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Entrepreneur | Business | Education and Career | Finance | Real Estate | Technology | Insurance

July 2017

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Inspire, Inform & Educate

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119th Edition

She's Happy Hair

Humble Beginnings Create Bright Futures

10-11

INSIDE

04 Leadership Begins With You!

25

In the Business Community… GHBC Luncheon

26

Smartphone Market Responds to Senior Users


2  |  July 2017

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July 2017  |  3

Publisher’s Message

MR. D-MARS

d-mars.com is proud to share the success stories of African American businesses and civic and community leaders. We know that success does not always come easy and it is not always measured in money. How have you helped your fellow entrepreneur? Have you supported your locally-owned African American business? Have you donated to a nonprofit that is working in our underserved communities? Questions to think about and actions to take. This month’s cover story highlights two young entrepreneurs, Marcus Bowers

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SENIOR ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES C.T. Foster Tiffany Black PHOTOGRAPHY L.C. Poullard Grady Carter

12 Finance 12  7 Tips for Balancing Retirement Savings and for Paying for College 21  5 Investment Strategies That Can Outlast Market Spikes 21 Insurance 21  Are You Afraid of Losing Your Insurance? 10-11 Cover Story

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13-20 Health & Wellness Section 22 Political 22  Lifting Up Houston

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Reggie Collier

05  Education and Career 05  5 Essential Soft Skills for a Job Interview 06  Making the Case for Investing in HBCUs 06  21st Annual Breaking Barriers Award Luncheon 07  Black Unemployment Rate Falls for the Wrong Reasons

09 Entrepreneur 09  Entrepreneurial Tips from Armstrong Williams

LAYOUT & GRAPHIC DESIGNER Angel Rosa

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Noel Pinnock Rushern Baker Freddie Allen

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08 Energy 08  Stay Cool and Safe, Texas: Reliant Beat the Heat Centers Open for 2017

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DISTRIBUTION Booker T. Davis, Jr. Rockie Hayden

—Russell Simmons, hip-hop Mogul

04 Business 04  Leadership Begins With You! 04  Smaller Metros Take Action to Draw Millennials Fleeing Bigger Urban Areas

Chief Operating Officer Kimberly Floyd

Vice President, Marketing Anita Bates

“Whatever obstacles appear in your path, put your head down and get past them. Those obstacles aren’t real. They’re just God’s way of testing you. He’s asking you, ‘Do you want to make it or not?'”

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Publisher & CEO Keith J. Davis, Sr.

ASSOCIATE EDITOR Dawn Paul

and Warren Broadnax. They are the owners of She’s Happy Hair; a business they started by selling hair out of their trunks. Today, it is one of the largest and most recognizable hair extension businesses in the country. Bowers and Broadnax also recognize that true success is found in giving back and serving your community. As always, thank you for your continued support of d-mars. com. When you support us, you are supporting more than just our company; you are supporting the communities in which we live and work. Working together, we can succeed in making positive things happen.

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23 Real Estate 23  No More HAMP But Homeowners Still Need Affordable Mortgages 23  How to Use Your Home Equity in Retirement

24 Technology 24  Millennials Driving Change

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26 Technology 26  Smartphone Market Responds to Senior Users 27 Community 27  We Have to Do Better 28  The Leadership of Interior Design 27

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4  |  July 2017 Business

Leadership Begins With You! By Noel Pinnock Contributing Writer

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ogi Berra was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972 and is considered by many to be the greatest Major League Baseball catcher ever. He was a 15x All-Star, a 13x World Series winner, and a 3x AL MVP. He also went to the World Series as a manager with the Yankees and with the New York Mets, winning with the 1969 “Miracle Mets.” But to many, Berra is most (in)famous for his colorful quotes, known as “Yogiisms.” Yogi once said, “A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore!” I know that you can definitely relate and attest to the notion that we are living in tight economic times, and it behoove businesses to explore more creative and strategic ways to utilize their resources effectively and efficiently. In a previous d-mars.com Business Journal, I wrote: The difference between a viable and unviable

business is equivalent to the difference between doing right things and doing things right. Although it is of high importance to do right things, it is just as critical to ensure you are doing things right.

If you want to maintain a competitive edge or a prominent presence in your industry, then you will have to re-examine the way your company leverages scarce resources, (wo)manpower, materials, methods, machines, and money. The resources are scarce because they are limited in supply, and there are never enough. But the limited nature of resources is the major reason it is paramount that businesses must decide how to best use them. Economic development is extremely important, as it

is essential to generating new employment, retaining existing jobs, and stimulating industrial and commercial growth. So, how do we maximize our resources to reach increased levels of proficiency and profitability in order to grow and survive? Well, it will require leadership, direction, and transparency. Leaders within your organization must be empowered to lead and make real-time decisions that support their business units. Rosalyn Carter once wrote, “Good leaders take people where they want to go but great leaders take people where the do NOT want to go but ought to be!” An important part of leadership involves casting vision. Some leaders forget to cast vision because they get caught up in managing. True leaders recognize a difference between leaders and managers. Managers are maintainers, tending to rely on systems and controls. Leaders are innovators and creators who rely on people. Creative ideas become reality when people who are in a position to act, catch the vision of their innovative leader. An effective vision provides guidance. It gives direction for an organization…direction that cannot effectively result from rules and regulations, policy manuals, or organizational charts. True direction for an organization is born with a vision. It begins when the leader accepts it. It gains acceptance when the leader models it. And it becomes reality when the people respond to it. Therefore, a transformation leader is the one that creates a vision where position incumbents transform their vision into reality. Are you transformational? To read more about author Noel Pinnock, B.S., M.P.A., C.A., CCC, IPMA-SCP, please visit www.noelpinnock.com. #GetAtIt

Business

Smaller Metros Take Action to Draw Millennials Fleeing Bigger Urban Areas By d-mars.com News Provider

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re millennials getting ready to leave big cities in droves? Some experts in demographics, economics and real estate have predicted the millennial exodus from huge urban areas has already begun. If true, the question remains: where will they go? Some may head to the suburbs, like their parents and grandparents did before them, but many will look for a different lifestyle, one that combines the advantages of suburban living with the best features of city life. Some smaller metro areas, like Wausau, Wisconsin, are banking they have the blend of economic opportunity, urban elements, affordability and lifestyle that will attract migrating millennials.

The Thedraw draw “Economy has always been a factor in generational migrations, and while the nature of work has changed, economic opportunity is still key to where people want to live,” says Christian Schock, director of planning, community and economic development for the City of Wausau. “Everyone wants to find a place with the winning formula of urban activities, affordability and lifestyle. Businesses want to put down roots in that environment, too, knowing it will draw

a bigger pool of skilled workers.” In recent years, the City of Wausau has made concerted efforts to position itself with both big city amenities and small town assets. By many accounts, the efforts are paying off. In a 2016 Pew Research Trust analysis of income equality nationwide, Wausau ranked first in the nation, with the middle class constituting 67 percent of the city’s total population. Wausau also ranked highest in Wisconsin and eighth nationally on Area Development magazine’s list of hot spots for new and expanding businesses.

Theformula formula The Small to mid-size metro areas that want to attract millennials, as well as businesses and investors, need to address key areas, including: •  Urbanity In addition to the recreational and entertainment amenities often highlighted when discussing millennials, many midsized metros lack the diversity of housing types that can be found in a larger city which millennials might be accustomed to. One strategy Wausau has focused on specifically is diversifying housing product. The City funded local architects to design an urban rowhouse — a housing style which did not previously exist. For over a decade, leaders proactively assembled parcels for new riverfront apartments, and continually worked with de-

velopers to seek tax credits which could be applied to renovating historic properties into unique multifamily offerings. •  Affordability Rising real estate costs are among the factors that kept many millennials living in cities longer than they might have liked, experts say. Mid-sized metros have an edge in making home buying more affordable for millennials — and homebuyers of all generations. Recognized as a leader in economic development homesteading, Wausau's Live It Up program is a partnership between local employers and the city to provide employees with a no-interest down payment assistance loan for the purchase of a home. In the last two years, the program has allocated more than $200,000 in no-interest loans to local employees. •  Place Millennials who came of age in urban environments have a strong affinity for multifunctional spaces, and are drawn to communities that are a walkable mix of business, retail, industry and residential. While the specific physical space needs may change, their own strong sense of identity makes them inclined to seek a region that has its own established sense of self. Wausau has leveraged more than $100 million in new downtown development over the past decade and currently has another $100 million under construction, emphasizing the city’s identity as a vibrant, growing core. Wausau’s

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Riverlife Village project is reclaiming more than 16 acres of urban waterfront along the Wisconsin River to house a new park, river wharf, mixed-use office space, biking paths, apartments and a family entertainment center. Perhaps the greatest testament to a mid-sized metro’s success is the recommitment of historic businesses to local growth. Wausau Insurance was an early innovator in workers’ compensation insurance, which evolved out of the necessity for local lumber mills to share the risk of worker rehabilitation. Now part of Liberty Mutual, the company recently announced a $50 million regional facility expansion. Wausau Window and Wall Systems and Linetec, both in the building materials industry, also trace their roots to the lumber industry, and have completed over $60 million worth of expansion and doubled the size of their workforce within the past five years, providing a strong foundation for continued economic development. “Any resident, millennial or not, is looking for ways to connect with their community. Both businesses and residents are discovering that smaller cities can even be more responsive and creative than larger metros,” says Robert Mielke, mayor of Wausau. To learn more about how the City of Wausau is attracting residents from big cities, visit www.wausome.org. – BPT


