Posts tagged with "finance"

Vaughn Lowery, Alejandra Villagra, illustration, 360 MAGAZINE

Covid-19 Finance Tips

Financial Tips For When You’re Newly Unemployed Or Business Is Slow

Over 3 million people in the U.S. have recently filed unemployment claims as a result of the severe economic impact of the coronavirus.

Some of those suddenly jobless have limited financial resources besides unemployment benefits. Others are fortunate to have emergency savings or investment vehicles they can draw from such as a 401(k). Then there are those who are still working, but feeling the effects of business slowing down.

“Overall, the pandemic has put many people in a weakened financial condition that they didn’t expect,” says Steve Kruman, a financial planner and investment advisor at Bryce Wealth Management. “And there are some lessons in there that could better protect them and their loved ones going forward.”

Kruman has tips to help people weather the financial storm and learn how to plan differently for the future:

Be careful with the 401(k). “When sources of funds are limited, people should withdraw only the amount they need from their 401(k),” Kruman says. “You want to look for other sources that would be accessible without taking on the major tax hit of raiding the 401(k). Home equity loans are great, and they are at rates much lower than the tax rates of the 401(k). Also, cash value life insurance policies are good sources to borrow from as well. For those who lost their job but have adequate reserves, it’s advisable to roll their 401(k) money over to an IRA at the earliest possible opportunity. Employer-sponsored plans have several drawbacks, including limited investment options. By rolling to an IRA, you can select from a much wider investment universe.”

Don’t panic in the stock market. ”Don’t sell now,” Kruman says. “People who are being induced into panic are selling, and somebody else is buying those shares for when prices recover. The stock market always has fluctuations. It comes down to risk tolerance. You have to be prepared for volatility and be diversified.”

Don’t rely on group life insurance anymore. Many people have the majority of their life insurance through their job. But when you lose the job, you lose the life insurance. “You have to replace it with new life insurance at an older age, which means a higher premium, and with possibly negative health changes, again upping the premium,” Kruman says. “It’s vital to have a well worked-out plan of personal life insurance, which means not tied to a job.”

Find an independent financial advisor. “An independent advisor doesn’t have a company telling them what to invest clients’ money in,” says Kruman. “A client’s best interest should always be the number one priority for an advisor, and it’s easier to maintain that focus by being independent of any parent company’s fee goals or investment selection limitations.”

Consider making a Roth conversion now. When you move money from a tax-deferred retirement account into a Roth account, the money is taxed at that time. “But by making that conversion, you are putting yourself in a position to get tax-free income for life if you comply with two requirements,” Kruman says. Those requirements: be at least age 59 ½ and don’t take any gains out of the Roth for five years. Most financial professionals expect taxes to go up sometime in the future. One reason is that the recent economic stimulus will need to be paid for at some point. Another reason is that the tax cuts passed in 2017 will expire at the end of 2025 for personal rates. “So paying the taxes now at a lower rate when you make the Roth conversion is the better bet for the long run,” he says.

“Now is a tough time for many,” Kruman says, “but it is time that can be used wisely to consider the things you can differently to protect yourself and your family financially from the next period of economic uncertainty.”

About Steve Kruman
Steve Kruman is a financial planner, investment advisor and insurance agent at Bryce Wealth Management. He’s also a licensed attorney in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, focusing on estate planning. Kruman is a Life & Qualifying Member of the Million Dollar Round Table, the only industry organization for people who are ethical top performers.

360 magazine, save money, money, Alejandra Villagra

Choosing the Right Family Vacation Destination

When it was just you on your own or even you and your partner, choosing where to go on vacation probably wasn’t too difficult, but now that you have kids in the mix, how do you go about choosing a holiday that suits everyone? It’s still possible, but it takes a little more work. Planning the ideal trip should involve everyone.

Review Your Finances

Some vacations are simply going to be out of your reach, so the first step is figuring out what you can afford. Keep in mind that a vacation visiting family nearby can be as relaxing and memorable as one to faraway places that you spend a lot of money to get to, so don’t think of this as a limitation. The family vacation should fit into the budget just like anything else. If you’ve had any big family changes recently, this could be a little trickier. For example, if either parent or a child has started college, finances might be tighter than usual. Many people take out student loans to cover college expenses to repay after graduation, but these generally don’t take care of all costs. If these costs are taking up a big part of your budget, you might want to look into taking out additional loans from brick-and-mortar or online lenders. Whether your budget is larger or smaller than last year, make the necessary adjustments and then narrow down the possibilities before you involve your children.

Have a Family Meeting

This should be a vacation for everyone, and kids will feel more ownership if they are allowed to participate in a decision about where to go. With younger children, it’s best to avoid open-ended questions. Instead, you can give them a choice between three or four destinations, or ask them if they’d prefer to go someplace hot or someplace cold. Older kids can participate more in planning based on their interests.

All-Inclusive or Independent

Do you want a vacation that has lots of activities available for everyone, such as you might find at a resort or on a cruise? Or would you prefer to plan things on your own? Parents of young children often prefer the former simply because there tend to be structured activities their kids can enjoy that also function to give the parents a break. If your children are older and you all tend to go off and do your own thing, be sure to plan certain activities, such as evening meals together, that keep the “family” in family vacation.

