they're saying we need to pay $20/hr.  Okay, stop!  Where does it end??  And then there are politicians saying the government needs to provide everyone with a minimum basic income, say $1,000 per month.  You think you've got problems filling jobs now???  Okay, so let's just take this to the extreme - why not just print enough money to put $1 million in everyone's bank account?   How much do you think you are going to have to pay that (millionaire) plumber to come out and unclog your toilet or that (millionaire) high school student to come make sandwiches at your Subway restaurant??  Really, this stupidity from the Democrats and liberals has just got to stop.



UPDATED:  August 31, 2021

I am not a doctor and do not give medical advice - always consult your doctor (MD or DO) before taking any over-the-counter supplements of any kind, including herbals, especially if you have any medical conditions, including pregnancy or are nursing, trying to get pregnant, or are taking any prescription medications.  This is very important and I cannot stress this enough - you have to be very careful with this.


I've been asked several times recently what I take to keep my immune system in optimal condition.  Among other supplements I take, here is what I take for this particular area daily:

North American Herb and Spice Black Seed

North American Herb and Spice OregaRESP

Nature's Plus Source of Life Gold Drink Mix (multi-vitamin/mineral) or liquid or chewables &

  Garden of Life Perfect Food Berry Super Green Fruit & Veggie Formula or

  Garden of Life Raw Perfect Food Super Green Food Juiced Greens Powder capsules or

  ​MacroLife Naturals MacroGreens Superfood powder and 

  MacroLife Naturals Miracle Reds Superfood powder

Source Naturals Wellness Formula

Healthy Origins Vitamin D3

Healthy Origins Vitamin K2 as MK7

Western Botanicals Immune Defense

Nature's Plus Tri-Immune

American Health Ester-C Cranberry & Immune Health Complex

Kyolic Formula 101 (Stress & Fatigue Relief) 

Solaray Adrenal Success

There has been a lot of reports in the news and at official government websites regarding the role vitamin D3 plays in maintaining our immune systems and how deficient most Americans are in this, even those who work outside and receive significant exposure to the sun and those classified as obese.  Additionally, vitamin K2 is needed to help the body assimilate D3.


Here's what I take, 1 each daily:

Plak Man Cardiovascular Supplement  (12-16 per day)

Nature's Plus Herbal Actives Red Yeast Rice Extended Release

Nature's Plus Herbal Actives Black Cherry Extended Release

Source Naturals Guggulsterones

Doctor's Best Brain Magnesium  or  Now Magtein

Doctor's Best Sustained Release Niacin with NiaXtend  (Read this about Niacin forms & safety)

Now L-Carnitine

Now Double-Strength Policosinol

Now Choline & Inositol

Now TMG Betaine

Swanson Bergamot Extract

Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega 2X

Oceanblue Professional Omega-3 2100 High Potency

Member's Mark (Sam's Club brand) Extra Strength Krill Oil

Qunol Mega CoQ10 Ubiquinol

UltraCur Pro Clinical Inflammation Support

Bragg Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, drink 1 tablespoon daily


I've tried just about every vitamin, mineral, amino acid, herbal and combination thereof that you can name - none of them have helped me sleep besides this, which I just found recently:

Source Naturals Theanine Serene with Relora

Most of the supplements listed above are available at your larger health food stores, but I have supplied the links to the specific products' websites' homepages.   If you are looking for a local source, please go to the Helpful Info and Links page, scroll down and just before the bottom are some links to local stores as well as discount online resources.



