Scouted: QuickBooks Is Essential for Any Small Business Owner, and This $19 Master Class Can Help Get the Most Out of It

Quickbooks has quickly become one of the most popular programs to keep small businesses’ expenses and budgets in check, but it can get pretty overwhelming pretty quickly. This 7-hour class can help you and your business find your footing during this tax season and for the rest of 2019.

Using Quickbook’s data, business owners can easily create reports, summaries, and analyses to keep track of customer data, vendor information, and employee progress. This class can help make all of that data more easily digestible and can even help you make sense of the financial reports and bank statements that are logged in Quickbook’s program. It’ll even help you unlock some of the newest powerful features in the 2019 version of the software.

You’ll be able to create and access important information easily, which will make the process of understanding your business’s profits, tracking loans, and staying ahead of the curve for tax season a piece of cake. Let this course untangle that web of spreadsheets for you.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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Richmond Governor Scandal May Help Bid To Rename Street For Arthur Ashe

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A movement to rename a Richmond, Virginia, thoroughfare for groundbreaking black tennis player Arthur Ashe Jr. is cresting just as the state finds itself in turmoil over a blackface scandal involving the governor and attorney general.

The man behind the street renaming says the confluence of the two unrelated developments involving race and history could become an opportunity to start a conversation about race at a pivotal time.

“If we can rename the Boulevard after him, it would be a huge cultural step forward. This is where we can start with reconciliation and we can start talking about the issues,” says Ashe’s nephew, David Harris Jr.

“It would be an opportunity for the City Council to be leaders on this. We know what’s going on down the street at the state Capitol. This would be a way for the City Council to say, ‘We want to show you the way.’”

Ashe’s once-segregated hometown boasts an athletic center named after him, and a bronze sculpture of Ashe sits among Richmond’s many Confederate statues. But a proposal to rename a historic street for Ashe has been defeated twice since his death in 1993.

A third proposal comes before the City Council for a vote Monday amid the blackface scandal .

Leaders throughout Virginia’s political structure have called on Gov. Ralph Northam to resign after a racist photo on his 1984 medical school yearbook page surfaced recently.

Northam apologized, initially saying he appeared in a photo showing one man in blackface and another wearing a Ku Klux Klan hood and robe. Northam did not say which costume he wore. The next day he said he no longer believed he was in the photo but acknowledged wearing blackface the same year to look like Michael Jackson in a dance contest.

Days after Northam’s admission, Attorney General Mark Herring was forced to acknowledge that he, too, wore blackface in the 1980s while trying to look like a rapper at a college party.

Meanwhile, for all of Richmond’s hometown pride in Ashe, repeated attempts to rename a city street after him have failed. Harris initially resurrected the idea of renaming the street after his uncle last year.

Called simply “Boulevard,” it’s a busy 2.4-mile (3.9-kilometer) stretch dotted with restaurants, museums and stately homes. Modeled after grand European boulevards in the late 19th century, Boulevard was designated as a state and national historic landmark in 1986.

At one end sits Byrd Park, with tennis courts where Ashe was denied access during his childhood because of segregation. The athletic center named for Ashe is also on Boulevard.

City Council member Kim Gray, whose district covers a portion of Boulevard, has sponsored the Ashe renaming ordinance.

Some residents and business owners say they don’t want to change the historic name. Others cite the inconvenience and expense of officially changing their address, including getting new letterhead and signs.

Harris and Gray say they understand those concerns but also believe racism may underlie some of the opposition.

“I find it hard to believe that people get that angry over stationery,” said Gray, who said she’s received racist emails over the proposal.

Longtime residents insist they have nothing but admiration for Ashe but believe there are better ways to honor him than legally changing the name of their street. A group called the Boulevard Coalition wants the Richmond History and Culture Commission to hold citywide community discussions about how to honor Ashe and then make a recommendation to the City Council.

The controversy comes at a time when Richmond, a one-time capital of the Confederacy, has been grappling with calls to remove Confederate statues. Richmond’s Monument Avenue features statues of five Confederate figures, including Gen. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson. Ashe’s statue was erected among those rebel icons in 1996, but only after rancorous debate.

Harris said renaming Boulevard after Ashe would give Richmond a chance to shed its past image and show it has become a progressive city.

“We’ve celebrated things that have been associated with slavery for years. Well, let’s celebrate equality, inclusion and diversity, as opposed to the slave picture we’ve had in Civil War history,” Harris said.

Ashe was the first black player selected to the U.S. Davis Cup team and the only black man to ever win the singles title at the U.S. Open, Wimbledon and the Australian Open. He was also well-known for promoting education and civil rights, opposing apartheid in South Africa and raising awareness about AIDS, the disease that eventually killed him.

Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney urged the City Council last month to approve the change, calling Ashe “one of Richmond’s true champions.”

A 2004 city ordinance says street names indicated on city maps for 50 years or longer should only be changed under “exceptional circumstances.” Gray and Harris say they believe naming Boulevard after Ashe is one of those circumstances.

But City Council member Parker Agelesto, whose district covers part of the street, said his constituents favor an “honorary renaming” that keeps Boulevard as the street’s official name.

“Nobody wants this to be controversial, and Arthur Ashe is not a controversial figure,” Agelesto said. “The question is: How do you make it successful for all parties involved?”

PHOTO: AP


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Dear Penny: I Want to Help My Elderly Parents by Buying Their House

This sounds like a super generous move. After so many years of turning to your parents for care and advice, this is, for many, the dream: to be able to return the favor. But caring for your parents in this way can have a lot of complications.

I called in help from two experts: financial adviser Stephanie McCullough, and financial adviser Andy Wang, who also hosts the “Inspired Money” podcast.

First: Can you afford to take on another mortgage in addition to your own? It’s worth spending the money to discuss the long-term impact of this move with a tax professional and an attorney, Wang advised.

McCullough took her warning even further. “If I were your financial planner, I’d be advising you to look out for yourself and your husband,” she wrote in an email.

Consider your upcoming retirement. What will happen when the paychecks stop and you have to start living on your savings? Look carefully at your cash flow and imagine what would happen if you or your husband lost your job, or became disabled prior to your target retirement date, she recommended.

Two technical matters Wang said to check on before moving forward: whether the loan is assumable, meaning you could take over mortgage payments by assuming the loan; and whether the loan has a “due on sale” clause that would require the loan balance to be paid upon transfer of property. The former might provide an alternative option for you, while the latter could lead you to pause on your plan to buy.

If there’s a reason you want to own the house beyond your parents’ tenure there — maybe it’s been in your family for some time — you’ll need to plan for that future, McCullough said. Unless you plan to eventually live there yourself, keep in mind that managing a rental from far away can be stressful.

Wang brought up one more “what-if”: the possibility that your parents could outlive you. “You’d also need contingency plans in case something were to happen to you to ensure your parents may continue to reside there,” Wang said.

What’s your real motivation here: to keep the house in your family, or provide financial stability for your parents? If it’s the latter, it may be worth thinking about alternative options to support them while ensuring your own long-term financial security.

Have a tricky money question? Write to Dear Penny and you might see your question answered in an upcoming column.

Lisa Rowan is senior writer at The Penny Hoarder, and the voice behind Dear Penny.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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How Empowering Women and Girls Can Help Stop Global Warming

Many of you may already be familiar with Project Drawdown, the most comprehensive plan ever proposed to reverse global warning. Project Drawdown (PD) presents the 100 most substantive solutions based on meticulous research by the leading scientists and policymakers around the world.

PD director Paul Hawken says that the genesis for the project was curiosity. Nearly 20 years ago, he began asking experts in climate change and environmental fields a simple question: Do we know what we need to do in order to arrest and reverse global warming? The result is a best-selling book that lays out the solutions that, if implemented in the next 30 years, would get us to reversal—the “drawdown,” the point at which greenhouse gases in the atmosphere peak and begin to decline.

What’s exciting and hopeful about these ideas is that they are realistic and economically viable. Many are already being enacted by communities around the world. Some may also surprise you—because they address what we might call the intersectionality of climate change.

This past November, TEDWomen asked author Katharine Wilkinson to talk about some of these ideas. She shared three key ways that empowering women and girls can help stop global warming.

I asked Katharine to answer some follow-up questions about her talk, the human rights implications of climate change and how she stays positive in the face of current political backlash. She reminds us that these solutions present a win-win for society and the environment, working towards a more livable and more just planet.

Several years ago at TEDWomen, Mary Robinson talked about the human rights implications of climate change. As you mentioned, the awareness that climate change tends to impact those who are the most vulnerable—women, children and the poor—is growing. And in your talk, I loved how you connected climate change to issues that many may not see as related, such as child marriage, sex trafficking and the under-education of girls around the world. Can you talk a little more about the societal impacts of climate change on women and girls in affected areas? 

Climate change is a justice issue. Mary Robinson articulates that fundamental truth so poignantly. While the impacts of climate change touch everyone, research shows they hit women and girls hardest. That disproportionate effect is due to existing vulnerabilities, especially under conditions of poverty, and to the roles women and girls play in many societies, such as collecting water and fuel or growing food. As just one example, Otto Simonsson’s short film “One Every Second” illuminates the link between climate-related displacement and sexual exploitation in Bangladesh. In very real ways, climate change is violence against women and girls; it thwarts their rights and opportunities. The flip side is that we can advance justice through our responses to global warming. As Mary Robinson has become fond of saying more recently, “climate change is a manmade problem with feminist solutions.”

Your project, Drawdown, highlights the 80 most substantive, existing solutions to address climate change. In your talk, you focus on three areas in which gender equity and halting global warming are linked: agriculture, education and family planning. What was surprising to me in reading Drawdown was how high up the list these issues are in terms of their potential impact. Educating girls is number six and family planning is number seven. Why are these so vital compared to other solutions like electricity generation and land use?

It’s one of the most powerful insights from our work—that securing the rights of women and girls can have a positive impact on the atmosphere, comparable to that of wind turbines and solar panels and forests. In large part, that’s due to the ripple effects of gender equity on the growth our human family. When girls and women have access to high-quality education and reproductive healthcare, they have more agency and make different choices for their lives. Those choices often include having fewer children.

Both education and family planning are basic human rights, not yet reality for too many. Securing them could mean a global population of 9.7 billion people at midcentury, as opposed to 1 billion people more if we fail to address what girls and women say they want, need and lack.

Want, need and lack bears repeating. This is very different than the tired, repressive trope of “population control” foisted on women. It is choice, not control, that may avoid more than 100 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide over the next three decades. For context: Humanity emitted just over 37 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2018.

A big story in the news this week is the Science journal report that oceans are heating up 40 percent faster that scientists estimated they would. Does that affect your rankings in terms of ocean health and solution priorities?

That story was this week’s biggest earth heartbreak for me. (The biggest pure heartbreak was Mary Oliver’s passing. I first encountered her poetry at 16, and it has shaped my life in profound ways for two decades since.) We think about global warming, but oceans are really ground zero. They store more than 90 percent of the excess heat trapped by our emissions-clogged atmosphere. That has huge implications for ice melt, sea level rise, extreme weather and the die-off of coral reefs. That oceans are heating even faster than we thought reinforces what the earth has been telling us: Nothing less than bold, society-wide transformation is needed. We are facing an emergency of unprecedented scale and severity.

Ocean solutions are a critical emerging focus of our work at Project Drawdown. We’ve just launched an effort to analyze the best marine technologies and practices available. For example, kelp sequesters carbon faster than any plant on land and can be grown at massive scale. Oysters filter excess nitrogen and can be farmed sustainably. We wrote about some of these solutions in the book Drawdown, but now we’ll be able to put numbers to their potential impact. And we’ll amplify that potential, with the aim of accelerating investment and action to implement them.

How do you remain positive in the face of such challenges? 

I think about this question a lot, and I’m still very much figuring it out. Parker Palmer uses a term: “the work before the work” of social change. There’s inner work we have to do, to do good work in the world. I find that it’s easy to become so focused on the need “out there,” that I overlook the needs “in here”—and the way they’re intertwined.

What helps me is time in circle and in community with kindred souls: Time in the mountains and with dogs and horses, to get grounded in the present; time learning from elders like Parker Palmer, like Mary Oliver, like Sherri Mitchell.

Sherri’s recent book Sacred Instructions: Indigenous Wisdom for Living Spirit-Based Change is vital wisdom for humanity at a crossroads—”sacred instructions” to “heal one another and reclaim our place within creation.” If we want to shape a life-giving future, we have to cultivate that which gives us life here, now. And I remind myself, as I said in the talk, that it’s ultimately a magnificent thing to be alive in a moment that matters so much.

Can you recommend programs or charities working to improve the lives of women and girls that we should know about and support?

There are many! I really admire the work of Blue VenturesCAREMarie Stopes International, Planned Parenthood, Root CapitalSolar SisterWECANwPOWER Hub… this list could get long. (AUTHOR’S NOTE: I would add Barefoot CollegeAcumen Fund fellowsV-Day and UN Women to that list…) 

The “mothers of invention” featured on the podcast by that name, hosted by Mary Robinson and Maeve Higgins, are incredible climate leaders—from food to plastic, litigation to divestment. Many of them are associated with nonprofits or initiatives you can support.

It’s estimated that just 0.2 percent of philanthropic funds go specifically toward women and the environment. Let’s see if we can’t nudge that number upward.

Originally published on Pat Mitchell’s blog. Republished with author permission.

Pat Mitchell is known for her leadership in the media industry as a CEO, producer and curator. She partners with the TED organization to co-curate and host an annual global TEDWomen conference and is the chair of theWomen’s Media Center and Sundance Institute boards, a founding board member of V-Day, a member of the board of the Acumen Fund and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. The first woman president and CEO of PBS, she most recently served as president and CEO of the Paley Center for Media; she is now a senior adviser to the organization. She is also the former president of CNN Productions, where she executive produced hundreds of hours of documentaries and specials, which received 35 Emmy Awards and five Peabody Awards. She was inducted into the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame in 2009.

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4 Ways to Help Loved Ones Dealing with Financial Hardships

After experiencing the longest government shutdown in history, many federal workers and contractors who experienced financial hardships are still trying to recover.

The government shutdown tested people’s financial preparedness, and many unfortunately failed. Also, with another possible shutdown looming, many people are frightened that this will catapult them into homelessness.

Approximately 1 in 3 Americans do not have emergency savings to cover a $ 500 emergency, according to personal finance website Bankrate. This statistic became a heartbreaking reality when real life financial hardship stories recently surfaced due to the federal furlough.

Unexpected emergencies like medical bills, the death of a family member, job termination, or an unwarranted furlough, are common causes of most financial traumas. The reasons people do not set aside money for these unexpected emergencies range from unlivable wages, sluggish salary raises with rapid inflation, unfair wage gaps, or even poor financial habits.

When a loved one is dealing with a temporary financial hardships, there are ways to provide assistance or relief.

4 Ways to Help Loved Ones Dealing with Financial Hardships

 

Lend money

If you have the financial ability to lend money to a loved one and are confident you will be repaid, offer a short-term loan. Treat the loved one with compassion, but explain the offer is a loan and is expected to be paid back.

Write up and sign an agreement between you (lender) and the loved one (borrower) to clarify the financial transaction as a loan.

Debt.org shares that a loan agreement between loved ones should include:

  • The names of the parties involved
  • The date of the loan agreement
  • The amount borrowed (principal)
  • Interest rate (if applicable)
  • Repayment terms (monthly payments over a specific period or a lump sum on a certain date)

In the event of nonpayment, the loan agreement should also include:

  • Modification of loan terms
  • Taking ownership of collateral
  • Possible legal action

Hard feelings and arguments between relatives and friends occur when money is lent in good faith but not repaid. So, take the advice I give to my clients who consider lending a loved one cash …

“If you can’t afford to give the money, don’t lend it.”

 

Give money

Instead of lending the money, give the loved one the amount of cash you can afford as a gift.  By giving money as a gift you release the possible future tension in the event the loved one does not pay you back. Consider it as a few early birthday or Christmas gifts.

When giving money, do it privately, discreetly, and without pity. Many loved ones suffer in silence, financially, because they do not want their business shared.

Assure the loved one that you will not share the monetary gift to anyone. Respecting the loved one’s need for privacy is important, especially if they are a very private or prideful person.

 

Pay a bill directly

Consider paying a specific bill or expense directly if you prefer not to give a loved one cash, or they do not want to accept your loan or monetary gift.

Paying a utility, car payment or insurance, or even a rent or mortgage payment, will release a significant financial burden.

Some companies, like PECO, formally Philadelphia Electric Company, allow people to help out and pay a bill on behalf of their customers.

 

Provide a service

Perhaps you may be unable to give a loved one money.

An act of service will go a long way when it comes to helping a loved one experiencing financial hardship. Sometimes, taking time to do something for someone is more helpful than giving money.

Some amazing acts of service can include:

Care for the kids

Offer to babysit or care for their elderly family member who requires special attention. This will free up some time for the loved one to work another job, or get some much-needed rest.

Cook a few meals

You may be aware of a loved one who is struggling to feed their family. Cook and deliver meals for a few days to offset their grocery bill, and relieve the burden of cooking.

Chauffeur for a day

If a loved one does not have transportation, be their chauffeur for one or a few days. Driving them to appointments, run errands, or their job will be much appreciated.

Clean up the house

Clutter can sometimes cause just as much stress as the financial trauma. Offer to clean a loved one’s kitchen, bathroom, bedrooms, or the entire home to eliminate that responsibility from their list. Often a clean environment can calm our consciousness to better deal with difficult situations.

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Some believe that drinking beer (stout, in particular) helps moms who are having trouble breastfeeding. There’s some science behind it.
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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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Don’t Be Ashamed of Your Money. These 13 Tools Are Here to Help

No one likes being judged. Especially when it comes to personal finance.

I’m keenly aware of my budgetary state, so having someone totally judge me for it — and not offer constructive advice — is the worst.

Yes, I understand I need to stash more into my emergency savings. And I know I shouldn’t have spent $ 5 on that latte. And investing… that makes me nervous.

But just help me; don’t chastise me.

That’s why I’ve rounded up some personal finance advisers — and some money management apps  — that’ll help you get your money in order.

And they’ll do it without a single shred of judgment.

And, perhaps even better, without an ounce of conversation.

1. Earn a 100x the Normal Interest Rate

Operating everything out of one checking account can make your finances muddy and contribute undue stress to your money management — and make you feel like you don’t know what you’re doing.

To simplify, open a second account for a dedicated purpose. One of our favorites is the Aspiration Account — there are no monthly fees, and you’ll earn up to 100 times the interest rate of other banks.

This online-only account comes with a debit card and free ATMs, so you can easily access your money when you need it.

After you open your Aspiration Account, use it to split your income:

  • Automatically deposit a portion of your income into your existing bank account, and use that to cover basic expenses like rent and bills.
  • Deposit what’s left into your Aspiration Account to use for fun stuff, like eating out, shopping or going on vacation.

2. Take a Deep Breath and Check Your Credit Score

A chalkboard with the number '610' written on it.

Your credit score is important. The better your score, the better deal you’ll get on a mortgage, car loan or credit card. We’re talking big money here.

Even if you’re not buying a house anytime soon, a lousy credit score means you’ll get hit with a high security deposit whenever you rent a car or move into a new apartment.

But did you know your credit score could be inaccurate? One out of five credit reports have an error, according to a study by the Federal Trade Commission.

To keep a closer eye on your credit, get your credit score and a “credit report card” for free from Credit Sesame. It breaks down exactly what’s on your credit report in layman’s terms, how it affects your score and how to address it.

