Friday, April 22, 2016

The Getting Ahead Program

I joined this Getting Ahead Program by taking a class for 12 weeks at a local church in Schenectady NY.  Our inside economic view of the class structure in the US, is on a person by person basis.  My own place in society was effected by unemployment.

The Getting Ahead Program wants to address the following: Poverty is getting worse. More and more people are slipping into situational poverty due to loss of employment, low wages, health issues, or other circumstances. Communities, agencies, and entities around the country—and world—are taking action to help people escape “the tyranny of the moment” and take control of their lives.

This course helped me work through how to assess my current resources, then make plans to rebuild my life by setting goals and measuring results.  Making plans for change, setting SMART goals that address all 11 resources including, financial, emotional, physical, social capital, integrity / trust, motivation / persistance, language, knowledge of hidden rules, role models / relationships , mental cognitive, and spiritual.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Why Women Leave Engineering: The SWE Gender Culture Study

We know that women make up more than 20 percent of engineering school graduates but only 11 percent of practicing engineers. And we know that 30 percent of women who leave the profession cite workplace climate as the reason.

Here is a link to an article that discusses The SWE Gender Culture Study

“A culture study gives you a snapshot of culture’s fitness,” said Beth Michaels, president of Primer Michaels, the consulting firm that ran the study.   Michaels is an expert on leadership and corporate culture. “People care about culture because it’s a driver for attraction, retention, and advancement and for developing workplaces where people do their best work and meet company goals.”

SWE’s new research shows that women leave the profession after working in environments that tolerate persistent obstacles to attaining their company and career goals.

The STEM Re-entry Task Force: A pipeline for women to return to technical careers

iRelaunch has teamed up with the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) to create opportunities for women, who are interested in getting back to their technical careers, through a new initiative called the STEM Re-entry Task Force.

The STEM Re-entry Task Force has been created to provide reentry internships for women with technical degrees. It is also designed to produce structural change in the STEM sector by using the internship as a vehicle for engaging with returning technical women.

2016 Resolutions : Traditional Pensions verses 401(k) Investment Plan

In the April 11, 2016 issue of Time Magazine I got interested in the article "Everbody needs a pension. Here's how to build your own."

What interested me was that in 1979 38% of workers had pension plans, which has dwindled to 14%.  After 3 decades the statistics have changed by 24%. 

Up in coming is the largest wave of pensionless workers retiring. Since 1980 traditional pensions have been swapped for 401(k) plans.  Curious about the difference?

Pensions have the investment plans controlled by the company, and the employees have no control
over investment decisions. The employees are promised a certain amount of income after retiring which is dependent on the number of years of service and the amount of the contribution.  Pension plans present less risk than 401(k)'s.

401(k) plans do not work the same way. 401(k)'s are tax advantaged savings. There is more risk but the employee has more control.  There is no guarentee of a fixed retirement income.  The retirement income stream will vary, with a fixed income though Social Security benefits.

When in doubt they suggest setting up an income plan through a financial planner or advisor.

Four Suggestions
1.  Social Security is the fixed retirement income. To maximize the benefit delay filing until 70.
2.  Plan to invest in Fixed Annuities will close the gap between your income and fixed costs.
     They suggest 25% of savings invested in a fixed annunity.
3.  Put 3 years of spending into a Bucket Plan. Save it in a money market account.
4.  If you own a home, look into a reverse mortgage line of credit.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Leo DiCaprio Oscar Speech supports Environmentalism

Watch Leonardo DiCaprio's Oscars speech broadcast on Sunday. His words project a passionate, personal call for action on climate change.

His passion for the earth and environment will get people to think about ways to become part of the solution. 
Leo's Speech:

If you have any friends who might be interested in saving money—and the planet—with solar, just request a free consultation, and support my efforts to work as a SolarCity Ambassador.

Support SolarCity's Solar Residential program by learning more by signing on for a free consultation here SolarCity Website

Learn more about the benefits of joining the solar movement after talking to a solar city consultant.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Money and You

I am taking a 3 day course reviewing the book 7 Stages of Money Maturity by George Kinder.  I am reviewing the first two chapters which cover early experiences with money and  your money view based on those experiences.

Understand yourself and your view of money.

Starting at the earliest memories of money in my youth, inspired me to get online and balance my  checkbook, work on a budget and get an accounting system working.  Just reworking the basics including checking all my accounts, investments and loan balances.  I originally worked with MINT after reading about the free service on the WSJ.

Learning to See Better Naturally

Esther Joy van der Werf's personal vision history

Esther Joy writes:  My own experience proves that 16 years of blurry vision can clear to 20/20 clarity within a few weeks, under relaxed circumstances and with conscious awareness of vision habits.  There have been cases in Dr Bates' clinic who regained perfect eyesight almost immediately.  I've had one man come to me who only needed one hour to see better and was then able to pass the drivers test that he had just failed for the first time. And a nearsighted friend who couldn't see any letters on the eye-chart without his glasses read the 20/50 line without glasses after one month.  This speedy improvement may happen for you too, but it is not similarly fast for everyone.  

See Better Naturally -

Event at the Honest Weight Food Coop is See Better Naturally with Marion Reynolds
Whether you wish to relieve stressed and achy eyes, or reverse an ever increasing glasses prescription, this introductory talk offers a non-medical holistic approach. We will explore some underlying causes of vision distress and learn simple relaxing activities which can restore the healthy vision habits you were born with.

