The City of Austin’s RENT Assistance program
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RENT assistance program flyer with picture of nurses and doctors wearing masks

The program is available for low-income Austin residents who have been financially impacted by COVID-19 and are struggling to pay their rent. 2020 has been challenging for everyone and the City of Austin has expanded its RENT Assistance program making it easier for eligible candidates to apply.

The RENT assistance program will pay up to 12-15 months of rent for eligible Austin renters and may cover the following:

Future rent payments will be provided three months at a time and families will be requalified every three months after that. If the government pays for a portion of your rent, the program can pay the additional portions not covered by the government subsidy.

Residents may be eligible if they earn 80% or less than the average household income. If residents were assisted last year, they are still eligible for this new program and can help cover rents that are still due from April 2020 through December 2021.

For example, a mother with two children who lives in Austin’s Rosewood neighborhood who made $54,500 a year but has lost her job due to the pandemic should apply for RENT assistance. She is currently unable to pay her landlord and may lose her apartment. She can visit http://AustinTexas.gov/RENT and submit her application.

Another example includes a couple living in Austin’s Riverside neighborhood. They made a combined $62,500 and renewed their lease, but due to the pandemic one of them lost their job and they are now struggling to make future rent payments. They will qualify for RENT assistance.

The RENT Assistance Program has established a priority point system to ensure those in greatest need are considered first.

Renters in the first priority group will receive 3 points and will be considered first. That includes Renters need to meet two criteria: the renter must qualify for unemployment for at least 90 consecutive days before application and have zero or extremely low income (at or less than 30% of the area median income).

Renters in the 2nd priority group will receive 2 points and will be considered after the 1st group. This includes renters who qualify for two criteria: renters who qualify for unemployment for at least 90 consecutive days before application, and have low income (between 30% and 50% of the area median income).

Renters in the 3rd group will receive one point and will be considered after the 2nd group. These renters only have to meet one of the following criteria:

  • Renters who qualify for unemployment for at least 90 consecutive days before application
  • Low income renters (at or less than 50% of the area median income)
  • Renters who have experienced homelessness in the last 3 years
  • Renters who applied for the RENT Assistance program between August 2020 – December 2020 and did not receive rent help (this does not include inactive applications and applications that were denied.)

All other applications will be considered after those in the 3rd group.

With an easier application process, candidates do not need to submit documents with their application but will be requested if they are selected. Documents that will be needed include:

  • A Self-Certification form stating residents have been financially impacted by COVID-19. The form will be sent electronically requesting an e-signature.
  • Proof of current monthly income for all household members.
  • Proof that residents are at risk of experiencing homelessness or that housing is unstable, which may include past due rent or eviction notice.
  • Current lease showing address, name of the leaseholder, amount of monthly rent, and when the lease expires. The lease must be signed by both the resident(s) and the landlord.
  • A government-issued photo ID for the head of household. For example, a driver’s license, passport, or other photo ID.

A social security number and legal status are not required for this application. Eligible applicants will be randomly selected, and if the application is selected, the RENT Assistance program will contact the landlord and pay rent directly.

To learn more and apply please visit http://austintexas.gov/RENT. The portal will remain open through September 2021 or until all available funds have been committed.

Latinas earn $0.55 for every dollar paid to White men, a pay gap that has barely moved in 30 years
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By Courtney Connley, CNBC

This year, Latina Equal Pay Day falls on Oct. 29, marking how far into the new year Latinas have to work to earn the same pay white, non-Hispanic men earned the previous year.

When translated into a dollar amount, Latinas today earn, on average, just $0.55 for every dollar earned by White men, leaving them with a pay gap that surpasses that of women in all other racial groups. Over the course of a 40-year career, it’s estimated that Latinas stand to lose $1,163,920 due to the wage gap, according to data from the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC). Assuming that a Latina and her White male counterpart both start working at age 20, NWLC estimates that due to this wage gap a Latina will have to work until she’s 92 to earn what her While male peer earned by 60.