Because it simplifies everything, you should be able to spot any errors. For instance, if you find an “unpaid” credit card that you know you paid, or a bill in collections you know never existed, you can dispute the incorrect information and raise your credit score.

James Cooper, a motivational speaker, raised his credit score 277 points using Credit Sesame. Now he talks to high school students about the importance of having good credit and uses what he’s learned through Credit Sesame as a blueprint for his lessons.

“We want to touch the Z Generation,” Cooper says “We’re not in the business of fixing credit. We want to get to you before you have to fix your credit.”

3. Play Scratch-offs to Your Heart’s Content (It’s Free!)

man and woman scratching lotto tickets and drinking wine

There’s something so satisfying about those gas station scratch-off tickets, but it’s better to avoid them because, well, that’s not Penny Hoarding.

Instead, try scratching for free using an app called Lucktastic. Each day, it releases a new assortment of digital scratch-off tickets. Lucktastic says instant wins range from $ 1 to $ 10,000. You can also earn tokens that you can exchange for free gift cards to retailers including Amazon, Walmart, Kohl’s, Sephora and more.

The app is supported by advertising, which allows it to keep the payouts high and the games free. For more info, check out our full review.

4. Use This to Bust Your Debt

Shot of a young couple going through paperwork together on the sofa at home

Once you fall behind, you may find yourself getting crushed by credit card interest rates north of 20%. You’ll never catch up that way. You’re spending so much on interest, you’ll never pay off your balances.

If you’re financially treading water like this, it might be worth consolidating and refinancing your debt.

By refinancing an existing loan, you’re taking out a totally new loan, which comes with new terms and (ideally) a lower interest rate. By consolidating your existing loans, you lump all your debt into one big payment, so you’re only making one payment and dealing with one interest rate per month.

Make sense but don’t know where to start? Credible is an online marketplace that offers consumers personalized loan offers. It’s best for borrowers who have good credit scores (think: around 640 or higher), and it lets you quickly compare rates without visiting a bunch of sites.

Rates start at 5.99%, and you can check yours by entering a loan amount here ($ 500 to $ 40,000) and comparing your personalized options in under 90 seconds.

5. Stop Deleting Your Emails

It turns out deleting your emails could be costing you money. Intrigued?

One of our secret weapons is called Paribus — a tool that gets you money back for your online purchases. It’s free to sign up, and once you do, it will scan your email for any receipts. If it discovers you’ve purchased something from one of its monitored retailers, it will track the item’s price and help you get a refund when there’s a price drop.

Plus, if your guaranteed shipment shows up late, Paribus will help you get compensated.

Disclosure: Paribus compensates us when you sign up using the links we provide.

6. Share What’s in Your Fridge

A young woman standing in front of an open refrigerator holds a bowl of salad in one hand and a plate of fried chicken in the other.

Remember the Nielsen company? The one that’s always tracked TV ratings? Well, now it wants to know what’s in your fridge.

Once you sign up to be on the Nielsen Consumer Panel, you can either use your smartphone, or the company will send you a free barcode scanner. Every time you go shopping, you simply scan the UPC codes on the back of each product and send your data to Nielsen.

Nielsen will reward you with gift points, which you can redeem for free electronics, jewelry, household items or even toys for the kids.

The longer you stay on the panel, the more opportunity you have to earn points toward prizes. You’ll also receive entries for the panel’s many sweepstakes. Prizes include vacations and brand new vehicles.

7. Stop Overpaying for Monthly Bills

A man and woman sit on a bedroom floor together. A laptop sits on her lap, while he lays on a pillow holding up paperwork.

On the phone with your cell phone or internet provider, trying to haggle a lower monthly bill?

Go ahead and hang up. (We know you’re probably listening to crappy music while sitting on hold, anyway.)

Download TrueBill, an app that’ll negotiate your bills, cancel unwanted subscriptions and refund your bank fees.

After downloading the app, create an account and link your bank account and/or credit cards. Turn on the bill negotiation and outage protection features. Boom. TrueBill is already searching for potential refunds — it might get you a refund even when you didn’t know an outage occurred.

On average, Truebill customers get $ 12 in credits off their cable bills each month.

The app will also remind you of all those sneaky subscriptions you’ve signed up for through the years, so you can cancel what you don’t use and reclaim your monthly budget.

Signing up and using the service is free, though there are some paid premium services that are totally optional — but could totally be worth it.

8. Earn Money Every Time You Swipe Your Credit Card

If you’re not using a rewards credit card for everyday purchases, you’re missing out on free money.

You just have to be sure you don’t get too carried away with those purchases — and that the card is paid off at the end of each billing period.

Here’s an option we like: It’s the Chase Freedom Unlimited card*. Its claim to fame? You’ll earn an unlimited 1.5% cash back on all your purchases. Plus, if you spend $ 500 in your first three months of opening the card (hi, groceries), you’ll pocket a $ 150 bonus.

There’s no annual fee, and the cash-back rewards don’t expire. We checked Credible’s annual rewards calculator, and it estimates $ 417 in annual rewards based on our spending habits.* (You can enter your unique spending habits and see what you’d earn, too.)

Get signed up — and 0% intro APR for 15 months — here.

9. Save Money Mindlessly

String tired around finge

Saving money is tough. So what if you could do it in a way where you wouldn’t even notice?

Digit makes that possible.

This innovative app automates saving for you. Simply link it to your checking account, and its algorithms will determine small (and safe!) amounts of money to withdraw into a separate, FDIC-insured savings account.

Additionally, savers will receive a 1% bonus every three months.

Using this set-it-and-forget-it strategy, one Penny Hoarder saved $ 4,300 without noticing — read his Digit review.

If you need that money sooner than expected, you’ll always have access to it within one business day.

Digit is free to use for the first 30 days, then it’s $ 2.99 per month afterward.

10. Earn Cash Back for That 3rd Bottle of Wine (and for the Shoes You Ordered After Drinking It)

Little boy saving coin in a money jar

Look, it’s been a long week, and you just want to unwind with a glass of wine. Or three. We can’t promise the clerk won’t give you some side eye after your third such shopping trip — but you can have the last laugh.

Two of our favorite apps will actually get you cash back when you buy booze — and other stuff you might need on a week like this…

  • Ibotta will pay you cash for taking pictures of your grocery store receipts. Before heading to the store, search for items on your shopping list within the Ibotta app. When you get home, snap a photo of your receipt and scan the items’ barcodes. It’s free to download, and you’ll get a $ 10 sign-up bonus after uploading your first receipt.
  • Ebates is a cash-back site that rewards you nearly every time you buy something online. For example, Ebates gives you 10% cash-back on online purchases at Walmart. Plus, you’ll get a free $ 10 gift card to Walmart for giving the site a try.

11. Play the Slots — and Bank $ 5 for Your Savings Account

woman using phone

Are you more of the “sit at home and play video games” type of person but you’re making yourself read this because you’re determined to get this adulting thing down?

The folks who created Long Game have you covered with a game that’s fun and helps you achieve your financial goals.  

As you save and accomplish missions you’ll earn coins to play mini games for cash prizes! We’re talking the classics, like slot machines, scratch-offs and spin-to-win wheels.

Penny Hoarder Carson Kohler uses Long Game to save money. Every two weeks, it sneaks $ 5 out of her bank account and rewards her with coins.

In two months, she’s saved $ 35.70, just by playing games on her phone. Plus, her winnings amount to a gain of about 2% — way higher than interest on any other savings account she has.

Once you link your bank account, you’ll earn 300 coins, so you can start playing while you wait for payday. 

12. Invest Like a Woman

Businesswomen looking at fabric samples on presentation board.

Traditional investing companies have never really considered the fact that women statistically get paid less, yet live longer. That’s why Sallie Krawcheck, a former Wall Street CEO and an adamant proponent of women’s financial power, founded Ellevest.

It’s an investing platform designed for women, by women and in support of other women. It uses a unique algorithm designed to help you better plan for the future.

Once you sign up for free, Ellevest will issue you a free personalized investment plan. Plus, if you sign up before Dec. 31 through The Penny Hoarder, you’ll get a $ 25 bonus in your Ellevest account.*

Ellevest’s “digital” plan is designed to be accessible. There’s no minimum balance, and you’ll pay an annual fee of 0.25% of your assets under management to Ellevest. For context, that’s $ 25 on a $ 10,000 account.

It’ll make you feel good about your future — and not so judged.

13. Manage Your Credit Card Payments in One Place

women hands getting cash in a bank teller

Carrying more than one credit card balance can feel a bit like herding cats. Just when you think you have one under control, you realize you’ve let a different one slip away.

High interest rates and late fees can make it feel like you’ll never get those bills under control.

That’s where Tally comes in. It’s a simple app that lets you store and manage your credit card payments in one place, optimizing the amounts and times.

Simply download the app, scan in your credit cards, and if you qualify (with a minimum credit score of around 675), Tally will give you a line of credit with an interest rate between 7.9% and 19.9%* and use the lower interest rate to make managing your payments easy.

No more missed payments. Lower interest rates. All in one place. And don’t worry, Tally uses bank-level security, so your information is safe.

Tally is currently available in Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin.

*Your APR (which is the same as your interest rate) will depend on your credit history and varies with the market based on Prime Rate. Accurate as of July 2018.

*The Ellevest The Penny Hoarder promotional offer is valid from July 25, 2018 to December 31, 2018 for the first 1,000 new clients of Ellevest who enter through this designated landing page. Clients who enroll and fund their non-retirement account will receive $ 25 added to their highest priority goal in their Ellevest account. Clients who enroll and fund their retirement account will receive a $ 25 Amazon gift card which can be redeemed by visiting www.amazon.com. Please review Amazon.com Gift Card Terms and Conditions prior to redemption. Ellevest is not responsible for lost Amazon Gift Cards. Ellevest’s processing time for depositing $ 25 into a client’s Ellevest account or delivery of a $ 25 Amazon gift card may be up to 60 days.

**Annual Rewards amounts will change based on the amounts you enter. The monthly spending category names and definitions may vary among issuers, and categories may not align one-to-one.

Carson Kohler (carson@thepennyhoarder.com) is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She’s a big fan of gentle reminders.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

The Penny Hoarder Promise: We provide accurate, reliable information. Here’s why you can trust us and how we make money.

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People Share Why They Don’t Use Financial Advisers; Some Alternative Ways to Get Financial Help

Many people just do not want to meet with a financial adviser despite the fact that using one may provide numerous financial advantages. Financial advisers provide objectivity of financial situations and give advice to help establish a more secure financial position.

A few personal finance professionals, authors, teachers and bloggers, from the Elevate Community, dedicated to uplifting people of color financially, shared their perspectives:

“Just Not Ready”

Just like weight loss, financial wellness is one of the top three new year resolutions and personal goals. Most people generally know what to do to improve their financial situation, but some are just not ready to do it.

“We like comfort!” says Andre Albritton of The Millennials Next Door. “A financial adviser will give recommendations outside of our comfort zone which can be a frightening experience.”

Money mantras like “save more and spend less” and “pay yourself first” have been stated by every financial expert. The reality is if a person is not mentally ready, they will not execute any plan.

Cost

On television, rich and famous people seem to be the only ones talking about meeting with financial advisers. This creates the perception that it takes thousands or millions of dollars to work with a financial adviser. The consumers living paycheck to paycheck with minimal or no assets (like a home, investments, etc.) may presume it is too expensive to meet with a financial adviser.

Many middle-class Americans are working hard to pay their bills and make ends meet. Paying to meet with a financial adviser may seem premature or unrealistic.

Denial

“People put off seeing a financial adviser for the same reason they avoid going to the doctor or dentist” shares Alfred Edmond Jr., BLACK ENTERPRISE Your Money Your Life Podcast host and co-author of Loving in the Grownzone. “They don’t want to deal with the choices, remedies, or lifestyle changes that will likely be necessary to improve their condition.”

People that practice avoidance in the hope that the problems will go away, or correct itself will deny the problem, and chose not to deal with the financial situation. Unfortunately, avoiding the dis-ease in the bank account will leave a person vulnerable to more financial hardships.

“People are embarrassed about their current (financial) situation and believe their choices got them in that predicament” explains Atiya Brown of Live Financially Savvy Podcast. “Since they don’t know the extent, they may tend to ignore and avoid.”

Pride

Almost 10 years ago, my pride almost put me in the poor house. I remember being ashamed to admit my major money mistakes and felt like a failure. I locked myself in a self-inflicted private prison of shame.

People suffer in silence because of their pride and the shame they feel because of making money mistakes. Making the decision to let go of the shame and ask for guidance will help to release the guilt.

Product Pushers

Julien Saunders of rich & REGULAR states, “Some financial advisers have a tendency to be pushy. Although well-intended, some (financial advisers) can make a person feel pressured. Consumers must fully understand the implications, alternatives, or cost to them as the investor.”

Some financial advisers are perceived as product pushers. Product pushing financial professionals turn off and scare away many consumers. Even though consumers know that financial advisers sell products, they do not want to feel pressured into purchasing products they don’t understand.

Stranger Danger

People do business with people they like, know, and trust. Sharing secret financial skeletons with  someone you don’t know can be extremely uncomfortable. It is even more frightening to give control of your money and assets to that stranger.

Patrina K. Dixon of It’$ My Money says, “Some people have trust issues. Therefore, if they do not trust the financial advisor, they will not be safe to share relevant information the adviser may need to assist the client.

 

Some Alternative Options to Using Financial Advisers 

Many are not ready for the financial commitment to meet or work with a financial adviser. Here are some alternative options and resources to help you “start where you are.”

Financial Blogs and Podcasts

Financial blogs are an excellent resource for free money tips and strategies. Here are a few blogs and podcasts to check out.

Tanya Rapley’s My Fab Finance Blog teaches millennial women of color how to regain control of their finances, overcome financial challenges, and pay off debt.

Talaat and Tai McNeely host the His And Her Money Podcast. Their podcast and blog aim to help married couples reach their financial goals together.

Marsha Barnes’ The Finance Bar Blog connects individuals to their financial wellness. She offers one-on-one coaching and an app that shows where your money is going.

Online Financial Tribes

John Hope Bryant, the founder of Operation Hope stated, “If you hang around nine broke people, you will be the tenth.” Connecting with people who have similar financial goals or have achieved the success desired is essential to financial success. Here are a few online financial tribes to check out.

The Live Richer Academy founded by Tiffany Aliche, who is known as The Budgetnista, is a membership-based online platform that offers courses designed to help participants take their finances to the next level.

Founded by Sandy Smith, of Yes I Am Cheap blog, Hustle Crew is a private Facebook group community that provides resources on entrepreneurship and starting a side hustle.

Financial Coaches

Financial coaches educate clients on the basics of money and credit management. They help their clients establish financial goals and create a customized plan to reach those goals. Financial coaches act as accountability partners to encourage and challenge their clients to success.

Financial coaching services range free through a non-profit programs to a few hundred dollars per hour to work with popular financial coaches privately.


Black Enterprise Contributors Network 

The post People Share Why They Don’t Use Financial Advisers; Some Alternative Ways to Get Financial Help appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Money | Black Enterprise

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Natty Light is giving away another $1,000,000 to help grads pay off their loans

The cheap beer brand of choice for college students across the country has promised to give away $ 10,000,000 over 10 years to help pay off student debt.
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Democrats Say Possible Howard Schultz Presidential Bid Could Help Trump Win Second Term

A number of top Democrats say President Donald Trump could win a second term if former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz runs for president.

Schultz said he is considering a bid for the 2020 presidential election as an independent during an interview that airs during this Sunday’s 60 minutes.

Democrat Juli?n Castro, who was the Obama administration’s secretary of Housing and Urban Development and recently announced his own bid for the race, spoke out against a possible Schultz run during an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper.

“I have a concern that if he did run, that essentially, it would provide Donald Trump with his best hope of getting re-elected,” Castro said on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday.

Schultz, a Democrat himself, sees his possible run as a way to break from party-oriented politics, according to The Atlantic. He has already spent the past year hiring consultants, The Atlantic reports.

“We’re living at a most-fragile time,” Schultz told CBS’s Scott Pelley. “Not only the fact that this president is not qualified to be the president, but the fact that both parties are consistently not doing what’s necessary on behalf of the American people and are engaged, every single day, in revenge politics.”

Although 57% of American voters now disapprove of Trump’s job, Castro added that the President’s support is about 42% no matter which Democrat ultimately runs against him. If an independent party were to appeal to enough undecided voters, Trump could win the 2020 race.

Other Democrats that have spoken out against the prospect include former Obama senior adviser David Axelrod, Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii, and even the Democratic Party of Washington State, the HuffPost reports.

“I would suggest to Mr. Schultz to truly think about the negative impact that that might make,” Castro said.

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CEOs step up help for government workers, raise pressure on Washington to end impasse

Companies are stepping up their relief efforts for the 800,000 federal workers who have just marked a second missed paycheck as Washington's shutdown stalemate drags on.
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7 Ways to Help Your Kids Unplug This Winter

With darkness falling early and cold weather often limiting regular outdoor activities, your kids are apt to spend more time in front of screens during winter, using phones, computers, TVs, and other electronics and filling their hours with games and social media.

While media and digital devices are an integral part of our lives today, research has shown that face-to-face time with parents, family, and friends is even more important in promoting your child’s healthy development. By thinking creatively and being proactive, you can ensure that your kids enjoy a wintertime filled with fun, unplugged activities, and family connections.

Make a plan
Start by talking with your kids and creating a media use plan that you can all agree upon, then stick to it. The American Academy of Pediatrics offers a useful template, including a digital time calculator.

Much like the way you plan your child’s nutritional diet — ensuring lots of healthy fruits, vegetables, proteins, and grains and limiting extra sugar — you should be intentional about your kids’ daily “activity diet.” Prioritize those activities that are important for healthy development: 8 to 10 hours of sleep a day and one hour of daily exercise, plus family time, outdoor play, reading, and hobbies. Then create space in the daily schedule for the “dessert” of screen time and be consistent in enforcing daily limits.

Get outside together
A nightly walk can be a fun and easy way to get outside and get exercise. To keep the kids engaged, create a scavenger hunt-type list and bring flashlights. One night you could focus on spotting (and hearing) different types of animals. Another night could be devoted to scents (fireplace smoke, pine, etc.) or sounds (barking dogs, a siren, branches creaking). On weekends, head to your nearest park for a nature walk. Buy a bird book and encourage your kids to keep a list of the feathered friends they spot. End each walk by enjoying a warm mug of hot cocoa together.

Get your game on
Winter is the perfect time to break out the board games that have been gathering dust in the closet. For preschoolers, board games are a fun way to learn to follow rules, focus, and take turns. For older kids, these games offer a chance for healthy competition and face-to-face interaction. Old-fashioned favorites like Monopoly and Risk can be strung out over several nights or long afternoons. Or keep things interesting by having a running tournament (chess, checkers, backgammon), with results posted nightly. Share the fun by inviting other families over for Game Night and ask them to bring their favorite game to share.

Set up a creative corner
Tap into your kids’ inner artist by creating a space for them to draw, color, paint, sculpt, or construct every day. Just as schools have begun recognizing the value of providing a “maker space,” you can help your children unleash their creativity by setting aside time and providing the resources they need to create and build.

Encourage your bookworms
Cold weather offers a cozy time to curl up with a good book. The most important thing you can do to encourage your kids to love reading is to read aloud to them, notes the American Academy of Pediatrics — even after they know how to read for themselves.

