10 Things You Never Knew Your Real Estate Agent Can Do for You

Selling your house—or buying a new one—is a multifaceted process that typically involves the services of a licensed real estate agent. You already know that agents can list homes, host open houses, and assist in negotiations between buyers and sellers, but you may not know that they’re willing and able to help with other matters. Click through to discover some surprising ways your real estate agent can help you throughout the buying and selling process.
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Iyanla Gets Real with Le’Andria Johnson About the Root of Her Troubles | Iyanla: Fix My Life | OWN

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Economy at ‘very real risk’ of falling into recession in late 2020, UCLA forecast says

There's "a very real risk" the national economy will skid into a recession in late 2020 after the current expansion that began a decade ago, the UCLA Anderson Forecast announced Wednesday.
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Real estate mogul weighs in on a proposed tax on multi-million dollar second homes in New York

Howard Lorber, President and CEO of the Vector Group and Chairman of Douglas Elliman Realty, joins "Squawk Box" to discuss the future of New York real estate.
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Samsung Galaxy S10 review: Not an iPhone ‘killer’ but a real challenge

Samsung’s Galaxy S10, released Friday, could be the smartphone to give Apple a challenge — pushing some to jump ship. The South Korean giant’s newest flagship delivers supercharged performance for $ 899 — $ 100 less than iPhone XS — in a sharp package, proving once again that it is the Android phone to beat. With the…
Technology News & Reviews | New York Post

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African American Economics: Real Facts

Black families are more confident about achieving the American Dream than the general population. However, African Americans fall short on executing life-changing measures such as accumulating wealth, being better prepared for retirement and building up savings. Here are a few facts (and advice) about African American economics:

Some 84% believe the American Dream means financial security; 78% in not living paycheck-to-paycheck; and 77% in owning a home.

Still, based on a new State of the American Family Study by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co. (MassMutual), many African Americans don’t have tangible assets needed to make those goals happen now.

The study revealed a disconnect between African Americans’ financial situations and their hope toward the future. The report disclosed some pitfalls tied to African Americans’ personal finances including high debt, low savings and a lower likelihood of wide financial product ownership. In turn, the financial disparities and the wealth gap possibly explain why 31% surveyed are convinced the American Dream may be fading away.

Some key findings from the survey:

  • Outside of retirement accounts, only 37% of African Americans own wealth-building products such as stocks and mutual funds.
  • Only 35% believe they are doing a good job of preparing for retirement.
  • 33% have less than one month of funds saved for a crisis and less than 25% have amassed more than six months’ of emergency savings.
  • 58% are actively involved in educating their children on finances versus 48% of Caucasians. Forty-percent rely on family members for information

“The study shows African Americans want to improve their financial situations and are hopeful about the future,” said Evan Taylor, African American market director, MassMutual. “At the same time, it sheds light on the financial struggles and inequities that the African American community continues to battle. Those contradictions indicate a need for greater financial education and discipline for the whole family to achieve economic success. In fact, the biggest financial regret expressed by respondents was that they wished they had started saving and investing sooner.”

The State of the American Family survey consisted of 3,235 total interviews with Americans, including 482 African American respondents. The vast majority of these interviews (2,730) were conducted with men and women aged 25-64 with incomes equal to or greater than $ 50,000 and with dependents under age 26 for whom they are financially responsible. Respondents had to contribute at least 40% to decisions regarding financial matters in their household to qualify.

Shavon Roman, a financial adviser at Atlanta-based The Piedmont Group, shared how she overcame financial havoc. Her journey included becoming an entrepreneur in real estate and franchising, where she ended up hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt. To rebound, she created a debt reduction strategy and lived below her means. The result: Within five years she was debt free. “You can accomplish anything with a plan,” Roman says.

african american economics

Shavon Roman

Her experience with financial challenges—and now on the path to wealth-building—led Roman to help others professionally. Her clients at Piedmont mainly include women in their 30s and 40s, and pre-retirees working in corporate America. Piedmont is affiliated with Mass Mutual. She focuses on helping clients increase their net worth.

To help African Americans get on the right path to financial independence, Roman offers advice on the following:

  • Financial education: It’s imperative to have a savings and spending plan, allowing you to tell your money where to go and keep track of it. Consider working with banks that have online tools to monitor your spending and create budgets. Also, know your credit score. Roman says a helpful tool to do that is the “Credit Karma” app. If buying a home is an objective, look for a prime rate loan with a nonprofit homeownership organization like the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America.
  • Financial planning and execution: So what should African Americans do before investing in stocks or other asset classes like real estate or starting a new business? Roman’s first suggestion is to do your research. She advises knowing your risk tolerance, asking yourself if you can stomach a financial setback. Monitor the investment and its performance regularly. When it comes to achieving wealth-building goals, eliminate high-interest debt, reduce debt, and establish a savings fund.
  • Professional help as opposed to taking a do-it-yourself approach with finances: Seek advice from a financial professional equipped to help you establish and reach your financial goals. When looking for help with investment planning, retirement planning, or insurance purchases, partner with an expert. Check out their background, references, and makes sure they are licensed in the state they work in. A financial professional can guide you to the right solutions to help achieve wealth-building goals.

“As minorities, we have the ability to improve our economic positions using ideas that may seem so small,” Roman says. “My biggest lesson in life is that hope is not a plan. We have to put action with a plan and do the work. I did the work and I hope that my transparency inspires others.”

MassMutual also offered some “NEXT STEPS’’ to help black families secure their financial future:

MAKE FINANCIAL PLANNING A FAMILY PRIORITY. Teach the next generation about finances. Involving your children in discussions of family budgeting and monthly bills can help them understand what is involved in managing money.

PREPARE FOR THE UNEXPECTED. Protect your family with appropriate amounts of life insurance and disability income insurance. These precautions can provide a measure of security for your family should the unthinkable happen.

PAY DOWN DEBT. It’s a good idea to pay off the loans and credit cards with the highest interest rates first, then the smallest balances or the highest minimums. If you can make extra payments or pay more than the minimum, do so. This will reduce the total cost of the loan.

ESTABLISH SAVINGS. Open a separate savings account designated for your emergency fund and add to it every paycheck. Use automatic deposit so you don’t forget. As a rule of thumb, target 3 to 6 months of salary for your financial cushion.

PLAN FOR YOUR CHILDREN’S EDUCATION. Create a plan for how you will pay for college. In addition to your income, there are opportunities to pay for college including 529 plans, Coverdell Education Savings Accounts, student loans, permanent life insurance loans, financial aid, grants, and work-study programs.

SAVE FOR RETIREMENT. The amount of income needed to maintain a standard of living in retirement varies from person to person and family to family. Think about your current and future expenses to see if you are saving enough right now. If you’re not, or if you’re not sure, talk with a financial professional.

Visit this link to learn more details about the financial state of African Americans.

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Today in Movie Culture: A 1990s Version of ‘Captain Marvel,’ a Real ‘How to Train Your Dragon’ Fire Sword and More

Today in Movie Culture: A 1990s Version of ‘Captain Marvel,’ a Real ‘How to Train Your Dragon’ Fire Sword and More

Here are a bunch of little bites to satisfy your hunger for movie culture:

 

Alternate Decade Movie of the Day:

We’re about a week away from Captain Marvel hitting theaters. What if it had really come out 24 years ago? Nerdist recut and altered the latest trailer for the Marvel Cinematic Universe installment to make it look like a 1995 release:

 

Cosplay of the Day:

Speaking of Captain Marvel, we can expect a whole lot of fans cosplaying as the…

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The Real Crazy Rich Asian Palace Is Worth a Cool $3.5 Billion

In the heart of Singapore, one of the most expensive cities in the world, there’s a sprawling, vacant plot of private land 30 times the size of The White House.

Just down the road from the U.S. embassy and bordering condos worth S$ 4.5 million ($ 3.3 million) each, the swathe of untended jungle hides the remains of two abandoned palaces and would be worth a cool $ 3.5 billion if sold for development, according to one estimate. In a city where almost 8,000 people are crammed into each square kilometer and real estate prices are among the world’s highest, it is one of the greatest urban anachronisms in Asia.

“Owning a piece of land in Singapore is certainly a privilege as land is the most precious resource in the city-state,” said Christine Li, a senior director and head of research for Singapore at Cushman & Wakefield Inc. “Over the past five decades, land prices have appreciated significantly. This has fueled wealth creation for older generations. Many also aspire to own a landed property as it is a status symbol for the well-heeled.”

If something about this story sounds familiar, it’s probably because the plot line was borrowed by Kevin Kwan, author of Crazy Rich Asians, the book about Asia’s insanely rich that was made into a hit movie last year. The fictitious Young family inhabits a sprawling ancestral home, set within Singapore’s Tyersall Park.

In the real-life version, the 34-year-old Crown Prince of Johor, Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim, is the registered owner of the 210,875 square meter plot, which lies in the former Tyersall Park, next to the Botanic Gardens. Inside, ravaged by fire and decay, are the ruins of Istana Woodneuk, the palace built by his ancestors in the late 19th century.

The plot owned by the Sultans of Johor was once larger, but has gradually reduced as the Singapore government acquired land to extend the Botanic Gardens, a Unesco World Heritage site. In 1990, the state bought a chunk for S$ 25 million and it got another 98,000-square-meter piece in 2009 for an undisclosed amount.

Malaysia has a constitutional monarchy, where the national throne rotates between rulers of the country’s nine states every five years. The southern state of Johor is ruled by the Crown Prince’s father, Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar.

Last year, the 60-year-old patriarch put 12 luxury cars from his extensive collection on display at an event held to mark the 90th anniversary of Singapore’s Fullerton Heritage precinct. They included a 1991 Lamborghini LM002 and a 1938 Lagonda Lightweight LG6, the only one in the world.

His other assets include a 22 percent share in Malaysia’s Forest City, a $ 100 billion Chinese-built project with apartments on artificial islands in the country’s south, and the family also owns stakes in a variety of public companies from 7-Eleven Malaysia Holdings Bhd. to telecoms firm REDtone International Bhd.

The Crown Prince, however, won’t be able to cash in on his Singapore land any time soon, even if he wanted to. The undeveloped area is zoned for “special use of green space,” meaning development for other purposes, such as residential or commercial, is restricted.

