See the Best Cities to Live In for LGBTQ+ People
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A girl jumping in the air in a field, holding a LGBT pride flag

Whether it’s time to start a new career opportunity, find a place to retire, or change up your current environment, finding the right place to move to can be difficult. For LGBTQ+ people, this can be especially difficult, as there are still many areas that are not as progressive and accepting of the LGBTQ+ community as others.

Many of the big cities that are known to embrace the community, such as San Francisco and New York City, are great options, but are not at the pace that all people are looking for when it comes to settling down. Here is a list some of the best progressive and LGBTQ+ cities to live in, which you may not have considered yet.

Portland, Oregon

Gaining recent popularity, Portland has fast become a place of diversity and culture. The city is known for its great weather, growing college community, hipster businesses and the delight of having no state income tax. But most importantly, Oregon was voted as one of the United States’ most LGBTQ+ friendly cities by the Human Rights Campaign, achieving low rates of hate crimes and discrimination and high rates of safety, acceptance and relationship recognition.

Orlando, Florida

Not only is Orlando the home to a tremendous amount of activities, mainly being a tourist town, but has become the home to many progressive neighborhoods and a well-established gay community. The town maintains the same level of “things to do” as bigger cities, but also has low taxes and has a lower cost of living, making it a more intriguing place to settle.

Bloomington, Indiana

Bloomington is an especially unique city for the LGBTQ+ community. Being a more relaxed town, Bloomington has many recreational opportunities from exploring Brown County State Park in the beautiful Indiana weather to engaging with the cultural life created by the presence of Bloomington’s Indiana University. Best of all, Bloomington received a perfect score on Municipal Equality Index, meaning that they have some of the most inclusive policies and laws for LGBTQ+ people.

Yellow Springs, Ohio

Yellow Springs is another progressive, nature driven town, known for its progressive behavior since the 1960s. Although it is a small town, Yellow Springs has an intriguing downtown area where visitors can come enjoy an array of artistic galleries and publicly supportive of the LGBTQ+ shops. This is also the perfect destination for people who cold weather, as Ohio is known to get into low temperatures and receive quite a bit of snow.

Moab, Utah

Though small in size, Moab has served as one of the most supportive and engaging LGBTQ+ communities in recent years. Moab has its own Pride Parade, Visibility March, and Gay Adventure Week, all of which are quite popular among the town’s 5000-person population. The little town is more of an isolated destination about over 200 miles from Salt Lake City, but it is an outdoor lover’s paradise as it is close to the natural park and ideal for white water rafting.

Despite the Census’ Sensitive Questions, Here’s Why LGBTQ+ People Should Still Fill it Out
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A person taking the census,holding thier smarphone with a painted pride flag drawn on their wrist

For many people in the LGBTQ+ community, the gender question, asked in every type of official form, can be an unpleasant experience. Those who identify as non-binary, genderfluid, or a gender that isn’t simply “male” or “female” can find this question daunting, as it forces them to identify themselves in a category in which they feel neither apply.

For the 2020 Census, the only options to choose from are “Male” and “Female,” with no write-in third option or even a box that says, “Other.” This has led many people in the LGBTQ+ community to not feel properly represented and discourages them from filling out the census altogether. For the next census, set to go out in 2030, the goal is to include the LGBTQ+ community in a much more effective way.

However, even though the gender question has been deemed as undesirable, it is still imperative that LGBTQ+ people fill out this year’s census, as it does more than just count the population.

The results of the Census determine how much money will go into federal funding for state programs. For every person who is not included in the Census, an estimated $2000 is lost to programs that exist to serve some of the biggest needs in the LGBTQ+ community. In 2015, $175 million in funding from the Census was distributed to the Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS program, while another $383 billion went to food stamps and Medicaid.

According to the Center for American Progress, people in the LGBTQ+ community were found to be more likely to depend on these programs, specifically food stamps, than those who did not identify as LGBTQ+.

Though many believe that the questions on the Census should be more inclusive to the lives of LGBTQ+ people and the advocacy for these issues is still going strong, filling out the Census information will contribute a little more money to the government programs that will be helping the community for the next decade.

