Giving Back this Thanksgiving Season

The holiday season is a time full of joy, celebration, fun with friends, and gratitude. It’s a time when we often realize how much we’ve been given and wish to give back to others who have maybe not been allotted as many gifts in life. We found a few places where you and your friends or family can volunteer this holiday season and give back. Tag us with @madisonprops and #madisongivesback on social media!

Turkeys, Turkeys, Turkeys

The Denver Rescue Mission’s annual Turkey Drive is coming up and there are numerous ways you can help out. From the DRM website:

  1. Help provide the following items:
    • Frozen Turkeys (12 lbs. or more; turkeys must be frozen to meet safety standards)
    • Boxed Mashed Potatoes
    • Boxed Stuffing
    • Canned Fruit
    • Canned Vegetables
    • Canned Yams
  2. Please bring your donations to one of these locations: 
  3. Give cash toward a turkey. The average turkey costs between $15.00 and $20.00. Donate online!
  4. Host a drive and collect turkeys and needed canned food items for Thanksgiving.
  5. Volunteer For the Turkey Drive!  

We’re in need of special “Turkey Toss” volunteers every day November 15 through November 22 to help collect turkeys from generous donors across from our Lawrence Street Shelter downtown. Shifts range from 2 to 3 hours. Follow these steps to sign up:

  • Go to www.denverrescuemission.org/volunteer 
  • Click “Advanced Search”
  • Under Title, type in “turkey” 
  • This will take you to a page of all the special volunteer projects related to our Turkey Drive

Uplift Community Seniors

Many elderly in the community are without friends or family over the holidays for a multitude of reasons. The Senior Assist Center offers resources, community, and more to Denver seniors. Reach out to the organization through their website or by phone (303.455.9642) to learn about the many volunteer and donation opportunities!

Soup Kitchen

Located in Arvada, the Denver Catholic Worker Soup Kitchen is always looking for volunteers. Preparing a meal for those in need is incredibly rewarding, and an easy thing to involve the whole family in. Especially over the holiday season when many are missing their families, this is an amazing way to give back. You can contact the Catholic Worker or sign up to volunteer on their website or via email.

Serve at the Food Bank

The Food Bank of the Rockies is one of Denver’s biggest food donation organizations. Serving many throughout the Rocky Mountain Region, it focuses especially on getting healthy food to kids through a number of programs. Their website is full of volunteer opportunities ranging from preparing meals, organizing boxes, helping with deliveries, and assisting with office tasks! Check out their website for FAQs, to learn more about opportunities, and to sign up!

Change Is in the Air at DIA

Denver International Aiport (DIA) has been in negotiations for months over upcoming changes to the airport. The project has been highly contested, with strong and vocal opinions on all sides. In August the renovation plan was approved. Ultimately the project will be massive, introducing new partnerships, adding gates, changing layout, and totaling over $1 billion.

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• 26 new gates added to DIA’s three concourses. This will happen over the next few years. 

• $650 – $775 million in terminal renovations that will consolidate ticketing, relocate security to the upper level, and add more spots for food and shopping. This is part of the anticipation of increased traffic and an ultimate goal of increasing the terminal’s capacity to 80 million passengers per year.

• The project will take approximately 4 years to complete and costs over $1 billion. 

• The renovation aims to utilize the airport’s limited space more effectively and strategically. 

• Safer airport security is a huge part of the renovation plan, updates have been needed for years, especially post-9/11.

• A seventh runway. 

• Widening of Peña Boulevard, the airport’s access highway. 

 

 

Madison Monthly Market Stats: Madison Market Report: September 2017

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Solar Energy: Just a Fad or Worth the Investment?

Solar panels and other renewable energy sources are a big investment. It’s easy to wonder…is this a worthwhile investment for my home or just something popular that will be irrelevant a few years from now? Solar power is a growing industry that’s here to stay. The positive impact it will have on your home and the environment as a whole is well worth the investment and can save you money on electric and energy bills in the long run.

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A renewable energy source, solar power is unique because it does not emit harmful greenhouse gases in the energy generation process. The most abundant source of renewable energy, this powerful energy source is already used by many homes and businesses. There are a few types of solar energy systems. Solar power simply refers to any system that converts the sun’s light or heat into usable energy.

There are two primary systems for harnessing solar energy – active and passive. Active solar systems convert the sun’s heat or light into usable energy using mechanical or electrical devices. Passive solar systems don’t require mechanics or moving parts. They are specifically designed to collect and store heat energy from sunlight for heating or electric.

In the last ten years residential solar has skyrocketed, more than tripling the number of homes with solar. Over 1 million homes in the United States alone have rooftop solar in their homes. It is projected that by 2020 nearly 4 million homes will have rooftop solar.

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(Graphic from Namasté Solar)

 

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In addition to the obvious benefit of taking good care of the earth and making sustainable, environmentally friendly choices…solar energy also has more personal benefits for your home, family, and budget.

