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Given the avalanche of rock climbing and white-water rafting stunts in business advertising, it seems corporate America is taking the “jungle” metaphor quite literally in these trying days. But Donna Price, owner of Dallas-based Effective Decisions, an executive development firm, thinks there are valuable lessons to be learned when corporate executives are put through the ropes, pun intended. Price’s firm offers a wilderness management training program of rafting, backpacking, or sailing designed to build business colleagues into a strong team that can face challenges together. “Team trust, cooperation, and communication are mystically enhanced when we interact in the outdoors,” says Price. “It makes us equals, and we drop our barriers.”
Howard Hughes would have loved this one; it could have saved him tons on antiseptic. Gary Johnson, president of Mini-Phones Inc. of Midland, has developed a disposable phone for hospital use. Johnson sells the phones to hospitals for $7.50 to $8 each and to patients for $15.
MONEY IN THE BAG
Your spouse just called the office and asked you to pick up a loaf of bread and a couple of other things on the way home. Do you stop at the nearest 7-Eleven, a neighborhood Tom Thumb, or the area Skaggs Alpha Beta? Well, if your time is money, you may prefer to stop and go at 7-Eleven. But if every penny counts, you’re better off driving the distance. Here’s our cost comparison for July 25. 1986: DESTINATION DALLAS
Imports entering the United States through the Dallas customs offices are increasing: last year $118 million was collected in duties and taxes; this year customs authorities expect to collect $158 million. According to the North Texas Commission, the value of foreign cargo handled (both imports and exports) by all carriers at D/FW and Love Field airports for the period of January through October 1985 was $1,266,548,000. But we haven’t made the big time yet, podnuh. The value of foreign cargo handled in New York City’s three area airports in 1985 came to $46,000,000,000.
WFAA-TV. Channel 8. has the most expensive price tag for thirty seconds of air time during a local ten o’clock news program: $5,400. The tab for the same thirty seconds at KDFW-TV, Channel 4. rang up to $4,200. KXAS-TV, Channel 5, charges $4,000 for that thirty-second spot.
HOLD THE MAYO
In these days of rampant rubber checks, the old-fashioned money order is making a newfangled comeback. Republic Money Orders Inc., a subsidiary of RepublicBank Corporation, has developed an electronic money order dispenser that should be available soon in area Safeway and Kroger supermarkets. The dispensers will func-tion much like Automatic Teller Machines, offering four principal improvements over the traditional method of issuing money orders: increased speed and accuracy: elimination of in-store and back-office paperwork; prevention of loss through a built-in security system: and most important to the consumer, twenty-four-hour-a-day. 365-day-a-year service.
We know, you’ve heard all ^bouHhosebankcards in walla Walla and Ypsilanti that don’t charge an annual fee and barely charge interest. But have you called to apply for one of your very own? That’s what we thought. Either your dog ate the copy you made of an article on the subject that a co-worker clipped from an old Money magazine, or you have some other very good excuse. But it really isn’t that much of a hassle to gel a new bank card. There are a myriad of “best bank card” lists to choose from. We’ve found two useful ones. First, know what you’re after. If you usually pay off your bank card balance each month, opt for a card with no annual fee. If you only pay a minimum on your card each month, go for the lowest interest rate and the longest grace period. (The grace period a card issuer may or may not offer affects the computation of the interest charge. Therefore, two cards that charge the same interest rate but offer different grace periods will accrue different finance charges on equal balances. The longer the grace period, the lesser the end cost to the card holder.) But if you’re looking for the absolute best, the cheapest, the most lenient, the lowest of the low-interest bank cards, you can write for any or all of the following publications that will keep you in the know:
Bankcard Holders of America. a nonprofit consumers’ association, can tell you everything you ever wanted to know about bank cards but were too bored to ask. If you join the association for an annual cost of $18, you’ll get lists of credit card issuers, discount buying tips, car buying tips, and a money management guide thrown in for good measure. If you’re not a joiner, but want the benefits, that’s okay, too. For $1, the association will mail you a list of banks that offer credit cards at interest rates lower than the national average. For $1.95, you can get another bestseller: the list of banks that do not charge an annual fee. For any i of the above, write Bankcard PILLOW TALK
Looking for a spot to rest your weary head? $59.31, please. That’s the average cost of a hotel room in Dallas for the period of January to June 1986, according to Laventhol & Horwath, Certified Public Accountants. The average price for the same period in 1985 was $57.36. But in our unrelenting unction for anything but average, we searched the city for the price de résistance, the costliest sleep in town. We found it at the Fairmont, where the penthouse goes for $1,250 a night. We also looked for cheap dreams-ruling out, of course, those establishments that charge by the hour. We found the lowest room rates at La Casita and the Uptown Motel. Both were $18 a night.
Holders of America, 333 Pennsylvania Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C., 20003.