I think just about anyone who has ever been a renter has had problems with a worthless landlord or manager (you know who you are, losers), especially when it comes to getting major/expensive repairs done like replacing an HVAC unit or hot water tank, etc.  Here's the inside story on why this happens at most properties, especially the big corporate-owned ones:

Most property managers are usually underpaid for the responsibilities they shoulder, long hours they have to work (assuming they do actually come in to work on a regular basis and I've seen a lot who don't) and the general amount of “stuff” they have to tolerate from incessantly complaining and unruly residents.  Many of them have little or no experience at it (or much of anything else for that matter) and most states do not require any type of licensure to be a property manager.  To make matters worse, unless they are also the property owner, they usually have very little latitude when it comes to budgetary issues. In other words, large and or expensive repairs will usually require approval from the property’s owner or regional supervisor.  It’s not too difficult to quickly discern the owner’s philosophy regarding property management; just look to see if the grounds are well-maintained and the buildings are painted nicely and kept repaired – that will tell you a lot.  Also keep in mind that the management and maintenance staff at these properties receive salaries and or hourly wages AND sometimes significant bonuses IF they maintain occupancy rates and or come in UNDER their monthly operating/maintenance budget(s).  Personally I do not agree with the latter part of that particular business model as it creates somewhat of a conflict of interest and therefore has the potential to affect the staff’s priorities and adversely impact services to the residents.  Just something to keep in mind if that repair you’ve been needing seems to get put off month after month.

Some states do have some laws that spell out the duties and obligations of the tenant and resident, but unfortunately most states' laws are written in favor of the landlord and some states have no direct governmental oversight authority.  For example, one would think that a state's real estate commission would have oversight authority over anything related to real estate.  Well, that is not necessarily true and in most cases you have to seek recourse in civil court and that takes much more time and money than most people have.

So what do you do if you need a repair done and the landlord just won't do it, especially if, for example, your A/C went out, it is in the middle of summer and you're a senior with health issues.  Well, the good news is that you have a variety of options.  First, read up on your state's laws to find out what your landlord's obligations are.  Most state's laws on this can be found by doing a simple Google search or you can go here and select your state for more info:  HUD Guide: Where to get help in each of the 50 states.  Alternatively, in larger cities which have "City Government Action Centers" or "211" service, you can sometimes report them there.  Also, you can file a complaint with there is the consumer affairs department at your state's Attorney General's Office.  Or, if you live in any type of government-subsidized housing, you will always have recourse through the respective government agencies.  And, you can always hire a lawyer.

In all cases, it is very important to first notify the landlord/manager in writing (via return receipt mail) of the problem and or file a maintenance request through the online resident portal (if available) and, of course, print out a copy.  Documenting the whole process is critical if you you ever have to go to court, so save all e-mail, texts, dates, times, persons contacted, summary of conversations, promises made by staff, actions taken or not taken and when, etc.  Most states allow you to record conversations - be sure to check state laws to see if you need to notify the other party that the call is being recorded.

Bottom line:  There is help out there, you just have to know where to go to find it....and now you do!

Also, be sure to see my Apartment Living Guide on the Publications page of this website.

Some additional resources:

OKC Connect/The Action Center Report List (how to report a large variety of violations)
Scroll down and select "Renter/Tenant" option
Be sure to get the OKC Connect app for your phone - just go to the App Store and search for "OKC Connect" or click here for Apple iOS or here for Android.

How to Get Your Landlord to Make Repairs (from Legal Aid Oklahoma)

Oklahoma Bar Association:  What are Your Rights and Duties as a Tenant?




and a few other really good ones:




11 FAKE FEES: DO NOT PAY at Car Dealerships - by AUTO Expert: Kevin Hunter 2020

See all of Kevin Hunter's car buying tip videos here.

Additional Auto Buying Tips, Negotiation, etc., Resources
Find the Best Car Price
Kevin Hunter The Homework Guy  
Negotiation Guides
Save on My Auto
YAA (formerly Your Auto Advocate and Your Advocate Alliance)   YouTube channel

Also on this subject, if a dealer tries to screw you around with any aspect of your purchase, lease, maintenance, etc., and they won't rectify the situation quickly and to your satisfaction, don't waste your valuable time with those idiots - contact the consumer fraud or affairs division of your state's Attorney General's office and file a complaint - most of the time, you can do this online.  See "HOW TO GET YOUR CONSUMER PROBLEM/ISSUE RESOLVED QUICKLY" below for more info.