See which City is Doing the Most to Stop Discrimination Against the LGBTQ+ Community
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A hand holding a rainbrow striped heart in front of the LGBT pride flag

In Early May, the Village of Gambier, in Knox County, Ohio, made history when they passed their county’s first ever LGBTQ anti-discrimination legislation. The village’s council met the night of May 4 via a Zoom Call and passed the law unanimously.

The legislation was passed specifically with the LGBTQ+ community in mind, including people of differing sexual orientations and gender identities to be included in protections from workplace, housing, and public commodity discrimination. The law will be put into effect immediately, with the hopes of not only better protecting people in the LGBTQ+ community in the Village of Gambier but to also encourage the passing of the Ohio Fairness Act.

The Ohio Fairness Act is essentially a much wider spread version of what Gambier passed earlier this month. The Act is set to include the LGBTQ+ community in discrimination protection in the same areas. Though the Ohio Fairness Act has been widely supported by many local fronts, it has yet to pass through the House and the Senate.

In an effort to further push the bill into becoming a law, Gambier’s mayor, Leeman Kessler stated that he wished to join arms with other local communities working to protect LGBTQ+ communities. He believes that as more and more businesses stand together in protecting the LGBTQ+ community, the more it will encourage others to do the same, including those passing the Ohio Fairness Act.

“It puts these protections in place explicitly,” Kessler stated of the new local law, “so folks aren’t left in a legal gray area.”

LA Pride Festival Cancels In-Person Celebration, Will Go Digital
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LA-pride-2019

On its 50th anniversary, the iconic Los Angeles Pride Festival and Parade, which normally draw hundreds of thousands of people to West Hollywood in June, will be going digital because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Organizers recently announced that the festival will instead be held virtually on several digital platforms over a period of months and spanning into 2021.

Back in mid-March, Christopher Street West – the nonprofit group in charge of putting on the festival, announced that it would be postponed. However, it was confirmed that the festival has been canceled the in-person celebrations, and will instead return in 2021.

“Due to the evolving effects surrounding COVID-19, CSW has made the responsible decision to forgo in-person LA Pride celebrations for the remainder of the year,” the group said in a statement. “The organization will instead re-imagine how it will celebrate its 50th anniversary through new and exciting initiatives hosted on its digital platforms, with the hope of returning to a physical celebration in 2021. More details will be announced soon on how Los Angeles will celebrate its 50th Anniversary through exciting digital initiatives.”

The three-day festival is one of the largest LGBTQ celebrations in the nation.

CSW said it would roll out its digital initiatives in the coming months.

Continue on to CBS Los Angeles to read the complete article.

Studies Show 1 in 4 Americans are Seeking Type of Advisor During the Pandemic
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While health concerns continue to be top of mind surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, other aspects of day-to-day life contribute to the anxieties due to these uncertain times. One significant additional concern is the future of financial sustainability.

To truly understand the concerns of the public, Nationwide surveyed over 2,000 Americans, including 600 investors, to see how the pandemic has changed their financial concerns. John Carter, the president and COO of Nationwide, stated of the survey, “People are struggling, they are making sacrifices, and we firmly believe that their health and safety should be everyone’s top priority right now. We are also committed to helping Americans protect their financial health for the long term. Our latest research identifies areas where they are challenged and looking for guidance.”

According to Nationwide’s study, 70% of respondents testified to feeling either cautious or uncertain for the future of their personal finances, including 69% of the surveyed investors. This data doesn’t come as a surprise to Nationwide’s additional data that stated nearly 1 in 4 of those surveyed testified to having reached out to a financial advisor for the first time because of the pandemic, including 26% of the investors asked. Only 31% of all surveyed had previously used a financial advisor, with only 58% of the investor subset being included in that tally.

Financial concerns among those who responded to the survey stated their two biggest concerns over the effects of the virus were the inability to pay bills and the fear of losing their life savings. Other concerns included the fear of losing their jobs, affording healthcare, and not being able to retire.