Were that to change — the land does sit in one of Singapore’s most desirable residential districts — it could be worth at least S$ 4.7 billion, according to a calculation by Alan Cheong, a senior director at brokerage Savills Plc.

The most expensive residence to change hands in Singapore over the past year was a so-called good class bungalow (luxury landed houses that are off limits to foreigners) also near the Botanic Gardens. The property was purchased by Tony Tung, the chairman of oil trader Winson Group for S$ 105.3 million ($ 78 million), the Business Times reported earlier this month, saying it was a record for that type of dwelling.

A representative for the Crown Prince didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

His father is pragmatic when it comes to matters of money.

“Let’s be honest here, we are a constitutional monarch. I have to earn my living like everyone else,” the Sultan said in a 2015 interview with local newspaper The Star. “I cannot depend on my allowances of RM27,000 ($ 6,640) a month. I must earn a living, like ordinary Malaysians.”

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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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Chinese real estate is a ‘two-speed market’: Portwood Capital

Peter Churchouse of Portwood Capital says property prices in China's tier three and tier four cities have bounced "very strongly" over the past year, whereas the country's tier one and high tier two cities have been "pretty flat."
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After Jussie Smollett, Will Real Victims of Anti-LGBT Hate Crimes Be Heard?

Chelsea Guglielmino/Getty

Jussie Smollett just made it that much harder for the United States to have an honest conversation about anti-LGBT violence. What’s especially painful is how urgent that conversation remains.

On Wednesday evening, the Empire actor was charged with felony disorderly conduct for allegedly filing a false police report. The openly gay actor had claimed in late January that two men attacked him late at night on a downtown Chicago street, yelled racist and homophobic slurs, poured bleach over his body, and wrapped a rope around his neck. In a follow-up interview with police, Smollett claimed that the two men shouted “MAGA country”—a reference to President Trump’s 2016 campaign slogan.

Despite mounting questions about the veracity of Smollett’s account, it wasn’t until this Saturday that the Chicago Police Department publicly confirmed that Smollett was no longer being investigated as a victim but as a suspect in an investigation as to whether he had staged the attack. And now, the charge has been filed. It’s not the last step by far—but it does mean that police could not substantiate Smollett’s claims.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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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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Samsung’s foldable phone just got real: Meet the Galaxy Fold

Galaxy Fold Release Date

Samsung’s first foldable phone is no longer a secret. The company showed us a prototype back at its SDC18 developer conference in November, so it could announce the Infinity Flex screen and the One UI user interface that will work on all Samsung phones going forward, including foldable gadgets. But that wasn’t a real launch for the phone, as Samsung wasn’t ready to share its commercial name or tell the world how much it’ll cost. It didn’t even offer us a good look at the phone. The prototype was encased in a bulky protective case, and the imagery it used also camouflaged the phone’s design.

Fast-forward to February 20th, the Galaxy S10 launch day, and a massive leak showed us renders of the Galaxy Fold just one day after a leaker said that would be the phone’s name. Well, Samsung’s Unpacked event is finally here, and the Korean giant just confirmed the Galaxy Fold name and revealed other details about the handset.

Continue reading…

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  1. Huge leak reveals Samsung’s Galaxy Fold ahead of today’s event
  2. Galaxy S10 launch event: Watch the Unpacked 2019 live stream right here
  3. iOS 13 will finally fix of one of the most annoying things about the iPhone

Samsung’s foldable phone just got real: Meet the Galaxy Fold originally appeared on BGR.com on Wed, 20 Feb 2019 at 14:08:25 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.


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Here’s what a luxury NYC real estate agent thinks about Amazon HQ2

Ryan Serhant, real estate agent and managing director at NestSeekers International, started his career in Long Island City. He is well known as one of the real estate agents on Bravo's "Million Dollar Listings New York." Watch what he has to say about the Amazon HQ2 situation and how his clients are being affected.
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Qatar’s real estate market faces reality check ahead of World Cup

Qatar’s Doha Tower, a spike-tipped cylinder that glows orange at night, won an award when finished in 2012 amid a Gulf-wide real estate boom, but today about half of its 46 floors are empty.


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Long Island City will continue growth without Amazon, says real estate brokerage CEO

CNBC's "Power Lunch" team talks with Robert Frank, CNBC's wealth reporter, and Eric Benaim, CEO of Long Island City brokerage Modern Spaces, about how Amazon's decision to pull out of Queens will impact real estate.
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Keep refreshing this page to see AI-generated faces that look completely real

AI face generator

The young woman’s face at the top of this post might not strike you at first glance as strange or off in any way. Which is arguably what’s so extraordinary about it. Don’t bother taking a closer look, because you won’t find anything. It is the face of a young woman who, in reality, doesn’t exist. Because a computer generated her face completely from scratch — along with tons of others like it that look similarly real which you can peruse at a website set up to show off the technology, at ThisPersonDoesNotExist.com.

Continue reading…

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  2. Amazon has an electric bike that folds to fit anywhere and has 15.5-mile range with pedals for backup

Trending Right Now:

  1. Report claims Apple’s first new iPhones of 2019 will be released this month
  2. This ‘Avengers: Endgame’ theory explains why Doctor Strange needs Iron Man alive
  3. Hunters in 24 US states warned of ‘zombie deer’ disease

Keep refreshing this page to see AI-generated faces that look completely real originally appeared on BGR.com on Fri, 15 Feb 2019 at 22:05:58 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.


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Google will spend $13 billion on U.S. real estate in 2019, expanding into Nevada, Ohio and Texas

Google will expand into Nevada, Ohio, Texas and Nebraska for the first time, adding new data centers in those states and offices elsewhere.
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A Bridezilla, Epic Fights and That Infamous Wine Toss: How The Real Housewives of New Jersey Bounced Back Better Than Ever

The Real Housewives of New Jersey, RHONJLet it be known that Andy Cohen reads his damn feed.
The man responsible for gifting the world with all things Real Housewives has a special sixth sense for knowing how fans are feeling…

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‘The Real’ Is On The Road At Howard University!

On Wednesday, Feb. 6, The Real is live via satellite from Howard University! In honor of Black History MonthThe Real is on The Road to the nation’s most thriving HBCUs, learning why they are so important to our history and our future.

The hosts ask the students to weigh in on “multi-dating,” and if it’s cool to do, which co-hosts Jeannie Mai and Loni Love agree it is, as long as everyone is on the same page. They also discuss Jennifer Lopez’s rumored participation in a Motown tribute at the upcoming Grammy Awards, and Cory Booker running for President as a single man.

The ladies speak with the president of Howard University, Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick, and play Ante Up with three lucky students, Kayla Waysome, Lauren Myers and Nazeer Jeffries. And student Brandon Allen plays a Hotline Bling emoji paddle game with all four hosts!

Later, Let’s Make a Deal host Wayne Brady stops by to talk about his new music, his role on The Bold and the Beautiful and his new friend Al Pacino!

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Mo’Nique Keeps It Real On ‘The Real’

Mo’Nique headed to ‘The Real’ this week to talk to the women on the couch about her Las Vegas residency and more One of the things she addressed was a perceived beef between her and ‘Real’ host Adrienne Bailon.

Mo’Nique who is now enjoying a residency at the SLS in Las Vegas through March 30th. has expressed her views ad nauseam on Hollywood shadiness skewering Lee Daniels, Oprah Winfrey, Tyler Perry, Whoopi Goldberg and Netflix, who she says undercut her worth in a standup special for the network.

Mo’Nique said that although she didn’t agree with what she and internet observers saw as “shade’ from Bailon, she never had any “beef” with her.

Watch below to see what they both had to say:

And here’s what Mo’Nique had to say about the controversy over a host for this year’s Oscars.

PHOTO: Instagram


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No softening in Hong Kong’s luxury real estate: Hang Lung Properties

Ronnie Chan of Hang Lung Properties says consumers of luxury goods in Greater China appear to be marching on despite U.S.-China trade concerns, and his company is benefiting from the trend.
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Design Trends and Real Estate: What You Need to Know

As this year draws to a close, the excitement is starting to build for a new year, and for the chance to start fresh with inspirational new trends, colors and styles. Finding the right balance between modern and trendy, while still protecting your home’s equity and appealing to a wide range of buyers, can be tricky. Here are some tips to help you navigate these decisions.

KEEP FIXED ASSETS NEUTRAL Fixed assets such as cabinets, flooring, exterior finishes and tile are more likely to become outdated and cause future buyers to be put off by what they see as a lot of extra work and expense to update.

PLAY WITH PAINT AND WALLPAPER Wallpaper and bold paint, especially in smaller spaces, can add immediate personality and style to a home, but can easily be changed out. Removable wallpaper can range from colorful dots that add whimsy to a nursery to large scale floral murals that add drama to a living room wall.

HAVE FUN WITH ACCESSORIES If there is a trend out there that makes your heart sing, go for it! Cushions, art and accessories are the quickest way to showcase the latest trends without breaking the bank. If the trend you love isn’t popular among buyers, the items can be removed when you do put your home on the market!

THE RULE OF THUMB If it is difficult or expensive to change, stick to more timeless choices. If it is easy or inexpensive to change, embrace whatever trends make you happy! Working with your local real estate and design professionals can help you make the right color, trend and design choices so you can love the home you live in now, and provide an appealing property lifestyle for future buyers! – Text by Karina Strachan, RE/Max Crest Realty, www.remax-crest-vancouver-bc.com

The post Design Trends and Real Estate: What You Need to Know appeared first on Home Trends Magazine.

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Surprise! This Is How Porsha Williams Announced Her Pregnancy to The Real Housewives of Atlanta Costars

The Real Housewives of Atlanta, Porsha WilliamsThe ladies of The Real Housewives of Atlanta were in for more than one surprise during their big trip to Tokyo. While celebrating Eva Marcille’s Bachelorette party, Porsha Williams had…

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Jon Snow’s Crypt Statue Now Rests in a Very Hilarious Place in Real Life

With Game of Thrones fans still scrambling to figure out the meaning of the show’s new “Crypts of Winterfell” teaser, Kit Harington has revealed the hilarious real-life location of the Jon Snow statue shown in the promo.