Plan a weekly trip to the library and encourage your kids to use the hour you spend there choosing reading material from a wide variety of genres: poetry, nursery rhymes, fairy tales, science fiction. Whether they are 4 or 14, help them find some non-fiction books or magazines that speak to their passions — baseball, dinosaurs, bugs, or the American West. Find a book series that appeals to the whole family and carve out time each night for a family read-aloud hour, with family members assigned different characters to read.

Tap into the power of play
For kids of all ages, unstructured play is serious business — helping them build thriving brains, bodies, and social bonds. In fact, many pediatricians have begun to write a “prescription for play” for kids of all ages. The key is to create an opportunity for your children to take the lead and follow their own curiosity.

The tools you provide don’t have to be flashy or fancy.By simply equipping them with boxes, blankets, and chairs, kids can spend hours building a fort in the family room. Or put together a basket of “grown-up” clothes or inexpensive props or costumes from the local secondhand store and encourage your children and their friends to put together a production to perform for the family.

Keep an eye on the weather forecast: Whenever the temperatures permit, make plans to meet up with other families at the local playground or ball field and let the kids run wild together. Unstructured play, inside or outside, has the added benefit of being a stress-buster. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics: Kids who engage in play build safe and nurturing relationships that protect against stress and help build social-emotional resilience.

Safeguard screen time
When your kids do spend time enjoying the treat of screen time, there are steps you can take to ensure their safety and prevent negative outcomes. Co-viewing or co-playing a video game with your children is one way to stay engaged and give you a better idea of how your kids are spending their time. And younger kids learn better from media when they share the experience with an adult, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Stay plugged in to who your child is playing with online, as well as the software, apps, and websites they are visiting. Make sure TVs and mobile devices are turned off at least an hour before bedtime, since the blue light can interfere with sleep. Recharging devices overnight in the kitchen or living room will ensure kids aren’t tempted to wake up and use their devices during the night.

Above all, be a good digital device role model and limit your own use so that you can be fully engaged during meal times, car trips, vacations — any time you spend with your kids.

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How movies and Martin Luther King Jr. help my son understand his Blackness

How movies and Martin Luther King Jr. help my son understand his Blackness


How movies and Martin Luther King Jr. help my son understand his Blackness

On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, an HG contributor writes about her son, his school project on Dr. King, and the realities of raising a Black child.

My 13-year-old son has been diligently working on a project for National History Day. According to the National History Day website, more than half a million middle and high school students around the world conduct historical research on a topic of their choice. The theme for this year’s project is “Triumph and Tragedy in History.” Students are encouraged to use various forms of media to research and present their final project. The two historical figures that my son is interested in exploring are Muhammad Ali and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and as he began diving deeper into his research, it opened a greater conversation for us about what he watches on screen, how he views himself as a Black teen, and how he thinks the world sees him.

We watched hours of archival footage of Martin Luther King Jr., Muhammad Ali, and the terrible atrocities they experienced as Black men in America. My son had a hard time watching Black people get attacked by white police officers, arrested for boldly expressing themselves, or lynched for drinking from the wrong water fountain.

During a break from research, we went to the movies to see The Hate U Give. Based on Angie Thomas’s YA novel of the same name, the movie is about a 16-year-old girl who witnesses the death of her childhood friend at the hands of a cop during a routine traffic stop. Attending the movie with my son on the heels of watching documentaries about the civil rights movement was a profound, unforgettable experience. He was engaged from the moment the film began with the main characters dad giving his children the “talk” about what to do when they get pulled over by a police officer. It is a talk that every Black parent has been forced to have with their children for decades. It is hard. It is painful. It is necessary.

Martin Luther King Jr. being shoved back by Mississippi police during march
Underwood Archives/Getty Images

The scene when a young man is murdered by a cop in front of his best friend is gut-wrenching. We knew he was going to get shot. We knew who was going to shoot him. But seeing it unfold stung. The media images we’d been watching from another era played out on the modern-day big screen, just as they still play out in the news and on our social media timelines today.

Sixty-some years later, images of Black people dying at the hands of racist police officers are eerily similar to the murders in the Deep South that Martin Luther King preached about.


That movie highlighted so many injustices that Black parents deal with daily. History has documented the tears of Black mothers and fathers burying their children due to racism. For generations, the message has stayed clear: Black skin is considered a threat; white skin is not. Martin Luther King’s dream that all children will one day be judged by the content of their character and not their skin color is a dream that has yet to be realized.

And raising a Black child to have confidence and pride in his heritage continues to be an uphill battle.

Everything in our society tells my son that he will one day be feared—maybe even hated—because of his melanin. As his mother, I am tired of painful conversations, but I will keep having them. I am too terrified to send my child into a world that may never see his heart or his humanity, and I understand the potential deadly consequences of that reality.

But our children are more than hashtags, and we need them to know that. Media like The Hate U Give is important because it reminds us of the power of community and illuminates the injustice wreaked by a broken criminal justice system. Still, I want more movies like Black Panther that show positive and powerful images of Blackness. Imagery and representation matter, and my son is not a threat. He is a compassionate, humble, silly, messy teenager—when will the images he sees on screen reflect that reality? Hopefully, it won’t take another sixty years.

Martin Luther King Jr. and his children
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

A few nights ago, I watched my son working on his history project. He was studious, deliberate, and focused. I couldn’t help but think that this too is a part of Dr. King’s dream. That a young Black male in middle America can know his worth, strive for excellence, and create opportunities for himself in the face of adversity.

As I walked to the kitchen, my favorite history progeny took his headphones off for a moment, and called out to me.

“Hey mom, it would be lit if Martin Luther King Jr. could see all the history projects about his life.”

I smiled inside; indeed, it would.

The post How movies and Martin Luther King Jr. help my son understand his Blackness appeared first on HelloGiggles.

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SAP Unveils Blockchain Project To Help Eliminate Counterfeit Drugs

erman software giant SAP SE announced the launch of its blockchain-based supply chain tracking system that helps eliminate counterfeit drugs along the pharmaceutical supply chain. In a statement, the company noted that its blockchain-based solution helps customers comply with the U.S. Drug Supply Chain Security Act or DSCSA.
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CFDA Introduces Sustainability Initiatives to Help Guide Designers Looking for Cleaner Ways to Work

With “where to begin” being a common conundrum for many brands considering sustainability, the CFDA has launched its Sustainability Initiatives to help designers do their part to clean up the fashion industry.
In line with the United Nations’ call for the fashion industry to act on its global mandate on sustainability, the CFDA has rolled out a four-part strategy. Many designers’ questions may be answered by referencing the first edition of the CFDA Guide to Sustainable Strategies, the Sustainable Strategies Toolkit, the CFDA Materials Index or the CFDA Sustainability Directory.
While Eileen Fisher, Stella McCartney and other designers have been committed to trying to clean up the industry’s excessive waste for a while, many less established brands are examining sustainability for the first time. The United Nations Alliance on Sustainable Fashion will stage its launch event March 14, during a media event of the 4th U.N. Environment Assembly in Nairobi, Kenya. Just as consumers have learned about the environmental farm-to-table choices, sustainability supporters are hopeful that greater awareness about the need for sustainable fashion will lead to changing the consumption and production habits.
Konstantin Grcic recently joined forces with the Aeance to create a sustainable capsule collection. Stella McCartney has been leading the

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Can Music Help You Heal?

Can music be a part of your healing? It’s not just possible, it’s actually being used to help patients of various kinds. Deforia Lane has used music as part of healing therapy for patients suffering from various illnesses including cancer. Here is more information about how music can heal.

WHAT EXACTLY IS MUSIC THERAPY?
Music Therapy is the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program.

Music therapy interventions can be designed to:

  • Promote Wellness
  • Manage Stress
  • Alleviate Pain
  • Express Feelings
  • Enhance Memory
  • Improve Communication
  • Promote Physical Rehabilitation

{Music therapy is a 75 year-old profession formally established in 1950. (Nat. Assoc. for Music Therapy). Physicians noted that shell-shocked soldiers in the VA hospitals were more compliant & less combative when music was a part of their daily protocol.

The medical model values data and research and Michigan State was the first university to establish a fully accredited degree in music therapy.  Now there are 8000 music therapists and 70 colleges & universities that offer a bachelors, masters or a Ph.D in music therapy.

HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED WITH PRACTICING THIS TYPE OF TREATMENT?
After completing a degree in vocal performance (opera) from the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music, I married, became a mother and when our first son was 5 I returned to complete a masters in music.  “Intro to Music Therapy’ was an elective which took me by storm and my life has never been the same.

It was the perfect merger of my love for music and my need to nurture and connect with people beyond the stage.  I was hired immediately as a music therapist at a developmental center for children with disabilities and was amazed at how music could address the needs of children with autism, cognitive delays, enhance their communication and increase their socialization skills.  Seven years later, I was invited to start a music therapy program at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center and that held my heart and soul for 34 years.

HOW CAN MUSIC THERAPY ADDRESS THE NEEDS OF CANCER PATIENTS?
Research has demonstrated music’s significant influence on the brain – it affects both hemispheres. Through MRI’s and PET scans, and modern technology we are able to better understand how to use music to impact physical, emotional, psychological and social well being.

We use it to decrease pain perception, reduce anxiety and depression, increase muscle strength/endurance and improve neurologic function.  Using combinations of guided imagery, instrumental music 60 – 80 bpm, & breathing techniques oncology patients’ pain can be significantly reduced.

AFTER MUSIC THERAPY, WHAT CHANGES HAVE YOU SEEN IN PATIENTS?

Mr. Mercer, dignified elderly deacon at his church had a stroke which left him unable to speak.  He tried but his words were not intelligible.  I chose one of his favorite songs – “This Little Light of Mine.”  It was important he be familiar with words and rhythm.  I took his hand and kept time on it by tapping with my hand and began to sing, articulating each word and making continuous eye contact. By the end of the first line he was mouthing the words in time to the music and by the end of the fourth line he filled in the missing word  – “shine”.  By the end of the song he completely sang the entire last line  – the first time he or his wife heard him speak with clarity.

With other patients whose speech has been affected by stroke, depending on what part of the brain is affected, we use a technique called Melodic Intonation Therapy.  This uses the rhythm and melody of music to enable a person to learn to speak again.  It’s transforming and gives hope to regaining a sense of normalcy.

WHY IS MUSIC THERAPY BENEFICIAL FOR PATIENTS TO USE?

Music is a part of our lives from first cry to last breath. We are born having heard for months the sound of our mother’s heartbeat, the sounds of her voice, perhaps he singing or her music, feeling the movement of her walking, dancing.

Music is a part of birthdays, graduations, church services, school dances, ceremonies and brings with it a range of emotions which are imprinted on our mind and heart.  We can use those inherent music experiences to  stimulate the brain to reconnect us with hope, physical and emotional strength.

 IS MUSIC THERAPY THE SAME FOR ALL PATIENTS?

Not at all. Because the experience of music is different for each of us it is best to customize its use to the needs of each patient.  That may change as their illness improves or as their disease progresses.

WHAT HAPPENS DURING A TYPICAL MUSIC SESSION?

Each session is based upon the specific patient goal, i.e., to decrease pain, improve the quality of their gait, to encourage movement & range of motion, etc. So I may use a wind instrument, recorder, to increase deep or steady breathing and improve oxygenation. Or a parent whose prognosis is poor may want to write a song for their children or spouse, so I facilitate that process by taking their words and setting them to the genre of music they choose.  Co-treating with physical therapists I can play music of the patient’s preference that supports the force and range of their muscle movement and range of motion.  Sessions vary widely.

 IS MUSIC THERAPY COVERED BY MEDICAL INSURANCE? IF NOT, WHAT IS THE COST RANGE?

In outpatient psychiatric settings it is normally covered and in some inpatient medical settings as well but it is it is handled differently by each insurance company.  For the best information on that because it can differ from state to state our American Music Therapy Association is an excellent resource.  www.musictherapy.org or 301 589-3300.

CAN HEALTHY INDIVIDUALS BENEFIT FROM MUSIC THERAPY?
Absolutely. To reduce stress, choose music to calm your mind and body, perhaps to prepare you for sleeping or before a challenging conversation.  To energize you when you’re feeling unmotivated – I listen to gospel music or Motown to clean my house;  as background to start a conversation with your children;  and nothing energizes me more to work out and exercise than music.  You walk farther and longer when you use your favorite songs.

HOW MANY SESSIONS SHOULD ONE PARTICIPATE IN?

Depending on the desired outcome it may be one session or I know some who have been in music therapy for months and years.

HOW HAS BEING A BREAST CANCER SURVIVOR, IMPACTED YOUR WORK WITH ORGANIZATIONS SUCH AS SUSAN G. KOMEN AND THE AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY?

I identify with the fear, challenge, uncertainty, need for support and hope that a cancer diagnosis brings. I’ve been diagnosed twice within 10 months and I sought help to deal with it in support groups sponsored by the American Cancer Society. Once I began my position as Director of Art & Music Therapy at University Hospitals, I realized the importance of research to find the best treatment and applied and was the recipient of grants from local foundations and national organizations such as Susan G. Komen. I’ve been invited me to share the work of music therapy all over the world for which I am most grateful.

TELL US ABOUT THE PLAY SING SISTAH, SING.
There is great disparity regarding cancer in the AA community.  We contract cancer in greater numbers than our white counterparts and we die from it more frequently.  That is unacceptable to me and I wanted to do something about it. I asked two female friends of mine who look like me and had experienced cancer if they would be share their stories in the form and to sing the songs that encouraged them through their cancer journey.

They both had voices of gold!!  They agreed and together we weaved information into a 20-minute skit about breast self examine, prevention, what treatment entailed and we tried to dispel some of the myths that are so common in our communities (don’t let them cut you open, because the cancer will spread; you can’t get breast cancer once you’re an old lady past menopause; if you have it don’t worry your daughter by telling her – she won’t get it because you have it).

The audience naturally gravitated to the songs (gospel/inspirational) we sang – powerful.  Our dialogue was authentic and transparent, we even offered to show them our scars.  They seemed to identify with us, were easily engaged in dialogue, signed up for free mammograms. We performed this in inner-city high rises, churches and community centers for over 3,000 women.

HOW CAN SOMEONE FIND YOU TO GET MORE INFORMATION?

A: American Music Therapy Association

8455 Colesville Road Suite 1000

Silver Spring, MD 20901

216 301 589-3300; Fax: 301-589-5175

www.musictherapy.org

Deforia Lane answers ‘Text Tom’ questions on the next page.

 

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Caring for preterm babies in single family rooms may help prevent sepsis and improve exclusive breastfeeding

Caring for preterm babies in single family rooms appears to reduce the incidence of sepsis and improve exclusive breastfeeding rates compared with traditional open ward neonatal units, according to a systematic review and meta-analysis.
Child Development News — ScienceDaily

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Facebook, Twitter Turn to Right-Leaning Groups to Help Referee Political Speech

Advisers on touchy issues include Tony Perkins’ Family Research Council, Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform and, on the left, the Southern Poverty Law Center. Their involvement behind the scenes, designed to tamp down a furor over social media’s policing of content, has instead kicked up a new range of disputes.
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Want to Start a Side Hustle? These 10 Tips Will Help Set You Up for Success

Side hustles can be a great way to supplement your income or satisfy your entrepreneurial spirit. Who knows — having one might someday lead to a more fulfilling job opportunity.

Experienced side hustlers will tell you there’s a lot you can do in the beginning to build a solid foundation for your gig. So if you’re thinking about taking on a new venture, here are 10 tips on how to start a side hustle that will help you avoid future headaches.

Find Out How Much Side Hustle Time You Have Available

McKinzie Bean, creator of the

When juggling a day job and starting a side hustle, time is precious. McKinzie Bean is the operator of Moms Make Cents, a website aimed at helping moms build their own businesses.

She advises people to document their normal routines for one week before starting their side gig so they can see how much time during the evenings and weekends they spend doing things like cooking dinner, watching Netflix, doing chores, etc. Bean recommends using time tracking smartphone apps like Toggl when offline and Google Chrome extensions to monitor time spent on the internet.

You can see how much time you really have for a side hustle once you cut unproductive activities from your schedule.

“In your first year, you do have to dedicate a lot of time to your side hustle,” Bean says. “Just see which pieces you’re willing to give up because it is going to take some sacrifice to get to that point where your business is growing.”

Research if the Side Gig Is Worth Doing

Now that you know how much free time you have available, consider whether it’s feasible to add a side gig on top of a regular job.

Alex Tran is a full-time digital marketing strategist who operates five separate side hustles, including teaching yoga and reviewing activewear.  She recommends searching Google and YouTube to see if there’s a need for your side hustle and to determine how time-consuming it can be. During your research, see if other people are doing something similar and ask if they are willing to offer their advice.

“Say, ‘Hey, I work full time right now, but is it possible that I could just do this maybe six hours a week?’” she advises. If they respond, they may tell you how much of a financial and time commitment it will be to get your business off the ground.

Find Out Whether You Need to Inform Your Current Employer

One thing to consider before starting a side hustle is determining whether the gig will interfere with your day job. Every company is different, and some may have strict guidelines on what employees can do outside of work, Bean warns.

Do yourself a favor and dust off the employee handbook to see if there are any rules against side jobs. The last thing you need is to lose your primary source of income because you forgot to tell your boss about your budding side gig.

Set Some Office Hours

When Bean and her husband started working on their website 2 1/2 years ago, they set a schedule to keep them on track during the evenings. For example, she’d work for an hour on the site after her husband got home, then he’d take over after dinner. She says having a schedule in place was critical for them.

Also included in their schedule was at least one social or family activity per week to avoid burnout. “There was always one piece in the week that we could look forward to,” Bean says. “A few hours where we could recharge and be rejuvenated.”

Open Separate Business Accounts

Trish McDermott poses with baby gear in front of the trunk of her car

It’s never too early to start thinking about tax season. Trish McDermott is a longtime side hustler and co-founder of BabyQuip, a baby gear rental service for traveling parents. She tells people to open a bank account and credit card dedicated solely for their business.

Doing this provides you with a true-to-life snapshot of the financial results of your side hustle. “That snapshot is really difficult to see if you’re commingling your personal transactions with your side hustle,” she says.

By having all your side hustle income and expenses in one place, you can see trends and other relevant information to improve your business. Plus, she says, your accountant will appreciate it when it’s tax time.

Develop an Organization System for Your Paperwork

Instead of throwing all your receipts into a shoebox, consider setting up a digital filing system. “As a side hustler, you have to maximize your time,” Bean says.

Most of her receipts and invoices are sent via email because she runs an online business. To save time, Bean uses free basic automation software, such as If This Then That (IFTTT), to automatically save her receipts into a Google Drive folder.

For physical receipts, she takes photo backups using the smartphone app CamScanner. That way everything is saved on her phone or computer, ready to go for tax season.

Design Templates to Work Smarter

Tran encourages people to set up a task workflow in the early days of their side gig. For example, if your side business is in copywriting or involves creating a lot of documents, she encourages people to design templates.

“Have a system down so you can streamline it when you start to scale your business.” These templates can have the basic format laid out so all you need to do is change out the unique details. That way, you’re not starting from scratch on every project.  

Find Industry-Specific Groups

McDermott says there are many industry-specific groups and communities available on social media for side hustlers. In these LinkedIn and Facebook groups, you can learn from other professionals working in your field as they share advice. McDermott recently discovered a Facebook group for freelance social media managers and was blown away by the information and resources they were sharing among themselves.

“Those kind of connections nowadays are so easy to find, and so fruitful,” she says.

