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Buying an Investment Property

Lessons in commercial real estate

Think about people, not just buildings. Where do they want to live, work, shop, and visit?

Focus on accessibility, not just location. How easily can people get there by car or public transit?

Understand retail trends. Stores can go out of style and out of business. Plus, tenants aren’t just competing with each other now; they’re competing with the Internet (nine percent of retail purchases happen online). Find retailers who can adapt to current trends.

Office location is key. With high unemployment, telecommuting, and shared workspaces, office tenants need less space than ever before. High vacancy rates mean they can be more selective, seeking space that their clients can get to easily.

Leave hotels to the pros. Hotels are part real estate and part service business. They also have a high overhead. And occupancy can be unstable, since travel is the first item cut from a budget in a downturn.

Get a great lawyer. This is not the time to trust your brother-in-law divorce attorney. Real estate transactions can be highly complex.

Tips for a Better Relationship


Spoil each other. You know best how to make your partner happy. Do it as often as possible.

Make each other feel safe. Don’t criticize, tease, insult, or ridicule your partner in front of others. Always have each other’s back.

Don’t fight to win. Instead, strive to reach a real resolution. If you’re stuck, try this exercise: Each make a list of what you could have done better and what you will do differently next time. Then share your lists.

Never say “I told you so.” It humiliates people and almost always makes them defensive.

Apologize well. Aaron Lazare, the former dean of the University of Massachusetts Medical School, offers these rock-solid guidelines: Own up to your mistake, acknowledge the pain it caused, show remorse, explain your actions, and, when appropriate, make reparations.

Have clear roles. Having separate, well-defined chores is more efficient and less stressful than taking joint responsibility for everything.

College Bound, with Learning Disabilities


Know the range of options. Thanks to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act, all postsecondary institutions—community colleges through Ivy League schools—must provide accommodations for students with learning disabilities. However, the extent and quality of the help offered varies widely. You and your child need to do some research together. Use the Internet, college tours, and phone calls to find out what your child can expect at each institution.

Understand the limits of the law. Colleges do not have to make accommodations that fundamentally alter their programs. If your child will need waivers for math or foreign language requirements, make sure such waivers are available. Nor do colleges have to provide specialized tutoring for students with learning disabilities. If you suspect that the tutoring at a school will not meet your child’s needs, look for private services or seek out a school with a program geared to students with learning disabilities.

Promote self-advocacy. Students should be able to explain their diagnosis and state why they need accommodations. Doing well at college depends on understanding one’s learning strengths and having strategies to bypass learning weaknesses.

Encourage campus connections. A support network is crucial. Urge your child to get help from disability services, the counseling center, tutoring centers, and friendly professors.

How to Look Thinner

Wear clothes that fit. If they’re too tight, they create bulges. If they’re too loose, the extra fabric adds bulk.

Choose styles with care. Don’t let a jacket or sweater end at the widest part of your body. If you have large hips, bootcut pants will help balance your proportions, and a long, open cardigan with a flattering shirt or blouse underneath will draw the eye to your upper half.

Pay attention to fabrics. Very thin, shiny material, such as silk charmeuse, shows every bulge. Heavy material, such as brocade, adds bulk. Go for softly draping fabrics, like fine knits, wool crepe, and jersey.

Put patterns to work. Vertical and diagonal lines are slimming because they draw the eye up and down and diminish width.

Use color strategically. Light colors make things look larger, and bright colors attract the eye. So wear a dark color if you want to minimize a part of your body.

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