Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Obama Approves Scholarships For Moms Program

President Obama's Scholarship for moms program is good news for moms. For many moms, it is the first chance they have had to further their education. President Obama's American Tax Program, and his Pell grant reformation, has been aimed at getting moms to go back to school. This is a moment in history for some women, who would have otherwise never been able to get a college degree. After all, moms already hold that special place in our hearts, why should they not hold their own special place in today's job markets?
Pell grants can be applied for by filling out a student loan application called FAFSA. It is federal aid aimed at grants designed to help students applying for college, pay for their tuition, books, and other college expenses they may incur while in college. Moms going back to school have a great opportunity to receive these grants and obtain a degree in their chosen career.
President Obama's scholarship for moms program is good news to moms in all walks of life. They can apply for grants and scholarships in many fields of study. One scholarship aimed at closing the gender-gap in science and technology fields is the Science and Technology award. For moms who want to follow non-traditional fields of study, there is the Non-traditional Scholarship. There are also minority awards, field of study awards, athletic awards, and awards and scholarship grants from colleges and universities. Every imaginable resource out is there for moms to go back to school. President Obama's scholarship for moms program is good news and makes college a very attainable endeavor for today's mom.
Moms need to know that it is illegal to discriminate against women because of their race, gender, and age, when applying for grants and scholarships. These moms also need to understand that they can apply for grants and scholarships that are not just for women. Every mom can now apply for any degree, in any field of study, and get grants and scholarships to pay for that degree. President Obama's Tax Program actually lets a mom apply an extra $4000 to her college tuition. This is in addition to the federal Pell grant he had increased from that same amount to up to $5000, for tuition. College has never been so affordable for moms who wish to take advantage of President Obama's call for moms to go back to school

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Education You Never Got in School Can Help You Stop Overeating

My eight-year old son went back to school this week. There is a lot of talk in the neighborhood about which teacher gives the most homework and how different third grade is from second grade. They will learn multiplication tables and how to write in cursive (not sure why they don't give touch typing lessons instead) along with so much new information. It got me thinking about how much time we spend in our lives getting an academic education. I was in school for twenty years, and even now, fifteen years out of university I still frequently take courses when I can. However, there isn't any obligatory, state-funded emotional education to navigate the stressful waters we sail in during our lives. By keeping that in mind perhaps you can forgive yourself when you find yourself reaching for food to deal with stress (or boredom, or anger, or loneliness, or grief, or sadness or any other feeling) instead of having the skills to handle those feelings head-on.
How can we start to give ourselves, and each other, the emotional education we didn't receive in school so we can fulfill ourselves instead of filling ourselves with food?
1. IDENTIFY -- First off, learn how to identify what you're feeling. Many of us don't even know what's going on for us, we just feel uncomfortable and want it to go away. I can't tell you how many people tell me what an epiphany they had when they realized they weren't hungry but tired and how they've since learned to simply put themselves to bed rather than eat at night. Start to identify what you feel. Are you angry? Tired? Bored? Do you need validation? Affection? Help?
2. RESPOND - Start to make associations about which feelings need which responses. I often say that feelings are like weather. They are a naturally occurring part of living in the world. There is rain. Sun. And storm. If you live in a place with less than idyllic weather, you have to learn what kind of coat, shoes, gloves and hat can get you through the day comfortably. You know you need an umbrella when it rains or sunblock when it's bright. Feelings are no different. As adults (and we can teach this to our children too), we need to know what we need when we're sad. Overwhelmed. Anxious. By understanding what we really need when these inevitable changes in mood occur, we can offer ourselves real comfort, real understanding and real responses to real needs rather than simply eating to survive the feeling until the next time.
3. PLAN AHEAD - As you come to identify your feelings and know what you need to respond to them, you can plan ahead. If you know that Sunday nights make you anxious because the work week is the next day, you can have a ritual that makes Sunday night easier. For instance, a yoga class, a board game with the family, a bath and meditation. If you know that you get anxious and overwhelmed when the kids need to be put to bed, you can devise a system that makes it easier or ask for help.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