Kristi Rodriguez, the leader of the Nationwide Retirement Institute, stated, “Americans feel a lack of control and a need for more guidance. Even if they do all the right things to manage their finances and investments, the vast majority of Americans, including 80% of all respondents and 85% of investors, agree they can still be blindsided by outside events.”

But just because there are fears surrounding finances during this time, that doesn’t mean that all hope is lost. Nationwide is dedicated to helping those concerned with their financial situation through their various resources. To find out more about what Nationwide has to offer and see more of the survey’s results, check out Nationwide’s full press release here

Native American Women Making an Impact
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Three Native American Women pictured that are making an impact

Harjo Lauded as First Native American Poet Laureate
Joy Harjo was appointed by Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden to serve as the 23rd Poet Laureate in 2019. Harjo is the first Native American poet to serve in the position–she is an enrolled member of the Muscogee Creek Nation–and is the author of eight books of poetry, including “Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings,” “The Woman Who Fell From the Sky” and “In Mad Love and War.”

Joy Harjo, Native American Poet Laureate, pictured top left.

Source: nativeamericanheritagemonth.gov/

First Native American Delivers Invocation on the House Floor
Isleta Pueblo Chief Justice Verna Teller made history in Congress on November 13, 2019 by being the first Native American woman to deliver the opening prayer on the U.S. House floor. New Mexico Rep. Deb Haaland invited Verna Teller to lead the prayer in honor of Native American Heritage Month. But Teller has been breaking barriers long before her historic delivery in the House. “She broke barriers when she was elected as the first woman Pueblo governor,” said Rep. Haaland in the moments before Teller led the prayer. “Because of the history of colonization, many Pueblos generally don’t allow woman to hold leadership positions.”

Chief Justice Verna Teller, pictured top right, on the left.

Source: haaland.house.gov

First Indigenous Woman-Owned Airline Debuts in Canada
Teara Fraser, is the CEO and creator of Canada’s first Indigenous woman-owned airline. The name was chosen as an act of reclamation of womanhood, matriarchal leadership, and language. Iskwew Air–which is a Cree word for “woman”–provides scheduled and charter service to remote communities across the province in an effort to boost accessibility and Indigenous tourism. “Iskwew Air is for everyone…we support, encourage and champion all women, all those identifying as women, but also all of those who are supporting women,” said Fraser, who was named one of Women’s Executive Network Canada’s Most Powerful Women in 2019.

Teara Fraser, CEO and creator of Canada’s first Indigenous woman-owned airline, pictured at bottom.

As of 2019, Native American/Alaska Native women-owned businesses:
• Numbered 180,300 or 1.4% of all women-owned businesses.
• Have grown at an annual rate for the past year of 6% compared to 4.7% annual growth between 2014 and 2019.
• Earned average revenue per firm of $68,500 vs. $142,900 among all women-owned businesses.

While the number of women-owned businesses grew 21% from 2014 to 2019, firms owned by Native American/Alaska Native women (26%) businesses grew more slowly than for women of color in general but faster than women-owned businesses and businesses overall.

Source: americanexpress.com

5 Ways to Keep Your Finances in Check When Between Jobs
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Ashaunda Davis, Financial Advisor with Northwestern Mutual

It’s likely at some point in time you will find yourself between jobs. Whether you were laid off or you willingly left your previous job, this is not an easy time for anyone. But know you are not alone – about four percent of the U.S. population is unemployed at any time, according to the Bureau of Labor Statics.

While you are gainfully employed, prepare for the unexpected. My mother always said, “There is nothing new under the sun, so be prepared when life throws you a curve ball.” Control what you can during employment including your mindset, spending and savings while keeping your resume updated.

When you find yourself between jobs, this period may be overwhelming. You can minimize and prevent future stress by following these recommendations I offer my clients.

1. Create a spending plan and stick to it
Spend some time figuring out how long you can go without an income by taking a look at where your finances currently stand. Budget monthly bills that you cannot forego like rent or a mortgage, utilities and car payments. Then, set a weekly allowance for necessities like groceries and gas, and stick to it.

