As we move out of our blistering hot summer and then to the most stay at home and less traveled season of the year, its important to point out that acquiring wealth doesnt necessarily give us peace, solitude, and the complete full life we are in search of. These are qualities of intrinsic value; the value of money and material things can only pale in comparison. My parents taught us to respect money, but not to worship it or allow it to possess you. They taught us how to build enduring wealth through an unbreakable value system based on principles and uncompromising virtues. Attaining wealth without faith, compassion, integrity and concern for bringing others along, can lead to emptiness and despair.
The national lottery, Survivor, Who Wants to be a Millionaire, Big Brother, etc., have become staples of our cultural consciousness. These shows and events and their promise of instant fortune nourish our secret desires for power and respect. The common thread: All of these game shows carry the suggestion of an alternative, an escape from the daily drudgery of work. They promise that with a million dollars, all of our problems and anxieties will disappear.
The message probably has a special resonance in America where citizens have been weaned on the myth that fortune awaits them. Lacking a sense of genuine cultural history, Americans have been bound together by a common belief in credit. Capitalism is our motherland and our cultural heritage was forged in the post-Civil War boom, when shrewd men took advantage of the Industrial Revolution to secure vast fortunes. From their success sprang the notion that in America, a better life awaited. This rags to riches theme formed a powerful folklore; one that linked capitalism with the beautiful possibilities of life. The capitalist system is built upon the notion that the friction of workers competing against one another benefits the consumer and thus the economy. The classic definition of capitalism is that for one to win, another must lose.
One wonders if the concepts of brotherly love and fundamental acts of charity dont fall by the wayside of an economic system so red of tooth and claw. After all, our spiritual compass recognizes that there are principles beyond the acquisition of wealth, which endow our lives with meaning. Our spirituality is based on the concepts of unconditional love and forgiveness. To embrace these concepts, one must remove himself or herself from materialistic concerns. Capitalism, on the other hand, is a triumph of individual ego. It is based upon a bourgeois value system that makes the accumulation of objects a substitute for Gods country. This point was not lost on theologian Walter Rauschenbusch, whose turn-of-the-century social gospel movement equated the burgeoning Industrial Revolution with the new idolatry. The Bible warns that Thou shall have no other God before me, nor any graven images. Rauschenbusch feared that capitalisms emphasis upon material acquisition and personal vanity was supplanting the worship of the almighty as the center of mans life. American industrialists have massaged this incongruity by preaching a distinction between their public and private lives. A long line of hackneyed social theory aided them in this regard. For example, Social Darwinism has been much esteemed by the industrialists who liked to justify their shrewd business practices as a means of preserving the social order. After a long day of squashing the hope of the masses, they would retreat into their posh homes and indulge in a few religious customs. For them, the workplace and their homes were separate moral spheres. (As if their supreme being wasnt going to notice the technicality.) And though many turn-of-the-century industrialists proclaimed their belief in a higher power, they seemed to stop short of embracing the true word of their fundamental spiritual foundation on company time.
Of course, this separation of public and private moral spheres is absurd. Plainly, our actions public and private animate our religious beliefs. Without action, our religious beliefs cease to have meaning. It is not enough to love the belief systems that animate your life; one must love his fellow human beings as their faith teaches. And this is not strictly an emotional appeal either. Can the marketplace truly find no value in the warmth of community that comes only from selfless sharing? Are we completely blind to the priceless spiritual fruits because they are not easily commoditized in terms of dollars? An informed capitalist knows that it is only through moral acts of love and fraternity that man can benefit from that which is beyond measure within a materialistic society. The sad thing is that many continue to aspire for material acquisition without any thought to the true meaning of life. For them, I offer St. Augustines sage observation: Our souls are restless, O Lord, until they rest in thee.
bull; Armstrong Williams is a widely-syndicated columnist, CEO of the Graham Williams Group, and hosts Sirius Power 128 evening drive daily from 7 pm to 8 pm His new book in stores July 2011 is Reawakening Virtues.
On Friday, Shares of La Quinta Holdings Inc (NYSE:LQ), lost 2.65% to $14.69.
La Quinta Holdings, declared the appointment of Jim Abrahamson, Chief Executive Officer of Interstate Hotels and Resorts, to its Board of Directors, effective November 12, 2015.