Research

Many spoiled vacations could have been saved with a little research ahead of time, whether that includes understanding that the hotel chosen is not as close to the beach as you’d imagined or finding out that the restaurants you’ve picked all have terrible reviews. Online research and even in-person recommendations are not foolproof, but they’re a good way to reduce the likelihood of disappointment as you make your final reservations and set off for what will hopefully be a few days of family fun and relaxation.

Majority of Recent Graduates Plan to Start a Business: AICPA Survey

The entrepreneurial spirit in America is alive and well. As they prepare to enter the workforce, seven in ten (70 percent) young adult job seekers say the freedom of being their own boss is worth more than the benefit of job security working for someone else. Additionally, more than half (53 percent) said they are likely to start their own business in the future.

This, according to research conducted by MAVY Poll on behalf of the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) among millennials who graduated from college in the last 24 months or will graduate in the next 12 months and are currently looking for employment referred to as “young adult job seekers.” “It’s not surprising that the generation currently entering the labor market is looking beyond the traditional approach of rising through the ranks in a well-defined career path,” said Gregory Anton, CPA, CGMA, chairman of the AICPA’s National CPA Financial Literacy Commission. “Developments in technology and the internet have made it easier than ever to start a business. However, they have not necessarily made it easier to succeed.” Small Business Startups Don’t Need to Go It Alone Ambitious young entrepreneurs are not alone. Each month, approximately 540,000 people become new business owners. Contrary to the commonly-held belief that most businesses fail to gain any traction, according to the Small Business Administration (SBA), roughly 80 percent survive the first year. However, the success rate of small businesses begins to fall sharply as time goes on. Only about half survive past the five-year mark, and beyond that, only about one in three get to the 10-year mark.

“I don’t know of anyone who sets out to start a business that closes in three years. But the reality is, the first few years are almost always the hardest. That means every financial decision needs to be well thought out, with a clear eye to the future.” said Teresa Mason, CPA member of the AICPA PCPS Executive Committee. “Working with a CPA helps small business owners ensure their business plan is structured to be as tax-efficient as possible. CPAs also partner with business owners to help them work out their cash flow consideration and opportunities for growth.”

For those looking to start a business, the AICPA’s National CPA Financial Literacy Commission share these tips to help to set yourself up for success:

1. Start with a Solid Financial Foundation

“The stronger of a financial foundation you build early in your career, the more options you’ll have in the future. Paying off your student loan debt, getting a head start on saving for retirement and having an emergency fund affords entrepreneurs a degree of flexibility that they wouldn’t otherwise have.” – Gregory Anton, CPA, CGMA, chairman of the AICPA’s National CPA Financial Literacy Commission.

2. Ask Yourself the Tough Questions

“Being your own boss means looking only to yourself for the income you’ll need to meet your obligations and save for your goals. This means asking yourself some tough questions. Do you have enough set aside to cover your expenses during a potentially slow start-up period that new businesses often face? Do you have a ‘Plan B’ in the event that your expectations aren’t realized within a reasonable time frame? Address these scenarios proactively and have a plan in place.” – Neal Stern, CPA member of the AICPA National CPA Financial Literacy Commission.

3. Prepare for All the Costs Involved

“Before going out on your own professionally, it is important to compare your current budget with your forecasted budget. Know what you are currently getting versus what you may or may not have available if you start your own business. For example, if your current employer provides healthcare, retirement benefits and pays for out of pocket expenses you will now need to factor those expenses into what it is going to cost you to be on your own. These expenses can quickly add up which is why talking to a CPA about the costs involved in running your own business is critical.” – Michael Eisenberg, CPA/PFS member of the AICPA National CPA Financial Literacy Commission.

4. Keep Finances Organized & Build an Emergency Fund

“Maintain a bill-paying checking account where all your fixed monthly bills with a due date and a consistent amount are paid. Make sure that account always has at least 2 months’ worth of bill payment money in it, ideally 3+, and set up as many as you can for auto-pay on their due date. This not only helps eliminate late fees, but it’s an easier way to quickly see how much is ‘leftover’ to reinvest in your business. It can be tempting when you get a big check to take care of that month’s bills then spend the rest on wants, but until you can consistently keep 3+ months of expenses in that account, you have to resist the wants. This will give your business the chance it needs.” – Kelley Long, CPA/PFS member of the AICPA Consumer Financial Education Advocates.

5. Take Advantage of Free Tools & Resources

For those who want help turning their idea into a successful business, the AICPA’s #CPApowered website provides free tools designed to help small businesses grow. Experienced CPAs share insight on a range of topics such as the risks involved in starting a business and how to acquire financing. And to help those who don’t know where to begin, there is even a small business checklist.The AICPA’s 360 Degrees of Financial Literacy website also features free resources including information about how to plan for a career change as well as a wide-variety of calculators on topics like loan repayment and setting a monthly budget.

CapitalOne breach: how to protect yourself

A massive data breach hit Capital One. Digital privacy expert Daniel Markuson shares the most essential steps consumers can take to keep themselves safer.