2. Identify expenses you can cut
Separating wants from needs can help make sticking to a budget possible. Try cutting out luxury expenses like daily coffee runs, eating out and monthly subscriptions. Buying generic products, using coupons and rethinking how you spend time with friends and family can also help eliminate expenses. Although it’s important to maintain a social life and continue to do the things you enjoy, staying frugal now can help avoid putting yourself in debt.

3. Apply for unemployment
While filing for unemployment can be time consuming and tricky, unemployment checks can help make the time between jobs less stressful. If you were fired from your previous job under circumstances that were beyond your control, like a layoff, and you meet the state’s requirements for time worked, then you may be eligible to file for unemployment. Requirements vary from state to state, so be sure to check your state’s Department of Workforce website for all information.

4. Manage your own health insurance
Private health care plans can be expensive, but it’s important to be covered at all times because unexpected hospital visits are even more pricey than paying a monthly premium. Before leaving your job, talk to the HR department about how long you will be covered under your current health insurance plan. Some companies offer a grace period to allow time to find a new plan. If you have a spouse, look into joining his or her plan. Or, consider enrolling in the Affordable Care Act platform. Some states offer a special enrollment period for situations like this, so you don’t have to worry about waiting until the health insurance marketplace opens at the end of the year.

5. Consider a part-time job
Two words: side hustle. Do you have a talent or interest you have wanted to practice, but didn’t have time before? Now is a perfect time to freelance, work a part-time job in retail or sell your artwork or vintage cloths online. Not only can a part-time job provide a sense of purpose during the transition, but the extra cash will help prevent draining your bank account.

Four essential financial planning tips for female entrepreneurs
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womans hands on a calculator with laptop beside her

Abigail Vazquez, Financial Representative with Northwestern Mutual

Today, women make up 61% of the participating Hispanic labor force, and they’re showing no signs of slowing down. The number of higher education degrees awarded to Latino students more than tripled since 2016, with Hispanic women earning 60% of those degrees.

These statistics are painting a bigger picture in which more and more Latinas are setting higher expectations for themselves, achieving career goals and gaining the confidence to create their own path to success.

To some, success means taking the entrepreneurial leap. A recent study shows that about 1 out of every 7 businesses is run by a Hispanic American entrepreneur. More specifically, Latina-majority owned businesses totalled nearly 1.5 million in 2017, representing an 87% growth since 2015.

According to a study from Northwestern Mutual, women are motivated to start their own businesses in order to achieve a better work and family balance. Although there has been a shift in how Latinas choose to live their lives, traditionally Latinas are more likely to be married, have children and have larger families, according to the study. Latinas also self-identified as creative, willing to take risks and open to new ideas – unleashing the idea of becoming an entrepreneur and aiming to achieve the American Dream.

Taking the leap to become your own boss in order to create the career you’ve dreamed about is possible with the right resources, support team and dedicated work ethic.

Whether you are just getting comfortable with the idea of becoming an entrepreneur, or if you’re a seasoned business owner – here are four essential financial planning tips for the modern day entrepreneur. ¡Ahora, échale ganas!

1. Develop or review your business plan: If you’re new to the entrepreneurial world, developing a business plan can seem daunting. Focus on developing simple, straightforward strategies such as outlining your ideas, and setting short-term goals like finding your personal business niche or visualizing your ideal career. As you begin to develop your business, your plan should develop as well. After all, this plan will be the roadmap you follow to achieve your goals.

If you’re ready to dive into a more formal business plan, prepare to write a document that includes an executive summary, business description, market research, organization and management structure, service or product lines, marketing and sales strategy, funding approach and financial projections. This comprehensive plan will help you as you begin or continue to present your business to potential investors.

2. Build your team: No matter how much experience you have in owning a business, you will always need a support system and business team to rely on. Sit down and make a list of potential tasks that could be assigned to others. Talk with your family and friends, business partners and members of your community to seek out skills and traits that may be useful for your growing business. Reach out to other female-led businesses or entrepreneurs for advice and to learn how they “get it done.” Financial experts can also help you navigate and understand the funding needed to build your team, in addition to providing you with quarterly or annual support that can have positive long-term effects on your business.

