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AUGUST 16, 2019


Photo by Tony Kukulich

Put our experience to work for you.

We provide legal representation in a variety of areas including: • Civil litigation • Personal Injury • Real Estate • Contract Disputes • Bankruptcy

• Criminal Defense • Misdemeanors/ Felonies • DUI

Pappas & Pappas-Rajotte We care about your outcome

3105 Lone Tree Way, Suite A | Antioch |



Maria Pappas-Rajotte, Esq.





AUGUST 16, 2019

Living Longer… Good News - Bad News


was visiting with my Aunt and Uncle recently and my Aunt told us a great story about my Grandmother. My Grandmother’s mother

and her grandmother both died at 89 so my Grandmother decided that she, of course, was going to die at 89.

As a side note, I do not know if it is grammatically correct to capitalize Grandmother but in our world Grandmother was such a strong, imposing, independent, and in many ways intimidating, survivor of a very difficult life that it just always seemed appropriate to capitalize her name – Grandmother. We were never allowed to call her gramma, or nanny, or mimi, or any of the other intimate familiar names that people assign to that person in their lives. To all the family it was Grandmother – with the emphasis on Grand! To write it I think it should look like GRANDmother. My Grandmother’s birthday is in January. She was born in 1898. In November 1986 my Aunt asked Grandmother to go shopping with her to buy Christmas cards. My Grandmother said “no, I am going to die before January”. My Aunt tried to convince her that that was just superstition. My Grandmother was blind and frail but overall was pretty healthy. But Grandmother was having none of it. She was thoroughly convinced that she would not be here come January so there was no sense in sending out Christmas cards. Well, come November of 1987 my Aunt tried again to get Grandmother out to the card shop but oh no, last year was just a fluke. I will be gone before January so there is no point in wasting hard earned money on Christmas cards. It was the same story in 1988, and again in 1989. Finally, at Thanksgiving of 1990, at the ripe ol’ age of 92 Grandmother announced that she would like to go shopping for Christmas cards. She realized she was coming up on 93 in January, so she might as well admit that she still had some living to do. There was no further discussion, they just went out and bought cards and hand addressed each and every one, as was her rule. Grandmother died in the summer of 1994. She was 96 and a half! The moral to the story is that none of us know what date is on the other side of the hyphen. We know our birth year, but until the day comes, we don’t know the year we will leave this planet to begin our next journey. So given we do not know how many rotations around the sun we will enjoy, how do we even begin to plan. I heard a saying recently – we shouldn’t plan for how long we think we will live but rather how long we could live. If we look at current actuarial tables and analyze recent longevity research that could be a really long time. Add in medical advances and we are hard pressed to figure out how much will end up being enough. We can look to our family history, our own current health, our gender, our smoker status, and a host of other factors that will ultimately impact the date on the other side of the hyphen. All of this information will give us some idea of when we might

Beth Miller-Rowe has been in the mortgage industry for 36 years specializing in reverse mortgages for the past 10 years. Beth has degrees in economics and business administration.

pass but let’s face it, there is no crystal ball. Given all the variables, we must make some assumptions. ♦♦ We can assume that we will spend more of our retirement dollars in the earlier years of retirement than in later years. ♦♦ We can assume that we are going to live longer than our parents and grandparents. ♦♦ We can assume that we will need more money for health care costs both because it is just more expensive but also because we are going to live longer which means we will be around longer during the years when we use the health care system most. Seems a little ironic to me. So where do we go from here. In my opinion this brings us to a point where we have to take a hard look at our assets and set realistic expectations for ourselves, and for our kids and/or heirs. Let’s take a look at your whole big bucket of retirement monies. Social Security income and/or Pension income Employment income 401K, IRA, 403B assets Investment assets and/or income Equity in your home. For most homeowners the equity portion of the retirement bucket represents more than 65% of the total bucket. Yet surveys say that most seniors wait to consider accessing their equity until there is a shock to their financial security – perhaps the death of a spouse, or a major medical crisis. There are many reasons for this reluctance. Misinformation about equity extraction – reverse mortgages, HELOCs, equity share programs – it can be confusing and even hard to get honest and thorough information. There is the desire to leave a legacy to our kids or alma mater or favorite charity. There is just the general attitude about becoming or remaining debt-free. And there is the very real need to save for the possibility of future long term care