On Monday, it was announced that a data breach of Capital One compromised the personal information of approximately 100 million consumers in the United States and 6 million consumers in Canada. It is said to be one of the top 10 largest data breaches ever.

The bank announced that in addition to the credit card application data, portions of credit card customer data were also obtained, including credit scores, limits, balances, payment history, transaction data, and contact information. Stolen data also included 140,000 Social Security numbers, 80,000 linked bank account numbers.

What to do if your account gets compromised

NordVPN’s digital privacy expert Daniel Markuson shares the most essential steps consumers can take to keep themselves safer.

Get back into your account

The first important step is to log into your online account and change the password immediately. Go through the privacy settings and check if you can make your account more secure. Invoke all recommended security settings.

It is as well advised to sign up for email or text alerts about your monetary transactions.

Freeze your credit

The best way to protect yourself is to freeze your credit. This makes it very difficult to open new accounts in your name, even if someone is using your stolen financial information. It is important to note, that credit freeze doesn’t influence your score.

With credit freeze invoked – most creditors will decline to open a new account as they will not be able to check your credit history.

Place a fraud alert and check credit reports

If freezing your credit is not an option for you – contact one of the credit bureauses and invoke a fraud alert. Fraud alerts flag creditors and they verify your identity before issuing new credit in your name. Such alerts usually last for a year but can be renewed.

Capital One said that they “will make free credit monitoring and identity protection available to everyone affected.” Check for credit inquiries, balances, and new accounts that you haven’t opened or applied for.

Check credit card statements

It is very important to regularly check your credit card statements online, even if you think that your data hasn’t been affected by the breach. If you see any strange activities on your balance – try to recall whether you authorized the charge. If you can’t recall it, inform your bank and the merchant immediately.

Make sure to keep all your documentation, such as order confirmation numbers or receipts.

Beware of phishing scams

Since hackers may have detailed information on more than 100 million individuals, there might be a spike in more personalized phishing scams. Such scams are usually very effective as criminals use a piece of real information, for example, your name and address.

Personalized phishing messages are designed to look as if they are coming from a legitimate bank or other familiar organization. Be vigilant and contact the organization before clicking on any links, filling in forms or transferring funds. For additional safety, use a VPN, like NordVPN, when browsing.

Report unusual activities

And finally, if you notice something unusual – report the incident to the authorities. Raising the alarm can help not only you, but others affected by the breach as well.

ABOUT NORDVPN

NordVPN is the world’s most advanced VPN service provider that is more security oriented than most VPN services. It offers double VPN encryption, malware blocking & Onion Over VPN. The product is very user-friendly, offers one of the best prices on the market, has over 5,000 servers worldwide and is P2P-friendly. One of the key features of NordVPN is zero log policy. For more information: nordvpn.com.

360 MAGAZINE, Vaughn Lowery, bar, spirits

How to Get Financing to Start a New Bar

So you’ve decided to become a bar owner, congratulations! Now, you find yourself in the same dilemma many creative, business-minded entrepreneurs know all too well: You need additional funds to make your dream come true. What to do?

Lucky for you, there are several options you can look into. Let’s examine each one to see which one is the right move for you.

Take out a personal loan

This is a popular option among budding entrepreneurs because it has a higher success rate and offers a greater degree of flexibility. This is your best bet if you are starting a bar from scratch or if you don’t have an established business history yet.

Unlike a business loan, a personal loan will not require you to put down collateral or provide proof of cash flow. After all, it’s difficult to show income if you don’t have it yet. Business loans also have major restrictions on how the loan is used, but a personal loan gives you more freedom.

Your personal financial history and credit score will determine your eligibility and the rates and terms of your loan. A credit score of 600 puts you in an excellent position to qualify. Documents you need to submit include but are not limited to personal identification, bank statements, W-2 or pay stubs, and tax return.

Keep in mind that personal loans are generally smaller compared to a business loan so you may need to look into more options to acquire the rest of the funding you need. We discuss more below.

Look for investors

This is an excellent solution to share the financial burden with someone else. Investors provide startup money and can bring their business management expertise to the table. For this to work, you’ll have to get comfortable with splitting profits and giving up a share of your business.

If you wish to retain control of your bar, silent investors are great because they get out of your hair after providing the funding. They might be involved in big-picture dealings and will offer help if needed, but other than that, they stay in the background and leave the daily management to you.

The catch? They might pressure you to turn a profit sooner rather than later though. They may get restless and force a sale.

Active investors will generally be more involved in the day-to-day operations of your bar in an effort to enhance the return of their investment. They can also be helpful to first-time entrepreneurs looking to make industry connections and learn the tricks of the trade.

While active investors bring their business to the enterprise, you will definitely have to give up a degree of control. Some investors might agree to simply advance capital in exchange for collateral and payback with interest or a percentage of your profits.

Turn to your friends, family, and peers

Use your connections! Do you know someone who has the resources to spare? You can start reaching out to your peers in the industry or even to friends and family. This fast-tracks your funding process by skipping the legal entanglements typically involved in a traditional loan.