Create a Productive Home Environment

Your home office needs to have minimal distractions. Two ways to ensure this include following a set work schedule and having everything you need in the office, McDermott says.

By following the same work schedule, your family, neighbors and others know not to bother you during designated times. Plus, if you have everything you need at your disposal, you don’t need to leave the room.

“Having the tools you need to do your work available in the space you’re doing it prevents you from wandering around the house and deciding that you should start the dishwasher,” she says.

Don’t Wait for Perfection — Just Go For It!

Whether it’s posting on social media, launching a website or starting a company, McDermott encourages aspiring side hustlers and entrepreneurs not to get paralyzed by perfection, which can get in the way of execution. Her outlook is to do it the best you can and fix what doesn’t work as you progress.

“There’s no company on the face of the planet that has gotten it all right all the time,” she says.

In her opinion, the rewards are more significant for entrepreneurs who take risks and are willing to bring their energy and passion to whatever they do.

“You just can’t wait around to be perfect,” she says. “Someone else will take the idea and run [with it]. Just go!”

Matt Reinstetle is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. He covers side hustles and the gig economy. If you have a side gig story idea, message him on Twitter @MattReinstetle.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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This Company Will Help You Finance up to $100K for Your Next DIY Project

DIY projects are a fabulous way to save money. After all, why pay outlandish prices to hire a carpenter or handyman if you can just do it yourself?

Still, even DIY projects cost a little money. You’ll need tools and paint and supplies. Also, you’ll need extra supplies for when you inevitably make a mistake. (Whoops! It’s OK; that’s all part of the process.)

Even if you’re not paying through the nose for professional help, DIY projects typically involve purchasing things like paint, paintbrushes, wood, laminate flooring, sealant, ceramic tile or whatever.

A trip to Lowe’s or Home Depot or Ikea can quickly run into the hundreds or thousands of dollars.

What’s a good way to come up with that money?

Go to Vegas and gamble up a storm? No.

Sell lots and lots of plasma? No.

Try taking out a personal loan. These days, it’s quicker and easier than ever.

A good resource is Fiona, a search engine for financial services, which can help match you with the right personal loan to meet your needs.

Fiona searches the top online lenders to match you with a personalized loan offer in less than 60 seconds. Its platform can help you borrow up to $ 100,000 (no collateral needed) with fixed rates starting at 4.99% and terms from 24 to 84 months.

Mike Brassfield (mike@thepennyhoarder.com) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. He likes to do home projects himself, but he’s not necessarily opposed to hiring a contractor either.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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Kendall Jenner to Share Personal ‘Raw Story’ to Help People, Kris Announces

Kendall Jenner is hoping to connect with people and help them by sharing a very personal story about herself … but it’s a mystery what that is for now. Kris Jenner announced Saturday her “brave and vulnerable” daughter will be revealing the story…

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How Taking out a Loan Could Actually Help You Get out of Debt This Year

If you popped the cork to ring in 2019 but still have some nagging debt hanging around, chances are you made a mental note of it in your New Year’s resolutions. This is the Year of the Pig on the Chinese zodiac calendar, and that stands for “luck, overall good fortune, wealth, honesty, general prosperity.” Sounds good, right?

Now is the time to make a plan to wipe out your debt before the next trip around the sun. If you are carrying balances on several credit cards, you are likely paying interest up to or even over 20%. Ouch.

Other types of debt, like medical bills, payday loans or anything else may also come with high interest and annoying collection calls.

When you try to pay down multiple bills that are charging interest, your payments can get spread too thin and you may not really be making much progress.

It’s time to consolidate and conquer.

A good resource is Fiona, a search engine for financial services, which can help match you with the right personal loan to meet your needs.

Fiona searches the top online lenders to match you with a personalized loan offer in less than 60 seconds. Its platform can help you borrow up to $ 100,000 (no collateral needed) with fixed rates starting at 4.99% and terms from 24 to 84 months.

Yes, the terms are 24 to 84 months, but with only one payment and a much lower interest rate, you might be able to make better payments and much faster progress towards paying that debt down.

Get free of bad debt and ready to make the Year of the Pig your best year yet. By the time the ball drops to welcome in 2020, you’ll really be bringing home the bacon.

Tyler Omoth is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder who loves soaking up the sun and finding creative ways to help others. He likes bad puns and won’t apologize for it. He also likes bacon. Catch him on Twitter at @Tyomoth.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

The Penny Hoarder Promise: We provide accurate, reliable information. Here’s why you can trust us and how we make money.

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Can a video game-based ‘digital medicine’ help children with autism and co-occurring ADHD?

Researchers evaluated a digital medicine tool designed as an investigational treatment for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and co-occurring attention/deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Child Development News — ScienceDaily

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6 tools to help grow your website’s traffic, all currently on sale

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Not to be dramatic or anything, but with 57% of this year’s holiday spending expected to be done online, your business (literally) can’t afford to have a “meh” web presence right now.

Take full advantage of this year’s holiday shopping season by growing your site’s traffic with the help of these online tools and services, all of which are on sale for a limited time. You can even take an extra 15% off your purchase if you enter the code MERRY15 at checkout. 

1. Simvoly Site Builder

Build the website of your dreams without writing a single line of code — for real! — with Simvoly, a site-building platform that helps you construct user-friendly sales funnels, websites, and stores in mere minutes. Use its drag and drop builder to create unlimited pop-ups and streamlined pages that load quickly (and on any device), then break down your numbers right on your site with its built-in analytics tool. Read more…

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Nurse Alice: When Your Help isn’t Wanted with Suicide Prevention

Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels is reportedly sending Pete Davidson to “get help” after the comedian posted a now-deleted suicidal message online, hours before the show aired on NBC recently. And from the sounds of it, Davidson is going along with recommendations.

i really don’t want to be on this earth anymore. i’m doing my best to stay here for you but I actually don’t know how much longer I can last, read the actor’s cryptic Instagram post.

Davidson was confirmed to be fine Saturday by the New York Police Department, which visited NBC Studios to check up on him following the alarming post. He briefly appeared on SNL when he introduced musical guests Miley Cyrus, Mark Ronson, and Sean Ono Lennon.

His friend, rapper Machine Gun Kelly, rushed to New York City to support and be by Davidson’s side. Kelly wasn’t the only one who rushed to Davidson’s side over the weekend, however. A source told Us Weekly on Monday that pop star Ariana Grande, the comic’s ex-fiancée, showed up to NBC Studios, too, but Davidson refused to see her. Sources also say he even changed his phone number after the break up to further distance himself from Grande.

Earlier this month, Davidson stated on Instagram that he’d been bullied for months both before and after his split from Grande in October. He said he’d spoken about his borderline personality disorder and about “being suicidal publicly only in the hopes that it will bring awareness and help kids like myself who don’t want to be on this earth.”


Rejected Help

We can only imagine that Grande was hyper-concerned by Davidson’s concerning tweets, especially since her other ex-boyfriend, rapper Mac Miller, died earlier this year. But what do you do when your help is rejected?

It is possible that you can say all the right things and your friend will still be upset with you. Each person is an individual with unique thoughts and feelings, and being angry and upset is the nature of depression. Sometimes people will lash out at those trying to help them because they are hurting and don’t know where to direct those bad feelings. Whoever is nearby becomes a convenient target and, as a result, they may direct anger toward you and reject your assistance. And something else that you have to consider is: Could you have in any way contributed to their unhappy feelings? If so, this may be another reason why they are not receptive to your offers of help.

If this happens, try not to take it personally. Stay calm and continue to do what you can to love and support your friend in whatever way they will allow. According to board-certified psychiatrist Dr. Nicole Washington, “If you do find yourself on the receiving end of an angry reaction, just give that person space. This is not the time to argue, reason, or explain why you did what you did. Maybe once everyone involved has cooled down, a discussion can be held where you both get to express your views of what happened.”

Washington goes on to say that if this is able to occur, take this time to talk through what is helpful for them and what is not so that you know how to better respond to them in the future during these times.

The priority is that the distressed person gets the help they need, even if it isn’t from you. So don’t get salty and turn a blind eye if this happens; rather, continue to be supportive. These can be awkward, complex, and even challenging situations, but focus on the individual’s safety. If the person is in immediate danger – don’t leave them alone, call 911 and get help. Make sure to be on the lookout for warning signs of suicide and know when to seek help from others, even in cases when your help is rejected.

The post Nurse Alice: When Your Help isn’t Wanted with Suicide Prevention appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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Orlando Brown Seeks Help From Dr. Phil With Snake-Eye Contacts

Orlando Brown is seeking help from Dr. Phil and wearing snake-eye contacts to his session.

Brown, the ex-Disney star (“That’s So Raven”) has been spiraling out of control allegedly due to drugs and who knows what else including mental issues. It seems his situation has become so dire that he’s at the point where he’s looking for a savior in the doctor.

The meet-up with Dr. Phil is set for Friday. Reportedly it’s an intervention-type setting that was put together by one of Brown’s friends. Speaking of mental issued, the friend says the ex-actor is suffering from a mental disorder and on top of that, has burned so many bridges … he’s run out of people and places to go for help.

“I called in because Orlando he has mental problems,” the 31-year-old’s friend told the television host in the clip. “He’s burnt so many bridges no one wants to deal with him. If you can’t help him, he does not have a chance.”

Here’s more from TMZ:

The clip’s pretty shocking — both because of what the friend says about the “That’s So Raven” star … and the look in Orlando’s eye(s) when he sits face-to-face with Dr. Phil.

We broke the story … several of Brown’s friends staged an intervention for him in October to encourage him to enter a rehab facility. It worked — but only temporarily — and it’s clear people are still very concerned about him.

As we reported … Orlando’s been in and out of handcuffs several times in 2018, including after he was busted breaking into a restaurant in September.

Oh yeah, let’s not forget about the insane time he was busted by bounty hunters back in April. He was arrested in his underwear!

And there’s this:

“Out of nowhere he’ll say, ‘Michael Jackson’s my father. I own Neverland,’” his friend told Dr. Phil.

The full interview airs today, Friday (12/21/18). Check your local listings for “Dr. Phil” air time(s).

[ione_media_gallery id=”613519″ overlay=”true”]

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These 6 Tips Can Help You Move From From Part-Time to Full-Time Employee

Wishing for more from your part-time or seasonal gig?

For workers who’d prefer to be full-time, the difference goes beyond a bigger paycheck.

Depending on the company, full-time employment can mean a benefits package that includes health insurance and paid time off along with the stability of a reliable schedule.

As of November 2018, more than 4.8 million part-time workers in the U.S. said they’d rather be working full time, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s 2.9% of the labor force.

Although that group was nearly twice as large (9,233,000) in March 2010, the most recent figure is still larger than the pre-recession lows of 3,900,000 back in March 2006.

And that number doesn’t count “voluntary” part-time workers, which includes those who might otherwise want to be full time but have to cut back on work hours due to rising child care expenses or family caregiving costs.

But making the leap to full-time employee demands more than wishing. Read on for tips to turn your part-time gig into a more, ahem, full-filling career.

Going From Part-Time to Full-Time Work

 Emily Kapit poses for a portrait

Before rushing into your boss’s office to demand an increase in hours, consider what your goals are, advises career strategist Emily Kapit with ReFreshYourStep.com.

“Are you looking for a 40-hour-per-week job? Are you looking for simply more hours?” she asks. “Or are you looking for the full shebang, including benefits and everything?”

Preparation is essential, since asking for full-time status should be no different than negotiating a job offer or salary increase, Kapit says.

Here are six tips to arm you for the ask.

Know What Is the Difference Between Part Time and Full Time

Researching your company’s policies should be your first step, since the definition of part time and full time can vary by employer.

Although the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics identifies part-time employees as individuals working one to 34 hours per week, the Fair Labor Standards Act, the federal wage and hour law, doesn’t define full- or part-time employment.

That means one company’s full-time employee could work 40 hours, while another might consider anyone working more than 32 hours full time. And benefits associated with those classifications can vary, too.

Consult your human resources department, hiring manager or employee manual to help you understand your organization’s policy.

List Your Accomplishments

Now is not the time to be humble.

If you’re going to make the case to your boss that the company needs you more, you’ll need to present measurable accomplishments from your part-time tenure, according to Kapit.

“What have you done that has made a difference, that has been impactful, that would not have happened without you?” Kapit asks.

To simplify the process for identifying your achievements, she suggests answering three questions: What did you do? How did you do it? What was the outcome?

This method also applies to seasonal workers even if you’ve only been at the job for a few weeks.

“You have less time to prove yourself,” Kapit says. “But it’s also the nature of the job to have done a lot in a short amount of time.”

Make Your Boss’s Job Easier

Building a good relationship with your boss can help solidify your place on the team. One good way to do that is by volunteering to take on tasks that make your supervisor’s job easier, Kapit advises.

“If your manager knows they can depend on you and that you are being proactive and have foresight into what’s happening, that’s how you build a really strong relationship,” she says.

By changing your mindset so you no longer view the job as temporary, you’ll demonstrate why you deserve to be there full time, according to Scott Waletzke, head of enterprise recruitment strategy at Adecco Staffing USA.

“Set yourself apart and be that individual who is going to have that positive outlook or that positive attitude every single day when you come into work,” he says. “View that job as just an extended interview.”

Network With Those Who’ve Made the Leap

If you haven’t already, introduce yourself to other employees who have successfully made the leap from part time to full time, Kapit advises.

“Ask them for their insight, ask them for their support — especially if they had to have that same conversation with the same [supervisor],” she says.

Networking is a great way to garner support, but Kapit cautions that it only works as part of a bigger strategy.

“If you have built all the great relationships but have really not done anything, that’s really not going to be helpful,” she says. “The main game plan is do a great job because it’s all going to boil down to: How have you been impactful?”

Prepare to Negotiate

So when’s the best time to talk to your boss about your desire for full-time employment?

“There’s no time like the present,” Waletzke says. “No one’s going to know what you want out of that job unless you tell them what you’re looking for.”

And by going in prepared with your list of needs and accomplishments, you’ll be ready to confidently approach the negotiation as a discussion rather than a plea, Kapit says.

“That question, ‘What can we do?’ is very strategic,” she says. “It’s opening it up as a true dialogue between two people, as opposed to ‘I want this’ or ‘I’ll defer to you.’”

And don’t forget to think outside the box — or your current job at the company.

“If it’s not in your current role, perhaps there is another full-time position available in another department,” Kapit says. “This is particularly true for seasonal employees looking to make a post-holiday leap.”

Always Be Looking

Even armed with a list of accomplishments and an armada of advocates, your boss might say no to your request to become a full-time employee.

“Unfortunately, as an employee, you don’t necessarily always see behind the scenes,” says Waletzke, who notes there are any number of reasons a boss may decline, including budgetary reasons or hiring criteria restrictions.

If you’re a seasonal or temporary worker, Waletzke strongly recommends finishing the assignment, since your manager might provide a reference — or possibly a job in the future.

“Definitely stick it out and stay for the long haul, because you might even pick up some skills along the way,” he says.

By developing a professional, well-researched approach, you’re creating a guide for your ongoing career journey, Kapit stresses.

“Know that’s it’s not personal, and it’s just a matter of continuing your job search,” says Kapit. She adds that until you find a job that offers you the hours and pay you want, “You should always be looking.”

Tiffany Wendeln Connors is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. Data journalist Alex Mahadevan contributed to this article.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

The Penny Hoarder Promise: We provide accurate, reliable information. Here’s why you can trust us and how we make money.

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I tried the keto diet that’s sweeping Silicon Valley with help from a gadget that tracks progress

Ketogenic diets are all the rage, so I decided to give it a try. Here's what it was like to stick to a low carb, high fat diet.
Health and Science

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More help wanted? Some Trump advisers question Mulvaney’s fitness for job

The White House still has a help wanted sign, Democrats wait for Beto O’Rourke’s 2020 decision, President Trump’s immigration policies will soon be under a microscope, and the House GOP shields Trump from an awkward decision. It’s all on Inside Politics.


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Big Booby Benevolence: Woman Launches $100K Bra GoFundme To Help Other Women In Need

Stephanie Nelson AKA Persephanii

Source: Stephanie Nelson / Instagram

With a bust size of 34S, Stephanie Nelson knows a little bit about the struggles of finding a bra that fits and supports her situation properly. Ms. Nelson has launched a $ 100,000 GoFundMe effort to support other women in the journey of locating bras that both look and feel good in an overall bid to promote breast health.

Some readers might remember Nelson as one of our Baes and Baddies entries under the name persephanii, and as we noted then, her curvaceous frame is without a doubt a head-turner. However, she’s noticed the plight of women of her busty ilk in noting that many of them are wearing ill-fitting bras and how that could be contributing to their back pain and the like.

From GoFundMe:

I am a size 34S and I have no pain associated with my back and shoulders from having large breasts! It was not always like that. I wore poor suppprting bras thatugged on my back and shoulders to the point of me considering having a breast reduction.

Breast health is extremely important. Finding the right size is even more important. Many women walk around with pain in their back, shoulder and chest because they cannot find the right size. As a breast healthy woman I fear there could be a correlation to breast diseases and wearing poor supporting bras. I would like to raise money to not only purchase new bras for myself but also do give aways and events and help other women with large breasts find bras that fit well, improve their posture and help get rid of pain.

With all of that being said. BRA’S are expensive. Please donate if you’d love to see a reduction in pain and more confident breast healthy women near you!

Nelson kept it a stack in saying she wants to cop new wears for herself, but the larger goal of helping others is really the best part in all of this. Salute to her.

If folks would like to support Stephanie Nelson’s bra fund, click here.

Instagram Photo

Photo: Instagram

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Winter Is Here — and This App Will Help You Make Money Shoveling Snow

I wish I could start this article with, “We’ve all had to do it…”

But, fortunately, I’m a Floridian, and I’ve never had to shovel snow. From what I’ve heard, some people find it a real pain — a job happily pawned off to any willing being.

On the other hand, what if you’re that willing being? You might be able to make some good money from a hearty dusting.

Even 50 Cent has shoveled snow.

I’m going out to shovel snow and see if I can make me a few extra dollars today. I’m charging more if they want to take pictures

— 50cent (@50cent) December 27, 2010

And so has Daniel Miller, CEO of an app called Shovler.

It’s kind of like Uber — but for snow shoveling — and since its release in December 2016, more than 15,000 people have registered to become snow shovelers, according to Miller.

How Did the Shovler App Get Started?

Miller shoveled snow as a teenager and always thought it was the perfect gig: People are appreciative, you get a good workout in and it’s actually kind of fun.

Plus: The pay ain’t too shabby.

Miller came up with the idea for Shovler in the winter of 2015 when his parents were hanging out in Florida and wanted a clear driveway upon returning home to New Jersey. A full-on plow service wasn’t necessary, and, other than that, they had a hard time finding someone.

“It just dawned on me that there are lots of people in similar situations, especially the elderly, that just want to hire a snow shoveler on demand for the days they need one or want to take a break from shoveling themselves,” Miller writes in an email.

He’d always seen those apps about solving what he calls “minor problems” — like delivering food a few blocks away. “But nobody has fixed this major logistical nightmare that people have every year,” he says.

For him, the app seemed obvious. Why hadn’t it been invented years ago?

How Much Money Can You Make Shoveling Snow?

Enter: Shovler.

The app went live for iOS and Android at the beginning of December 2016, and approximately 15,000 snow shovelers have registered with it across the U.S. and parts of Canada, according to Miller.

Those who are in need of shoveling services enter their requests into the app. The registered shovelers get pinged when a job’s available nearby.