As you have been driving around town, have you ever noticed the same, unmarked car parked in the same place with a strange device on top of the roof?  Well, they're not the police or other authorities.  They are DRN cars, Data Recognition Network, that is.  They are scanning license plates and uploading them into databases for a variety of purposes.  Here's a good article with more information:

When Big Brother meets Repo Man: How DRN scans billions of license plates - AutoBlog 09-17-2019



Any more, a lot of websites like YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., limit, restrict or deny you the ability to download  videos even if you are using some 3rd party software and or browser extensions.....at least that's what they want you to think.  There are ways around this, if you know how.  Unfortunately, there is no single service than can download everything, so you'll have to use mutiple resources.  So, the simple way is to use a free downloading service such as:


FBDown (for Facebook videos)

KeepPost (Instagram & others)

Loader (Great for YouTube Videos and most other formats)

Rumble Video Downloaders

SaveTweetVid (Twitter Video downloader)

TWSaver (Twitter Video downloader)

Video Downloader Prime (browser extension)

Video DownloadHelper  (browser extension)

These are pretty straightforward and usually only require pasting the video's URL in their website's search bar and it will bring up a download link.  There is no software to install or browser extensions to add, although they may offer the latter.  If none of those work for you, do a search for, "How do I download videos from YouTube?" or "How do I download videos from (website name)?" and other options will be returned.

Also try RealPlayer media downloader and player - a free software download.  It works for some websites, but not all.

If you're a serious downloader,  DVDFab has an excellent, feature-rich downloader software program (DVDFab Video Downloader) for only $20 and for downloading from Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and other popular streaming services, try StreamFAB All-in-One.  I think they offer a free trial version, too.  Also consider AllMyTube, Replay Media Catcher.

Now, if you want to do it the manual way, you can do that, too.  I recommend using Mozilla Firefox browser for this method:


  1. Go to the page with the video you want to download. 
  2. In the address bar, click on the padlock.
  3. Click on "Connection Secure."
  4. Click on "More Information." 
  5. In the top left of the popup box, click on "Media."
  6. Scroll down until you see, "Video" on the right - the link referenced on the same line is the URL to the video. 
  7. Copy and past that URL link onto another browser page and it should bring up the video.  Right click on the video, select, "Save Video As" or "Save As" and then select the location on the hard drive where you would like it saved.
  8. If the "Save Video As" is greyed out, you may have to repeat steps 2. - 5. and you will eventually be able to save the video.

Note:  If the video URL link in step 4. is greyed out and starts with "blob:http://www.", you will not be able to download the video using this method.  

This is the (more complicated) alternate manual method if the above does not work and note that this does not work all the time either:

  1. Go to the page with the video you want to download.  
  2. Off to the side of the video, right-click on the mouse and select "View Page Source."  (This will bring up the page's HTML code.)  
  3. Press down and hold the Ctrl key and then press the F key on your keyboard.  (This will bring up a small search box in the bottom left-hand corner of the browser page.)
  4. In the search box, search for terms such as, "video," "download," "mp4," etc.  (This is a trial and error exercise.  Try cutting and pasting relevant URLs into another browser window to see if it will bring up the video you want.
  5. Once you have found it, right click on the video, select, "Save Video As" or "Save As" and then select the location on the hard drive where you would like it saved.

Note:  In some cases, even this method may not work, but it usually does.  Be careful, sometimes a website may offer the ability to download the video in a variety of resolutions.  So, if this method is going to work in this manner, the URL will probably follow the resolution rating, such as, "360p," "480," "720p," "1080p" etc.  Also, these resolutions are other search terms you can use in step 4. 

