Local Olympian Whisper McKinney has qualified for The Junior Olympics in Sport Stacking. While competing in Houston she became a Gold Medal Champion in the girls 10U division. She brought home two Gold, two Silver, and two Bronze medals. On New Years Eve 2016 Whisper received "the" call inviting her to become a member of the USA Team! The competition will be held in Taiwan. Visit https://www.gofundme.com/support-your-local-olympian for more details. Yes, Sport Stacking is really a sport sanctioned by the WAAS (World Sport Stacking Association).
April 11 2016 was a special and unique day. In the coolness of a perfectly beautiful early spring evening, the sky changed from blue to gray to purple. The hail that fell at dusk was super-sized. It could have been a killer but for our Village East Apartments community it was a property destruction nightmare. Every car, every roof and every bush, shrub and flower was nearly destroyed. As fast as the storm came it retreated. It's wake left nearly 100 residents frightened, scared and without power or transportation. But they had each other. That evening everybody in our small community knew the first names of their neighbors and was willing to assist in any way possible. The after effects of our hail event continue to this day but each day it fades just a bit more. The emotional, physical and financial effects have made us all more aware of our vulnerability. Thoughtful recognition of weakness changed us to be less susceptible to future harm. So, in the end, the lesson we all learned, or re-learned, was that our neighbors are important, that we are stronger than we thought and we are stronger because of that early spring evening when the sky turned purple.
Some thoughts about communicating from the perspective of “putting yourself in some one else’s shoes.”
In the workplace (and in all of life, for that matter) putting people at ease pays big dividends. I’ve learned to take the time to help others understand the context: what’s happening, what’s important, what’s not as important, what is needed to do and what can be expected.
I often find myself in situations in which I’ll try to help someone by using phrases like “Stop me if this is going into too much detail, but I want to share what to expect since this is your first time going through this.”
I've discovered that when you provide context in a personalized, one-to-one way, you help people feel more confident about what comes next. And when people feel confident, they bring their whole ability to problem solve to the table rather than having it be narrowed by anxiety or assumptions.
In the process of putting people at ease, you get to share your experiences. Everybody likes to talk about what he or she does, right? For some people, sharing their knowledge can be the most satisfying part of their day.
Wylie just established a Teen Court. What is that you ask? It provides students the opportunity to learn more the criminal justice system and gain valuable court experience while serving as teen jurors, prosecuting attorneys or defense attorneys. The program enables teens who have pled guilt or no contest to Class C misdemeanors to opt to have their case tried by peers in Teen Court. Teen attorneys will present evidence to support the case to a municipal judge and teen jurors. Interested students should apply by April 15th and be 15-18 years old, enrolled in school and willing to commit for one school year. Applications available online at wylietexas.gov or contact Juvenile Case Manager at 972-429-8085
Debt is a drag — in more ways than one. Monthly payments can challenge your budget and make it difficult to save. And high interest rates and lengthy repayment terms can make it impossible to wipe out debt quickly. Do these types of challenges have you worried about your financial well-being? Here are tips to help you pay down debt and free up money to save — so you can regain confidence in your financial future.
Swap high-interest debt for lower-cost loans. Consider replacing high-interest debt with low-interest loans to help reduce costly finance charges. Then use any extra dollars you save or proceeds you receive to pay down existing debt — not to make new purchases.
Renegotiate with lenders. You may be surprised to discover how flexible some creditors can be. Loan terms can be renegotiated and credit card rates lowered. Sometimes all you need to do is ask. If you’re unable to get the creditor to budge, take your business elsewhere if you can.
Create a spending budget. Everyone knows how important it is to have a budget to track expenses, but far too many simply don’t have one. Without realizing how much you’re spending each month, "small" expenses add up quickly. Creating a written budget for your household can help you gain control (and visibility) of spending and identify areas where you can save.
Saving. Nearly everyone can save more on a regular basis than they presently do. Applying the tips above can help free up money so you can save more. Automatic contributions to employer-sponsored savings plans is one of the easiest ways to save. Any amount you save/invest is automatically removed from your paycheck making it seamless and simple to manage. Similarly, set up automatic transfers on a weekly or monthly basis to your savings account.
With creativity and discipline, you can succeed at reducing your expenses so you have more money to pay down debt and build your savings. Regain control of your financial future.
Ask a five-year old where money comes from, and the answer you'll probably get is "From a machine!" Even though children don't always understand where money really comes from, they realize at a young age that they can use it to buy the things they want. So as soon as your child becomes interested in money, start teaching him or her how to handle it wisely. The simple lessons you teach today will give your child a solid foundation for making a lifetime of financial decisions.
LESSON 1: LEARNING TO HANDLE AN ALLOWANCE
An allowance is often a child's first brush with financial independence. With allowance money in hand, your child can begin saving and budgeting for the things he or she wants.
LESSON 2: OPENING A BANK ACCOUNT
Taking your child to the bank to open an account is a simple way to introduce the concept of saving money. Your child will learn how savings accounts work, and will enjoy trips to the bank to make deposits. Let your child take a few dollars out of the account occasionally. Young children who see money going into the account but never coming out may quickly lose interest in saving.
LESSON 3: SAVING FOR FINANCIAL GOALS
When your children receives money, you want them to save it for college, but they'd rather spend it now. Let's face it: children don't always see the value of putting money away for the future. Young children may lose interest in goals that take longer than a week or two to reach. And if your child fails to reach a goal, chalk it up to experience. Over time, your child will learn to become a more disciplined saver.