If you go the family and friends route, the pitch probably isn’t going to be all that complicated. But keep in mind that money and family sometimes don’t mix. If your bar fails to take off, things might get ugly. Especially with equity involved, put everything in writing and bring in a business lawyer as a safety net.

Reach out to the world through crowdfunding

If you’ve exhausted all your connections to no avail, the internet might be your savior. Yes, you can raise money for your new bar from strangers online through websites like GoFundMe, Patreon, and Kickstarter. How great is that?

Needless to say, you will have to convince these people why they should fund your bar. Tell your story and make sure to let your passion shine through.

Transparency will get you far down this route. Be specific on how you intend to spend the money they give you and provide updates. You would be surprised at how many people would be willing to donate their own money to help you with your venture.

Depending on your campaign, you can give these backers perks or rewards in return. However, if you choose to do it via equity crowdfunding, which will easily attract investors, you are selling off a degree of ownership control over your company.

Know that you will also need to actively market your campaign, so it can be seen and gain traction fast. This will take a lot of patience and hard work.

Use your 401(k)

If you are looking to ditch the 9-to-5 life in favor of being your own boss as a bar owner, this might be something to consider if you have saved up enough from your previous jobs.

You’re staking your retirement savings here, so make sure you are 100% certain of your bar idea. Most people can get overconfident for their own good. Consult a tax attorney, if needed, and look at all angles before you take the leap.

Consider the other options presented in this article first before cracking your 401(k) nest egg.

Get funding for expensive equipment

Equipment is an essential investment for any bar operation that comes that a premium price. A lender or bank can help you purchase the required furnishings to get your business up and running through equipment financing.

Here, you receive the entire amount based on a price quote you provide to the lender. You can’t use the funding for anything other than the equipment you intend to buy.

The collateral here is the equipment itself, which is great because you won’t have to worry about paying off more in the unfortunate event that your bar goes under.

When securing your bar equipment, it is important to anticipate your needs and choose the right configuration for your establishment. For a bar, you’ll need equipment such as keg coolers, undercounter refrigerators, and commercial ice makers.

While it can be tempting to go for second-hand items, buying brand new equipment can benefit your business in the long run. Used equipment can lead to unpleasant surprises that might cost you way more than the savings you initially had. Replacement parts for last-generation models will likely be very hard to find, thus halting your operation longer than it should.

Plus, it can be difficult to find out how well it has been maintained and the service life it has left. With any luck, you might be able to track down the original invoice and check the warranty it comes with.

With brand new equipment, you enjoy more savings and peace of mind that your business runs as it should. Benefits include:

• For the higher price tag, you get equipment that is less likely to break down to avoid disruptions that can cost you precious business, especially during peak hours.

• New units are generally more energy-efficient and environment-friendly than older models

• They go for much higher resale value, especially for well-known brands

• You can count on a more responsive service department for servicing and readily available replacement parts

We are committed to protecting your investment. We have an excellent selection of brand new and highly durable products from Manitowoc ice makers to Beverage Air refrigerators that come with excellent warranties and unrivaled customer support. We make sure your purchases work their best beyond the initial quality control.

Explore the benefits of a business credit card

This is the perfect option for buying ingredients and supplies. You’ll only need your credit score as qualification, and it doesn’t have to be all that impressive either. If you are at 600, you have a good chance of getting approved. Plus, the application process is easy.

You know how you get some perks and rewards every time you swipe your personal credit card? You can enjoy the same for your bar here. You can get excellent cash back and credit for business expenses.

Consider credit card receipt financing

There are some lenders that partially base their loan on receiving part of the credit card receipts from your customers. The process basically involves selling your future credit card sales in exchange for a cash advance. A portion of each credit card sale is taken out as payment. This can be an interesting approach but can also interfere with your finances.

Financing your new bar the right way

As a rule of thumb, you should have at least six months of expenses available in the bank when you start. Most businesses fail because of a lack of financing. So either do it right from the beginning or hold off until you can.

Lacking Self-Discipline?

5 Ways To Develop It And Reach Your Goals

Americans are known to overeat, abuse credit cards, marinate for hours in social media, and break New Year’s resolutions before the end of January. Self-discipline doesn’t seem to be a national strength.

And achieving self-discipline – and the success that can come with it – may never have been harder than it is in this instant-gratification age, says Dr. Rob Carter III.

“Self-discipline is an undervalued trait in a modern society that wants everything now,” says Carter, co-author with his wife, Dr. Kirti Salwe Carter, of The Morning Mind: Use Your Brain to Master Your Day and Supercharge Your Life (www.themorningmind.com). “Self-discipline is the ability to motivate and coordinate our efforts to improve our quality of life, but unfortunately most people are not taught it.

“It is, however, a skill that everyone can learn. Self-discipline is the skill that will allow you to reach any goal you set.”

Carter offers five ways to develop self-discipline:

Be aware of your resistance. Resistance, Carter says, is the biggest obstacle to developing self-discipline, and it often comes in the form of discouraging internal self-talk such as, “I can’t do it” or “Why should I have to change?” “The next time you embark on a new project that causes resistance,” Carter says, “fight it by asserting or writing down your intended goal and the benefits it will bring.”