It's All Down to Education

In the past week, there have been attempts to introduce new legislation to try and help prevent work accidents. This news was met with cautious acceptance by The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents; with one leading campaigner stating that more pressure should be on should be on business leaders to improve safety standards in the work place.
Many before have also said that providing employers with the correct information on how to make the work place safer is the best way to help provide a safer healthier and ultimately happier work place.
So the big question that all employers will be asking is what can I do to improve safety, well here are a few tips for employers to improve safety in the workplace.
Educate, Educate, Educate.
Tony Blair's once famous catchphrase is applicable in many different arenas including work places. The key message here is to educate and train employers and employees, it may sound simple but you can't expect employees to carry out simple safety procedures if they haven't been trained. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents offers plenty of courses for you and your employees if you feel they need them. They describe the courses as such "Our Management courses are designed to ensure that everyone from directors to first-line supervisors and managers are aware of best practice, and their responsibilities. RoSPA's Skills Courses provide employees with training required to do their job safely and effectively". These training courses could prove to be invaluable.
Evaluate your place of business
Whether you own a shop or a pub or you just run your business from a small office; it pays to make sure that the area you work in is safe. This is especially important if you run a business which deals with members of the public, as if you can show that you have taken steps to improve the safety of your business then it is likely to reduce your public liability premiums.
To improve the safety of your workplace it's pretty simple, all you need to do is ensure that any potential risks are neutralised. This means repairing any damaged floorboards and rickety shelves, basically this is reducing any chance of injury due to wear and tear. Although it may cost to get all potential dangers fixed the money saved by compensating injured employees as well as finding cover for the injured employee.
Finally don't take workplace safety lightly
Work place safety may not seem like it is that important in the grand scheme of things but there are so many benefits. The original cost of training and implementing good workplace safety is minuscule compared to any compensation you may have to pay out. The other major benefit of having a safe work place is a happier work force, and with a happy work force you should have a happy business.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Some Good News

The other day, I asked a young man if he knew how government works in New Hampshire. When he replied in the negative, I asked if he had ever been taught civics in High School He eyes glazed over and he shook his head. But he graduated a long time ago and that was then and this is now.
One definition of civics is that it is the study of citizenship and government with particular attention given to the role of citizens, as opposed to external factors, in the operation and oversight of government.
Probably everyone has a list of the top five things that should be included in a high school curriculum and mine includes civics. Back in the 1950s, everyone had to take it in the public school system, at least they did in Chicago and I kind of assumed it was still a mandatory course. The bad news is that it's not in Massachusetts and way too many other states but the good news is that it is here in New Hampshire--and it's a required subject.
Social studies is a regular part of school for most American students, but many survey results show that schools in many states could do more to help children learn how to participate more fully in democracy. Students who are fortunate enough to attend college probably don't know what civics is all about until and unless they take political science 101.
I wonder how many of our young people understand the makeup of state and local government in New Hampshire; how the governor, executive council, senate, house of representatives, and members of judicial system work with one another in something called the "process of politics" with the art compromise being a legitimate part of that process. My guess is that if you asked 10 people about this process, maybe 3 or 4 might know the answer.
When I hear about budget restraints or cuts being the reason civics are not part of curricula in other states, I can only ask who is teaching our kids about freedom, individual responsibility and accountability. Who is positioning them so that they can acquire the knowledge, skills, and dispositions that are needed for effective democratic citizenship, civic knowledge and participation? These things are not passed down through some magical genetic code; they require that each generation of students learn them. And if they don't learn them, how are they passed on to their children?
The answer is clear as crystal. These kinds of subjects should be mandatory, more project-based programs should be implemented, and more educators and parents should emphasize civic responsibility. Our kids need to be exposed to this knowledge base before they are old enough to vote.
Now, I don't buy conspiracy theories that say this is all by design and that sheep make better citizens for those in power. That's crackpot stuff. But I do believe politicians have far too much leeway and leverage these days and in many instances are ignoring the Constitution, revoking habeas corpus, attacking our privacy, tapping our phones, tracking our whereabouts, passing restrictive laws on what we can eat or smoke, what we can wear when driving a vehicle, etc. Those with no grounding in the basics of civics simply don't understand how quickly and easily we'll lose many of the essential freedoms that we once took for granted. They need to get involved in the process, but if we don't teach them what the process is, they can in fact become sheep on a de facto basis.
There is some hopeful news. In some locales, young Americans are experimenting with new forms of civic engagement and are volunteering. Still, young people know less about formal government and politics than their predecessors did at the same age. There are any numbers of revealing studies on this subject; for example, "A Longitudinal Study about How Deliberating Controversial Issues in High School Courses Influences Civic Learning and Participation." Principal Investigator: Diana Hess, University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Still,those responsible for curricula should not fall prey to budgetary, bureaucratic and/or administrative requirements that continue to handicap and produce students who think the current way is the only best way. Make civics a mandatory part of the curriculum.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