July 2017  |  5 Education and Career

5 Essential Soft Skills for a Job Interview By d-mars.com News Provider

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icture this: After months of networking and polishing your resume, you managed to make the necessary connections, get in front of the right people and land an interview. You deserve to be here. After all, you have an impressive background, great experience, fantastic references and are confident you can exceed the requirements of the job. The interview is really just a formality. For many, the hardest part of the job hunt is simply getting an interview. However, many top candidates get passed over and are surprised when they are not offered a job. The reason for this is they often spend a lot of time practicing how to answer questions and explaining their qualifications, but forget about the soft skills. A successful interview is about making the right impression, and these five soft skills are essential to making the impression that leads to a job offer. 1. A memorable appearance. We all know you need to dress your best before going into an interview, but you should go the extra mile to ensure the person you meet with remembers you. In addition to looking clean, tidy and professional, dress in a way that makes you feel confident and will make others notice. 2. Be ready to floss on the go. If someone notices something in your teeth, a piece of spinach or fleck of cereal, they won’t be able to see anything else. Before any interview, be sure to have a pack of Plackers Flossers with you. Made with strong floss that can quickly remove any gunk stuck in your teeth, these convenient

one-handed flossers also double as a toothpick. Don’t leave home without them! 3. Exude confidence. Beyond just making you look good, the big reason behind dressing well and double checking that your teeth are clean and free of gunk is because this will give you confidence. Hiring managers can tell the difference between someone who is confident and someone who is not. Needless to say, they’re more impressed by confidence! So even if you’re nervous, dress up, keep clean, give a firm handshake and—if you have to—fake it until you make it! 4. Keep it positive. How you answer questions is often just as important as the answers you give. Al-

ways frame what you say in a positive note. In describing difficult managers or poor work conditions at other companies, frame it as a challenge you were happy to take on, an opportunity to learn and grow. Most importantly, remember to smile! 5. Eat well. You might be nervous and lose your appetite, but be sure you eat well the night before and the morning of the interview. Whole grains and foods loaded with fatty acids, such as salmon, eggs and kale, can help you feel great and relaxed for the interview. Just remember to have a few Plackers Flossers on hand so that energizing meal doesn’t become an unsightly mess in your mouth! – BPT

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6  |  July 2017

Making the Case for Investing in HBCUs Education and Career

By Rushern Baker NNPA

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NCF’s iconic, “A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste,” advertising campaign remains the gold-standard for shining light on the urgency of investing in Black colleges and universities. No nation, the stories in the campaign reminded us, can be great if it leaves behind a large portion of its residents. More than 40 years later, the need for sustained investment in historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) remains as great as ever. With the change in presidential administrations, HBCUs have once again returned to the national conversation, with some openly questioning the need for such institutions, particularly in the face of advances over the past several decades. The conversation is not new and the answer has not changed. We need HBCU’s to continue to exist and they need all of us helping to support their coffers and make the case to decision-makers about the continued value they provide.

HBCUs represent only three percent of all two- and four-year U.S. colleges and universities, but they enroll 10 percent of all African American undergraduates. They produce 17 percent of all African American college graduates and generate 24 percent of all bachelor’s degrees in STEM fields earned by African Americans annually, according to UNCF’s Patterson Research Institute. Part of the reason is that Black graduates of HBCUs are significantly more likely to have felt supported while in college, according to 2015 data from an ongoing Gallup-Purdue University study. But statistics are only part of the story. HBCUs have produced influential Americans including Pulitzer Prizewinning author Alice Walker, filmmaker Spike Lee, Oprah Winfrey and many other business, civic leaders and entrepreneurs. On campuses around the nation, parents beamed last month as newly minted graduates of HBCUs set out to make names for themselves and to fulfill their dreams. At Howard University, my alma ma-

Rushern Baker, the county executive in Prince George’s County, Md., says that the need for sustained investment in historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) remains as great as ever.

ter, I witnessed U.S. Senator Kamala Harris remind graduates that the world will not always be welcoming and that they have a duty to serve. "That is your duty—the duty of your degree,” Harris said. “That is the charge of a Howard graduate. So whatever you plan to do next—whether you want to design the latest app or cure cancer or run a business. Whether you're going to be a dentist, a lawyer, a teacher, or an accountant—let your guiding principle

be truth and service. At a time when there are Americans—disproportionately Black and brown men—trapped in a broken system of mass incarceration... peak truth—and serve." It is advice that we should also—no matter our age—aspire to. And one truth is surely that the nation’s HBCUs are as relevant and necessary now as when some of them were founded over 150 years ago. These institutions were an antidote to the racist policies that, in some cases, banned educating Black students. At a time where college costs are going up, and attacks on Black students on predominantly White campuses are on the rise, the need for Black colleges is greater than ever. As a government, we have to continue to ensure that funding is there to keep this pipeline going. And as private citizens, we have to open our wallets to ensure the long-term viability of the institutions that are working for us and our communities.

Rushern Baker, a graduate of Howard University, is the county executive in Prince George’s County, Maryland.

Education and Career

21st Annual Breaking Barriers Award Luncheon By Taelor Smith Staff Writer

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areer and Recovery Resources, Inc. is a Houston non-profit which provides veteran services, career counseling, and alternative substance abuse programs, amongst many other services for those in the Houston community that need help in overcoming barriers of employment and obtaining a better quality of life. The organization hosts an annual luncheon and fundraiser where notable barrier breakers are recognized and honored. This year’s event honored Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and Former Harris County Judge Robert Eckels for their efforts in moving the city forward. Cynthia Cisneros of ABC 13 and Fox Sports Analyst Spencer Tillman served as the Masters of Ceremony for the luncheon. The two honorees were each acknowledged for their hard work in making opportunities available to everyone, regardless of their situations and essentially breaking down barriers. The organization thanked Mayor Turner for his service over the years as a State Representative and for his current position

in leading the city as mayor. Keeping with the theme of the his honor, Mayor Turner spoke on his initiative of helping Houston’s homeless and by asking when we see homeless people around the city, instead of offering your money, offer your support and resources similar to that of Career and Recovery Resources. Eckels was honored in part to his time as Harris County Judge where he played major role during the devastation of Hurricane Katrina which resulted in providing refuge for over 250,000 displaced New Orleans residents to the Houston area. He also led the way in many Houston projects during his 12 year tenure including Minute Maid Park

and the expansion of the city’s toll roads. Eckels colleagues noted that he never complained over his work load and always put his best foot forward to provide for the people of Houston. Four clients of Career and Recovery Resources received awards as well for their accomplishments since completing one of the many programs offered and took time to tell their stories. Steven Wells shared how he struggled to find work after retiring from the military and found himself homeless without a place to go. Career & Recovery Resources Veterans Program helped him gain housing, making it possible earn a job to support himself and is no longer living on the streets. Vernon August moved to Houston from New Orleans and had a hard time finding work as he has a hearing disability and found it difficult to support his family. The organization’s Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services supported August in obtaining a job with his dream company Coca-Cola where he is the first hearing-impaired employee to hold his position. The Employment Services Program assisted Jocelyn Burks in finding a job after she lost nearly everything during her battle with addiction and she has held her position for over a

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year along with being an outstanding student at Houston Community College. Paterra W. shared with guests her amazing story of recovery through the Alternative Program. She was brave in sharing how she battled with an alcohol and crack cocaine addiction for many years and even served time in prison twice over drug-related felonies. Paterra said the program taught her a sense of gratitude which led to her now being a recovery coach helping other women in addiction and being employed at the recovery facility where she was once a patient. These success stories are just a few of the many lives Career and Recovery Resources has saved over the past 72 years. The bravery of these men and women to share their experience with the program is evident to just how much it has changed their lives. Career and Recovery Resources, Inc. is an exemplary organization that is taking a stand in building people up through many of life’s difficulties. Next year, Career and Recovery Resources, Inc. plans to honor Pastor Rudy Rasmus of St. John’s United Methodist Church and Harris County Judge Ed Emmitt for their stand in helping others and breaking barriers.


July 2017  |  7 Education and Career

Black Unemployment Rate Falls for the Wrong Reasons By Freddie Allen NNPA

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lack workers continued to experience lackluster job growth under the Trump Administration, according to the latest jobs report from the Labor Department. Although, the share of Black workers in the population that held jobs (employment-population ratio or E-POP), ticked up from 57.6 percent in April to 57.7 percent in May and the unemployment rate decreased from 7.9 percent to 7.5 percent, the latest numbers also indicated that some Black workers exited the labor market. The 7.5 percent Black unemployment rate is more than double the jobless rate of White workers, a stubborn disparity that has existed for decades. Even though the jobless rate for White workers also decreased last month, it was likely because they stopped looking for work, too. In fact, all three key labor market indicators (unemployment rate, labor force participation rate and employmentpopulation ratio) declined for White workers in May. Both White and Black working men over 20 years-old lost ground in the labor market last month. So did White women, who not only left the labor market, but were also employed at lower rates in May than the previous month. Meanwhile, Black women entered the labor market and found jobs at higher rates in May compared to April. The labor force participation rate for Black women increased from 62.7 percent April to 62.9 percent in May. The employment-population ratio also increased from 58.4 percent in April to 58.6 percent in May. In a blog about the labor market for the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), researchers noted that job growth has slowed. “Adding in May’s 138,000 net new jobs, monthly job growth averaged 162,000 so far in 2017, and just 121,000 over the last three months, down from an average monthly gain of 187,000 jobs in 2016,” the post said. “While employment growth would be expected to slow as the economy approaches genuine full employment, other indicators suggest we are not that close to full employment yet, so this explanation seems insufficient.”