Plan for every outcome. Plans go awry when people let excuses get in the way. “An example is having a goal of running in the morning for 30 minutes, but you have bailouts such as it’s raining, cold, or you don’t feel like it,” Carter says. “Developing self-discipline is recognizing and planning for these self-created obstacles and actively choosing to work through them. So when you set a goal to achieve, have chart in place listing “Even ifs.” List the potential obstacles to achieving your goal and counter each one with a promise to yourself that you’ll achieve your goal even if these challenges arise.”

Prepare to give something up in order to gain. Carter suggests compiling a list of the pros and cons of sacrificing for a certain goal. “To reach your goal, Carter says, “you will more than likely have to impose certain limitations on yourself in order to gain something. These limitations could be less free time, socializing, money or television. The upside is that seeing the rewards of the sacrifice on the pros list will keep you motivated and disciplined.”

Reward yourself with self-compensation. “Rewards are an incredibly powerful tool for motivating yourself to reach your goals,” Carter says. “Consider them the carrot on the stick. Have a reward in place for when you achieve a goal or part of a goal, and make sure it’s appropriate.”

Break your goal down into manageable steps. “If you break your goal down into bite-sized steps,” Carter says, “you’re much more likely to stay disciplined enough to complete every sub-goal. Each step accomplished gives you an encouraging boost. Consider using SMART goals — specific, measurable, attractive, realistic, timed. This makes the goal more definitive and puts the steps in tangible action.”

“Self-discipline includes structured planning, organization, delayed gratification, and the willingness to step outside your comfort zone,” Carter says. “These things can appear scary, but don’t worry, you’re not alone. And once you take the first step, you have ventured onto a beautiful path that offers many rewards.”

About Dr. Rob Carter III and Dr. Kirti Salwe Carter

Dr. Rob Carter III and Dr. Kirti Salwe Carter are co-authors of The Morning Mind: Use Your Brain to Master Your Day and Supercharge Your Life(www.themorningmind.com). Rob Carter is a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army, an expert in human performance and physiology, and has academic appointments in emergency medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, in public health and health sciences at Los Angeles Pacific University, and in nutrition at the University of Maryland, University College. He holds a PhD in biomedical sciences and medical physiology and an MPH in chronic disease epidemiology.

Kirti Carter was born in Pune, India, and received her medical education in India, where she practiced as an intensive-care physician before moving to Texas to complete postgraduate training in public health. She is a Fellow of the American Institute of Stress (FAIS), has more than 18 years of experience in meditation and breathing techniques, and has been facilitating wellness seminars for the past decade.

Save Journalism Project Launches To Protect Our Press From Big Tech

BuzzFeed Reports on Recently Laid Off Journalists Serving  As Spox For New Campaign To Save Journalism From Monopolistic Power of Big Tech Companies

Today, BuzzFeed reports on the Save Journalism Project that’s launching to raise awareness and engagement about the critical need to save journalism as it faces an existential threat—the monopolistic power of big tech companies like Google, Facebook, and Apple destroying the economic model of the entire journalism industry, whether its traditional circulation newspapers or digital news outlets. At the same time, Google and Facebook have made acquisition after acquisition, gaining a monopolistic position that lets them dominate the digital advertising marketplace and distribute massive amounts of content from news publishers on their platforms without paying to produce the content. Just now are Facebook, Google, and other tech giants facing federal government and Congressional antitrust scrutiny.

Two recently laid off reporters will serve as spokespeople for the Save Journalism Project, Laura Bassett  and John StantonLearn More and Join the Fight at SaveJournalism.org and@SaveTheNews.

BuzzFeed: These Reporters Lost Their Jobs. Now They’re Fighting Back Against Big Tech.

“John Stanton and Laura Bassett are warning about what they believe the tech industry is doing to journalism, as thousands have lost their jobs this year alone.

By Rosie Gray”

Two prominent reporters who were recently laid off from digital media outlets are forming a new advocacy group formed to raise awareness about big tech’s impact on the journalism industry.

John Stanton, a longtime congressional correspondent and former BuzzFeed News Washington bureau chief, and Laura Bassett, a former culture and political reporter for nearly 10 years at the Huffington Post, have teamed up to launch a new initiative called the Save Journalism Project. The two have first-hand experience with the troubled state of the news industry: Stanton was laid off from BuzzFeed News during a round of layoffs that affected 200 people company-wide this winter and spurred a unionization drive among the news staff. Bassett lost her job in similar fashion in January after Huffington Post laid off 20 employees as part of larger cuts at its parent company, Verizon Media.

This year has been one of the worst in recent memory for journalism jobs. Across the industry, thousands have lost their jobs: from BuzzFeed News, Vice, CNN, and others across the country at local publications. Media organizations have been imperiled by crashing advertising revenues as Facebook and Google vacuum up available ad dollars.