Jim is an excellent addition to our Board of Directors, said Keith A. Cline, Interim President amp; Chief Executive Officer of La Quinta. He brings a wide variety of directly relevant experience related to hospitality, hotel administration and franchise development. Jim’s advice and guidance will be extremely constructive and right away assistful as we continue to develop our strategy to accelerate La Quinta’s growth longer term.
Mr. Abrahamson, 60, is presently the Chief Executive Officer of Interstate Hotels and Resorts. Preceding to joining Interstate in 2011, Mr. Abrahamson held senior leadership positions with InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), Hyatt Corporation, Marcus Corporation and Hilton Worldwide. At IHG, where he served from 2009 to 2011, he was President of the Americas division, and at Hyatt, which he joined in 2004, he was Head of Development for the Americas division. At Marcus, where he served from 2000 to 2004, he led the Baymont Inns and Suites and Woodfield Suites hotels division compriseing of about 200 properties, both owned and franchised. At Hilton, where he served from 1988 to 2000, Mr. Abrahamson oversaw the Americas region franchise and administration contract development for all Hilton brands, and he launched the Hilton Garden Inn brand.
La Quinta Holdings Inc. owns, operates, and franchises select-service hotels under the La Quinta brand. It serves the upper-midscale and midscale segments. As of May 7, 2015, the company had about 870 hotels with about 86,000 rooms under the La Quinta Inn amp; Suites, La Quinta Inn, and LQ Hotel brands in 47 states of the United States, in addition to in Canada, Mexico, and Honduras.
Shares of SLM Corp (NASDAQ:SLM), declined -0.77% to $6.47, during its last trading session.
Ascensus College Savings and Sallie Mae are happy to declare that Upromise by Sallie Mae members have collectively contributed $250 million of Upromise cash back earnings into their Ascensus 529 college savings accounts. Ascensus has partnered with Upromise by Sallie Mae since 2002 to offer account holders the opportunity to boost contributions to their college savings accounts through the Upromise program.
“We recommend that families follow a 1-2-3 approach to saving for college and that means first, opening a savings account; second, setting a aim and regularly contributing money; and third, exploring tax-advantaged options like a 529 college savings plan,” said David O’Connell, president, Upromise by Sallie Mae. “It’s encouraging to see many of our members effectively using their Upromise cash back to further boost their college savings.”
That was the message the Virgin Valley Elementary School kindergartners, first- and second-graders received Thursday, Nov. 5. The students had the opportunity to attend an assembly about saving for college sponsored by the Nevada State Treasurer, Dan Schwartz.
During the assembly, the students were introduced to The Nevada College Savings Plans Program by Rebecca Jackson and “Sage,” the program mascot. Sage taught the students how these programs offer families across the state and nation a wide variety of college savings options, with the benefits being able to be used at any eligible institution of higher learning, including universities, colleges and trade schools.
Virgin Valley Elementary was Sage’s last stop on his bus tour traveling the state of Nevada this year spreading his message about the importance of college savings. Interested parents can find more information about these valuable savings plans at http://nv529.org/.
It is hoped that all of the young students that attended the assembly at Virgin Valley Elementary School have been inspired to start saving for their college education!
I have a confession to make: when it comes to scenes of characters looting through the remnants of a once thriving society, the magic is gone. These scenes have always been one of The Walking Dead’s most essential pleasures, a kind of muted, post-capitalist fantasy of scrounging your way through the world, taking what you needed where you found it, and not giving a damn about cash or credit. The only currency that mattered was what you were willing to do to protect what you had. That’s a brutal metric, but it’s also a freeing one, especially when we’re not the ones engaging in it. No one on the show has to worry about saving for college.
That’s still more or less true even with Alexandria, but the novelty has worn out. “Always Accountable” has Sasha and Abraham making their way through a town, finding what they can find, and when their story began, I had a certain sinking sensation. As good as the show has become at telling silent stories with the artifacts of a bygone age, there are only so many times you can see words scrawled on a wall, or a half-packed suitcase, or an overturned tricycle, before the symbols lose their impact. Our heroes are living in the graveyard of the world. That’s a potent, powerful idea, but it’s been there since the start, and at a certain point, being sad about all those dead fictional people we never met is just not enough to hold my interest.