3 FHA Mortgage Niches To Help You Survive The Mortgage Crisis

The advice I'm about to give goes against the grain in the mortgage business where everyone likes to advertise that they offer 1200 different loan programs for borrowers with all types of credit. I'm going to give it anyway.
The very best way to make your mortgage marketing successful is to concentrate it on a very tightly defined niche and position yourself as the expert in that niche. Borrowers aren't attracted to those one size fits all ads and you are throwing away your money.
Here are three niches that an FHA mortgage specialist can use to close more loans in less time with more profit and, most importantly, happier customers that are anxious to refer their friends and relatives.
1. First Time Home Buyers.
This is the most obvious FHA niche market. After all, this was the reason the FHA program was created in the first place. In spite of what you hear in the news, a housing downturn presents the best time for smart and well advised first time home buyers to enter the market.
The key to marketing to first time buyers is to understand that they need a lot of information and guidance before they trust. Study their needs in today's market. Those needs are a little different than they were during the boom times.
Create a free report that shows how FHA mortgages can help meet those needs and put that home buyer in a position to profit when real estate values start rising again - as they always do. Create a series of follow-up letters and reports that you can send out over time. Get their email addresses and set up an automatic series of emails that can be sent out to them over a long period of time. Educate them and they will trust you.
2. Manufactured Home Refinances and Purchases
This is actually 2 niches in one and each category has slightly different needs. They are both high on the list of the most lucrative FHA markets that exist. This is because potential borrowers in these 2 areas have problems that the FHA loan program provides a better solution for than they are getting elsewhere.
Get set up with some of the lenders still offering FHA financing on manufactured homes and become a master at knowing what loan characteristics those lenders prefer. In spite of tightening guidelines, this market is still huge. Locate reputable local structural engineers and foundation contractors to help you quickly determine whether a manufactured home qualifies for FHA financing or what it will take to get it there.
Then, if you want to enter the manufactured home purchase market, get in contact with manufactured home dealers and offer them a solution to help get their homes sold. Use the same free report techniques to market your services directly to buyers. Use those buyers to help establish a relationship with some of those dealers.
You can enter the manufactured home market and have fewer parties to keep happy by locating owner financed manufactured homes in your area. In some parts of the country, many investors bought renovated and owner financed or lease purchased FHA qualified manufactured homes during the housing boom of the last few years. These loans often included very high interest rates and balloon notes which the buyer must pay off soon. You can often locate these situations through the local tax records. Keep in mind that if locating them was easy, this technique wouldn't be as profitable. A mortgage originator who has mastered the process of getting manufactured home loans approved can really help these people out of a tough situation and get paid well doing it.
3. Cash Out Debt Consolidations - With A Twist
I know every subprime call center on earth has been pounding these prospects with solicitations, and taking advantage of them, for years. Yet there is a growing group of consumers who are now realizing that they need to get rid of the debt in their lives if they ever want to make it through tough economic times. These people are very wary of mortgage brokers calling them to try to lower their payments using some sort of subprime teaser rate mortgage that traps them in a bad situation later on.
In fact, if they watch the news much, potential borrowers think every mortgage broker they meet is skillfully hiding his or her horns, tail and pitchfork long enough to get that borrower's signature on the contract selling their soul. Here is a strategy that might help get around that predisposition.
This subset of home owners who wish to get rid of debt as quickly as possible is already prepared to cut back their lifestyle in order to pay off debt. Unfortunately, a lot of their debt has crazy high interest rates. How much better might their situation be if all that debt was refinanced into one 15 year fixed rate mortgage. Yes, you did read that correctly. I'm talking about probably raising their payment. However, if they qualify I'm also talking about lowering the interest rate on that debt so they can get it paid off without the interest eating up all the payments they are making.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Financial Education and Building Wealth Strategies