Pay is calculated by an algorithm that takes the depth of snow and the size of the property, as well as other factors, into consideration. In general, though, typical rates range from:

  • $ 20 to $ 35 for a car parked on a city street
  • $ 30 to $ 75 for up to a two-car driveway that fits three cars in length, an average walkway and an average sidewalk in front of a house
  • 50 cents to $ 2 per square feet for a city sidewalk or small parking lots (for businesses)

The Shovler app takes 20% of each job (though there are promo codes out there for 10% off), and the human shoveler gets the rest.

Miller says shovelers have made up to $ 200 per gig and says the app also hosts customers who tip generously, some tacking on a 50% tip.

“Shovelers love the app because they get paid by the job, not the hour,” Miller says. “That really gives them the ability to earn $ 50 in an hour if they are quick.”

Shovelers get paid after the user rates the job or within 24 hours — whichever is faster.

How You Can Sign Up For Shovler

The app is available across the U.S. and in parts of Canada, but its most popular cities are Boston, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Milwaukee, Minneapolis and New York.

Signing up is easy — and a lot easier than awkwardly knocking on your neighbors’ doors or giving them a ring. Plus, the app is currently running a promotion for new shovelers – if you sign up by December 21, you’ll be reimbursed up to $ 30 for snow shoveling tools or receive a $ 10 credit if you already have your own tools.

So why not make some money off the most recent dumping of the devil’s dandruff?

Carson Kohler (carson@thepennyhoarder.com) is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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Same Job for Many Years? These 5 Tips Will Help You Reinvent Yourself

After 10 years in human resources at a nonprofit, Laura Niebauer Palmer figured she wouldn’t have any problem finding a new HR job when she and her husband moved from Chicago to Austin, Texas.

Then she started reading the job postings — which asked for advanced training and experience with programs she didn’t use — and realized her old skills weren’t marketable for a new position.

“My heart sank,” the 38-year-old says. “I was like, “What am I going to do? How am I going to bridge this gap?’”

So how is it that 10 years of experience could become a detriment rather than a strength for a job candidate?

Many longtime workers are falling behind on the skills required in rapidly changing industries, according to Alvin Nesbot, the New York City market manager for Manpower.

“People who are just joining the job market — maybe within the past three to five years or so — are making moves a lot faster than people who have been working for 10-plus years,” Nesbot says. “There are those people who have worked a lot longer who have stayed in a lull and gotten stagnant.”

And it’s not just another co-worker who’ll offer the skills you’re lacking — at least, not a human one. It’s estimated that half of the work activities companies pay people to do could be automated by 2055, according to a study by the McKinsey Global Institute.

If you’re worried your field is going the way of the dinosaur, here are some alternative jobs for dying industries. But what if you like your industry and just want to change jobs? Read on for strategies for making a change after years in the same gig.

How to Make a Career Change

Laura Niebauer works on her laptop while holding her infant son at home.

If you’re a bit unsure about what’s happening outside your cubicle walls, here are five strategies for avoiding — or escaping — a dead-end job.

1. Network for a Job

Leaving your comfort zone to network may seem intimidating, but it’s a great way to find out what is going on in your industry. It’s part of the reason it’s so important to maintain networking relationships even after you have found a job.

Being around your peers is not only helpful for finding contacts for the next job but also for discovering what credentials and terminology are becoming more prominent within your field, according to Palmer.

“You have like-minded people to bounce ideas off,” he says. “Also, it’s very eye-opening when you’re around a bunch of people and they’re having conversations about topics you don’t really know about or are using acronyms that you’re like, ‘Wait, what does that mean?’”

And if the thought of a networking event makes you break out in hives, try one-on-one networking with former colleagues, Palmer suggests.

“What I would have done differently is definitely caught up with people who had left the company,” he says. She adds that by asking about the transition to new roles, you’ll get a better idea of what technology and skills are in demand outside your office.

2. Update Your Resume

If your resume touts WordPerfect expertise and includes your AOL address, it’s probably time for a resume makeover. (Also, stop wearing that sundress over a T-shirt.)

Reading your resume with a critical eye is essential for identifying skills or programs that are no longer relevant for your position, according to Nesbot.

“What you were doing seven to 10 years ago is not going to be relevant or as important as what is going on today,” Nesbot says. “Are there things making [your resume] look dated?”

If it’s been a couple of presidential administrations since you last updated your resume, you may want to start fresh. (Here’s a guide to writing a professional-looking resume.)

But starting over doesn’t mean you have to forget your past experiences. Instead, take some time to compile a comprehensive list of training and accomplishments, Nesbot suggests.

“Sometimes we don’t look at our resumes in a while, and we realize there are things we’ve been doing that we haven’t highlighted,” Nesbot says. “Include any certifications or training that you’ve done to help set you apart from any other candidate.”

Once you have your list, compare it to current job postings and craft your resume so it includes recent credentials and popular terms within your industry.

“Make sure you have buzz words that are going to stand out to whoever is reading your resume,” Nesbot says.

3. Find a Mentor

Palmer holds her son in his nursery.

Once she got to Austin, Palmer ended up at a staffing agency looking for work. The agency placed her in a temporary three-month position to fill in for a woman on maternity leave.

Palmer used those months to take advantage of the in-house training department to connect with someone who could provide long-term career advice.

“The biggest part that helped me develop was the mentorship that I had with my boss,” she says. “I learned so much from her; my confidence rose 100%.

You can’t replicate that with a course.”

At the end of her temporary gig, the company offered Palmer a full-time position in the HR department.

4. Volunteer for Experience

Rather than repeating past mistakes, Palmer says, she took the opportunity at her new job to question what she really wanted in the next five or 10 years — and it turns out, it wasn’t HR.

After spending some time figuring out what she really wanted to do, Palmer decided than rather than pouring money into additional education, she’d offer to work for free in exchange for the experience she was lacking.

“I volunteered at two organizations, and one of them specifically was something that I wouldn’t have been able to land a job at because I had no experience,” Palmer says. “But when you say, ‘Hey, I can volunteer for this,’ then they’re like, ‘Great, we have somebody who has a lot of time and is really excited about this. We’ll put some training into them.’”

Thanks to that experience, Palmer was able to snag a part-time job at a small company, which allows her to spend time with her infant son as well as write articles sharing her expertise — including some for The Penny Hoarder.

5. Apply for Jobs Before You Need One

Even if you’re happy in your job right now, it doesn’t hurt to start investigating what’s out there.

After all, the best way to discover if you’re growing or stagnating in your career is to find out if someone will hire you — and there’s always a chance you’ll find your dream job in the process, Palmer points out.

Look at the jobs right now and actually apply to them and go through interviewing,” Palmer says. “I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that to see where your skills are — if they’re lining up with what is currently needed in the market.

“But you also might land a job that you didn’t even know you wanted.”

Why You’re Not Job Hunting

Laura Neibauer plays with her infant son in his nursery in Austin, TX.

Reevaluating your skills every few years takes some work, but the rewards are a more fulfilling career with greater chances for growth. Admittedly, that can be hard to do when you’re happy — or at least satisfied — with your current position.

Your salary and benefits might tempt you to stay put, but you’ll suffer in the long run if you’re too scared to change, according to Palmer. She notes part of the reason she stayed at her first job for so long was the generous paid time off and health care coverage.

“It’s hard because you’re trying to balance furthering yourself but also realizing if you further yourself, you’re taking a risk,” Palmer says. “ But if you’re looking to grow in your career… you need to challenge yourself.”

Tiffany Wendeln Connors is a staff writer with The Penny Hoarder. She likes all kinds of change, but pennies are her favorite.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

The Penny Hoarder Promise: We provide accurate, reliable information. Here’s why you can trust us and how we make money.

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This 30-Day Challenge Will Help Any Married Couple Conquer Their Money Woes

Congratulations! You’ve said your vows. You’ve thrown that bouquet (who knew Grandma could jump like that?). You’re even rocking a nice tan from your honeymoon.

Now married life really begins. Like it or not, your finances are a major factor in your marriage. According to Dave Ramsey, 86% of couples who got married in the last five years started out in debt.

It’s OK. Take a deep breath. We’ve put together a one-month challenge for married couples to get your finances in shape for your happily ever after.

Do you accept the challenge? If so, say, “I do” (again).

Day 1: Check Your Credit Scores

Your credit score is important, now more than ever. The better your score, the better deal you’ll get on a mortgage, rental deposit, car loan or credit card. If either you or your spouse has a less-than-ideal credit score, it’s time to start working on it.

To keep a closer eye on your credit, get your credit score and a “credit report card” for free from Credit Sesame. It breaks down exactly what’s on your credit report in layman’s terms, how it affects your score and how to address it.

Signing up for Credit Sesame will only take you a couple of minutes each, and it’ll even help you tackle any issues you see.

Day 2: Tackle Your Credit Card Debt

Sometimes “for better or for worse” includes taking on your spouse’s credit card or other high-interest debt. Don’t let it get you down. Instead, take those balances down in a smart way.

A good resource is consumer financial technology platform Even Financial, which can help match you with the right personal loan to meet your needs.

Even searches the top online lenders to match you with a personalized loan offer in less than 60 seconds. Its platform can help you borrow up to $ 100,000 (no collateral needed) with fixed rates starting at 4.99% and terms from 24 to 84 months.

Day 3: Get Paid to Get Fit

Your honeymoon was full of buffets, decadent desserts and pina coladas. Totally worth it. Now it’s time to make up for those fun times.

There’s a cool company, HealthyWage, that will literally pay you for losing weight.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Read our full HealthyWage review, and sign up.
  2. Define a goal weight and the amount of time you’ll give yourself to achieve it.
  3. Place a bet on yourself ranging from $ 20 to $ 500 a month.

Depending on how much you have to lose, how long you give yourself to do it and how much money you put on the table, you could win up to $ 10,000!

Wondering if it can really work? We talked to one woman, Teresa Suarez, who lost 68 pounds — and made over $ 2,400.

The couple that gets fit together stays together, right?

Day 4: Budget Your Wedded Bliss

A budget is not fun, but you’ll be surprised at how freeing it can really be, especially for a married couple. You’ll know your limits and take the mystery out of your monthly spending.

The Empower app is a powerful budgeting tool that can help you figure out how you’re spending your money and develop a budgeting plan to keep you on track.

Link the app to your bank accounts, and it will track your spending. It will also categorize your spending so you can see exactly where you are overdoing it.

That’s right: It will show you just how many times you went out for dinner because it was your turn to do the dishes.

Day 5: Start Adulting With a Life Insurance Policy

When you’re married, you have someone else who counts on you. If you have a family, the last thing you want is to leave them without any financial support once you’re gone.

Getting a life insurance policy is a smart move — and it’s not as hard as it used to be.

Ethos, for example, can get you term life insurance in less than 10 minutes — with no medical exam — for coverage up to $ 1 million. Ethos offers a digital application, and customer service is available if you have questions.

It partners with a major life insurance carrier to quickly offer policies as low as $ 6 a month.

You don’t really want to think about “‘til death do us part,” but it’s a conversation you need to have. You’ve got this!

Days 6 and 7: It’s the Weekend! Find Free Stuff in Your City

What? You thought we’d make you work every day? Good marriages need room for quality time to have fun together, too, right? Just don’t spend a lot of money doing it.

From museums to community movie nights, there’s most likely a rich menu of 100% free things to do wherever you are!

Check your local newspaper or city website, and see what you can get into — without paying a dime.

Day 8: Find out If You’re a Power Couple

How do you compare to your peers? Are you the neighborhood’s power couple, or are you barely keeping up with the Joneses? It’s time to find out.

Status Money is an app that allows you to anonymously compare your financial situation with your peers without asking those awkward, prying questions. Link an account to tap into this database and you’ll be able to compare your income, debt, interest rates, credit score, spending… you name it.

By seeing how others are doing, you can see what you need to work on — or where you can sit back a little and just breathe easy.

Day 9: Wash Your Car, and Clean up Your Car Insurance Bill

You each have a vehicle. One took you on your first date. The other was topped with streamers and balloons on your wedding day. Now it’s time to give them both a good wash — and then clean up your insurance bills.

Yes. There’s no getting around car insurance, unfortunately. But one way you could save money is by shopping around and comparing rates at least once a year. So, just like you compare the prices of flights, shoes and laptops before purchasing, why not compare car insurance?

The Zebra, an online car insurance search engine that offers “insurance in black and white,” compares your options from 204 providers in less than 60 seconds.

Day 10: Make a Shopping List — and Get Paid

You probably shopped online before you were married. You won’t likely stop now, right? But now it’s even more important to save money where you can.

One of our favorite ways to save is with Ebates, a cash-back site that rewards you nearly every time you buy something online. For example, Ebates gives you 10% cash-back on online purchases at Walmart.

Plus, you’ll get a free $ 10 gift card to Walmart for giving the site a try.

Day 11: Stock the Fridge and Pantry With Savings

They say that 90% of marriage is asking “What should we have for dinner?” That number may actually be a bit low.

One of the best ways to avoid this trap is to get ahead of it. If you plan your meals for the week and shop accordingly, you’ll be all set. You know what makes your meals taste even better than butter or salt? Savings.

Believe it or not, Ibotta will pay you cash for taking pictures of your grocery store receipts.

Before heading to the store, search for items on your shopping list within the Ibotta app. When you get home, snap a photo of your receipt and scan the items’ barcodes, and earn cash back.

Ibotta is free to download. Plus, you’ll get a $ 10 sign-up bonus after uploading your first receipt.

Pre-planned dinner plus a pay day? That’s romance, right there!

Day 12: Put the Gold in Your ‘Golden Years’

When you said “I do,” you made a promise to make a future together. That future will look a lot better if you plan for your retirement right now.

If you’re like most people, you have no idea whether your 401(k) is on pace for retirement or just sputtering along.

Chances are, your 401(k) could be doing a lot better. Take control with help from Blooom, an SEC-registered investment advisory firm that can optimize and monitor your 401(k) for you and keep it speeding toward retirement.

It just takes a few minutes to get a free 401(k) analysis  that will show you whether your investments are allocated properly and whether you’re losing money paying hidden investment fees. It’ll even tell you just how much more money your account could earn by the time you want to retire.

After that, if you sign up, it’s just $ 10 per month to have Blooom monitor and maximize your 401(k). Bonus: Penny Hoarders get the first month free with the code PNNYHRD.

Think of Blooom like a mechanic constantly fine-tuning your car’s engine so it gives you the best possible performance and gas mileage. Except it’s your 401(k) — and your future.

Days 13 and 14: It’s The Weekend! Relax, and Grab a Glass of Wine

You’ve made great strides! Hey, marriage isn’t all work. Give yourself a break today. You’ve earned it.

Tonight, kick back, relax and enjoy each other’s company with a glass of wine. Of course, you don’t want to go overboard and spend a bundle on that bottle. Find a great bottle of wine for under $ 20, and toast to your financial progress.  

Day 15: Clear Your Clutter

Wow. Now that there are two of you, all of your stuff really adds up, doesn’t it? It’s not just the things you have two of, like ironing boards and disco balls; it’s clothes, shoes and furniture.

Set up shop, and make some extra money from the stuff you don’t need (and probably don’t have room for anymore).

You can sell virtually anything on Letgo. This intuitive app lets you snap a photo and upload your item in less than 30 seconds. It removes a lot of the hassle of selling things online, and it’s 100% free to use.

Marriage tip: Only sell your stuff. Posting your spouse’s items is a one-way ticket to the dog house.

Day 16: Feel the Thrill With a Free Lottery

There’s something so satisfying about those gas station scratch-off tickets, but it’s better to avoid them because, well, that’s not Penny Hoarding.

Instead, try scratching for free using an app called Lucktastic. Each day, it releases a new assortment of digital scratch-off tickets. Lucktastic says instant wins range from $ 1 to $ 10,000. You can also earn tokens that you can exchange for free gift cards to retailers, including Amazon, Walmart, Kohl’s, Sephora and more.

You can even compete with your spouse. Who can win more tonight?

Day 17: Relax, and Watch a Good Show

OK, you’re ready for a little snuggle time. That’s fair.

Tonight, pop some popcorn, pour a cool beverage and plop down on that loveseat. But instead of watching a movie, earn some money by watching movie previews or other short videos.

InboxDollars lets you actually get paid to watch TV online. The site hosts a ton of stuff to watch, including cooking, entertainment, news and health shows. The shows are sponsored by brands that need to get them in front of as many eyeballs as possible.

Every time you watch one, InboxDollars will credit your account with a little bit of cash.

Day 18: Get Money for Past Purchases

What couple couldn’t use a little extra money? Here’s an easy way to see whether you could get money back on purchases you’ve already made.

One of our secret weapons is called Paribus — a tool that gets you money back for your online purchases. It’s free to sign up, and once you do, it will scan your email for any receipts. If it discovers you’ve purchased something from one of its monitored retailers, it will track the item’s price and help you get a refund when there’s a price drop.

Plus, if your guaranteed shipment shows up late, Paribus will help you get compensated.

Day 19: Protect Your Nest Without Robbing Your Nest Egg

If you own a car, you know that you need to protect it (and yourself) with insurance. But did you really check out your options? You could be paying too much for your coverage. Shopping around for insurance can be time consuming, though.

Fortunately, a service called Gabi will do it for you, and you don’t even have to fill out any forms. Simply link your insurance account and provide your driver’s license number, and Gabi will go to work.

Once you link your insurance account to Gabi, it will:

  • Scan your existing insurance plan.
  • Analyze what coverage you have.
  • Compare the major insurers’ rates for that same coverage.
  • Help you switch on the spot if it finds you a better rate.

Gabi says it finds an average savings of $ 720 per year for its customers.

It is a true apples-to-apples comparison at the same coverage levels and deductibles you currently have. Once you sign up, you never have to shop again. Gabi’s software has your policy on file and keeps on monitoring for savings as your life changes.

Day 20 and 21: It’s the Weekend! Enjoy Free Stuff at Your Gym or Apartment Complex

If you have a gym membership or a fitness lounge at your apartment complex, you might be missing out on lots of luxurious freebies.

Think tanning beds, massage chairs or complimentary personal training sessions.

Get down there, and treat yourself!

Day 22: Take the First Baby Steps to Investing

Marriage makes you think about the future. A lot. A big part of preparing for your financial future is investing. Now that you’ve invested in that ring, it’s time to go further.

Consider starting an investment account through Acorns.

You can start small and stack up change over time with its “round-up” feature. That means if you spend $ 10.23 at the grocery store, 77 cents gets dropped into your Acorns account.

Then, the app does the whole investing thing for you.

The idea is you won’t miss the digital pocket change, and the automatic savings stack up faster than you’d think. For example, we reviewed how Penny Hoarder Dana Sitar was able to save at a rate of $ 420 a year!

At that rate, you could set aside $ 1,000 in about two and a half years — without trying.

The app is $ 1 a month for balances under $ 1 million, and you’ll get a $ 5 bonus when you sign up.

Day 23: Optimize Your Credit Card Rewards

So you want a credit card, but there are too many to choose from. What to do?

Should you leaf through your junk mail and just accept one of those credit card offers that show up in your mailbox? That would be quick and easy, right?

No, no, a thousand times no! Don’t do that. That’s a good way to end up unhappily shackled to a credit card that’s all wrong for you.

At least one in five cardholders are carrying around a credit card whose fees and rewards don’t match their actual spending habits, according to a 2016 study from J.D. Power.

To help you avoid becoming a statistic, here’s our guide to everything you need to know about credit cards — including how to pick the one that’s right for you.