Their new project will be set up as a nonprofit, according to Eddie Vale, a Democratic consultant whose firm is providing the man-power to launch the effort. Vale pitched Bassett on the idea, and the two of them brought in Stanton. Vale said initial funding had been secured from “someone who doesn’t want to be public so Google and Facebook don’t go after them,” and the group plans to continue to fundraise. So far, the pair have co-authored testimony given to the Senate Judiciary Committee highlighting the tech giants’ impact on the news industry — “since being laid off, we’ve made it our mission to understand how the digital marketplace works and how Big Tech is killing the journalism industry,” they wrote — flown a plane above Google’s I/O conference, and authored op-eds.

A key part of their goal is to get journalists, who aren’t known for showing a keen interest in the business side of their publications or for engaging in advocacy themselves, to take an active role in defending the future of their jobs. In an interview, Stanton said they were “trying to educate the public and members of Congress and also start encouraging our colleagues to speak up.”

“Reporters are not generally super interested in speaking about their own problems and about things that affect them directly because they feel like it becomes a conflict of interest, and in certain ways that’s true,” Stanton said. “But when the future of the free press is being pretty seriously endangered by something, I think it’s incumbent upon us to stand up for ourselves.”

Like many reporters, Bassett said she had “never really had to pay attention to the financial side of journalism.”

But “after getting laid off, I started to become really interested in why all of these amazing news publishers were sort of going under, having to lay off staff, why we were losing local newspapers. It’s a tragedy, it’s really bad for democracy.”

Their effort comes at a time of increased scrutiny of the tech industry on the part of the federal government as well as Congress as public concern mounts over repeated privacy scandals, technology companies’ role in spreading misinformation, and their dominance over certain industries. The Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission reportedly made a deal to divide potential antitrust investigations between them; Apple and Google will fall under the purview of the DOJ, while the FTC took Facebook and Amazon. The House Judiciary Committee announced it would “conduct a top-to-bottom review of the market power held by giant tech platforms.”

The Save Journalism Project’s founders are hoping to steer the public conversation around the negative effects of Big Tech towards its impact on journalism.

Stanton, who lives in New Orleans, mentioned examples like that city’s local paper, the Times-Picayune, which laid off its entire staff last month. Around the country, Stanton said, “local reporters are so overtaxed. They’re doing as good a job as they can but there’s not enough of them.”

At the moment, Stanton and Bassett are more focused on warning the public and the industry about the issue than on proposing solutions.

“I do think that everyone is starting to see a need to break up and regulate these companies or something along those lines,” Bassett said. “And with regards to how they’re going to make journalism viable again, I don’t frankly know…I think right now we’re starting with just getting this conversation out into the public and making people aware of exactly what’s going on. I do hope at some point we graduate into saying, ‘here’s a list of policy proposals, here’s exactly what needs to happen.'”

Stanton and Bassett plan to interview elected officials, candidates and colleagues in the media about the industry’s crisis, and started with conducting on-camera interviews with Reps. Mark DeSaulnier and Ruben Gallego. They plan to circulate a letter with which media companies can sign on to their cause. And their first official event will be at the annual Congressional Baseball Game, where they plan to distribute a physical newspaper laying out the problems on their agenda.

“The DC press corps is a really powerful constituency within our industry,” Stanton said. “If we can get our colleagues [there] to start talking about this it will help more broadly.”

The Handbook for Eliminating Stress for Sustainable Change in Work and Life

Stress and anxiety are part of leadership and life, but what if someone told you these feelings are simply self imposed states of mind and that humans belong to an ego-thought system that is a very common way of seeing, thinking and behaving in the world? That we can be hurt by nothing but our thoughts? Or that in order to be a truly transformational leader and enjoy a more peaceful and prosperous life in both business and family, one most surrender the ego to a higher power?

All too often, organizations implementing operational excellence do so without addressing the human and cultural implications of such a change strategy. They conduct studies, move equipment, reduce work in process, allocate employees and change measurement systems, all focusing on minimizing waste and improving the flow of value through the value stream, but they overlook the human impact of these changes, the mindset and belief system that must accompany it.

In Miracle-Minded Manager: A Modern Day Parable about How to Apply A Course in Miracles in Business [Beyond Words, October 22, 2019], “zentrepreneur” and mindful leadership expert John J. Murphy teaches readers how to get out of their own way by shifting their thinking to see life—and themselves—very differently. By integrating teachings of A Course in Miracles (ACIM), a unique, spiritual self-study program designed to awaken us to the truth of our oneness with God and love, along with other great spiritual lessons, Miracle Minded Manager helps people improve their lives. Readers are provided with the tools to eliminate stress, not just manage it, through a non-sectarian, non-denominational spiritual tone in which everyone can participate.

“The next time you have a big problem, look in the mirror,” says Murphy. “People all over the world are stressed, especially as innovation, change and uncertainty accelerate. More importantly, people are stressed and they are not aware it is a condition of their own making. The ego mindset is projecting a negative outcome or possibility onto the future and when we dwell on what could go wrong, we feel anxious and afraid. These negative assumptions, projected by the mind, are triggering fear and stress. It is like being nervous before giving a speech or taking an exam. We are nervous because we ‘think’ something might go wrong. Mindful leadership is essential to helping people see things differently – by teaching them to see in a different way, a miracle-minded way.