Thankfully, Abraham and Sasha had a bit more to do than just grave-rob, and even more importantly, Daryl was off having his own adventure, one which tangentially introduced us to what’s sure to be the series’ next big threat. After successfully leading the main zombie herd twenty miles away from Alexandria, the three are ready to head home when an ambush (or else a run in with somebody else’s car chase) throws everything to shit. Sasha and Abraham total their car in the ensuing fracas, and Daryl is separated from the other two, ultimately crashing his bike in a burned out forest.
And when I say “burned out,” I mean that literally. There’s a story here, and everything that happens to Daryl in the woods feeds into that story. This episode is meant to tell us why it’s taken Sasha, Abraham, and Daryl to get back to Alexandria, but if it that was the only thing it accomplished, it would be wasted time. So we get some character building for Abraham, a potential new romance between him and Sasha, and, perhaps most importantly, we get an introduction to what’s sure to be a major foe in the weeks ahead.
River Valley Realty will sponsor a free seminar entitled How to Build Wealth with Real Estate at Rothwell Hall room 138 on the Arkansas Tech University campus in Russellville on Thursday, Oct. 29.
The seminar will begin at 6:30 pm Free registration for the event is available at www.rivervalleyrealty.com.
Tom Lundstedt will serve as the speaker for the seminar. A former Major League Baseball player, Lundstedt earned a business administration degree from the University of Minnesota and holds the CCIM (Certified Commercial Investment Member) designation from the National Association of Realtors.
Its November and Americas high school seniors and college enrollment officers are busy with applications. While students are providing data and schools are reviewing it, families are asking one question of colleges: How can we afford you?
Because they have few answers, and fear theyll be adding to the $1.2 trillion in student loan debt, a total greater than credit card balances or car loans.
College costs have risen faster than other prices and faster than stagnant family incomes, causing higher education to be something that people now have to pay for over time. According to the College Board, inflation-adjusted tuition for private, four-year colleges has risen about two and a half times in 30 years. Over the same time, costs at public, four-year universities more than tripled.
Practically speaking, families can either save and earn interest to pay for college, or borrow and pay interest. Most families, for many reasons, will borrow. The portion of American families saving for college is actually declining. Noting the rapid escalation of college costs, many families have thrown in the towel on saving.
Boston police are crediting anonymous tips for helping them to track down a man wanted in connection with a shooting in Brighton two weeks ago that left an Allston man dead.
Gammada Musa, 25, of Brighton, is accused of shooting and killing Desmond Joseph, 30, on Oct. 22.
Musa was arrested in New Bedford on Friday thanks to anonymous tips, police said.
In addition to thanking my investigators, I want to especially acknowledge and thank the community members who supplied the anonymous tips that ultimately led to the capture of Gammada Musa, said police commissioner William Evans. Thanks to the communitys help and belief in the idea that our city can be a safer place when we all work together, a dangerous felon is off the streets and in police custody.
Musa allegedly shot Joseph multiple times just before midnight on Telford Street in Brighton.
Police asked the public for help in locating Musa on Oct. 27, releasing his photo and saying he was armed and dangerous.
Weve been seeking him since then, said Boston police spokesman Stephen McNulty.
Musa is set to be arraigned on a murder charge Monday in Brighton District Court.
By Sabrina Terry, Project Manager, NCLR and Ulises Silva, Director of Communications and Marketing, The Resurrection Project
One critical skill to help new citizens to fulfill their American Dream is the financial know-how of the US banking system. Financial capability — financial knowledge, counseling, and access — is critically important for immigrants who are in the process of changing their legal status.
Latinos and other immigrants encounter several economic hurdles during the US citizenship process. And once they have completed the naturalization process, they find an economy with a vast racial wealth gap. According to a 2014 Pew Research Center report, the wealth of White households was 10 times that of Latino households — a gap that has increased since 2007 and is predicted to continue growing. Community organizations that serve the most vulnerable families are all too aware of the wealth-building challenges for the Latino community and are proactively helping new U.S citizens start off on the right foot.
To do so, community organizations across the country are working in collaboration with NCLR to execute a legal services and financial capability integration program. This program, developed with support from Citi and the Citi Foundation, is designed to positively influence the financial behavior of immigrant clients when they seek legal assistance to become US citizens.
Naturalization applicants receive both application assistance and financial coaching on household budgeting and savings, how to build and maintain good credit, and savings or loan products that can help them cover the cost of the application.