Day 24: Focus on Some Extra Cash

You and your spouse take the most awesome pics, right? If you have a smartphone and a photographic eye, making money might have just gotten a lot easier.

An app called Foap lets you turn your smartphone photos into cash.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Download the free app and create an account.
  2. Take a quality photo and upload it to Foap’s marketplace.
  3. Someone buys the license to your photo for $ 10. You make $ 5.

If your photo sells 20 times, you make $ 5 each time and end up with $ 100 in your pocket — all for about five minutes of work and probably a nice stroll in the park with your spouse. Pretty cool, right?

Day 25: Put Your Bills on a Diet

Good news: As a married couple, you’ll share bills. Bad news: They’re still bills.

The price of internet — and cable, if you’re still into that kind of thing — certainly isn’t decreasing. If anything, prices are steadily climbing.

And if you’ve had to chat with a representative from your internet/cable company recently, you know how long you can sit on hold.

That’s why it’s time to call in a robot. The negotiation bot Trim will negotiate your cable or internet bills down for you.

It works with Comcast, Time Warner, Charter and other major providers.

You can sign up simply with Facebook or your email address. Then, upload a PDF of your most recent bill, and Trim’s AI-powered system gets to work. If at first it doesn’t succeed, it’ll keep negotiating until it can save you some money.

Also, if you have any outages, Trim believes you deserve a credit, and it’ll handle that for you. Trim takes 25% of the savings tab, and you get the rest.

26: Go Window Shopping, and Earn Gift Cards

No extreme physical activity or pulled muscles required for this money-making trick that’s fun for couples. All you need to do is download the Shopkick app.

Once you sign up, the app pays you in “kicks” for walking into certain stores (including Walmart, Target, TJMaxx and more). You can redeem them for gift cards to a number of retailers, including Amazon, Target, Walmart, Starbucks, Sephora and Best Buy.

It pays you even more kicks for photos of receipts that include qualifying items you purchased in-store with a connected credit or debit card. You can also earn kicks for online purchases. You don’t have to do anything; your linked cards will automatically apply your kicks.

But don’t make the mistake of buying things you don’t need just for kicks, you know better than that.

Once you’ve earned your gift cards, you can enjoy them with a little quality time together.

Day 27 and 28: It’s the Weekend! Go to a Park

When’s the last time you went to the public park in your area?

You might be able to walk nature trails, goof around on a swing set, or just sit and watch the leaves fall. Take the time to simply be together and enjoy nature. It’s relaxing and relationship-building.

Day 29: Plan for a Bad Day. Seriously.

Few things stress marital bonds like sudden financial drama. A car breaks down. Someone breaks a toe, and medical bills pile up. The roof starts to leak.

The simplest way to avoid letting life’s little mishaps turn into financial disasters is to start an emergency fund. It’s simply a bank account with enough money to get you through a minor emergency or surprise bill.

But if you’re going to save, you might as well make some interest on that money, right?

An iOS app called Varo Money combines traditional banking tools with modern technology to help its customers become financially healthy.

Here’s the best part: Pair your Bank Account with a Varo Savings Account where you’ll earn 1.75% annual percentage yield. That’s nearly 30 times — repeat, 30 times — the average savings account, based on a 0.06% average reported by CNN Money.

Day 30: Play the Slots — and Earn More Interest Than at Your Bank

It’s Day 30!! Go ahead; relax, and play some games. But you’re not done helping your finances just yet.

The folks who created Long Game have you covered with a game that’s fun and helps you achieve your financial goals.  

As you save and accomplish missions, you’ll earn coins to play mini games for cash prizes. We’re talking the classics, like slot machines, scratch-offs and spin-to-win wheels.

Once you link your bank account, you’ll earn 300 coins, so you can start playing while you wait for payday. If you sign up before Nov. 30, 2018 and enter the code PENNY5, you’ll also get a bonus $ 5 in your account!

You Did It!

See, that wasn’t so bad, was it? When you start thinking long-term, you need to think about your finances. When you bring someone else into the picture, it becomes even more important.

Tackling a few of these items can help set you up for a much better financial future. That’s worth a month’s work, right?

Now… let’s talk about having kids.

Tyler Omoth is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder who loves soaking up the sun and finding creative ways to help others. Catch him on Twitter at @Tyomoth.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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5 adult summer camps that will help you feel like a kid again

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 Most people are certainly fine with aging and the idea that whether we like it or not, we are getting old, or older. However, others simply refuse to accept the fact that those good ol’ days when they were young and careless are nothing but a distant memory. As we get older, especially when we start having our own kids, there’s a growing need and wish to stick to our younger-self version as tight as possible. Perhaps we want to feel and seem young in our kids’ eyes, or maybe we just want to go back to those kid-free days and the only way to do so is to live vicariously through our own flesh and blood. Nothing screams childhood more than summer camp, but as we get older, let’s just say that our summer plans are becoming more and more, well, lame.

Good thing adult summer camps have become more and more common. Anyone who used to go to those kinds of camps as a kid knows there’s nothing more fun than doing all these fun activities and not having one care in the world. Grown-up summer camps have become a trend in recent years and they include all the perks of a summer camp, only with a few mature twists like yoga classes, happy hours and the most important thing, there’s no curfew. We’ve rounded up five camps that will help you relive those childhood memories. It’s time to unleash your inner kid and head to an adult summer camp this summer.

Camp No Counselors

Just as the name suggests, this all-inclusive site that already has more than 15 locations around the world, is everything you can expect from an adult summer camp, and more. Once you arrive, you will get your room key where you get to sleep on bunk beds as well as your t-shirt. All of your favorite childhood games will be accompanied with a beer in one hand and a cocktail in the other. Water games, talent shows and themed night parties are all part of the itinerary, oh and the open-bar of course.

Camp Bonfire

It’s time to make new friends and there’s no better place to do so than at Camp Bonfire. Sure, the name might sound a bit cheesy, but trust us, there’s nothing cheesy about the place. It’s all about the idea of making new connections while sitting by the fire and watching the lake with a beer in your hand. Settled in the Poconos Mountains, Camp Bonfire will allow you to be on your own schedule where you can mix and match the times of the activities.

Camp Grounded

In the technological world we live in, there’s no doubt that we all need a break from our phones and laptops from time to time just to relax in the most natural way possible. During your four-day stay, you get to choose from 25 different sessions. It’s a real digital-detox in every sense of the word. No screens, no technology, no talking about what you do for a living and no agenda really. It’s an opportunity for you to unplug, literally, connect with yourself again and experience the real camp life, like they used in the old days.

Soul Camp

Speaking of unplugging and relaxing, Soul Camp is the place for you low-key adventurers. If you can’t enjoy even five minutes of quiet time or a long and relaxing bath, then this place is probably not for you. But if you need have some soul searching to do and love to listen to inspirational talkers and meditate, then you need to book your spot at Soul Camp asap. Making dream catchers and doing yoga for instance, is part of the curriculum.

Camp Throwback

Not sure if this camp was founded before or after the famous social media hashtag was alive, but the only difference between this camp and the one you remember from when you were a kid is the booze factor. Settled in Ohio, this adult camp includes all the classics. From bonfires and sticky marshmallows to team effort activities. Do you feel like a kiddo yet?

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‘Teach Flu A Lesson’ Strives to Help Kids Stay Healthy This Season

No one wants to be sick, especially during the holidays, which is why it is especially important school-aged children get the annual flu vaccine this fall.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, flu is the leading cause of illness, and last year’s flu season was the deadliest in more than a decade. Young children are especially at risk. The flu spreads quickly in tight quarters such as elementary school classrooms, and children’s developing immune systems may be more susceptible to colds and flu. Children who live in low-income communities may be at even greater risk because their access to health care and preventive vaccines is often limited.

Thanks to the voluntary Teach Flu a Lesson program, thousands of underserved students throughout Southern California can receive increased protection against the influenza virus this season at no charge. The innovative partnership among Kaiser Permanente, the California Department of Public Health, 10 school districts, and 11 nursing schools is making more than 8,000 flu vaccines available at school-based vaccination clinics.

By providing the vaccine to communities with below-average vaccination rates, Teach Flu a Lesson helps ensure the most vulnerable communities can reduce their risk for infection and enjoy better health this winter.

“This program is so important — it is not only about protecting the individual child, but also protecting the school from a larger outbreak, and protecting the student’s family, including younger siblings,” said Margaret Khoury, MD, pediatric infectious disease specialist and regional lead of the Kaiser Permanente Southern California Flu Vaccination Program.

“Reaching out to the community and making protection available to children every flu season is the way to go,” Dr Khoury said. “Removing obstacles to getting the flu shot is the key to our success and what makes this program a model.”

Bradley Jacoby, DO and Riverside Community College nursing students.

Bradley Jacoby, DO, Southern California Permanente Medical Group (bear costume), and Riverside Community College nursing students partner for the Teach Flu a Lesson program.

This year, Teach Flu a Lesson is expected to be especially successful because of the return of FluMist, the nasal spray vaccine option. Working with the California Department of Public Health, Kaiser Permanente is making both FluMist and the standard flu shot available to young students with their parent’s or guardian’s permission. Kaiser Permanente also helped to secure assistance from local nursing schools, whose nursing students are administering the vaccines.

“The FluMist is great,” said Kevin Moore, practice specialist at Kaiser Permanente, who helps lead the Teach Flu a Lesson program with Lisa Buffong, associate medical group administrator. “It is quick to administer and less traumatic for students compared to a shot, and we know it is just as effective.”

This year, 112 Southern California schools are hosting the vaccination clinics. Participating school districts include:

  • Antelope Valley: Lancaster
  • Los Angeles County: Baldwin Park and El Rancho
  • Orange County: Anaheim, Buena Park, Santa Ana, and Savana
  • Riverside County: Riverside
  • San Bernardino County: Yucaipa
  • South Bay: Torrance

“Every year, many students miss important instructional time in the classroom because they are home sick with the flu,” said Christopher Downing, superintendent, Anaheim Elementary School District. “The value of the Teach Flu a Lesson is that it helps lower this public health barrier and ensures access to a flu shot for all of our students.”

Now in its sixth year, Teach Flu a Lesson began at schools in early October and will continue through mid-December.

“As we head into the holiday season, the key to staying healthy for children is getting the vaccine, combined with handwashing, and of course healthy eating and sleep,” said Dr. Khoury. “That’s the recipe for wellness.”

To learn more about Kaiser Permanente Southern California’s work in the community, please visit http://community.kp.org.

The post ‘Teach Flu A Lesson’ Strives to Help Kids Stay Healthy This Season appeared first on Kaiser Permanente.

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Hypnotherapy: can it really help you drink in moderation?

Shots and shiraz may have fuelled her twenties, but now Nicola Moyne is on a quest to banish the booze. Here, she discovers if the power of hypnosis is more potent than the festive pull of pinot

hypnotherapy

As a child of the 80s, my teenage years were a blur of WKD Blues and garage music. A minimum of four nights a week were spent in small-town bars or kaleidoscopic-lit clubs, swigging alcopops and cheap, vinegary wine to the dance-floor beats of Artful Dodger and Bobby Brown. Regular blackouts prevented me (sometimes thankfully) from remembering the night before and no matter how many times I staggered or slurred, I always wanted ‘one more glass’.

Fast-forward to my mid-thirties and drinking had become, not unsurprisingly, a habitual nightly routine. One large glass of red with dinner had slowly morphed into two. Soon enough I was able to quaff an entire bottle, and decanting Tesco’s finest Malbec (my middle-class poison of choice) on a Monday evening had become as natural as brushing my teeth in the morning – as had sleepwalking my way through the following day in a foggy, hungover haze.

Then there were ‘the incidents’: the nights out where I drank myself into oblivion with other hard-drinking friends and had to be helped home by kind strangers on the train. Invariably, I remembered nothing from the evening past my third glass, but I always woke fully clothed, feeling ashamed, anxious and demonstrably sick. Some mornings I realised that I had fallen and cut my knee/chin/elbow; others that I no longer had my purse/phone/coat. I tried drinking gin instead, but it turns out that’s addictive too. Something had to give.

It proved a timely decision: last month, a report published by the World Health Organization found 13.5 per cent of all deaths among people in their twenties are linked to alcohol. Similarly, a recent study by the Global Burden of Diseases has concluded that ‘the safest level of drinking is none.’

But the thought of never drinking again, of forgoing a flute of champagne to celebrate a birthday or having a glass of full-bodied red with friends over Sunday lunch once every so often didn’t feel right either. I wanted the holy grail: I wanted to be able to control how much and where and when I drank; I wanted to achieve moderation.

‘Unlike a lot of other therapies that tend to rake up the past, hypnotherapy provide a tool for positive change’

I turned to Ailsa Frank. A leading UK-based hypnotherapist and motivational coach with a proven track record in addressing the nation’s drinking problem, Ailsa has helped thousands of people to quit or drastically reduce their alcohol intake through the tool of hypnosis. More than 70 per cent of her clients initially seek help for alcohol-related problems and over the past 13 years, she has rolled out an increasing number of hypnotherapy workshops, one-to-one phone sessions and audio downloads to meet the growing demand. There’s also her book, Cut The Crap And Feel Amazing, which, rather incredibly, Ailsa wrote in just 10 weeks.

‘I used the power of self-hypnosis to write that,’ she laughs. ‘I literally told myself that I could do it; that I was doing; that it was done,’ and, day-by-day, I ploughed through the pages. Your mind is incredibly powerful and, unlike a lot of other therapies that just tend to rake up the past, hypnotherapy provides a real tool for positive change.’

So how does it work? ‘Memories, habits and patterns are stored in the subconscious part of your brain, so when you learn a habit – like tying your shoelaces when you’re a child – it becomes automatic. Learning to drink alcohol in a certain way is exactly the same thing, and it will become a deeply ingrained, automatic habit that’s hard to shift.’

In my first phone session with Ailsa, we spend 30 minutes discussing my life generally. Am I stressed at work? (Not particularly.) What hobbies do I have? (Too many to list here.) How often do I drink? (Usually every day.) Why do I want to stop? (To escape increasingly horrific hangovers, focus on my health and generally grow up a bit). Then we get down to business.

I’m asked to lie on my bed or sofa and switch my phone to loudspeaker or plug in headphones. I opt for the latter options and listen intently to Ailsa’s soothing voice, which instructs me to rub my arms from shoulder to elbow and fix my eyes on a comfortable spot on the ceiling. I’m then instructed to close my eyes and start counting backwards silently to myself as Ailsa starts the hypnosis part of the session. I’m vaguely aware of experiencing rapid eye movement as she asks me to visualise myself walking down a set of stairs and out on to a beautiful garden, where there’s a shimmering pond and stepping-stones bathed in different colours that lead to a winding road, presumably symbolising my life.

From here though, the details become a little fuzzy. I’m asked to visualise my worries as pebbles that I let go of by dropping into the pond; to see myself as a child in the garden, confident, playful, cared for; and to imagine doors to new opportunities opening up along the winding road to sobriety.

I’m not asleep – in fact I’m very aware of Ailsa’s voice throughout and what she asking me to visualise – but I am incredibly relaxed. I’m asked to convey what I’m thinking or feeling and we communicate on and off throughout the hour-long session. Afterwards, however, the details of what she has said to me are vague. I remember stepping-stones and roads and seeing a happy five-year-old version of myself, but nothing much in between.

‘If your conscious and subconscious minds don’t match, you won’t truly break the habit’

‘We are in a state of hypnosis at some point most days,’ Ailsa explains. ‘For instance, when you drive somewhere but can’t remember the journey itself or how you got there, or when you have absolutely no idea what junction you’re at – that’s because your brain has entered a hypnotic state.

‘Hypnotherapy is just a relaxation tool that allows you to access a memory bank – the part of your brain that stores habits – so that you can break them and build new ones. It is a way to clear up the deeper parts of your mind so that you can perform at your very best,’ she says.

Over the course of six weeks, I have two more one-to-one phone sessions with Ailsa, lasting 45-60 minutes each and listen to a 10-minute relaxation recording before bedtime each night. I even cajole my partner, Richard, into having two sessions with Ailsa to get us both on the same sobering page and break habitual evening drinking together (basically, I figure there’s safety in numbers).

drink in moderation

Initially, I’m skeptical about the feasibility of drinking in moderation. Going teetotal, I get: you’re eradicating temptation by taking yourself out of the game. But being able – let alone wanting – to drink just one glass of wine seems completely alien to me.

‘My clients tell me it’s the same feeling as having too many cups of tea – when you’re offered another one, you simply say you don’t fancy it because you genuinely don’t,’ Ailsa says, reassuringly.

Sure enough, after session one the mid-week drinking stops immediately. We’d both been trying to cut down on drinking alcohol after work prior to the sessions, but after having hypnotherapy, neither of us has to battle with ourselves as we pass the alcohol aisle in the supermarket.

‘Where hypnotherapy differs to will power is that it alters not only your conscious mind, but your subconscious too,’ Ailsa explains. ‘That’s why people who complete Dry January often struggle to keep up good habits once February rolls round – they may have altered their conscious mind, but they haven’t reframed their relationship with alcohol in the subconscious part of the brain – and if your conscious and subconscious minds don’t match, you won’t truly break the habit.’

I start to notice other small shifts. For instance, I start buying sparkling water and filling my usual wine glass with it of an evening to relax. It feels just the same as drinking wine, minus the fuzzy head and rambling conversations over dinner. I also start running more regularly and practicing yoga twice a week – a goal I’d worked towards for at least a year but never quite managed. I start eating healthier lunches and dinners, and getting up earlier, feeling refreshed and energised rather than shattered and slightly depressed. The change is noticeable and quite remarkable.

‘People forget just how good they feel when they don’t drink on a regular basis. If you have a daily drinking habit, you’re essentially always playing catch-up with yourself, which becomes exhausting and can have a huge detrimental effect on your career and relationships,’ Ailsa says.

However, the true test comes just after my third and final session: I’m going on a girl’s weekend. With my hard-drinking friends. To an undisclosed location. I start to panic that my new, wholesome habit of drinking very little and only in social situations when and if I fancy it, is going to come crashing down around my smug sober self faster than you can pour a glass of pinot.

Incredibly, though, it doesn’t happen. Not at the airport when everyone is joyously quaffing prosecco; not on the plane when everyone orders a cheeky bottle of Merlot; not even on the ‘big night out’ when the girls are merrily clinking their goblets of aperol spritz. And not because I’m forcing myself to stay off the booze or morosely sipping my one glass of shiraz while the rest of the revelers party up a storm, but because I’m genuinely having a great time without it. I feel happy, confident and completely content to just have the one, or even – shock, horror – none.

‘My once-toxic relationship with alcohol has gone through an unequivocal break-up’

I enjoy sipping a lovely glass of locally produced valpolicella with dinner each evening, and order a deliciously sharp gin cocktail at a swanky underground bar. But it’s clear that my once-toxic relationship with alcohol has gone through an unequivocal break-up.

Where once I would have ordered three large glasses of anything, now I savour a few sips of a good-quality red and want nothing more. I feel full and in control; like I’m sat at a table heaving with amazing food, but I’m completely content after a few delicious mouthfuls, favouring the sparkling water I now instinctively order instead. What’s more, I go for a morning run. Twice. On holiday.

Feeling refreshed and thrilled that I’ve finally mastered the art of drinking in moderation, I return to the UK half expecting my partner Richard to have cracked open a few beers while I’ve been away. ‘Beer?’ he says, slightly confused when I ask how he got on without me. ‘I was out sailing all weekend – I didn’t even have time to think about drinking,’ he admits.