During a Tuesday appearance on The Zoe Ball Breakfast Show, Harington told the BBC Radio 2 host that he is now the proud owner of his character’s stone likeness.

“I kept that statue. You know, the one in the crypt. I kept it, they sent it to my house. So I’ve got it in my shed. How sad is that?” he said. “I was the only one who kept their statue that’s how narcissistic I am.”

Harington went on to explain his future plans for Jon’s effigy. “I’m going to turn it into a water feature I think,” he quipped.

Game of Thrones will return for its eighth and final season on April 14.

Watch the full clip below.


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Netflix admits to using real footage of train derailment that killed 47 for a scene in ‘Bird Box’

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Netflix’s Bird Box is inciting new outrage among viewers—and this time it has nothing to do with that dangerous viral challenge

The company has confirmed to Mashable that footage used in one of the film’s disaster scenes depicts the very real aftermath of a 2013 train derailment in Quebec, which resulted in a widespread fire that killed 47 people and destroyed much of the surrounding town of Lac-Mégantic. 

The clip appears early in the film, as Malorie (Sandra Bullock) flips through TV channels portraying different scenes from the apocalypse. One briefly shows the silhouette of a train engulfed in flames. Read more…

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Mixer Adds Premium Currency to Support Streamers with Real Money

Microsoft’s streaming platform Mixer has added a premium currency in order to allow viewers to more directly support their favourite streamers.

An update to the Mixer blog explains this new currency is called Mixer Embers and is already in early access for mobile app users. Once purchased the Embers can be used to buy skills which include animated stickers and full-screen effects, much like the already established free currency, Sparks.

Sparks are earned by watching streams on Mixer and can be spent in the chat of a Mixer Partner’s channel. Where Embers will differ is that Sparks go towards achieving milestones to unlock cash bonuses while Embers will translate directly to cash. Viewers will also be able to purchase different premium skills with Embers as opposed to Sparks.

Continue reading…

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A multibillion-dollar deal is creating one of the world’s largest real estate investment managers

Asian real estate developer CapitaLand said it will acquire Ascendas-Singbridge, which would create one of the world's largest real estate investment managers.
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Scientists Seek Ways To Finally Take A Real Measure Of Pain

(AP Photo)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Is the pain stabbing or burning? On a scale from 1 to 10, is it a 6 or an 8?

Over and over, 17-year-old Sarah Taylor struggled to make doctors understand her sometimes debilitating levels of pain, first from joint-damaging childhood arthritis and then from fibromyalgia.

“It’s really hard when people can’t see how much pain you’re in, because they have to take your word on it and sometimes, they don’t quite believe you,” she said.

Now scientists are peeking into Sarah’s eyes to track how her pupils react when she’s hurting and when she’s not — part of a quest to develop the first objective way to measure pain.

“If we can’t measure pain, we can’t fix it,” said Dr. Julia Finkel, a pediatric anesthesiologist at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, who invented the experimental eye-tracking device.

At just about every doctor’s visit you’ll get your temperature, heart rate and blood pressure measured. But there’s no stethoscope for pain. Patients must convey how bad it is using that 10-point scale or emoji-style charts that show faces turning from smiles to frowns.

That’s problematic for lots of reasons. Doctors and nurses have to guess at babies’ pain by their cries and squirms, for example. The aching that one person rates a 7 might be a 4 to someone who’s more used to serious pain or genetically more tolerant. Patient-to-patient variability makes it hard to test if potential new painkillers really work.

Nor do self-ratings determine what kind of pain someone has — one reason for trial-and-error treatment. Are opioids necessary? Or is the pain, like Sarah’s, better suited to nerve-targeting medicines?

“It’s very frustrating to be in pain and you have to wait like six weeks, two months, to see if the drug’s working,” said Sarah, who uses a combination of medications, acupuncture and lots of exercise to counter her pain.

The National Institutes of Health is pushing for development of what its director, Dr. Francis Collins, has called a “pain-o-meter.” Spurred by the opioid crisis, the goal isn’t just to signal how much pain someone’s in. It’s also to determine what kind it is and what drug might be the most effective.

“We’re not creating a lie detector for pain,” stressed David Thomas of NIH’s National Institute on Drug Abuse, who oversees the research. “We do not want to lose the patient voice.”

Around the country, NIH-funded scientists have begun studies of brain scans, pupil reactions and other possible markers of pain in hopes of finally “seeing” the ouch so they can better treat it. It’s early-stage research, and it’s not clear how soon any of the attempts might pan out.

“There won’t be a single signature of pain,” Thomas predicted. “My vision is that someday we’ll pull these different metrics together for something of a fingerprint of pain.”

NIH estimates 25 million people in the U.S. experience daily pain. Most days Sarah Taylor is one of them. Now living in Potomac, Maryland, she was a toddler in her native Australia when the swollen, aching joints of juvenile arthritis appeared. She’s had migraines and spinal inflammation. Then two years ago, the body-wide pain of fibromyalgia struck; a flare-up last winter hospitalized her for two weeks.

One recent morning, Sarah climbed onto an acupuncture table at Children’s National, rated that day’s pain a not-too-bad 3, and opened her eyes wide for the experimental pain test.

“There’ll be a flash of light for 10 seconds. All you have to do is try not to blink,” researcher Kevin Jackson told Sarah as he lined up the pupil-tracking device, mounted on a smartphone.

The eyes offer a window to pain centers in the brain, said Finkel, who directs pain research at Children’s Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation.

How? Some pain-sensing nerves transmit “ouch” signals to the brain along pathways that also alter muscles of the pupils as they react to different stimuli. Finkel’s device tracks pupillary reactions to light or to non-painful stimulation of certain nerve fibers, aiming to link different patterns to different intensities and types of pain.

Consider the shooting hip and leg pain of sciatica: “Everyone knows someone who’s been started on oxycodone for their sciatic nerve pain. And they’ll tell you that they feel it — it still hurts — and they just don’t care,” Finkel said.

What’s going on? An opioid like oxycodone brings some relief by dulling the perception of pain but not its transmission — while a different kind of drug might block the pain by targeting the culprit nerve fiber, she said.

Certain medications also can be detected by other changes in a resting pupil, she said. Last month the Food and Drug Administration announced it would help AlgometRx, a biotech company Finkel founded, speed development of the device as a rapid drug screen.

Looking deeper than the eyes, scientists at Harvard and Massachusetts General Hospital found MRI scans revealed patterns of inflammation in the brain that identified either fibromyalgia or chronic back pain.

Other researchers have found changes in brain activity — where different areas “light up” on scans — that signal certain types of pain. Still others are using electrodes on the scalp to measure pain through brain waves.

Ultimately, NIH wants to uncover biological markers that explain why some people recover from acute pain while others develop hard-to-treat chronic pain.

“Your brain changes with pain,” Thomas explained. “A zero-to-10 scale or a happy-face scale doesn’t capture anywhere near the totality of the pain experience.”

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Retailers caught selling real fur as fake, Humane Society says

It’s a faux fur fake-out. Two online retailers, Boohoo and Zacharia Jewellers, have been called out in separate rulings for promoting pompom sweaters and headbands featuring fake fur — when in fact it was real, likely rabbit. “Consumers should be able to trust the ads they see and hear — and they certainly shouldn’t be…
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1.2.19 Nanoinfluencers on social media are now a real thing; Aldi vs. Whole Foods

Watch out for sponsored posts from people with an incredibly small social media following; Have prices at Whole Foods gone down since Amazon bought the giant grocery retailer? Clark dives into the price difference now between Aldi and Whole Foods.

Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Watch the video
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Manhattan real estate closes 2018 as worst year since the financial crisis

The number of home sales in Manhattan fell 14 percent in 2018, the steepest drop since 2009, according to new data. The median price for an apartment in New York City fell below $ 1 million for the first time in three years in the fourth quarter.
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Real Estate Experts Say to Watch These 15 Markets in 2019

Let’s call 2019 the Year of Transition. While experts hesitate to call it a buyer’s market, parts of the country are heading in that direction. We’ve crunched data from industry insiders, including Zillow, Realtor.com, and Trulia, to find out which cities offer the best deals for home buyers.
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The Real Reason Khloe Kardashian and Tristan Thompson Didn’t Celebrate Christmas Together

Khloe Kardashian, True ThompsonA member of Khloe Kardashian and True Thompson’s little family was noticeably absent from their Christmas celebrations, but why?
Tristan Thompson did not make it to Los Angeles for…

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Retirement Calculators (and Facts) for Real Life

Stashing money away for the golden years can be a huge burden for many people. In fact, saving for retirement is the leading financial stressor for Americans, a new study from Lincoln Financial Group shows. Further, 90% of U.S. residents report stress about their financial situation impacts their daily mood.

The study by the Radnor, Pennsylvania-based financial services company indicated people know that saving for retirement is imperative. Some 57% of Americans say it is important to have room in their budget for a retirement plan. Yet, individuals put household necessities, utilities, and transportation ahead of retirement savings.

“Saving for retirement doesn’t have to be stressful, and it doesn’t have to be difficult,” says Jamie Ohl, EVP, president, Retirement Plan Services, Head of Life and Annuity Operations, Lincoln Financial Group. “It’s all about taking small steps over the course of your working life to help you achieve the retirement you envision.”

Another revelation from the American Consumer Study is that only about half of Americans are confident about saving for retirement, and just a quarter say they don’t plan to retire. The recent study included 2,501 respondents.

The good news is there are steps people can take to help boost their confidence about retirement savings and enhance their ability to retire.

For one, waiting to save can cost you and impact your financial future. This calculator shows the effect that delaying savings can bring.  Another point to consider is that a small change now can make a big difference later. For instance, consider cooking your own meal versus eating out once a week.

This calculator shows what that could mean. For instance, that action could add $ 113,000 to your retirement account.

People also should look at ways to protect their income in retirement. The study suggests many Americans are approaching their retirement years “unprotected”—meaning their savings are not shielded from rising healthcare costs, outliving savings, and other forces. Individuals should talk to a financial adviser to gain options—perhaps utilizing an annuity for instance—to discover ways to help turn retirement savings into sheltered lifetime income.