The ongoing pay disparity that Latinas face is one that has barely budged within the last 30 years, according to NWLC. In 1989, Latinas were paid just $0.52 for every dollar paid to White men. This means, that the Latina pay gap has only narrowed by a penny every decade since.

“I think there’s a lot of performative wokeness happening,” Jasmine Tucker, NWLC’s director of research, tells CNBC Make It about the Latina pay gap and why it’s barely improved over the last 30 years. “I think people are saying they care about this issue, but they’re not actually taking steps to address this issue.”

She says that while more companies are publishing reports to try and prove that they pay people in the same job fairly, it’s important to examine who these companies are hiring and what positions they’re hiring certain people for.

“I feel like there’s a lot of gaming the system in that way,” Tucker adds. ”[Companies] are like, ‘Oh well, we’re paying them the minimum wage. We’re paying them a living wage.’” But, she says, “when you’re doing the bare minimum, and then you’re also faster promoting White men into C-suite positions” then you’re not really making progress.

Today, for every 100 men promoted to manager, just 71 Latinas are promoted at the same rate, according to Lean In and McKinsey & Company’s 2020 “Women in the Workplace” report. The study describes this inequity as “the broken rung,” in which Latinas face barriers around sexism and racism that often block them from being promoted to manager.

Tucker explains that the longstanding pay disparities Latinas face have only been exacerbated by the Covid-19 crisis, with nearly three in 10 Latinas working a front-line job today, but still being underpaid for their work.

For example, Latinas make up just 7% of the overall workforce, but they account for 22% of child-care workers. On average, Latinas working full-time, year-round in child care earn just $0.88 for every dollar earned by White men in the same occupation, according to NWLC. Similarly, Latinas working as cashiers and retail salespeople earn just $0.76 for every dollar paid to a White man in the same role, and Latinas working as janitors, maids and housekeepers earn just $0.61 for every dollar paid to a White man in the same role.

“We’re depending on their labor like never before, but we’re not paying them what we owe them,” says Tucker, while adding that many of the jobs Latinas are overrepresented in are also jobs that have experienced major layoffs during the pandemic. In September, nearly one in nine Latinas were unemployed. But Tucker argues that this number is likely higher when you account for the thousands of women who’ve been forced to leave the labor force because of the overwhelming demands to work, teach and parent at the same time.

“I think there’s really a lot of suffering happening here because Latinas were already struggling to make ends meet before this crisis,” Tucker says. She adds that “if they had the [financial] cushion that some of their White male peers had,” then they would be in a much better position to weather the storms of today’s economy.

Click here to read the full article on CNBC.

3 Investing Myths That Could Hurt Your Chances of Getting Rich
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We believe investing is a great way to build your wealth and help your money work for you. But buying into misinformation could cause you to make bad choices as an investor.

Here are three investing myths we think you should steer clear of at all costs.

  1. You shouldn’t start to invest until you have a lot of money

You may be under the impression that you need thousands of dollars to buy stocks or open a brokerage account. This isn’t true. Many accounts don’t impose minimums, so you can invest with as little as $100 if that’s all you have. Some individual stocks may be out of reach if you’re low on funds, but it’s easier than ever to buy fractional shares, which give you the option of buying a piece of a share of stock.

Prior to investing, we recommend you have a solid emergency fund with three to six months’ worth of living expenses tucked away in a savings account. Once you’re all set in that regard, there’s no need to put off investing just because you might feel limited financially.

  1. You should unload stocks when the market goes down

Your goal as an investor should be to make money. When stock values fluctuate, it’s natural to panic. But if you sell stocks when their value is down, you may guarantee losses in your portfolio. If you sit tight and wait for the stock market to recover—which it has a strong history of doing—then you might not encounter losses at all.

There is one exception—if you have one or two specific stocks in your portfolio that have been doing poorly, it could pay in the long-term to unload them at a loss. Then you can put your freed-up money into stocks with more growth potential. Otherwise, patience pays off, so leave your stocks alone when there is a market turndown.