Which pretty much sums up what Ailsa is trying to achieve with each and every one of her clients. ‘Life will always be a roller coaster – we all experience loss and stress, which is why so many people lose themselves in drinking at some point – but if we actively reframe our thoughts to look for the amazing, for the positives, we can create a happy, fulfilled, more balanced life; one where we always live in the best moment and enjoy passing through.’ That’s something I think we can all cheers to. Just make mine a sparkling water…

 

‘Take Control Of Alcohol’ and ‘Stop Binge Drinking For Women’ hypnosis downloads by Ailsa Frank are available at Ailsafrank.com at £14.99; Cut The Crap And Feel Amazing by Ailsa Frank (£10.99, Hay House) is a dip-in, no-nonsense guide to shedding habits that are holding you back. Utilising the power of positive thinking and self-hypnosis, the book delivers actionable tips on how to reframe your thoughts on everything from alcohol reduction and clearing debts to dealing with heartache and health. For one-to-one hypnotherapy phone sessions (£150 each; 2-4 required) contact Ailsa Frank via her website.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The post Hypnotherapy: can it really help you drink in moderation? appeared first on Marie Claire.

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The US Army is forming a ‘Fortnite’ team to help with recruitment

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The United States Army is in a bind. It failed to meet its recruitment goal this year, so it’s looking for other, newer ways to drum up interest with today’s youth.

The Army has decided to get into esports.

In an attempt to appeal to today’s youth, the Army is putting together teams to compete in esports and competitive games like Fortnite, Overwatch, League of Legends, Madden, and Call of Duty, according to independent American military newspaper Stars and Stripes.

Stars and Stripes reports that the Army is interested in having soldiers represent the branch of the U.S. military in competitions, tournaments, and other such events as a way to get the Army brand out there and connect with young players who may be interested and eligible to join the military. Read more…

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This FTC Lawsuit Could Help Protect You from Health Insurance Scammers

A new lawsuit accuses a Florida-based company of misleading tens of thousands of customers nationwide into thinking they were buying health insurance, leaving the customers on their own to pay sizable medical bills.

The suit was filed against six corporations operating out of the same Hollywood, Florida, address and Steven J. Dorfman, who owned or was affiliated with all of them.

“Defendants prey on consumers who are seeking comprehensive health insurance,” the Federal Trade Commission wrote in the suit.

One woman received $ 61,000 in hospital bills she was assured her policy would pick up, but not a dime was covered, the Federal Trade Commission alleges.

Simple Health Plans — which operated under a dozen other names — and several other companies were shut down temporarily by a federal judge in South Florida last week after being sued by the commission.

Dorfman’s attorney, Ryan O’Quinn, told the Miami Herald that Dorfman “vigorously denies” the allegations and “looks forward to having an opportunity to defend himself in the appropriate forum.”

How the Alleged Health Insurance Scam Works

The Federal Trade Commission alleges that Simple Health Plans and its affiliates accepted premiums of as much as $ 500 per month, plus a one-time enrollment fee of up to $ 175, for sham insurance coverage. The companies have taken in more than $ 100 million in the past three years, according to the suit.

The commission is asking a judge for a temporary restraining order that would permit a receiver to seize assets the government believes were bought using corporate funds. They include more than $ 1.1 million in luxury jewelry-store purchases and three cars worth hundreds of thousands of dollars combined.

Simple Health Plans marketed a product it claimed was a PPO (preferred provider organization), deceiving consumers into believing that their plans covered pre-existing conditions as required by the Affordable Care Act, the government alleges. PPOs are health insurance plans that contract with medical professionals to provide care to policyholders at a reduced rate.

In fact, the products sold through Simple Health Plans were not health insurance, but medical discount or wellness program memberships or limited benefit plans — also known as limited benefit indemnity plans — that don’t cover pre-existing conditions or prescription drugs, the Federal Trade Commission says.

A typical plan paid for a maximum of three annual doctor visits at $ 50 each and a maximum of $ 100 a day for a hospital stay — both a fraction of the real cost. A telemarketer told an undercover investigator that he would pay between $ 4 and $ 12 for a diabetes drug that actually would have cost between $ 850 and $ 900, court documents show.

When customers agreed to sign up, they were transferred from a telemarketer to another employee for a “verification process” and pressured to commit even if they didn’t understand contract language that was read or sent to them by email or text, the lawsuit alleges.

“There is a vast difference between what Defendants promise consumers and what consumers actually get,” according to the suit.

Health Benefits One, Health Center Management, Innovative Customer Care, Simple Insurance Leads and Senior Benefits One also are named in the complaint, filed Oct. 28 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

How to Avoid Falling for Health Insurance Scams

So, how can you protect yourself?

The Federal Trade Commission has advice for spotting a host of health care scams — including medical discount scams, phony insurance agents, con artists who insist you must divulge personal information to get a new Medicare or other health insurance ID card and fraudsters who offer to help you shop for coverage in the Health Insurance Marketplace created by the Affordable Care Act.

If you suspect a health-insurance scam, call the Federal Trade Commission at 877-382-4357 or email the agency.

Shop directly in the Health Insurance Marketplace for coverage under the Affordable Care Act or see The Penny Hoarder guide on how to enroll.

Susan Jacobson is an editor at The Penny Hoarder. She also writes about health and wellness.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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Influencers Help Change the World’s View of Haiti

Wanda Tima didn’t feel proud of her Haitian heritage as a child. “I grew up always hearing nothing but bad things about Haiti,” she told Black Enterprise. Born to Haitian parents in Turks and Caicos, the 35-year-old entrepreneur moved to a community in South Florida in the early 90’s where Haitians were stigmatized. “Kids were being told that Haitians eat cats and all Haitians have AIDs,” she said. In addition to the taunts and scorn, Haitian students were subjected to physical bullying and violence. “I watched Haitians get beat up on the school bus and there would be a lot of gang-related fights all the time with Haitians versus Jamaicans [and] Haitians versus everybody [else]. It was so uncool to be Haitian.”

Finding Her Roots

Wanda Tima

Wanda Tima, founder of L’union Suite (Instagram)

It took years before Tima fully embraced her lineage, which was triggered when she had an identity crisis as a young adult. At the time, she felt disconnected from her Haitian peers and detached from the culture at large. “You have a generation of kids, like myself, [who] were only Haitian by name,” she said. “My mom wasn’t speaking Creole to us at home and we weren’t listening to Haitian music. There wasn’t any Haitian culture in my house.” As a result, “I never really understood where I fit in.”

It wasn’t until she graduated from Bethune-Cookman University, an HBCU in Daytona, Florida, that she realized she couldn’t plan for her future without first connecting with her roots.

“There was a missing piece that I didn’t have any information on,” she said. “I was going through a phase of trying to learn more about Haiti and the culture.”

Her parents, however, discouraged her from exploring her ethnic background or visiting Haiti, so she started researching the country on the web, which led her down a rabbit hole of depressing news. Rather than becoming discouraged, Tima became determined to change the narrative. In 2011, she created L’union Suite, a digital platform that highlights positive news about Haiti and Haitians around the diaspora. Today, it’s one of the most popular websites for Haitian-American lifestyle, tourism, culture, and entertainment news, reaching tens of thousands of readers on a monthly basis, plus millions more on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Hait

Karen Civil and Wanda Tima circa 2017

To further empower people of Haitian descent, Tima launched a business directory called Haitian Professionals in 2015, that helps entrepreneurs gain business and exposure. In addition, she works closely with Karen Civil, a Haitian-American influencer and marketing strategist, to hosts charity events and raise money to support different projects in Haiti like a computer lab in a school in Cap-Haitian, Haiti’s second largest city.

The Beauty of Haiti

Haiti

Steph Lecor with students from the Institut Sacré-Coeur du Cap-Haïtien (Photo credit: Rosslin Mozart Louis)

In October, Tima celebrated the seven-year anniversary of L’union Suite by inviting a group of U.S.-based millennial women entrepreneurs, artists, influencers, and members of the press to Cap-Haitien. The goal was to expose the world to the beauty that lies beyond the protests, violence, and natural disasters that are frequently reported through American news outlets. Despite the negative depictions of the nation, “Haiti is no different than most other Caribbean countries,” said Tima. “Yes, there’s poverty; yes, there’s a lot of help that’s needed; yes, the government has a lot of issues; but, at the same time…there are beautiful parts of the country.”

During the trip, the influencers — which included singer Dawn Richards; BET correspondent Amanda BoozMecca Moore, the owner and publisher of THINK PYNK and PYNK Branded LLC; singer and reality TV star Azia Toussaint; recording artist Steph Lecor; actress and entrepreneur Shelah Marie RhoulhacSandy Pierre, a marketing specialist at Hearst Integrated Media; and this reporter — shared their experiences with their massive collection of Instagram followers. The four-day trip included a visit to a local school and a tour of the Sans-Souci Palace, an ancient royal ruin built in 1813, that was named after Jean-Baptiste Sans Souci, an African-born slave who helped lead the Haitian Revolution. The women also spent a day on Amiga Island, a stunning beach destination in Labadee, where local fishermen caught and grilled red snapper, crabs, and a Creole conch dish known as lambi. They also dined at popular Haitian restaurants like Lakay and Lolo and stayed at the luxurious Satama Hotel, which sits at the top of a mountain overlooking Northern Haiti.

Haiti

The Sans-Souci Palace in the town of Milot (Photo credit: Rosslin Mozart Louis courtesy of L’union Suite)

Richard, an independent recording artist formerly signed to Bad Boy Records, was in the middle of a tour with her singing group, Danity Kane, when she received Tima’s invite to travel to Haiti. Honored by the invitation, the New Orleans native immediately cleared her schedule. “I am overwhelmed and very grateful that I had the opportunity to see my roots first hand,” the Haitian American singer told BE. “Not only am I able to see Haiti through my own eyes…but I get to do it with other women who look like me.”

Likewise, Lecor, who is signed to DJ Khaled’s We The Best Music Group, was delighted to return to Haiti. “I used to come every summer up until I was 12 years old,” said the first-generation Haitian-American singer. “Those were the best summers of my life.” She continued, “When Wanda called me two days before the trip, I jumped on the opportunity to be here,” she said, adding, “as soon as I got here…it felt like home.”

While appreciative of Haiti’s allure, Lecor is not remiss of what many people think of Haiti, like President Donald Trump who notoriously described it as an “s–thole” country. “The perception is that Haiti is unsafe, dirty, and dangerous,” she said, admitting that it’s hard to drive through the impoverished neighborhoods. As a result, the landscape, culture, and people are overlooked.

Haiti

Amiga Island in Labadee, Haiti (Photo credit: Rosslin Mozart Louis courtesy of L’union Suite)

Toussaint, a star on BET’s “Hustle in Brooklyn,” had dreamed of visiting Haiti, the country where her father was born, as a little girl. However, she said seeing the poverty and devastation juxtaposed to the scenic landscape was “bittersweet.” “Even [though] the places have gone through so much destruction and hardship, it’s [still] a beautiful place,” she said. She added that Haitians have not lost the grit needed to survive. “I saw a bunch of people who still had pride, still had hope, and the strength, courage, and the willingness to move forward.”

influencers

Mecca Moore, Sandy Pierre, Amanda Booz, Selena Hill, Shelah Rhoulhac, Wanda Tima, Steph Lecor, Azia Toussaint, and Dawn Richards at the Sans-Souci Palace (Photo credit: Rosslin Mozart Louis courtesy of L’union Suite)

After returning to her home in Sunrise, Florida, Tima said the trip was “beyond successful.” In addition to a great experience, the women networked and connected with each other as well as with locals all while shining a positive light on Haiti through social platforms. L’union Suite’s “social media impressions during the trip were record-breaking,” said Tima, “and now more and more people know about the work we are doing in Haiti and want to not only vacation [here] but [also] assist in giving back at the school.”

Furthermore, the trip reaffirmed Tima’s commitment to uplift Haiti and spotlight its beauty and strength. “I come from a lineage of people who are leaders and unapologetically strong. I am the daughter of the first Black republic. We are such truly a group of resilient people,” she said. “The more I learn about my history and our contributions to the world, the more I fall in love with who I am.”

 


Editor’s Note: This story was updated on Nov. 6, 2018.

 

 

 

The post Influencers Help Change the World’s View of Haiti appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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Esperion CEO: Our new cholesterol drug can help millions of patients

Shares of Esperion popped on the company's latest data for its cholesterol drug.
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Here’s How The New FICO Credit Scoring Will Help Your Credit

Have you checked your credit score lately? Well, a new FICO credit scoring system is expected to debut in early 2019—and it may lead to a favorable boost in your credit if your bank activity is in line with standards.

The Fair Isaac Corp., the originators of the coveted FICO Score, is planning to create a more holistic credit scoring method. Traditionally, a borrower’s credit-worthiness has been calculated based on payment history (35%), amounts owed (30%), length of credit history (15%), new credit (10%), and credit mix (10%). Now, Fair Isaac Corp. will factor in a person’s ability to manage liquid assets such as checking, savings, and money-market accounts.

This new credit metric, the UltraFICO Score, is FICO’s solution to broadening lending eligibility. Experts believe this shift in credit scoring will increase access to credit products by leveraging consumer-driven bank information to assess an individual’s financial management capabilities. Lenders will now see an enhanced view of financial behavior that can impact lending outcomes and approval ratings.

Credit scores are synonymous to the report cards you get in school. It shows how well you’ve performed in a variety of financial areas to determine how likely you are to repay a loan. These scores are used by a variety of lenders to assess your credit personality and risk profile.

FICO estimates the UltraFICO Score scoring will improve credit access for the majority of Americans, especially those with credit scores ranging from the upper 500s to lower 600s and individuals with limited credit history or financially distressed individuals who are regaining their wind.

Most FICO scores range from 300 to 850, and the highest scores get access to the best interest rates in the market. According to FICO, the average FICO in the U.S. as of September 2018 was 704, rising approximately 15 points higher than average scores a decade ago when the recession was near its peak.

If you’re hoping the new credit scoring will work in your favor, pay close attention to the additional data points that will be taken into consideration and create a plan that will give you optimal results.

 

The post Here’s How The New FICO Credit Scoring Will Help Your Credit appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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So Sad: Black Navy Sailor Attempting to Help ‘Stranded Motorist’ Shot and Killed [Video]

21-year-old Curtis Adams, an active duty Navy sailor, was driving in Mountain View, Calif., Saturday morning when he saw a man near a vehicle that he believed the man needed help with.

Curtis, along with his girlfriend, pulled over to offer his assistance. He was unaware the man was actually trying to steal the car.

The car thief pulled out a gun and shot Curtis before his girlfriend called 9-1-1. He was transported to UC San Diego Medical Center where he died.

via The Root:

According to NBC San Diego, the suspect, who was caught Sunday, was also involved in another shooting minutes before he shot Adams. The accused shooter has been identified as 21-year-old Brandon Acuna.

Acuna, who has a long criminal history, “was booked into San Diego County Central Jail on charges of first-degree murder and second-degree burglary and held with no bail,” NBC San Diego reports. 

The police are still investigating the motive behind both shootings. 

So sad.

The post So Sad: Black Navy Sailor Attempting to Help ‘Stranded Motorist’ Shot and Killed [Video] appeared first on lovebscott – celebrity news.

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A New Way To Score Credit Might Help You

YOU JOIN US THIS MORNING WITH CREDIT SCORE NEWS. WHAT DO YOU HAVE FOR US THIS MORNING?

An interesting story broke last week that could benefit some of our listeners with below average credit. Fair Isaac Corporation, the company responsible for the widely used FICO credit score, announced it would soon be testing a new score that takes a borrower’s bank account balances and cash management practices into account to supplement that traditional credit score metrics.

The goal of this new score is to provide a new path for people with borderline credit to qualify for loans or credit cards. Fair Isaac will partner with Experian, one of the big credit reporting bureaus, to test the new formula next year.

 \HOW WILL THIS NEW SCORE WORK?

The current system of calculating a FICO credit score – the three-digit number that lenders use to evaluate a borrower’s ability to repay a loan – are based primarily on a borrower’s history of repaying mortgages, loans and credit card balances.

The new score, which Fair Isaac is calling UltraFICO, would into account factors like how long accounts have been open, the frequency of activity and evidence of saving.

IF THEY ARE CONSIDERING ACCOUNT ACTIVITY, DOES THAT MEAN THEY HAVE ACCESS TO YOUR BANK STATEMENT?

A great question, Tom. Obviously, it would make many people nervous to let Fair Isaac or any company have access to your account details. Instead, UltraFICO would be offered to customers who were not otherwise able to qualify for credit or a loan with their traditional FICO score.

Lenders would then have to get a borrower’s sign off to collect information about their cash management habits and create an UltraFico score. Specifics like where you are spending money are currently not expected to be tested.

WHO WOULD BENEFIT?

Fair Isaac Corporation has said the UltraFICO would likely be most helpful for  people with credit scores in the high 500s to the low 600s, or those with scores just outside of a lender’s cutoff. A

dditionally, people who have limited credit history, like young people, and those who had a financial rough patch and are restoring their credit would likely benefit too. The company said that those who opt for UltraFICO could see their score jump 20 points if their banking behavior is deemed positive.

THIS IS AN INTERESTING PROPOSAL, BUT CAN YOU REMIND US HOW TO BOOST OUR REGULAR CREDIT SCORES?

It’s about the fundamentals. First, pay your bills on time. Because credit scores are designed to give lenders an idea of how reliable you are, the best thing you can do is be consistent. If you often forget the date or pay late, I would recommend signing up for automatic payments.

You also want to pay close attention to your credit cards. First, you want to keep your credit card balances as low as possible, if not at zero. High balances and high credit usage – the ratio of credit used to credit available – will be noted.

You also want to avoid having balances across a number of cards. Finally, review your credit reports regularly. With increased hacking and scammer activity, you want to be vigilant for false activity on your credit report.

 


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How the College Basketball Corruption Verdict Could Help End Amateurism

A little more than a year ago, federal attorneys and the FBI — to much fanfare — unveiled their findings from a two-year investigation into corruption in college basketball. Assistant coaches and sneaker company reps and aspiring agents were arrested. Officials shared tales of illicit money sloshing around the sport in order to attract certain players to certain schools.

On Wednesday afternoon, the feds achieved their biggest win of the effort to date. A jury found three defendants — two former Adidas employees and an aspiring sports agent — guilty of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud after a three-week criminal trial at the Daniel Patrick Moynihan U.S. Courthouse in New York City. James Gatto, Merl Code (the ex-Adidas reps) and aspiring player rep Christian Dawkins will be sentenced in March. (They will likely appeal the case.) On the surface, the verdict appears to count as a huge victory for the NCAA’s amateurism rules, which prevent college athletes from earning money from their schools, or from third-parties, for playing their lucrative sports. Paying players now appears to be a federal crime; NCAA regulations now appear to be enforceable by federal law.

Not so fast.

This case was a head-scratcher from the start. As TV rights agreements and other business deals plow millions of dollars into college sports, more and more people have argued that amateurism is outdated. While coaches and other stakeholders get rich, don’t the players who actually attract the audience deserve their fair share? Former college players are challenging amateurism in federal court, arguing that prohibitions against players earning salaries and third-party sponsorship violates anti-trust law. And while one arm of the federal government hears out amateurism, another swoops in with a criminal prosecution that equates paying players with corruption. This reeks of government overreach. Why are the feds doing the NCAA’s bidding and enforcing its amateurism rules?

