Happy Labor Day from Sharkey, Howes and Javer!

In observance of the Labor Day holiday, our offices will be closed on Monday, September 7th. We will reopen with regular business hours, 8:30am to 5pm Mon-Fri, on Tuesday, September 8th.

To most of us, Labor Day means the unofficial end of summer, but the history of the holiday has a deeper significance. Please join us in reading and sharing the following details about how Labor Day became the national holiday it is today.

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Happy Fourth of July from SH&J

Everyone at Sharkey, Howes and Javer would like to wish you and yours a happy Fourth of July. Please enjoy your barbecues, ball games and hot dogs safely, and take a moment to remember the service and sacrifice many have made to protect the freedoms we enjoy all through the year.

In observance of the holiday, our office will be closed on Friday, July 3rd. We will reopen for normal business hours on Monday, July 6th. Thank you, and have a terrific holiday.

To commemorate the day, please join us in reading some fun facts about the history of the Fourth of July:

  • Three presidents died, and one was born, on the Fourth of July. Thomas Jefferson and John Adams died within hours of each other on July 4, 1826, and James Monroe died on July 4, 1831. Calvin Coolidge, our 30th president, was born on July 4, 1872. (source)
  • According to the American Pyrotechnics Association, about 14,000 firework displays take place annually to celebrate the Fourth of July (source)
  • At the time of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, approximately 2.5 million people lived in the U.S. (source)
  • John Adams predicted that Americans would celebrate the holiday on July 2. After Congress approved the Declaration of Independence on July 2, Adams famously wrote his wife that Americans would remember July 2 as the “great anniversary festival.”(source)
  • Americans consume an average of 155 million hot dogs on the Fourth of July each year. (source)
  • The actual date the colonies declared their independence was July 2, 1776, when Congress approved the Declaration of Independence. The document was signed by many delegates two days later. It was officially approved on August 2, 1776, when signing was completed. (source)
  • The colors of the American flag all have special attributes. Red signifies valor and endurance, white symbolizes purity and innocence and blue stands for vigilance and justice. (source)
  • The patriotic standard “Yankee Doodle Dandy” was originally sung by British troops to mock the American soldiers who fought alongside them in the French and Indian War. (source)

We hope you enjoyed these often-overlooked facts about our storied nation. Share your favorite Fourth of July trivia or a favorite story about the holiday in the comments below.

Wishing you and your family a safe and relaxing Fourth of July weekend!

Memorial Day: A Day of Remembrance

Living in the home of the free and the brave is often an overlooked privilege. On Memorial Day we will be closed to honor all those who have served to give us the great privilege of freedom. We will reopen on Tuesday, May 26th.

To all of you who have served in the armed forces, we sincerely thank you for your service.

To those who have lost a family member while in the line of duty, we are so very grateful for their service and sacrifice.

Please take a moment of remembrance as you listen to our National Anthem.

Black Friday: 5 Tips on Spending to Save

Black FridayBlack Friday, for some, has become a post-Thanksgiving tradition. Finish the pie, clean up the kitchen, bundle up and go camp out. Now, many stores are opening for Black Friday on Thanksgiving Day, making it a 2-day “door buster.” If you plan on indulging in the deals this holiday season, here are a few tips to keep your bank account in the black.

#1: Start with a Budget

If you start by looking at all the deals, you can quickly go above what you want to spend. Remember, Black Friday isn’t the only time of year to snag a great deal. Decide early on how much you want to spend. Write it down or make a spreadsheet to hold you accountable.

#2: Go in with a Plan

The most important part of Black Friday shopping is to go in with a plan. Create yourself a list. Know exactly which items you plan to buy at what stores, and how much they will cost. Focus on the bottom line prices, not the percentage of discount. Prices can be inflated so stores can offer more of a ‘discount.’ Take time to compare prices across similar stores and look at the total savings.

#3: Befriend Google

If the idea of standing out in the cold and battling for a space in line doesn’t sound appealing, remember, retailers are offering more and more Black Friday specials online as well. Online shopping makes comparing prices easier. Keep in mind, Cyber Monday is just a few days behind Black Friday. You can avoid the crowds and enjoy shopping from the comfort of your own home or office.

#4: Use Credit

Going in with a wad of cash might help you stay more accountable to your budget, but it does little to protect you. The Washington Post’s Michelle Singletary says, “If you are going to make an expensive purchase — a new iPhone 6 or iPad, or iWhatever — it’s best to charge it. Credit cards offer a lot of consumer protections that cash does not. If a product is damaged or not delivered, you can dispute the charges and you have an ally.” (source) Just be sure to pay off your balance by the next billing cycle to avoid paying any interest!

#5: Skip It Altogether

Spending time with family, friends and loved ones is what makes the holiday season so special. We suggest taking some time to just be together and make memories. But, if anyone is going to be out on Black Friday, we might have a few items to add to the list…

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Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Sharkey, Howes and Javer. We are thankful for you and wish you the best of luck on your Black Friday adventures!

Please note, our offices will be closed on Thursday, November 27th and Friday, November 28th to allow our employees time with their families.