  1. It’s impossible to beat the market on your own

There’s a reason so many people pay hefty fees to invest in actively managed mutual funds. Some of those funds do a great job of outperforming the broader market and delivering solid returns. After all, they’re run by professionals who get paid to pick stocks for a living.

But… if your goal is to beat the market, you don’t have to pay someone else to do it for you. With the right strategy and research, you have the potential to beat the market on your own.

You’re more likely to beat the market if you focus on stocks with strong growth potential, assemble a diverse investment mix, and hold your stocks for a long time.

But how do you identify stocks with strong growth potential?

We here at The Motley Fool have you covered. Our flagship investing service, Stock Advisor, provides members with two curated stock picks a month chosen by our founders. These seasoned investors have led members to stocks which have had incredible returns, including:

  • Amazon (up 21,252% since our first recommendation in 2002)
  • Netflix (up 29,954% since our first recommendation in 2003)
  • Nvidia (up 3,865% since our first recommendation in 2017)

But we don’t need to pick-and-choose from their recommendations—their average return is 895%, which is more than 5X the returns of the S&P 500!

But that’s not all.

Click the link and sign up, and you’ll get access to our report, “5 Stocks Under $50” absolutely free. It’s a report detailing 5 of our top stock picks under $50 and it’s our gift to you. Just enter your email address below, and we’ll send it right to your inbox. It’s time to start taking control of your investments.

You don’t need to be a seasoned investor with lots of money to do well in the stock market. You just need to commit to the right strategy and practice the art of keeping a clear head when things go south. Most importantly, don’t believe the above myths. They could stand in the way of meeting your goals and building the wealth you deserve.

JPMorgan Chase Commits $30 Billion to Advance Racial Equity
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Today, JPMorgan Chase announced new long-term commitments to advance racial equity. The firm will harness its expertise in business, policy and philanthropy and commit an additional $30 billion over the next five years to provide economic opportunity to underserved communities, especially the Black and Latinx communities.

Structural barriers in the U.S. have created profound racial inequalities that have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The existing racial wealth gap puts a strain on families’ economic mobility and restricts the U.S. economy. Building on the firm’s existing investments, this new commitment will drive an inclusive economic recovery, support employees and break down barriers of systemic racism.

“Systemic racism is a tragic part of America’s history,” said Jamie Dimon, Chairman and CEO, JPMorgan Chase & Co. “We can do more and do better to break down systems that have propagated racism and widespread economic inequality, especially for Black and Latinx people. It’s long past time that society addresses racial inequities in a more tangible, meaningful way.”

Over the next five years, the firm expects these new commitments, which include loans, equity and direct funding, to:

I. Promote and Expand Affordable Housing and Homeownership for Underserved Communities

A. Originate an additional 40,000 home purchase loans for Black and Latinx households. To do this, the firm is committing $8 billion in mortgages. Efforts include:

  • Improving key home lending products and offerings, including substantially increasing the Chase Homebuyer Grant in underserved communities.

B. Help an additional 20,000 Black and Latinx households achieve lower mortgage payments through refinancing loans. To do this, the firm is committing up to $4 billion in refinancing loans.

C. Finance an additional 100,000 affordable rental units. To do this, the firm will provide $14 billion in new loans, equity investments and other efforts to expand affordable housing in underserved communities. Efforts include:

  • Investing additional capital in vital community institutions and increasing funding for the construction and rehabilitation of affordable housing for low and moderate-income households nationwide.

II. Grow Black- and Latinx-owned Businesses

A. Provide an additional 15,000 loans to small businesses in majority-Black and -Latinx communities. To do this, the firm will deliver $2 billion in loans. Efforts include:

  • Launching a new program designed to help entrepreneurs in historically underserved areas access coaching, technical assistance and capital.
  • Accelerating a digital lending product to better support the needs of small Black- and Latinx-owned businesses seeking quick access to capital.