Read more: It’s Time to Pay College Athletes

Meanwhile, federal prosecutors argued that the defendants defrauded colleges by paying players, since those payments violated NCAA rules and would make them ineligible to suit up for their schools. In effect, the defendants denied the schools the services of these athletes. So the schools were in essence the victims of a federal crime. The jury, by handing down the guilty verdict, agreed with this reasoning.

But at the same time, the NCAA can use evidence unearthed at the trial to punish the institutions supposedly wronged here. For example, former Adidas associate T.J. Gassola testified that he paid the family of former Kansas player Billy Preston $ 89,000 and the guardian of current Kansas player Silvio De Sousa $ 2,500 for online classes. Gassola also testified that a Maryland booster paid De Sousa’s guardian $ 60,000. Kansas announced that De Sousa has been pulled from the team, pending an eligibility review. The NCAA could hand down sanctions on Kansas for suiting up an ineligible player (De Sousa, for example, played in 20 games for the Jayhawks a year ago). So in essence the NCAA would be punishing a school that’s a so-called victim of a federal crime. Only in the twisted world of college sports could “victims” be subject to punishment.

“This case is filled with paradoxes,” says Matthew Mitten, executive director of the National Sports Law Institute at Marquette University.

Read more: North Carolina Academic Fraud Decision Exposes College Sports Hypocrisy

This verdict, however, won’t necessarily make paying college players a federal crime. Conversely, some of the evidence could bolster the civil cases challenging the NCAA’s payment prohibitions. One of the NCAA’s core arguments in support of amateurism is that paying players would turn off fans and hurt the bottom line of NCAA schools. Paying players would be bad for business, so amateurism must live on.

The college hoops trial, however, showed that the opposite may be true. The testimony exposed the black market economy of college basketball; money is already flowing to players, business is booming, and it will continue to do so.

“The federal government has now proven itself ready to sink its teeth into college basketball,” says Marc Edelman, a professor of law at Baruch College’s Zicklin School of Business. “But the prosecutors missed the big issue here. If we’re going to be intellectually honest, the correct next step would be for the Justice Department to file an anti-trust lawsuit against the NCAA.”

Such a federal suit is unlikely to happen. Other stakeholders, however, are challenging amateurism in civil court. Many fans and pundits know that the model is unfair and unsustainable. Money has to flow to the players who deserve it, no matter what a jury says.

Sports – TIME

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Virtual reality can help make everyone more empathetic

Virtual reality can make humans more understanding to realities different from their own, according to a new study. Research participants who tried out a VR experience about losing your job and becoming homeless showed stronger and longer-lasting empathic attitudes toward the homeless versus those who just read an article about homelessness. The findings were recently…
Technology News & Reviews | New York Post

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10 Fresh Gospel Acts to Help Get Your Praise On

gospel

Gospel music is rooted in the Black church experience of the African-American South and birthed out of the Negro spirituals of slavery. It is a genre that is rhythmic, thankful, interactive and joyful. Despite not being a mainstream pillar, it can be argued that gospel music is the foundation of many Black music genres and […]

The post 10 Fresh Gospel Acts to Help Get Your Praise On appeared first on EBONY.

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Credit Card Debt? These 4 Sites Could Help You Pay It Down Faster

So, you have thousands of dollars in credit card debt, and the burden of paying off all that — and interest — is gobbling up your income.

Instead of financially treading water making minimum payments and paying maximum interest, make the smart move, and take out a debt consolidation loan. It’s a personal loan, usually at a lower interest rate that you can use to pay off your high-interest credit cards.

In the long term, you can save a ton of money, but first you have to shop around for a loan.

Sound difficult? It doesn’t have to be. Instead of spending hours scouring the internet, you can go window-shopping at an online marketplace that’ll help pinpoint the best loan for you.

We recommend you try more than one site and see what kind of results you get. Heck, try them all if you want. It won’t take long, and you have nothing to lose: Seeing your options won’t cost you anything, and it won’t hurt your credit score.

4 Marketplaces for a Credit Card Debt Consolidation Loan

To start, you’ll need to know your credit score, but that’s super easy. Just sign up for Credit Sesame, a free credit-monitoring service that helps you keep track of your credit. It’ll immediately show you your credit score, and it’ll offer you personalized tips to better manage your credit.

Here are four different options for places to find a loan online. At the end of this article, you’ll find a chart comparing them at a glance.

Credible

Credible is a one-stop shopping place where you can compare rates side-by-side from multiple lenders who are competing against each other for your business.

It allows you to compare quotes from seven different lenders: Avant, Best Egg, Freedomplus, Lending Club, Payoff, Prosper and Upstart.

Through Credible, you can borrow $ 1,000 to $ 50,000 with a loan term of two to five years, at interest rates ranging from 4.99% to 35.99%. The interest rates you’re offered will depend on your individual credit profile.

Credible is best for borrowers who have good credit scores and just want to consolidate their debt. It requires you to have a credit score of at least 680.

Even Financial

Compared to Credible, Even Financial allows you to borrow more money and borrow it for a longer period of time — if that’s what you want to do.

You can borrow up to $ 100,000 and spend up to seven years paying it back. That’s more money and time than you can get from any of these other three lending marketplaces.

Even’s lending partners include Avant, Best Egg, Freedomplus, Lending Club, LendingPoint, LightStream, Payoff, Prosper, SoFi and Upgrade.

You’ll need a credit score of at least 580. Interest rates range from 4.99% to 35.99%.

Lendvious

Lendvious is the newest of these four online loan websites.

Depending on your credit score and how much you want to borrow, you’ll immediately get offers from up to 10 lenders. You can borrow up to $ 50,000 with no collateral required.

Different lenders are looking for minimum credit scores ranging from 560 to 650. The company’s lending partners include Avant, Best Egg, Freedomplus, LendingPoint, Lending Club, Marcus, OneMain Financial, Prosper and Upgrade.

Interest rates range from 4.99% to 35.99%.

If your credit isn’t great, Lendvious might be your best option.

Upstart

Unlike those others, Upstart is a lending platform that manages the process from pre-approval through servicing your loan.

Founded by ex-Googlers, Upstart is a lending platform that’s striving to change the personal loan game. Rather than solely focusing on your credit score to determine your borrowing power, it looks at other factors, too, including your education and employment history.

Upstart tends to be especially helpful for recent grads, who have a short credit history and a mound of debt.

Many lenders judge consumers based only on their credit history. But Upstart believes this leaves out an entire segment of the population — even though they’re totally qualified.

When it comes to the length of the loan, Upstart offers three options: three, five or seven years. The company says its average three-year loan has a 16% interest rate*, with 36 monthly payments of $ 35 per $ 1,000 borrowed.

Comparing Your Options One More Time

Seeing your quotes from each of these platforms takes 5 minutes, tops, so you can easily try out more than one. Each conducts a soft inquiry on your credit, meaning it won’t affect your credit score at all.

Once you actually apply for a loan, the lender will perform a hard inquiry on your credit, which will ding your credit temporarily.

Here’s the chart we promised you:

  Credible Even Financial Lendvious Upstart
Interest rate 4.99% to 35.99% 4.99% to 35.99% 4.99% to 35.99% 8.92% to 29.99%
Term Two to five years Two to seven years One to five years Three or five years
Loan amount $ 1,000 to $ 50,000 $ 1,000 to $ 100,000 $ 1,000 to $ 50,000 $ 1,000 to $ 50, 000
Minimum credit score 680 580 560 620

*The average three-year loan offered across all lenders using the Upstart Platform will have an APR of 20% and 36 monthly payments of $ 35 per $ 1,000 borrowed. There is no down payment and no prepayment penalty. Average APR is calculated based on three-year rates offered in the last one month. Your APR will be determined based on your credit, income and certain other information provided in your loan application. Not all applicants will be approved.

All loans are made by Cross River Bank, an FDIC insured New Jersey state chartered commercial bank, equal housing lender.

Mike Brassfield (mike@thepennyhoarder.com) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. He knows a lot about credit card debt from personal experience.

The Penny Hoarder Promise: We provide accurate, reliable information. Here’s why you can trust us and how we make money.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.


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‘This Is Us’ Recap: Jack Enlists in the War to Help His Brother

A major missing piece of Jack’s story was revealed as the Pearson patriarch enlisted in the war and viewers met the adult version of his brother, Nicky, for the first time during the Tuesday, October 16, episode of This Is Us, titled “Vietnam.”

Sergeant Pearson

Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) was a staff sergeant in the Vietnam War in 1971 when the episode opened. His troop was ambushed one night, with some dying and another man (Mo McRae) — the Mr. Robinson who Kevin (Justin Hartley) reached out to in a previous episode — losing his foot to a land mine. Robinson was the one who taught Jack the move he often used on his kids in tough moments: holding their faces in his hands as he reminded them to breathe.

After the assault, Jack and his squad were given a lighter detail, at which time he asked his commanding officer if he could visit his brother (Michael Angarano), who was stationed nearby. Jack made his way to Nicky, and they were standing face to face at the end of the hour.

this is us Michael Angarano
THIS IS US — “Vietnam” Episode 305 — Pictured: Michael Angarano as Nicky Ron Batzdorff/NBC

Brothers in Arms

In flashbacks, we learned why Jack enlisted in the war in the first place. When Nicky was born in 1948, Jack’s father (Peter Onorati) told the elder sibling his only job was to look out for his little brother. Jack took that to heart, protecting him from their abusive father — who was seemingly mistreated by his own dad — and earning the nickname “Superman.”

Jack was exempt from the draft because of an irregular heartbeat, but Nicky was sure his birthday would be called in December 1969. When it was, Jack immediately suggested that his brother flee to Canada. As he and Jack headed to the border, Nicky noted how disappointed their dad would be if he avoided the service, and he wondered what was next for him.

Jack and Nicky got a hotel room nearby and decided the youngest Pearson would cross the border the next morning. However, when Jack awoke, his brother was gone, and he had left a note saying it was his turn to save the day.

Nicky, who was taking pills and drinking heavily, later sent a desperate letter home to his family explaining that he was in trouble for endangering himself and his fellow soldiers. He told them he was going to die in Vietnam, but he wanted to do it on his own terms. Jack, who was able to hide his irregular heartbeat, then chose to enlist because he wanted to be in the same place as his brother.

This Is Us airs on NBC Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET.

Us Weekly

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Panasonic Designed a Wearable Concentration Device to Help you Focus

Panasonic‘s Future Life Factory has developed a wearable concentration device, dubbed the Wear Space, that will help you focus on work by controlling your field of vision and assisting with noise cancellation.

The device, created in partnership with Kunihiko Morinaga, is basically like a technologically-advanced set of horse blinkers for humans. It’s made of a flexible material that comfortably wraps around the back of your head and extends to the sides of your eyes, blocking out distractions in your peripheral view. The inside is fitted with noise-canceling headphones to filter out undesired background noise.

Check out the Panasonic Wear Space prototype above and video below, and head over to the project’s crowdfunding site to support the campaign.

For more unique office pieces, check out this luxe desk made from a Porsche 911 car.

Click here to view full gallery at HYPEBEAST




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86 Online Sales to Help End Your Week on a High Note

Congrats on making it through another busy week! We all honestly deserve a medal for making it to Friday, but a very full glass of red wine and some retail therapy will suffice. So start pouring and treat yourself to the 86 online sales below — maybe you’ll even pick up a cool western-inspired fall …

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This New Tool Can Help Parents Find the Best Sport for Their Kids

Kids these days: they have so many options when it comes to sports. There are organized travel teams, it seems, for every game: soccer, lacrosse, hoops, the works. While a child’s decision about which sport to play might not be as formative as, say, picking a college, it can sure feel that way. And potentially cost as much: fees and travel expenses for some club teams skyrocket to $ 10,000 per year and beyond.

In trying to navigate today’s youth sports scene, any guidance helps. That’s why a new tool released Thursday by the Aspen Institute’s Sports & Society Program, called the Healthy Sport Index, couldn’t be more timely. The handy website allows families to weigh three factors in deciding what sport makes the most sense: safety, physical activity, and the sport’s psychosocial benefits. The index then provides a customized ranking of ten sports, based on where a child lands on a sliding scale of “low emphasis” to “high emphasis” for each of the three factors.

So say, for example, your son wants to put maximum emphasis on psychosocial benefits: he wants a sport that will help him develop social skills, cognitive skills, and otherwise enhance his mental health. He cares about a sport’s safety, but is willing to take some injury risk; so here, he falls in the middle of the scale. But he’s ambivalent about physical activity: your son doesn’t care how much energy he expends in practice. He gives it the lowest possible emphasis on the Heathy Sport Index scale. Based on this mix, the Healthy Sport Index puts swimming on top, while lacrosse comes in tenth.

Meanwhile, your daredevil daughter can care less about getting hurt, but places the highest possible emphasis on working out hard while playing her sport and developing useful life skills, like setting goals. Healthy Sport Index says: sign her up for tennis! (Cheerleading falls to the bottom here. The ten girls’ sports ranked by the Healthy Sport Index are basketball, cheerleading, cross country, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, track and field, and volleyball. For the boys it’s baseball, basketball, cross country, football, lacrosse, soccer, swimming, tennis, track and field, and wrestling.)

The Aspen Institute, in consultation with medical experts, compiled data for the index from a variety of sources. The National High School Sports-Related Injury Surveillance Study, produced by the Colorado School of Public Health, provided injury rates for various sports. For the psychosocial component, the Aspen Institute surveyed almost 1,300 high school athletes from across the country, and asked students whether their sport helped them improve in areas like sharing responsibility and patience. Researchers from North Carolina State University observed almost 700 hours of varsity practices to document the physical activity levels of each high school sport. The architects of the index were keen to account for the positive benefits of different sports, to counterbalance the downside risks.

“We talk a lot about injuries in youth sports, for good reason,” says Dr. Neeru Jayanthi, director of sports medicine research at Emory University. “But it’s important to look at all aspects of the athletic experience. If you just focus on one, you’re missing the boat.”

For example, football, which has witnessed participation declines due to well-founded worries about head injuries, ranks second among boys’ sports for psychosocial benefits. (Soccer comes in first.) High school football players reported more improvements in social skills and cognitive skills than athletes in any of the nine other sports. The Aspen Institute’s research was less encouraging for, say, boy’s lacrosse, which ranked ninth in safety, ahead of just football, and tenth in psychosocial benefits. Lacrosse players were most likely to cut class, binge drink, use marijuana and smoke cigarettes. In girls’ sports, basketball provided the most psychosocial upside, whereas cheerleading ranked tenth on both the psychosocial and physical activity scales.

Not that cheerleading or lacrosse or any other sport are at all detrimental, say the creators of the Healthy Sport Index. Every activity can have a positive impact on a kid’s life. “It’s better to be playing a sport,” says Jon Solomon, editorial director for the Aspen’s Sports & Society Program, “than to be sitting on the couch all day doing nothing.”

Sports – TIME

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Apollo Management could help McClatchy with Tribune bid

Billionaire Leon Black is weighing yet another opportunity to invest in the newspaper business. Print empire McClatchy has approached Black’s buyout firm Apollo Management to shore up its bid for Tribune Publishing, the owner of the New York Daily News and the Chicago Tribune, The Post has learned. That’s because McClatchy — the owner of…
Business | New York Post

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Trump signs bills to help patients stop overpaying for drugs

President Donald Trump has signed into law two bills that would allow pharmacists to tell consumers when paying cash would be cheaper than using insurance
ABC News: Health

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Rebecca Taylor to Offer Services to Help Time-Starved Customers

TIME SAVER: Need a manicure? Or a new hairstyle? Or just want to put your kids somewhere while you shop? Rebecca Taylor is offering harried women a time-saving shopping experience. Beginning this Saturday, Taylor’s boutique at 980 Madison Avenue in New York will offer customers complimentary babysitting, hairstyling, manicures and workout classes, among other things. Called Saturday Services, the Rebecca Taylor brand will strategically align with other brands such as Dry Bar, Pure Barre, Paint Box and Hello Sitter to offer these complimentary services on Saturdays to their customers. One service will be offered each week and a geo-targeted e-mail will go out to people in the neighborhood touting the particular service.
“We recognize that women are time-starved, and there are many demands on her weekend. Saturday Services was conceived so that our customer can maximize her time by aligning activations that would enhance the shopping experience and provide valuable services,” said Janice Sullivan, chief executive officer of Rebecca Taylor.
She said the company developed the program to not only bring traffic into the store, but to help their customers, who are juggling full-on careers and raising children. “Rather than do book signings or talk about finances, this makes her life easier,” said

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Help These Adorable Hurricane Florence Puppies Find Their New Homes

Could one of these pups be your new furever friend? Meet Janet, Jack and Chrissy, three adorable and playful puppies rescued from Hurricane Florence. All three of the four-legged friends are 13-week-old hound mixes rescued from the Carolinas by the North Shore Animal League America.

hurricane florence puppies
A dog stands in floodwaters from the Waccamaw River caused by Hurricane Florence Sean Rayford/Getty Images

These canines weathered the storm and have been given a second chance at love, so watch the video above and consider opening your heart — and home — to one of these little bundles of joy. (However, don’t fall too hard for Chrissy as she’s already found her dog mom thanks to Us Weekly editor Kelly Marages!)

hurricane florence puppies
Dog rescued after Hurricane Florence Joe Raedle/Getty Images

To find out how you can get involved, adopt a new best friend, or to support hurricane relief efforts, visit animalleague.org for more information.

Us Weekly

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Latin may help students bridge their native language with English

Researchers found that in teaching English learners — students who aren’t fluent in English and often come from homes where a language other than English is spoken — the Latin roots of words helped them problem solve the meaning of unfamiliar words.
Infant and Preschool Learning News — ScienceDaily

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Get help building an online portfolio with Format, on sale for 65% off

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If you’ve ever tried to build a website, odds are you’ve used services like Squarespace to take care of the more headache-inducing technical aspects so you can focus entirely on the contentFormat is an easy-to-use webpage design tool built specifically for creative professionals. Its wide array of customization options put other website builders to shame, and allow you to build an impressive online portfolio of your work.

Rather than a slate of generic themes and templates, Format offers you responsive themes for both desktop and mobile browsing. It features smart typography and image-based blogging to create an eye-catching portfolio that’s easy to update and maintain. There’s also an option to link your Instagram photos directly to your website, so you can quickly add new images of your work without having to worry about getting to a laptop to upload themFormat even offers full integration with Adobe Lightroom. Read more…

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California Lawmakers Pass Talent Protections Act to Help Models and Entertainers Fight Sexual Harassment and Eating Disorders

FIGHTING HARASSMENT: Models in California now have a little more legal reenforcement thanks to the passage of the Talent Protections Act, which was created to fight sexual harassment and eating disorders. While not designed solely for models, the law is geared for the state’s fashion and entertainment industries. California Gov. Jerry Brown signed it into law Sept. 30 and it will take effect in January.
The Model Alliance, the New York-based organization that champions models’ rights, worked closely with California State Assembly member Marc Levine, detailing models’ experiences to help develop the law and calling for its support.
Under the law, talent agencies must create educational materials about sexual harassment prevention and retaliation, as well as information about good nutrition and eating disorders for adults. For minors starting out in the entertainment industry, they and their parents, or respective legal guardian, will be required to have training in these areas. The law also mandates that information about nutrition be provided to fashion models.
Models are routinely advised to lose weight, according to what is said to be the largest survey to date on eating disorders among professional models. Published last year in the International Journal of Eating Disorders, the study was an effort

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