Interestingly, the study also found that about 1 in 4 Americans don’t plan to retire due to financial uncertainty in the future. Among its findings:

  • Forty-nine percent of us plan to retire, while 24% don’t plan to retire.
  • Twenty-seven percent will not retire because they do not have a good picture of what their financial future will look like.
  • Some 26% of people are looking to live comfortably and keep their current lifestyle in retirement.
  • Fourteen percent of Americans plan on beginning a “second career” later in life, while 32% aren’t sure and might consider the possibility.
  • Of those wanting to begin a second career, 25% say it is because they want to continue to have some income, and 17% say it is to keep busy and try something different.
  • More than 3 out of 4 Americans say they anticipate living in their own home once they are retired. That is particularly true for Young Boomers and Old Boomers (82% and 83%, respectively)
  • Forty percent of Americans are not now contributing to a retirement savings plan.
  • Some 24% of Americans with a formal retirement plan say “I wish I can retire earlier so that I can enjoy my time off doing personal things.”
  • Americans without a formal plan are more indifferent, with 1 in 3 saying “I feel no particular way about retirement.”

 

 

The post Retirement Calculators (and Facts) for Real Life appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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Here’s Why Black Investors Should Consider Investing in Commercial Real Estate

Investing in commercial real estate can be confusing to new investorsdizzying numbers and jargon can make investors wary. However, investing in commercial real estate is actually easier than you think—and the perks are great to boot. Sound income potential, solid stability, and downside protection against market volatility are some of those perks.

Investing in Commercial Real Estate Doesn’t Require You to Be an Expert

Investing in real estate doesn’t demand you be an expert in real estate This is where sponsors come in. And no, a sponsor isn’t an advertiser. A sponsor is an asset operator who syndicates the funds and makes the deal happen.The sponsor handles anything from funding to managing the investment. They manage the asset. You collect the income.

 

Commercial Real Estate is a Long-Term Investment

Another upside to investing in commercial real estate is its long-term focus. It protects your downside and is engineered to collect big returns over time. On the flip side, if you’re just looking to make quick buck, real estate might not be the right investment space for you. Plus your money’s locked up for a pre-set contractual period — you can’t just cash out anytime you want.

Crowdfunding Allows Everyday Folks to Own Commercial Property for Under $ 1000

The Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act, signed in 2012, allows everyday investors to own a piece of assets such as the World Trade Center through real estate crowdfunding. There are tons of online marketplaces that give you access to syndicated deals. And if you’re not into that? Well, there’s always REITs.

A version of this story appeared on WealthLAB.

The post Here’s Why Black Investors Should Consider Investing in Commercial Real Estate appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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Tell your kids the truth: Santa is real

I ran into a neighbor and her daughter in our lobby recently. The daughter dashed for the stairs, while her mom and I waited for the elevator. I thought the girl was trying to beat her mother to their apartment. Following elevator etiquette, I gave the mom a little smile and a nod. She sighed,…
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Real Housewives of Beverly Hills Season 9 Trailer Promises the “Real Story” Is More Shocking Than the Headlines

Cast, The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Season 9Lisa Vanderpump’s final season of RHOBH is comin’ in hot.
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Penny Marshall Played an Underachiever on TV. In Real Life She Was Anything But

In the olden days of TV, long before Netflix or binge-watching and certainly before DVRs, people used to tune in on certain days and times to watch the shows they liked: If you were a kid in the mid-1970s—maybe, particularly, a girl—one of those shows was likely to be Laverne & Shirley, the Happy Days spinoff that became a huge hit by itself. Its stars, Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams, played young single women, roommates and best friends, in late 1950s Milwaukee. They worked at a brewery (and horsed around) by day. They went on dates (and horsed around) at night. The cheerful theme song that opened the show included the lyric “We’re gonna make our dreams come true,” but these girls—we thought of them as girls at the time, because they were sort of like us, and we were girls—weren’t exactly go-getters. During that opening song, we saw Laverne Defazio and Shirley Feeney hustle into their plain wool coats and race out the door to get to work on time. On the job, they’d daydream as a forever’s worth of beer bottles drifted by on the conveyor belt. At the end of the day, they couldn’t get out of there soon enough. Today, young women characters are mostly required to be role models, following big dreams instead of merely living out little ones. But Laverne and Shirley, who would dance and laugh and play practical jokes on one another, were the kind of almost-grownups you dreamed of being. They were still having fun, even if that meant getting through drudgery first. They made underachieving look awesome.

Laverne and Shirley - 1976-1983
Paramount Television—Kobal/REX/ShutterstockPenny Marshall on ‘Laverne and Shirley,’ 1976-1983

Penny Marshall, who died on Dec. 17 at age 75, may have played a charming underachiever on TV. But in real life, she was anything but: Even though Marshall had been playing small parts on TV for years, that role on Laverne & Shirley (the show ran for eight seasons) ignited a career that included not just acting but directing and producing as well—all at a time when women had to work much harder to carve out their own success.

Marshall was born in the Bronx in 1943; her brother was producer and director Garry Marshall, who, as the creator of Happy Days, tapped her for the spinoff. She directed four episodes of the show, eventually going on to to produce and direct feature films, beginning with 1986’s Jumpin’ Jack Flash, starring Whoopi Goldberg. Other directing projects included the 1990 Oliver Sacks adaptation Awakenings, starring Robert De Niro and Robin Williams, and, in 1992, A League of Their Own, a fictionalized story based on the real-life members of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, starring Geena Davis and Tom Hanks and featuring Madonna and Rosie O’Donnell. But Marshall’s finest film may be the 1988 comedy Big, in which Hanks plays a kid who wishes he were a grown-up: His wish comes true, but he ends up being a thirteen-year-old boy trapped in a grown man’s body, which wasn’t exactly what he was expecting. The picture is filled with broad jokes and small ones, and Marshall navigated both deftly. You get the sense that her own sense of humor, self-deprecating and mildly raucous, was her truest guide.

Marshall’s final film as a director was an as yet unreleased documentary about NBA Hall of Famer Dennis Rodman, and her resume over the last 35 years or so is dotted with acting roles of various sizes. But her most enduring character is Laverne, an outgoing girl with a glorious honk of a voice and a saucy, flirtatious smile. The characters Laverne and Shirley first appeared on an episode of Happy Days, as a type of “fast” girl—a characterization in keeping with the show’s retro appeal. And it’s true that their gameness was part of their charm. They were up for anything, as long as it was fun, and as long as it didn’t involve an endless row of bottles on a conveyor belt. Parents used to tell kids that watching TV all the time would rot their brains, but they didn’t know that so much of what we watched would stick with us—and that our brains weren’t rotting, they were actually working. TV, and people like Penny Marshall, made us who we are: Schlemiels or schlimazels some of the time, but at least able to laugh our way through it all.


Entertainment – TIME

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“The Meghan Effect” Is Very Real: All of the Clothes Meghan Markle Wore That Sold Out in 2018

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Man Arrested In Texas After Telling Kids Santa Isn’t Real

DALLAS (AP) — Police say a 31-year-old protester who told children Santa Claus is not real has been arrested for trespassing at a North Texas church.

Aaron Urbanski was arrested Saturday after authorities were called to a church in Cleburne, which was hosting a breakfast with Santa event. Police say they found three people demonstrating outside the church after responding to a trespassing complaint.

Authorities say Urbanski refused to leave and continued to cause a disturbance. Urbanski, who was charged with criminal trespass, has been booked into the Johnson County Law Enforcement Center.

Cleburne Mayor Scott Cain weighed in on Facebook, saying “Don’t Mess With Santa!” The mayor continued: “Guess they wanted coal in their stockings to go with a court appearance.”

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[Slideshow] Black Real Estate Investor’s Labor of Love Restoring Aretha Franklin Home

The renowned home in Detroit previously owned by the late legendary singer Aretha Franklin is getting a major makeover.

The new owner, Anthony Kellum, president of Kellum Mortgage, told Black Enterprise that it’s a tremendous opportunity to work on the Queen of Soul’s home. He bought the mansion, built in 1927 on the Detroit Golf Course, in late October for $ 300,000 after Franklin passed in August.

“To be able to blend the historical elements of a home that was built in the ’20s, while keeping some of Aretha’s glamorous and soulful style and adding the necessary modern touches, will truly be a beautiful challenge that I just couldn’t pass up,” Kellum says.

See It! Inside Aretha Franklin’s Sold Estate 

aretha franklin home

Spanning 6,200 square feet, the brick Tudor home includes five bedrooms, six bathrooms and a heated three-car garage with 9-foot ceilings. Kellum says the house has been vacant for 10 years and requires major renovations. Kellum says he understands that Franklin lived in the home off and on for several years but is not clear why it was vacant for so long.

He plans to invest roughly $ 400,000 to rehab the property, restore its original beauty and maintain its historical integrity. Kellum says the foundation is in good shape, but the interior needs significant work. The improvements will include repairs to a slate roof and new piping.

Kellum plans to re-design the kitchen, bathrooms, and rehab every room. “One challenge will be keeping as many unique aspects as we possibly can such as the intricate details of the fireplaces as well as original wood paneling, and the rich molding throughout the house.”  He plains to retain some chandeliers and other fixtures in the 91-year-old home.

“We want to blend some of the original elements in the home with some modern touches.”

Extensive work on the home that sits on the club’s 7th hole will begin in January. Kellum aims to complete the renovation by late May, allowing him to rent the home to people attending the inaugural PGA Tour at the Detroit Golf Club in late June.

Kellum plans to list Franklin property for sale by July 2019 for about $ 1.5 million. He plans to build a home on a half-acre next door he acquired in the deal that Franklin also owned. He hopes to sell the Franklin home to a family who appreciates its historical importance and value Aretha Franklin’s legacy.

Additionally, the property has sentimental value to Kellum.  His mother was a huge fan of Franklin’s who listened to her music every day when he was a kid.

“When I walked through the property it was an emotional experience for me,” Kellum says. “I see this as an opportunity to not only revitalize an iconic property in the city I love but knowing how proud my mom would be if she were still here, makes this even more amazing.”