Having a group of volunteers or employees with assigned jobs or small duties can jump-start the momentum you need to launch your business or keep it growing.

3. Open a business account: If this step wasn’t included in your initial business plan, add it in – you’ll thank me later! When starting a business, you may not be focused on making money quickly, but it does happen. And for busy business owners or new entrepreneurs, the personal and professional often get blurred – including money. Mixing family and business finances can get messy fast, especially if you’re a mamá trying to take care of business and get the grocery shopping done at the same time. That’s why it’s crucial to keep personal finances and business finances separate as much as possible. Talk with your financial advisor to discuss your options for opening a business account. Having separate accounts from the very beginning will help you keep your balance sheets and mind organized.

4. Reduce or pay off your debt: Debt is scary and looking at one large number can feel overwhelming. Assess that large number and break it down piece by piece to help you determine what is possible to pay off. Then, develop a reasonable payment plan and timeline to help you pay off the entire debt. Although not required, reducing or paying off your debt can result in significant benefits for your business. Reducing your personal liability can make you and your business more appealing to investors, increasing your chance of receiving funding and lower interest rates. Don’t tackle this alone. Connect with your financial advisor to discuss payment plans, consolidation and other available options.

3 easy ways to meet your 2020 money goals
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latina woman sitting at desk with checkbook and paperwork

Chances are your goals for 2020 will include everything from becoming more physically fit and sleeping better to achieving new career ambitions and becoming financially healthier.

So how do we avoid these goals turning into empty promises? And when it comes to your money, what is actually realistic? There is no one-size-fits-all model for financial wellness. Instead, it’s about starting where you are, setting goals that drive behavior change, and ultimately following through.

Here are three things that you can do today to improve your financial future.

Cut unnecessary spending

Most of us have unnecessary expenses that we can cut. The trick here is to find a few expenses that you can live without that don’t negatively impact your happiness. For example, I need to be well-caffeinated during the day, and I enjoy a nice glass of wine after work, so obviously I’m not going to cut my coffee or alcohol budget. My friends, colleagues, and husband can thank me later.

That said, I enjoy running outside, and I have used my gym membership exactly once in three months. It’s time for that membership to go. In that vein, think of all of your expenses that are well-intentioned, but you’re not using. Or identify a free alternative, such as using audiobook subscription services or library apps instead of buying books. There are great services out there that identify your recurring payments. First, check with your bank to see if they do it, and make a goal to cut a few of those if you can.

And it’s not just the small stuff. The neighborhood you live in, public versus private school for kids, and whether you can cook (as opposed to eating prepackaged or takeout food) all have a significant impact on your finances.

Consider a side hustle

It’s never been easier to take on a side hustle. Getting started can be as easy as decluttering your closet and selling items you no longer use on eBay, driving for ride-share services such as Uber or Lyft, or putting your skills to work as a freelancer. While I don’t recommend it, dumpster divers are even seeing success selling stuff on Amazon.

The beauty of a side hustle is you can spend as much–or as little–time and money as you have. What matters is that you pick something that works with your schedule, skills, and maybe even a passion that you’ve ignored for too long. The key here is to be intentional. Use the extra money to accelerate debt reduction, or save for a down payment on a home to get out of the rental cycle.

Another often-overlooked side hustle is getting more money from your current employer. If you haven’t received a raise in a while or are killing it in your current role, consider asking for more money. Just make sure you are asking the right way.

Automate where you can and commit to cash

Good financial hygiene is crucial to your financial health, and this means avoiding late fees, overdraft charges, and other penalties. Where possible, automate any and all recurring monthly expenses, such as your mortgage, utilities, and cell phone expenses. Late fees add up and impact more than just your bottom line.

And although it may seem crazy, try committing to cash. Studies have shown that when we have to pull out cash to pay for groceries or other daily expenses, we’re more careful about how much we spend. Set yourself a challenge. Commit to using cash for a short period of time and see how it feels. You may be surprised by how much less you spend.

Continue on to Fast Company to read the complete article.