How To Get 12 % Interest Visa & MasterCards by Will Hertzberg is an eight-page booklet that whittles the bank card choices down to a reasonably short list. It includes an example of a form letter that can be used to apply for the bank cards, and in case you need convincing, charts how much money you are really losing by sticking with a high-interest credit card that also charges an annual fee. Hertzberg is a former journalist, editor, and publisher, and an award-winning photojournalist. He plans to update the report annually. If you’re interested, send S15 to Will Hertzberg. 3960 Laurel Canyon Blvd.. Suite 150 “P”. Studio City, California, 91604.
THE CHARITY TAKE
Individuals in Dallas/Fort Worth when compared to those in Atlanta, Boston. Cleveland, Minneapolis/St. Paul, San Francisco/Oakland, and Washington, D.C., were found to be the giving-est folks of the bunch, according to IRS charitable deductions claimed per tax return. D/FW-area filers claimed $2,007 in donations per return compared to the seven-area average of $1,237. Those tidbits from Giving: A Comparison of the Philanthropic Resources of Seven Metropolitan Areas, a Greater Washington Research Center study, were based on 1983 num-bers’ So. what’s happening now that the local economic clock has struck midnight? Cinderella, keep your dancing slippers on- area charity balls are still going strong. The Junior League of Dallas brought in $1.2 million from its February 1986 ball, with dollars still trickling in. That’s an all-time record, up from $1,001,000 in 1985. The Mayor’s International Ball of May 1986 racked up $500,229; the Crystal Charity Ball of December 6, 1985 brought in $1,410,000; and the Cattle Baron’s Ball, June 1985. $800,000 (the numbers aren’t in yet on June 1986). Charitable solicitation permits issued by the City of Dallas were also on the rise in fiscal ’84-’85: 408 regular permits were issued, up from 353 in fiscal ’83’84.
This year, the Mortgage Bankers Association figures two million people will trade in their old, higher-rate mortgages for the lower-interest financing available now. When most people think about refinancing their home, the obvious benefits-a lower interest rate resulting in a lower monthly payment and total end cost-tend to overshadow the less attractive aspects of the “investment”: things like the lawyer’s fee and other closing costs, extra expense from delays due to backlog, and the general hassle of undertaking the task. To further complicate the matter, the cost of refinancing can vary depending on where you do business. Choosy shoppers will not only hunt for the best interest rate, but will compare fees charged at mortgage and title companies, too. Here are some of the price variations we found in the market after a random survey of local mortgage and title companies and some of the costs you can expect to incur when refinancing your home:
● Title insurance: Title insurance protects the owner and the lender from losses due to any claims that may arise out of defects in the title to the property (like claims from former owners or liens on the property). The premium for title insurance covers the cost of the title search on the property to rule out or establish such claims. This is a constant. Since title insurance is regulated by the State Board of Insurance, all title companies charge the same rates. The premium is a percentage of the loan amount and varies depending on the size of the loan: the premium on an $80,000 loan would be $597; the premium on a $100,000 loan would be S7I1. There is also a graduated discount on the premium based on the last time the home was financed. If the home was financed a year ago or less, the discount is 80 percent; two years, 70 percent: three years. 60 percent; four years, 50 percent. There is no discount for homes financed more than four years prior to the refinancing.
● Survey fee: A survey is required by thelender to ensure the boundary lines of theproperty. A survey for an “average residential lot” ranged from $170 to $250,
● Escrow fee: This is charged by the titlecompany for handling the loan transaction.Quotes varied from $35 to $150.
● Tax certificate: A tax certificate is issued after a service company researches the tax on a property to make sure there are no delinquent taxes and to determine current taxes that must be paid at closing. Quotes were all around $20.
● Attorney’s fee: If the title company’s attorney is used, the price varied from $50 to$200. If the mortgage company’s attorney isused, the quotes ran higher and varied from$150 to $225. Attorney fees are for documentpreparation.
● Origination fee: This fee, charged by thelender, is, by custom not by law, 1 percent ofthe amount of the loan.
● Filing fee: This is also called a “courthouse recording fee” by some companiessince it is the fee charged to record the deedof trust and other documents with the countyclerk. Charges vary depending on how manydocuments are filed, but the fee is generally between $10 and $20,
● Restriction fee: This fee is for copies ofany deed restrictions that may exist on theproperty. Copies are $3 for the first page ofeach document, then $2 a page thereafter.For condominium owners, there may be upto 150 pages of deed restrictions. Single-family residences generally have none.
● Termite inspection: Quotes varied from$40 to $65.
● Amortization schedule: Mortgage companies quoted a price of either $5 or $10 fora computer printout of the payment scheduleof the loan.
● Appraisal: A new property appraisal isrequired by the lender when refinancing andmay vary from $150 to $300.
One comforting note: all costs incurred inrefinancing can be included in the new loanamount.
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