As a black real estate investor who works in the Motor City, Kellum says he is acutely aware of the importance of the estate and the massive impact Aretha Franklin had on Detroit.

Kellum is founder and president of Kellum Mortgage and Kellum Capital Group, both based in Troy, Michigan. He has rehabilitated homes in the Detroit area for over 15 years. Kellum says he has generated over $ 850 million in residential and commercial real estate lending transactions since 1995, with 90% of that activity in the black community.

“I intend to partner with black-owned businesses and laborers on the construction of Ms. Franklin’s home,” he says. “We’re also going to explore partnerships with nonprofits, and local and national museums to see what we can do.”

See! Aretha Franklin’s Home Before She Bought It

aretha franklin home

 

The post [Slideshow] Black Real Estate Investor’s Labor of Love Restoring Aretha Franklin Home appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Money | Black Enterprise

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[Slideshow] Black Real Estate Investor’s Labor of Love Restoring Aretha Franklin Home

The renowned home in Detroit previously owned by the late legendary singer Aretha Franklin is getting a major makeover.

The new owner, Anthony Kellum, president of Kellum Mortgage, told Black Enterprise that it’s a tremendous opportunity to work on the Queen of Soul’s home. He bought the mansion, built in 1927 on the Detroit Golf Course, in late October for $ 300,000 after Franklin passed in August.

“To be able to blend the historical elements of a home that was built in the ’20s, while keeping some of Aretha’s glamorous and soulful style and adding the necessary modern touches, will truly be a beautiful challenge that I just couldn’t pass up,” Kellum says.

See It! Inside Aretha Franklin’s Sold Estate 

aretha franklin home

Spanning 6,200 square feet, the brick Tudor home includes five bedrooms, six bathrooms and a heated three-car garage with 9-foot ceilings. Kellum says the house has been vacant for 10 years and requires major renovations. Kellum says he understands that Franklin lived in the home off and on for several years but is not clear why it was vacant for so long.

He plans to invest roughly $ 400,000 to rehab the property, restore its original beauty and maintain its historical integrity. Kellum says the foundation is in good shape, but the interior needs significant work. The improvements will include repairs to a slate roof and new piping.

Kellum plans to re-design the kitchen, bathrooms, and rehab every room. “One challenge will be keeping as many unique aspects as we possibly can such as the intricate details of the fireplaces as well as original wood paneling, and the rich molding throughout the house.”  He plains to retain some chandeliers and other fixtures in the 91-year-old home.

“We want to blend some of the original elements in the home with some modern touches.”

Extensive work on the home that sits on the club’s 7th hole will begin in January. Kellum aims to complete the renovation by late May, allowing him to rent the home to people attending the inaugural PGA Tour at the Detroit Golf Club in late June.

Kellum plans to list Franklin property for sale by July 2019 for about $ 1.5 million. He plans to build a home on a half-acre next door he acquired in the deal that Franklin also owned. He hopes to sell the Franklin home to a family who appreciates its historical importance and value Aretha Franklin’s legacy.

Additionally, the property has sentimental value to Kellum.  His mother was a huge fan of Franklin’s who listened to her music every day when he was a kid.

“When I walked through the property it was an emotional experience for me,” Kellum says. “I see this as an opportunity to not only revitalize an iconic property in the city I love but knowing how proud my mom would be if she were still here, makes this even more amazing.”

As a black real estate investor who works in the Motor City, Kellum says he is acutely aware of the importance of the estate and the massive impact Aretha Franklin had on Detroit.

Kellum is founder and president of Kellum Mortgage and Kellum Capital Group, both based in Troy, Michigan. He has rehabilitated homes in the Detroit area for over 15 years. Kellum says he has generated over $ 850 million in residential and commercial real estate lending transactions since 1995, with 90% of that activity in the black community.

“I intend to partner with black-owned businesses and laborers on the construction of Ms. Franklin’s home,” he says. “We’re also going to explore partnerships with nonprofits, and local and national museums to see what we can do.”

See! Aretha Franklin’s Home Before She Bought It

aretha franklin home

 

The post [Slideshow] Black Real Estate Investor’s Labor of Love Restoring Aretha Franklin Home appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Money | Black Enterprise

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British cops want to see if AI can prevent crimes, like ‘Minority Report’ in real life

Crime prediction

Governments and entities around the world are starting to venture deep into Minority Report-land, giving serious attention to the use of artificial intelligence and scoring databases to assign risk in a way that influences the lives of ordinary people in profound, game-changing, and even slightly creepy ways.

We reported just last week about how the government in China is rolling out a “social credit” scoring system that central authorities are using to keep closer watch on the country’s 1.3 billion citizens and to limit the activities — like booking flights — of people deemed to be “untrustworthy” and assigned low scores as part of this system.

Continue reading…

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British cops want to see if AI can prevent crimes, like ‘Minority Report’ in real life originally appeared on BGR.com on Sun, 2 Dec 2018 at 15:14:11 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.


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Trade war’s impact on real estate investment is unclear: Knight Frank

Liam Bailey of Knight Frank says the U.S. housing market is "relatively well placed" compared to other parts of the world. Any impact from the trade war will come through a hit to sentiment, which may slow down demand for real estate, he adds.

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Michelle Obama got painfully real about women “having it all” during the New York stop of her Becoming book tour

Michelle Obama got painfully real about women “having it all” during the New York stop of her Becoming book tour


Michelle Obama got painfully real about women “having it all” during the New York stop of her <em>Becoming</em> book tour

Michelle Obama is currently touring the U.S. to talk about her new memoir, Becoming. In the book, she writes openly and honestly about everything from her struggles with fertility to attending marriage counseling to how to find a Barack Obama of your own. So it’s no surprise that when I attended the first New York stop of her Becoming book tour, I was completely blown away by her words and stories.

On Saturday, December 1st, our forever First Lady stopped by the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The event was moderated by Elizabeth Alexander, a poet, essayist, playwright, and longtime friend of Obama’s. You may recognize Alexander as the woman who recited the poem “Praise Song for the Day” (which she wrote) at President Obama’s 2009 inauguration.

Throughout the night, Obama also dropped a lot of wisdom about parenting, vulnerability, and the importance of female friendships. She also opened up about the struggles of being a working mom, saying that years ago, there was a time when she was balancing a full-time job as a lawyer with raising her daughters Sasha and Malia. And during that time, her husband was often out of town in Washington, D.C., campaigning, or traveling for work.

In a very candid moment, Obama got super real about how women still can’t “have it all.”

“Marriage still ain’t equal, y’all. It ain’t equal. And I tell women that it’s not equal—that whole ‘so you can have it all’? Nope, not at the same time. That’s a lie. And it’s not always enough to lean in, because that shit doesn’t work all the time. … I’m back. I thought we were at home, y’all. I was gettin’ real comfortable up in here. But I’m back now. But sometimes, that STUFF doesn’t work. So oftentimes, it’s not equal, and you feel a bit resentful about it. And so then it’s time to go to marriage counseling.”

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Obama also spoke at length about her parents, Marian and the late Fraser Robinson, and the values they instilled in her at a young age.

“I had a childhood with parents who didn’t have a lot in the way of money, but they had a lot in the way of value and character and love and stability and consistency. And I want parents to understand that I became who I am not because my parents were networked or college educated or had a lot of money or knew a lot of stuff about things that they thought we needed to know. They gave us absolutely what we needed, which was love and trust and the values that they came here with. And THAT’S what kids need. That will get them through.”

In a more serious moment, Obama spoke about the dangers of being a woman in today’s world.

“The world is dangerous, sadly, for women. I want us to just kinda sit with that for a minute, because it’s usually men who make it dangerous for us. And it doesn’t always look like physical abuse. It doesn’t always look the same. It’s those little cuts. Those little negative comments. It’s somebody, when you’re walking down the street and some man looks at you and makes a comment about you, as if you wanted…that’s a cut. That’s a slice into a woman’s self-esteem, when somebody talks down to them. If you talk down to women at all, and a woman is in earshot of what you’re saying, that’s a cut to her. And then the cuts get deeper, because there’s abuse and there’s rape. There’s sexual assault. There’s all this that we’re hearing. The world is unsafe for women, and I want our men to understand that about what role they’re playing to make us feel safe or unsafe. But I grew up in safety and security. I grew up where I trusted men to take care of me. And I think that that gave me a level of strength that carries me through to this day.”

Obama also spoke about attending marriage counseling with her husband.

“What I learned in counseling was that I was responsible for my own happiness. And that was part of my frustration. I expected my husband now to not only just be my partner, but to fill me up in ways that were my responsibility. Counseling helped me to sort of take a step back and look at, ‘How do I take control of my own happiness within our marriage?’ And how to prioritize myself. Because that’s what we do as women. We’re so busy puttin’ everyone else before us. And then we burn out. We’re like, fourth on our list, or fifth on our list.”

Obama thanked her girlfriends for their friendship and reminded women to lean on each other, not turn against each other.

“Sometimes we can’t do this alone, and we shouldn’t have to. I relied on my girlfriends to get me through one of the hardest eight years of my life. … We have to remember to be that for each other. We have to be each other’s light. We cannot get into that catty stuff. We have to find a way to continue to lift other women up in our worlds and in our lives as much as possible, you all. It is the only reason why I’m breathing. I couldn’t have gotten through raising my kids with a husband traveling without my girls.”

Above all else, Obama hoped to inspire everyone to become who they’re meant to be.

She reminded the audience that it’s okay to be open up and be vulnerable.

“My hope is that this book will inspire everyone to tap into their own journeys of becoming and to share those stories with one another.”

Becoming is available wherever books are sold.

The post Michelle Obama got painfully real about women “having it all” during the New York stop of her <em>Becoming</em> book tour appeared first on HelloGiggles.

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‘It’s a Good Check.’ ‘Real Housewife’ Kandi Burruss Is Still Making Money Off ‘No Scrubs’ and Now Has Her Own Sex Toy Business

Kandi Burruss is so much more than a housewife — she’s a bona fide businesswoman.