Here are few other converters you might find helpful:

Audio Converter

PDF Converter

e-Book Format Converter

Multi-Format Audo & Video Converter (excellent)



Recently on a Sunday afternoon, I received a call from some regular clients.  They had a flat tire and were in a parking lot not too far from me.  They had pressed the button on their rearview mirror to summon roadside assistance, which they pay $25 per month for (plus services like navigation, points of interest, etc.), but after 45 minutes, no one had shown up to help.  The husband wasn't able to change the tire himself because the dealer had used an air-powered impact wrench on the lug nuts and the thin metal decorative covers were damaged to the extent that he couldn't get the factory standard L-shaped lug wrench onto a couple of the lug nuts and the other ones he could were so tight that he couldn't break them free and he is a BIG guy.  They called the roadside assistance number again and the representative told them that they were having trouble finding someone to come rescue them and it was at that point they called me.  I rushed over and with a special 4-way lug wrench and hammer, we managed to eventually get the tire off, but there was another problem - the donut spare had only 28 pounds of pressure in it - they need 60.  Fortunately, I brought my battery jumper pack, which also has a built-in air compressor and I got the tire inflated and eventually got them on their way.

I checked in with them about 5 hours later and they STILL had not heard from the roadside assistance provider - no one called to see if they still needed assistance, had gotten the problem fixed, were safe, nothing.  They called the business office on Monday to submit a complaint form and as best as they could determine, whomever initially answered the call routed it to the wrong department.  Yeah, we're still trying to figure that one out.

UPDATE:  The company made it right and quickly sent them a reimbursement check for my services and also significantly discounted their services for several months.

Anyway, there are several lessons here:

1.  Always carry a 4-way lug wrench with you - get them at any big box or auto parts

     store.  (Make sure you get the appropriate one - Metric or SAE.)

2.  Always carry a battery jumper pack (w/compressor) with you and be sure to keep it

     charged up.  You can get these at most big box stores and online for $50 on up.  Shop

     around as many have different and useful features.

3.  When you take your car in for service, be sure to tell the service advisor that you want

     the lug nuts "hand-torqued" to factory specifications and not "smoked down with an

     over-powered air wrench."

4.  If you don't carry a compressor, at least every month be sure to check your tires' air

     pressure, INCLUDING the spare tire.  Most donut spares take 60 PSI.

5.  If your roadside assistance company leaves you stranded, keep calling until you get

     help.  In most cases, waiting over an hour is too long, especially if you have a health

     condition, have children or elderly with you, or it is extremely cold or hot outside and

     you can't run the car's heater or air conditioner.  

6.  Consider signing up for roadside assistance with your auto insurance provider - it is

     usually significantly cheaper than the service offered by the one that comes from the

     factory on your car, but of course, the insurance company's service doesn't provide

     all the other neat electronic services that the manufacturer's does, either, but hey,

     most of that stuff is available on your smartphone and you're already paying for it!!!

7.  Go through life today with the understanding that in many cases, you are going to

     have to be your own first responder, so plan and prepare accordingly.  Remember,

     when seconds count, the police are minutes away!



If you have some kind of biometric password device authentication your computer, such as finger swipe pad or similar, this Windows function needlessly consumes a ridiculous amount of memory (RAM) on your computer and can really slow it down.  Now, if you do not use this device, you can (temporarily) turn off this function like this:

Press the following keys in successive order while continuing to hold them down after pressed:  Ctrl+Alt+Del  (that's the Control, Alt and Delete keys; you do not press the "+" key).  This will bring up another screen.  Select "Task Manager."  Another screen will pop up.  Click on the "Processes" tab at the top.  Scroll almost to the bottom of the page (on most systems) and find "Service Host: Windows Biometric Service."  Hover over it and right-click on it.  Select "End Task."  Another window will pop up.  Check off the box for "Abandon unsaved data and shut down."  Then click the "Shut Down" button.  You're finished.  Unfortunately, the service will re-engage itself after a certain amount of time, when the system becomes idle, you shut it down, put it to sleep, etc., so, you will have to go through this process each time.