Although the national unemployment rate was 4.3 percent in May, the lowest in 16 years, the EPI post said that the labor force participation rate had been much higher in the past. “Today, there are lots of would-be workers on the sidelines not being counted, who would take a job if offered one,” the post said. “And, the drop in the unemployment rate in the past month is more of a sign of people giving up on finding a job than more people becoming employed.” The EPI post said that the American economy should not only be adding jobs, but also experiencing stronger wage growth. Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.), recently joined Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) and Sens. Bernie Sanders (IVt.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) to introduce H.R. 15, the “Raise the Wage Act of 2017.” In a statement about the bill, Scott said that it’s been ten long years since we last raised the minimum wage. “While 29 states have taken action to raise their wages above the federal minimum since then, minimum wage workers in 21 states are still paid $7.25 an hour. This leaves a fulltime, year-round worker with a dependent child living below the federal poverty threshold,” said Scott. “Today’s low-wage workers earn less per hour, adjusted for inflation, than their counterparts did 50 years ago, but productivity has nearly doubled over that same time period. That is unacceptable.” Scott said that the “Raise the Wage Act of 2017” provides an important contrast between the Democrats’ agenda for working families and the agenda of President Trump and Congressional Republicans. “President Trump and the [Republican] majority have used the 115th Congress and the beginning of the Trump Administration to roll back safety and health protections, to attempt to take away health care from 23 million Americans, to undermine civil rights enforcement, and to advance legislation that would deny workers their hard-earned overtime pay,” said Scott. “By passing the ‘Raise the Wage Act,’ we can ensure that no one who works hard and plays by the rules has to live in poverty.” Scott continued: “Passing the ‘Raise the Wage Act’ is the right thing to do. It’s the fair thing to do. And it’s long overdue.”

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8  |  July 2017 Energy

Stay Cool and Safe, Texas: Reliant Beat the Heat Centers Open for 2017 —Dedicated Cooling Centers Provide Relief During Texas Summer— By d-mars.com News Provider

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eliant Beat the Heat Center locations return for the 12th consecutive year to keep Texans cool as temperatures and electricity usage begin to rise. Designed to provide residents with a safe and comfortable environment and to reduce home electricity use during the hottest days of summer, Reliant today announced that nine Beat the Heat Centers will operate from now through September 30 in Houston, Dallas and Corpus Christi. "Keeping residents safe in the Texas heat is a priority for us at Reliant, and the Beat the Heat Centers will provide valuable relief that's accessible right in the community," said Elizabeth Killinger, president, Reliant and NRG Retail. "Our mission is to power, protect and simplify life, and we thank the cities of Houston, Dallas and Corpus Christi and agency partners for helping make each center a place where residents can stay cool this summer." Each Reliant Beat the Heat Center is open to the entire community for free and features air-conditioned space, bottled water, light snacks and entertainment.

2017 Beat the Heat Center Locations City of Houston Multi-Service Center (MSC) Locations (open Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-6 p.m.) Location Acres Homes Denver Harbor Magnolia Northeast Sunnyside

Address 6719 W. Montgomery Rd. 6402 Market St. 7037 Capitol St. 9720 Spaulding St. 9314 Cullen Blvd.

Phone 832-393-4145 713-670-2100 832-395-3380 832-395-0470 832-395-0069

City of Dallas Center Locations (open Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.) Location Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center West Dallas Multipurpose Center

Address 2922 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. 2828 Fish Trap Rd.

Phone 214-670-8418 214-670-6341

City of Corpus Christi Senior Center Locations (open Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-4 p.m.) Location Lindale Senior Center Oveal Williams Senior Center

Address 3135 Swantner St. 1414 Martin Luther King Dr.

Phone 361-826-2340 361-826-2305

Nearly $10 Million in Energy Assistance Since 2005, Reliant has contributed almost $10 million through its CARE (Community Assistance by Reliant Energy) program for Texans who need help with summer electricity costs. Reliant will assist seniors and low-income residential customers with paying their Reliant electricity bills via the CARE program's contributions to social services agencies, along with payment extensions and deferred payment plans. And Reliant will once again donate $25,000 to the City of Houston to help provide eligible seniors with new air conditioning units.

Keep Cool with Electricity Savings Reliant customers can choose from a variety of electricity plans designed to meet their needs this summer, including: •  The Reliant First Month Free plan that provides a bill credit for current electricity charges on the customer's second month's bill. •  The Reliant Predictable 12 plan that lets customers pay the exact same amount each month for electricity – no surprises, no matter the season.

Reliant offers other beneficial services, as well: •  Dedicated customer service agents are available to help residents identify social services agencies that can provide assistance with electricity bills. •  Average billing helps consumers avoid surprises and lessens the impact of the highs and lows of seasonal bills. •  Reliant Home Energy Checkup is a free service available to Reliant customers to provide a detailed evaluation of their home's energy efficiency and offer recommendations for improvement. For more information on any of these programs, customers can call 1-866-RELIANT. For more information on the Beat the Heat Centers, residents can call the center location nearest to them. Source: Reliant

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July 2017  |  9 Entrepreneur

Entrepreneurial Tips from Armstrong Williams t

ime is one of those magical dimensions of the human experience. At certain instances it seems like there is not enough of it. And at others, it seems like the moment lasts forever. The intellectual and emotional experience in the passage of time is one of those unique aspects about being human that sets us as a species apart from the rest of the animal kingdom. Since were are blessed with that perception we should engage it and contemplate ways in which to make time an ally in our quest for personal and societal growth. One of the interesting things for me, looking back over the past decade or so, is how quickly our business has grown. And yet, as I look back, it seems that a lot has remained the same. I still get up at the same time almost every morning. I rise well before the sun, usually starting off my day at around 4:30 in the morning with a prayer and call to my folks in South Carolina. I then arrive at the gym just before five a.m., and work out for about an hour before arriving at my office at precisely 7 o’clock. The end of my day is similarly bounded. It is exceedingly rare that I get in bed any later than 9 p.m. And so as I look back on my work life, it is apparent that while our business has expanded and we have been able to manage an increasingly complex organization, we aren’t necessarily spending more time doing it. Time has gone from being our enemy in the early stages of running a company, to being our friend today. Why is that? In some respects, it comes down to how we conceive of ourselves in the marketplace. If you consider yourself an employee, you are looking at time as a finite resource. You expect to arrive at work on time, to leave on time, and be paid on time. You essentially are tying your income to a fixed, linear relationship with time. But entrepreneurs view time much, much differently. For one thing, the entrepreneur’s perception of time is not linear,

it is pivotal. For example, as an entrepreneur I am willing to spend a lot of my time not directly earning income. I spend it building relationships with key allies and future business associates. I give time to worthy causes and public issues that I support. And yet I see these activities as worthy investments of time because of the potentially outsized payoffs in the future. Two hours on the tennis court or having dinner with a key ally could potentially lead to opportunities to make millions in the future. This is admittedly a difficult concept for many people with the employee mindset to grasp, let alone put into practice. The reason for that is that the entrepreneurial mindset exposes us to uncertainty. There is no guideline or formula or time-table that dictates when an idea or a relationship will bear fruit. That can be frightening to some people. But my entrepreneurial mindset is guided by a deep faith and belief in the laws of creation. I know for a fact that if you sow, you shall reap. I believe that in life there are definite seasons, and that the pattern is inexorable. The spring precedes the summer, which precedes the fall and the winter. In the spring one plants, and in the fall one harvests. In the winter, one relies for sustenance upon the storehouse of goods harvested in the fall that grew from the seeds planted in the spring. It is somewhat counterintuitive to tell someone with an employee mindset to save some of their seeds and use

them to plant a new crop. They are accustomed to having their needs taken care of by their employer. But we are experiencing a new economy in this country where jobs no longer offer either the degree of certainty of the financial rewards they once did. No longer can one rely on working the same job for one’s whole career. People need to become more entrepreneurial these days to survive. But what they don’t often realize is that doing so requires using mental and psychological tools that may be unfamiliar to them. One of the major tools, to which we have already alluded, is the relationship with time. But another psychological skill is managing customers and clients. In a situation in which one is an employee, one essentially has only one customer or client. And the relationship with that customer is not generally subject to change – for better or for worse. But when you are an entrepreneur and the world is potentially your customer, you have to pay extra close attention to the creation and exchange of value. Getting paid as an entrepreneur requires an extreme degree of concentration and emotional strength. You are not getting an automatic payment sent to your account on regular intervals. No, an entrepreneur often has to confront his client to make sure the payment is received. Doing this effectively requires both boldness and tact. It is not for the faint of heart. But the trade off is that if you are successful in managing this client-oriented relationship, you are in the driver’s seat in terms of how much you can earn from your time and effort. This is why entrepreneurs are willing to sacrifice the certainty and security of working for someone for the uncertain and potentially infinitely rewarding job of charting their own course. Source: NNPA.org