requirements. Whatever the reasons are the bottom line is that retirees cannot afford to ignore home equity as a means of extending the life of their retirement bucket. A reverse mortgage may give you exactly the edge you are looking for to be able to live more comfortably, feel more secure, and have a little freedom to enjoy some of those things you might hesitate about right now. With the changes that HUD made last year a reverse mortgage allows you access to some of our equity today and preserves more of your equity for tomorrow. It is important to look at your options before the calamity hits. When people wait until a crisis has already happened they are then forced into a situation, under the worst of circumstances. The best time to do research is when you are not yet ready to make a decision. That puts you in the driver’s seat. There are a lot of what I call 1-800-reversemortgage companies you can contact. They are call centers in San Diego, or Florida, or Michigan. They Fed Ex a package to you and then call you 3-4 times a day to sign quickly before ‘this limited time offer expires’. They then use a signing service to complete the transaction. You never meet your Loan Officer. Call me today. I will meet with you in the comfort of your home. We will explore what you hope a reverse mortgage can do for you. I will review all the information with you and then leave it with you to re-review, mull over, and you decide if it is right for you. If it is, give me a call back and we will get started. – Advertorial

Let’s take a look and see if we can Make Your Retirement Dreams Come True.

Beth Miller-Rowe NMLS: 294774

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The Reverse Mortgage Group • A Division of American Pacific Mortgage Corp.

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Your Retirement Dreams Can Come True! A Division of American Pacific Mortgage Corporation NMLS 1850

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*Reverse mortgages are loans offered to homeowners who are 62 or older who have equity in their homes. The loan programs allow borrowers to defer payment on the loans until they pass away, sell the home, or move out. Homeowners, however, remain responsible for the payment of taxes, insurance, maintenance, and other items. Nonpayment of these items can lead to a default under the loan terms and ultimate loss of the home. FHA insured reverse mortgages have an up front and ongoing cost; ask your loan officer for details. These materials are not from, nor approved by HUD, FHA, or any governing agency. **American Pacific Mortgage Corporation is not financial service company or licensed tax advisors; the material provided is for informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as investment, tax and/or mortgage advice. Although the material is deemed to be accurate and reliable, there is no guarantee it is without errors. We are not financial or tax advisors, please contact your financial professional for your personal financial situation.

AUGUST 16, 2019





East County’s personal injury law specialist AMY SCHRADER


o one expects to be injured in an accident and have their lives

turned upside down due to another person’s negligence — and when the unexpected happens, most people are overwhelmed with medical expenses and loss of income. Personal injury lawyers can help guide you through the personal injury claim process, negotiate a fair settlement, represent you if your case goes to trial and can help take the burden of the legal process off your shoulders. Maria Pappas-Rajotte, Esq., of Pappas & Pappas-Rajotte LLP law firm in Antioch, is a personal injury lawyer known for taking on the most difficult cases. “I like helping people by using my expertise to assist them during a very ON THE COVER: Maria Pappas-Rajotte is an attorney who specializes in personal injury cases in East County. Her firm, Pappas & Pappas-Rajotte, is located in Antioch. Photo by Tony Kukulich.

Photo by Tony Kukulich

Maria Pappas-Rajotte, Esq., of Pappas & Pappas-Rajotte, is a personal injury attorney with a reputation for taking on the most difficult cases. difficult and vulnerable time in their lives,” said Pappas-Rajotte. She said insurance companies tend to make injured parties the “bad guy,”

even though the injured person did nothing wrong. “Their goal is to pay injured parties as little as possible for even the most

legitimate claim,” she said. “I make sure that the insurance companies do not take advantage of the injured person.” Most injured people do not have the experience and information to evaluate their own claim to negotiate a good and fair settlement. Many are unaware of the various types of damages to which they’re entitled (or for which they should be reimbursed) and are not equipped to deal with Medicare, Medi-Cal, Kaiser and other medical insurance liens that adversely affect their settlement. “Insurance adjusters know this and take advantage of the injured person’s inexperience,” said Pappas-Rajotte. “Many insurance companies attempt to settle claims with injured people for low sums of money, because they know they are in need of money and are not necessarily in their normal frame of mind because they are in pain, stressed out and they just want the whole traumatic experience to be over.” Once you sign on the dotted line, the claim is completed, and if something comes up in the future, there’s nothing you can do about it. Pappas-Rajotte is known to take tough cases many lawyers won’t see Law page 5B