While people get on a path to achieving their financial goals, the community organizations that serve them also benefit from the program. The Resurrection Project (TRP), an NCLR Affiliate in Chicago, has built a successful model that provides both legal and financial capability services to Latinos who are in the process of applying for citizenship or DACA.
TRP ensures that every legal services client receives basic financial education and an opportunity for one-on-one coaching. Last year, TRP helped 76 clients with their citizenship application–90 percent of them demonstrated an increase in financial knowledge as measured by pre-education and post-education tests. TRP also established a partnership with a neighborhood credit union, Second Federal, for clients who needed safe and affordable loan products to cover the cost of their immigration application.
The use of financial products in their model helped TRP clients improve their credit scores — after working with a financial coach, clients with a scored credit file increased their score by an average of 21 points and for clients who previously had an unscored file, the average increase was 649 points. As a result of TRPs collaborative approach, the organization has a stronger infrastructure to serve the community. This model allows TRP to meet clients where they are in their immigration journey and help them plan for their financial future.
Today, NCLR and TRP are talking with other Chicago organizations that want to embark on this integrated services approach. During a roundtable at TRPs La Casa Student Housing Resource Center in Pilsen, Illinois, we are discussing why integrated legal services and financial capability are critical to asset development and wealth-building in Latino communities. TRP will share their model and outline best practices from both the legal services and financial wellness staff perspectives. The roundtable is also an opportunity to learn about credit union products that can advance economic inclusion for immigrant families.
Providing financial education, coaching, and products to immigrant communities is essential if legal permanent residents are to avoid predatory products that can stall their financial growth and delay wealth accumulation.
This was first posted to the NCLR Blog.
Show me the money. My son likes to joke that he’ll pick a college to attend next fall by who brings the biggest signing bonus to the table.
Love the guy’s spunk. Happy that he’s happy with his ACT score. Thrilled that he’s found time to get solid grades, enjoy good friendships, run cross-country and broadcast games at school. He even found time to write — and rewrite — those required college essays.
But signing bonus? Maybe he should just be thankful that Mom drives an old car and Dad never dreamed of buying that big retirement home on the water.
After years of writing about how-to-save for college, Im now facing time-to-pay for college. My son — Matthew Burr — is doing a pretty good job on his part. Hes eyeing a state university. But hes also applying to three or four out-of-state schools. Hes researching some possible scholarships. Hes saving money for college, too.
My husband and I started doing our part shortly after that little guy was born. I remember bringing a baby boy home from the hospital and I was doing the crying, saying Hes going to leave us soon and go to college. Well, 18 years later, were closer to that day. No surprise, perhaps though, that we started saving for college a few months after our son was born.
So we had big dreams long before we had a teen son with big dreams of his own.
My advice? Don’t be afraid to start saving something. Parents typically are the No. 1 source of funding for college. They usually dont foot the entire bill but 32% of the cost of college tends to be covered by parent income and savings, while students contribute 11% of the cost of college from income and savings, according to SalleMaes How America Pays for College 2015 report.
The rest of the money comes from student borrowing (16%), parent borrowing (6%), relatives and friends (5%) and scholarships and grants (30%).
No one needs a survey to tell you that it is not easy to save money for college. But it can help to consider some savings options:
1. Don’t dismiss the 529 plan.
A few weeks ago, I heard someone from another state speak up at a meeting to say that shes shocked that she still runs into families who never heard of 529 plans. Its possible; data from Sallie Maes How America Saves for College report shows that many people are still not aware of tax-advantaged 529 plans for college savings.
The 529 plans are state sponsored and dozens are on the market, including those bought directly by savers or sold through financial advisers. Michigans plans are listed at www.misaves.com. You can also call 877-861-6377.
Big advantage: You can get a state tax deduction in many cases for contributions made to specific state-sponsored plans. And earnings wont be taxed, if the money is used for qualified college expenses.
Disadvantages: What happens if the parent needs the money?
Leo Acheson, an analyst at Morningstar who has researched 529 plans, said some people might hesitate when it comes to saving money in a 529 plan because they fear they could run up against an emergency in the future.
If the money is not used for college education, any earnings portion of the withdrawal would be hit by a 10% penalty plus taxes on the earnings in the plan. You wouldnt be taxed on your federal return on the money originally contributed to the plan. But if the money you contributed qualified for a state tax break initially, youd likely owe state taxes on savings taken out for on a nonqualified withdrawal.