Sure, she’s in her 10th season as cast member on the ever-dramatic Bravo show Real Housewives of Atlanta. But she’s also a Grammy winner who co-wrote the TLC girl power anthem “No Scrubs.” She runs a sex toy company, a boutique and a unisex children’s lifestyle brand. She has 5.8 million Instagram followers. Last year, she went on a reunion tour with her band, Xscape; earlier this year, she performed in Chicago on Broadway. In the past two months alone, she opened a new location of her Southern restaurant Old Lady Gang, dropped a single called “Ready for This” — complete with a parental advisory sticker — and hosted a dungeon party.

“What’s the point of having this huge platform if you are not benefiting off of it?” she says about her multifaceted empire.

Burruss sat down with MONEY on a recent trip to New York City. She talked about her childhood spending habits, the royalties she’s earning from Ed Sheeran and why she’s determined to have a better financial strategy than most entertainers.

How did you think about money when you were growing up?

I was a saver as a kid. That was my thing — I always wanted to make sure I had something [stashed away], you know?

My mom used to drive me to the neighborhoods with big fancy houses and stuff. We’d ride around all the time and dream — like, “Oh, one day we’re going to have a house like that.” It’s really crazy to me now that I can afford any of those houses.

Did you make a big purchase with your first paycheck?

[Xscape] signed our first record deal when I was 16. I only got a few thousand dollars, but my mom was like, ‘OK, we’ll put this with my money’ and we purchased the house across the street from where we lived. That was my first investment — with my mom.

After that, I just really wanted to save. As soon as we had our first hit record and we started doing shows, all my other group members went and bought Benzes and different things. But I wanted to see a certain amount of money in my bank account. I remember I was like, “I will not spend a dollar until I can see $ 100,000 in my account.”

[Then] I finally purchased a car. I put some money down on it so that I could establish credit.

What kind of car was it?

It was a BMW 325i. It was blue, and I had painted all my trimming to match. I wanted it to look like the M class, even though it wasn’t. So I just painted it and got the rims that matched it. You couldn’t tell the difference.

You’ve said before that you once got a great money tip from LL Cool J. What was it?

When I was 19, I put a downpayment on my first home [after moving out]. Shortly after that, our group went on tour with LL Cool J. He gave us advice: Always have at least one house and one car that you own. He was like, “Every time you get a check, put a little bit down on the principal. It doesn’t matter how much — put something. Because then it will cut years off the loan.”

I never really thought about it before then. When I got back home, I looked at my payment statement. I [saw] all the money that went toward interest, and only a little bit every month was going toward the notes. I was like, “OK, he’s onto something.”

When you’re in the entertainment business, it’s very unpredictable. You could be hot right now, and for the next 10 years a person could be making millions of dollars, right? So they start basing their life off of what they’re making at that moment.

But a lot of people are getting 30-year mortgages, 15-year mortgages. Fifteen years from now, you may not be poppin’ like that no more. In 30 years, you definitely will not. How often are people hot for that long? If you don’t set yourself up, you will just find yourself in a position of a lot of other entertainers we see: going bankrupt, losing their homes, not being able to afford their lifestyle. If you set yourself up in the beginning, later on down the line you’ll be better off.

And now you have several diverse income streams.

It was intentional. I wanted to have businesses outside of music that were still poppin’.

I had a friend who had clothing stores that were successful, so I kept bugging her about partnering up to do TAGS [Boutique]. Before that, I managed other artists. Later on, [for] Bedroom Kandi… I partnered up with a company that had a toy that could vibrate to music. I was like, “I do music, and I want adult products — heeey!” Now it’s a whole line. We’ve moved into bath and body products and makeup.

How do you leverage Real Housewives of Atlanta to make money?

When you’re first starting on reality TV, they’re not really trying to pay you much. I was like, “It’s not like I need them to be popular. I’ve already been on TV and in music before.” I didn’t think it was going to do anything for my career. I did it on a fluke.

I gained a lot of fans that year, but my thoughts were [that] the money has to match my popularity. I had to make it bigger than the show.

So I was like, “OK, every year when they see me on the show, they will see me accomplish something.” It’s my timeline. If I speak anything on that show and say it’s something I want to do, it is a rule of thumb for me and my team — it has to happen. I am going to be a person of my word. You know how you joke about a lot of reality stars — they’re always talking about something and you never see the product? I won’t be that girl. I don’t get a kick out of just arguing with people all day. That doesn’t do me any good. You have to find other ways to make it make sense for you.

Are you still getting a lot of money from “No Scrubs”?

Uh, yeah. Ed Sheeran used “No Scrubs” in his song [“Shape of You”], so we now are co-writers on his song. Because you can’t just use somebody’s song — it doesn’t work like that. So basically he uses our song, we got a percentage of his. It ended up getting awards; it was huge. It was like the most streamed song. There are some nice royalties.

Besides that, I constantly get royalties off my old songs. “No Scrubs,” [Destiny’s Child’s] “Bills, Bills, Bills” — people still play them a lot in movies, television, and I get license fees. It’s a good check every year.

You recently threw a star-studded dungeon party with tickets starting at $ 35, and it sold out in four days. Are there more coming?

We plan on taking it on tour. Right now we are researching venues and cities. Hopefully we can do that in early 2019.

[Also,] we’re going to get another restaurant, which is not going to be just Old Lady Gang, it’s going to be different. I haven’t told anybody.

Are you passing any money lessons onto your kids?

I need to do a better job of passing it on, because my daughter is spending way too much money right now. Before she was driving, Uber was connected to my credit card; UberEATS was connected to my credit card. She was randomly ordering stuff everyday. I put a little bit of money in her account, and one day she was down to a dollar. I was like, “Girl, you can’t do that.”

This interview has been edited and condensed.


Entertainment – TIME

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Places that are much less impressive in real life

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When it comes to finding your next holiday destination, you often look online to find the best attractions that country or city has to offer. When you type in the city name, your search will probably come up with some of the most famous, or some of the most iconic places in that area. And that’s what you want, right? You want to see the best of the best. But sometimes, the places that make an area famous are much less impressive in real life….

Hollywood’s Walk of Fame

Ahhhh, Hollywood. Where all of your favorite celebrities walk the streets, and you bump into your favorite singer while buying your morning coffee. Sounds great. Unfortunately, this rarely ever happens. Most visitors who travel to Hollywood always want to see one thing before they leave – the Hollywood Walk of Fame. This walkway is one of the only places in the world where the best names from stage and screen come together, and it’s iconic. But is it really that impressive in real life? The simple answer is no. This 1.3-mile walkway will definitely tire you out, and for what? The celebrities don’t stand by their stars waiting for tourists to pass by. In reality, it really is just a bunch of stones.

Stonehenge

Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England is genuinely one of the most breathtaking historical monuments when you see it on television, or when someone takes an incredible picture at dawn. And it’s true. The whole concept behind Stonehenge is extraordinary, with scientists believing the 6 ft and 25-ton stones to have been placed there by hand around 3000 BC. However, there are still so many questions surrounding the heritage site, that researchers are still baffled by the use and the construction of Stonehenge. It is definitely a must-see at some point in your life, but don’t rush. As much as the site is beautiful, it has become a tourist trap. Nowadays, tourists have to stay put on a designated walkway (that is not at all close) around the stones – that’s if you can move through the crowds of people that rock up each day.

Four Corners Monument

The Four Corners Monument marks the intersections between four states – New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona, and Utah and is the only place in the United States that offers this intersection. So it must feel pretty awesome to stand in four states at once, right? Well, for about two seconds it does. The Four Corners Monument is in the middle of the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe Reservation, and as you can guess from the name, it’s not exactly next to your local Mcdonald’s. Instead, it is in the middle of nowhere. The monument is around 30 miles away from anything else significant, and you’ll feel pretty silly once you turn up to a parking lot (where the monument is located), wait in line to take a picture with your feet on the monument, only to realize historians had made a mistake and that the actual intersection is around 1,807 feet west of the fake intersection.

Statue of the Little Mermaid

The Statue of the Little Mermaid is one of the most iconic monuments in Copenhagen, and people travel from across the world to view the statue based on the famous Hans Christian Anderson fairytale. The Mermaid sculpture, which was unveiled in 1913, sits on top of a rock by the water along the Langelinie Promenade, and it really is quite spectacular to look at – especially if you’ve seen the photos. However, save your money and avoid visiting it, because it isn’t even the original sculpture! The original monument was damaged so many times by vandals and political activists that the sculpture was replaced by a replica many years ago. As if that wasn’t enough to dissuade people, you’ll have to fight your way through hoards of people to get a good look-see.

Champs-Élysées

When you think of Paris, you think of the Eiffel Tower, the River Seine, the Louvre and all things beautiful. Including the Champs-Élysées. As the most famous street and road in Paris, thousands of tourists flock to this 1.2-mile long street to check out the theaters, the cafés, the beautiful gardens, the impressive monuments and the pièce de résistance at the end… the Arc de Triomphe. Ahhhh, it must be so quiet and majestic, right? Wrong. As one of the busiest roads in Paris, Champs-Élysées is full of cars and traffic at all hours of the day – and they even drive straight through the Arc de Triomphe! If you wanted to get stuck in a traffic jam, you could have stayed at home.

So next time you’re tempted to check out some of these places, think about all of the other people who have the same idea as you. Instead, try and find some more unusual and less famous alternatives.

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The post Places that are much less impressive in real life appeared first on Worldation.

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This Famous Poem About the Pilgrims Is a Real Turkey

Chandler and Joey, Bert and Ernie… Miles Standish and John Alden. We are talking, of course, of the rich history of fictional roommates, if by “rich” we really mean, “huh, there aren’t a lot of them, are there?”

But you know what else there isn’t a lot of? Notable fictional creations pertaining to Thanksgiving, though the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow made a dogged—and lucrative—attempt to countervail that set of circumstances when he immortalized the above Puritan duo in a poem—about a love triangle, nonetheless—that still stands as our most notable Thanksgiving-related creation. But should it?

Longfellow had a unique career, and you can make a case that he’s done more harm than good with many of the readers who have encountered him since he composed his narrative poem The Courtship of Miles Standish 160 years ago in 1858. What Longfellow liked to do was read widely, then synthesize, borrowing European poetic forms and giving his American readers some juicy poetical tales loaded with heroic couplets.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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The Movie Green Book Is Named for a Real Guide to Travel in a Segregated World. Its Real History Offers a Key Lesson for Today

The object that provides the title for the new movie Green Book is a Jim Crow-era travel guide with extensive listings of hotels, restaurants, gas stations, shops and tourist facilities that welcomed black patronage. The book doesn’t actually get much screen time, but one small moment in the film shines a light on an oft-forgotten truth about the history of segregation in the United States: this was not just a Southern problem.

