Workers not taking given vacation time, new study shows

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AP

“I feel like nobody takes vacation anymore. I work until I can’t work anymore and that usually sucks up all my time.”

That’s what Lindsi Shultz of Xenia said when I told her about a new survey that shows U.S. workers are not taking time off.

The study by Project Time Off found 662 million vacation days were left behind last year which is four million more days than in 2015. Those lost days off cost the economy 236 billion dollars in 2016.

“We have a good work ethic in America and so maybe that’s where the problem stems from- but we don’t have to be work martyrs,” said Dr. Julie Gentile, interim chair for the W.S.U. department of psychiatry.

Not taking time off can also take a toll on your physical and mental health.

It can lead to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart trouble and more, according to Dr. Gentile.

“If you are stressed at chronically high levels then you are at risk for mental health issues for example anxiety discorders, depressive disorders and also misuse of alcohol and other substances,” said Dr. Gentile.

If money issues are holding you back from taking your days off, a staycation is just as affective at reducing stress as a lavish resort getaway, according to Dr. Gentile.

“Take time away for yourself, protect that time, and come back refreshed even if there is a load of work waiting for you, you are in a better frame of mind to tackle it,” said Dr. Gentile.

Hot real estate market in the Miami Valley

Bidding wars, climbing prices, and fast deals- the real estate market is hot right now for sellers in the Miami Valley.

“This has been a pinch me kind of scenario. We sold and bought our dream home in about a 12-hour period,” said Jamie Brunicardi of Kettering.

ReMax performance Centerville owner Denise Swick called it one of the most interesting markets she’s experienced in her 27 year career as a real estate agent.

“Homes that are coming on the market that are priced in the right range are literally selling in less than a week,” said Swick, adding that one home she sold had eight offers at once.

It’s because there are too few homes for sale.

“We are at a historic low on inventory and as a matter of fact we are about 25 percent below what we were in 2016,” said Dayton Area Board of Realtors president Karen O’Grady.

Buyers are also experiencing a shift in mindset - forget the fixer-upper- they want a turn key home.

“They literally want what’s new what’s fresh, what’s updated,” said Swick.

That means sellers should opt to upgrade before putting their house up for sale- think granite counters, white trim, grey walls, brand new flooring, and updated bathrooms and kitchens- and don’t forget to clear out the clutter and your personal items.

“People are not going to make an offer on your home unless they can visualize themselves in it,” said O’Grady.

“We have three kids and two dogs. My husband and I both work full time. I don’t ever want to see a paint brush again so I wanted to walk into a house and say this is perfect,” said Brunicardi.

It can be a tough market for buyers- so act fast.

“If you know you love it and you want it- make that offer now,” said O’Grady.

It’s also key for buyers to a pre-qualification letter for financing- many sellers won’t consider an offer without it, O’Grady said.

Many students and grads are clueless about college debt

What students and grads don’t know about their college loans could hurt them, by putting them at risk for scams and potentially leading to wage garnishment for their relatives.

According to a new study by Student Loan Report, more than a third of grads didn’t know their monthly loan payments, nearly a quarter of students didn’t know their debt balance, nearly half didn’t know their loan has a fixed interest rate, and nearly half didn’t realize a co-signer could face negative consequences.

“We see it happen all the time. If they aren’t paying, then grandma and grandpa are responsible for that. Grandma and grandpa may be on social security. If it’s a government loan that social security can be garnished,” said Graceworks consumer credit counselor, Tim Brandon.

Another big misconception is that many students think they must pay a fee to consolidate their student debt- which could lead them right into a scam, said Brandon.

“There are agencies out there that will charge huge fees, but they can’t do anymore for you than we can do for you or you can do for yourself,” said Brandon.

Brandon said students should always research the terms of a loan and borrow the minimum amount to increase the liklihood of paying it all back.

Graceworks offers free strudent debt counseling- call 937-643-2227.

Rachel Murray is a WHIO-TV consumer reporter. You can watch her reports on News Center 7, follow her on Twitter @RMurrayWHIO, and like her fan page on Facebook.