Extra tip:  Want to check your ISP's speed?  Just go here and it will do it automatically.



We've all had these - bad experiences with service providers, whether it be a bank, car dealer, cellular phone service provider, cable company, contractor, etc. - problems with your bill, product, service, etc., etc.  Sadly, trying to get these problems resolved with the other party can sometimes be very difficult - they don't call back, say they will rectify the situation but do not, etc.  You send letters, make calls and on and on, for months or even years, but to no resolve.  Don't waste your valuable time doing all that.  The best way to deal with these idiots is through your state attorney general's office.  Most AG's offices have a "department of consumer affairs" or something similar that deals with just this sort of thing and you can usually file the complaint online quickly and easily.  Suffice to say, I've seen several cases with friends who got their problems resolved very quickly and accurately shortly after the offending provider received a nice little letter on their behalf from the AG's office.  Don't suffer fools needlessly; contact your AG's office and put them on the case - they do a great job!!

After the Attorney General has worked their magic for you, I would go online to the offending company's website, find out the name and mailing address of the CEO and or COO and send them letters explaining the problem to them and that due to the incompetence of their uncaring local representatives, you had to seek the assistance of the state Attorney General and be sure to include copies of all pertinent documentation and the AG's letter.  Your letter should be as brief, tactful and respectful as possible and no profanity!  Sometimes these executives are so far removed from the front lines that they never have any idea that their field representatives are engaged in any shenanigans with the public and they need to be informed by the public.  Of course, I would also go onto my favorite social media platforms and review websites and post reviews of my experience, but again, be fair and no profanity, and if anyone did something good for you in the process, be sure to note that, too.



Recently a friend needed a new toilet for his condo, so, he went to one of the local, big-name, DIY stores and purchased a toilet and paid for the DIY store's contractor to install it.  Naturally when filling out the form, my friend put the address on the form which included the word "Condominiums" and the fact that it was an upstairs unit.  When the contractor arrived 3 days later to install the toilet, he informed my friend that he could not install a toilet in a condominium due to insurance liability issues and further, he did not install toilets that weren't on the ground floor nor in bathrooms that had carpeting  (mind you all the location information, etc., was disclosed on the purchase form which my friend had filled out at the store).  My friend had him leave the toilet and called his regular plumbing contractor to install the toilet and they did so without any problems and laughed about the liability issue excuse.  My friend went back to the DIY store to get his installation fee refunded, which they did, but he also discovered that the store had no knowledge that their contractor wouldn't install toilets in condominiums, nor in upstairs units, nor in bathrooms with carpet.  What my friend did find out was that even if these contractors get to a job and decline to do the work for any reason, they still get a partial fee for showing up and that's apparently what happened in this case - it appears the contractor was just too lazy to do the job, but knew he would get a partial fee nevertheless.  So, word to the wise, if you buy something from one of these stores and use one of their in-house contractors, call that contractor before you leave the store and get a very good understanding of all the specifics before you complete the sale and leave the store - will save you a lot of time and headaches.



Recently some friends have had some bad experiences in this area.  Movers, (real, professional movers) are very busy people these days and as such, they are usually not available on short notice and especially at the end of the month or weekends (when most people move).   Inasmuch, you have to plan and schedule well in advance and confirm your appointment a couple of days prior to your move day.  The moving company should be a state-licensed and insured company and they should be more than willing to provide you with information to verify this.  They should also bring all the necessary special equipment (dollies, pads, bands, speed-packs, manpower, etc.) to perform the move, assuming you have accurately described what you need moved and or they have done a site survey prior to the move.

Be wary of people or companies advertising as "movers" on the Internet.  In a couple of cases I've been involved with, the people who showed up were nothing more than general laborers masquerading as "movers."  They had no truck and no moving equipment of any kind, just warm bodies.  All this despite promising to bring a U-Haul-type truck and were specifically told what they would be moving - several large, heavy items.  Another risk here: Blind hiring off the Internet opens you up to risk if one of the movers are injured and are not insured or covered by worker's comp.  Be sure you have adequate medical insurance coverage on your homeowner's or renter's policy and have a liability umbrella policy in force in the event you are sued.