The film tells a loose version of the true story of an unlikely friendship between Dr. Don Walbridge Shirley (played by Mahershala Ali) — an African-American polyglot, pianist and PhD — and Frank Anthony Vallelonga, known as Tony Lip (played by Viggo Mortensen), a nightclub bouncer. In 1962, Vallelonga was hired by Shirley’s record label, Cadence Records, to serve as the musician’s chauffeur and bodyguard during a tour, which included gigs in the Deep South. Despite the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision, which dismantled de jure segregation in public education, de jure and de facto segregation remained the order of the day in public accommodations throughout the nation. Consequently, while Vallelonga and the white members of the Don Shirley Trio, bassist Ken Fricker and cellist Juri Taht, had access to white mainstream public accommodations, Shirley remained confined by the limits of Jim Crow.

To assist him in navigating this racial landmine, Vallelonga was provided a copy of what was informally known as the Green Book. Vallelonga is primarily concerned with the logistics of travel in the segregated South, and that’s where the movie spends most of its time, but the Green Book was a valuable safety resource for black travelers in every region of the country. In fact, its initial focus was New York City, where Shirley and Vallelonga both resided. As Shirley’s tells his chauffeur, he doesn’t have to leave home in order to experience discrimination.

In 1930, New Yorker and social critic George Schuyler admonished those blacks “who could afford to do so” to “purchase an automobile as soon as possible in order to be free of discomfort, discrimination, segregation and insult,” which was part and parcel of public transportation. For certain, private motorists were shielded from public assault, police encounters notwithstanding — but blacks in cars still had to navigate the public landmines of restrooms, lodgings and eateries.

Hence, Victor H. Green, an African American New York City mail carrier, first published The Negro Motorist Green-Book in 1936 to assist black motorists in finding safe public accommodations during their travels. Green’s publication became the Bible of black travel guides and was published annually until 1966.

In the introduction to the 1949 edition, Green provided a historical overview of the first decade of the publication, noting that his ideas for his own publication had come from researching earlier African America travel guides that were out-of-print, as well as from the Jewish press, which “provided information about places that are restricted,” and from “numerous publications that give the genteel whites all kinds of information.” Green’s intended purpose for his guide was “to give the Negro traveler information that will keep him from running into difficulties [and] embarrassments.” Green admonished the black motorist to “Keep this guide in your car for ready reference.”

In a 2010 NPR interview, civil rights icon Julian Bond recalled the importance of the Green Book during trips with his family while growing up. “It didn’t matter where you went — Jim Crow was everywhere then,” he stated, “and black travelers needed this badly. My family had a ‘Green Book’ when I was young, and used it to travel in the South to find out where we could stop to eat, where we could spend the night in a hotel or somebody’s home.”

It would be easy to assume that the Green Book was just a Southern travel guide. But Green made no assumption that black people would only need his help while traveling in the South. Not only did the book include information about international travel, it also contained listings about areas in the country where segregation was less visible but no less felt. Indeed, the 1936 edition of the book was a 15-page pamphlet that focused on locales in the New York metropolitan area — where a substantial part of the book’s audience would have lived.

Despite its multicultural and liberal reputation, New York City has a sordid racial history, which dates back to the colonial era.

As Brian Purnell and Jeanne Theoharis have described for the Washington Post, racial animus in the Big Apple began with the colonization of Native Americans and importing of enslaved Africans in the 17th century. Despite gradual emancipation, which ended slavery in the state by the 1830s, and a strong abolitionist movement to eradicate slavery in the South, racial equality continued to be withheld from blacks New Yorkers. With the New York economy “wedded to slavery,” the years leading up to the Civil War were dominated by pro-slavery sentiment that lead to racial violence in the city in 1863 when Lincoln called for a mandatory draft.

After the Civil War, New York mirrored the South as “black people . . . suffered from written and unwritten rules against racial mixing in marriage, public accommodations and housing.” New York maintained its policy of segregation during the decades following WWII by constructing “housing, parks, playgrounds, highways and bridges,” Purnell and Theoharis write, which “adhered to ethnic composition rules for urban planning,” leaving segregated neighborhoods and subsequently schools intact. In 1964, the year President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act, which ended segregation in public accommodations and banned employment discrimination based on race, color, sex, religion or national origin, a New York Times poll showed that most white people in New York City believed that “the Civil Rights Movement had gone too far” in granting black demands for racial equality.

Green made clear in the 1949 edition that he was optimistic about the future of the United States, if not the future of his book. “There will be a day sometime in the near future when this guide will not have to be published,” he wrote. “That is when we as a race will have equal opportunities and privileges in the United States. It will be a great day for us to suspend this publication for then we can go wherever we please.”

The Green Book was discontinued shortly after its founder’s 1960 death, following a 1966-1967 Vacation Guide edition. That issue featured a statement assuring its patrons that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was fact and not fiction. The struggle was finally over.

But race still matters in the United States. As the incident at a Starbucks in Philadelphia — not in the South — demonstrated this year, the nation is still full of spaces like parks, swimming pools , golf courses, sidewalks, and parking lots that are not welcoming to black Americans. During that 2010 Julian Bond interview with NPR, a caller stated, “Well, I was thinking that this [The Green Book] might be a useful tool still today . . . because in some parts of the country, there are places where black people … dare not go.”

Indeed, sixty years after The Green Book was discontinued, the search for black safety continues.

Historians explain how the past informs the present

Arica L. Coleman is a scholar of U.S. history and the author of That the Blood Stay Pure: African Americans, Native Americans and the Predicament of Race and Identity in Virginia and a former chair of the Committee on the Status of African American, Latino/a, Asian American, and Native American (ALANA) Historians and ALANA Histories at the Organization of American Historians.


Entertainment – TIME

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These Millennials Have Invested in Real Estate All Over the Country. Here’s How

At just 35 and 29, Christopher and Meghan Miller are semi-retired.

The couple, with their infant son, Ben, recently quit their jobs and moved from Columbia, Maryland, to Berryville, Virginia — a town of approximately 4,000.

Their new home is perched on two acres. Across the street is a horse farm. Down the road is an organic farm where Christopher harvests produce twice a week. He’s paid in vegetables, which Meghan, an enthusiastic cook, plans meals around.

“We’ve just embarked on this semi-retired adventure of doing work we really enjoy and value instead of doing work that just has the highest salary or because we have to,” Christopher said.

The couple has worked hard to afford this new phase of life. Christopher, a former systems engineer, and Meghan, a former high school English teacher, built up their savings and sources of passive income, mostly through real estate investments.

In addition to four rental properties, the couple has invested in a diversified portfolio of real estate projects across the country — from Washington, D.C. to Los Angeles — through an automated investment experience.

“I don’t have to manage them; I don’t have to do the work to improve the properties; I don’t have to find tenants, evict tenants,” Christopher says.

Unlike traditional real estate investments, the Millers back these national building projects through an online platform called Fundrise. Since 2016, Fundrise has paid dividends each quarter. (Note: As with any investment, past performance isn’t indicative of future results.)

Living off of Passive Income

A man's hand holds a mobile phone showing a web page near a horse's head.
A neighbor’s curious horse ambles by as Chris Miller checks his Fundrise account on his mobile phone. Ting Shen for The Penny Hoarder

Real estate piqued Christopher’s interest about 12 years ago when he read “Rich Dad Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki and Sharon Lechter. The book emphasizes the importance of investing, particularly in real estate.

In 2006, while still in college, Christopher purchased a rental home in Elkridge, Maryland.

“It was kind of a roller coaster,” he says. “At first I thought, ‘Man, this investing in real estate is really easy.’”

The first property’s value had increased 20%, so he purchased another house in 2008.

Then the market crashed.

By 2009, he was under water on both properties. He had purchased the first home with an interest-only mortgage. “It was a really bad loan that plagued the investment even more after the market crash,” he said.

After recruiting roommates, he lived in one house for free for about five years. (He also met Meghan in that neighborhood, so it all worked out.)

Still, he owed money.

In 2013, Christopher started feeling less gun shy about the real estate market, so he purchased a third rental. Then, a few years later, he and Meghan purchased several flip properties.

“It’s been a wild ride,” he says. “The passive income and making money while I sleep — I love that about real estate.”

In April 2016, he found an easier way to invest in real estate — one that didn’t require sweat equity, tenants and all the horror stories that come with owning rentals.

He could drop in as little as $ 500 and invest in properties across the U.S. through an online investment platform called Fundrise.

“I view our investments in Fundrise as something even more passive than the rental properties we own,” Christopher says.

Invest in Real Estate Online

A man looks at a laptop while sitting at a table in his home.
Miller uses a laptop to check his Fundrise account at his home in Berryville, Va. Ting Shen for The Penny Hoarder

Fundrise was launched in 2012 by two real estate investors and brothers. It aims to give everyone a chance to invest directly in real estate. It cuts the unnecessary middlemen, enabling it to offer low-fee diversified real estate investments to anyone with a computer. (There’s a 0.85% annual asset management fee and a 0.15% annual investment advisory fee.)

More than 200,000 Fundrise members are on the platform today, and Fundrise has invested in approximately $ 2.5 billion in real estate since its 2015 launch. Think of it like this: Fundrise is crowdfunding for new real estate projects across the country. Investors can hop in with as little as $ 500 or much more.

Taking Some of the Complexity out of Real Estate Investing

A smiling man holding a crate and wearing a cowboy hat stands by a tractor.
Miller carries freshly picked tomatoes at a neighbor’s farm. He earns a share of the produce for his family by helping with the harvest. Ting Shen for The Penny Hoarder

Investing in anything involves risk. But since 2014, Fundrise has seen historical returns of 8.7% to 12.4%.

For Christopher and Meghan, the online experience is a lot less weighty than those traditional real estate investments.