Wow, are we getting some one-two punches to our economy or what? Daily in the papers and news are stories of the housing collapse, subprime problems, the stock market dropping, and the shrinking dollar -whew! Yet, we are supposed to remain optimistic and not get sweaty palms.... Right.
Quoted by Donald Trump and Robert Kiyosaki from their new book, "We are losing our middle class, and a shrinking middle class is a threat to the stability of America and to world democracy itself." Think about that a minute....
The lack of financial education has now come to a head. How did you learn to manage your finances and investments? From your parents, friends, or were you self taught? Unless you went on to college and specifically pursued those areas for career or interest purposes you probably never had a "formal" training or education about the subject. You were never taught about building wealth .
It's disturbing to hear statistics such as:
o More people will file bankruptcy this year than will graduate from college
o The number 1 resolution this year is to get out of debt - overtaking losing weight for the first time
o Last year there were over 80 million unpaid credit cards in the U.S.
The list goes on, and every American will feel the effects of the global change taking place right now. So, what can we do about it? There are ways to begin solving the problems and it starts with financial education and a mindset to get out of debt.
You can be taught the Six Steps to Freedom, then teach others, who will then teach others, and who knows - maybe it will finally become a part of our school's curriculum!
o Take an objective assessment of your finances (There are professionals who can assist in developing a plan to restructure your debt, with an objective to get out of debt)
o Minimize your taxes and increase your cash flow
o Create savings and emergency funds
o Ensure proper protection (such as insurances and trusts to name a couple)
o Building wealth for the long term (Fund college accounts and retirement)
o Freedom for life - make your dreams a reality!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

The Environment Is Big News

Thanks to decades of dedication by teachers who have brought environmental topics into the classroom, today's students are more educated about ecology and the natural world than ever before. And now, thanks to Hurricane Katrina, the hurricane and resulting flood that devastated a large part of the Gulf Coast in the summer of 2005, environmental issues have hit the front pages of newspapers and prime time TV newscasts. The environment is big news. And for a lot of kids, it's scary news.
Global warming; polar bears facing extinction; colonies of bees dying all over the U.S.: these and other stories on TV have the potential of upsetting school-aged children. For teachers, this can be a big problem, or it can be an opportunity to engage children, to inform them of the problems and their possible solutions, and to excite children about scientific topics and procedures.
Luckily, written and video material abounds that teaches children about science and the natural world. Books, magazines, and DVDs are available that cover every conceivable topic. Teacher's guides are available for many of the periodicals, offering suggestions for incorporating the material into the class curriculum. Much of this material is geared toward current environmental concerns.
Yes, the environment is a big, scary news story right now. But with the right material and a creative approach, teachers can redirect their students' fears to learning, to scientific knowledge and to developing an activist approach to the world that may send some of these young people into the direction of solving many of these serious worldwide problems.
Aldene Fredenburg is a freelance writer living in southwestern New Hampshire. She has written numerous articles for local and regional newspapers and for a number of Internet websites, including Tips and Topics.