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AUGUST 16, 2019

Facing down the glass ceiling AMY SCHRADER


omen face unique challenges in the workplace — juggling

busy careers, demanding bosses, family, friends, homes and the belief they have to work harder to break glass ceilings can be overwhelming. “When I was climbing the corporate ladder, I noticed women had to work so much harder for the same opportunities as men,” said Beth Miller-Rowe, branch manager with the Reverse Mortgage Group. “We were still able to achieve and outperform our male counterparts but had to work harder to get there.” Miller-Rowe has been in the mortgage industry for 37 years, moving from a corporate environment to owning her own business. While she has achieved great success in her career, things weren’t always easy. As a single mother, Miller-Rowe struggled to keep up with her career, kids and pets. “Trying to keep all of the balls in the air every single day was very hard,” she said. “As a mom, I was absent more than I ever wanted to be, but I had to support my kids financially.” Miller-Rowe has advice for other women struggling to succeed in their career and find a work-life balance. “Work hard and it will pay off,” she said. “With really hard work, you can be the one on the stage receiving awards, but you can’t resent having to work hard to get there.” Even though they are working hard, it’s important for women to take time to do the things they enjoy. “I travel, garden and enjoy life and things that I once didn’t think I had time for,” she said. “It’s important to take time to smell the roses, and I wish I did more of that earlier.” The reverse mortgage specialist also believes kindness can lead to success. “You don’t have to step all over everyone else to get ahead,” she said. “Be kind and accepting to each other and it will come back around like karma.” Miller-Rowe feels her most rewarding accomplishment has been helping others. “My biggest achievement is all of the lives I have touched — from my employees, to my clients and their families,” she said. “I receive letters from my clients’ family members thanking me because they never thought they’d see their mom or dad happy again.” Susan Redgrave, realtor with Dudum

Just do it and try it out … Life is scary, but it can also be amazing. We just have to push past the fear and put ourselves out there and see what we can do. – Susan Redgrave, realtor with Dudum Real Estate Group Real Estate Group, experienced other challenges when she moved to Brentwood to be closer to her aging mother. She also had to launch a new career and home while caring for her young sons. “We moved back to a town I had been to twice in my life and knew only one person,” Redgrave said. “I got my real estate license so I could work but still be home with our two young boys.” Redgrave soon found herself launching branding campaigns to jumpstart her career while she cared for her kids and mother, who was at the end stages of dementia. While it wasn’t an easy career path, her hard work paid off. “Last year, I earned the right to be part of the President’s Club for Dudum Real Estate — one of the highest awards you can get,” she said. “I am most proud of being able to be a mom to two amazing boys who understand the value of saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you.’” Redgrave’s advice for women wanting to start a new career path is to take advantage of any opportunity they are given and to try new things. “Just do it and try it out,” she said. “You never know and might end up loving it, or at the very least you know one more thing you don’t like. Life is scary, but it can also be amazing. We just have to push past the fear and put ourselves out there and see what we can do.” Dudum Real Estate Group is located at 60 Eagle Rock Way, Suite B, in Brentwood. For more information, contact Susan Redgrave at 925-483-3294 or visit www. The Reverse Mortgage Group is located at 3478 Buskirk Ave., Suite 1000, in Pleasant Hill. For more information, contact Beth Miller-Rowe at 925-969-0380 or visit


AUGUST 16, 2019

Law from page 3B represent, because there’s greater risk involved and they often take longer to resolve. “I am a very zealous advocate for my clients and am willing to take difficult claims as far as they need to go,” she said. “I have been very successful in negotiating these types of cases and obtaining favorable settlements for my clients.” For her clients who were previously unable to find a lawyer to represent them, this is a huge relief. “I had three lawyers turn me down and Maria not only took my case, but from the beginning to the end, she took our case head on, was always there for us and was truly genuine and showed she cared,” said Brentwood resident Tensie King. “She doesn’t just take the extra step for her clients; she takes an extra mile.” While Maria Pappas-Rajotte specializes in personal injury cases, Pappas & Pappas-Rajotte provides legal representation for civil litigation — including personal injury, real estate and contract disputes; bankruptcy; criminal defense, including misdemeanors, felonies and DUI; wills; trusts; probate administration and prenuptial agreements. Peter C. Pappas, Maria’s father, is also part of the law firm and has represented clients in almost every area of the law for the past 40 years.