  • Save money on electric and heating bills. While you will have to spend some money upfront for solar panels, the money you will save using renewable energy will cover the costs and decrease your bills.
  • There are solar energy tax credits, incentives, and rebatesThe federal government offers a tax credit and many states, local governments, and municipalities offer additional credits. Depending on location, other solar energy incentives and rebates exist, adding another layer of financial benefit.
  • Solar power isn’t limited to sunny places. Sunlight still gets through clouds, and while diffused sunlight is not as ideal as direct, it can still be converted into energy.
  • Creates more jobs. Employment in the United States solar industry has skyrocketed and will continue to grow with the projected growth of home solar energy use. According to SolarCity, “employment in the U.S. solar industry recently surpassed 200,000 people – that’s more than the oil and gas extraction industry, and three times more than the coal-mining industry.”

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The first step to introducing solar energy to your home is to get a quote. Companies like SolarCity, Namaste Solar (a local Colorado company) EnergySage, SunRun, NRG Home Solar, SunPower, and more will often offer free quotes and estimates to help you find the right solar panel option for you.

If you aren’t ready to jump fully in with solar panels, there are lots of smaller ways to get your feet wet in the sustainability and renewable energy game.

  • Unplug electronics when not in use. Even when devices are turned off, if they remain plugged in they can still use electricity. Get a power strip that turns off, unplug your microwave and toaster when not in use, don’t leave your phone charger plugged in when your phone isn’t charging, and always remember to turn lights off when not in use! You’ll save energy and reduce your electric bill.
  • Power devices with rechargeable batteries. Amazon has a wide selection of rechargeable batteries and chargers, and this easy way to use less energy is quite convenient. Once you start using solar panels, you won’t even have to use electricity to charge the batteries!
  • Get a solar oven and/or solar water heater. Solar water heaters use the sun to heat a reserve water connected to the plumbing. Solar ovens can be purchased or built. Cook your food with the power and heat of the sun, saving tons of electricity and starting small on the road to solar energy.
  • Use daylight whenever possible. Especially in sunny Colorado, the power of our natural light is incredible! Practice not turning the lights on if a room is already well lit by the sun.

All in all, solar energy can decrease your carbon footprint, help the environment, save you money, and contribute to the growing industry of renewable energy. A win all around!

The Pros and Cons of Paying Off Your Mortgage Early

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HOW TO PAY OFF YOUR MORTGAGE EARLY

Pay a little extra each month. Any payments made over the minimum payment go to your principal on the loan, instead of towards the interest. Over time you can significantly reduce the amount owed and cut down the time of loan repayment, even by years (see graph).

Refinance to lower interest rate or shorter-term loan.
Both options lower the total interest you are paying, either due to the lower rate (if you don’t already have a low-interest rate) or the shorter amount of time for the interest to build. This allows you to save money long-term, either through reduced monthly payments because of the lower interest rate or by paying the loan off faster.

Downsizing.
If getting rid of your mortgage faster, or altogether, is important, downsizing can be a great way to get there. Selling your house and using the profits to purchase a smaller home could mean having no mortgage at all, or at least a smaller one. Using the same monthly payment as before you could be debt-free faster.

THE PROS

Save money! Interest builds up, especially over the course of a 30-year loan. Paying off your mortgage early can save tens of thousands of dollars on built-up interest.

Return on investment (ROI).
When you put your dollars towards your home, you know exactly what your return on investment will be. Real estate, the stock market, and the economy are ever-changing and investing in your home is a comforting way to be sure that your money is going to the right place.

Reduced cost of living.
Mortgage payments take up a big part of one’s take-home paycheck. Getting your mortgage paid off faster allows for a lower cost of living. This can create more financial freedom, allowing you to save money, which can then be put into retirement, kids’ college funds, travel, and more. It could also give you the chance to work fewer hours, or even work a job you always wanted but previously couldn’t afford the pay cut.

THE CONS

Lose the tax break. Mortgage interest paid throughout a year can be listed as a deduction on your taxes if you itemize. Taxes are complicated, so it’s important to talk to an accountant or tax specialist while figuring out if the tax deduction is worth keeping the longer loan.

Lost diversification.
From Todd Tresidder, a financial mentor, “this one is ‘the biggie’ so pay close attention… Most investor portfolios are denominated in their domestic currency and thus carry the risk that inflationary government policies will depreciate their investment purchasing power over time. A residential real estate mortgage is the only practical way for most people to short their domestic currency and hedge against inflationary economic policy.”

Life happens.
There are times when extra income could be better spent on investments, retirement, a more comprehensive healthcare plan, college funds, and more. For many Americans, medical bills are the primary cause of bankruptcy and investing in a better healthcare plan could be a wiser financial decision over paying off a mortgage faster. In some cases, insurance could be a more financially secure option than a paid-off mortgage.

Investments. Many hold the opinion that it is better, from a long-term perspective, to put extra income into investments rather than higher mortgage payments. Saving for retirement, investing in stocks, and having a diverse investment portfolio are things that can, over time, bring you even greater financial freedom and stability.

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A Denver Staycation

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Itchin’ for adventure, but lacking time or resources to get away for a long time? Denver has the answers. Sometimes it is easy to forget the endless adventure opportunities that are close to home, and Denver has an abundance of places to visit, things to eat and drink, and sights to see. You don’t have to go far to create new memories.

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parks and picnics