B. Spend an additional $750 million with Black and Latinx suppliers.

III. Improve Financial Health and Access to Banking in Black and Latinx Communities

A. Help one million people open low-cost checking or savings accounts. To do this, the firm commits to hiring 150 new community managers, opening new Community Center branches in underserved communities and materially increasing marketing spend to reach more customers who are currently underserved, unbanked or underbanked. Other efforts include:

  • Continuing to open 100 new branches in low-to-moderate income communities across the country as part of the firm’s market expansion initiative.
  • Building awareness and trust in Chase Secure Banking to meet the needs of Black and Latinx unbanked and underbanked households and expand access to traditional banking.

B. Invest up to $50 million in the form of capital and deposits in Black and Latinx-led Minority Depository Institutions (MDI) and Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI), and continue to mentor and advise select MDIs and CDFIs to help them achieve future success.

IV. Accelerate Investment in our Employees and Build a More Diverse and Inclusive Workforce

A. Continuing to build a more equitable and representative workforce and hold executives accountable by incorporating priorities and progress into year-end performance evaluations and compensation decisions for members of the Operating Committee and their direct reports.

B. Providing financial coaching services to the firm’s U.S. employees.

The firm will also provide $2 billion in philanthropic capital over the next five years to drive an inclusive economic recovery and support Black, Latinx and other underserved communities. This extends and increases the firm’s current five-year $1.75 billion philanthropic commitment made in 2018. It will also include an emphasis on supporting Black- and Latinx-led organizations.

A fact sheet detailing JPMorgan Chase’s new commitments is available here.

Holding Ourselves Accountable

Measuring impact and ensuring accountability is central to these new commitments. Progress will be tracked regularly and shared with senior leadership across the firm, as well as externally with the Chase Advisory Panel, to assess performance and hold the business accountable. These efforts will further allow for maximum impact and bring an enhanced equity lens to the firm’s business.

Comments on the Importance of Advancing Racial Equity

“We have a responsibility to intentionally drive economic inclusion for people that have been left behind,” said Brian Lamb, Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion, JPMorgan Chase.The COVID-19 crisis has exacerbated long-standing inequities for Black and Latinx people around the world. We are using this catalytic moment to create change and economic opportunities that enhance racial equity for Black and Latinx communities.”

“To ensure the Latino community can thrive, we must work together to break down persistent obstacles to opportunity created by systemic racism,” said Janet Murguía, President and CEO, UnidosUS. “JPMorgan Chase’s new commitments will help ensure that the American dream is accessible to more Latinos today, create a multiplier effect through generations, and lead to a stronger country with greater shared prosperity.”

“America’s racial wealth gap has been a persistent injustice, and it can no longer be tolerated as business as usual,” said Marc Morial, President and CEO, National Urban League. “I am heartened to see JPMorgan’s specific, measurable commitments that we believe will address decades of systemic racism toward Black communities – and will bolster the wellbeing of families across the country, as well as our collective economy. We are proud to work alongside JPMorgan Chase to make these changes and help craft conditions for lasting racial equity.”

“All Americans deserve equitable access to affordable housing and the physical, emotional and financial security it represents,” said Lisa Rice, CEO, National Fair Housing Alliance. “JPMorgan Chase’s new commitments will help make owning or renting a reality for more Black and Latinx families, whose housing access has been impeded by decades of systemic racism and are now disproportionately affected by the impact of COVID-19. Addressing the affordability crisis, now overlaid with the pandemic, will require many players on many fronts, and these commitments are concrete, meaningful steps in the right direction.”

“This moment requires leaders and their institutions to shake off the husks of complacency and to stand in transformative solidarity with the more than 100 million in America who face the burdens of a democracy and economy that does not yet allow them to participate, prosper, and reach their full potential,” said Dr. Michael McAfee, President and CEO, PolicyLink. “JPMorgan Chase is beginning the journey to answer this call. It’s targeted investments in black and brown communities, and its leadership advancing public policy that ensures all people in America participate in a just society, live in a healthy community of opportunity, and prosper in an equitable economy is the type of creative spark that will usher in America’s renewal.