Also, if you have movers in your home, someone should supervise them at ALL TIMES!!  Remove/lock-up any valuables, guns, money, etc., before they arrive.  If you store your prescription medications in your bathroom (which you shouldn't do because heat and humidity affects their efficacy), remove them to a secure location.  I'm sure you get the picture here.

For more info, see my Identity Theft Report and my Estate Sales Survival Guide on the Publications page of this website.



This handy website will help you convert just about any file format you want to something else - quick, easy, free and no downloading software!




How to speed up a slow iPhone - MacWorld, 01-18-2018

​Will a new iPhone battery really speed up your device? There's an app for that - ZDNet, 01-08-2018

8 ways to speed up your old, tired iPhone - CNET, 12-21-2017



During the Winter 2017-2018 season, most parts of the U.S. were experiencing a flu epidemic.  I had to care for 3 people who had contracted it and the one common, disturbing thing that I observed was that no one had as much as one day's worth of items we generally associate with convalescing from sickness such as colds, flu, etc.  Basically I'm talking about keeping on hand a few days' supply of soup, crackers, oatmeal, bread, Gatorade, tea, toilet paper, Kleenex, some OTC cold medicine pills, throat lozenges, etc.  Also, you should have a good thermometer - you can get one of those new, temporal-touch thermometers at Walmart for about $10 and they're easy to operate and read!!  For the cold medicine, I've found that the dollar stores carry generic OTC cold medicine preparations that contain the same ingredients as the name brands, but for significantly less cost and they have extended shelf lives.

For more information on preparedness, see my B.O.B. Guide special report (free download) on the Publications page.



UPDATED 08-24-2021

I've been getting some pushback from some people who are hopelessly addicted to cable (and wasting $200-$300 per month) and are just too lazy to read this tip all the way through, so let me clarify a couple of things right up front:

  • Assuming you have more than 1 HDMI port on your TV and most do, you can STILL keep cable AND use Roku while transitioning (and you can still keep wasting $200-$300 per month).
  • Yes, you will STILL be able to get your PRECIOUS sports and probably even more than you get with cable (more below).
  • Yes, you will be able to get local channels.  NEWSFLASH: You have never needed cable, satellite or Roku to get them - only a $15 antenna from Walmart.  Yep, they are still broadcast over-the-air just like they have been since 1927!!
  • Don't understand how Roku works?  It's simple, it's easier than setting up your smartphone by far - see Roku's How It Works page here or here's a simple, 5-minute YouTube video on how to set up your Roku.
  • There are many more YouTube videos about Roku here.

Okay, so now that those primary points have been covered, I'll continue.

Hello cable and satellite subscriber dinosaurs, the 21st century is calling!!! 

Are you sick and tired of paying those ridiculously exorbitant, painful cable bills (that keep going up and up with NO value added and crappy service) for channels you never watch and expensive, old, on-demand movie selections??  Well, so are a lot of other people and since about 2002, they've been telling those greedy cable companies to go pound sand by "cutting the cord" in record numbers (see articles below), so why haven't you?????  (In 2020 alone, over 6 million people "cut the cord.")

Here's what you do - it's really easy:  If you have Internet and Wi-Fi in your house, you can get a simple, inexpensive, easy-to-install, legal, small device called a Roku box which will allow you to get over 5,000 (free or minimal cost) streaming TV, movie and music channels including "premium channels" such as:

[Small, extra monthly fees for some of those, but MUCH less than cable and significantly better selections - we're talking hundreds of thousands of movies, documentaries, and TV shows available to you any time (and also on any of your smart devices) and there are other benefits.  For example, with Amazon Prime, you get free 2-day shipping on millions of item and access to their music database with millions of songs, again, that you can listen to on any of your devices!!].  Also, several of those channels offer free (with ads), quality movies and also low-cost pay-per-view movies - thousands of selections and no monthly fees.]