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10  |  July 2017

Humbl

Create

By Taelo

Staff W

hen Marcus Bowers and Warren Broadnax saw a void in their community, they were compelled to do whatever it took to give the community some very much-needed hope. After serving in the military, Broadnax teamed up with fellow veteran Bowers with the idea to sell hair extensions and use the business to make a valiant effort to invest in their community. From that idea, She’s Happy Hair was born and the two entrepreneurs began selling their products in August of 2012. The business gained momentum quickly and after a few months of humble beginnings selling hair bundles out of their cars, She’s Happy Hair debuted the first storefront location in Houston on December 15, 2012. Starting at $75, bundles of hair sell for a range of

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July 2017  |  11

le Beginnings

e Bright Futures

or Smith

Writer

prices based on the hair type and length from 12 inches to 40 inches. She’s Happy Hair specialize in providing Brazilian, Peruvian and Malaysian hair types in styles of body wave, deep wave, loose wave and straight. The business also sells a number of hair products including biotin pills, natural hair oils, and hair gel. Many customers show their continued support by purchasing branded merchandise apparel like tee shirts, hats and sunglasses. In addition to giving women a way to enhance their beauty, She’s Happy Hair does its very best to support the community by giving back and spreading the love their customers give to them. Over the years, the hair company has hosted a number of charity events with the purpose of serving women and children including the customer appreciation event, “The Happy Experience.” “The Happy Experience” is an event where women are treated with massages, hair treatments, food, entertainment and given the opportunity to audition for a model spot on a She’s Happy Hair commercial to be shown

on national television. It is a signature event the company loves to host to show their gratitude for the loyal customer and fan base they have garnered. She’s Happy Hair also hosts school supply giveaways, food drives and free haircut events for young boys. All of the company’s charity events are done out of love and a genuine concern for bettering the community. Bowers acknowledges that his grind for this business is attached to family and his upbringing on Houston’s infamous Martin Luther King Boulevard. He was the first in his family to graduate from college. Both Bowers and Broadnax’s determination to make it out of

their neighborhoods and make a better life for their families is evident. The duo realize that they made it out and believe that it’s only right to give back and open doors for those in need. They are compelled to provide opportunities and a path to success where many often see none. She’s Happy Hair is a phenomenally successful, veteran and black-owned business providing quality customer service and products, while also building up a community. Today, the company has grown into a huge business with six storefront locations in Houston, Dallas-Ft. Worth area and Detroit and plans to open more stores in the future. It is also the #1 virgin hair supplier in the United States; plus it’s an international brand that is selling hair across the world. Approaching their fifth anniversary, She’s Happy Hair shows no signs of slowing down. For more information, visit www.sheshappyhair.com.

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12  |  July 2017 Finance

7 Tips for Balancing Retirement Savings and Paying for College By d-mars.com News Provider

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ost people want to help their children pay for a quality college education, but it can be difficult to balance personal financial goals and funding your kids' educational aspirations. When retirement savings is sacrificed for college costs, it can be a disservice to the entire family. To help guide you in determining the best way to pay for your kids' college while still funding your retirement savings, personal finance expert and host of the So Money podcast Farnoosh Torabi offers seven smart tips.

Tip1:1:Don't Don'tput put retirement retirement on the back burner. Tip burner. While funding your children's college education is important, your retirement savings should take priority. Strive to contribute 10 to 15 percent of your takehome pay toward retirement savings. The reality is college is four years and retirement can be 30+ years. Plus, there's no scholarship for retirement like there is for college!

Tip2:2:Take Takethe thefree freemoney. money. Tip If your workplace retirement plan comes with a match, take it. Contribute the minimum to receive your employer match. At the end of the day, it's free money and that's the best kind.

Tip3:3:Involve Involveyour yourchildren childrenininthe thecollege college Tip costdiscussion. discussion. cost College is expensive, so make sure you're discussing

with your kids overall costs and what you're willing to contribute. Have them help research financial aid and scholarship opportunities, too. Remember, you want to find a school that's the best fit — so don't let the initial "sticker price" scare your children from applying. Some private colleges may give the best aid packages, but other times they may not. Don’t make assumptions and always keep your options open. The goal is to find the college with the best value.

Tip 4: 4: Don't Don't take take on on more Tip more than than you you can can afford. afford. While involving your children in the discussion, it's also important to make sure you're not setting them up for failure when they graduate. As they research student loan possibilities, make sure they'll be able to comfortably afford payments once they graduate, and that they're not taking on too much debt. An easy way to start researching together is to visit College Ave Student Loans and use the configure-it-out tool. Answer a short series of questions regarding how much you'll borrow, how many years of schooling are left, whether you want to make payments during school or not, etc. This shows your child what repayment will look like under each option so you can both be clear on the details and agree on a game plan.

Tip5:5:Consider Considerthe thecollege collegesavings savingsplan plan Tip that's best for you. that's best for you. Consider opening a 529 that allows flexible spending toward higher education. Should your child choose to forgo traditional college education or not require the

funds set aside, you can easily change the beneficiary to another child or relative. If you're skeptical of a 529, consider a Roth IRA if your income limits allow. Although typically used for retirement, the Roth IRA has an exception where you can withdraw your contributions from the account at any time tax- and penalty-free for qualified education expenses. The remaining money can be collected in your retirement.

Tip6:6:Starting Startinglate? late?Play Playcatch-up. catch-up. Tip If saving for retirement has not been a priority, it's time to get aggressive. Pare down costs where possible and take advantage of catch-up contributions. People who are 50 or older can contribute an extra $6,000 to their 401(k) or an extra $1,000 to an IRA this tax year.

Tip7:7:Don't Don't become become the "bank Tip "bankof ofMom Momand andDad." Dad." You want to help your kids, but once you set the precedent that it's OK for your children to ask for money (or a contribution toward college), they may feel they can frequently approach you later in life for funds. Don't set the tone that you'll always be there to financially support them. You want them to grow wings so they can f ly independently (and so you can happily enter retirement and enjoy those golden years). While you should talk with your child about potential majors and career paths, it's important also to add financial conversations into the mix. For more tips, and to learn more about personalized student loan solutions, visit www.collegeavestudentloans.com. – BPT

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d-mars.com

July 2017  |  13

FREE

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HEALTH & wELLNESS Journal

biotech | Business | Career | Education | Healthy Lifestyles | Medical | Mental Health | Policy | RESEARCH  |  SPORTS MEDICINE

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Inspire, Inform & Educate

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FITNESS:

A Lifestyle With No Age

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INSIDE

15 Lead by Example

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Health and Wellness Benefits of Calling All Blood Donors: Roll up a Sleeve and Give Where You Live Volunteering Experience Our World of Advertising, Marketing, Media and Communication


14  |  July 2017

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July 2017  |  15

Healthy Lifestyle

Lead by Example By Reggie Collier Contributing Writer

believe Jack Welch said it best, “Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.” In the training realm, this statement couldn’t be truer. As I come across more and more clients who once thought that they could do it all on their own; the one common issue they all faced was the lack of LEADERSHIP! Getting into shape is by no means a painless process. If it were, we would have fewer individuals who are overweight and unhealthy. One of the main concerns that many individuals have is that they simply lack the knowledge needed to confidently implement a fitness routine that targets their specific needs. When people turn to a personal trainer for guidance, nothing is more important than the leadership that he/ she will be providing to the client. In the fitness world, leadership from

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the trainer comes in many forms. Whether it be, accountability, motivation, nutritional guidance, goal setting, and/or knowledge of periodization and program design; they all play an integral part in the client’s success. As a trainer, I pride myself on not only providing all of the above, but most importantly, I LEAD BY EXAMPLE! I believe that leadership is not about a position or a title, but it is about action and example. As a trainer, leadership is the act of setting the right example for those who follow. Leadership is about actively dem-

onstrating your belief, not just talking about it. People who say one thing but do another, eventually lose credibility. Creditability is enormously important in the beginning stages of working with clients, because they have entrusted you with their health and are taking you at your word that you have their best interest at heart. What you do with that trust can be vital. If I am preaching to my clients about their eating habits, I too must eat accordingly. If I am encouraging my clients to get in more cardio on the days that they are not training with me, then

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I too need to make it a point to get in more cardio. The old cliché our parents used, “Do as I say and not as I do,” just doesn’t work anymore. In fact, it never really did. Instead, we must be role models for those who have reached out for our assistance. Keep in mind the saying, “People may doubt what you say, but they will believe what you do.” If the objective is to truly assist others in reaching their goals to be healthier, then one must be 100% committed to being the LEADER that you would want to follow! For more fitness tips from me or to experience Reggie C Fitness and be a healthier you, please visit me on the web at www.reggiecfitness.com.


