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.