Worried about how you are going to get your favorite cable channels like CBS, Bravo, CMT, ESPN, E!, other sports, etc.  Well, through your Roku/streaming device, you can also get "cable replacement" live TV streaming services such as:

These will allow you to get most of the popular cable TV channels through their very reasonably-priced a la carte packages (sports, entertainment, foreign language, certain genres, etc.) and NO contracts with any of these!! 

It is a very competitive industry right now, so shop around for the best deals and channel options and many offer 1-week to 1-month free trials.  Also, some of these services offer virtual DVR's, so you can record your shows to the cloud and watch them later at home or even on your smart phone or tablet!  

And check this out - do you like all those music stations cable has?  Well, Pluto TV has them, too, and it is 100% free and available anywhere you have an Internet connection. It also offers a variety of other free content - movies, broadcast TV, specials, educational, etc., dozens of channels (within their channel) and all FREE!  Also try other similar channels like Distro TV, Stirr, and Glewed TV through your Roku or smart device. 

Also, many local TV stations have their feeds on Roku, so if you want to watch KMBZ news from Kansas City, just pull up their channel!  Or go to the NewsOn channel on Roku to find your local stations.

There are similar products out there to the Roku box, such as Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV Stick, etc., but Roku was the innovator and I think they are still the best deal going right now, however Apple TV is pretty sweet, too, especially if you are an iPhone and or Mac computer user.  However, I do NOT like their current remote control or menu system at all and they don't have nearly as many channels as Roku and you can get Apple TV through Roku, anyway!!!  Plus, with Roku, you can search for a specific movie or movie star and it searches all the popular channels and gives you the direct link to the movie on the respective channel or a list of all the movie star's movies and direct links to the respective movies!  You can get any of these devices at any Walmart, Best Buy, Sam's Club, Costco, etc., or online through Amazon.com, etc.  And yes, you can use multiple devices on one TV, assuming you have enough open HDMI ports.  Oh yeah, and if you have a 4K, UHD or higher definition TV and your device requires an HDMI cable, be sure to get an HDMI cable that is rated for those high-speed signals - it will say so on the packaging.  The cables can be expensive, so shop around places like Sam's and Costco.


Also, in most large metropolitan areas, you can get approximately 25-40 local channels over the air with a $15 antenna, just like we did in the "old days."  Yep, those broadcast channels are still there, folks - they never left and they're still free!!!  Speaking of those antennas, when you go to buy one, you'll see them range in price from $15 to over $100.  If you live in a large metro area without many hills, the cheapest one should work fine - I usually get the $10 - $15 Clear TV antenna (flat or rabbit ears) for my clients at the local Walmart or Walgreens.  If you are in a rural area or a place with a lot of hills/mountains, ask someone in the store for recommendations - you might need one with an amplifier.

So, how much can you save?  Well, I have friends who report cable bills in the $200 - $300+ per month range for the past many years.  Yes, it's true!  So, conservatively, let's say you can save $150 per month - that's $1,800 per year.  Now, if you took that $150 per month and invested it in a conservative mutual index fund over the past 19 years, you'd have deposited (saved) $35,250 and with the return on your investment, those monthly deposits would've grown to $53,426.  Consider that a Dow Jones Industrial Average index mutual fund during that same time period and adjusted for inflation, the average return was 6.816% and that would bring your savings up to $73,063%!!!!  Here, I'm handing you an e-Kleenex now!

I've had friends who took years of convincing to cut the cord, but once they did and got used to the new, 21st century entertainment platform, they loved it and couldn't believe how much they'd been missing....and for how long.  It's just too bad that they'd wasted so much on cable or satellite all those years that they didn't have enough left to take me to a "thank-you" lunch.  Ha! Ha!