16  |  July 2017

Look Like A Beauty - Trai R

eggie Collier of Reggie C. Fitness brought in six of his athletes to compete in the National Physique Committee event in the women’s figure and bikini divisions at the 2017 NPC Branch Warren Classic at Houston’s NRG Center July 15.

Reggie was extremely proud of his team. “These women are taking over the weight rooms. The times that consisted of basic aerobics and dance classes are a thing of the past,” he said. “Some women are afraid to lift weights because of the myth that weight lifting will make you bulky. I help my clients understand that women don’t have the same hormone profile as men and will not gain enough lean mass to look bulky, but they will look toned and defined.”

Reggie goes on to say that some of his girls can lift heavier than some men! Reggie indicated that none of the women who competed at the event ever had a desire to step up on that stage, but once they made the decision to compete, they gave their all to the process of losing weight, reducing body fat and gaining muscle. “You better prepare yourself to undergo some serious changes; mentally and physically,” he told them. Prep work for the show required that the women strictly dedicate themselves to working hard and making major sacrifices. A breakout box instead: Anita, Denise, Felicity, Nicole, Treschell, and Mikaela took on Anita,a Denise, Felicity, Nicole, Treschell, andwhat’s Mikaela took on a major fitness challenge. When asked next for the majorteam, fitness challenge. When asked what’s next for the team, they responded “October! We are getting ready for the they next responded “October! We are getting ready for the next show in October!” show in October!”

Treschell

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n February of 2015 I walked into Signature Physique with one goal in mind: losing twenty pounds. The first question Reggie posed to me was "what is your biggest challenge when it comes to working out?" I immediately said “consistency!” At that point I had been trying to lose weight for the past 10 years – I was literally dieting every year off and on since the 10th grade! After I graduated college, I slipped up and let myself get to 220 pounds, my biggest weight ever! I knew I had to do something drastically different than I had done before, like actually work out and eat clean on a consistent basis. I lost about 20 pounds on my own and then, as I normally did, gained about five of those pounds back!

Denise

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I began training with Reggie with the notion that I would run a few laps and get a nice little meal plan and lose all this weight, but what I got was a very unorthodox method of training. In layman’s terms, it was extremely hard!!! I went along with the program for a few months and then I quit. Once I convinced Reggie to let me back in, I promised myself that this time, no matter how hard it got, I just could not let myself quit. After losing a total of 15 pounds and 4% body fat, I was so satisfied with my results and ready to just maintain … but Reggie had bigger goals! In 2017, I did my first video challenge and then from there Reggie decided I could get ready by July for my first bikini competition. I've now grown accustomed to just trusting the process and pushing myself beyond my mental and physical limitations. Treschell - Lost 65 Pounds and 19% Body Fat

he reason I started training with Reggie Collier is because mentally and physically I was tired, depleted and I needed to change. As I watched my body transform, I started to feel stronger and I began to get my joy back. Eventually I felt like I could take my first breath again. I have lots of close friends, but along this journey, I found the more I pushed towards my goals, the more they were distracting me in the wrong ways. It's a hard pill to swallow when your support system really isn't supporting - when you're around your family and friends and no one tells you “great job,” you hear you are too skinny, wasting your time, too old or just crazy! I thank God that Reggie creates a family environment. Through my journey I have found new friends with similar mindsets and goals. These are lifetime relationships. I never imagined my body at 42 would look the way it does now.

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Reggie is truly one of a kind! He h task is too hard and no request is d

My life will never be the sa transformed!

Denise - Los

Felicity

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hen starting my transforma ing where I am today. I wa tion because I was uncomfortable w be a better "Me" for myself. Not o believe that I can do anything I pu family. The ladies at Reggie C. Fitn back each day to achieve a new goa When Reggie asked me to be a pa sic, I gave him the biggest "NO" e fright. But after working hard for th 9% body fat, I wanted to challen


July 2017  |  17

in Like A Beast

has changed so many women. No denied.

ame. I have forever been

st 17 Pounds and 17% Body Fat

ation journey I never imagined bes motivated to do my transformawith how I looked, and I wanted to only did I obtain the confidence to ushed myself to do; I also gained a ness encourage each other to come al. art of the The Branch Warren Clasever because of my incredible stage hree months to lose 35 pounds and ge myself to take my body to the

but struggled with ongoing, fluctuating weight issues. Everything that could have went wrong during this fitness journey in my personal life happened, but Reggie was there as a counselor, mentor, trainer and never let me give up on myself! I used it to fuel the fire instead of as an excuse. He challenged every area of discomfort and pushed me in ways I never thought were possible; lifting weights became therapeutic for me. Since joining Reggie C. Fitness, I have gone through two transformations; weight loss and bodybuilding. Crossing paths with Reggie has been a blessing and I’m thankful that he was faithful enough to follow his God-given dream and talent. I have never been this fit in my life! Mikaela – Lost 35 Pounds and 19% Body Fat

Anita

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y fitness journey began two years ago when I saw a picture of myself and realized that my arm looked like the size of a thigh. I knew at that point I needed to make a change. I, like others, stalked Reggie Collier, the trainer of Reggie C. Fitness’ social media pages, and was amazed by all the transformations at this all-female gym. I have gone through two transformations by losing 45 pounds. My dress size used to be 10s and 12s and now I am wearing 0s and 2s. Reggie is the type of trainer that will push you past your limits. I would compare Reggie to an interior designer. He can look at the female body and design it before it is anywhere near where it needs to be. When Reggie told me that I should compete in The Branch Warren Classic Body Building Competition, I thought there was no way I was going to get up on that stage. He saw something that I didn't see and he put together a fitness and diet plan that totally transformed my body. Winning my first bikini competition at the age of 46 was an amazing feeling. I am the fittest and healthiest that I have ever been in my life and I owe it all to him for not giving up on me. Anita – Lost 45 Pounds and 15% Body Fat

Nicole

H next level. I could not be more thankful for Reggie. He has believed in me when I didn't believe in myself. I have trusted his process from the day I walked in the door and he has never failed me. Felicity – Lost 60 Pounds and 14% Body Fat

Mikaela

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hen I first started training with Reggie C. Fitness, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I only signed up as moral support for my best friend who had been awaiting new openings for quite some time after following Reggie’s social media pages for months. I've been working out for as long as I can remember on my own,

ow I became a “Beauty that is a Beast” I had been in a funk for eight months trying to find a place where I fit in when I ran across my cousin’s transformation pictures. I stalked her page for a while admiring the sisterhood that she and the women had at the gym. Then I found the courage to come and join her. That was by far one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life. At 40 plus, I am healthier than a teenage athlete with bad knees. This place is a stress reliever for me. I love that it only caters to women and we can be ourselves. Last, but certainly not least, I could not ask for a better training family. Reggie’s work ethic along with his kind and respectful demeanor puts him ahead of his peers. Stepping up on that stage in my first bikini competition was awesome. I worked hard to get my body stage-ready and I had the time of my life! I’m truly feeling like a winner! Every time I’m in that gym, I can hear Reggie saying “Nikki, they don’t work harder than us!” That just motivates me to want more. Nicole - Lost 29 Pounds and 14% Body Fat

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18  |  July 2017

Calling All Blood Donors: Roll up a Sleeve and Give Where You Live of reasons, including surgeries, treatment for various accidents, cancer and other illnesses.

By d-mars.com News Provider

Getting involved

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very two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood. In fact, approximately 36,000 blood donations are needed each day nationwide. However, during the summer months, it is typically more difficult for blood donations to keep pace with demand, and this can result in summer shortages. To help bridge the gap and encourage lifesaving donations, World Blood Donor Day serves as a reminder to give blood and platelets during this crucial time.

A will to give Nexcare Brand is partnering with the American Red Cross to raise awareness regarding the importance of blood and platelet donation during the summer months through the ninth annual Nexcare Give program. This year’s theme is “Roll Up a Sleeve and Give Where You Live,” celebrating all those who give in their communities around the world. Limited-edition Nexcare Give bandages will be available for free to presenting donors at participating Red Cross donor sites and blood drives around the country, through June 14, World Blood Donor Day. Nexcare Give Bandages will also be available as a bonus in select Nexcare Waterproof Bandage packs at retailers nationwide, as well as by mail, while supplies last, at Nexcaregive.com. The program comes at a time when new research from Nexcare Brand shows: •  More than one-third (36 percent) of U.S. adults have never given blood; •  More than one-quarter (28 percent) do not know their blood type;

• Despite the life-changing impact, awareness is low. More than one-quarter (28 percent) say the reason they have never given blood before is because they have never even thought about it. To bring to light the power of blood donation, the Nexcare Give program is raising awareness worldwide about how you can get involved. “Blood donation is a cause that’s not only important in our country and around the world, but also in the lives of people, everywhere,” says supermodel and Nexcare Give spokesperson Niki Taylor. “Every year, millions of Americans need blood, and people have the power to make a difference in about an hour that it takes to give. Now is a great opportunity to make a big impact, starting with your local community.”