The longer you invest, the more valuable the tax benefit, Acheson said.
Typically, individuals can choose from a long list of investment options, including an age-based portfolio that offers a mixture of stocks and bonds to reflect a childs age and time horizon before entering college. The age-based portfolio changes over time, as the child moves closer to college age.
The Michigan Education Savings Program is sold directly to investors and offers account holders the choice of nine investment options. The MI 529 Advisor is offered through financial advisers. The Michigan Education Trust is a prepaid plan that allows the prepurchase of future tuition based on a set formula that reflects tuition costs now.
2. Research a prepaid tuition plan.
A college savings plan can be used toward tuition or room and board. But many families in Michigan also have benefited from the states prepaid tuition plan.
During the dot-com bust from 2000 to 2002, I watched my toddler sons 529 plan lose sizable amounts of money. After all, his 529 plan was made up of age-based investments that put a preschool kids money heavily into stocks. He had time to recover market losses. But did I have the stomach for it?
At some point, I decided to hedge our bets a bit by taking some savings to buy a MET contract for a year or two for the states prepaid tuition plan.
The plan would work best for us, with the biggest payout, if my son ends up attending one of Michigans public colleges or universities. Hes applied to Michigan State University and the University of Michigan. I spent less than $8,000 for each year more than 10 years ago.
If he goes elsewhere, though, he would receive less money for tuition than hed get to go to one of Michigans big universities.
About 5% of MET contracts are used to attend a private college in Michigan and about 10% are used to attend an out-of-state college, according to Robin Lott, executive director of the Michigan Education Trust and the Michigan Education Savings Plan.
Heres what could happen:
* For the 2015-16 academic year, a student who attended an out-of-state school would receive $11,953 available for a one-year full benefits MET contract.
* The amount goes up to $13,076 if the student went to a private college in Michigan.
Some parents avoid MET because theyre not sure whether their children will go out of state. Given the cost, of course, some families do not want to set aside all that money up front.
Its complicated. Its not for everyone. But you can see www.michigan.gov/setwithmet or www.SetwithMET.com for details.
To buy one full-benefits contract to cover one year, it was $17,128 in the 2014-15 enrollment period that closed at the end of September.
Prices during the next enrollment period, which begins in December, would be announced later.
Beginning in December, MET plans to roll out a Pay-As-You-Go feature that would allow someone to open a contract by buying just one credit hour and then making subsequent contributions of a minimum of $25 or greater at any time. There would be no commitment of a monthly payment plan.
3. Do not be afraid to save.
Many people worry if you save too much you wont be able to get financial aid. But typically financial aid translates into student loans.
Saving in a parents name or parent-owned 529 plan can reduce financial aid eligibility by no more than 5.64% of the asset value, said Mark Kantrowitz, senior vice president and publisher of Edvisors.com.
That means that $10,000 saved would reduce the need-based aid at most by $564. But that still leaves you with $9,436 to pay for college, he said.
That gives you a lot more flexibility, Kantrowitz said.
And really, there are plenty of ways to start saving for college — even new online accounts.
Upromise by SallieMae launched an online program in September for young families called GoalSaver. Its an online twist for Upromise Rewards Program and the Upromise MasterCard, which allows you to redeem rewards to put into a 529 plan.
Greg Spadea, senior director for retail deposits for Upromise, said the idea is to offer tools that make tracking savings easy for young consumers and millennials who want to save for college but sometimes find it hard to start the process.
They want things to make their life easier, Spadea said.
The online GoalSaver account has no monthly fees, an annual interest rate of 0.80% and other ways to build savings. A variety of cash-back partners like Diapers.com, Barnes amp; Noble, J. Crew, Kohls, JCPenney and Old Navy can help build cash-back savings when you buy online. Often, the cash back is 5% or $5 on $100.
Upromise GoalSaver account holders who set up automatic deposits each month can earn a $10 bonus each year. Savers who deposit and retain $5,000 or more into their account as of their three-year anniversary date are eligible to receive a $100 bonus.
Once you save money in such an online account, of course, it can make it more appealing to look at 529 plans.
Whatever it takes, its a good idea to start saving for college somewhere.
Im not kidding when I tell you that your baby is going to leave you and go to college a lot sooner than you can imagine.
Contact Susan Tompor: 313-222-8876 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Susan on Twitter @Tompor.