Memorial Day Weekend Travels

Monday is Memorial Day, a day where we remember those who sacrificed their lives on behalf of our country in the name of freedom.

It’s also traditionally the unofficial start of summer.

Many people spend the holiday weekend traveling to see friends and family, BBQing, or viewing parades, among many other things.

Speaking of traveling, AAA forecasts that 38 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more this holiday weekend. That is the second-highest Memorial Day travel volume on record and the most since 2005.

According to AAA, nearly 34 million (89%) holiday travelers will drive to their Memorial Day destinations, an increase of 2.1% over last year. Air travel is expected to increase 1.6% over last year, with 2.6 million Americans taking to the skies this Memorial Day weekend.

These travelers are expected to spend a total of $12 billion during their trips, an increase of 1.2% from last year, according to the U.S. Travel Association.

Those going on Memorial Day weekend road trips will spend an average of $220 each on lodging, restaurants and entertainment, stated the U.S. Travel Association. Meanwhile, air travelers will spend, on average, $990 each.

Where are people going? Well, based on and AAA travel agency sales, the top destinations this Memorial Day weekend are:

  1. Orlando
  2. Myrtle Beach
  3. Washington, D.C.
  4. New York
  5. Miami
  6. San Francisco
  7. Boston
  8. Honolulu
  9. Los Angeles
  10. South Padre Island, Texas

Reminder: In commemoration of Memorial Day, the Panel Support Center will be closed on Monday, May 30. The PSC will reopen on Tuesday, May 31, at 9 a.m. ET.

Enjoy your long weekend, and please remember those men and women who fought and died for our freedom.

It’s Graduation Time!

Several of the associates here at NCP have children who are graduating college, which made me think back to my own college days … ah, those were fun days.

Although it’s been a few years since my own graduation, I’ve been thinking a lot about college lately. (For one thing, I have to make sure to keep saving for my own kids!)

Here’s some interesting info on college graduates.

Top College Majors
Here are the top college majors, along with the average starting salary for those with a bachelor’s degree in that major, according to USA Today.

  1. Business Administration & Management (average starting salary of $41,200)
  2. General Psychology (average starting salary of $34,700)
  3. Nursing (average starting salary of $53,300)
  4. General Biology (average starting salary of $37,500)
  5. Teacher Education and Professional Development (general education majors report average starting salaries of $33,800)
  6. Criminal Justice and Corrections (average starting salary is $35,300)
  7. Accounting (average starting salary is $44,500)
  8. Liberal Arts and Sciences, General Studies and Humanities (average starting salary is $36,500)
  9. English Language and Literature (average starting salary of $36,200)
  10. History (average starting salary of $36,900)

Student Debt
About seven in 10 seniors set to graduate this spring borrowed for their educations, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Estimates on the precise amount of debt vary. According to an analysis by higher-education expert Mark Kantrowitz, the average student debt of 2016 college graduates has reached $37,172, well above last year’s class, which owed just over $35,000, on average

On the other hand, the Institute for College Access & Success believes seniors are leaving college with an average debt of $28,950.

Gifts For College Grads
Do you have a college grad in your life? If so, here are some great gift ideas, according to

  • Diploma frame
  • College memorabilia (sweatshirt, alumni license plate frame, coffee mug)
  • Professional photos of graduation ceremony
  • Briefcase or leather portfolio
  • Suit (or gift certificate to a professional clothing store)
  • Elegant professional accessories — tie, belt, scarf, jewelry
  • New phone, tablet, or laptop
  • Business card holder
  • Session with a career coach or resume-writing service
  • Gift cards to clothing or home furnishing store
  • Restaurant and grocery store gift cards
  • Gift card to salon or barber shop

Have a great day!

What’s Growing In Your Garden?

By now, in most places of the country it’s gardening season!

To me, nothing says spring like being in the garden. It’s one of my favorite things to do. My favorite flower is the rose; we have a lot of climbing roses in our garden.

What about you? What’s growing in your garden? Take our survey below and let us know! (You may select more than one of the choices.)

Vovici survey software

As I’m sure you know, gardening has been associated with mental clarity and feelings of reward, and it has many physical benefits as well, according to the Michigan State University Extension.

Gardening has also emerged in recent years as a scientifically proven stress reliever.

In addition to health benefits, gardens are also known to increase property values and if you have a vegetable garden, it can save you money when grocery shopping, according to MSU.

Scan Your Garden-Related Purchases!
I want to remind you to scan all your lawn and garden purchases. Many of the items you might buy for your garden or lawn are large or come in big, bulky packages or containers, such as topsoil, fertilizer, wood chips, rakes, wagons, wheelbarrows, and so on. These types of items are typically stored away in garages or sheds before and after use, so before you store these don’t forget to scan them.

Thanks, and have a great day in the garden!

Be Good To Your Mom

Sunday is Mother’s Day, and what better time to celebrate the moms in your life. We’ll be taking my mom and mother-in-law out to dinner. (My kids have made a special gift for each of them.) Can’t wait to celebrate!

Mother’s Day is a day when people do a lot of splurging, with flowers, meals, and special gifts. So what are people going to be spending on their moms?

  • Consumers are expected to spend an average of $172.22 for Mother’s Day, compared with $172.63 last year
  • Total spending is expected to reach $21.4 billion, up a bit from last year’s $21.2 billion

Consumers plan to spend …

  • $4.2 billion on jewelry
  • $4.1 billion on special outings such as dinner or brunch
  • $2.4 billion on flowers
  • $2.2 billion on gift cards
  • $1.9 billion on clothing
  • $1.9 billion on consumer electronics
  • $1.6 billion on personal services, like a day at the spa

Greeting cards are the most commonly purchased gift at 78.4 % and account for $792 million of the projected spending.

Source: National Retail Federation

Oh, and in case you were curious, there are 43.5 million women in the U.S. between the ages of 15 and 50 who have children, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

So be extra nice to the moms in your life this Sunday – and every day!

Have a great day!