One blood donation goes a long way A single donation can help save the lives of more than one person. Patients can need blood for a number

Blood donations are an ongoing need year-round. If you’ve never given blood before, now is the perfect time to start. You can visit Nexcaregive.com to find your local blood center and visit their website to determine whether you can be a donor. Donors of all blood types are needed to give this summer. Type O negative donors are especially needed, because they have the universal blood type that can help anyone who needs blood. O negative is often used during emergencies when there is no time to determine a patient’s blood type. Once you’ve determined whether you are eligible to donate, the next step is to contact your nearest blood center to book an appointment. You may also be able to donate at a convenient location such as your school, your workplace, a neighborhood community center or your place of worship, if a blood drive is hosted there — be on the lookout for drives in your community. If you aren’t eligible to donate blood, you can still participate by pledging your support on the Nexcaregive.com website. You can even host a virtual blood drive through the American Red Cross SleevesUp program, which is an online tool that allows supporters to create a virtual blood drive and encourage colleagues, friends and family members to give blood or platelets in four easy steps. Visit redcrossblood.org/sleevesup to create your own campaign, or visit Niki Taylor’s page and pledge to give at rcblood.org/Niki. To learn more about the Nexcare Give program, find blood donation centers in your area and pledge your support for blood donation to make a positive impact today, visit Nexcaregive.com. – BPT

Health and Wellness Benefits of Volunteering By d-mars.com News Provider

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n the business world, we hear a lot about the bottom line and quarterly reports. For those in the nonprofit sector, it’s often a matter of reaching fundraising goals and achieving their mission statement. No matter what kind of organization you work for, there are big-picture goals, but of course there are more. Increasingly, companies are realizing that part of this big picture is giving their employees the opportunity to volunteer for worthy causes, even paying them to do so. These efforts can lead to some serious collective gains. For example, according to The Health of America – Community Investment Report, employees from the 36 independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) companies volunteered more than 400,000 hours and donated over $11 million in 2016 alone. Individual efforts really do add up. Whatever program your employer has in place, here are some of the enormous personal benefits that come with volunteering. Productivity. Many would like to volunteer but just don’t have the time. Who doesn’t want to take a little time off and get away from their busy lifestyle and just relax? In a way, volunteering can help you do just that. According to a study in the Harvard Business Review, helping or giving your time to others can make you feel like you have more time, and in turn,

make you a more productive worker. Health. Many studies have found that people who regularly volunteer tend to lead healthier lives and have a reduced risk of heart disease. The jury is still out as to why exactly this is, but giving back to others seems to reduce stress, build confidence and increase a person’s sense of satisfaction. These psychological factors play an enormous role in our physical health. While they help create connections and build community, volunteers also get a huge amount of personal benefits from their work. Better health, a sense of satisfaction and joy that comes with helping others are only a few of the reasons why more people are deciding to give their time to others. Community. In our digital age when everyone is engrossed in their smartphones and seem to be locked in their own world, connecting with others — whether it’s those in need or other volunteers — is more important than ever. This is what happened when BCBS companies spearheaded efforts to improve health care access for the uninsured and under-insured. Volunteers helped at mobile clinics and food banks and with educational programs, making invaluable contributions and connections in their communities. Family. When their employer gives them the opportunity to take a day or two off to volunteer, many people bring their family along. The reason is simple: coming together to do something for others is an incredible bonding experience and can really strengthen relationships. – BPT Experience Our World of Advertising, Marketing, Media and Communication


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20  |  July 2017

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July 2017  |  21 Finance

Insurance

5 Investment Strategies That Can Outlast Market Spikes By d-mars.com News Provider

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Are You Afraid of Losing Your Insurance? By d-mars.com News Provider

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merica’s healthcare environment is constantly evolving, and the path to affordable medicines is not always easy to find. But you don’t have to feel lost. There are programs available to help. At the core of Pfizer’s commitment to patients is the belief that everyone deserves access to quality care, including when it comes to their medicines. That’s why for more than 30 years, Pfizer has empowered patients in need with assistance and information, so they can get access to the medicines prescribed by their doctor. Today, that help is provided through Pfizer RxPathways®, which connects eligible patients to a full range of Pfizer assistance programs that offer insurance support, co-pay assistance, and medicines for free or at a savings. Patients can talk to trained Medicine Access Counselors who work with each person to understand their unique situation and guide them to the Pfizer programs or resources that can best meet their needs. Among those receiving assistance from Pfizer is caregiver Suzanne. “I called Pfizer and said our daughter is on medication and I’m really afraid we’re going to lose insurance,” Suzanne said. “Pfizer was a friendly voice on the other line saying, ‘It’s okay, we’ll take care of you.’” Suzanne is one of millions helped by one of Pfizer’s comprehensive assistance programs. Through stateof-the-art facilities and highly trained staff, Pfizer helped more than 1.6 million patients receive over 19 million Pfizer prescriptions for free or at a savings over the last five years (2012-2016).* Healthcare can be difficult to navigate — especially during stressful times — and Pfizer RxPathways could help. If you or someone you know needs assistance getting access to or paying for Pfizer medicines, dial the toll-free phone number 1-844-989PATH (7284) or visit www.PfizerRxPathways.com to learn more about available options. *Data on file. Pfizer Inc, New York, NY. PP-PAT-USA-0631 © 2017 Pfizer Inc. All rights reserved. Printed in USA/June 2017 - BPT

ou’re familiar with the saying “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is”? Just like any other scheme to “get rich quick,” attempting to buy low and sell high based on intermittent fluctuations in the stock market—also known as “market timing”—is almost always a losing proposition over the long term for the investor. Studies have repeatedly shown that those who attempt to align their investments with short-term fluctuations earn less than those who stay in over the long haul. “Once again, market fluctuations are messing with average investors’ minds,” says J.D. Roth, author of “Your Money: The Missing Manual” in Entrepreneur. “They panic and sell when prices drop, then fall victim to what Alan Greenspan in 1996 called ‘irrational exuberance’ and buy when prices soar. That's a sure way to lose money.” The truth is that even the most stellar investment advisor lacks a crystal ball into the future, and can only make recommendations based on historical research, industry guidelines, and experience. Unfortunately, past performance in the stock market is not at all an indicator of future performance. So what are some better guidelines for investing in the stock market? Consider the following sound strategies, built on the mounds of evidence saying market timing doesn’t work as a long-term strategy:

1.1.Establish Establishaalong-term long-termplan. plan.

higher fees. Investors should always focus on what they take home over the long term after fees and taxes. Looking purely at the price return can lead to lower-than-expected results.

Beaware awareofoftax taximplications. implications. 4.4.Be A major reason why investors should lean on professional support in today’s world is so that they can optimize their investments to lower taxes. Specifically, how assets are located within tax-advantaged and taxable accounts can be managed to lower your tax liability. Also, investment losses can be “harvested” via a process called “tax-loss harvesting,” and that’s generally a process many investors cannot do themselves. Finally, any time you want to reinvest dividends or have reason to switch to a different investment, there are ways to make regular transactions as tax-efficient as possible. The same goes for making your eventual withdrawal. This kind of back-office tax work can have a major impact on how much you, as an investor, keep from your investment, so it’s important to find the right solution—whether that’s a financial advisor or learning to do it yourself.

5.5.Stay Stayskeptical. skeptical. When it comes to outlasting a spike in the market, any investor should be aware of their own biases and behaviors. Pay little attention to financial TV shows and other media reports that hype short-term fluctuations. And be cognizant of the speaker’s motivation. Those who think they have a real get-rich-quick scheme are unlikely to share it with others.

Set clear goals and objectives such as funding children’s college educations or investing for your own retirement. An advisor can help you evaluate risks, decide on asset allocation and set benchmarks for success while minimizing risk.

2.2.Use Usedollar-cost dollar-costaveraging. averaging. Instead of trading when you think it’s the right time, the principle of dollar-cost averaging (DCA) says to invest a fixed dollar amount at predetermined intervals. The result is that you’ll end up buying fewer shares when prices are high and more shares when prices are low. The advantage of dollar-cost averaging is that you put your money into the market earlier—increasing the likelihood of price change—rather than holding onto cash until you think prices are low. Regardless of whether you have a flat, positive, or negative price return, if your investments earn dividends, dollar-cost averaging is a useful strategy for earning dividend returns.

Ridethe themarket marketby bytracking trackingan anindex indexand 3.3.Ride and optimize optimize your your costs.costs. Trying to achieve alpha—i.e., beating the market with price returns—isn’t necessarily the most evidence-based way of getting the highest returns over time, especially looking at your returns net of costs and taxes. By investing in funds that largely track a market index (index funds), historical results show that the lower fees typical of index funds and the long-term gains often outperform actively managed funds with

Above all, don’t let uncertainty stop you from investing. If you look back all the way to 1926, keeping your money in cash/cash equivalents has underperformed both bonds and stocks. The key thing is to just get invested. Betterment optimizes its technology and experience to help you make informed decisions in your investment strategy. Founded in 2008, the company manages $9 billion in assets. Investing in securities involves risks, and there is always the potential of losing money when you invest in securities. Before investing, consider your investment objectives and Betterment’s charges and expenses. Betterment distributed this article through Brandpoint. Visit Betterment.com for more information. – BPT

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22  |  July 2017

Political

Mayor Sylvester Turner Op Ed – Pension Victory Lifting Up Houston

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hey said it couldn’t be done; but in Houston, we always get it done. Houstonians came together and achieved historic pension reform, lifting one of two significant barriers to progress in our city. For 16 years, our ability to invest in our city – in our families, our neighborhoods and our Mayor Sylvester communities – has slowly Turner been crushed by a looming pension debt and an arbitrary cap on property tax revenue that continues to prevent us from making critical investments to keep our city growing and thriving. Our victory on pension reform is substantial. We immediately reduced a debt of $8.2 billion and put in place a responsible plan to pay off the balance over 30 years – just like the mortgage on a house. The plan also requires the city to make the payments in full and on time – just like every Houstonian with a mortgage is required to do – and protects the city from cost increases due to economic downturns. When I asked to become your mayor, I asked all Houstonians, in a spirit of shared sacrifice, to chip in to solve these problems. Our city workers and retirees did their part by accepting $2.85 billion in reductions to their pension benefits.