LESSON 4: BECOMING A SMART CONSUMER
Commercials. Peer pressure. The mall. Children are constantly tempted to spend money but aren't born with the ability to spend it wisely. Your child needs guidance from you to make good buying decisions. Set aside one day a month to take your child shopping. This will encourage your child to save up for something he or she really wants rather than buying something on impulse. Let your child make mistakes. If the toy your child insists on buying breaks, or turns out to be less fun than it looked on the commercials, eventually your child will learn to make good choices even when you're not there to give advice.
As the new year begins, it seems natural to reflect on our happiness as an individual. Judging from the number of self-help books on the topic, Americans seem to be asking themselves that question more frequently. The answer, however, may not to bring a smile to your face.
Remembered Happiness is more of a “big picture” perspective on our state of happiness. It is how we think about ourselves overall. It’s how we answer the question, “Am I happy in life?” It’s how we remember our vacations, our years in high school, holidays with the family, or the early years of life with kids, our divorce, or our work history.
Experienced happiness is very different, but equally important. Imagine someone asks you randomly, “How happy are you at this very second?”. Experienced happiness is the moments of joy, bliss, relief, laughter you have throughout the day.
Putting it all together
Remembered Happiness and Experienced Happiness don’t always match. For example, millionaires as a whole rate their remembered selves higher than people who only make $50,000 a year. But the millionaire may have a bigger house to look after, more responsibilities and pressure at work and a more demanding spouse. So, they may, in fact, have fewer moments of experienced happiness throughout the day and live life less happily. On the other hand, the person who rates themselves as less happy because they don’t have the level of luxury they’d like to have, might, in fact, take day-to-day pleasure in their job or in their garden or in their kid’s success at school and have many moments of bliss in their day. The True Happiness test measures both facets of your life for one universal score. If you’re curious about how your happiness level measures up against general standards, take the Blue Zones’ True Happiness Test, which measures how you remember and experience your life and the influence of your environment on your happiness.
This simple three-digit number plays a significant role, especially in your financial life. Maybe you’re thinking: “I don’t need to worry about my credit score". Think again! Let’s say you want to rent an apartment. Your prospective landlord is likely to run a credit check on you to make sure you have a good history of paying your bills. Insurance companies use your credit score to determine how much to charge you for auto insurance. And some employers even check the credit scores of job applicants before extending an employement offer.
What can you do to ensure your credit rating is as high as possible?
* Pay your bills on time, every time.
* Get the best credit card you can.
* Avoid applying for excessive credit.
* Stay well under your credit limit
* Keep your no-fee credit cards open, even if you’re not using them.
Federal law entitles you to one free copy of your credit report every 12 months from each of the three main credit bureaus—Equifax®, TransUnion® and Experian®. You can view your free credit reports at AnnualCreditReport.com.
Bottom line: Good credit management leads to higher credit scores. This can lower your cost to borrow and put more money in your pocket to save and invest. It also means you’ll have access to the financing you need, whenever you need it. Learn more at:
There’s a lot of hype about why you need to own a house. But buying a house isn’t the key to financial security for everyone – and those alleged tax advantages? Also not quite what they’re painted to be. I hope to never own a house again. Here’s a list of eleven reasons – many of them tax-related – why:
1. As investments go, it’s not always a great deal.
2. The mortgage interest deduction doesn’t make up for the fact that you’re still paying a lot of interest.
3. Homes often tempt people borrow more than they can afford.
4. Owning a house subject to a mortgage drives up debt to income ratios.
5. A mortgage is typically 20 or 30 years while, at any given time, the current administration (in Washington DC) has only four (or possibly eight).
6. A mortgage is typically 20 or 30 years. (Limits mobility).
7. Houses take a lot of your money.
8. If you do hit the home appreciation jackpot, there can be significant taxes.
9. I like for things to be predictable and real estate taxes can vary.
10. You can’t deduct a loss on the sale of your home. (But you can for stocks.)
11. It’s getting more difficult to claim the itemized deduction.
There are so many considerations when deciding whether to buy a home. It’s not the ‘ideal’ scenario for all families. Don’t be fooled by promises of tax savings and tax-free appreciation: that’s not always the case. A home is a huge investment.
See the complete article by
Nobody likes to fail. Failure can be embarrassing, humiliating and emotionally upsetting, so it’s no wonder we’re naturally inclined to avoid the risk. Unfortunately, the fear of failure can also be paralyzing. Without fear, how can we make progress?
1. Ask yourself, “What’s the worst that can happen?” Unless you’re a surgeon, most decisions you make during the course of your day aren’t a matter of life and death. Don’t lose perspective. If your well-thought-out decision doesn’t work, the consequences are rarely as damaging as you might fear.
2. Delaying your decision won’t make it easier. In fact, quite the opposite can happen. When you procrastinate over making a decision, anxiety builds. And before you know it, a relatively insignificant decision may—in your own mind—take on monumental importance.
3. Do something. It’s better to make a decision and change it than to make no decision at all. If you stay static, the environment will change around you, and you’ll become obsolete. In life, if you become paralyzed by the fear of failure, you’ll be left behind.
Read the full article by Joann M. Eisenhart, Ph.D at Forbes.