For example, remember the housing market crash of 2008 and how Christopher found himself under water on his properties? He finally sold one of those a few months ago — after 12 years of hanging on. He said it almost wasn’t worth the effort.

With Fundrise, Christopher can easily invest in real estate through the online platform, which puts his money into various income-producing properties, leaving him with a diverse portfolio of investments — from apartment renovations in Ann Arbor, Michigan, to stabilized apartments in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Making Real Estate Investing More Accessible — Even in L.A.

Christopher and Meghan follow the progress of each project they’ve invested money into through Fundrise, thanks to regular email updates. Each email features photos and videos, updating them on new, completed and in-progress projects.

“The emails help remind you that you’re actually investing in something real,” Christopher says. “Like a condo in D.C. or a single-family home in L.A.”

Getting Started With Fundrise

A man stacks crates of fresh vegetables in a cold storage room.
Miller sets down a crate of fresh okra in the cold room of a neighbor’s farm. Ting Shen for The Penny Hoarder

Christopher receives automatic payments directly into his checking account.

Because Christopher and Meghan don’t need the money right now, they can use the software to easily reinvest any dividends they may receive, putting it right back into projects.

The Fundrise Starter Portfolio is currently open to all investors and requires $ 500 to start. There’s a 90-day satisfaction period, so if you’re not happy, Fundrise redeems your investment at the original amount*. If you invest $ 1,000 or more, you can select one of the advanced plans –– Supplemental Income, Balances Investing or Long-Term Growth.

Moving Forward and Affording a Semi-Retired Lifestyle

A young couple and their little boy pose for a family photo in a vegetable field on a farm.
Chris and Meghan Miller pose for a photo with their 8-month-old son Finnegan at their neighbor’s farm. Ting Shen for The Penny Hoarder

As Christopher and Meghan settle into their new home in Berryville, Virginia, they find ways to piece together their income without full-time jobs.

Christopher does part-time landscaping and tree work on the side, which results in profitable firewood. Meghan has plans to write freelance. They also have a steady income stream thanks to their rental properties.

They say they’ll take out money from their investments if they need, but so far that hasn’t been necessary.

*Redemptions are subject to certain restrictions. See Full Disclosures for more information.

The publicly filed offering circulars of the issuers sponsored by Rise Companies Corp. (parent company of Fundrise), not all of which may be currently qualified by the Securities and Exchange Commission, may be found at fundrise.com/oc.

Carson Kohler (carson@thepennyhoarder.com) is a staff writer. No offense to The Penny Hoarder or anything, but she’d love to be semi-retired right about now.

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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Real Witches Judge the Witch Culture of ‘The Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina’

If you’re watching The Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina on Netflix, you’ll know that it’s a very funny, occasionally petrifying, ultra-progressive, extremely emotional TV drama. Well, that’s what we think. But what do actual witches think about the way their culture is represented in the show? We pulled together a coven of witches to tell us what’s what…

Please introduce yourselves and explain your relationship to witchcraft and the occult…

“My name is Tania Ahsan. I’ve been a practising witch for 25 years and was previously the editor of Prediction magazine, a now-defunct occult magazine. I write the witchcraft column for Kindred Spirit magazine.”

“My name is Evelyn Hollow, I was raised with a mixed background of Celtic Pagan beliefs & Mediterranean Roma blood. As an adult, I obtained a Master’s degree in Psychological Research specialising in Paranormal Psychology. I have been an academic of the occult for more than six years and was a lecturer of Psychology for the last few of those years.”

“And my name is Anna McKerrow. I’m a fiction writer and eclectic Pagan witch. My work is always about witchcraft, and I’m passionate about representing modern, contemporary witches in realistic and thoughtful ways.”

So the new Sabrina, let’s start with what you think the show did well… and what it didn’t.

Anna: “I’ve read so much comment about the new Sabrina show from other witches. I think most of us are enjoying it for what it is: a fun TV drama. If you want to talk about realism… well, someone walking in the woods chanting to themselves or meditating or even a group ritual isn’t going to fit this kind of high-action, stylised TV format. Witches and those following alternative, broadly Pagan/polytheistic or pantheistic beliefs often tend to be philosophical about the inaccurate ways that they and their spiritual beliefs are depicted in fiction, partly because the stereotypes are so pervasive, partly because of an attitude that runs ‘whatever — allows me to stay under the radar’ and, I would say, a mindfulness of the still-recent repeal in the UK of the witchcraft laws in the 1950s.”


Sabrina
Sabrina Spellman on trial in The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.

Tania: “There are Satanic witches but it is only one type of witchcraft. A far larger sect of witchcraft is Wicca, the way devised by Gerald Gardner in the 1960s. But I’m not surprised that they decided to go with the Satanic type. This seems to be a bit of a wet dream for the Bible Belt and is the antithesis of the feminist witchcraft that is currently seeing a huge revival. The idea that a woman can only have power when she is an evil cannibalistic Satan-worshipping minx is one that has been put about to keep women down. It breeds fear of witchcraft and the occult. The salt baths to cleanse energetically is pretty accurate though and some witches work with animal guides. Although I don’t think they call them ‘familiars’ as this is again something that is rooted in the literature of a tradition that persecutes and wilfully misunderstands us.”

Evelyn: “I think it’s an improvement on the original series. I liked the original series, but it was more about the pitfalls of being a weird teenage girl than it was about witchcraft. I think this one is one of the better paranormal horror shows to come out in recent years. I also applaud its use of diverse casting and inclusion of important narratives that intersect race, gender, and socioeconomics.”


Sabrina-Spellman
Kiernan Shipka as Sabrina Spellman in the series.

Anna:Sabrina is good in my view because there has been a reasonable amount of research done in the detail; cleansing bad energy/curses with salt, the fact that worship takes place outside in nature, the reference to the historic, inherited trauma of the witch trials and how that still affects women now. How we still feel and fear that punishment for standing in our power. I believe they have witch and occultist consultants for the show, which is a good thing. I also like that Sabrina practices magic in ‘ordinary’ ways too – forming a support group for the girls at her school, doing things in her world that makes change in positive ways. Magic is the changing of one’s experience of the world in a beneficial way. Witches know — or should know — that writing good CVs, voting and earning money are all necessary and effective things as well as journeying, meditating, chanting and being in nature.”

What would be your main criticism of the show?

Evelyn: “Perhaps the Hollywood glamourizing of witchcraft as high-drama rituals involving getting naked and spilling blood in the woods under a full moon. Everyday rites are more small moments of ritual crafted in order to create spaces that have positive effects on our mental health and restore feelings of control to our lives.”


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Outdoor rituals in The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.

Anna: “For me, the main problem is the Beast as Sabrina’s witch family’s deity or spiritual leader. Now, that is not to say that there aren’t witches who might work with the Lucifer energy and do what is called ‘shadow work’, which is absolutely nothing to do with the schlocky Hammer Horror devil stuff we’ve all been brought up on. Shadow work is the absolutely necessary healing and recognition of our full selves by loving all that we are; the balance of ourselves as perfectly imperfect beings. The ‘Beast’ is, as witches see it, also not a problem — that’s Aleister Crowley’s naming of the sexual life force of humanity; the horns of the wild horned gods of nature. The main problem with these terms and representations is the Christian duality of light/good and dark/bad that lies under them. This duality is at odds with a witch’s worldview, which tends more to the holistic and embraces the dark as a necessary complement to the light.”

Tania: “I think it is actually quite racist. Why is good always white or light? Why is evil always dark or black? The fact is there is no easy dualism in the way that it is described. The reason it has played out this way is that monotheism needs to find a way to suppress the Paganism that went before so the Horned God, the representation of the male divine, was co-opted as the image of the Devil and witches were all meant to be butt-kissing this goat-legged fallen angel. They absolutely hate that instead women might have freedom and power and so they have to attribute it to a male overlord. Yeah, good luck with that.”

Can you think of any other areas of pop culture where witchcraft has been covered well?

Tania: “Neil Gaiman’s Sandman comics had a character called Thessaly who I felt was an accurate depiction of a witch. She played by rules that weren’t those that we attribute to either a hero or a villain, again she moved beyond the duality and basically just did what worked and made her way in the world in the manner she wanted. She was also depicted as a very plain-looking bespectacled woman who was quiet and watchful. She definitely did not wear a Grand Puba cape and put up a website with many different colours and fonts and a predilection for writing IN CAPITALS. Another top description is Gandalf in Lord of the Rings; he feels fear and goes through a journey in which he faces his greatest fear and emerges stronger and better. Of course, his hair is all white afterwards so the trope of white being right is still there, but props to him for facing his demon.”


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The Craft.

Evelyn:The Craft is one of the better displays of young women developing their path via witchcraft. The kind of spirit invocation and binding practices they use are relatively common in covens.”

Anna: “I always enjoy The Wicker Man, to be honest – apart from the grisly end, it’s quite nice to imagine what a free-spirited Pagan island might look like! And I liked Willow Rosenberg as a witch in Buffy because she learns to be a Wiccan witch. It’s very ’90s but she’s a normal girl, she’s a lesbian, she studies, she gets things wrong, she’s part of online witch groups. It went quite supernatural with the witch storyline in the end but the beginning was good. Oh, and Marion Zimmer Bradley’s The Mists of Avalon is a hugely popular book among witches because, though it’s fantasy and set in the King Arthur myth, it was one of the first — and still very few — fiction works to celebrate the empowerment of the goddess on Morgan, the witch character. It shows her route to power, her learning her witchcraft as a priestess of the moon and her adoration of the goddess.”

Thank you for your time! Before we go, tell our readers anything you’d like to plug…

Anna: “Thank you! My current book Daughter of Light and Shadows is available on Amazon…”

Tania: “My insta is @Tania_The_Witch and my website is taniaahsan.co.uk — there’s an e-book of candle spells on there isf you fancy having a go yourself!”

Evelyn: “I’m a resident author on a publication called Esoterica Zine, which may be of interest to anyone interested in the obscure. In fact, the next issue to be released is themed around witchcraft! Issues can be accessed at https://gumroad.com/esotericazine Other than that my Twitter, @_EvelynHollow is the best place to find me!”

41 Spooky ‘Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’ Details You Probably Missed

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