Miracle-Minded Manager is the sequel to Murphy’s Agent of Change: Leading a Cultural Revolutionbut it is not necessary to read Agent of Change before reading this book. An intriguing parable about bringing more inspiration, harmony, balance, and peace of mind to corporate culture, Miracle Minded Manager offers insightful lessons on how to overcome fear and eliminate stress in all areas of their lives. Through an entertaining and compelling fictional narrative, readers will learn how to apply the spiritual ideas of ACIM and the law of attraction to everyday challenges, discover practical meditation techniques, and experience a transformational shift in thinking to discover a whole new level of understanding, awareness and appreciation in life.

The story features enlightening conversations between two characters, Jack MacDonald, the president of a business unit of TYPCO (Typical Company), and Jordan McKay, an intriguing business consultant. With the help of Jordan, Jack learns how to overcome a great deal of resistance to completely reinvent the organizational culture he leads. In addition to this, he learns valuable insights that apply to his personal life. It is here that Jack first learns of the ACIM course and begins to apply it himself, along with the help of his wife.

Miracle Minded Manager can help business and government leaders, people living in stress and those seeking enlightenment, no matter what they are doing, overcome:

  • Fear, anxiety, worry and stress – at work and at home.
  • Challenging relationships – at work and at home.
  • Business culture issues; Divisiveness

“We all get in our own way from time to time by doubting ourselves and thinking inside a box- a paradigm- that doesn’t exist,” adds Murphy. “It could be a ‘rule’ that we follow, like we have to work 40 hours per week, eat three meals a day or wear certain clothing styles. We spend countless hours trying to find ways to improve performance and results inside these ‘boxes.’ Entire industries are being disrupted by innovations challenging old paradigms. The same is true in our personal lives. If we can find innovative ways to work four hours a day, or three days a week, why not? In healthcare, if we can find ways to prevent illness and disease, rather than treat it, what might that look like? This is what miracle-minded management is all about. It is about challenging old paradigms with a truly open and fearless mind.”

About the Author:

John J. Murphy is a global business consultant, speaker, spiritual mystic, “zentrepreneur,” and award winning author. He is Founder (1988) and CEO of Venture Management Consultants, Inc., a firm specializing in creating lean, high performance work environments.  As a business consultant, Murphy has delivered services to some of the world’s leading organizations, including ADP, AlliedSignal (Honeywell), BMW, Chase, the CIA, GE, GM, GSK, Hilton, Lockheed Martin, Merck, the Michigan State Senate, Perrigo, Prudential, Raytheon, Spectrum Health, Target Stores, Teva, and the US Navy. As an educator and Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt, Murphy has trained thousands of people from over 50 countries, including Fortune 500 executives, project leaders, military leaders, managers, and black belts. He has mentored dozens of project teams in Organizational Development, Operational Excellence, Business Process Innovation and Lean Six Sigma applications. As a speaker, Murphy has delivered keynotes and seminars worldwide. A critically-acclaimed authority on peak performance, transformational leadership and healthy mind-body-spirit, Murphy is a best-selling author who has published 19 books and appeared on over 400 radio and television stations and his work has been featured in over 50 newspapers nationwide.

Murphy is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame (BBA Finance) and the University of Michigan’s Human Resource Executive Program. He is also a former quarterback for Notre Dame.

Connect with John J. Murphy on Facebook @Author.John.J.Murphy, Twitter @sageleader, LinkedIn @johnjmurphymystic, YouTube @AuthorJohnJMurphy, Instagram @jjmurphy13 and visit www.johnjmurphy.org.

Miracle-Minded Manager: A Modern Day Parable about How to Apply A Course in Miracles in Business releases on October 22, 2019 in paperback and e-Book.

5 Ways to Finance Your Lifestyle on the Road

Hitting the open road and traveling sounds like a dream until faced with the reality of financing it all. Although saving for years and living way below your means is one place to start finding the cash to travel, you can also start traveling right now and finance your lifestyle on the road while joining the rapidly increasing mobile workforce. Strategy Analytics reports that the global mobile workforce is set to increase to 1.87 billion people in 2022, accounting for 42.5 percent of the global workforce. But how do you actually get started and enter the global mobile workforce yourself?

You can earn a lucrative, scaleable income on the work that fits around your schedule. Look for jobs and businesses you can build while on the road with flexibility and freedom to pick and choose how and when you work. From tapping into an existing business model to launching an Airbnb co-hosting service, here is some inspiration to get started.

Leverage an Existing Business Model

Financing a lifestyle on the road and transforming yourself into a digital nomad is an exhilarating goal. But there’s no need to reinvent the wheel from scratch. Instead, you can leverage existing business models. Whether you want to sell unique and interesting walking tours or buy into an existing business, you can make money by studying others’ success. Getting up and running with a business like Amway can keep you on the road and traveling while growing a business and earning money. What is Amway’s business model and how can you make it work for you? The direct sales company offers a variety of home, health and beauty products. When partnered with the company, you’ll automatically become part of a community of resources such as personal mentors and free online learning tools that will help you become successful.