Now, the rest of us must do our part to protect and preserve the promise of Houston for our kids – and for their kids and beyond. It’s time to lift the final barrier to our progress by lifting the revenue cap. Our city has lost an estimated $220 million in revenue over the last three years because of the cap, while saving less than

$30 per year for someone owning a $200,000 home. I’m serious about making our government more efficient. This year, we closed a $130 million budget gap without raising taxes. Let’s manage our finances responsibly and lift up our city. We can do both. We must do both.

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July 2017  |  23

Real Estate

No More HAMP But Homeowners Still Need Affordable Mortgages By Save Your Properties Contributing Writer

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fter eight years of helping almost two million homeowners avoid foreclosure, the government’s Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) stopped accepting new applications and requests for mortgage assistance.

Now, what? Without the guidelines set forth by HAMP, lenders (banks) can now set a standard mortgage interest rate of 4.3%, which is not a significant reduction given that many families who need home loan modifications currently have rates less than 5%. How can a homeowner afford a 4.3% interest rate if they cannot afford a 4.8% interest rate? That is a $10 per month reduction on a $2,000 mortgage! Unfortunately, with this new standard, many borrowers who depend on banks to set their loan modification terms will lose their homes to foreclosure. Luckily, Save Your Properties, LLC (SYP) is in the business of saving homes. Also known as The Foreclosure Bully, SYP and its warehouse of attorneys have been helping homeowners retain their properties for 19 years. When banks reluctantly joined the HAMP program (there were reports that

many applications went unopened in several banks; one bank’s f loor even “buckled under the packages’ sheer weight”), SYP continued to offer fast and affordable home loan modifications. When a struggling homeowner contacts SYP for assistance, they are usually on the brink of foreclosure and need a quick and manageable solution to save their home. SYP immediately matches the homeowner with an attorney, in their city, who has experience with the client’s specific set of circumstances surrounding the foreclosure.

LaTrice Martin, owner of SYP says, “Some homeowners face foreclosure due to job loss and non-payment of their mortgage. Others are in foreclosure due to non-payment of HOA dues or taxes. Several scenarios can lead to the possibility of a foreclosure. We have seen them all and we are sensitive to them all. As soon as the borrower explains the circumstances of their foreclosure, we match them and put them in contact with an attorney who has fought – and won – several similar cases. From there, we work with the attorney to achieve a financially manageable outcome for the client.” The attorneys who speak for the homeowners understand mortgage law, they have relationships with the lenders, and they offer terms that lenders rarely refuse. They know how to secure an interest rate lower than 4.3%, often negotiating amounts as low as 2%. As part of the loss mitigation process, the SYP attorneys not only negotiate loan modifications, repayment plans and forbearance plans—many of the attorneys also specialize in bankruptcy and can assist with short sells. Save Your Properties, LLC presents a more efficient and valuable program than the government ever offered. For more information, visit www.saveyourprop.com for a "free" attorney consultation.

Real Estate

How to Use Your Home Equity in Retirement By d-mars.com News Provider

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ost of us save and plan for decades to enjoy the period of our life when we no longer need to go into the office and work an eight-hour day for a paycheck. But even with those decades of hard work, it can be tough to save up enough cash to cover all your costs in retirement. Many soon-to-be-retirees face a shortage between what they saved for retirement and what they actually need to live on. For homeowners, that may be a problem that’s relatively easy to solve. Tapping into the equity in your home can help you stretch your nest egg quite a bit further.

Use Useaahome homeequity equityloan loanor line of credit or line of credit You can tap the equity in your home with a home equity loan or a home equity line of credit (known as a HELOC). A home equity loan works like most other loans: you agree to borrow a set amount of money, receive a lump sum, and pay that back with interest and in installments each month. A HELOC works a little differently, because it’s not a loan with pre-determined monthly payments. Instead, it’s a

revolving line of credit, similar to a credit card. You usually have between five and 25 years to borrow against a certain amount of equity and repay (with interest) whatever you take out. The time during which you can use the HELOC is called the draw period. The line of credit revolves during this period, so you can borrow and repay the balance multiple times. The total amount is due back in full with interest at the end of the draw period. Any time you have an amount outstanding, you will make monthly payments. You can use a HELOC or home equity loan during retirement, but remember that you will need to pay the money back. You should have a plan in place for how to repay the funds — and the interest — before you agree to take a loan or a line of credit on your home.

Useaahome homeownership ownership Use investment investment A home ownership investment is a powerful way to unlock some of the equity in your home without taking out a loan. The Unison HomeOwner program can unlock up to $500,000 of your home equity and the money can be used for anything you want — including paying monthly expenses, paying off debt or

you and Unison share in the appreciation. If the home value falls, both you and Unison share the loss.

Consideraareverse reversemortgage mortgage Consider

making home improvements. Because it’s a home ownership investment, not a loan, there are no monthly payments and no interest charges. Learn more at www.unison.com/homeowner. Unison invests in the home alongside you. In return for the company’s investment in your home, they receive a portion of the future change in the value of your home. Unison shares both the upside and downside risk with you. When you choose to sell your home, up to 30 years later, if the home value rises, both

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A reverse mortgage can allow homeowners 62 years or older to turn equity in their homes into cash in a way that provides them with the income they need through retirement. You can get your cash in a lump sum or in monthly payments, or in a line of credit. But it’s important to remember that a reverse mortgage is still a loan that comes with origination fees and interest charges. It requires that you have no other debt on your property, so if you have an existing mortgage loan, you will have to repay that in full from the reverse mortgage proceeds. You will also need to pay the reverse mortgage loan back when you move out of the home, sell it or pass away. A reverse mortgage can give you income in retirement and whenever the home is sold, the money is used to pay off the loan. However, reverse mortgages can cause a lot of trouble if you’re not careful, and the high fees that you incur when you sell the home can leave you in a worse financial position than if you skipped the reverse mortgage altogether. – BPT


24  |  July 2017

Technology

Millennials Driving Change from them and others on their team is to engage and empower the Millennial through the use of technology. Let them identify your needs, and let them take the lead on your mobile technology initiatives. Millennials want to be a part of the bigger picture. They want to be a part of the team that brings modernization and efficiency into their company. Millennials are amazing when they feel they make a difference. Let them improve your operations and the overall efficiency of your organization by bringing in fresh ideas and leveraging resources that didn’t exist even 5 years ago.

By Lea Bogle Contributing Writer

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n today’s workplace, where management often sees Millennials as spoiled and lazy, Millennials often see management as out of touch and inefficient. Technology is often at the core of this great divide. Take for example the conversation that I witnessed between a Millennial and her manager just the other day. The conversation was light and lively, fun and spirited, but at its core was the challenge facing so many leaders today: How do you blend the generations to maximize productivity for the company? The Millennial employee is in the office, completing her paperwork from her previous activities. She looks up and says to her boss, “Why do I have to fill out all of these forms? Wouldn’t it make more sense if we just completed these forms while we are out in the field on our phones or something? This way you wouldn’t be bugging me all the time, and I wouldn’t have to waste my time coming into the office just to hand you a bunch of paperwork and enter my time into the computer.” The manager looked at his employee and said, “That’s the problem with you Millennials. You’re all lazy, and you lack a strong work ethic.” Half joking, the manager said, “You know, I really should just fire you.” The Millennial replied, “Yes, but you won’t. I’m really good at my job, I know more, and I get more done than anyone else.” And she was right. The reality is that Millennials really are great em-

You’ll be amazed at the results hiring Millennials. You’ll enjoy:

ployees. However, their life experiences have taught them to use technology for almost everything. Older adults sometimes perceive them as lazy, but on the other side of that, Millennials can view older people as out of touch. Millennials don’t use a Franklin planner, they use the calendar on their phone. They do their schoolwork on a computer and use a calculator for their math exam. Google is their dictionary and encyclopedia. They rarely, if ever, go into a library, but they download information constantly. Then, when they show up at work, their boss gives them a pen, a pencil, a piece of paper, and tells them to get to work. So is it really surprising when Millennials seem out of place in the workforce at times? Today’s savvy leaders know that the best way to maximize the Millennial and to get maximum productivity

•  Improved Collaboration •  Increased Employee Retention •  Streamlined Processes •  A More Agile Organization •  Increased Team Productivity •  Increased Profitability The business structure is changing. It’s no longer top down, but much more bottom up. If you let them, the Millennials will implement the change you need to ensure your competitive edge. Lea Bogle is a wireless industry expert and president of Premier Wireless™, a company that proudly serves Houston, Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, and other areas. For more information about how Premier Wireless™ can help you, please visit them on the web at www.premierwirelesstx.com.