About JPMorgan Chase

JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) is a leading global financial services firm with assets of $3.2 trillion and operations worldwide. The Firm is a leader in investment banking, financial services for consumers and small businesses, commercial banking, financial transaction processing, and asset management. A component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, JPMorgan Chase & Co. serves millions of customers in the United States and many of the world’s most prominent corporate, institutional and government clients under its J.P. Morgan and Chase brands. Information about JPMorgan Chase & Co. is available at www.jpmorganchase.com.

Andrea Garcia: Breaking the Gender Barrier to Accounting Success
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By Mary Marshall

The sun-drenched skies, sculpted rock formations and Saguaro cactus of the high desert are part of the landscape that Andrea Garcia calls home. Garcia, a native of Phoenix, Arizona, is proud of her Hispanic heritage and feels fortunate to be able to crossover the language barrier from English to Spanish and collaborate in two languages as a bilingual accountant.

“So many people within the Hispanic community appreciate someone who can speak Spanish in everyday business interactions,” said Garcia. “Especially when it comes to tax accounting. It truly makes everyone feel comfortable and at home when you can convey the message in their own language.”

Garcia, an entrepreneur and founder of her own accounting firm AG Tax and Accounting as well as an accountant with Nahrwold Associates in Phoenix, received a wealth of opportunity that opened many doors for her as a Hispanic woman in a male-dominated profession like accounting.


“I landed a part-time administrative job with Nahrwold Associates, a small accounting firm, while still in college,” reminisced Garcia, 27. “The owner, Allen Nahrwold, noted my interest in business and finance. He became my mentor in the field of tax accounting. Many employees were part-time college students, such as me, who left the firm and moved on to other jobs. I ultimately stayed and learned the accounting business from the ground up. I have never found that being a woman or Hispanic has been an issue – if anything it has been an asset since I speak Spanish as well as English. That is an area where many young Hispanic women could find themselves in a career, and truly excel rapidly by being able to speak both languages.”

Now into several months of being a business owner, Garcia has discovered the freedom of creating her own business identity while remaining a Nahrwold employee.

“This is the best of both worlds,” said Garcia, “being able to work for myself and Nahrwold. I am building a great network based off referrals and additional business contacts provided by Nahrwold. It is amazing how the clients and referrals come when people discover you are starting a new business.”

When contemplating college following high school graduation, Garcia’s exemplary grades led to a wealth of scholarship opportunities including several that she received from the Accounting and Financial Women’s Alliance (AFWA), an educational and professional association for women in the field of finance and accounting, headquartered in Lexington, Kentucky. Garcia has since completed a master’s degree in accounting and plans to complete the two phases of the CPA exam by the end of the year.

“The AFWA scholarships were so beneficial to my college success,” said Garcia. “The whole organization has been a wonderful education and networking experience. I joined our local AFWA chapter (East Mesa and Phoenix Chapters) shortly after finishing college. Now I am the president of East Mesa and enjoying every minute of it. It is a great way to network, make friends in your profession, create revenue streams, and get involved in the community. I have also served for several years on the national AFWA Board of Directors, and that has been a wonderful experience.”

Garcia’s advice to young women interested in pursuing a profession as an accountant or in the field finance includes becoming an intern for valuable experience and finding a mentor to guide you down the career path of choice. She also believes that it is important to join a professional organization while still attending college, like the AFWA, that offers a student membership and scholarship opportunities.

“Working as an intern in a position is a wonderful chance to discover if accounting or finance is the career path you want to follow,” said Garcia. “It is even more beneficial to find a mentor to help you learn the ropes and give you advice along the way, help develop skills, and create your business acumen. It is also important to join a professional organization, like the AFWA, to develop soft skills, networking, and leadership skills. Women are underrepresented in the field of finance and accounting. There are so many opportunities available it just takes making yourself aware, willing to step out of your comfort zone and into a role where you can learn, lead, excel and grow in your business and interpersonal skills.”

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.

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

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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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
LinkedIn
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
LinkedIn
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.

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