Friday, January 15, 2016

How to Understand others by Understanding YOURSELF

Book Review:  Personality Plus by Florence Littauer  

Florence Littauer careful considers the four basic personality types: Melancholy, Phlegmatic, Sanguine, and Choleric. A series of tests gives you an idea of your personality type based on the 4 types.  Reading the book teaches about how you can relate these 4 types to your own self.  Florence Littauer's work provides insight into your personality and the various traits dictating over your emotions, work performance, and how you relate to others. The knowledge of your own personality is brings understanding to those around you.  Insights and understanding through reading  Personality Plus can help change your life for the better by helping improve your strengths and correct your weaknesses.

How High is Your XQ?

Employers are using employee assessments to aid in their hiring decisions.  The rational being employee turnover rates are high, and employers need better productivity. Using Big Data combined with Analytics for selecting hires, correlations using assessments are being used to review performance. 

If you haven’t hear of DISC yet it is a behavior assessment.  The test evaluates each candidate by considering 4 traits which are dominance , influence , steadiness , and compliance.
Dominance  People who score high in the intensity of the "D" styles factor are very active in dealing with problems and challenges, while low "D" scores are people who want to do more research before committing to a decision. High "D" people are described as demanding, forceful, egocentric, strong willed, driving, determined, ambitious, aggressive, and pioneering. Low D scores describe those who are conservative, low keyed, cooperative, calculating, undemanding, cautious, mild, agreeable, modest and peaceful.

Influence  People with high "I" scores influence others through talking and activity and tend to be emotional. They are described as convincing, magnetic, political, enthusiastic, persuasive, warm, demonstrative, trusting, and optimistic. Those with low "I" scores influence more by data and facts, and not with feelings. They are described as reflective, factual, calculating, skeptical, logical, suspicious, matter of fact, pessimistic, and critical.
Steadiness  People with high "S" styles scores want a steady pace, security, and do not like sudden change. High "S" individuals are calm, relaxed, patient, possessive, predictable, deliberate, stable, consistent, and tend to be unemotional and poker faced. Low "S" intensity scores are those who like change and variety. People with low "S" scores are described as restless, demonstrative, impatient, eager, or even impulsive
Compliance  People with high "C" styles adhere to rules, regulations, and structure. They like to do quality work and do it right the first time. High "C" people are careful, cautious, exacting, neat, systematic, diplomatic, accurate, and tactful. Those with low "C" scores challenge the rules and want independence and are described as self-willed, stubborn, opinionated, unsystematic, arbitrary, and careless with details.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Successful using faith to overcome obstacles in life and career


TIME: You strongly advocate journaling in your book. Why?
DEBBIE MACOMBER:  I think it’s a wonderful way of passing [along] and remembering your own history. It’s a wonderful way of looking at God’s faithfulness. I look back and read these journals and I think “Oh, how did I ever get through that time?” It’s how I process the day.

Has your lifestyle changed much with your success? You started out with a rented typewriter.
Yes. I have more than one computer now. I’m sitting right now in a beautiful [second] home inFlorida. It’s a little town called Vero Beach. We are on the island, so we are on the river. My husband was able to retire at age 50. It’s been a wonderful reward.

News 2016: the economics of spaceflight & renewable energy

News: Troy Record January 2, 2015

On Dec. 21, Elon Musk’s SpaceX, after launching 11 satellites into orbit, returned its 15-story booster rocket, upright and intact, to a landing pad at Cape Canaveral. That’s a $60 million mountain of machinery – recovered. (The traditional booster rocket either burns up or disappears into some ocean.)
The reusable rocket has arrived. Arguably, it arrived a month earlier when Blue Origin, a privately owned outfit created by Jeff Bezos (Amazon CEO and owner of The Washington Post) launched and landed its own booster rocket, albeit for a suborbital flight. But whether you attribute priority to Musk or Bezos, the two events together mark the inauguration of a new era in spaceflight.
Musk predicts that the reusable rocket will reduce the cost of accessing space a hundredfold. This depends, of course, on whether the wear and tear and stresses of the launch make the refurbishing prohibitively expensive. Assuming it’s not, and assuming Musk is even 10 percent right, reusability revolutionizes the economics of spaceflight.
  • democratizes & commercializes
  • competing in the marketplace
  • seeing into the future is increased privatization

Today future directions are being set by private companies with growing technical experience and competing visions. Musk is fixated on colonizing Mars, Bezos on seeing “millions of people living and working in space,” and Richard Branson on space tourism by way of Virgin Galactic (he has already sold 700 tickets to ride at $250,000 each). And Moon Express, another private enterprise, is not even interested in hurling about clumsy, air-breathing humans. It is bent on robotic mining expeditions to the moon. My personal preference is a permanent manned moon base, which would likely already exist had our politicians not decided to abandon the moon in the early 1970s.

News January 2, 2015
SolarCity — the leading installer of residential solar panels in the US — announced today in Times Square that the company has built the industry's most efficient solar panel, Reuters reports. The panel converts sunlight into electricity with a 22.04 percent efficiency, according to third-party testing from the Renewable Energy Test Center. That's slightly higher than the 21.5 percent efficiency boasted by rival SunPower's X-Series solar panels.