Resource Guides:



Once you've squeezed every last bit out of the end, close the cap and cut the opposite (crimped) end off with a pair of scissors.  Open it and insert your brush to get the remaining paste all the way down to the standard opening - you should be about to get at least 14 more brushings out of the tube.



We all know how expensive they can be, even at those big-box stores.  Recently, I had to replace all 4 of mine and my car has those low-profile, 18" wheels.  The last two sets I bought were around $700 each an only lasted about 25,000 miles!!  Ugh!!!  Recently a friend of mine, who is a rep for aftermarket performance auto parts told me to look in to Primewell brand tires.  He had had 2 sets on 2 different SUV's and had been very happy with them and they were half the cost of any other name brand.  I was skeptical, but checked them out anyway and when I went to the tire store, the salesman told me that he would happily sell me any brand tire I wanted, but because of the configuration of the tires on my car (low profile), the tires run hotter and therefore I shouldn't expect to get more than 30-35,000 miles from any set of tires I bought, so why not save 50% and go with the Primewells.  I took his advice and so far have been very happy with the Primewells' performance.  Total cost for 4 installed P225/45R18 tires:  $370.38 (includes mounting, balancing, road hazard warranty, lifetime free rotation and free puncture repair).



Check the water supply hoses to your clothes washer - you should pull the machine out so you can inspect the entire length of the hoses.  How long have they been installed?  Do you even know?  If they are of the rubber type, check to see if they are brittle, mushy or have any bulges.  If they do, you should turn off the water supply and replace them immediately!!!  Spend the extra money (about $25 at most hardware stores) to get the flexible stainless steel braided hoses as they last much longer.  Even if you live in an apartment, if your landlord won't replace them with the stainless type, do it yourself, but keep the old hoses for when you move out and take your stainless ones with you.  And if you live in an apartment, it is especially important to inspect the hoses regularly and or replace them because if one breaks and floods apartments below yours, you may be liable for damages to the building and the other residents' personal effects, so you'd better have plenty of insurance!!

Also, many of these new DIY home security systems have wireless leak detectors that are cheap and can be easily installed anywhere, such as in your hot water heater closet or by your washer and will alert you anytime they sense the presence of water so you won't come home to a flooded house.  Check out Moen Flo Smart Water Detectors.


An old family friend passed along this pearl of wisdom to me when I was very young, he said, "All things you do, do with all your might; things done by halves are never done right."  (Ed Shoemaker, Carpenter, Evangelist, Ray County, MO)


We've all heard the adage, "Time is money," but that is not correct.  The correct phrase is, "Time well-spent is money."  (Joyce Painter, Real Estate Educator extraordinaire, Oklahoma City, OK)


"You are the real first responder."   (Conceal & Carry, Inc., Kansas City's premier conceal carry training school.)  


"A bad attitude is like a flat tire - it won't get you anywhere until you change it."  (Joycelyn T., Oklahoma City, OK)



Do you shop at Amazon.com?  Do you have a favorite charity?  Now with AmazonSmile, a portion of your purchase will be donated to your favorite organization.  Even if  your organization isn't listed, you can usually get it added.  Get more information about AmazonSmile here.



Do you like that foaming hand soap?  Me, too, but it's EXPENSIVE!!!  Here's a way to get it for pennies on the dollar:  After you've used up the expensive stuff, save the bottle and pump top.  Purchase a large bottle of some of the generic-brand hand soap from one of the big-box stores.  Fill the original hand soap bottle about 1/4 to 1/3 full with the generic soap and then tilt the bottle about 70 degrees from vertical and slowly add water until about full, being careful not to let it foam up.  Replace the pump top and while holding the bottle in your hand, slowly rotate the bottle from side-to-side until the soap mixes with the water.   One of those large bottles of generic-brand hand soap will last you a very, very long time and save you a lot of money!



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