For Latinos the Definition of What Makes a Family is Broader and More Likely to Include Very Close Friends
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Family and friends sitting at a dining table

A new nationwide survey conducted by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) concludes that for Latinos love is the top word that sparks the meaning of family and almost the majority (72%) include close friends in their definition of family.

This study examines how has the definition of family evolved over the years. Surprisingly, there were more similarities than differences regardless of age, parental status, ethnicity, race, gender identity, orientation or sibling status.

“Usually when you span such a broad consumer group, you find more differences than similarities,” said Lorie Valle-Yanez, head of diversity and inclusion, MassMutual. “But when it comes to the topic of one’s family, while everyone is different, at the root of it, it’s about the people we love.”

Key Findings:

  • Nontraditional is the new traditional. Their most trusted individual is someone not related by blood, adoption or marriage, said 77% of Latinos.
  • Tell someone you trust. From passwords to insurance policies to financial accounts, almost half of Latinos (41%) trust their spouse, partner or significant other with information about the whereabouts of their most important documents.  Furthermore, 33% of Latinos believe their spouse, partner or significant other will take care of them when they are older.
  • Leave your mark. Nearly half of Latinos (48%) occasionally think about their legacy or how they want to be remembered.
  • Dream big. For most (62%), future hopes and dreams was the most talked about topic at home when growing up, beating out discussions about going to college, financial situation and challenges, and physical, emotional and spiritual health and wellness.
  • Got my mind on my money and my money on my mind. Money matters is the top distraction (53%), concern or stressor Latinos face while working, followed by medical care, personal relationships and daily household management.

To find a local financial advisor near you, visit www.MassMutual.com.

Methodology

The MassMutual Chosen Family Consumer Poll was conducted by PSB Research in June 2019 via an online survey which revealed American’s evolving definition of family.  The survey comprised 3,000 interviews and polled 478 Americans who identified themselves as Latinos.

About MassMutual

MassMutual is a leading mutual life insurance company that is run for the benefit of its members and participating policyowners. MassMutual offers a wide range of financial products and services, including life insurance, disability income insurance, long term care insurance, annuities, retirement plans and other employee benefits. For more information, visit www.massmutual.com.

Does a Career in Finance Pay Off?
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Often requiring long hours and grueling days at the office, finance remains one of the highest-paying sectors in the U.S. economy.

Those who stick with it are rewarded with high pay and typically shorter hours as they move up the ranks in the industry.

If you’re looking for a high-paying career, browse through the following list:

Finance Jobs with the Highest Salaries

Investment Banker–
$81,000–$183,000
Investment bankers have a wide range of responsibilities that touch many areas of the financial industry. In general, investment bankers raise money for their clients by issuing debt or selling equity in companies for their clients. They also advise clients on investment opportunities and strategies, as well as assist with mergers and acquisitions. Typically requiring long hours and a strong work ethic, aspiring investment bankers must be tenacious in their approach to the job.

Equity Analyst–
$64,000–$164,000
Equity analysts are typically employed by brokerages or financial firms to analyze the value of a company’s stock and make financial predictions about a company. This type of research is accomplished through numerical and qualitative analysis of financial data, public records of companies, recent news and other information sources.

Financial Analyst–
$49,000–$89,000
Like equity analysts, financial analysts use quantitative and qualitative methods to study the performance of investments, such as stocks, bonds and commodities to provide investment guidance to businesses and individuals. Financial analysts also may advise companies on their financial strategy decisions.

Credit Risk Manager–
$67,000–$134,000
Credit risk managers develop, implement and maintain policies and protocols that help to reduce the credit risk of financial institutions. Their duties include building financial models that predict credit risk exposure as well as monitoring and reporting on credit risk to the organizations they are employed by. A highly quantitative job, becoming a credit risk manager often requires an area-specific master’s degree.

Director of Financial Planning and Analysis–
$113,000–$175,000
The director of financial planning and analysis is typically in charge of creating and overseeing budgets, long-term financial plans, analyses and predictions for a financial organization or team. This role often requires an MBA or degree in accounting or finance, and sometimes it is required that employees in this role are certified as an accountant.

HNM BLM

 
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