Become a Virtual Assistant

Virtual assistants are in high demand to handle everything from organizing spreadsheets, answer customer service emails, write blog copy, or run social media channels. The best place to start is with your own network, or by simply telling people on the road, “I take tasks off business owners plates so they have more time to work on their business instead of in it,” is a solid pitch that gives the impression you’re here to serve. Pick a niche, like social media, or go even deeper and only offer Pinterest pin creation and management. You can also look for clients through platforms like Upwork where people are actively looking to hire.

Sell Your Stuff

Selling your stuff doesn’t have to be mean being tied down to inventory while traveling. Crafters can source materials they need in any city they find themselves in and get to work making jewelry, accessories, and more. Of course, make sure you understand the local regulations of selling whether at a local market or from your own RV before you get started. You can also sell digital products you make including how to use Canva like a pro or organize your finances so you can work while traveling. Offer your courses through a platform like Udemy or Skillshare and promote your products to watch your profits grow.

Co-host an Airbnb Rental

Getting up and running in real estate can be expensive and full of added expenses from maintenance to taxes. But you can leverage existing real estate and get in on the Airbnb profits by offering to co-host. From checking-in guests to organizing cleaning crews and maintenance, you can take the chores of digital tasks off of an Airbnb host’s plate and earn money while doing it. And as your business grows, you can reach out to local vacation property owners, VRBO hosts, and others to expand your services and income.

Do Odd Jobs

It’s not necessary to land in a town for weeks or months to pick-up odd jobs. Plenty of businesses around the world need short-term hires to pass out flyers, help move boxes, help at an event, participate in market research, or even volunteer in exchange for room and board. Look for opportunities at World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF) to find opportunities. You could end up walking away with new skills, friendships, and a few weeks of hard work in exchange for staying and eating delicious food for free while exploring the local area.

There are lots of reasons to tread carefully when leaving your job to hit the road whether spending more time with family and friends, renting out your home, or finishing a big project at work. But not having enough money to finance your lifestyle shouldn’t be one of them. Start building a flexible, remote business you love in order to live the travel lifestyle you’ve always wanted.

Can’t Afford Dental Braces For Your Kids? Here Are 5 Solutions

The last thing a financially struggling parent wants to see is their child’s teeth coming in crooked. After groceries, school clothes, car payments and the rent or mortgage, there may not be much left to pay for a trip to the orthodontist so the child can be fitted with braces.

But for those determined to help their child improve their smile, there are ways to work around those financial difficulties.

 “Sometimes you must be creative, but many families who want to give their children orthodontic care can do so with a little planning and budgeting,” says Dr. Ana Castilla, an orthodontist and author of The Smile of Your Life: Everything You Need to Know for Your Orthodontic Journey (dranacastilla.com).

Dr. Castilla knows from personal experience what it’s like to be a child who needs and wants braces, but whose parents can’t afford them. She had to wait until she was an adult and could pay for them herself.

She says one of the first mistakes parents make is waiting until they think they can afford orthodontic treatment before taking their child in for an evaluation. However, waiting can only make the situation worse as many issues can be corrected easier and less expensively with early treatment. 

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends children be seen by an orthodontist no later than age 7. Dr. Castilla encourages all parents to take advantage of free consultations offered by most orthodontists so they can become aware of any issues with their children’s teeth. 

She also has several recommendations for ways to work orthodontic treatment into the budget:

Flexible financing. “Most orthodontic practices offer zero-interest in-house financing but not all of them are equally flexible in their payment plans,” says Dr. Castilla. She says parents should ask if they offer “extended financing.”  This type of financing is longer than the length of treatment. For example, the treatment may last only 24 months, but the last payment may not be due for 36 months.   

Insurance. You are not required to have insurance to get orthodontic treatment.  However, Dr. Castilla says if you do have insurance, be sure to read the policy.  “You need to be your own advocate and learn the rules of your coverage,” she says.  Many parents rely on an employer promises instead of reading the policy.  “Just because your employer says you have coverage for braces, that doesn’t mean you are fully covered – or even covered at all,” says Dr. Castilla.  There are many factors that affect coverage such as age limitations, waiting periods, and insurance payment schedules. 

Combine insurance policies if possible.  If you and another member of your household have two or more separate insurance policies, there is a chance that both insurances can help pay for treatment. Your employer’s human resources department should be able to help you maximize your benefits.

Use flexible spending accounts and health savings accounts.  “Many employers offer these accounts to their employees to help them manage their health expenses,” says Dr. Castilla. Employees can contribute tax-free dollars for payment of qualified medical expenses, such as orthodontics.   

Use third-party financing companies (medical credit cards). This is not the No. 1 option that Dr. Castilla recommends because of high interest rates.  “I would only consider this option if you cannot find an orthodontist that offers extended financing near you,” she says. “Make sure you read the fine print.”   

“I hated my teeth as a child, but I kept it to myself because I knew my parents could not afford braces for me,” Dr. Castilla says. “When I was finally able as an adult to fix my smile, I realized what a negative impact my old smile had on my self esteem. That’s why I want to help as many parents as possible afford a bright smile for their kids.”