I am a very zealous advocate for my clients and am willing to take difficult claims as far as they need to go. I have been very successful in negotiating these types of cases and obtaining favorable settlements for my client. – Maria Pappas-Rajotte “He is a great lawyer and overall just a good, honest man who has helped a lot of people in this community since 1987,” said Pappas-Rajotte. Pappas & Pappas-Rajotte LLP is located at 3105 Lone Tree Way, Suite A, in Antioch. For more information, call 925-754-0772, or visit www. To comment, visit

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AUGUST 16, 2019

Women declining in workforce


t its peak in 1999, the American workforce was dominated by female workers. At that time, 76% of women — including those who

had children at home — worked outside of the home, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The tides have since shifted, and rates of female employment in the U.S. now fall well behind many European countries. Economic woes, a short supply of middle-class jobs and minimal family leave may have prompted the changes. According to a study from researchers at Johns Hopkins University, single women without children have actually driven the turnaround. Technology and international outsourcing have removed many low-skill, well-paying jobs from the workforce. Wages for work in healthcare services, laundry and social assistance — jobs dominated by women — have remained relatively stagnant for years. Despite this, the cost of living has steadily increased. Other households tout the high cost of childcare and

the relatively small amount of maternity leave allowed in the U.S. as reasons for not returning to the workforce after having children. The economic analysis resource The Upshot, powered by The New York Times, reports many American companies give 12 weeks of maternity leave — largely unpaid — while most European countries give a year of paid leave and offer protections for part-time workers who want to return to the workforce. According to data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Canada, Japan, Switzerland, Australia, Germany and France now outrank the U.S. in prime-age women’s labor force participation. The role women play as caregivers, not only for their own children or spouses, but for aging parents, also may be contributing to women dropping out of the labor force. A chronic-needs family member, such as a parent with dementia, can take away focus from employment. This can quickly result in a loss of a job. Employers interested in keeping talented women in the workforce can change corporate policies to reflect changes in modern society, including higher divorce rates, college

Photo courtesy of Metro Creative

Rates of female employment in the U.S. fall well behind many European countries. Economic woes, a short supply of middle-class jobs and minimal family leave may have prompted the changes. debt and the higher cost of living. Flexibility in schedules, modernized work environments that focus on mobile connectivity from home and lack of negative repercussions for needing family time can help keep talented female employees working. – Courtesy Metro Creative

Factors to consider before pursuing an advanced degree


dvanced degrees have

long been associated with better career prospects and

higher earnings. Women seem to be especially aware of that, as the Council of Graduate Schools/GRE Survey of Graduate Enrollment and Degrees

noted in the fall of 2017, the majority of first-time graduate students at all levels were women. Among master’s degree candidate’s that fall, 59% were female, and 53.5% of doctoral candidates were women. The decision to pursue an advanced degree requires careful consideration. This pursuit requires a considerable investment of time and money, and while those are two important factors to consider before making

a decision — more on that below — there is also other reasoning. ♦♦ Timing Timing and time are two different things. While many people considering graduate degrees think about how much time they’ll need to complete their degrees, timing also merits consideration. Newly minted graduates may want to take a break after expending so much effort to earn their undergraduate degrees. Taking time between degrees can provide the opportunity to recharge, and it also can give young graduates a chance to get some professional experience. That experience can inform their future grad school decision, perhaps reassuring them they’re on the right career path or compelling them to pursue other avenues. But enrolling right after completing your undergraduate studies can be beneficial, too — especially for recent grads who hope to start a family soon after graduation. ♦♦ Career prospects While it’s easy to assume an advanced degree will greatly enhance your career prospects and increase earning potential, it’s not necessarily that simple. When considering the pursuit of an advanced degree, try to determine whether you’ll be in the workforce

long enough to benefit from the increased earnings. Women who are mid- to late-career might not benefit considerably or at all from the extra earnings if they’re paying for their advanced degrees themselves, as the cost of tuition and other fees might be higher than the extra earnings. Depending on the profession, some advanced degrees won’t necessarily lead to considerably higher salaries than you’re likely to earn with a bachelor’s degree. ♦♦ Time The time required to pursue an advanced degree merits strong consideration. Many students pursuing a master’s degree full-time can earn their degrees in two years, while those who attend part-time will need more time to complete their degree programs. Doctoral programs take considerably longer. ♦♦ Cost The cost of an advanced degree varies widely depending on the program. Some programs cost $20,000 or less, while others will cost more than $100,000. Many doctoral candidates receive financial aid from their schools or lenders, but the cost of a Ph.D. is still considerable, especially when accounting for potential lost earnings during the years while pursuing the degree. – Courtesy Metro Creative

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AUGUST 16, 2019





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Profile for Brentwood Press & Publishing

Women In Bussiness 08.16.19  

Spotlight on Local Women Entrepreneurs

Women In Bussiness 08.16.19  

Spotlight on Local Women Entrepreneurs