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In the Business Community…

July 2017  |  25

To View More Photos, Visit Our Website www.d-mars.com and Click on ‘Photo Gallery.’

GHBC Luncheon

2nd Tuesdays with the Chamber: The Greater Houston Black Chamber recently held a Panel Discussion with the 85th Texas Legislators. The panel speakers, Senator Borris Miles, Rep. Jarvis Johnson, Rep. Ron Reynolds, Rep. Shawn Thierry, and Rep. Senfronia Thompson, all shared their latest legislative updates with luncheon attendees. Also during the event, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg, offered remarks to the audience.

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26  |  July 2017

Technology

Smartphone Market Responds to Senior Users By d-mars.com News Provider

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martphone technology may seem complicated and flashy, but don’t believe anyone who says it’s only for the young. In fact, 73 percent of those 50 to 59 years old now own a smartphone, according to a 2016 survey from AARP. Going one step further, a recent study of smartphone user habits by the Pew Research Center concludes that 92 percent of those aged 50 and above now use text messaging, 80 percent use their phones to access the internet and 87 percent use them to send and receive email. Still, a significant smartphone generation gap exists within the baby boomer set. While smartphone owners 50 to 59 regularly perform common daily tasks and even occasionally play a game on their smartphones, AARP’s study noted adults 60 to 69 are far more likely to rely on a laptop or desktop computer for email or internet use, and tend to avoid apps and games altogether.

Obstaclestotosmartphone smartphone Obstacles enjoyment enjoyment It’s no great mystery why certain baby boomers have been hesitant to

fully embrace smartphone technology. Traditionally, mobile phones have simply not been designed with seniors in mind. Rather, they are designed for the larger share of the market represented by younger users, who grew up playing high-tech games, surfing the web and using touchscreens. Software interfaces are often not particularly senior friendly. Small content size and busy screens can be difficult to read and comprehend. The challenge of navigating multiple menu levels is simply not intuitive for many older users. The small physical size of many devices, and the even smaller size of things like number keys and icons, present challenges that can make smartphones frustrating for seniors to use, and sometimes even seem a little intimidating.

Growingchoices choicesto tosatisfy satisfy Growing senior needs senior needs Fortunately, the wireless industry has responded, and the gap is quickly being filled. Savvy manufacturers and specialized carriers have recognized the potential of the senior market, resulting in more and better choices than ever. Samsung’s Android smartphones, for instance, include a simplified version of its operating software designed to make navigation more convenient. Called “Easy

lar is a full-service, no-contract carrier that offers a range of specifically seniorfriendly smartphones for any skill level. Other carriers have gained popularity among older users by offering simplified smartphones with convenient emergency calling features.

Openingup upnew newworlds worlds Opening

Mode,” this optional setting is found in nearly every modern Samsung device. Easy Mode enlarges the size of text and icons, and allows users to put everything within easy reach on a single screen. Most Android and iPhone models also offer options within the Settings menu that allow users to adjust things like font size and screen brightness to tailor the user experience to their specific needs. With any Android smartphone, users also have the option of downloading a third-party launcher from the Google Play Store, which provides big pictures and text to simplify navigation. There’s even a growing segment of the carrier market focusing on seniors. Known for its affordable rates and excellent customer service, Consumer Cellu-

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Beyond a slight learning curve, there’s no longer any reason for seniors to feel left out, or even limited, by smartphone technology. By integrating new, seniororiented designs and features, today’s smartphone experience can be as simple and user-friendly as they need it to be. The Pew study reveals just how integral smartphones have become to the lives of users over 50. Going beyond standard uses, 39 percent in this age bracket also use their phones to access information about health conditions; 34 percent use them to do online banking. Fiftyfive percent use smartphones for social networking, and another 55 percent use their phone’s features for entertainment. There are truly almost no limits on what can be done with a smartphone. No longer a mere toy or gadget, it has evolved to become an indispensable modern tool. The good news for older users is that it is also now more accessible than ever. – BPT


July 2017  |  27

We Have to Do Better By Charlotte A. Jackson Contributing Writer

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n less than six days, my community saw four parents lose their children. This is just not right. Two of the young people were killed by guns and happened in less than 72 hours, just streets from each other. The third was a young father beaten to death at a local restaurant. Just days later, a high school girl hung herself in her backyard. Less than a week later as I watched the NBA Championship Game, I received a text message that another young man was shot over a dice game. Before the pain could even begin to stop, we saw a 10-month-old child in Houston shot to death. My phone lately seems to ring at all hours of the day with calls about death. I am having a hard time not giving into fatigue. I am truly blessed that God

Community

has placed some amazing prayer warriors in my life to continually lift me up. I know most of the pastors in my area on the Eastside of Harris County. I work with many of the school administrators and nonprofit groups. Just yesterday I sat with a young lady who knows the pain all too well. Last year, her son’s father was murdered in a drive-by shooting in the area. We have multiple friends that we have buried way too soon and a few who were blessed to survive. But even the survivors are still not “normal.” Doug, a 32-year-old single dad was sitting in a local restaurant in early February. He notices a group of guys looking his way and talking. He acknowledged them even though he did not recognize them. Moments later, as he stepped outside to put his belongings in the car, he looked up to see one of the men firing 17 shots at him. He was struck by three bullets. The shooter was too stupid to make

it very far. He tossed the gun out of his car window right in front of a cop. In spite of this, the career criminal did not even serve 24 hours in jail before he was bonded out and managed to have the hearing reset numerous times. All the while, Doug has survived three surgeries and is still undergoing care. Did I mention his bills continue to add up? At the community college campus where I work, there was an angel statue erected after eight families lost children too soon. These eight families had actually lost a total of nine children and after hearing about a book turned into a madefor-television movie, they raised funds to have somewhere other than a gravesite to reflect on their loved one. The group formed a nonprofit, Hearts of Parents Endure, and each year on December 6, there is a candlelight remembrance ceremony held to honor those children. Through social media, it seems like I have added

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an average of 30 families to the invitation list each year, but already in 2017, there have been over 60 added and tragically, more and more from the same area. We often hear it in the news that the parents should have done a better job of parenting or that the schools and churches need to address the issues. Too many times our local courts are looking for answers and yet the deaths continue. I refuse to leave my community. I refuse to add burglar bars and alarms, much less, spend less time out helping others. Instead, I am continuing to beg family, neighbors, friends, church members, and anyone who will listen to pray. Not just pray for the families left behind, not just for the relationships with the local law enforcement agencies, and not just for those involved in less than desirable lifestyles to change their ways, but I am asking for you to stop and pray. When you pray, ask God to show you how to get involved. Maybe it means turning off the electronics and getting involved in a mentoring program. Perhaps it is reaching out and asking others to donate items that these families need. Perhaps it is joining me this summer to meet and come up with a game plan? I do not want to duplicate programs, but I want to collaborate with others and take our communities back. We must do something. We owe it to the generations before us who sacrificed to provide for us. We owe it to the ones after us to have hope.


28  |  July 2017

Community

The Leadership of Interior Design By Linda Lindsay Contributing Writer

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nterior designers and decorators do not plan major structural design. Yet, we make sure that you make the correct choices that will make a positive impact in how you live, work, and play in your living space and environment. We work hand-in-hand with architects and engineers. Hours and hours go into making sure that the products and materials chosen are the correct ones for your lifestyle. The most valued skill is understanding how many hours go into the research that we have to do to provide clients with the best selections for their individual style. We have to stay up to date on pricing, along with knowing as many different types of products that will enhance each property's value. Knowing all products in each home that will work for all types of clients and their individual budgets is what we do. This career is not about putting things together to look “pretty.” It’s vital that we know the benefits and disadvantages of a particular product and how it will hold up. Making sure that all ideas are unique to the personalities of the home or apartment owner is the challenge. The easier this transition is done, the happier the client. From the floors to the walls and the interior layouts,

we make an impact on how you live. The reward for us is that you are happy with the final result of the design. HGTV and all the new home makeover shows make it seem so easy. Yet, the leadership of a specialist comes in when they successfully design a project. Many people do not realize how much research it takes to create long-term design solutions. It's not just working with the trends that will dictate

the longevity of a master plan laid out. We cannot use rushed solutions that may end up making design mistakes and costing the client more in the long run. For more information, contact Linda Lindsay of Designing Your Lifestyle at 347-731-1020.

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July 2017  |  29 CBP-6100-07 CRE Ad-MM.pdf

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6/9/16

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And, with historically low rates, there’s never been a more opportunistic time to expand your business with a commercial real estate loan from Comerica. As the leading bank for business*, we’ve been financing business expansion for nearly 150 years. Whether you need to build or purchase, expand or refinance, it’s the right time. Are you ready? Call 800.705.2387, stop by a Comerica banking center or visit comerica.com/cre.

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RAISE YOUR EXPECTATIONS.


30  |  July 2017

T H E

E X P E R T

N E TW O R K

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July 2017  |  31

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